Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What We're Reading: Tracy

The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, by Dan Yaccarino.

Growing up in the 1970s, one of my favorite television programs was The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. I remember being captivated by the imagery he conveyed of strange sea creatures and otherworldly underwater landscapes. Equally captivating is this new children's biography of the oceanographic pioneer, written and illustrated by the uniquely talented Dan Yaccarino. The slight text is just right for readers "testing the waters" of biographies: interesting, comprehensive, but not overwhelming. The multi-layered illustrations, done in Yaccarino's distinctive "modern retro" style, perfectly complement the subject. "Quotation bubbles," colored circles containing quotes from Cousteau, rise up from each illustration spread, like the air bubbles that rise from diver's oxygen tanks. My favorite, "When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself," is a fitting epitaph for a man who shared his own extraordinary life and talents with the world.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

Lock Artist
by Steve Hamilton
This novel is NOT part of Hamilton's award winning Alex McKnight series. In this novel, Mike has not talked since an incident when he was eight. His condition has made him a loner. Mike makes his first friend in a high school art class. At a party his friend gets Mike to display his ability to pick locks. This simple demonstration sets Mike on a troubled path. When a high school prank goes wrong, Mike gets caught. Mike's probation gets him involved with a man who has criminal connections. Mike learns to crack safes to pay off the man's debts. But the man's daughter may be Mike's salvation. Will Mike go with the flow and begin a life of crime? Will Mike's love help him to go straight? The chapters of the book go forward and backward in time much like the combinations on the locks that Mike picks. Sit back, read and enjoy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

What We're Watching: Tracy

Undersea Kingdom, starring Ray "Crash" Corrigan, with Lon Chaney Jr.

Here's the ultimate in escapist film: a journey to Atlantis by "Rocket Submarine" to thwart the evil mastermind who is causing cataclysmic earthquakes on the surface with his "Disintegrator," a fantastic Tesla-inspired machine. And that's not all: there are also murderous robots, careening horse-drawn chariots, magnetic weapons, rocket ships, and even an "Invisible Wall" of "atom rays". This classic 1936 chapter film is known as the "Silly Hat Serial" for its abundance of creatively absurd headgear, an example of which can be seen on the DVD cover above. Undersea Kingdom is filled with great "retro futuristic" imagery, and stars Crash Corrigan, a renowned stunt man and B-film actor who was particularly famed for his skill at performing while wearing a gorilla suit. Also featured is horror film legend Lon Chaney Jr. as a villainous Atlantean henchman.

What We're Watching: Tracy

Captain Midnight, starring Dave O'Brien and Dorothy Short.

In 1942, the phenomenally popular radio show, Captain Midnight, made the transition to the big screen as a 15 chapter serial. The Captain, a patriotic yet mysterious flying ace, battled super villain Ivan Shark, who had embarked on a campaign of terror, bombing cities across America while he searched for the "secret range finder" that would make him unstoppable. Each episode ended with a cliffhanger, guaranteed to bring the young audience back the following week to see if the Captain escaped his latest peril. Mix yourself a tall glass of Ovaltine (the show's longtime sponsor), hang the blackout curtains, settle back and enjoy the adventures of Captain Midnight.

What We're Listening To: Cathy

An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

Those who have read or listened to the other books by Patrick Taylor about Ballybucklebo and its two doctors (An Irish Country Doctor, An Irish Country Village, and An Irish Country Christmas), have also come to know their housekeeper Kinky Kincaid as a friendly and efficient part of the household. This book is her story. The story of growing up on a farm in Cork in the 1920's. Her struggle to have a better life than most of the women around her despite the attitudes of the time towards working wives. And this is the story of how Maureen O'Hanlon met Paudeen Kincaid. It's a great Irish story that includes ghosts and the shee and the sight - and tragedy. With the audio version, of course, you get to hear the story told in that wonderful Irish Cork accent, so.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What We're Reading: Laurie

Willow by Julia Hoban

Willow has moved in with her brother and sister-in-law after a terrible accident. She is a 17 year old girl in a new school and is horribly afraid to let anyone into her world fearing that her deepest secret will be revealed. Willow struggles to fit in with her new classmates until she meets a boy who will change her life in a way she never believed possible. This is a very moving story of a young woman who must learn to forgive herself and try to open up to those around her.

