Reviews

Want to know what our librarians and staff are reading? Browse through a variety of reviews added to our catalog from a variety of genres.

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  • To have and have not. by Hemingway, Ernest,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 20, 2019

    Tagged: Movies & Television

    Wonderful Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film which does a marvelous job of giving you a feel for Hemingway if you are not acquainted with Hemingways works they are timeless and he was captivated by the sea. This is cutting edge 1940s action and acting at it's finest back when the takes were long and actors became heavily imbued by their role choices.

    During World War II, American expatriate Harry Morgan helps transport a French Resistance leader and his beautiful wife to Martinique while romancing a sensuous lounge singer.

    Classic Hemingway.

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  • Moana
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Sep 20, 2019

    Tagged: Children Movies & Television

    Here is a refreshing new Disney movie and the first one to be based on indigenous Hawaiian mythology. Fast paced, full of the requisite song and dance numbers and some less involved sidekick characters here is the story of a tribal chiefs daughter who must complete a coming of age ritual before she can take her place as ruler of her people. This is the island movie you have been waiting for, Dwayne Johnsons influence is unmistakable and it's got that laid back beach vibe to even the dangerous scenes making it very universally viewable by the youngest and oldest audience members. You might even pick up some Hawaiian beyond Aloha and Mahalo. Try; Maui no ka oi !

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  • Beloved by Morrison, Toni.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Aug 10, 2019

    Tagged: African American Author Events Biography & Autobiography Poetry

    In Tony Morrison's Beloved based on the true story of Margaret Garner a mother is so agrieved at the world as she knows it and the slavery her family has been entrenched in that she does what only one other classical character throughout history has done: murder her own child to spare it the pain of the world. Euripides, the Greek writer from the 5th century BC writes this via his character Medea in one of his plays. Here, Toni Morrison has given us an African-American spiritual version which is a classic which echos an ancient classic which calls for an end to the destruction of slavery across all history. Beloved is haunting and is the Novel which won her the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Humanity owes her a huge hat tip for documenting tragic crimes against humanity in a such epic dialogue (through which she will be immortalized). Rest In Peace. 2019.

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  • The black elfstone : the fall of Shannara by Brooks, Terry,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Tamoul Q on Aug 2, 2019

    Tagged: Fiction

    All is not well for the High Druid of Paranor. Forces within seek his position, forces without seek his life. Exile seems the easiest alternative. At least Drisker Arc can stay alive.

    Tavo and Tarsha Kaynin were born gifted with the Wish Song’s magic. In Tavo, the gift has taken a dangerious turn, while for Tarsha, the gift brings the ability to heal.

    Their parents have shielded Tavo for as long as they could, but he’s gone from killing the neighbors pets to a bully in the village. Sending him to their uncle's farm is making bad matters worse for Tavo. 

    Tarsha knows she can save her brother, but only with the skill of a trained Druid. She set out to find a teacher before its too late to help Tavo.

    Can Drisker be the answer to Tarsha’s search; and can Tarsha be the motivation Drisker needs to get back all he has lost?

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  • The savior by Ward, J. R.,

    Reviewed by Tamoul Q on Aug 2, 2019

    Tagged: Fiction

    If you have been following the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the name Murhder will give you chills. His life is the stuff of nightmares. Held in a cold, lightless cell by the male who fathered him; the male responsible for the death of his mother... Murder's one goal in existence is get his hands around his Sire's throat and end him.

    Sara's brother has one chance to survive. All she has to do recover "the beloved" for a powerful male and he will release her brother - at least that's what he promised. The tool he's leaning her for the job just isn’t what she expected either.

    Together, Murhder and Sara find they have more in common than a mission of rescue or revenge.

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  • African samurai : the true story of Yasuke, a legendary black warrior in feudal Japan by Lockley, Thomas,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Tamoul Q on Aug 2, 2019

    Tagged: Biography & Autobiography

    Yasuke has seen more the world than most. He has learned to speak fluently in most languages used for commerce. His current employer sees that he has the best of everything in exchange for the shield Yasuke’s skills provide.

    The Jesuit Order has sent its highest ranking official to Japan to “convert the heathens” to Christianity, and advance Mother Church. The methods he will employ would be viewed as coercion by today’s standards, but in 1590, Jesuits controlled the Black Ships. The Black ships were not just conveyers of Silk from China. The Black Ship Captains were gun dealers whose cannons could tip the balance of power between feuding Lords. In the game of politics, one wrong move killed thousands.

    Against this backdrop, Yasuke’s story reads like a stranger in a strange land that learns to embrace his differences and celebrate his deadly skills.

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  • The rage of dragons by Winter, Evan,

    Reviewed by Tamoul Q on Aug 2, 2019

    Tagged: Fiction

    Evan Winter brings different cultural voice to the fantasy genre with a story as rich and compelling as any penned by Tolkien or Martin. 

