Fabulous Fiction Firsts #520

Plague Land * * by S.D. Sykes. Dispatched to a monastery at the age of seven, now at seventeen Oswald de Lacy assumes the title Lord of Somershill Manor when his father and two older brothers too, succumb to the Plague that has decimated the countryside. Left at home are his overbearing mother and his dangerous and unmarried sister Clemence.

In quick succession, local villagers Alison Starvecrow and her sister are found murdered, which the ambitious village priest blames on a band of demonic dog-headed man. It is now Oswald's responsibility to solve the crimes. But every step Oswald takes seems to lead him deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.

"Sykes adds an intricate and intriguing debut (the first of a planned series) to the ever-widening pool of medieval-era mysteries. Thrilling plot twists and layered characters abound in this rich tale of murder and mystery in 14th-century Kent."

Readers might enjoy watching the Brother Cadfael series, based on mysteries by Ellis Peters; and Hugh De Singleton series by Melvin R. Starr.

Sadly, this brings to mind The Siege Winter, a stand-alone by the late Ariana Franklin (and completed upon her death by her daughter Samantha Norman), whose award-winning series based on the character of Adelia Aguilar, a medieval woman forensic pathologist will be fondly remembered by historical mystery fans.

* * = 2 starred reviews

Download of the Day: March 29


Midwestern Gothic: Spring 2011 - Issue 1

Midwestern Gothic aims to collect the very best in Midwestern fiction writing, cataloging the oeuvre of an often-overlooked region of the United States ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

Download of the Day: March 28


Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

The classic Victorian coming-of-age novel of the orphan Pip, the coincidences and contrivances that mark his upbringing.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

New TV Shows @ AADL, Pt. 2

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. Here are some new-to-AADL series:

Grantchester, Season 1
It's 1953 and Sidney Chambers is vicar of Grantchester, a village just outside Cambridge, England. Sidney's is a quiet life. He tends to his flock, keeps up with his jazz collection, and does his best to contain his passion for beautiful heiress Amanda Kendall. But when one of his parishioners dies in suspicious circumstances, Sidney quickly finds that people confide things in a parish priest that they would never tell police. Based on the Grantchester Mystery novels by James Runcie.

WPC 56, Series 1 and 2
Set in England's West Midlands in 1956, the show follows determined Gina Dawson, the first woman police constable to serve in her hometown, as she struggles to gain acceptance in the male-dominated world of policing. Sometimes dismayed by the patronizing sexism, bullying, corruption and racial prejudice that she encounters every day, Gina remains undaunted and sets out to prove her worth, make a difference and earn some respect.

Murder in the First, Season 1
San Francisco homicide detectives investigate what originally appear to be two unrelated murders. Ultimately, they learn both victims have ties to a Silicon Valley prodigy.

Ntsf:sd:suv, Season 1
Never forget? Terrorism hasn't, and neither will the NTSF:SD:SUV. In a world where threatening danger looms large and Homeland Security won't secure itself, San Diego's citizens can't afford not to trust in the NTSF. Short for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle, the show is a parody of action and police dramas.

Halt and Catch Fire, Season 1
The series is set in the Silicon Prairie of Texas in 1983 and depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #519 - “When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss

Man at the Helm * by Nina Stibbe (Love, Nina : a nanny writes home), an impressive first novel, has been compared to P. G. Wodehouse in its pacing; and Gerald Durrell's memoir My Family and Other Animals (1956), about an eccentric family's relocation to the Greek isle of Corfu, and a BBC Masterpiece Theater adaptation.

The narrator, 9-year old Lizzie Vogel has lived a charmed life. But when his homosexual affair is discovered, Lizzie's father packs them off to the tiny village of Flatstone, where life for the Vogels takes a drastic turn. The new neighbors are hostile and disapproving (of divorcees and fatherless children), and Lizzie's theatrical mother slips ever more into drinks, pills, and obsessive playwriting. Lizzie and her all-knowing older sister fear that the infamous Crescent Homes for Children is in their future, unless they could find a new husband for their mother, and a new "man at the helm" for the household. As one unsuitable suitor follows another, chaos ensues. Lizzie confronts the downright craziness of grown-up love and learns that sometimes a family needs to veer catastrophically off-course in order to find true happiness.

"An extraordinarily well-written, deeply satisfying read about an unusual, highly entertaining group of people." "Charming and bittersweet, with a very English flavor, this social comedy is distinguished by Stibbe's light touch and bright eye." Check out the New York Times Review.

Everlasting Lane * by Andrew Lovett is "(a) captivating, absorbing, and suspenseful evocation of the spells of childhood in a timeless coming-of-age tale."

After the death of his father, 9-year old Peter Lambert moves with his mother to the village of Amberley, and a cottage on Everlasting Lane. As the new kid, he is befriended only by the other two outcasts in his class - chubby Tommie and the neighborhood bossy Anna-Marie. Escaping the bullies, they find pleasure and solace in the countryside and soon meet up with local eccentrics who prefer solitude.

