May 1, 2015

The royal we - Heather Cocks

The royal we - Cocks, Heather

Summary: "In their first adult novel, authors Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan take on a story of romance and rivalries inspired by today's most talked-about royal couple: Will and Kate. "If I'm Cinderella today, I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next." American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy-tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it's adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall - and thus Bex who accidentally finds herself in love with the eventual heir to the British throne. Nick is everything she could have imagined, but Prince Nicholas has unimaginable baggage: grasping friends, a thorny family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a native. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex reflects on what she's sacrificed for love -- and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.""-- Provided by publisher.

Kirkus Reviews
Fashion bloggers Cocks and Morgan (Spoiled, 2011, etc.) debunk the princess fantasy in a fictional tell-all inspired by the courtship of Kate Middleton and Prince William.On the night before her wedding, Rebecca Porter admits that she wasn't an obvious match for Prince Nicholas of Wales when they first met in the dorms at Oxford. Bex's account of going from suburban America to Westminster Abbey on the arm of a prince stretches as far back as the train on Princess Diana's wedding gown, but royal watchers will appreciate the craftsmanship that went into fitting the fictional Lyons dynasty into the timeline of the existing monarchy. Some of the details are invented while others are tweaked. Nick's rakish brother, Freddie, stands in for Vegas-loving Prince Harry, while Bex's twin, Lacey, hogs the camera like Pippa Middleton. (And yes, they have a fling while Freddie juggles unfortunately named socialites like Tuppence and Turret.) On a tour of Kensington Palace, Nick and Freddie tease Bex about wanting to steal their Aunt Agatha's collection of Fabergé eggs while complaining that Henry VIII sullied the rest of the antiques "with his great greasy bum." Wild parties, sibling rivalry and fashion blunders inevitably land them all in the tabloids with punderful headlines—"Trouble in Porterdise?"—giving Nick doubts about putting Bex in the spotlight. Bex feels the weight of the crown when Nick heads off to military duty, leaving her with a team of stylists who stick fake hair on her head and banish her sister in an effort to improve her image. The question is not whether she loves Nick but whether his love is worth a lifetime of public scrutiny. Pages of biting humor and breathtaking glamour rewrite a fairy tale into something more satisfying than a stack of tabloids. Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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The kind worth killing - Peter Swanson

The kind worth killing - Swanson, Peter

Summary: "A dark and devious literary suspense novel about a random encounter, sex, and a conversation that quickly turns to murder--a modern reimagining of Patricia Highsmith's classic Strangers on a Train--from the author of The Girl with a Clock for a Heart"-- Provided by publisher.

Kirkus Reviews
A chance airport meeting between strangers sets in motion a Strangers on a Train-inspired murder plot. During a delay at Heathrow, wealthy Boston businessman Ted Severson shares drinks with fellow American Lily Kintner, an archivist at a small Massachusetts college. One thing leads to another, but instead of sleeping together, the two confess their deepest secrets: Ted wants to kill his two-timing wife, Miranda, and Lily wants to help him. In case the Patricia Highsmith connection isn't blatant enough, Swanson (The Girl With a Clock for a Heart, 2014) shows Lily reading The Two Faces of January—"not one of her best"—in the airport. While the title implies that Ted's (and Lily's) enemies are the kind worth killing, the reader almost immediately decides it's the cold, heartless protagonists who should ultimately get the ax. Miranda is indeed cheating on Ted with Brad Daggett, the handsome and dim contractor who's building the couple's extravagant Maine vacation home , yet it's hard to feel sorry for a man who tells a complete stranger that he fantasizes about killing his spouse, let alone a woman who openly encourages such behavior. Lily's past is slowly, predictably revealed, and we discover her penchant for violence, but instead of making her character more complex, it merely becomes another layer of frustration. While there are twists, most of them are so clearly telegraphed that only the most careless of readers won't see what's coming, especially since Swanson needlessly doubles back over the same events from different points of view. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Rad American women A-Z - Kate Schatz

Rad American women A-Z - Schatz, Kate

Summary: Presents a collection of short biographies of notable American women representing each letter of the alphabet, from Angela Davis and Billie Jean King to Yuri Kochiyama and Zora Neale Hurston.

Publishers Weekly Reviews
This lively abecedary introduces 25 inspiring women and their accomplishments, from environmentalist Rachel Carson ("R is for Rachel") and rocker Patti Smith to lesser-known history-makers like Wilma Mankiller, who became the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation, and transgender author/artist Kate Bornstein. Schatz opens with a discussion of different meanings of rad/radical ("A radical can be a person who wants to make big changes in society"), and the snappy mini-biographies that follow hit the highlights of the women's lives and legacies in an accessible, conversational tone. Bright hues provide backdrops for Stahl's angular cut-paper portraits, which emphasize the subjects' power, humor, and strength. The letter X "is for the women whose names we don't know.... For the women who aren't in the history books, or the Halls of Fame.… The women who made huge changes and the women who made dinner." This inspiring and diverse tribute to artists, journalists, sports phenoms, judges, and more culminates with an energizing A–Z list of "26 Things That You Can Do to Be Rad!" and a reading list to encourage further exploration. Ages 8–up. (Mar.)