What We're Reading: Edward


by Brad Thor

Newly elected President Allen is committed to changing American foreign and domestic policy. When the daughter of his richest supporter is kidnapped in Afghanistan, President Allen is blackmailed into trying to free her.The price for her freedom is the release of an al-Qaeda mastermind captured by Afghanistan forces. President Allen can not use American forces, so he turns to Scott Harvath for help. Harvath is a former Navy SEAL and intelligence operative. This is his sixth thrilling adventure. Harvath takes on the assignment but is loath to free the al-Qaeda operative. With the help of some friends, private security contractors in Afghanistan, he sets out to both free the kidnapped daughter and to get the al-Qaeda operative into American custody. Will he survive this impossible assignment? Will President Allen survive the revelation that he was being blackmailed?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What We're Reading: Jan

Little Big Minds: Sharing Philosophy with Kids by Marietta McCarty

The subject of philosophy is intriguing and challenging at any age. The aim of this title, according to the author, is to acquaint children with the topic while they have a natural curiosity about the world and not the adult baggage that comes later in life. Specific themes are covered in the book such as happiness, responsibility, death, nature, and friendship. These themes are explored in conjunction with philosophy and philosophers in a way that encourages kids to express their ideas while learning the basics of the subject. Being a educator, the author includes discussion questions and exercises, tips for integrating the arts and creativity into the the concept and helpful resources. The teachings of Socrates to Sartre, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Dalai Lama can encourage dialogue between children and with adults including teachers, parents, grandparents, and daycare providers.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What We're Reading: Brenda

The Easter Egg by Jan Brett

In The Easter Egg young Hoppi the Bunny is getting ready to decorate his first ever Easter Egg for the annual contest. Each year the Easter Rabbit chooses the most beautiful egg and the winner gets to help him hide eggs on Easter morning. Hoppi doesn't know what type of egg to make and visits the other bunnies hoping to find inspiration. After realizing that he needs to make an "egg that is right for me" and he doesn't "have to win ... just make an egg I am proud of" he goes into the woods to think. That's when he finds a robins egg that has tumbled out of its nest and he knows what he has to do! I think you can guess the ending of this sweet story! The illustrations in this book are absolutely amazing and it is the perfect book to celebrate spring. In addition to the main illustrations there are also side illustrations that show rabbits making their unique eggs and a top illustration that depicts the story of the robin family. The pictures are extremely detailed and provide a great opportunity to play "I Spy" with your little one! A wonderful book to read this Easter!

What We're Reading: Mary

Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee

This Young Adult novel describes a year in the life of an overweight teenage girl.

Feeling very unattractive in her changing and overweight body, what could be worse than working part-time in her Mom's beauty shop, where appearance is everything?
Near the beginning of the book, a small portion of Rosie's sad, earlier school life is presented. It includes the unfortunate sixth grade incident that led to her clinging "artichoke" nickname, issued by the "in crowd" of cool girls. Continuing into a recent time frame, many, often amusing, encounters are described between Rosie and the same teenage girls now known as the "Bluebirds." As Rosie matures, she begins to look at the Bluebirds in a different way. She realizes their shallow values, and hurtful behavior towards other classmates, not in their clique.
In the year surrounding her 16th birthday, Rosie truly begins growing up. She learns to control her eating, loses weight, finds a boyfriend, and comes to terms with her mom's illness. This is a very fitting "Sweet 16" read.

What We're Reading Now: Cathy

The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault

This is a different sort of mystery. Billy Webb has landed his first post-college job at the Samuelson Company which creates the American dictionary (think Webster's) where he helps to create and update definitions of words for the next edition. While he is looking through the company's files, he finds a strange citation which is from a book called The Broken Teaglass by Dolores Beekmin. One of the odd things about it is that it seems to take place at the Samuelson Company. With the help of fellow editor Mona Minot, he digs further and finds more of these mystery citations.Is the story that is thus revealed imaginary or was someone really murdered? Maybe working on a dictionary isn't as dull or safe as people imagine.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What We're Watching: Laurie

What Would Jesus Buy?
Directed by Rob VanAlkemade.

This documentary explores an addiction that affects millions of Americans: shopping. This funny and irreverent film follows political performance activists Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir across America to alert consumers to stop the "Shopocalypse". His message is clearly to bring attention to over spending in America, especially during the Christmas season, and the mountain of long-term debt people create for themselves. Rated PG.

What We're Watching: Laurie

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
Directed by Sidney Lumet.
Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Albert Finney and Marisa Tomei.