At home, Peter is disturbed by the growing awareness that his own aggrieved mother might be falling apart - first by changing her name, and then expressly forbidding him from entering a locked room in the attic.

Written in beautiful prose, "as charming and haunting as the movie Stand By Me... (w)ith nods to such children's classics as Alice in Wonderland, Lovett's first novel, inspired by events from his own childhood, contemplates the often very fine line between imagination and reality."

* = starred review

Download of the Day: March 27


Mochimochi Land's Jumbo Gnome Pattern - Anna Hrachovec

Knit your very own charming, huggable gnome, using this pattern from Mochimochi Land.

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

Want to find out about next week's Download of the Day TODAY? And get a whole heap of bonus DotD points in the process? Start playing the Lowdown of the Day! Follow the clues to figure out the item ahead of time. And the first find gets the most points, so move fast!

Home: a work of art for children and adults

The concept of “home” has meant a lot of different things to people over the ages and is still unique for each one of us today. Artist Carson Ellis makes her solo debut with a beautiful picture book, titled simply Home, that explores the meaning and concept of home. A snail shell, a covered wagon, an igloo, a castle surrounded by a moat… all are or have been home to something or someone at a given point in time. Ellis even weaves in fantastical homes: fairy houses, boots, and more are included in this wonderful book. In some of the mythical houses, Ellis does not include a description of who lives there, but instead asks readers to imagine what sort of creature they think would be suited to the structure. The clever combination of traditional, non-traditional, and fanciful homes will inspire children (and adults!) to think of “home” in a new way.

You may recognize Ellis’ work: she is the illustrator of the Wildwood series and the artist for the band The Decemberists. You can visit her website to see more of her awesome talent!

Download of the Day: March 26


The Tale of Ginger and Pickles - Beatrix Potter

A favorite children's tale... about taxes and the dangers of credit?

Looking for more great things to download? Try going to our Downloads page for music, books, videos, podcasts, even patterns! And check out the Download of the Day every day for more great recommendations from AADL!

New TV Shows @ AADL, Pt. 1

The library is always acquiring additional TV shows and new seasons of them, be they hot and new, or oldies but goodies. For many new ones you can now get the entire season in one check-out, as all the discs are in one case with an extended check-out period. A slew of shows just hit the catalog.

Here are some new-to-AADL series:

TURN: Washington's spies, Season 1
A historical thriller set during the Revolutionary War. Abe Woodhull is a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island who bands together with his friends to from the Culper Ring, an unlikely team of secret agents who not only went on to help George Washington turn the tide of the war, but also gave birth to modern spycraft.

The Accused, Series 1 & 2
One by one, defendants are led into court to face their fate. Willy and Frankie, Helen and Liam, family man Kenny and seventeen-year-old Stephen are ordinary people, or so it seems. Are they innocent or guilty? Will the jury make the right decision?

The Last Ship, Season 1
After a global viral pandemic "wipes out" over 80% of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 men and women) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, to stop the virus and save humanity.

Manhattan, Season 1
Set against the backdrop of the greatest race against time in the history of science; the mission to build the world's first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The series follows the project's brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.

The Power, Season 1
The series follows James St. Patrick, "Ghost", owner of a popular New York City nightclub and major player in one of the city's biggest illegal drug networks. He struggles to balance these two lives, and the balance topples when he realizes he wants to leave the drug ring in order to support his legitimate business, and commit to his mistress.

Fore more TV shows, be sure to check out AADL’s lists for HOT TV shows, as well as NEW TV shows.

All About That Space, No Tribbles!

Readers interested in astronauts, planets, stars, and discovery will love AADL's new youth nonfiction books on space!

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space, by Dr. Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman, will have you hooked from the first page! Professor Astro Cat and friends travel through space to discover the composition of the sun, relative sizes of the planets, and a step by step process of how the Apollo II astronauts landed on the moon! Each page is highly visual with engaging graphics and interesting facts. Did you know that the International Space Station orbits the Earth 15.7 times every day? Or that objects falling into a black hole experience spaghettification? Check out this colorful book for a wild ride and even more amazing space facts!

How to Be a Space Explorer: Your Out-of-this-World Adventure by Mark Brake makes YOU the astronaut! First, get ready for space in a gravity simulator and use light-years to discover just how far apart the planets really are. Check out all the different materials used in your space suit like nylon tricot, spandex, and mylar. Real photographs of different types of spacecraft and tips for making your own bottle rocket take you on your way! Up, up, up into space until you're touring the moon and looking for signs of life. You'll feel like you're really there with this incredibly fun and interactive book.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson paints a beautiful picture of the life of celebrity scientist Carl Sagan! A trip to the World's Fair as a child inspired him to dream big. He spent a lot of time at the library learning about stars and one day became the astronomer and cosmologist that so many people know about today! This book is a great biography for beginning readers with stunning illustrations.

Are you like Carl Sagan and just can't get enough science? Check out AADL's other books on space and science tools!

Syndicate content