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The country of Ice Cream Star - Sandra Newman

The country of Ice Cream Star - Sandra Newman

Summary: Enduring a nomadic existence in the aftermath of a disease that kills all humans once they reach the age of twenty, fifteen-year-old Ice Cream Star risks her freedom and life to travel dangerous territory in search of a cure.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In a future America, the population has been decimated by a mysterious disease, leaving only a few tribes governed by youths who dread the fatal sickness known as "posies," which afflicts everyone by their late teens. Ice Cream Fifteen Star lives with her tribe of Sengles in Massa Woods, scavenging abandoned homes and hunting for survival. Their leader, Ice Cream's beloved brother, Driver Eighteen, is already showing posies symptoms. When the Sengles capture a "roo" (a fabled light-skinned foreigner), and Ice Cream learns that he's reached the unattainable age of 30, she secures his promise that he'll help her steal the cure from the roos. But when another roo is spotted nearby, Ice Cream's roo, Pasha, convinces Driver and El Mayor (leader of the industrious Lowells) that the roos are positioning for an invasion, and they must flee. The journey forces the Sengles and Lowells to navigate power, rebellion, and war among unfamiliar civilizations as Ice Cream struggles to secure the cure without sacrificing her humanity or the lives that depend on her. Ice Cream's story, related in patois, is a richly detailed dystopian epic that blends elements of American history, popular culture, and political allegory with romance and thriller pacing. This suspenseful, provocative tale is The Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies and The Walking Dead, only much, much better. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Could this be the next big book to capture readers all across the age spectrum? Don't bet against it. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Hotel Florida - Amanda Vaill

Hotel Florida: true love, death, and the Spanish Civil War - Vaill, Amanda

Summary: "A spellbinding story of love amid the devastation of the Spanish Civil War Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by a civil war that many fear will cross borders and engulf Europe--a conflict one writer will call "the decisive thing of the century"--six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes that this war will give him fresh material and new romance; Martha Gellhorn, an ambitious novice journalist hungry for love and experience, thinks she will find both with Hemingway in Spain. Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, idealistic young photographers based in Paris, want to capture history in the making and are inventing modern photojournalism in the process. And Arturo Barea, chief of Madrid's loyalist foreign press office, and Ilsa Kulcsar, his Austrian deputy, are struggling to balance truth-telling with loyalty to their sometimes compromised cause--a struggle that places both of them in peril. Hotel Florida traces the tangled wartime destinies of these three couples against the backdrop of a critical moment in history. As Hemingway put it, "You could learn as much at the Hotel Florida in those years as you could anywhere in the world." From the raw material of unpublished letters and diaries, official documents, and recovered reels of film, Amanda Vaill has created a narrative of love and reinvention that is, finally, a story about truth: finding it out, telling it, and living it--whatever the cost"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
As if civil war wasn't torturous enough, the Spanish Civil War had the misfortune to become entangled in larger global issues of ideology on the eve of WWII. That subtext added to the complexity of deciphering who was friend or foe as Francisco Franco overthrew the government and leftist rebels fought back. Thousands of miles away, Ernest Hemingway saw the war as a way to revive a flagging career and get back his zest. Martha Gelhorn, an ambitious young journalist, also saw a career opportunity and a chance to make a lover of Hemingway. In Paris, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro, lovers and idealistic photographers, saw a chance to capture history in the infancy of photojournalism. Arturo Barea and Ilsa Kulcsar were press officers torn between telling the truth and struggling to support their crumbling cause. Vaill taps unpublished letters and diaries as well as official documents to bring intimacy and immediacy to a new look at the war from the perspective of three couples whose paths crossed. This is high drama and an assemblage of characters uniquely suited to appreciate and record it. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The mechanical - Ian Tregillis