Andy (Hoffman) and Hank (Hawke) Hanson are brothers with financial problems. Andy comes up with a plan to rob a jewelry store and begs Hank to carry it out. They finally agree to no guns, no violence and no victims. The plan seems simple enough until Hank brings along an accomplice who decides not to stick to the rules. The simple plan unravels and the brothers find themselves dealing with tragic consequences. Rated R.

What We're Reading: Edward

Fire and Ice: a Beaumont and Brady Novel

by J. A. Jance

After seven years, Jance has again brought together two of her main characters, J.P. Beaumont and Johanna Brady. Beaumont is investigating a series of murders in Washington state. The victims' bodies were all burnt and their teeth pulled to prevent their identification. But the sixth victim has her teeth and can be identified. Beaumont and his wife/partner begin to follow the leads in the case. Then the victim's husband is also killed and a wad of cash is missing from her freezer. Meanwhile in Arizona, the caretaker for a RV park is found dead. Sheriff Brady wonders if this murder is related to illegal drugs or illegal immigrants. One of Brady's officers is related to the latest victim in the Washington murders. He travels to Washington to identify the victim. He discovers that both cases may be linked. Will this information lead to the capture of the murderer before there are any other murders? Will Beaumont and Brady meet again and will their romantic spark be revived? A must read for the followers of either series.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

The Defector
by Daniel Silva
Gabriel Allon thought that he had done his last job for the Israeli "Office". Now he is restoring another art work for the Vatican and spending time with his new wife, Chiara. But his friend, Bulganov, suddenly returns to Russia. Gabriel is certain that Bulganov was forced to return. Gabriel begins to plan for his friend's rescue. But then Chiara is kidnapped. Gabriel is sure that Ivan Kharkov has them both. It was with Bulganov's help that Gabriel escaped Russia in "Moscow Rules". With the help of the British and America agents, Gabriel sets into motion a plan to free them. An exchange of Chiara for Kharkov's children is arranged. Will this complicated plan work? Or will another plan be needed to rescue Chiara and Bulganov?
This series is a must read for Jason Bourne fans!
2000 Kill Artist
2002 English Assassin
2003 Confessor
2004 Death in Vienna
2005 Prince of Fire
2006 Messenger
2007 Secret Servant
2008 Moscow Rules
2009 Defector

What We're Reading: Laurie

Lips Touch: three times by Laini Taylor

Three beautifully written novellas that all deal with the common theme of a kiss. In Goblin Fruit, Kizzy, a girl who is a social misfit, meets a gorgeous new boy at school. He pays attention to her and befriends her over the more popular girls in her class. Kizzy is immediately smitten with the new boy and wonders what their future holds. Spicy Little Curses Such As These tells the story of a girl who is cursed at birth and falls in love with a soldier as a young woman. She struggles with the validity of the curse and the strong feelings she has for the man she believes to be her soul mate. Hatchling reveals a world full of immortals who raise human babies as pets. On Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue, and Esme encounters a man who introduces her into the world her mother has been trying to shelter her from her entire life. Di Bartolo's hauntingly gorgeous illustrations add depth and dimension to these stories.

What We're Reading: Tracy

Garden Gnomes: A History, by Twigs Way.

Spring is almost here, which means it's time to think about gardening, and that, of course, means it's time to get out the garden gnomes!

This slim volume presents a surprisingly sophisticated history of the much-maligned lawn ornament, compiled by the erudite and intriguingly named British garden historian, Twigs Way. Ms. Way details the garden gnome's Germanic origins, traces its migration throughout the rest of Europe and its arrival in America, and elaborates on its cultural decline and subsequent resurgence in popularity.

It turns out lawn gnomes have a vaunted history belying their current status as kitschy suburban yard ornaments. The first gnomes imported into England, for instance, decorated the rockery at the stately country manor, Lamport Hall, in the 1800s. Ms. Way deserves praise for finally giving gnomes their due in her delightful work.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What We're Reading: Cathy

Blackout by Connie Willis.

