Return to the main BookGuide page
Connect to the main Lincoln City Libraries Web site!
Staff Recommendations banner

INDEXES TO PAST STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS: BY TITLE | BY REVIEWER | TV SERIES/SPECIALS ON DVD/VHS

January 2010 Recommendations

book cover  Mercy Thompson: Homecoming
written by Patricia Briggs and David Lawrence ; painted artwork by Francis Tsai and Amelia Woo

For fans of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series by Patricia Briggs, this is an essential addition. Originally published as a series of comic book issues, this storyline has now been gathered into a beautiful graphic novel format. The painted art, by Francis Tsai and Amelia Woo captures the characters fairly well, but it is the story, by Briggs and David Lawrence, that worked best for me. This is almost an "origin story" for the Mercy Thompson character. It tells of her earliest experiences after first moving into to the Tri-Cities area of Washington State, and therefore pre-dates the first book in the series. Looking for Mercy's first encounters with all of the regular characters in the series, like Adam, Stefan and Zee? This is it! A fun read, full of action. My only complaint is that they switched artists partway through the project, which is a bit jarring, although each of the artists did a good job on their own.

[ official Homecoming page on the official Patricia Briggs web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  Rough Guide to the Internet [2009 edition]
by Peter Buckley [004.678 Buc 2009]

I've long been a fan of the Rough Guide series, and Rough Guide to the Internet is no exception. Buckley and Clark open with a section about the hardware and software necessary to connect to the internet, and then explore browsers/browsing, how to use Google, how to sign up for and read RSS feeds, how to use various types of e-mail accounts, how to engage in chat. Curious about common acronyms on the 'net, or looking for a list of emoticons (those little sideways smiley or frowny faces) -- look no further. Additional chapters deal with shopping and ebay, computer security, software downloads, file sharing, and how to set up your own presence (website, blog, etc.) on the internet. The sections I enjoyed the most, however, were the 50+ page collection of "Things to Do Online" (in over 30 different activity categories!) and a 20 page section that's a nutshell history of the Internet. There's also a 20 page glossary of terms to help new net surfers acclimate to the common terminology online. [If you like this one, you'll probably like the other volumes in the Rough Guide, especially those dealing with technology.]

[ www.roughguides.com ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  Alone
by Loren Estleman

Valentino is a UCLA film archivist who's job it is to recover long-lost movies for the university. Of course his quest leads to mysteries and people associated with the Hollywood of old, thus providing an interesting connection between the old and the new. This story places him in a modern day murder involving the now deceased Greta Garbo. Valentino balances his sleuthing with supervising the renovation of The Oracle, a dilapidated movie theater. He has to keep the workers painting and plastering while dealing with a corrupt building inspector. I learned a lot about the early days of the talking movies and about Greta Garbo. Did you know that her first film was a promotional piece for a department store in Sweden called How Not to Dress? I didn't. Lovers of the silver screen will enjoy the trivia about legendary and little known screen stars. [If you like this one, you may also enjoy The Baker Street Letters and books by Dianne Emley.]

[ official Valentino mystery series page on the official Loren Estleman web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
by Craig Ferguson

Most people who watch TV probably know Craig Ferguson primarily as the host of The Late Late Show on CBS. He was also a cast member of The Drew Carey Show sitcom. In addition, he's a screenwriter, stand-up comic, and erstwhile punk rock drummer, among other things. Although I don't agree with every comedic choice he makes on his show, I think he's a very good host/monologuist and I enjoy his smart-aleck-y personality and his intelligence. In this memoir of his life up to now, he takes us through his physical and emotional ups and downs, including alcholism and ill-fated relationships. In telling his anecdotes, he shows a lot of admiration for his parents (now deceased) and those who've befriended him, takes responsibility for his negative behaviors, and illustrates the variety of reasons why he has chosen to add American citizenship to his native Scots heritage. Plus, he mentions Nebraska! I would have given a higher numeric rating to this book but for the prevalence of the f-word -- someone who writes this well should know that over-use of 'expressive' words and phrases de-emphasizes their impact!