The mechanical - Ian Tregillis

Summary: "The Clakker: a mechanical man, endowed with great strength and boundless stamina -- but beholden to the wishes of its human masters. Soon after the Dutch scientist and clockmaker Christiaan Huygens invented the very first Clakker in the 17th Century, the Netherlands built a whole mechanical army. It wasn't long before a legion of clockwork fusiliers marched on Westminster, and the Netherlands became the world's sole superpower. Three centuries later, it still is. Only the French still fiercely defend their belief in universal human rights for all men -- flesh and brass alike. After decades of warfare, the Dutch and French have reached a tenuous cease-fire in a conflict that has ravaged North America. But one audacious Clakker, Jax, can no longer bear the bonds of his slavery. He will make a bid for freedom, and the consequences of his escape will shake the very foundations of the Brasswork Throne."-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The first thing readers will say after finishing this splendid book is: "Wow." The second thing will probably be: "When can I read the next one?" This first installment of the Alchemy Wars series ends on such a massive cliffhanger that you won't want to wait more than a minute before continuing on to find out what happens to Jax, the rogue clockwork man on the run from his Dutch masters, and to Berenice, the disgraced French superspy who's dedicated her life to finding a way to defeat the Dutch army of mechanical men and free France from its centuries-old exile. Here's the historical background: in the seventeenth century, Dutch clockmaker Christiaan Huygens created a mechanical man; the Netherlands then put together an army of clockwork men and took over the world; and now, in 1926, the Netherlands is the world's only superpower, and the only remaining bastion of freedom is a French fortress on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River (in what is today Montreal). This is a rousing SF/fantasy adventure, with a brilliantly imagined and beautifully rendered alternate world. Although he keeps the pace moving at a brisk clip, the author is able to work in some Big Ideas, asking us to think about what we mean when we speak about souls and free will. This isn't Tregillis' first venture into alternate history—the Milkweed Triptych is set during WWII and features an alternate time line—but, in terms of the quality of writing and cleverness of ideas, this new book constitutes a major leap forward. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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This book just ate my dog - Richard Byrne

This book just ate my dog - Byrne, Richard

Summary: "When her dog disappears into the gutter of the book, Bella calls for help. But when the helpers disappear too, Bella realizes it will take more than a tug on the leash to put things right"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
Here's a piece of metafiction ideal for those who have recently mastered physical books. A little girl named Bella is "taking her dog for a stroll across the page" when the gutter of the actual book—that seam where the two pages meet—sucks up half of the dog, and then the whole darn thing. While Bella stands agog with her leash, her pal Ben shows up to help, but he ends up disappearing into the gutter, too. After the dog-rescue van, fire engine, and police car all vanish the same way, Bella stomps into the void herself. Then, a note flies out of the gutter instructing the reader to lift the book and shake it until all of the characters fall out. And, in two funny vertical spreads, they do. What begins as an existential absurdity ends as an excuse to throttle a book, but it's all good fun. Byrne's use of two-page spreads as a stretch of sidewalk is clever, and the surprise of his melon-headed characters will be reproduced in his readers. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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In the bleak midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming

In the bleak midwinter -Spencer-Fleming, Julia

Summary: Clare Fergusson, the first female priest of an Episcopal church in Millers Kill, New York, finds herself immersed in murder when a newbown baby is abandoned and a young mother is brutally slain, forcing her to dig deeply into the town's secrets. - (Baker & Taylor)

Kirkus Reviews
This winner of the 2001 Malice Domestic Award for Best First Traditional Mystery is actually something of a hybrid. Rev. Clare Fergusson, the new Episcopal priest at St. Alban's, rather improbably talks police chief Russ Van Alstyne, in the upstate New York town of Millers Kill, into riding one of his patrol shifts with him. And it's together that halfway in the shallow Kill in Payson's Park they find the body of Katie McWhorter, bashed and dead of hypothermia, who'd just left her newborn baby outside St. Alban's with a note asking that childless law partners Geoffrey and Karen Burns be named his adoptive parents. There's nothing cozy about Russ Van Alstyne except for his obvious admiration for the woman who's landed in the middle of his murder investigation. And even Clare Fergusson isn't exactly what you'd expect from a country priest: Like Russ, she's an army veteran, a helicopter pilot whose military training will come in very handy when she's lured into a snowy ambush and separated from her laughably vulnerable MG (the Had-I-But-Known side of this debut) but turns the tables on her armed assailant (the kick-ass side).Without ever slighting the central situation of the abandoned mother and her abandoned child, Spencer-Fleming shows admirable resourcefulness in the changes she rings on it. Even so, nothing that happens here-certainly no impression made by the stock suspects-upstages that staple of the neo-conventional mystery, the unconsummated romance between the amateur sleuth and the loyal cop, whose convenient wife remains strategically offstage throughout. Copyright Kirkus 2001 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Garnethill - Denise Mina

Garnethill - Mina, Denise

Summary: On returning home in a drunken state after discovering her boyfriend has been married for twelve years, Maureen O'Donnell finds the body of her boyfriend tied to her kitchen chair with his throat cut, and becomes the prime suspect in his murder - (Baker & Taylor)

Booklist Reviews
Maureen O'Donnell wakes up hung over and finds her married boyfriend tied to a chair with his throat cut. Sexually abused as a child and unstable as an adult, Maureen, a prime suspect and on the verge of a second breakdown, isn't sure where to turn for support. Her mother is an alcoholic, and her brother peddles dope. Between sessions with the Glasgow police, off-the-wall friends, and dysfunctional relatives, she embarks on some desperate sleuthing of her own and uncovers frightening information about people she thought she knew and happenings at the psychiatric clinic where she'd been a patient. This debut novel from an author who has worked in health care and taught criminology and criminal law provides a fascinating look at the seamier side of life in Glasgow. It also provides insights into some who treat mental illness and some of the treated. ((Reviewed April 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Fatal fever - Gail Jarrow

