Pug Man’s 3 Wishes by Sebastian Meschenmoser

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Both pug and man, Pug Man is an impossibly charming curmudgeon who is having a very bad day when a fairy with annoyingly good intentions and irrepressible high spirits shows up.

I took this book home over the weekend and read it out loud to nearly everyone I know, giggling every time. Meschenmoser’s sketchy pencil style and sly humor make Pug Man’s 3 Wishes a delight that simply must be shared.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E MESCHENMOSER)

Rogue One (2016)

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

I am not a Star Wars aficionado. But I think my husband slipped something into our marriage vows about “through sickness, health, and all Star Wars sequels and prequels and spin-offs…” So I am obligated, as a dutiful wife, to view Star Wars movies on a fairly regular basis. Not that I mind. As a whole, the Star Wars series is pretty engaging in terms of plot and certifiably awesome in terms of effects and other movie-making magic.

Rogue One is probably the weakest link in the Star Wars chain, but that’s what it is–a link. This film fills in the story immediately before the action of Episode IV (the first-first Star Wars movie, for those of you who don’t know). It follows young heroine Jyn Erso in her mission to get the plans for the Death Star (and its fatal flaw) into the hands of the Rebel Alliance.

If you’re a Star Wars person, of course you will have seen Rogue One and appreciated its value as an addition to the world of Star Wars stories. But as a standalone film it is not very good. The pace is plodding, and the battle sequence at the end is too little too late to make up for the lack of earlier action. The characters are underdeveloped, even by Star Wars standards. On more than one occasion, I found myself whispering things like, “Why can’t Forest Whitaker breathe?” and “Who is the not-blind Asian guy?” Apparently a lot of my questions can be answered by someone who knows the entire Star Wars universe–books, animated series, etc.–and I had one of those someones on hand, but if you don’t you will be left to wonder.

Felicity Jones is excellent as flinty Jyn Erso, although I wish she had better lines to say. The dialogue is so earnest it hurts, with none of the humor the other films have to lighten the mood. And I completely disagree with the casting of her comrade-in-arms Cassian Andor. Not for a moment did I believe that sweet little Diego Luna was a hardened Rebel spy, and his accent made him difficult to understand at times. I was, however, wowed when certain iconic Star Wars characters appeared, looking as young as ever. You can always count on Lucasfilm for some excellent effects.

Bottom line: Rogue One only works if you are watching it as a companion to other Star Wars films. If you are just looking for Friday-night entertainment, watch Return of the Jedi again.

Located in DVDs (DVD STAR WARS)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling & Treacle Pudding

“On their last evening, Mrs. Weasley conjured up a sumptuous dinner that included all of Harry’s favorite things, ending with a mouthwatering treacle pudding.” ~Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

 

Treacle Pudding

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup golden syrup or light molasses

3 large eggs, at room temperature

Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

2/3 cup milk, at room temperature

1/2 cup golden syrup or light molasses, plus more for serving

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and place a shallow bowl upside down inside the pot. Bring the water to a boil. Butter and flour a 2 1/2-quart round baking dish or glass bowl and its lid; set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and slat together in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and the 1/3 cup golden syrup or molasses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing at medium speed until incorporated, about 30 seconds after each. Add the lemon zest and juice and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing on the lowest speed just until incorporated and beginning and ending with the flour. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom and fold the mixture together.
  3. Pour the 1/2 cup golden syrup or molasses into the bottom of the baking dish or glass bowl. Scrape the batter into the dish and smooth the top with the rubber spatula. Cover tightly with the lid and place it in the pot on top of the overturned bowl, making sure the water comes halfway up the sides. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Check every so often to see if more water needs to be added (don’t let the pot boil dry).
  4. Remove the pudding from the pot. Remove the lid and invert the pudding onto a serving dish. Serve with warmed golden syrup.

The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

Book club members, listen up: I predict that The Second Mrs. Hockaday will be a top book club pick for 2018. It has all the elements of a great book for discussion: a mystery, a family drama, a moral dilemma. It’s the kind of book I can’t wait to discuss with others.

The setting is the years during and immediately after the Civil War. Seventeen-year-old Placidia Fincher marries Major Gryffth Hockaday after a two-day courtship in 1863. When he returns from the war in the summer of 1865, Major Hockaday files a criminal complaint against her for bearing and then killing a child in the intervening years. The many unanswered questions surrounding this bizarre event propel the story forward at such a pace I had a hard time putting the book down. Luckily for me, it is a relatively spare, short novel, and I was able to make a mad dash through the last 20 pages during the kids’ afternoon nap.

I haven’t read a book so compelling in months. Recommend it to your book club now, and get ahead of the long reserve list that is sure to come!