[ Publisher's official American on Purpose web page ] | [ Wikipedia page for Craig Ferguson ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Becky W.C.
Walt Branch Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  This review is of material for a Young Adult audienceHush, Hush
by Becca Fitzpatrick

A sacred oath, a fallen angel, a forbidden love. This story takes many twists and turns and was very difficult to put down. It debuted at #10 on the New York Times Bestseller List. The heroine in the story, High School student Nora Grey, feels a strong physical attraction and an even stronger emotional connection to the new transfer student, Patch, who seems to know more about Nora than her closest friend. Patch makes it obvious that he is interested in Nora, but Nora sees him as trouble. She does her best to steer clear, however, Patch seems to show up wherever she goes. After a series of unexplainable encounters and what appeared to be an attempt on her life, Nora is unsure of who to trust. She begins to wonder if she is quickly losing her mind, but feels she can't confide in anyone. After getting a glimpse of a large, disturbing, black scar in the shape of an upside down V on Patch's back, Nora begins seeking answers. What she finds is more frightening than Patch himself. At first, you may want to write this book of as part of the Stephanie Meyer Twilight Saga series, but the story takes a completely different direction. Elements of fantasy, thriller, action and romance, you may be left feeling spooked during parts of the story.

[ Publisher's Hush, Hush web page ] | [ official Becca Fitzpatrick web site ]

Review Score - 9
Recommended by Jessica H.
Walt Branch Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  Heartshot
by Steven Havill

Bill Gastner is undersheriff of Posadas County. He is widowed and his children are grown. Gastner eats too much, smokes too much, distrusts computers and is suspicious of the newly elected sheriff -- a former used car salesman. A series of tragedies beset this sparsely populated county in southern New Mexico. A one-car crash kills five teen-agers. A kilo of cocaine was found in their car. An undercover officer is brought in to pose as Gastner's grandson and to mingle with the local teen-agers in hopes of finding out who brought the cocaine in from Mexico. The officer is shot and another teen-ager commits suicide. Havill uses Gastner, and his realistic view of his shortcomings, to lighten up what would otherwise be a grim book. Steven Havill started his career writing westerns. Heartshot is his first mystery. Fortunately, it isn't his last. [If you like this one, you may also enjoy books by Craig Johnson, Amiee and David Thurlo and James Doss.]

[ Wikipedia page for Steven F. Havill ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  Hunter's Run
by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois and Daniel Abraham

Exciting, visceral, thought-provoking science fiction at its best. This novel, begun in the late 1970s by authors Martin and Dozois, languished in a desk drawer for nearly two decades than was handed over to Abraham to update and conclude. It's amazing how it doesn't feel like a multi-author work. Ramon Espejo is a mining prospector working on the distant planet Sao Paulo. Ramon's got a temper that easily goes out-of-control, and after a violent incident in a bar leaves a man dead, Ramon needs to escape into the planet's wilderness for some "away time". Unfortunately, the discovery he makes in the remote mountains starts him on a desperate race back to civilization with an alien threat close on his heels. What, on the surface, is ostensibly an action-packed scifi adventure has a lot more going for it. Ramon is an intensely unlikeable character, who grows on the reader as the story progresses. The settings are gritty and believable. The aliens introduced in the story are fantastic. And the issues raised -- what it means to be human, how to control one's baser instincts, how to empathize with the inhuman -- will keep you thinking long after you've finished the book.

[ Publisher's official Hunter's Run web page ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  The Island of the Sequined Love Nun
by Christopher Moore

The characters: Tucker Case, an airplane pilot, who grew up in Ellsinore, California. His father was owner of the Denmark Silverware Corporation, then he died and Tuck's mother married his uncle. Tuck works for Mary Jean Make-Up and flies a pink jet. Mary Jean Dobbins, an entrepreneur who packs a .38 caliber gold-plated Lady Smith automatic in her purse. The High Priestess of the Shark People lives on an island in the Pacific. She wears silk stockings and eats Cheetoes. Beth Curtis, the priestess's alter ego. Beth is married to Dr. Sebastian Curtis, a missionary. Ever since World War II, the islanders have worshiped airplanes (a religion known as a cargo cult). Beth often dresses like a figure painted on a B-26 bomber in 1944. She wears red pumps and a scarf around her waist--and very little else. She and Sebastian hire Tuck. A native islander who rescues Tuck after a typhoon; he's saving Tuck for later: "Yum." A fruit bat named Roberto. This effort by Moore maintains his wild and wacky status.

