Fuse

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

The ship you are on is about to explode unless you and your team of up to five players can defuse twenty-four bombs in ten minutes. Do you have nerves of steel and steady hands to beat the clock? I can tell you, dear patron, that when I had a chance to play this game my hands shook. The game starts with ten minutes on the clock and two bomb cards placed in front of each player and three face up from the deck in the middle of the table. Once the timer starts the first player draws one dice for each player out of the bag and rolls it. Each player chooses one of the dice that fits on one of their cards, if a player can’t take a dice it is then re-rolled and any dice with that color or number goes back into the bag, then the next player rolls, going around the circle until the time expires. A card that is filled gets flipped over for the table and the player takes a card to replace the completed card. The team wins if all the cards from the middle are moved in front of players meaning that over twenty bombs will have been solved.
The time limit on the game is excellent for beginning game nights; the time pressure makes it a bit tricky for some groups, and adds a layer of excitement for others. The cooperative nature, the simple rules, paired with the dice mechanic makes this a game worth playing at your next game night.

Located in Games (GAME FUSE)

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas & Scrap Cookies

“They had made two pies–one with satiny pumpkin filling, one with plump pecans–and Maggie showed Holly how to crimp a pie crust. They cut the extra scraps of dough into shapes, sprinkled them with sugar and cinnamon, and baked them on cookie sheets. ‘My mother calls those scrap cookies,’ Maggie said.”~Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

Scrap Cookies

Ingredients:

4 oz dough trimmed from prepared pie crust

2 Tablespoons sugar

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Knead pie crust trimmings into a ball and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into decorative shapes and transfer to prepared baking tray. Freeze for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Remove cookies from freezer and dust generously with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Bake cookies until golden and crisp, about 15-20 minutes.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

Emma Donoghue’s novel Room was a bigtime bestseller a few years ago, and deservedly so. Its depiction of a mother and child, held captive in a single room that is all the world the child has ever known, is beautiful and heartbreaking. With The Wonder, she revisits the same woman-and-child type of story, with equally excellent result.

The Wonder takes place in Ireland, in the 1850s. Professional nurse Lib Wright has been recruited to keep watch over an eleven-year-old girl who has reportedly been living without food for several months. At first, Lib finds her patient remarkably well, and concerns herself with fending off curiosity seekers, religious pilgrims, and a particularly insistent reporter. But as the days pass, she begins to suspect darker forces are at work, and by the time she has learned the truth the girl’s life is in grave danger. Lib is forced to make a professional and moral decision that she would have found inconceivable even a month before.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC DONOGHUE)

Weekly Book List: Week 52 (Self-Improvement)

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead / Brene Brown

Discusses how to embrace vulnerability in order to live whole, courageous lives, explaining that traits typically regarded as character flaws and weaknesses are actually clear paths to engagement and meaningful connections. (158.2 BRO)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change / Stephen Covey

A leading management consultant outlines seven organizational rules for improving effectiveness and increasing productivity at work and at home. (158 COV)

 

The Power of Habit / Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business / Charles Duhigg

Identifies the neurological processes behind behaviors, explains how self-control and success are largely driven by habits, and shares scientifically-based guidelines for achieving personal goals and overall well-being by adjusting specific habits. (158.1 DUH)

 

Outliers: The Story of Success / Malcolm Gladwell

Identifies the qualities of successful people, posing theories about the cultural, family, and idiosyncratic factors that shape high achievers, in a resource that covers such topics as the secrets of software billionaires and why the Beatles earned their fame. (302 GLA)

 

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in your Work and in your Life / Spencer Johnson

Relates a highly meaningful parable intended to help one deal with change quickly and prevail, offering readers a simple way to progress in their work and lives. (155.2 JOH)

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow / Daniel Kahneman

A psychologist draws on years of research to introduce his “machinery of the mind” model on human decision making to reveal the faults and capabilities of intuitive versus logical thinking. (153.42 KAH)

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing / Marie Kondo

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. (648 KON)

The Power of Positive Thinking / Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Peale demonstrates the power of faith in action. With the practical techniques outlined in this book, you can energize your life—and give yourself the initiative needed to carry out your ambitions and hope. (248.4 PEA)

