The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
By: Edward Kelsey Moore
Recommended by Yvonne
I love this book! I know that is not the correct way to begin a book review but I needed to say it ... I love this book. Okay, now on with my review:
The Supreme's at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat is author Edward Kelsey Moore's first novel. After reading, I did double check that the author was indeed a man: he undeniably delivers authentic female insight! Mr. Moore's writing ability shines as he delivers numerous irresistible and memorable characters, both male and female.
Each chapter reveals a piece of the story, spanning forty odd years, of the intertwined lives of three southern women who have been friends since high school. Set in Indiana, the trio named "The Supremes" meet weekly at their special table in local eatery; Earl's All-you-can-eat for food, gossip, laughter and tears. Their individual stories highlight amazing friendship as well as their many hardships with marriage, family and survival.
The first chapter begins with Odette trying to cool down from a hot flash, talking to her mama (who sees ghosts) and the chapter ends with this: "Mama's visit had cooled me down and cheered me. Even during the worst of the troubles that came later, I smiled whenever I recalled that visit and how sweet it had been for her to come by, looking all done up in that cute sky-blue dress I hadn't seen in the six years since we buried her in it." I got lost in the lives of Odette, Clarice and Barbara Jean and felt like I was watching their lives play out in a movie.
This story gives us lovable, flawed main characters that are fiercely loyal as well as supporting characters that provide comic relief. The friendship between the Supremes is inspirational as they navigate real issues including: infidelity, loss, cancer and much more; a wonderful journey not to be missed.
Author, Edward Kelsey Moore says "My intention in writing this novel was to celebrate the joy of true friendship and to invite readers to remember the smart, funny, and strong women in their lives."
Well done Mr. Moore, well done.
This title is available in Book, Downloadable Audiobook and EBook formats.
The Garden of Burning Sand
By: Corban Addison
Recommended by Marilyn
Zoe Fleming is a young, idealistic American lawyer working with an NGO devoted to combating the epidemic of child sexual assault in Southern Africa. Estranged from her Father - a billionaire and presidential hopeful back in the United States - Zoe carries on her late mother's philanthropic work at the edge of the world.
On a dark night in Lusaka, Zambia, an adolescent girl is brutally assaulted. She arrives at a local hospital unable to speak. Her identity is a mystery. Where did she come from? Was the attack a random street crime or a premeditated act?
Zoe's organization is called in to help. A betrayal in her past gives the girl's plight a special resonance for Zoe, and she is determined to find the perpetrator. She slowly forms a working relationship, and then a surprising friendship, with Joseph Kabuta, a Zambian police officer. Their search takes them from Lusaka's roughest neighbourhoods to the wild waters of Victoria Falls, and from AIDS-ridden streets of Johannesburg to the splendour of Cape Town.
Unexpectedly, the evidence leads Zoe and Joseph toward the family of a powerful industrialist with deep ties to the Zambian government. As they inch closer to the truth, it becomes more and more difficult to gather crucial information about the victims past and the motive for the crime - this beautiful land is also one of systemic corruption and bureaucratic inertia.
As the investigation builds to a climax, threatening to send shockwaves through Zambian society, Zoe is forced to radically reshape her assumptions about love, loyalty, family and, especially, the meaning of justice.
This title is available in Book format.
This review is from the Book Jacket.
By: Stephen King
Recommended by Robert
I will begin by saying that I am not a horror fan and I do not normally gravitate to the works of the master of the macabre, Stephen King. However, his "11-22-63", an alternative history to that cathartic event, the assassination of President Kennedy, certainly piqued my interest. We are introduced to recently separated Jake Epping, a 35 year old English teacher of Lisbon, Maine, who reads the horrifying GED story of a high school custodian whose family was murdered by his father. Visiting his friend Al who owns the local diner, he is shown a portal from the 21st century to a particular day in 1958. Jake is encouraged to step from the diner's pantry to a different world where almost everyone smokes, but everything including the root beer tastes so much better. After a tentative trip to the past, Jake returns to the present. When he meets up again with his friend, he encounters a suddenly aged man. Al reveals that he, himself, has returned over and over, buying the same 1958 hamburger at 1958 prices that he serves in his 2011 diner. Nevertheless Al has a special project for Jake; he needs a replacement to return to 1958 to encounter Lee Harvey Oswald and prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Both are convinced that preventing the killing of Kennedy will prevent the escalation of the Vietnamese Conflict and result in a much better future for all.
Before beginning his quest to rewrite history, Jake will right local history by preventing the murder of the custodian's family. (He cannot come back: each return resets events to start), Jake moves to Florida and then to small town Texas, awaiting the arrival of the Oswald family from the Soviet Union. He becomes the high school teacher George Amberson, affecting students' lives and finding love. Using Al's special book on Oswald, Amberson (Epping) spies on Oswald, hoping for the right opportunity to slay the punk and create an alternate, improved future.
The "butterfly effect" has a major impact on the events of this novel. What may appear to be a small change can have an immense impact on the course of history. Will preventing the assassination of John F. Kennedy really create a better world? Are all the changes for the better? King has done an admirable job making us think about the idea of time travel. In doing so, he has recreated a world many of us remembered when we were children. Recommended
This title is available in Book, Large Print and Book on CD formats.
