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Showing posts from 2007

The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

I came to Bosco for the quiet. That's what it's famous for. The silence reigns each day between the hours of nine and five by order of a hundred-year-old decree made by a woman who lies dead beneath the rosebushes--a silence guarded by four hundred acres of wind sifting through white pines with a sound like a mother saying hush.
--opening lines of The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman

This is the second novel by Carol Goodman that I've read; the first that I read was her debut novel, The Lake Of Dead Languages. Both novels are good, and I have decided that I'm going to read more Carol Goodman once I get through the four or five books I already have lined up after this one.

The Ghost Orchid is part ghost story, part mystery, part historical novel, and, on a very subtle level, part romance. The story is narrated by Ellis Brooks, a first time novelist, who has come to Bosco, a residential writer's retreat in New York state, to write her first novel. Brooks' novel is b…

An Unfortunate Prelude To A Fortunate Review

Before I start the official review, I just really need to get something off my chest. Sometimes I really hate computers and the mysterious things called "cookies" that most websites need enabled in order for you to be able to log in. I don't know what happened with the computer at the circulation desk here at the library, but tonight I could not log in to this account no matter what I tried... blogger says "User Account Doesn't Exist," and I have to move everything over to a google account (which I thought was moot because I did that with the original registration process when this blog was created) at which point I will have access to new and improved features! Whoa.

But I can't sign in to the google account because the dear computer won't eat cookies even though I have told it that it is allowed to do so. Then I try to log in to blogger on the computer back in the office and, lo and behold, I can log in! AND there is NO mention of "migr…

The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems From Grimm Fairy Tales edited by Jeanne Marie Beaumont and Claudia Carlson

This is a collection of poems by various contemporary poets (some well known, some not so much) based on the fairy tales collected by the brothers Grimm in the early 1800's in Germany. The fairy tales the poems are based upon range from well known tales, such as those of Snow White and Cinderella to lesser known tales, such as "The White Snake" or "The Girl Without Hands." Some poems offer a meditation on the tale itself or a look at the tale from an entirely new and unexpected perspective.

This is probably one of my favorite poetry collections and holds a special place in my heart because not only do I love poetry, but I also love fairy tales. In fact, in college I did two independent studies that focused on the fairy tale genre and a thesis case study of the tale of Snow White. I collected 30-50 versions of the tale, including Greek and Armenian versions. There is even supposed to be an Appalachian version of Snow White, though I've been unable to find a …

Let's Talk About Your Favorite Book!

I'm a little late with this link, but we have posted a new video on our YouTube channel. It asks for comments and video responses to get a discussion going about our favorite books! It stars our fearless leader here at the library, Ms. Sheila! You can view the video at our channel at We already have a couple comments and a few video responses. We'd love to hear from you, too!

So exciting!

Bones To Ashes by Kathy Reichs

I've been a longtime reader and fan of Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series, and so I'm now submitting a review of the latest installment for the series called Bones To Ashes, which was released a couple months ago. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the series, it follows a forensic anthropologist named Temperance Brennan. She splits her time between North Carolina where she teaches on the faculty of the state university and consults with medical examiners when they need a forensic anthropologist and Montreal, Quebec, Canada where she is on the staff of the province's medical-legal lab (she works for the office of the medical examiner). A forensic anthropologist works on murder cases in which there isn't much left of the victim... for example, if all that's left is bones or the victim was burned beyond recognition, Brennan is called in to examine the bones to determine cause of death and in some cases to determine identity as well.

In Bones To Ashes

The Myth Of You And Me by Leah Stewart

The Myth Of You And Me tells the story of the fractured friendship between two women. The aftermath of its destruction for one of the women is felt for years as it deeply influences her life choices and relationships with others. By the closing pages of the book you hope the issues that dissolved the friendship can be resolved so that the two women can repair their relationship, and the narrator (who is one of the women) can move past the event that dissolved her friendship with the woman who was her best friend for so many years.

Ultimately the most compelling element about the book are the characters; you feel their betrayal, and you hope they can find the strength in themselves to move on. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys reading about the travails of friendship and the painful fallout when a friendship is suddenly, seemingly irreparably broken.
This book is available upon request from Annville Free Library, Lebanon Community Library and Palmyra Public Library.

The Global Etiquette Guide To Europe by Dean Foster

This book claims to contain "everything you need to know for business and travel success." It is divided into sections organized by culture (for example, Latin culture) that are further divided into chapters organized by country (for example, Italy and Spain are Latin cultures that each have their own chapters). Each chapter is organized the same way and shares that country's customs, manners (etiquette!) necessary for a successful business trip to that country; it offers insights into how and why a specific country's people behave in a certain way. Each chapter opens with brief descriptions of the country's history and culture as a people before getting into other details, like government and demography or its educational system.