 

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth / M. Scott Peck

A psychiatrist suggests ways in which confronting and resolving problems, a painful process most people try to avoid, can lead to greater self-understanding and spiritual growth. (158.1 PEC)

 

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? / Richard Warren

On your journey you’ll find the answers to three of life’s most important questions: The Question of Existence: Why am I alive?, The Question of Significance: Does my life matter?, The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for? (248.2 WAR)

Deadpool (2016)

Reviewed by Zach S (Library Staff)

2016 was very much a “make or break” year for the superhero genre. It saw no less than 7 major Hollywood releases, all seeking to please fans and critics alike whilst also taking home a healthy box office return. It came as a shock to the film industry and fans alike when perhaps what appeared to be the most unconventional of those 7 superhero films wound up not only being one of the most refreshing takes on the superhero genre, but also a box office juggernaut. Deadpool, the directorial debut of Tim Miller, spins off from the X-men franchise and follows wise cracking assassin Wade Wilson as he attempts to seek revenge against the people who mutated and disfigured him. What’s so striking and distinct about Deadpool is how it refuses to stick to the normality’s of a conventional superhero movie. It’s first and foremost a raunchy R-rated comedy, it just so happens that it stars a comic book character. This film is liberated by its leads irreverent take on the world and his attitude towards heroism. “Deadpool” works so well because it’s not tying to follow a formula or be like anything that has come before it, but instead, embraces the weirdness of its source material and crafts a story that can stand on its own without having to constantly reference past events of the X-Men films. When the film does pull from the ‘X-Men lore’ it’s organic and serves the story. The producers, writers, and especially the film’s lead took a huge chance on this film and sacrificed a lot to make a very different and distinct kind of movie that they hoped would resonate with audiences . If its 783 million dollar box office return is any indication, they succeeded.

Located in DVDs (DVD DEADPOOL)

Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke & Gingerbread Cookies

“Twenty-four reindeer burned to a crisp and it was all her fault! Hannah Swensen pulled the smoking cookie sheets from her oven and dumped the contents in the kitchen wastebasket. She should have known she’d never hear her stove timer over Ernie Kusak’s deafening Christmas music” ~Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup softened, salted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup hot strong coffee

2/3 cup dark molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the softened butter with the granulated sugar.
  2. Add the half-cup of hot strong coffee and then stir in the dark molasses.
  3. Mix in the baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cloves, and cinnamon. Stir well.
  4. Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition. Give a final stir and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge overnight.
  5. In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Divide the dough into four parts for ease of rolling. Roll out the first part of the dough on a floured board, to 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Dip the cookie cutters in flour and cut out cookies.
  8. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving at least an inch and a half between cookies.
  9. If you are decorating with colored sugar or sprinkles, put them on before baking and press it down just a bit with your fingers. Wait until they are baked and completely cool if you are going to frost.
  10. Bake 1/4 inch thick cookies at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes.

Weekly Book List: Week 51 (Lesser Known Works of Famous Authors)

Romola / George Eliot

In the Florence of Lorenzo de’ Medici, Romola falls in love with a handsome, seemingly intellectual young man, but as their marriage disintegrates, Romola becomes intrigued by Savonarola and his teachings. (FIC ELIOT)

 

The Beet Queen / Louise Erdrich

Orphaned fourteen-year-old Carl and his eleven-year-old sister, Mary, travel to Argus, North Dakota, to live with their mother’s sister, in this tale of abandonment, sexual obsession, jealousy and unstinting love. (FIC ERDRICH)

 

Good as Gold / Joseph Heller

Dr. Bruce Gold, a forty-eight-year-old Jewish professor of English, faces the possibilities of being appointed to a high State Department position and being disowned by his family. (FIC HELLER)

 

For Whom the Bell Tolls / Ernest  Hemingway

The story of an American fighting in the Spanish Civil War, his loyalty and courage and his eventual disillusionment with love and defeat. (FIC HEMINGWAY)

 

Black Swan Green / David Mitchell

A meditative novel of a young boy on the cusp of adulthood follows a single year in the life of thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor as he grows up in what is for him the sleepiest village in Worcestershire, England, in 1982. (FIC MITCHELL)