[ official Lust Lizard page on the official Christopher Moore web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Rianne S.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  This review is for the Book-on-CD format of this titleThe Spire
by James Patterson [Compact Disc Patterson]

Patterson has written a gripping psychological thriller that blends murder and embezzlement. Patterson's style of writing terse descriptive passages translates well to audio. The story begins at Caldwell College in Wayne, Ohio with a 16 year-old murder that still haunts Mark Darrow. One night a coed, Angela Hall, was strangled. Mark found her body at the base of the school's bell tower known as The Spire. Mark's best friend, Steve Tillman, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life. Mark gets on with his life. He graduates from Yale Law School and becomes a successful attorney in Boston. The story fast-forwards to the present time. Caldwell College has into serious financial and image problems because the president embezzles $900,000 from the endowment fund. Lionel Farr, the college provost and Mark's friend and mentor, asks Mark to leave his law practice to become the president of Caldwell College and restore the donors' faith. As Mark looks into the embezzlement he begins to wonder if the former president stole the money or if he was framed. Mark also visits his friend Steve in prison. Mark is struck by Steve's insistence that he is innocent and Mark investigates the old murder. The more that Mark pokes around in the old murder, the more he becomes convinced that Steve is innocent.
[Also available in print, downloadable audio, and Large Print formats.]

[ official James Patterson web site ]

Review Score - 7
Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans : photographing America 1929-1947
edited and with an introduction by curator Agnès Sire ; essay by Jean-Francois Chevrier] [770.922 Sir]

Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans shared a mutual administration society. Cartier-Bresson said, "If it had not been for the challenge of the work of Walker Evans, I don't think that I would have remained a photographer." Evans, in a review of Cartier-Bresson's book The Decisive Eye wrote, "Cartier-Bresson was and is a true man of the eye. More, he was one of the few innovators in photography." In 1946 Cartier-Bresson sailed to New York to prepare his show at the Museum of Modern Art. While he was in America, Cartier-Bresson and two companions made a 77-day road trip from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific photographing daily life. This book is filled plates of Cartier-Bresson's work as it compares to Evans' work made during the Great Depression. I found it fascinating to view the images and see how Cartier-Bresson used Evans' work to as a starting point to develop his own interpretation of similar scenes. Evans used lines to draw the viewer into the image and wonder about person's story. While Cartier-Bresson found the discordant element in the image and made the viewer stop and ponder the mystery. [If you like this one, you may also enjoy books about Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Wright Morris.]

[ Wikipedia page for Henri Cartier-Bresson ] | [ Wikipedia page for Walker Evans ]

Recommended by Donna G.
Virtual Services Department


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  Eat This, Not That! [2010 Edition]
by David Zinczenko [613.2 Zin]

This is the latest in the increasingly popular Eat This, Not That! series by Zinczeno that began in 2007. Although there are brief little introductory chapters that talk about general food and nutrition trends, the majority of this book (and the others in the series) is comprised of comparisons and contrasts between well-known brand foods. On pages facing each other throughout the book, Zinczenko places healthier, lower-calorie, lower-fat options on the left page (Eat This!) and less healthy options on the right page (Not That!), with detailed breakdowns of calories, fat counts, sugar counts and incidental information about the "best" items in each category (fast-food sandwiches, breakfast bars, frozen pizzas, etc.). Sections in this volume include "At Your Favorite Restaurants", "At the Supermarket", "Holidays and Special Occasions", "For Kids" (there's a entire volume in the series dedicated to Kids in 2008), and "On a Budget". Some of the findings in this book, particularly about popular, well-known sandwiches at chain restaurants, are truly scary. This isn't really a book to read cover-to-cover, but if you enjoy browsing health-related volumes, this is definitely one to take a look at! Despite the drawback that Zinczenko is only able to provide (on average) about a half-dozen "good" and "bad" examples of products, leaving dozens of others unexplored, I still went out and bought this book after reading through it!