While it is interesting to read about the differences and similarities in customs, peoples, and their respective behaviors and histories, chapter after chapter of the same organizational structure--right down to repetition of phrases wor…

Question For Blog Readers

So the previous review for 20th Century Ghosts made me think about something. I've thought a lot about what I read and why I read what I read and what I don't read and why I don't read what I don't read. Now I want to know. What do you read? Why do you read what you read? What don't you read? Why don't you read what you don't read? How do you choose the books you read? You can respond by posting a comment directly to the blog by clicking on 'post comment' below or you can jot your thoughts down in a few sentences on a piece of paper and hand it to the person at the circulation desk the next time you visit the Matthews Library. Who knows, maybe what you write will end up here on the blog. For that reason, you may sign your name to your comments when you hand them in at the desk, but you don't have to because you can also do it anonymously if you wish.
I can't wait to read what you have to say, and I look forward to hearing from you! Don't …

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

20th Century Ghosts is really a misleading title. With a title like that the reader expects more supernatural, less science fiction/fantasy, more ghosts, less...weird inflatable people? This collection of short stories written by Joe Hill (also the author of a novel, Heart Shaped Box) run the gamut from horror, science fiction, fantasy to ghost story.
Normally I do not read science fiction/fantasy. Normally I do not read short story collections either, and when I do, it doesn't last long. I read a short story here, skip a few that bore me, read another, and then decide the book isn't worth my time, so I ditch it and move onto the next thing--another novel.
Over the years, actually throughout my college years through one assignment or another, I've been forced to analyze what I read and why I read what I read, and this has recently lead me to think a lot about why I don't read what I don't read. The list of what I don't read or at least the things that I never…

Next (2007)

The movie is called Next because the main character, Cris Johnson a.k.a. Frank Cadillac, played by Nicolas Cage can see exactly two minutes into his future. Johnson is sought by an FBI agent named Callie Ferris, played by Julianne Moore, who wants him to help her track down a stolen nuclear bomb using his unique gift for "precognition." He does not want to do this and spends a good part of the movie dodging the FBI team tracking him. Then he meets a young woman (a woman young enough to be his daughter and this bothers me) named Elizabeth Cooper, played by Jessica Biel, and it's love or romance or whatever. The important thing--the thing that draws Johnson to Cooper--is that when they're together, he can see much further into his future than two minutes, and he wants to know why. In the end, Johnson must help the FBI to save the woman he loves. Johnson chooses a course of action that will presumably protect Cooper from all contact with the bad guys who are also onto t…

The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen

I've read all the books in Tess Gerritsen's Dr. Maura Isles (an M.E. for Boston) and Det. Jane Rizzoli series. The series focusses on two women who solve mysteries and fight crime; books in the series tend to take turns on who is the focus of the action. For example, one book might have Isles at center stage, while the next one has Rizzoli at center stage. The Bone Garden, Gerritsen's most recent book, is actually a stand alone novel, though it does feature a cameo appearance by Isles at the beginning of the book.

The action flips back and forth between the present and 1830. In the present a woman named Julia is trying to fit together the pieces of a hundred year old series of murders and solve the mystery of the old bones found buried in the back yard of her new house. The majority of the action takes place in 1830 in Boston where the aforementioned series of murders is in full swing; it is up to two medical students and a recent Irish immigrant to Boston named Rose to…

Spotlight On Tea Party!

This isn't necessarily a review, more like a spotlight on a fun, new title that has recently been added to our collection here at the Matthews Public Library. I was excited to preview it before it went out on shelf. Members of the Northern Lebanon Area Friends of The Library may find this title especially helpful since they started the tradition of the annual tea party held at least once year in one of the upstairs classrooms as a fundraiser for the library. Admission for the most recent one was $5, and it featured a live reading of poetry.

Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties With Recipes For Every Occasion, From Fabulous Showers To Intimate Gatherings by Tracy Stern with Christie Matheson.

Sample themed tea parties include a Morrocan Valentine's Day Dinner, a Mother's Day Tea, and a Proper Afternoon Tea. Ideas include guidance on invitations, decorations, menus, recipes, and favors. The book features beautiful photos, creative ideas, helpful hints, and simple recipes.


In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…

Premonitions by Jude Watson

Today we have a guest reviewer contributing to "A Series of (Un)Fortunate Reviews" and her name is Samantha; she's been volunteering here at the library for the past few weeks. She is reviewing Premonitions by Jude Watson.