    Omehi Queens have the power to call the Guardians - dragons. The Gifted are women with the ability to infuse Omehi warriors with tremendous endurance and strength during battle, their abilities come at dire cost.  They have survived near extinction, rebuilt their society, and lived in relative peace long enough for  grandfathers to become grandfathers.

    The Hedeni have discovered invaders are spreading and taking land that does not belong to them. Hedeni raiders test the stranger’s defenses and find they are not immortal. If they can bleed, they can be killed; and killed they shall be.

    Only the "Guardians" will stand between the Omehi and a terrible repeat of a history that ended in defeat.

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  • Avon : building the world's premier company for women by Klepacki, Laura Ann.
    ★★★☆☆

    Reviewed by Robert S on Jul 20, 2019

    Tagged: Business & Economics Business & Entrepreneurs

    With all the excitement of a math exam, Klepacki takes us on an uninspired tour of Avon throughout its history. The exception is the fire breathing foreword by Andrea Jung, past CEO, that reads like a revised, feminist Think and Grow Rich. Yes, she got fired. For those who love Avon, they will appreciate the detailed company history and product profiles minus the mergers and acquisitions musical chairs of the 90’s.The book was published in 2005 when Avon was a behemoth and a love of America and Wall Street. Since then it has taken a roller coaster ride down to penny stock value. Can its business model of independent sales reps survive? Should it have gone to kiosks and stores sooner or avoided them altogether? Better advertising? Read the book and you be the judge. The book and company would make for an excellent case study in business school: how did this debacle happen and why hasn’t it been fixed?

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  • Ballet music by Rubinstein, Anton,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 9, 2019

    Tagged: Music

    This is worth listening to but I was hoping to do a full Ballet Barre to it and it is not that type of Ballet adajio music. It's basically some totally arbitrary classical compositions and some of the Ballets are the more obscure ones such as labayadere so only the true professional is going to know what steps go to which song. If however; you are a classical musican and you want to play along or you're just sick of your own music you need a cleanse than this album could be the low key all purpose background noise of your dreams.

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  • Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House by Sims, Cliff
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 9, 2019

    Tagged: African American Author Events Biography & Autobiography One Book, One Philadelphia Politics Summer Reading History

    If you haven't been keeping up with the current POTUS's tweets, faux-pas, and just general incongruencies reading this book could be a good solution; reading it will not lead to impeachment but it will catch you up on what if any redeeming qualities "The Donald" possesses and solidify the fact that he has undoubtedly been enjoying what he must see as his starring role. Irregardless of where you stand on the fence about his tactical prowess and leading capabilities this inside glimpse is excellently written by Cliff Sims who will earn your respect and keep you engaged and enthused and believing that minimal good is coming out of the four years and that 'loyalty' is getting the job done(No one knows what that job is but it might have to do with running America). I believe Mr. Sims is up to the task of portraying the man in a biased, positive, non-offensive but clearly tongue in cheek manner which will make you apreciate just how awkward it must be to try and uphold a vestige of democracy and want to advocate for the full re-instation of the normal number of positions and advisors to the president in the White house. Democracy needs full resusitation and this book shows the depth of the power of the president for better or for worse so thank you Cliff Sims.

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  • Global weirdness : severe storms, deadly heat waves, relentless drought, rising seas, and the weather of the future
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 9, 2019

    Tagged: Children Environment & Nature One Book, One Philadelphia Philadelphia Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Digital Collections Science Business & Entrepreneurs Summer Reading

    This book is a co-authored wonderful addition to your personal collection of science books. Full of all things relevent to differentiating between Climate Change v.s Global Warming while in professional company or around your friends this pocket sized book is very thought provoking. Appropriate for nerds of all levels and non-nerds and future nerds. While this book is not full of any immediate steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint it will motivate you to do something. Read this because no matter what you believe; the temperature in far Northern Alaska was 85 degrees the other day for three days and there are billions of people that need to grow more consious about their carbon footprint. You can lead others to the light if you read this; either way earth is warming and we are along for the ride. I recommend you read this with milk and cookies. There is no plot. It is pure facts*.
     

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  • Maleficent
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jul 9, 2019

    Tagged: Children Family Movies & Television

    Maleficent is a malevolent fairy whose power and joie de vivre is un-fairly taken from her by a human whom she had trusted and loved. This is a sleeping beauty fairy story re-telling which explores some broken kinds of love and grudges and damaged feelings issues which are a bit complex for the younger kids to grasp. With little violence the film will be tolerable for a wide range audience however the Disney happy ending leaves even the adult viewer with hope and a good feeling although the message comes across as kind of a 'blood is thicker than water' tale. You will really enjoy the sidekick, the plot, and the ending and what Mrs. Jolie clearly put into the role. In fact; this might be her best role.

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  • Shadowhunters and downworlders : a Mortal instruments reader by Claire
    ★★★★☆

    Reviewed by Tamoul Q on Jun 20, 2019

    Tagged: LGBTQ

    Shadowhunter - The Child of an Angel and a human.

    Downworlder - the child of a demon and human.

