Staff Choices

Posted by jfreier on 08/27/10
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I was browsing in new fiction and the title and cover lead me to pick up this mystery. This is the fourth in a series featuring a Royal Thai detective in Bangkok named Sonchai. The story starts around a grisly murder of an American movie director in the sex trade part of Bangkok. The story is a witches' brew of graphic violence, Thai sex, Tantric sex and Buddhist sensibilities. The characters include a beautiful Tantric Yogin, a deranged Tibetan Lama and a drug dealing general and a corrupt police chief. I found the book very refreshing and a mystery unlike any I've read, I will now start his series and read them in order.
Posted by Auntie Anne. on 08/26/10
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When last we saw Lisbeth Salander, she had been shot in the head and hip by her wicked father, and buried alive by her mutant monster brother. As she lies in her hospital room recovering from her critical condition, Mikhail Blomkvist, her rescuer in the previous book (The Girl Who Played With Fire) must prove her innocence. To do so, he must expose a decades-old conspiracy within the Swedish security police that has, among other atrocities, perpetrated a lifetime of abuse aimed at Salander in order to protect the identity of her father, a Soviet defector and longtime secret asset to Sapo. A hornets nest indeed. This exciting finale to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy does not disappoint his fans. Its just too bad it has to end here.
Posted by mingh on 08/26/10
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The Girls of Murder City : fame, lust, and the beautiful killers who inspired Chicago is the full title of a new book by Douglas Perry. Even if you have no interest in the musical Chicago, haven't seen it, didn't like it, you will still find much to interest you in this book.
 
Its fascinating to read that from 1840-1920 no women were convicted of murder in all of that time. It doesn't mean that women weren't killing, no, it has more to do with the fact that the juries were all male and still put women on a pedestal. AND forget it if you were good-looking. All the newspapers had tabloid elements to them and your picture appeared on the front page: pictures of you from before the murder, pictures of you in jail perhaps looking helplessly up to the sky. The newspapers were just as responsible for depicting these women as helpless much to the chagrin of the prosecutors.
 
Finally, in 1924, a jury convicted a poor dishevelled Italian immigrant, Sabella Nitti, who spoke little English. Even after this, good-looking women could still get off for the most heinous murders. When a female lawyer decides to take the appeal case of Sabella Nitti, she dresses her up and gives her English lessons and she wins the appeal.  This book is about all of those women and the female journalists who wrote about them.
 
It was the fact that it was so difficult to get a conviction of a good-looking woman that made the Illinois Courts change to adding women to juries. Really a fascinating read and great book club read.
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/25/10
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I recently saw a trailer for a film that is opening in a few weeks called "The Town" that is based on this novel.  I have never read this author and was pleasantly surprised just how good he is.  His characters are real and his plot is Shakespearean. . .Boston-style. 
 
Doug MacRay is the mastermind behind a robbery crew of four who all grew up together in a tough neighborhood of Boston.   He comes from strong criminal bloodlines...his father is doing 20-to-life in prison.  Doug is an alcoholic who desperately needs a change in venue but has no idea how to achieve it. 
 
Doug's modus operandi is to stalk his victims for several weeks prior to   his robbery attempt and base his plans on their habits and tendencies.  One of his victims is the beautiful bank manager, Claire Keesey.  He falls in love with her from a far and after his successful holdup, meets cute with her at the local laundromat.   Doug thinks that she might be his ticket outta the life of crime. 
 
Claire, who has no idea that Doug was responsible for her bank's theft, suddenly has to deal with her post-traumatic shock of being kidnapped and left to live; as well as the newly smitten FBI Special Agent's and Doug's fancies. 
 
The mouse and cat gaming between Agent Adam Frawley and Doug is unpredictable.  Neither character is honest with poor Claire, who appears to be left the dupe in their games. 
 
Hogan has several characters whose back-stories he slowly rolls out like a stripper showing  just enough skin to tease and tantalized their audience. 
 
Ben Affleck, the Hurt Locker'sJeremy Renner, and Mad Men's, Jon Hamm all star in "The Town"  which is the movie version of this book. It's to be released in theaters in September.    I am hoping that the film flows half as well as this book did.
Posted by Pam I am on 08/24/10
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Emily Giffin's  latest novel explores infidelity and the impact that a single mistake can have on a marriage.  The interesting spin in this novel is that Giffin alternates the point of view of each chapter between the wife and the "other" woman.  Giffin does an excellent job of creating sympathetic characters on both sides.  You care about Tessa the stay-at-home mom who is feeling the strain of her marriage and wondering why her husband is pulling away and spending longer hours at work and not feeling as connected to her husband.  In the next chapter, you get the perspective of Valerie a single mother raising her son, Charlie who has been injured in a camping fire and is being treated by Dr. Russo, Tessa's husband.  Valerie and Dr. Russo become increasingly close and tension builds as their lives all become interconnected.    I thought this book was an interesting, thoughtful book.
Posted by Uncle Will on 08/21/10
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I don't care if I found this book in Kids World, it is a stitch.  I have never watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; however, I have seen him perform and he is very sharp and witty.
 