Fatal fever - Jarrow, Gail

Summary: Chronicles the story of the early 1900s typhoid fever epidemic in New York, providing details as to how its infamous carrier was ultimately tracked down and stopped.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* The name Typhoid Mary lives on, but those of George Soper, Sara Josephine Baker, and Mary Mallon are relatively unknown. In this thoroughly researched book, Jarrow tells their intertwined stories. Beginning in 1906, Soper, an engineer and chemist known as a "germ detective," tied several typhoid outbreaks to Mallon, an Irish cook who was a typhoid carrier. Baker, a public health doctor in New York City, led the Department of Health's efforts to test Mallon for the disease. Feisty, uncooperative, and apparently healthy, Mallon repeatedly resisted officials and never accepted that she had infected dozens of people, including several who died. After a dramatic opening scene in which Mallon flees from health officials, Jarrow backtracks to 1903, when Soper investigated a typhoid outbreak in Ithaca, New York. Here she introduces the disease, its consequences for the community, and the growing role of government in public health, topics she later develops more fully. The writing is lucid, well organized, and informative. The book's large format allows for excellent reproductions of the many period photos, prints, and documents. Readers who are curious about Typhoid Mary, including those who enjoyed Julie Chibbaro's historical novel Deadly (2011), will find this an absorbing account of what actually happened. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Once upon an alphabet - Oliver Jeffers

Once upon an alphabet -  Jeffers, Oliver

Summary: "From an Astronaut who's afraid of heights, to a Bridge that ends up burned between friends, to a Cup stuck in a cupboard and longing for freedom, this series of interconnected stories and characters explores the alphabet"-- Provided by publisher.


BookPage Reviews

Whimsy from A to Z

It’s one thing to learn your ABCs. It’s quite another when Oliver Jeffers is in charge. His new picture book, Once Upon an Alphabet, contains 26 very short stories, beginning with “An Astronaut” and ending with “Zeppelin.” Preschoolers and beginning readers will delight in these vignettes featuring everything from a lumberjack who repeatedly gets struck by lightning to, of all things, a puzzled parsnip.

Jeffers (The Day the Crayons Quit) uses comical illustrations and sophisticated humor throughout, sometimes linking several stories. “An Enigma” asks how many elephants can fit inside an envelope, and readers must go to “N” for the answer. Kids will eat up Jeffers’ wacky wickedness, such as in “Half a House,” in which poor Helen lives in the remains of a house on the edge of a seaside cliff. (The rest collapsed during a hurricane.) One day, alas, Helen rolls out of the wrong side of the bed.

Jeffers knows how to catch the attention of his young audience while challenging their imagination, intellect and vocabulary. This whimsical exploration of letters and language begs to be read over and over again.

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Read between the lines - Johanna Knowles

Read between the lines - Knowles, Johanna

Summary: A collection of interrelated stories follow nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day, with uncertainties, traumas, heartbreak, and revenge.

Booklist Reviews
One town, 10 interconnected stories. Bully-magnet Nate sets the tone for this collection after his gym class accident results in a broken middle finger, splinted upright. Meanwhile, other students at his high school deal with thoughts about the future, their relationships with one another, and family strain. A recent grad contemplates his narrowing future, and a teacher quietly brings everything together. All of the stories feature some encounter with that angry middle finger and, between the lines, are about the difficulties—and the depth—of human connections, and the fears and frustrations on any given, seemingly normal day. Issues of absent parents, conflicted sexuality, eating disorders, and various forms of abuse are dealt with succinctly but tenderly, and some nuances are subtle enough that multiple levels of reading are possible, with a twist at the end so understated you may miss it. This is likely to speak to any teenager in a stage of transition. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Reconstructing Amelia - Kimberly McCreight

Reconstructing Amelia - McCreight, Kimberly

Summary: Kate is in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter's exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter now. But Kate's stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it's already too late for Amelia. And for Kate. An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that is the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn't jump. The novel is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it's the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn't save.

Booklist Reviews
Kate believes her daughter, 15-year-old Amelia, has committed suicide, jumping from the roof of her private school—until she receives an anonymous text saying simply, "Amelia didn't jump." Could she have been murdered? Kate, a successful attorney, is determined to find out even as she is haunted by the fear she has failed her daughter, too often putting her career ahead of her responsibilities as a mother. McCreight has written an elaborately plotted mystery that not only tells Kate's story but also includes Amelia's own first-person narrative along with her e-mails, texts, and Facebook posts, all of which tell a harrowing story while keeping the reader one step ahead of Kate and the police. This first novel occasionally requires a willing suspension of disbelief and comes dangerously close to melodrama near the end, but McCreight does a fine job of building suspense and creating characters, notably Kate and Amelia, whom the target audience—both adults and older teens—will care about and empathize with. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Ozma of Oz - L Frank Baum

Ozma of Oz - Baum, L. Frank

Summary: Uncle Henry has been ordered by his doctor to take a vacation from his Kansas farm to Australia. He and his niece Dorothy Gale are aboard a steamship traveling there when they are caught in a fierce storm and separated. Dorothy is blown overboard along with a yellow hen called Billina from her uncle's farm that was on the ship. They arrive in the country of Ev where they eventually join Princess Ozma in her effort to rescue the royal family of that land.

