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Staff Recommendations


  • Red planet blues

    by Sawyer, Robert J.

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    June 3, 2013

    Call Number: SF

    Robert J. Sawyer is one of our best science fiction writers, and here he tackles one of the genre's bigger challenges -- the SF/mystery hybrid.

    The potential pitfalls in mixing the two, I think, have to do with reader expectations. SF readers enjoy -- and yes, this is a broad generalization -- the surprise of new gadgets, gizmos, concepts, technology. They'll let an author introduce something new six pages from the end of the book if it makes for an exciting finish. Mystery writers, to make an equally broad generalization, want a fair chance to solve the puzzle, so they... Read Full Review

  • White bicycles : making music in the 1960s

    by Boyd, Joe, 1942-

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    June 3, 2013

    Call Number: 788.99092 B789

    Joe Boyd is an iconic American music producer and executive who has been involved in the recording industry for five decades. His interest in music production began when he watched the pre-Dick Clark Bandstand on television in Princeton, New Jersey. On his first production gig, Boyd brought the blues artist Lonnie Johnson to Princeton. He subsequently enrolled in Harvard, where he became part of the bohemian folk scene in Cambridge.

    In Cambridge, Boyd became acquainted with folksingers Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and Maria D'Amato. He developed a relationship with George Wein,... Read Full Review

  • Dirt Candy : a cookbook : flavor-forward food from the upstart New York City vegetarian restaurant

    by Cohen, Amanda.

    May 23, 2013

    Call Number: 641.63 C6775

    Before your mother was trying to get you to eat your vegetables, someone was doing the same to her. All the way back to John Harvey Kellogg’s vegetarian diet that was intended to restore the body’s purity (But what will I eat!? Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, of course) and Sylvester Graham’s sweet and crunchy cure for onanism (the Graham Cracker), American health foods have framed vegetables as bland, better-for-you alternatives to meat – rather than the delicious ends in themselves that they are. Dirt Candy aims to change this.

    Built around recipes from... Read Full Review

  • The Jersey sting : a true story of corrupt pols, money-laundering rabbis, black market kidneys, and the informant who brought it all down

    by Sherman, Ted, 1953-

    Reviewed by: Eileen Ybarra, Librarian, Digital Content Team

    May 21, 2013

    Call Number: 364.38 S553

    In a fascinating true crime tale of financial deception, betrayal, fraud and political corruption The Jersey Sting  recounts a long joint investigation between the then New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office of Chris Christie and the FBI. The linchpin of this investigation was Solomon Dwek, an FBI informant who eventually netted dozens involved in a web of government corruption and money laundering throughout New Jersey. Many New Jersey politicians and rabbis from the New Jersey and New York Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish communities were taken down. Even a kidney transplant... Read Full Review

  • Hard magic

    by Correia, Larry.

    May 13, 2013

    What if Phillip Marlowe or Sam Spade were able to use magic to assist them in solving mysteries? And what if the culprits they were tracking had magic as well? What would a pre-World War II world infused with magic be like? And how would the addition of magic alter the progress of world events? All of these questions are explored in Hard Magic: Book I of the Grimnoir Chronicles, by Larry Correia.

    Jake Sullivan is a decorated World War I vet, an ex-con, a private eye and an Active (person with magical abilities). He was released early from the Special Prisoners’ Wing of... Read Full Review

  • Me Before You

    by Moyes, Jojo, 1969-

    Reviewed by: Loren Spector, Young Adult Librarian, Felipe de Neve Branch Library

    April 23, 2013

    Will Traynor was once a handsome, young, successful, vivacious man living in London. Now, after a tragic accident, he is a 35-year-old quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair and his parent’s house in a small English town for the rest of his life.

    Louisa (Lou) Clark is a quirky, 26-year-old recently unemployed waitress in a long-term, dead end relationship, living at home with her financially struggling family in the same small English town.

    When Lou, desperate for work to help support her family, interviews for a job as a caregiver she never expects to get the job -... Read Full Review

  • Gods like us : on movie stardom and modern fame

    by Burr, Ty.

    Reviewed by: David B., Librarian, InfoNow

    April 22, 2013

    Call Number: 301.55 B968

    Burr expounds on the nature of stardom from the early silent era to the present day in this provocative and well-researched tome. Iconic movie stars, including Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise are profiled. Burr questions the meaning of stardom in the Internet age, when stardom is often accidentally obtained, the major film studios have limited power, and stars have more currency as "brands" than actors.  While Gods Like Us is not a comprehensive overview of Hollywood history, Burr... Read Full Review

  • People who eat darkness : the true story of a young woman who vanished from the streets of Tokyo and the evil that swallowed her up

    by Parry, Richard Lloyd.

    Reviewed by: Eileen Ybarra, Librarian, Digital Content Team

    April 17, 2013

    Call Number: 364.952 P265

    Lucie Blackman’s body was missing for months before the Tokyo police found her. In fact, it initially took  gargantuan efforts on her father's and sister’s part in creating publicity for Lucie’s case, in hopes that she would be found. At one point, even then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair publicly entreated the Tokyo police to quickly find Lucie.  The truth of Lucie’s untimely death, and the truth about the person who killed her, would ruin a family and expose inadequacies and inner workings of the Tokyo police department and the Japanese criminal legal... Read Full Review

  • Heading out to wonderful : a novel

    by Goolrick, Robert, 1948-

    Reviewed by: LAPL Staff, Librarian

    April 15, 2013

    World War II has only recently ended, and life has started to return to normal in sleepy Brownsburg, Virginia. Charlie Beale arrives, looking for a place to finally settle down, and with his natural charm, he’s quickly accepted as a member of the community. When he meets the beautiful young Sylvan Glass, it’s love at first sight, and Sylvan is more than ready to be swept off her feet by a handsome and dashing beau. She has dreams of Hollywood, glamour, and the movies – dreams that she feared had died for good when her family married her off to the town's richest man... Read Full Review

  • The mad scientist's guide to world domination : original short fiction for the modern evil genius

    April 12, 2013

    Call Number: SF

    The mad scientist has been a science fiction standard since the genesis of the genre with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818. Many novels and films revolve around a scientific genius and his (or her!) plans, but are they necessarily mad? And are their plans truly nefarious or only "evil" from a certain point of view? Some of the genre’s best and brightest contemporary authors explore this archetype from the inside out with fascinating, insightful and often hilarious results in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination.

    Within this collection of... Read Full Review

  • Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe

    by Sáenz, Benjamin Alire.

    April 12, 2013

    Call Number: YA

    Two 15-year-old boys, each spending the afternoon at the community pool: “I can teach you how to swim,” one says to the other. With this kind and innocent offer, a relationship begins that will alter both of these boys, and their families, as they forge a friendship that will help them on their journey to becoming men.

    Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza is the classic loner. He prefers his own company to that of others. He is also perpetually bored, moody, and has bouts of inexplicable anger. With nothing better to do on a summer morning in 1987, he heads to the... Read Full Review

  • Sailor Twain : the mermaid in the Hudson

    by Siegel, Mark, 1967-

    April 2, 2013

    Call Number: 740.9999 S571

    The year is 1887, and the steamboat Lorelei courses the foggy Hudson River. Its captain, Sailor Twain, is a dutiful man who runs the ship much on his own. Prowling the deck late one evening, he encounters a mermaid struggling to pull herself onboard. Blood flows out of a wound in her side, across her breasts and her gray, pungent skin. Twain clumsily carries her into his cabin, at once lustily drawn to and repulsed by her. He dresses her wound, and nurses her back to health in secret.

    As the mermaid grows stronger, her presence transforms Twain's cabin into a seabed... Read Full Review