Monday, June 30, 2008

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

The zookeeper's wife is the true story of Jan and Antonina Zabiniski, Polish Christian zookeeper in Warsaw, who helped hide over 300 Jews during World War II. Ackerman tells their story using Antonina's journal entries for most of her information.

The characters are well developed and the book reads like a novel despite Ackerman's use of extremely descriptive language which could "bog" the reader down at times. But, overall, an eye-opening and interesting book.

Written By Phyllis Kelly

Friday, June 27, 2008

Grey's Anatomy

Meredith Grey, Christina Yang, Izzie Stevens, George O’Malley and Alex Karev are new, passionate surgical interns at Seattle Grace Hospital who find themselves under the supervision of one Dr. Miranda Bailey, who has the nickname “The Nazi” for a good reason – she is tough on her interns. But having “the Nazi” as a supervisor is the least of their problems.

Much is expected of Meredith as her mother, Ellis Grey, is one of Seattle’s finest surgeons however, Meredith’s mother doesn’t even recognize her due to early onset Alzheimer's and Ellis doesn’t want anyone to know. Then there is the guy Meredith picked up at a bar the evening before who just happens to be the new head of Neurosurgery, Dr Derek Shepherd.

Christina was first in her class and wants to stay that way. Although eager for difficult surgeries her bedside manner leaves much to be desired. Despite her ambition and abrasive manner she and Meredith soon become firm friends.

Izzie Stevens put herself through med school by modeling lingerie and now has to deal with the consequences. George O’Malley is talented, but unsure of himself. His effeminate nature makes him come across as gay to his fellow interns which does little to boost his self confidence. Then there is Alex Karev whose macho ways keep getting him into trouble.

The cast is rounded out by three other surgeons: The for-mentioned Dr. Derek Shepherd, Dr. Preston Burke who may be the best surgeon at the hospital but his arrogance could get in the way of his ambition. Finally, the hospital's Chief of Medicine, Dr. Richard Webber whose devotion to the hospital is beginning to cause him marital problems.

Told through the eyes of Meredith Grey, this fast-paced, witty medical drama is a welcome addition to the rest as it is packed with action, romance and does not always portrayed the doctors as heroic, but also reveals their humanity in flaws and ambitions that any surgeon might possess.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

For those readers who like stories of finding true love, Nicholas Sparks delivers... again.

Travis Parker is a vet who meets his neighbor, Gabby Holland, when he helps deliver her dog's puppies. Their relationship grows despite a rocky beginning as Gabby must make a choice between Travis and her longtime boyfriend. But the tale doesn't end there with a happily ever after as eleven years later Travis must make a choice between life and death when Gabby is involved in a car accident.

The narrator, Holter Graham, although a good reader tended to be nasally at times which I found a bit irritating.

Written by Phyllis Kelly

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Book of Three

In this first book in the Chronicles of Prydain we meet Taran, a boy who yearns to be a great hero and battle evil, not an assistant pig keeper in the hamlet of Caer Dallben. But when Hen Wen, the oracular, pig escapes his charge Taran sets out to find her and soon runs into danger for he is not the only one looking for the pig - the evil Horned King is after her as well.

Accompanied by Prince Gwydion, Princess Eilonwy, Gurgi, the bard Fflewddur Fflam and many others, Taran’s quest leads him, not only to an evil castle, dungeons, a secret underground village, but also from an unformed boy to a determined and courageous young man. He begins to see his home, himself and his future in a new way.

Filled with light hearted humor this first book has everything need to make this book a classic: adventure, danger, heroism, persistence and courage.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This enchanting Newbery award winning tale tells the story of Ella, a spirited young girl who was given an unusual and disastrous gift by a fairy as a baby. When she wouldn’t stop crying, the fairy, Lucinda, bestows on Ella the gift of obedience which meant she had to obey any direct command. "If you commanded me to cut off my own head, I'd have to do it."

Follow Ella into a world filled with ogres, giants, elves and fairy godmothers as she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to win her freedom and her prince with intelligence, ambition and courage.
Read by Eden Riegel, who gives this inventive retelling of the Cinderella story a youthful and saucy charm as the fairytale weaves in and out and finally twists away from the original tale.
To request this book from the JCLC catalog click here

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This is a book that can be enjoyed by young and old alike. It tells two stories - one of Atticus Finch, an attorney in a small southern town during the depression. The other of his daughter, Scout.