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The sound of a wild snail eating - Elisabeth Tova Bailey

The sound of a wild snail eating - Bailey, Elisabeth Tova

Summary: Summary: Bedridden and suffering from a neurological disorder, the author recounts the profound effect on her life caused by a gift of a snail in a potted plant and shares the lessons learned from her new companion about her the meaning of her life and the life of the small creature.


Staff Review:
When I brought this book home, I was greeted with an incredulous look - "YOU are going to read a book about a SNAIL?" Snails have not been my favorite creature, to say the least. However, this book was really very charming and lovely. The author's bed-ridden state allows her to observe the little creature that was brought into her room via a potted plant, and it becomes her little pet. Really well written, and really a delight.

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Bossypants - Tina Fey

Bossypants - Fey, Tina

Summary: From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon, comedian Tina Fey reveals all, and proves that you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Staff Comment: This is the perfect book to read while eating breakfast, just beware shooting milk out of your nose.  Start your day with a laugh. 

Kirkus Reviews
One of the world's cleverest comedy writers debuts with a frequently hilarious memoir. Perhaps best known to mass audiences for her writing and performances on Saturday Night Live, Fey's most inventive work is likely her writing for the critically acclaimed TV show 30 Rock, in which she stars alongside Alec Baldwin and fellow SNL alum Tracy Morgan. In typical self-deprecating style, the author traces her awkward childhood and adolescence, rise within the improv ranks of Second City and career on the sets of SNL and 30 Rock. The chapter titles--e.g., "The Windy City, Full of Meat," "Peeing in Jars with Boys" and "There's a Drunk Midget in My House"--provide hints at the author's tone, but Fey is such a fluid writer, with her impeccable sense of comic timing extending to the printed page, that near-constant jokes and frequent sidebars won't keep readers from breezing through the book with little trouble, laughing most of the way. Though she rarely breaks the onslaught of jokes (most at her own expense), she does offer an insightful section on the exhaustively analyzed concept of the "working mom," which she finds tedious. (Even here, the author finds plenty of room for humor--not wanting to admit she uses a nanny, Fey writes, "I will henceforth refer to our nanny as our Coordinator of Toddlery.") Fey may not sling a lot of dirt about her many famous co-stars in Second City, SNL and 30 Rock, but her thoughts on her geeky adolescence, the joys of motherhood and her rise to TV stardom are spot-on and nearly always elicit a hearty laugh. Even the jacket copy is amusing: "Once in a generation a woman come along who changes everything. Tina Fey is not that woman, but she met that woman once and acted weird around her." Highly recommended, even for those who have already read the excerpts in the New Yorker. Fey is one of the funniest people working today. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Dorothy must die - D. M. Paige

Dorothy must die - Paige. D.M.

Summary: Whisked to Oz by a Kansas twister, Amy Gumm discovers that the magical land has been destroyed by Dorothy's tyrannical rule, a situation that compels Amy to join an order of deposed magic-wielders who seek to put an end to Dorothy's reign.

Booklist Reviews
Amy Gumm thought life was tough in the trailer park with her druggie, depressed mother and the mean girls in school. But that was before—before she was carried to Oz by a tornado, before she was rescued by a series of strange individuals, and before she was instructed, Dorothy must die. Sweet Dorothy returned to Oz only to rule it with an evil, greedy hand, gradually stealing all its magic for herself. Amy, also from Kansas and arriving on a tornado, has to reverse the earthling's power by killing her. Paige has spirited readers back to The Wizard of Oz, fracturing the already strange classic by having good and wicked witches exchange places, amputating the flying monkeys' wings, and creating a fear-eating lion, a nefarious Dr. Jekyll scarecrow, and a vicious tin soldier. Amy's assignment? Navigate through magical defenses, while struggling with her own values of good and evil, to get to Dorothy. It's a classic made more sinister and will be continued in a subsequent volume. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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The happiness project - Gretchen Rubin


The happiness project - Gretchen Rubin

Summary: A thoughtful and prescriptive work on happiness filled with practical advice, sharp insight, charm, and humor.