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Weekly Book List: Week 30 (More than 500 pages)

The Passage / Justin Cronin

The latest test subject in a covert government experiment, abandoned six-year-old Amy is rescued by an FBI agent who hides them in the Oregon hills, from which Amy emerges a century later to save the human race from a terrifying virus. (FIC CRONIN)

 

Up Country / Nelson DeMille

Retired Army investigator Paul Brenner is called back into service to investigate the death of a soldier thirty years earlier in Vietnam–a case that stirs up many unpleasant memories. (FIC DEMILLE)

 

Here I Am / Jonathan Safran Foer

Three sons watch as their parents’ marriage falter and their family home falls apart, while at the same time a massive earthquake devastates the Middle East, sparking a pan-Arab invasion of Israel. (FIC FOER)

 

City on Fire / Garth Risk Hallberg

New York City, 1976. Meet Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, estranged heirs to one of the city’s great fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better or worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by downtown’s punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbor—and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year’s Eve. (FIC HALLBERG)

The Book of Life / Deborah Harkness

Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies (FIC HARKNESS)

 

Jerusalem / Alan Moore

A novel employing a kaleidoscope of literary forms and styles provides a rich cast of characters includes the living, the dead, the celestial, and the infernal in an intricately woven tapestry that presents a vision of an absolute and timeless human reality in all of its exquisite, comical and heartbreaking splendor. (FIC MOORE)

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Flemmings / Stephen O’Connor

A vibrant historical tale inspired by the decades-long relationship between the third President and Sally Hemings details their first encounters in late-18th-century Paris and the inconsistent values that shaped their affair. (FIC O’CONNOR)

 

Atlas Shrugged / Ayn Rand

Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy…to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction…to the philosopher who becomes a pirate…to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad…to the lowest track worker in her train tunnels. (FIC RAND)

Cutting for Stone / Abraham Verghese

Marion and Shiva Stone, twin brothers born from a secret love affair between an Indian nun and a British surgeon in Addis Ababa, come of age in an Ethiopia on the brink of revolution, where their love for the same woman drives them apart. (FIC VERGHESE)

 

A Little Life / Hanya Yanagihara

Moving to New York to pursue creative ambitions, four former classmates share decades marked by love, loss, addiction and haunting elements from a brutal childhood. (FIC YANAGIHARA)

The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

What do you do when you’ve trapped one of the most lethal and unpredictable men in the world? You put him in a seamless Lexan vault the size of a cargo container, built of bullet-resistant glass, the single door a solid foot thick that will open only to the silhouette of veins in one man’s hand and auction him off to a parade of criminals he has wronged in the past. How will Evan Smoak, the man who mysteriously helps the downtrodden in their most desperate of circumstances manage to escape his own? This second novel in the suspenseful Orphan X series will not disappoint anyone who enjoyed its edgy predecessor.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC HURWITZ)

Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

Rex Wrecks It! is a great read-aloud book for adults to share with little kids. Rex the dinosaur, Gizmo the robot, Sprinkles the unicorn bunny, and Wild the monster are just crying out to have silly voices. In fact, after a few readings, my preschooler was taking over on silly-voice duty for Rex (“No, Mom, IIIIIIIII read it!”). The requisite picture-book moral is a good one, and it goes over without belaboring. And the cheeky last page will have the little ones clamoring to read it again and again!

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E CLANTON)

The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman & Glazed Beef Tournedos

“The Heitz was smooth and silky, melting soft, perhaps best suited to George’s tournedos, seared outside, succlent and pink within, juices running, mixing with the young potatoes and tangy beans crisp enough to snap.” ~The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman

Glazed Beef Tournedos

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons steak sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

4 beef tenderloin steaks (6 ounces each)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combing the steak sauce, ketchup, marmalade, lemon juice, onion and garlic. Set aside 1/4 cup for serving.
  2. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill steaks, uncovered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness, basting frequently with remaining sauce.
  3. Just before serving, brush steaks with reserved sauce.

Joyride, Volume 1 by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Marcus To

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Joyride is a ridiculously fun romp through space with three teenagers who couldn’t be more different. In a future where a “SafeSky” dome protects humans from all alien beings, Uma decides that she’s going to steal a spaceship and see what adventures await beyond the dome. Colorful, edgy, fun and surprising, Joyride is one of the most impressive graphic novel series starters I’ve read in a while.

Available through the BRIDGES Library System

Back to the Future (1985)

Reviewed by Austin B (Library Patron)

An 80’s time traveling adventure with plenty of action, laughs, romance, and enjoyable one-liners that survived the years. Michael J Fox finds himself zapped back into the 1950s, fighting to ensure he will still exist in 1985. Whether you root for Biff(Thomas F. Wilson) or Marty ( Michael J. Fox), the loveable Doc (Christopher Lloyd) will remind you that best friends will send you through time in their tricked out sports car. Grab you snacks and a friend and enjoy this family friendly movie.

Located in Adult DVD (DVD BACK)

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