Have You Heard

Post date: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 1:03am

Have You Heard About... How to Train Your Dragon

… the Viking called Hiccup? In the DVD of How to Train Your Dragon, you’ll see him go from a scrawny Viking in training to the greatest dragon slayer in the history of Vikingdom. Hiccup needs to prove to his Dad, and the others of his tribe, that he is worthy of becoming a Viking. With his quirky new pal Toothless – a small, sort of greedy and somewhat rude dragon – these two learn to understand each other and eventually earn the respect of everyone.

This movie has adventure, animal-human communications, heroism and is at times both funny and sad.

Watching the special features gives you an understanding of the characters and how long it actually took to make this movie. Did you know that every dragon has its own unique fire breathing capabilities?

This is a great PG-rated movie for the entire family.

If you like the movie, be sure to check out the further adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock 3 in the books by Cressida Cowell.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Tags: DVD, family, review
Post date: Thursday, May 19, 2011 - 1:38am

Have You Heard About... I Shall Wear Midnight

… the Nac Mac Feegles and their big wee hag? I Shall Wear Midnight is the fourth book in Terry Pratchett’s series about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men*. Tiffany is becoming well known as the witch of the Chalk, gaining the respect of her neighbors. However, when that respect turns to fear and even people who know her well spread rumors about what “everyone knows” witches do, Tiffany must use all of her powers, skills, and sense to defeat an ancient evil that seeks to destroy all witches. I Shall Wear Midnight is another beautiful blend of drama and comedy from the creator of the Discworld.

One of my favorite quotes (from p. 34):

“Ye will bring tae mind, brother o’ mine, that there was times when ye should stick your head up a duck’s bottom rather than talk?”

Daft Wullie looked down at his feet. “Sorry, Rob. I counda find a duck just noo.”

 

* The previous books in the series are The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky and Wintersmith.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 - 1:08am

Have You Heard About... The Spirit Thief

… the world’s greatest thief, who can sweet-talk doors into opening for him? The Spirit Thief*, by Rachel Aaron, tells the story of Eli Monpress. He’s not just a thief; he’s also a wizard who can talk with the spirit inside anything – a campfire, a tree, the stones in a wall – and most of the time, he can con it into doing whatever he wants.

This is a fun story about a world where magic is done through the control and manipulation of natural spirits. Most wizards make deals with spirits, trading their energy for the spirits’ assistance. This brings an interesting twist to the magic, giving it different strengths and limitations from the standard fantasy realms. Overall, this is a fun, fast read, with wry humor and likeable characters.

 

* The next two books in the Legend of Eli Monpress series are The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 1:17am

Have You Heard About... How to Boil Water

… the Food Network’s great basic cookbook? If you are just learning to cook or want to learn how to cook more simply, How to Boil Water: Life beyond Takeout is the book for you. It really does teach you how to boil water! This book is a basic guide to cooking. It has how-to hints and tips worded in an easy-to-understand way (no big, fancy words). Photos guide you along in how to prepare comfort foods.

Learn how to make easy potato salad, cut up meat or a whole chicken, make a fried egg without flipping it – this was one of my favorites – and much more. I thought this book was really informative and very helpful.

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - 1:17am

Have You Heard About... 11:11

… the amazing music of Rodrigo y Gabriela

The dynamic duo has released yet another stunner with 11:11! The guitar work by both musicians is something I have never heard before, with Rodrigo’s heavy handed, almost metal-like riffs and Gabriela’s cool, laid-back Latin vibe. They are far and wide the best acoustic team out there today. Pick it up today or whenever you stop by! You will not be disappointed.

 

Reviewed by Austin (staff)

Post date: Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 1:02am

Have You Heard About... Songs of Love and Death

… what happens when you mix romance with fantasy, science-fiction, and horror? You get Songs of Love and Death: Tales of Star-Crossed Love, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.