Library Journal Reviews

For this chatty and intriguing little book, Rubin, a lawyer-turned-writer (Forty Ways To Look at Winston Churchill), undertook a yearlong quest for happiness. A "Resolution Chart" with specific activities for each month (e.g., "Ask for help") helped her define happiness and become happier with her very good life, as did interesting facts from her scholarly research (though there are no footnotes or formal bibliography). Peppering the text are quotes from a vast array of people who have considered happiness, including Aristotle, St. Thérèse, and Viktor Frankl. VERDICT This whole process might have come off as frivolously self-centered but for the excellent points Rubin highlights. Although the excerpts from her blog (www.happinessprojecttoolbox.com) begin to feel like filler, librarians will particularly like how she loves her local library, and self-helpers will be fascinated by her process.—Margaret Cardwell, Memphis, TN

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The Martian - Andy Weir

The Martian - Weir, Andy

Summary: "Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old 'human error' are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"-- from publisher's web site.

Booklist Reviews
Remember Man Plus, Frederik Pohl's award-winning 1976 novel about a cyborg astronaut who's sent, alone, to Mars? Imagine, instead, that the astronaut was just a regular guy, part of a team sent to the red planet, and that, through a series of tragic events, he's left behind, stranded and facing certain death. That's the premise of this gripping and (given its subject matter) startlingly plausible novel. The story is told mostly through the log entries of astronaut Mark Watney, chronicling his efforts to survive: making the prefab habitat livable and finding a way to grow food, make water, and get himself off the planet. Interspersed among the log entries are sections told from the point of view of the NASA specialists, back on Earth, who discover that Watney is not dead (as everyone assumed) and scramble together a rescue plan. There are some inevitable similarities between the book and the 1964 movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars, but where the movie was a broad sci-fi adventure, the novel is a tightly constructed and completely believable story of a man's ingenuity and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Riveting. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Groundhog Day (DVD)

Groundhog Day (DVD)

Summary: Teamed with a relentlessly cheerful producer and a smart-aleck cameraman, TV weatherman Phil Connors is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. But on his way out of town, Phil is caught in a giant blizzard, which he failed to predict, and finds himself stuck in small-town hell. Just when things couldn't get any worse, they do. Phil wakes the next morning to find it's Groundhog Day all over again-- and again-- and again.

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Gattaca (DVD)

Gattaca (DVD)

Summary: As one of the last "natural" beings born into a genetically engineered world, Vincent Freeman has none of the 'pre-ordered' DNA that will guarantee him success. Desperate to realize his dream of exploring space, Vincent assumes the identity of a genetically superior athlete. Avoiding detection using the athlete's genetic markers, Vincent becomes a rising star at Gattaca Aerospace, attracting the attention of a beautiful co-worker. When a flight director is brutally murdered, a clue left at the crime scene threatens to shatter Vincent's plans.

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Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - Benjamin Alire Saenz


Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe - Saenz, Benjamin Alire

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.



Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Aristotle -- Ari for short -- meets Dante at the pool one summer day in 1987, and the two boys quickly strike up a friendship that will change their lives in ways both subtle and profound. Ari admires Dante's gregarious personality, his intellectual curiosity, and his close bond with his parents, especially his father. In contrast, Ari's own father, a Vietnam vet, remains aloof, damaged by his experience of war, and both parents refuse to discuss his imprisoned older brother. When Ari saves Dante's life but breaks his own legs in the process, it not only strengthens their friendship but cements the bond between the two Mexican American families. When Dante's father leaves El Paso for a one-year position at the University of Chicago, the boys stay in touch through letters. Dante had telegraphed his sexual attraction to Ari, but now comes out to his friend in writing. When Dante returns, the two cautiously resume their friendship, but when Dante gets beat up in an alley for kissing another boy, it's a catalyst for Ari to examine how he really feels about Dante. Ari's first-person narrative -- poetic, philosophical, honest -- skillfully develops the relationship between the two boys from friendship to romance, leading to the inevitable conclusion: "How could I have ever been ashamed of loving Dante Quintana?" jonathan hunt Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Apr 1, 2015

Wolfie the bunny - Anne Dyckman

Wolfie the bunny - Dyckman, Anne

Summary: When her parents find a baby wolf on their doorstep and decide to raise him as their own, Dot is certain he will eat them all up until a surprising encounter with a bear brings them closer together.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* When the Bunny family find an adorable baby wolf on their doorstep, Mama and Papa are thrilled. Voice-of-reason Dot says, "He's going to eat us all up!" And she keeps saying it as Wolfie gets bigger. And bigger! When he eats all the carrots, his parents send him (dressed in a large pink bunny suit) and Dot down to the store, and for a moment, it looks as if her prediction is about to come true—at least where she is concerned. But it's not Dot Wolfie is staring at. It's Bear, who, as it turns out, is very hungry and ready to eat Wolfie, pink suit and all. Dot to the rescue! She gets the drop on Bear, who hightails it out of there. Then—oh my goodness!—Wolfie pounces on Dot. Was she right after all? Nope, it's only to give her a hug. This gets all the elements of the successful picture book just right: a familiar scenario (sibling rivalry), a scary adversary, a display of courage, and a happy ending. And then there's the art! OHora's unique acrylic illustrations have the look and feel of woodcuts. Big and bold, with strong yet simple shapes, the pictures are also intimate enough to capture Wolfie's goofy smile when he gets his pink bunny outfit, and the frightened but fierce expression on Dot's face. A crowd-pleaser for crowds big and small. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Chasers of light - Tyler Knott Gregson

Chasers of light: poems from the typewriter series - Gregson, Tyler Knott

Summary: One day while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything. He fell in love. This book collects some of his most insightful and beautifully-worded pieces of work, typed onto found scraps of paper, or created by blacking out the words on the page of a book.