By: Allison Weir
Recommended by Rachel
In a world ruled by men and women are just pawns, poor Lady Jane Grey is born. Lady Jane Grey is known as the nine day Queen. From birth Jane's life is not a pleasant one, hated by her parent's for not being a boy Jane is held to high standards of perfection by her cruel mother. Under the loving care of her nurse Mrs. Ellen Jane grows to be a well-mannered devoted young woman, although she is the ideal lady of that time nothing she does is good enough for her parents.
During a visit to the palace Jane meets her Great uncle King Henry VIII and his wife Queen Catherine Parr. Queen Catherine Parr takes an interest in Jane and they form a close bond. After the passing the famous King Henry VIII Catherine remarries Thomas Seymour an upstart whose father was executed as a traitor. Thomas Seymour and Jane's parents agree Jane should be a ward of Queen Catherine and Seymour in order to get her closer to Prince Edward VI, King Henry VIII's only living male heir. When it soon becomes apparent that the young prince won't live long enough to marry and produce an heir, Seymour and Jane's parents hatch a new plot to dis-inherit Henry VIII's two daughters Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth I who are next in the line of succession. Prince Edward VI proclaims his sisters bastards and thus not fit to wear a crown and rule England. Jane is now officially next in line to be Queen.
Forced into an un-happy marriage to further the advancement of her family Jane is soon told the young prince has passed and she is whisked away to the tower of London. Her family and their co-conspirators hope Jane will bend to their will but instead Jane proclaims Mary the rightful queen but in the end is forced to take the crown.
Will Jane survive the plots of men? Will Mary be merciful when she comes to power? Allison Weir has written an amazing novel. Written from more than one perspective she allows herself to expand on the little known about Jane Grey to tell a very likely account of the poor woman's life. As a huge fan of this time period I think I have found a new favourite historical fiction author! If you're a fan Phillipa Gregory I strongly suggest a novel by Weir.
This title is available Book and Large Print formats.
Life of Pi
Recommended by Kathy
"LIFE OF PI is an immersion into the world of imagination - one so powerful, so deeply transformational, that it stands as a cinematic monument to the power of storytelling. Navigating Yann Martel's beloved novel with David Magee's script as guiding star, director Ang Lee proves himself a virtuoso of the versatile in a world so rich and so real that only the miracle of 3D in the hands of a master could put it all into proper perspective. At journey's end audiences are left to ponder an adventure so life-affirming and a reality so true that they would never dare doubt Dorothy ever left Kansas." (AFI.com)
Life of Pi, nominated for 11 Oscar Awards, and winning 4, including Best Achievement in Directing for Ang Lee, is based on Yan Martel's book (winner of the Mann Booker Prize for 2002), and relates the fantastical account of a boy adrift at sea for 227 days, accompanied by a quickly diminishing retinue of zoo animals.
Leaving their Pondicherry, India home for a new life in Canada, Pi Patel's family sets out on a Japanese cargo ship with a collection of zoo animals they are taking with them to sell when they arrive at their destination. Pi, 17, is reluctant to leave the familiar territory he has grown up in. It is a place where he has explored his spirituality, with beliefs in his family's faith of Hinduism, blended with his explorations into Christianity and Islam. A few nights into the voyage, something rouses Pi from sleep and he proceeds up onto the deck of the cargo ship, where he comes to the quick realization that something is terribly wrong. As the ship flounders in the black night, crew members are lowering one of the lifeboats into the churning waves and force Pi into it. The lifeboat breaks away from the main boat and Pi watches despairingly as the ship, his parents, his brother, and the crew disappears into the malevolent ocean. Accompanying Pi on the lifeboat is a zebra with a broken leg, a vicious hyena and dour orangutan. With ferocious intent, the hyena attacks and kills the hapless zebra following quickly with killing the orangutan.
To Pi's great astonishment, he discovers the zoo's ferocious Bengal tiger, "Richard Parker" hiding under the tarpaulin covering the front of the boat. After Richard Parker leaves his lair and dispatches the hyena, Pi realizes the dilemma regarding the tiger and himself effectively inhabiting the same limited space onboard the lifeboat. Pi fashions a raft out of any buoyant material he can find on the lifeboat and separates himself from the tiger on his makeshift craft. Providing water and food for Richard Parker keeps Pi's mind engaged and gives him the purpose he would not have otherwise had in order to persevere.
After 227 days adrift, Pi and Richard Parker wash up on the shore of Mexico, where the tiger promptly disappears into the jungle without a backward glance. Japanese officials arrive to question Pi in the hospital where he is recuperating and when they do not believe his account regarding the shipwreck and his survival, he relates another, more believable version.
The story throughout is narrated by an adult Pi (Irrfan Khan), while Suraj Sharma portrays the 17 year old survivor. Pi's story is told to a writer (Rafe Spall), who listens enthralled to the spell-binding tale. It is left to the viewer to decide on the meaning behind the tale, whether or not Pi's account of the events is a fantasy envisioned in Pi's mind to deal with his circumstances, or a metaphor for the actual events that occurred on the lifeboat.
The only thing I regret now, is not watching the splendid special effects in the movie in front of a giant screen with a pair of 3D glasses perched upon my nose. This movie is definitely a must-see and is sure to become a classic.
This title is available in DVD, Book, Book on CD, Downloadable EBook and Audiobook formats.