The author of this book is the Executive Producer of Stewart's show and also is very sharp and witty.   Oliver Watson is in 7th grade and wants to run for class president.  His only obstruction is his peers.
 
When I try, I can't recall the name of my 7th grade nun, but I do remember that awkward age.  Lieb catches the spirit of a 12- year old boy, who tries to balance his inner, most dark secrets with his limited social conscious.  
 
This book was a delight.
Posted by mingh on 08/19/10
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The tower is the Tower of London. The zoo is a return of the Royal Menagerie to the Tower after 165 years. And the tortoise is Mrs. Cook, the world's oldest tortoise, owned by Beefeater Balthazar Jones who resides in the Tower with his wife and the memory of his young son.
 
Balthazar Jones and his wife, who works at the London Underground Lost & Found, are still struggling with the sudden loss of their only child, when Jones is assigned to manage the new Royal Menagerie at the Tower. Jones turns to organizing the Menagerie to deal with his grief, while his wife deals with returning items to their rightful owners to keep herself from dwelling on their loss. As they grow estranged, we learn more about how they met and fell in love.
 
Although there is sadness in the book between Balthazar Jones and his wife, Stuart tries to keep it lighter with the antics and assignations of the other characters. From the enraged Ravenmaster who is disturbed that other creatures should outshine his ravens, to the Minister of the Tower's Chapel and his unrequited love for the barmaid, there is a lot of fun in the book. Stuart never lets the sadness become overwhelming.
 
Even if you have been on one of the Beefeater's tours of the Tower of London you will learn more about the history of the place and how the Beefeaters (or, as they refer to themselves, Yeoman Warders) live within the confines of the Tower. A light, delightful read even if you have never visited the Tower of London.
Posted by mingh on 08/14/10
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Sixteen year old Ree Dolly would like nothing better than to join the Army and leave her family behind. But her mother has had a nervous breakdown and cannot take care of her two younger brothers. Her father Jessup has run off and used the family home and land as bond for his court date on manufacturing crank. If Ree doesn't find her father before Tuesday, the family will lose the house and all of their land.
 
Manufacturing Crank is the new moonshine of the Ozark Mountains and the Dolly family and relations have a monopoly on it. These are tough hard-living backwards folk who know how to survive. Everyone in the family is too frightened to give any needed information to Ree in case she becomes that thing hated above all - the snitch.
 
But Ree is hard living too and determined to save her family. What happens to her at the hands of her own kindred is pretty tough to read. But what makes one person in the family hard and mean can make another strong and determined. You will be pulling for Ree.
 
A film-adaptation of this book is currently out in the theatres. You can also add your name to the hold list for when the DVD becomes available. Click Here for DVD.
Posted by Pam I am on 08/13/10
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This book reminds me of a modern day When Harry Met Sally.  We meet the main characters Emma and Dexter when they "hook up" on graduation night from the university.   Subsequent chapters follow Emma and Dex over the course of the next 20 years always peeking in on their lives on July 15.  Emma and Dex begin as newly graduated students and stumble into adulthood never quite letting go of each other and never quite pulling it together.
 
This book allows us to think about what happens to the ideals we each have at age 20? What happens to those who didn't have any plans at all? Where will we be in 10 years, or 20? Will your best friend always be your best friend? This book follows Emma and Dexter tackling these questions both individually and through their friendship.  
 
Sometimes I loved the characters of Em and Dex and sometimes I disliked these characters.  Some of the situations throughout the book seemed plausible and sometimes the situations seemed too far fetched.  The ending was a dissapointment but no spoilers here.  This book was still well worth the read and a lot of fun.
Posted by emcinerney on 08/11/10
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In a world in the not to distant future, a U.S. government funded project researching a “vampire” virus creates chaos when one of its “virals,” or human infected with the vampire virus, manages to escape.  The virals quickly begin to attack humans, destroying everything in their path.   One major cities after another falls, as victims either are killed or made into vampire-like creatures, eventually taking over the entire North American continent.  “The Passage,” the newest novel by Justin Cronin, offers a glimpse at a world overrun with blood sucking creatures, the small community of humans trying to resurrect their way of life, and one viral that can possibly hold the key to their survival.  Cronin offers an incredibly detailed novel, filled with several characters with interweaving stories, several plot twists, and detailed, graphic descriptions. 
 
While it clocks in at a hefty 784 pages, do not let its size deter you.  Cronin paints a vivid picture of a struggling post-apocalyptic world and the young viral that offers hope.  It is incredibly engrossing, but at times can be confusing; with several different plots going on at once, along with highly detailed descriptions of several characters.  Sometimes, Cronin’s descriptions can be quite graphic and violent, but anything involving vampires and the apocalypse usually is. Cronin provides an engaging read that is the perfect book for any science fiction or horror fan.

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