The course of true love never does run smooth in this collection of seventeen stories. The lovers must deal with spells, curses, ghosts, superheroes, demons, and their own pasts. In most cases, love does win out, but not always. The settings range widely – including modern day America, 18th century England, an alien space station, and much more – and the styles and genres used in these stories are almost as varied. Many of the authors are familiar as writers of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, as well as romance. Overall, this is an excellent anthology, with something for nearly every taste. 

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - 1:13am

Have You Heard About... Beasts of Burden

… the dogs (and cat) who protect the town of Burden Hill? In the graphic novel Beasts of Burden. [Vol. 1], Animal Rites, we learn about this lovely town, and its dark side. The humans who live in Burden are largely unaware of the evils around and within it, but the animals are another matter. Several dogs and a cat become protectors for the town, doing what no one else can. Together they take on demonic frogs, evil rats, zombies, a werewolf, and the vengeful spirits of tortured and drowned animals. Sometimes they have help from others in town, or from “wise dogs” with more experience and magic. Other times, they have to do what they can and hope for the best. Not every story has a happy ending.

This book contains the “Beasts of Burden” stories originally published in several Dark Horse anthologies and in the four-issue mini-series. The artwork and writing are superb and work well together. Each animal has his or her own personality, although they are definitely animals, and those personalities grow as they learn more and experience more. The stories range from heart-wrenching to horrific, but also contain touches of humor and beauty. Beasts of Burden is worth reading again and again to catch details you missed the first time, although the story of Hazel and her puppies will always make me cry.

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Post date: Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 1:02am

Have You Heard About... A Nose for Justice

… the great new cozy mystery series set in the Southwest? A Nose for Justice, by Rita Mae Brown, is a departure from her Virginia series. Set in Nevada, this is a very timely book, both politically and on current events.

Octogenarian Jeep Reed, a WW2 WASP with a wicked sense of humor and her great-niece Mags Rogers, a former Wall St. banker, live on the sprawling Wings Ranch. The buying and selling of western land and especially water rights, is the theme throughout the book. Murder occurs when someone gets greedy for more land and water. Two delightful dogs provide a little bit of comedy. A second mystery within the wheeling and dealing of water rights almost gets Mags killed when old bones are dug up on the property and they are found to have a tie to Buffalo Bill.

I found this book informative, entertaining, and I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend it!

 

Reviewed by Terry (staff)

Post date: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 1:00am

Have You Heard About... Sherlock

… the latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes from the BBC?  Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, is a marvelous adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.  Holmes and Watson are thoroughly modern characters – Sherlock uses nicotine patches rather than smoking a pipe, characters communicate by cell phone and text message, and John chronicles their adventures in his blog.  However, Holmes’ powers of deduction are as sharp as ever, and his personality is every bit as “quirky” (some might say, “difficult” or even “abrasive”) as the original.

The only drawback I found to this series is that the first season had just three episodes.  This is not uncommon for BBC productions, but it is highly frustrating to run out of new material so soon after getting wrapped up in these fascinating characters.  The cliff-hanger ending of episode three does not help at all.  Fortunately, the BBC has confirmed that a second series will come out in late 2011.  I can’t wait!

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)

Tags: DVD, review, suspense
Post date: Thursday, April 21, 2011 - 1:00am

Have You Heard About... The Grimm Legacy

… the New York Circulating Material Repository?  It’s a lending library for objects – everything from chess sets to one of Marie Antoinette’s every-day wigs.  The special collections include more powerful and dangerous items, like Snow White’s mother’s mirror in the Grimm Collection and a shrinking ray in the Wells Bequest.  The special collections also require special deposits, such as your sense of direction or your voice, to check out anything.

In Polly Shulman’s The Grimm Legacy, Elizabeth Rew is the newest page at the Repository, recommended by her social studies teacher, who used to work there himself.  She loves working in the collections, making friends with the other pages, and learning more about the special collections.  However, the special collections also make the Repository a dangerous place to work because some people will go to any lengths to get the powerful magic items.

This is a great story, filled with adventure, intrigue, magic, and even a little romance.  The characters, particularly the pages, are well-developed and likeable.  I’m looking forward to more books that explore the other collections in the Repository!

 

Reviewed by Fran (staff)