Two for the Dough

From Elaine Pasquali
author: Evanovich, Janet
Two for the Dough
Stephanie Plum, a bounty hunter,is assisted by a cast of “characters”: Lula, a former ho; Ranger, a hunky master bounty hunter; and Joe Morelli, a cop-come-boyfriend.  Stephanie’s family of Mom, Dad, and Grandma Mazur, as zany a grandma as you’ll ever meet, serve as counterpoint to Stephanie’s risky, chaotic life.  While the crime plots are thin, the laughs are a line a minute!!! The first Stephanie Plum book is set to be filmed in September, with Kathleen Hegyl playing Stephanie.  The books in this series stand alone and can be read out of order.

In the Middle of the Night

From Jackie Cantwell
author: McDonald, Brian
In the Middle of the Night
In the Middle of the Night tells the horrifying tale of two parolees who go on a crime spree in Cheshire, CT on July 23, 2007.  The instigator was Joshua Komisarjevsky, a convicted serial burglar, who met his partner in crime, Steven Hayes, in a halfway house.  Joshua began burglarizing homes in his teens, and sometimes he didn’t take anything.  Instead, he’d listen to the occupants as they slept, or rearranged pictures or furniture.

Joshua was adopted as an infant into a wealthy family. As a child, he lived in southwestern Cheshire on a 65-acre estate that was part horse farm.  His parents, Ben and Jude, were loving and very religious. Joshua was given every opportunity to succeed in life, and coupled with his very high I.Q., he would have gone far if he hadn’t chosen crime as his vocation.  It is especially cruel that he stalked the family of Dr. William and Mrs. Jennifer Petit, a nurse.  They were a well-loved, community-minded couple whose daughters, Michaela and Hayley, held so much promise. It was very difficult to read the details of the crime.  The governor, M. Jodi Rell, changed laws to toughen penalties for home invasion and tighten parole procedures after this crime.

Bridget Jones’s diary

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Fielding, Helen
Bridget Jones’s diary
I saw the movie before reading the book.  This is the classic book that spawned Chick Lit.  It holds up well (it was published in 1996). Some of the British-isms take getting used to: such as “fag” for cigarette and “flat” for apartment.  Each diary entry is prefaced by how many cigarettes she smoked, how much she weighs, the circumference of her thighs, how much alcohol she drank, calories consumed, and in parentheses if it was good or bad, and any mitigating factors leading to such behavior. In later entries, she also adds number of lottery tickets purchased, how many panic attacks or negative thoughts, and how many times she dialed 1471 (the equivalent of *69).

Bridget is a winsome, bumbling heroine.  She goes to dinner parties attended by Smug Marrieds, who say all sorts of derogatory things to her, a Singleton, such as ” Your biological clock is ticking”; and “You still don’t have a boyfriend, Old Girl?.”  She works at a publishing firm reading manuscripts. She starts an affair with her boss, Daniel Cleaver.  All along, she keeps running into the son of her parents’ friends, Mark Darcy, a human rights lawyer (or barrister, as they say. Interestingly, the text mentions the actors Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, who play Daniel and Mark in the film, respectively.  The book is funny and relatable; I didn’t want it to end.

Hunger Games

From Monica Salo
author: Collins,Suzanne
Hunger Games
In this engrossing, futuristic story set in North America, a 16 year old girl named Katniss takes the place of her younger sister to represent the District 12 in the Hunger Games.  The capitol of the districts keeps order by demanding two young representatives from each all 12 districts, to compete in their game.  Competing meaning that only one person is able to win and that is the surviving participant from all the twelve districts.  They are forced to eliminate their competitors in a controlled area with unnatural and harsh conditions, while the people of all the districts watch this competition on television.   This is a fast moving adventure story with riveting suspense and great character development that will have you looking forward for the sequel.

Live at the Troubadour / Carole King, James Taylor

From Charlene Muhr
Live at the Troubadour / Carole King, James Taylor
In the early seventies, James Taylor and Carole King played a landmark concert at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.  This album reunites the musicians/songwriters in November 2007 for the 50th anniversary of the Troubadour.  Their return to this venue was a sentimental journey in which the artists take turns accompanying each other on their most popular hits. Between songs, King and Taylor reminice about their early careers, their first hit songs, and how they got together.  “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was King’s first hit which was written with her then husband, Gerry Goffin.  Although King wrote “You’ve Got a Friend”, she loved Taylor’s version and it became his signature song.  We also learned the origin of Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James”, written for his nephew, his namesake, while driving down to North Carolina to meet him.  This cd and dvd is a wonderful collaboration of two artists that is not to be missed.

The Cove

From Chris Garland
The Cove (DVD)
Part espionage, part environmental thriller, The Cove is the
documentary record of   Ric O’Barry’s quest to stop the slaughter of
dolphins in a remote cove in Japan.  O’Barry (a former dolphin trainer on
the show Flipper) is seeking redemption for his part in creating the
concept of captive dolphins as entertainment in aquariums around the
world.  Through his work with dolphins, he realized that these deeply
sensitive, highly intelligent and self aware creatures must not be
subjected to captivity, nor be slaughtered for school lunch programs.

Aside from the obvious humanitarian reasons, dolphin meat is high in
mercury and detrimental to the health of young school children.  He has
made it his life’s work to stop this practice.  O’Barry is joined by
filmmaker Louie Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society in a
clandestine mission to expose the truth about the secret doings at the
remote hidden cove.

The Edge Chronicles Volume One: Beyond The Deep Woods

From Erik Schmid
author: Stewart, Paul
The Edge Chronicles Volume One: Beyond The Deep Woods
This first volume of the ten-part “Edge Chronicles” introduces the reader
to the main character Twig’s world and gives us the background needed to
enjoy the rest of the series. This very original world is made up of
trolls, goblins, man-eating trees, floating cities and deep forests where
strange creatures look for food and stalk each other.  Twig is a troll
himself, and yearns to get out of his drab existence and live a life of
adventure, preferably as one of the sky pirates. These pirates captain
huge flying sailing ships. Twig is very different from his elders, who
can’t understand why someone would crave adventure. One day on his way to one of his relatives, Twig decides to “step off the path” and journey into
the Deep woods, the forest surrounding his home, which begins a sequence
of events in which we meet the strange inhabitants of the Woods.

The Edge Chronicles is full of imagination and has slightly off kilter
storytelling, making it one of the most original fantasy series to come
along in some time. Paul Stewart recently wrote the final installment of
the series,”The Immortals” so there is no need to wait for upcoming books
with this one. So “step off the path” and read “Beyond the Deep woods”.