This book is incredible. It is about a young girl named Gracie whose mother has recently died. After her mother dies, Gracie starts having premonitions. I think that this is a good book because it goes through Gracie’s mind and shows her feelings and expressions about her mother’s death. This book has many fantastic adventures.

If you would like to read this book you can request it from Annville Free Library or Lebanon Community Library.

-Reviewer Samantha

Meet Julie by Megan McDonald

Hey, all you American Girl fans, Meet Julie by Megan McDonald is the first of six stories about an American Girl named Julie Albright.
The year is 1974. Julie is a nine year old girl who lives in San Francisco, CA, and she's about to experience a lot of changes in her life. Some of these changes include her parents' divorce, changing schools, and moving away from her best friend, Ivy Ling. Meet Julie takes you on a journey with Julie as she learns that she needs to take control of her life and take a stand for what she believes in.
In the back of the book the author has a section called "Looking Back: America in the 1970's." This section explains some of the historical events and movements that took place in the 1970's.
Other titles in this series are:
Julie Tells Her Story
Happy New Year, Julie
Julie and the Eagles
Julie's Journey
Changes For Julie

They can all be found at J/Fic/Mcd
You might also like to try another new American Girl book called Good Luck, …

Charlie Parker Series by John Connolly

We have uploaded yet another taped review to our YouTube channel located at This review discusses a series of books featuring Maine private investigator, Charlie Parker. It is written by the wickedly talented John Connolly. You can view the video here.

The video features interviewer, Ms. Natalie, a former library assistant, and the reviewer for this installment is Ms. Angie. We hope you'll check out this video, and perhaps give the featured titles a try.

The titles in the series are as listed below:

Every Dead Thing is located here at Matthews and also available upon request from Annville Free Library, Palmyra Public Library.

Dark Hollow is currently only available upon request through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

The Killing Kind is available upon request from Lebanon Community Library.

The White Road is available upon request from Palmyra Public Library.

The Black Angel is available upon request from Annville Free Library and Lebanon Community Library.


Disturbia and Transformers

This review is two-fer because both films, Disturbia and Transformers, star the actor Shia LeBeouf. Both films were nearly wall-to-wall thrills and action.
Disturbia is about a troubled teenage boy who is under house arrest. Throughout the course of his house arrest, he must come up with ways to entertain himself after his mother shuts off his Xbox and iTunes accounts and disables his TV. Unfortunately, he never heard of picking up a book and READING because he turns to voyeurism to overcome his boredom. He spies on various neighbors, observing their secrets and eventually comes to suspect that one of them is a serial killer. Thrills, chills, and even laughs ensue as the boy and two of his friends embark on an unlikely, but highly entertaining and very intense, mission to prove that this neighbor is indeed who they suspect he is... or is he? I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys thrillers, psychological suspense, mystery, drama, and heart stopping action. David Morse, Car…

PostSecret by Frank Warren

This will be a fairly unique review as it will span a blog, books, and a museum exhibition. Scratch that because I've just had a burst of inspiration--it's our first review of a phenomenon! This phenomenon is called PostSecret, and it was created by a man in MD named Frank Warren. Basically it began with a postcard campaign in which Warren distributed blank postcards in public places asking folks who found these postcards to write a secret on it and mail it in to him anonymously. The movement began with only a few hundred to a couple thousand postcards distributed by Warren himself and quickly exploded nationally and internationally. I believe that Warren has received upwards of hundreds of thousands of postcards from anonymous people divulging their most private secrets and wishes. You can see a sample postsecret above; I thought this one especially appropriate considering Fredericksburg's status as "Chicken Capital Of The World."
Every Sunday Warren posts …

Driving Lessons (2007)

This is the first DVD review for the blog, and I'm very excited! I'm reviewing the movie Driving Lessons (2007), starring Rupert Grint, Julia Walters, and Laura Linney.
This is a British film set in England and Scotland. Two neurotic women--Walters, a retired actress, and Linney, the boy's mother--quite literally fight for a boy's (Grint) soul one summer as he grows into adulthood. Both women admittedly each have a screw loose in their heads. The boy's mother wants him to remain a boy--someone over whom she has complete control, who is basically at her beck and call. While the actress depends upon the boy for friendship and companionship, ultimately she does indeed have his best interests at heart as she provides the encouragement and support for him to break from his mother and become a living, thinking being in his own right who will stand up for himself and his own best interests. Bizarre situations, neurotic dialogue, and hilarity ensue.
The driving lessons o…