Finally! Fans of Connie Willis have been waiting for this one a long time. It's the conclusion to her time travel series (The Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog). This one takes place in England during WWII. Polly, Michael, and Merope have gone back to 1940 to observe life in London during the Blitz, Dunkirk, and the lives of the child evacuees respectively. Each of them gets more than they bargained for of course. As they try to get back to Oxford in 2060 to report in or get help, they each find that their "drops" don't work and they're stuck. So they hunt each other down and try to figure out what has happened. The most dreadful theory is that one of them has changed history so that "their Oxford" doesn't exist and they can never go back. Oh, by the way. This book is just part 1 of the series' conclusion. Ms. Willis had so much story that it became two books and the next and last part won't be out until November. So we have to wait till then to see if all of our time travellers survive the bombings intact, whether Colin and Mr. Dunworthy will come rescue them, and whether it is possible to change history.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What We're Reading: Abby

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett

This book takes us into the world of rare books. On the one side the author introduces us to Ken Sanders, a rare book dealer and book detective who has spent many years in pursuit of John Gilkey. John Gilkey on the other hand has made a career out of stealing rare books. He has spent time in prison for his crimes but is never reformed and never stops. Gilkey's crimes were nationwide but he was very successful in northern California. Between 1999-2003 he stole books valued at over $100,000. Through Sanders we learn about the close knit community of rare book dealers and sellers. We are shown the methods used in stealing the books as well as the impact these thefts have on the people involved. Gilkey is obsessed with obtaining as many books as he can. He believes people will think more highly of him if they know he has an enviable rare book collection. His entire identity is wrapped around this one opinion. Sanders is also obsessed but obsessed with protecting the rare book dealers and trying to put Gilkey behind bars. The author tries to bring them together in her story but sometimes ends up putting herself in the middle and making the story about her. Besides that, I found this true-crime drama at times, very engaging.

What We're Reading: Edward

Antarctica 2041: my quest to save the Earth's last wilderness
by Robert Swan
Robert Swan is the first person to have walked to both the South and North Poles. His adventures were inspired by the movie Scott of the Antarctic. Swan's "In the Footsteps of Scott" expedition retraced the 900 mile trek of Scott to the South Pole. Swan had a ship crushed by the Arctic ice before he was able to successfully walk to the North Pole. His polar adventures turned him into a committed conservationist. Swan began with a clean up of a dumping area from many previous Antarctic expeditions. His work in the polar regions got him invited to several environmental summits. Swan believes that we can do much to avert climatological disaster. The year 2041 is noted for the next renewal of the Antarctic Treaty. Will we follow his lead and save the Earth by 2041?

Friday, March 12, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

Roadside Crosses: a Kathryn Dance novel
by Jeffery Deaver
Kathryn Dance was first seen in Cold Moon, part of the Lincoln Rhyme series by Deaver. This is her second solo outing after Sleeping Doll. Kathryn works for the California Bureau of Investigation using her skills as a body language expert to help solve crimes. When a series of roadside crosses foretell a series of murders, Kathryn is on the case. It all stated with an car accident that killed two high school girls. The driver of the car was Travis, a high school outsider. Travis is cast as a villain and scapegoat on a local blog. As more murders occur it seems as though Travis as turned on his tormentors. The bloggers know the fears of the murder victims and the killer is using the information to kill. As the number of murders increase both the blog and the blogggers come under more scrutiny. Dance must solve the case quickly! There are many twists, turns and red herrings in the plot to keep you reading.

What We're Reading: Alice

A Year of Sport Travel: Experience the Greatest Sporting Events in the World

Love sports? Love to travel? Then this super cool Lonely Planet travel guide can help you indulge both passions in style.

A Year of Sport Travel is organized by month and week to help you plan your year's sporting calendar. A country and event index allows you to search by destination, by type of sport or by particular event.

The guide is chock-full of the world's biggest and most exciting sporting events from the PGA Masters, the Tour de France and Wimbledon to intriguing local passions such as lava sledding in Hawaii, camel wrestling in Turkey and Japan's snowball-fighting championships.

Whether you're a "have ticket, will travel" type or a content "armchair traveler", this is a fascinating guide to the world and its sports.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What We're Reading: Tracy

Troll Weather, by Elizabeth Coatsworth, illustrated by Ursula Arndt.

In our part of the world, March is the month when winter very slowly and reluctantly gives way to Spring. When I was in elementary school, I stumbled across a story set during this tempestuous season, called Troll Weather. It became one of my most beloved books, and I still re-read it every year.