Atticus, knowing that he'll very likely lose, agrees to defend a man that has been wrongly accused of a hate crime. Scout, a precocious child who utimately discovers all that is good within herself.

My favorite part of the book was the scene in which Atticus gives his daughter this advice: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it." I felt that Scout took that piece of advice and in her own childlike way tried to understand the pain endured by Tom Robinson, the man her father is defending; and the cowardice of Robert Ewell, the father of his accuser.

A wonderfully well written book of endurance, honesty and justice.

Written by Lisa Keith

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Marley and Me by John Grogan

This is a book about a young family and their experiences with their pet, a crazy Lab named Marley.

The book begins when the couple were young and newly married. The wife, Jenny, becomes very upset after she kills a house plant - worrying that this is a sign that she will be incapable of being a good mother. In an effort to console her, the two decide to buy a dog.
The actual scene when they buy their precious, beautiful, yellow lab puppy, whom they name Marley, is foreshadowing their future with this crazy canine. Marley's mama is probably the best dog ever. Enter Marley's father - a terror!

Marley's wild and unusual antics carry the reader through the book, and the way Grogan delivers the stories will leave you laughing so hard you'll have tears in your eyes.
A great read for one and all, but especially for dog-lovers!

Written by Lisa Hawkins

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory

The three Boleyn siblings begin their rocky road to fame at a young age. Mary, the narrator of the tale, Anne and George are all players in their Uncle, Thomas Howard, the Duke of Norfolk schemes to advance the family.

Mary is the first to catch the eye of Henry VIII. Although newly married and barely fourteen, she is to put aside her husband, her regard for Queen Katherine and become the King’s mistress. But after several years and having borne two children, Henry’s attention begins to wander and when the family thinks Mary can no longer hold him, Anne is instructed to entice the King. But Anne is not one to be satisfied as a mistress, like her sister, she has her eye on a higher goal – to displace the childless Queen. Her schemes and those of her Uncle will send the country into turmoil.

Gregory pulls into focus all the rumour and scandal that circle around the Boleyns and the political maneuvering of the court of Henry VIII. All three of them twisted by the weight of power and status put on them by the Duke of Norfolk. But Anne's ruthless desire and machinations for the throne and to produce a legitimate heir drives her with a force that will make even her family turn from her.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Last Dragon by Silvana De Mari

This comical fantasy adventure tells the story of the last elf and the last dragon. Originally written in Italian, beautifully translated by Shaun Whiteside and read by Patricia Conolly who skillfully depicts the different characters and races.

Yorshkrunsquarkljolnerstrink is the last elf, an elf born lately. The constant rain has drowned his village and now he needs warmth, food, and shelter or he will die of despair. But the only shelter to be had has been taken by a human woman, Sajra and her dog. He is afraid of her as she will surely cook him and eat him with rosemary, like his Grandmother told him the humans did.

So begins Yorsh’s journey. Almost by chance he, and the two humans with him, stumble across a prophesy, written on an ancient wall concerning the last elf and the last dragon, but before Yorsh can read it all, the trio are running for their lives. How can Yorsh fulfill the prophecy if he can’t find the dragon or read it in full?

Interested? Request your copy from the JCLC catalog today! Just click here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I Coriander by Sally Gardner

Coriander lives in London at a time of political instability. Charles I, King of England has been beheaded and now Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans hold the country. But this means little to Coriander for her world only contains her parents and their friends. But when a pair of silver shoes arrive at the house the outside worlds begin to encroach on hers.

By the light of seven candles, Coriander tells her story. It is a tale of silver shoes, a stuffed alligator, lost treasure and fairies; for Coriander is the daughter of a fairy princess who fled her kingdom. Now, Coriander must find the courage to put things right in the fairy realm, while combating the evil schemes of her Puritan stepmother and the evil Arise Fell.

Read by Juliet Stevenson, this audiobook is a delight. Part fairy tale, part historical novel the characters are full of vigor and colour. London and the fairy realm are bursting with life as this historical fantasy with a little romance weaves smoothly between the two.