[ official Eat This, Not That! web site ] | [ Wikipedia page on David Zinczenko ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

The Screening Room

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemLand of the Lost

Perhaps I wasn't the intended audience for this one...but then I'm not sure what the intended audience actually was. Land of the Lost (2009) was considered one of the biggest failures of the cinematic year. I grew up on the wholesome cheesiness of the original Sid and Marty Kroft series (1974-1977), in which a family (Rick Marshall and his kids, Will and Holly) gets sucked into a time vortex while rafting and end up in prehistoric times, befriending apemen, fleeing from T-Rex, and trying to avoid the slow-moving Sleestaks. For this 2009 film, Will Ferrell plays erratic scientist Rick Marshall, with untested theories of how to travel to parallel dimensions. Circumstances combine to throw him, a scientist grad student named Holly, and a sleazy hustler named Will into an alternate history filled not only with dinosaurs and apemen, but also with kitschy things from past eras in Earth history. In typical Will Ferrell comedy style, there's lots of gross humor, but very little of the simple charm that made the TV series popular for generations of viewers. The production values are great -- the sets and effects work look great on this DVD, and the reintroduction of the comical Sleestak bad guys is fun. But the low-brow humor, and the sleaze factor sap what little entertainment value there might have been out of this film. I think I laughed only about 4 times during the entire movie, although the scene in which Marshall recreates the iconic theme song from the original series was fairly funny. All in all, this film is a big disappointment, and can only be recommended for die-hard Will Ferrell enthusiasts. Fans of the original TV show should avoid this movie at all costs and, instead, try to track down DVDs of the classic show.

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Land of the Lost web site ]

Review Score - 2
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemHeat of the Sun
by Russell Lewis [DVD Lewis]

Trevor Eve plays Inspector Albert Tyburn, a Scotland Yard detective who takes justice into his own hands and is subsequently exiled to Colonial Kenya, in this 1930s-set PBS Mystery presentation. Though there are some occasional discrepancies in period setting, props and plot logic, the performances and atmosphere of this short-run series more than make up the difference. Eve is marvelous as Tyburn, as is Susannah Harker as his romantic interest, the pilot Emma, and Julian Rhind-Tutt as Assistant Superintendant James Valentine. This is a series of 3 two-hour episodes (originally aired in hour-long installments), and the stories are gripping. The set designers did a marvelous job of capturing the era of British Colonialism in Kenya. My only complaint is that the relationship between Albert and Emma seems to progress far too rapidly, considering how "damaged" he is as a character when they first meet. Otherwise, if you're a fan of historical mysteries, this should be right up your alley!

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this series ]

Review Score - 10
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item

book cover  This review is for the DVD format of this itemTerminator Salvation

This 2009 entry into the Terminator film franchise (following Terminator [1984], Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991] and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003]) was a powerful, action-packed entry into the storyline of humans fighting for survival in a dystopic future ruled by intelligent machines. While the producers attempted to set this film up so that you didn't need to know the plots of the previous films in the series, I think viewers unfamiliar with the story of John Connor and his mother, Sarah, might have still felt a little lost. In Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, one of the leaders of the human rebellion in the early 21st century. Bale gives a hard-edged, angry, brooding performance throughout the film. However, I was more impressed by Sam Worthington, who plays a man who regretably killed two people and was executed for his crime, only to be reborn as one of the mechanical terminators designed in human form -- which believes it actually is human. Worthington's is the more emotional of the performances, with true character growth. The supporting case is all very strong. The action is hot and heavy in this fast-paced film, but it is important to watch for the little moments of humanity in the midst of all the explosions and special effects. An excellent new film in the series.
[Also available: several tie-in novels associated with this movie.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Terminator Salvation web site ]

Review Score - 8
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Be the First to Rate This Item


last updated January 2010
* Please Note: The presence of a link on this site does not constitute an endorsement by Lincoln City Libraries.

Connect to the main Lincoln City Libraries Web site!