 

Lost Laysen / Margaret Mitchell

The author’s letters to an old flame and photographs accompany a romantic saga of a stormy love triangle and characters torn between passion and honor, whose lives are forever altered by a terrible catastrophe. (FIC MITCHELL)

 

The Violent Bear It Away / Flannery O’Connor

A back country orphan struggles to defy his uncle’s prophesy that he will become a Baptist prophet. (FIC O’CONNOR)

 

Franny and Zooey / J.D. Salinger

Two children of the Glass family appear in separate stories laid in twentieth-century New York. (FIC SALINGER)

 

 

The Silmarillion / J.R.R. Tolkien

The Silmarillion tells of the Elder Days, or the First Age of the World, and is the history of the rebellion of Fëanor, the most gifted of the Elves, and his people against the gods, their exile in Middle-earth, and their war against the first Dark Lord, Morgoth, for the recovery of the Silmarils, the jewels containing the pure light of Valinor. (FIC TOLKIEN)

The Reef / Edith Warton

Anna Leath, an American widow living in France, has engaged in a love affair with George Darrow, a diplomat. However, when Darrow is on his way to consolidate marriage plans at Anna’s French chateau, he encounters Sophy Viner, who is as sprightly and spontaneous as Anna is restrained and demure. Soon after, Anna’s affair with Darrow becomes the reef on which the lives of four people are in extreme danger of foundering. (FIC WARTON)

In Death Series by J.D. Robb

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Eve Dallas is a tough New York detective who works to solve murder cases. This might seem like the beginning of a typical crime series, but what makes the In Death series stand out is the fact that the books take place in the future, the late 2050s and early 2060s to be exact. While there might be some new-fangled inventions in the future (cars that can fly, droid servants, AutoChefs, and drying tubes), the crimes and emotions are very real, human, and pertinent even for us readers today.

This series follows Eve and her cohort of comrades (Peabody—the quirky, girly, bubbly partner of Eve; Feeney—older, technology genius, fatherly figure and former partner of Eve; Dr. Mira—psychologist extraordinaire who helps Eve conquer her demons; Nadine Furst—reporter, strong-willed, pain in the butt (or so Eve would say), friend; and many, many more) as they attempt to solve horrible crimes throughout New York City.

And then we have to talk about Roarke for a minute. Roarke is a suave, sexy Irishman, who has a questionable past (always disliked the police possibly due to the fact that he was a thief), yet he falls in love with Eve, and ends up helping her with cases. It doesn’t hurt that he is a bajillionaire (seriously he has so much money!) and that he is a genius when it comes to technology (he can pretty much break in to any place). With Roarke by her side, and her coworkers (who end up being more like family), Eve tackles the best and worst that New York has to offer.

The In Death series is written by J.D. Robb. Robb is a pen name for Nora Roberts. I’ve really enjoyed reading all of these books, and getting to know the fun cast of characters that appear. This series is not short by any stretch, there are at least 45 books in the series, and Robb publishes 2 a year, so if you like this series (which I do) there is a lot of reading to be done.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC ROBB)

 

Churchill (2017)

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

My husband and I rarely have time to sit down and watch a movie together, but we made time last week to watch Churchill. We are both history buffs, and World War II is an area of particular interest for my husband, so we were really looking forward to seeing the movie. 105 interminable minutes later, we were only looking forward to turning it off and going to sleep.

What could have gone wrong, you ask, with a subject as compelling as Winston Churchill, portrayed by an actor as skilled as Brian Cox? The script, dear friends. The entire movie is premised upon Churchill’s reluctance to agree to the D-Day invasion, and every. single. scene. is a version of this exchange:

Churchill: It’s a terrible plan. All our brave young men will die pointlessly.

Eisenhower: Nope, it’ll be fine. Go drink in the corner, old man.

Of course, other historical characters–portrayed by other fantastic actors–stand in for Eisenhower on occasion. I particularly loved Julian Wadham as Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, and James Purefoy did a creditable King George VI. But all the quality acting in the world couldn’t distract me from the utter lack of a compelling plot.

Located in DVDs (DVD CHURCHILL)

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