Nothing Left To Lose by Mat Kearney

This is our first review for a music CD. I've never written a review for music before, and during the course of writing this one, I've come to the realization that writing reviews for literature is much easier for me that reviewing music.
I am reviewing a CD called Nothing Left To Lose by the artist, Mat Kearney. This CD is not available in the county library system, but you might be able to request it through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system. You can also go to to listen to some of his songs, and if you do a search for him on you can listen to his songs and view some of his music videos to sample his music.
Mat Kearney. Most of you will want to know--what genre does he sing? Is he country? No. Is he rock? No. Is he pop? Well. Yes and no. Is he rap? Well. Again: yes and no. Kearney wrote or co-wrote every song on this CD and co-produced the CD. He is an extremely talented songwriter and vocalist his style can best be described as …

From Paperbacks To Pumpkins!

We have added a new video to our YouTube channel at The video features our fearless director, Ms. Sheila, demonstrating how to turn a paperback book into a pumpkin decoration. It also features a clip of the very dark and scary basement of the library where we store all the books for the annual book sale. It's a must see for all you crafters out there!

Enjoy the video! Post a comment to let us know what you think of the craft project!

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game...In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child...You can walk a mile... In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world...In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.From the opening lines of Nineteen Minutes

In nineteen minutes, you can read a chapter of a book, losing yourself in the world in which its characters live. In nineteen minutes, you can write a review for that book and publish it to this blog... Well. That last one is a stretch.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is the story of a boy and a community. The narrative can be divided into two parts that are effortlessly and skillfully interwoven by the author. One part tells of the aftermath of the nineteen minutes it took for the boy to shoot up his high school, and the other part tells the story of the events and experiences of the preceding seventeen years that led the boy to commit such an un…

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

The library is proud to present its first (un)fortunate review vlog post for the title A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. The book was reviewed by a familiar face for some of you here at the library: former library assistant, Ms. Natalie. From time to time we may feature guest reviewers.

We hope you enjoy the vlog. I know we enjoyed making it.

Remember you can visit directly anytime to view all of our videos. We hope you'll visit often, and leave us a message!

Welcome to Matthews Public Library!

We are very excited to announce that the library has uploaded its first vlog entry to YouTube. It's a little four minute video of a virtual tour of the library in photos; it is narrated by our director, Sheila.

Here is the direct link to the video:

The library's channel or site on YouTube can be visited here:

We hope you'll take the time to check out this video, and leave us a comment either here on our blog or on YouTube.

Words Are Categorical

I couldn't resist reviewing this gem of a series we have here on our shelves at the library: Words Are Categorical penned by Brian P. Cleary and illustrated by Jenya Promitsky and Brian Gable. It's a great resource for both teachers and parents.

There are five titles in the series: Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What Is An Adverb?; Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is An Adjective?; A Mink, A Fink, A Skating Rink: What Is A Noun?; To Root, To Toot, To Parachute: What Is A Verb?; and Under, Over, By The Clover: What Is A Preposition?

Each title focuses on one of the five parts of speech and even lists a definition for that part of speech at the beginning of the book. Cleary then uses rhyme and repetition of sounds to take the reader on a zany adventure that reviews examples of that part of speech. Cleary's verse is combined with colorful, eye catching, fun illustrations that re-inforce the content of the text and the examples of that part of speech. This fun and zany series is…

Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

It's our first review ever at A Series Of (Un)Fortunate Reviews!

The title is Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough. This is one of my favorite children's books. It's about a little boy named Eddie who loses his teddy named Freddie. Eddie goes on a search for his teddy, and he can't believe his eyes! The story is suspenseful but ends with a happy finale. If you enjoy this story, you may also enjoy the sequel, It's The Bear! by the same author. It is just as charming and suspenseful.
You can find both of these titles here at the Matthews Library at E/Alb in the children's section.
Have you read this book with your kids? What did you think? Let us know by posting a comment!
--Reviewed by Kathy


Welcome to the Matthews Public Library's blog. This is our inaugural entry, and we are very excited to be able to introduce to you A Series Of (Un)Fortunate Reviews.
Library staff will use this space primarily to post reviews of books and movies we have read or watched; we may also post reviews of music or other library held materials about which we are currently excited. These reviews may take the shape of the written form in typed entries posted on the blogspace as well as the audio/visual form in uploaded video entries to youtube that we link to from this blog. This space online offers us myriad opportunities to interact and communicate with our community both at a local and global level. It also offers us the opportunity to stretch our creative muscles in writing and video.
We at the Matthews Library are very excited to communicate and interact with you about all things related to the library and books. We look forward to growing this new endeavor with your help.
And now I'…