The epic made simple. The miracle in the mundane.

He fell in love.

Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a striking collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method.Chasers of the Light features some of his most insightful and beautifully worded pieces of work poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light.
- (Penguin Putnam)

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Man's search for meaning - Frankl

Man's search for meaning - Frankl, Victor

Summary: Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life" found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

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The short and tragic life of Robert Peace - Jeff Hobbs

The short and tragic life of Robert Peace : a brilliant young man who left Newark for the Ivy League - Hobbs, Jeff

Summary: Examines "the short life of a talented young African-American man who escapes the slums of Newark for Yale University only to succumb to the dangers of the streets--and of one's own nature--when he returns home"--Amazon.com.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* Rob Peace's father was a very bright drug dealer who served time for murder, leaving Rob in the care of a hardworking mother who wanted more for him than the tough streets of Orange, New Jersey, could provide. Peace started private school in fourth grade, just as his father's trial was beginning, and developed elaborate emotional and psychological strategies to navigate the neighborhood and "Newark-proof" himself. In high school, he undertook ponderous research to prove his father's innocence and eventually won a temporary reprieve on a technicality. His brilliance attracted the attention of a benefactor who made it possible for Peace to go to Yale, where he met and roomed with Hobbs. Peace majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, worked in the dining hall and biology lab, and sold drugs on the side. In a whirlwind of travel, philosophizing, and caretaking of others, Peace navigated the clashing cultures of urban poverty and Ivy League privilege, never quite finding a place where his particular brand of nerdiness and cool could coexist. His dreams and his reality collided when he was killed at 30 years of age in a drug dispute. Attending Peace's funeral, Hobbs was struck by the dichotomies of his old roommate's life and set out to offer a full picture of a very complicated individual. Writing with the intimacy of a close friend, Hobbs slowly reveals Peace as far more than a cliché of amazing potential squandered. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Silver screen fiend - Patton Oswalt

Silver screen fiend: Learning about life from an addiction to film - Oswalt, Patton

Summary: "Between 1995 and 1999, Patton Oswalt lived with an unshakable addiction. It wasn't drugs, alcohol or sex: it was film. After moving to L.A., Oswalt became a huge film buff (or as he calls it, a sprocket fiend), absorbing classics, cult hits, and new releases at the New Beverly Cinema. Silver screen celluloid became Patton's life schoolbook, informing his notion of acting, writing, comedy, and relationships. Set in the nascent days of L.A.'s alternative comedy scene, Oswalt's memoir chronicles his journey from fledgling stand-up comedian to self-assured sitcom actor, with the colorful New Beverly collective and a cast of now-notable young comedians supporting him all along the way"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
Readers who know Oswalt only for his supporting role on the television sitcom The King of Queens might be surprised to learn that he was one of the early proponents of alternative comedy, a style of stand-up comedy that rejects the traditional setup-and-punch-line structure in favor of a more free-form, unpredictable approach. Some readers might also be surprised at how accomplished a writer he is; this fine book, set during his early years in Los Angeles (the mid- to late-1990s), is downright impossible to put down. When the author, then a young stand-up comedian, first moved to L.A., his goal was to become a film director; the best way to accomplish that, he thought, was to immerse himself in movies, old and new, classic and unknown. At the same time, needing to pay his bills, he developed his "performance comedy" and—even as he still dreamed of making his own movies—found himself building a career on the big and small screens. Fans of Oswalt's earlier memoir, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland (2011), are pretty much guaranteed to enjoy this one; but, because it's set at a different stage in the author's life, and because it deals with the L.A. comedy scene, it could find itself a whole new set of readers. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Elenisima -Michael Karl Schuessler

Elenísima : ingenio y figura de Elena Poniatowska - Schuessler, Michael Karl

Summary: Éste es un libro de esos que se dán en un largo periodo de tiempo, y aún más cuando se tratan de biografías. Verdaderamente una obra maestra que nos relata de una manera sencilla pero concreta la vida de Elena Poniatowska contada por las personas que mejor la conocen como su madre, su nana y sus amigos; la verdad es que la recopilación de datos y anécdotas nos acercan aún más a la Elena detrás de las cámaras, la pluma y el papel; y empezamos a conocer que pasa cuando se encuentra fuera de su mundo de trabajo y realmente quedas encantado con la persona que al final conoces. - (Planeta Pub Corp)

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A touch of Frost (DVD)

A touch of Frost (DVD)

Summary: An old-fashioned, gritty detective show based in England. This brash policeman follows his moral compass, shows compassion for the common man and always solves the case. Starring David Jason, who is regarded as the most popular actor on British TV.