Written by distinguished children's author Elizabeth Coatsworth and delicately illustrated by the equally esteemed Ursula Arndt, it tells the story of a little girl named Selma who lives on the shores of a Norwegian fjord. One day Selma, sent on an errand by her mother, takes a basket of food to the Widow Paulsson, who lives high up in the mountains. The weather turns wild, as frequently happens in March, and the Widow Paulsson tells Selma stories of the trolls, who revel in such storms. Selma becomes obsessed with trolls as the story unfolds. Are they real, she wonders, or legendary, or, in fact, are they something in between?

A beautiful tale, wonderfully told, Troll Weather makes a perfect spring read.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What We're Reading: Laurie

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

Duncan is obsessed with Tucker Crowe, an American singer/songwriter who has been a recluse for the past twenty years, and considers himself a scholar on the subject. Annie and Duncan have been in a relationship of convenience for the past fifteen years and Annie is indifferent about Crowe's mystique. She likes his music, but is not a sycophant as is Duncan.
After traveling from England to America to visit all of the last known places of Tucker Crowe, Duncan receives a copy of the stripped down version of Juliet (considered Crowe's masterpiece) and life begins to unravel for Duncan and Annie. Duncan writes a rave review of Juliet, Naked while Annie writes a harsh criticism of the new record and posts it to Duncan's favorite Tucker Crowe fan site. Annie recieves an e-mail from Tucker praising her critique of the album and they begin a harmless flirtation until Tucker comes to England.
Hornby is witty, insightful and creates characters full of depth and regret. This is a must read for any Hornby fan.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What We're Listening To: Rita

A Strange Arrangement by Mayer Hawthorne
Mayer Hawthorne is actually Ann Arbor native Andrew Cohen, but when you listen to this debut album, you'll swear you're hearing 60's and 70's soul favorites like the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and Curtis Mayfield. Hawthorne recorded all the instrumental and vocal tracks, then mixed them with a light hand and a modern sensibility into an appealing neo-soul concoction. All but one of the songs is original, and each one is delightful; you'll be singing or humming these long after you turn off the stereo. This unique disc is well worth a listen (but you're sure to want more than one.)

What We're Reading: Brenda

Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort and Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord with Illustrations by Derek Anderson

Both of these books feature a simple plot but have wonderful illustrations and are very entertaining!

Dinosaurs Love Underpants is a cute book that attempts to explain why the dinosaurs went extinct. Basically, caveman thought up underpants and when the dinosaurs saw them they had to have them too! This caused a "Mighty Underpants War" and the end result was the demise of the dinosaurs. The plot is very light but the book rhymes well and is funny. The pictures of dinosaurs wearing brightly colored underpants are fabulous and will make you laugh out loud. I loved all of the vibrant colors in this book - the illustrations definitely make the book! This is a follow-up to "Aliens Love Underpants" and I liked this book enough to want to check out the first one!

In Hot Rod Hamster a tiny hamster goes to the junkyard to build himself a race car to compete in the big race. With the help of a bulldog and a couple of mice he picks out the body, the wheels, and the paint job. Then it's off to the race and you can guess what happens next! The book is a mix of energetic, catchy rhymes and speech balloons. The line "Which would you choose?" is used throughout and helps to draw children into the story and make it more interactive. The best part of the book is the illustrations! They are so bold and colorful and full of little details. The more time you spend looking at them the more you will see! The illustrator has even used a metallic shine on the cover to really give it the appearance of a hot rod! A very humorous and entertaining read!

What We're Reading: Edward

Village of the Ghost Bears

by Stan Jones

Nathan Active was born in Chukchi and is now stationed there as an Alaskan State Trooper. Nathan is an Inupiaq but he was adopted and raised by white parents in Anchorage. In this the fourth novel in the series, Nathan is learning to adjust to the ways of the Inupiaq. But he still yearns for a life in Anchorage. This is all complicated by his love for Grace, who he rescued in the previous novel, Frozen Sun. Nathan is working on two cases. Eight lives were lost in a fire at the Chukchi Recreation Center. One of the victims was the local police chief. Was the fire an accidental or a murder cover up? Was the police chief the target? Nathan is also working on the case of a body he found floating in a lake. Polar bear poaching seems to link the two cases. Nathan follows lead after lead across Northern Alaska until he gets his man.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What We're Reading Now: Cathy