    Both walk our streets and have ordinary lives; but in the shadows a war rages.  Members of Valintine's Circle seek to rid the mundane (ordinary human) world of anyone with demon blood. What would you do to save innocent people whose only crime was to be born different?

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  • Captain Marvel by Perlman, Nicole, et. al
    ★★★★☆

    Reviewed by Tamoul Q on Jun 20, 2019

    Tagged: Movies & Television

    Captain Marvel - 2019 features a US Airforce Pilot who crashes and is restored by the Kree. As Virs accepts a mission back to earth she discovers the enemy before her is less dangerous than the one at her back. 

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  • The Eternal Maria Callas
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jun 15, 2019

    Tagged: Music Performing Arts Special Collections

    This is a wonderful metrage of Maria Callas's interviews and performances highlighting closeups of her face providing a unique glimpse not only of her vocal prowess but her skills as an actress, as someone who really lived her role as an Opera star and a clear telling for the un-aquainted of what went into those relationships and what worked and when some of them stopped working how she dealt with the demands on her. Easily the greatest singer of all time this is not to be missed.

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  • The elephant whisperer : my life with the herd in the African wild by Anthony, Lawrence.
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Jun 15, 2019

    Tagged: Psychology Science Summer Reading Animals and Nature

    Here is a true story about a naturalist turned elephant connoisseur struggling to put together an Eco-tourist reserve in South Africa. Lovingly told true stories of how the African elephants came to thula thula and all the efforts ongoing daily to ensure a safe livelihood for future generations of elephants. There are seldom few books devoted exclusively to elephants; and while Lawrence’s dog Max features slightly at one point this book is in a class by itself...not only does it offer the reader a James Harriet style view of animal husbandry but it is adapted for all ages and treats delicate subject matter such as death, neglect, poaching, and human error in an educational manner. Not only are you certain to love The Elephant Whisperer; you will be ready for your first nature conservation tour whenever it comes.

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  • The hate U give
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Apr 27, 2019

    Tagged: African American One Book, One Philadelphia History

    The

    Hate

    U

    Give ---is the movie based on the best-selling novel by Angie Thomas telling the story of Starr Carter who lives in two worlds: the poor/victimized black neighborhood where she resides and the mostly white prep school she attends. This uneasy balance is shattered when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood friend by a white police officer. Facing pressures from all sides, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right. There are multiple heros in this film and it's a must be seen for the whole family. Great acting and casting.

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  • Eat dirt : why leaky gut may be the root cause of your health problems and 5 surprising steps to cure it by Axe, Josh,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Apr 27, 2019

    Tagged: Cooking & Nutrition Medical Science

    Dr. Axe explains that 70% of our immune system is located in the gut; when it's under attack, our health suffers. Leaky gut syndrome is thought to be the ground zero for many of the most confounding health crises including but not limited to allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, diabetes, digestive diseases, arthritis, chronic fatigue and even autism. By ditching hand sanitizers, and supplementing with more essential oils for personal products, reducing antibiotics usage, managing stress, and incorporating more pro and pre biotic rich foods into our diets we can conquer the over exposure to toxins in our lives. I really like the individual recepies, and candida gluten-free supplement recommendations and all the solutions at the end of the book. The only downside is that many authors are not accentuating the importance of proper label reading and sticking to exclusively organic products in order to avoid trace amounts of transfats and other toxins so I am not sure this book by itself is a good detox book; but very relevent and informative.

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  • Meaty : essays by Irby, Samantha,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Apr 27, 2019

    Tagged: African American Art Biography & Autobiography Literature Social Science

    Samantha Irby has a very distinct voice. Deftly crafting a narrative of her awkwardest moments in life, what stood out to her and what will likely appeal most to you is her best skill. Succulent peaches is the best ladylike term I can come up with to describe the dexterity with which she explains the perverse situations she finds herself wading through in the modern social media fueled era. I could also tell you the writing is crass but digestible, un-becoming of a woman and possibly not fit to be shelved next to other more lawyerly books but who am I to judge? If you can't stomach the writing because it's too 'twenty first century' for you then at least check it out and take it home for three weeks and admire the jacket art because this is quite possibly the cutest book cover that will ever go to print. Ever.

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  • Ten arguments for deleting all your social media accounts right now by Lanier, Jaron,
    ★★★★★

    Reviewed by Ellen A on Apr 27, 2019

    Tagged: Databases & Electronic Resources Social Science Digital Media

    You might have trouble imagining life without social media but virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier insists you are better off without them and after reading his book I am inclinded to agree. Whether it's because it's poisonous grip tends to bring out the worst in us, it tends to make politics terrifying, and disconnect us from other people we are starving for real contact with I am certain you will find the strength to reduce, or cull your previously incessant usage of social media. Lanier manages to be uplifting while including a well organized argument, dry wit, novel acronymns to drive home his point. Do you really want to put an algorithm in charge of what you see all the time? Good I thought not. Happy Reading.

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