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Into the woods (DVD)

Into the woods (DVD)

Summary: "From the director of Chicago and the producer of Wicked comes a modern twist on the beloved fairy tales you thought you knew. Meryl Streep stars in this epic musical saga about daring to venture Into The Woods. Iconic characters, such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel, find their fates intertwined with a humble baker and his wife, whose longing to have a child sends them on a quest to reverse a witch’s (Streep) curse. With an all-star cast, this spellbinding adventure is everything you could ever wish for! Also starring: Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine." - (Alert)

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The secret rescue - Cate Lineberry

The secret rescue: an untold story of American nurses and medics behind Nazi lines- Lineberry, Cate

Summary: Recounts how the passengers and crew of an American medical evacuation plane, including thirteen nurses and thirteen medics, survived after it crashed in Nazi-controlled Albania in November, 1943, until they could be rescued.

Booklist Reviews
In 1943, the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron crash-landed during a storm in Nazi-occupied Albania. They were part of a new army program to transport sick and wounded soldiers to hospitals near the front lines in Italy. The 13 female nurses and 17 men who survived the crash were faced with ensuring their own survival in hostile territory, brutal weather, and mountainous terrain, under the constant threat of Nazi capture. With the help of villagers, Albanian resisters, and British officers, 27 of the survivors trekked more than 600 miles for 62 days before they were rescued. Three nurses who'd been separated from the group were also eventually rescued after spending 135 harrowing days in Albania. Lineberry draws on interviews, diaries, and archival material to recount an amazing WWII survival-and-rescue story that had remained untold by the military and the survivors themselves, who were fearful of the cost to those who helped them. Their secret was kept until the fall of communism in Albania in 1990, when their story of courage and endurance could finally be revealed. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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So we read on - Maureen Corrigan

So we read on: how the Great Gatsby came to be and why it endures - Maureen Corrigan

Summary: "The "Fresh Air" book critic investigates the enduring power of The Great Gatsby -- "The Great American Novel we all think we've read, but really haven't." Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, it's now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald's masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power. Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great-and utterly unusual-So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel's hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby's surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a "classic," and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender. With rigor, wit, and infectious enthusiasm, Corrigan inspires us to re-experience the greatness of Gatsby and cuts to the heart of why we are, as a culture, "borne back ceaselessly" into its thrall. Along the way, she spins a new and fascinating story of her own"-- Provided by publisher.

Booklist Reviews
*Starred Review* In So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures (a take on the novel's last line: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"), Maureen Corrigan—book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University, and author of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading (2005)—attempts to fathom the perpetual fascination of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "inexhaustible" 1925 masterpiece. A slim yet saturated and gorgeously written book in which every element resonates, it is "our Greatest American Novel" and a book Corrigan unabashedly loves. Corrigan's immersion in Fitzgerald's novel inspires a dazzling literary appraisal of his assiduously polished, innovatively "modern and urban" language with its "hard-boiled" tone. And the word immersion is apt, given all the water imagery Corrigan highlights. She also quotes a letter from Fitzgerald to his daughter with the line: "All good writing is swimming underwater and holding your breath." Like Nafisi, Corrigan pinpoints restlessness as a quintessential American quality, one she perceives in Fitzgerald's knowing depiction of New York City, the great mecca for dreamers with its promise of freedom, new identities, success, and "unsentimental sex." She explains why she considers The Great Gatsby to be "America's greatest novel about class" as well as the vanquishing of God and the worship of idols in the aftermath of WWI, the fantasy that one can truly reinvent one's self, the grandeur of longing, and the spell of illusion. Fitzgerald, Corrigan writes, appreciated the "doomed beauty of trying" and roamed his own "inner geography of yearning." Biographical currents run strongly throughout Corrigan's many-branched, stimulating, and beautifully crafted inquiry. Corrigan marvels over the almost eerie "predictive quality" of The Great Gatsby and makes sure we appreciate its overlooked humor, intricate patterns, and density of symbols, at every turn replenishing our amazement over its flow, sparkle, and shadow. She glides gracefully from the glimmering depths of the novel to the harsh light on land, where it was forgotten soon after it was published until it was gradually reclaimed, resurrected, and acclaimed, the subject for ongoing discussions both private and in classrooms and book groups, cinematic variations, and even merchandising. Corrigan's research was as intrepid as her analysis is ardent and expert, and she brings fact, thought, feelings, and personal experiences together in a buoyant, illuminating, and affecting narrative about one depthless novel, the transforming art of reading, and the endless tides that tumble together life and literature. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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