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Have you ever wondered what the real Alice in Wonderland was like? She was one of the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and led a very privileged life and socialized with Queen Victoria's son, Prince Leopold (they had a romance) and John Ruskin (the famous critic) while they were at Oxford. And then, of course, there was her relationship with Charles Dodgson. What scandal caused her family to break off relations with him? No one knows to this day, but Melanie Benjamin gives us a plausible scenario. We follow Alice from the age of 7 to when she is nearing 80 and must sell her own copy of Alice in Wonderland - to an American! With all of the current interest in Alice in Wonderland, this is a "grown-up" alternative (or maybe an addition?) for those of us who still feel "curiouser and curiouser" about Alice.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

Calalier in the Yellow Doublet
by Arture Perez-Reverte
Do you like the old Errol Flynn swashbuckling movies?
Then this series about Captain Aratriste is a must read for you. Seventeenth century Madrid is a corrupt place where status and wealth are worth more than honor. In this fifth installment, Inigo, Captain Aratriste's manservant tells of the Captain's dalliance with a famously beautiful actress. Maria de Castro is courted by many admirers. Her husband is aware of and profits from her dalliances. The Captain is warned that he should allow a royal personage to take his place in her affections. But for the Captain it is a matter of honor. Thus is he drawn into a court intrigue. Will the Captain and Inigo survive the plot?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What We're Reading: Brenda

Snow Dance by Lezlie Evans with Illustrations by Cynthia Jabar, Snow! Snow! Snow! by Lee Harper and Waiting for Winter by Sebastian Meschenmoser

These are some great titles to read with your little ones in celebration of snow!

Snow Dance starts with the forecast calling for a snowstorm later in the day. The children go outside to do a snow dance anxiously waiting for the snow to come. Finally it starts and luckily school is canceled the next day. The excited children hurry out to play in the snow! They make snowmen, have snowball fights and go sledding ultimately ending the day with hot cocoa in front of the fire. This is a wonderful rhyming book that is fun to read out loud. It is full of energy and both the text and the illustrations really capture the excitement and wonder of a snowy day!

In Snow! Snow! Snow! a canine father and his two young pups wake up to find that it has snowed overnight. They rush out to go sledding down "the best sledding hill in the whole wide world". When their sled hits a bump they are launched into the air and fly through the sky until they fall back down to the ground. They they yell "Again!, Again!" and trudge back up the hill. This is a very simple story without a lot of text. It is a great book for young children or those just beginning to read on their own. The illustrations are bold and colorful and the book is great fun to read!

Waiting for Winter tells the story of three friends, Squirrel, Hedgehog and Bear who have never seen snow and decide to stay awake and wait for it. Deer has told them that it is "white and wet and cold and soft" and using this description each animal finds what he thinks is snow. Finally, the real thing starts to fall and the trio are delighted. After making a wonderful snow creature they all fall asleep for the winter. This book is beautifully illustrated with amazing pencil drawings. It is also very funny. The animals antics trying to stay awake and the items they mistake for snow will have you laughing out loud. A very entertaining book all around!

What We're Reading Now: Cathy

Murder on the Cliffs: a Daphne Du Maurier Mystery by Joanna Challis.

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again." This is one of the most famous opening lines in literature and Joanna Challis has been inspired by it to write a fictional version of how Daphne du Maurier came to write Rebecca. In this story, Daphne goes on a visit to Cornwall and finds a dead bride-to-be on the beach. As she investigates the death, she encounters a beautiful, historic mansion, an intimidating housekeeper, the dead woman's cousin (who is closer to her than he ought to be), and, of course, the romantic bereaved finance. All of these will become the models for characters in her most famous novel. Daphne does solve the murder with the help of the mysterious Mr. Brown and falls in love with Cornwall in the process. A light and entertaining mystery.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What We're Reading: Edward

Capitol Offense

by William Bernhardt

At the beginning of this series, Ben Kincaid was an idealistic lawyer. Now in this seventeenth outing, Ben is the appointed United States Senator from Oklahoma. During a recess, Ben is back home in Tulsa. Dennis Thomas comes to his office to ask for a pardon for a murder that has not taken place. The possible victim is Detective Sentz, who refused to help Dennis find his missing wife. She is found critically injured and dies just just after her rescue. The next day Detective Sentz is found murdered with Dennis unconscious in the same room. Ben defends Dennis with a temporary insanity defense. Dennis is found guilty at the end of an action packed trial. But police investigators link the woman's death to a smuggling plot with police involvement. Was her death really a murder? Was the murdered policeman involved? Will Ben be able to save Dennis from the death penalty?

If you liked the John Grisham's novels try this legal series.