Friday, May 28, 2010

The Barbary Pirates by William Dietrich

From the time I was young, I have always enjoyed adventure tales. When I saw William Dietrich’s new novel, The Barbary Pirates, I knew I had to give it a try.

The hero, Ethan Gage, is an adventurous rake who seems to have a good understanding of his vices and why he gets into trouble because of them. But that doesn’t stop him, and just makes him more likeable. In this novel, he has to stay one step ahead of a murderous pack of pirates and power seekers led by Aurora Somerset, who is without a doubt the nastiest women I have ever come across in fiction.

There are a number of Ethan Gage novels, and reading them in order is probably best, but not necessary. Dietrich’s tales are fiction, intermingled with historical events and characters. Ethan Gage feels a little like an early 19th century Indiana Jones. Fans of Clive Cussler’s fast paced fiction may want to try one of Dietrich’s novels.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Online Ebsco Databases

I heard somewhere that May is Car Maintenance month. With that in mind it seems like a good time to talk about Ebscohost’s Auto Repair Reference Center. This is an online service provided to the province’s libraries through Manitoba Libraries Consortium Inc. It is available on the South Central Regional Library website under online resources.

Auto Repair Reference Centre includes repair information for thousands of models covering 1945 to the present. The information includes hundreds of thousands of drawings, step-by-step photographs, technical service bulletins and recalls, and enhanced wiring diagrams for easy viewing and printing.

This is a great resource for vintage car enthusiasts, or the novice mechanic who needs basic information. All you need to do is type in your library card number. If you don’t have one already, just pay a visit to your local library.

Another incredibly useful Ebsco online database is Small Engine Repair Reference Centre. This is an incredibly comprehensive online tool that describes routine maintenance for ATVs, mowers, small farm tractors (including vintage tractors), generators, motorcycles, boats, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft, snowblowers, snowmobiles, tillers and other small engines.

Small Engine Repair Reference Centre offers information on routine maintenance such as tune-ups and brake service, and extensive repairs involving engines and transmissions.

To access this or any other online database, just go to search on the library’s home page. Scroll down to online databases and click where indicated. Type in your library card number. To search the Small Engine Repair Reference Centre, you will need to know the make and model of the item you are searching.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lumby series by Gail Fraser

Over the past decade there has been an explosion of series fiction. The library cannot hope to keep up with all of them, but staff has found some favourites. Fans of Jan Karon will love the Lumby series by Gail Fraser.

The first book in the series The Lumby Lines introduces the reader to a young married couple, Pam and Mark Walker, who give up the frantic life of the city, to what they hope is a more relaxed pace of life. They purchase a fire-ravaged old monastery with the intent of converting the historic landmark into a country inn. As might be expected, the residents of Lumby look on with suspicion. The cranky newspaper publisher is openly hostile, and the local tradespeople offer sometimes helpful, often humourous, and hapless assistance.

The town’s mascot, a plastic pink flamingo named Hank, seems to take on a life of his own, mysteriously appearing in various settings.

The Lumby series offers a wonderful glimpse into small town living and the occasional unexpected snippets of wisdom.

The Weed that strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan C. Bradley

Last year, Alan C. Bradley’s bestseller The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie introduced us to Flavia De Luce, the 10 year old chemistry whiz with a passion for poison. The book became an instant bestseller, and readers hoped that a follow-up novel would not be far behind.

Well, Flavia’s back in The weed that strings the hangman’s bag. Again, Flavia must use her quick wit, youthful charm, and her knowledge of chemistry to solve a mystery. This time she becomes involved with a travelling puppet show. When the puppeteer is electrocuted, Flavia suspects it was not accident. Flavia delves into the background of some of the interesting characters involved and finds that there is much more to the story than first thought.

Bradley is a gifted writer and his ability to pen an adult novel narrated by this charming 10 year old is amazing. Who could resist a supersleuth whose only method of transportation is her bicycle named Gladys.

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

Those who knew that Alice Hayward’s husband was abusive were not surprised to learn that he had killed her and then killed himself.

As often happens in these circumstances friends and acquaintances blamed themselves for not having done something to help. The pastor who had baptized Alice the morning of the day she died thought he should have been more aware of how bad the situation was. The pastor finds his faith in God slipping away after the murder. Alice’s best friend thought she should have tried harder to persuade Alice to leave her husband. Then the state’s attorney begins to suspect that Alice’s husband was murdered and finds out that Alice and her pastor were more than friends. Heather Laurent, author of a best seller about angels, arrives in town hoping to be able to help the daughter of the dead couple. Heather had lived through the murder-suicide of her own parents.

As the story unfolds we learn many secrets and are shocked by the ending.

While my sister sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

While my sister sleeps

Barbara Delinsky is a favourite author of many readers and While my sister sleeps is one book that staff have read and enjoyed.

The main character Molly Snow must come to terms with her sister Robin’s massive heart attack, and subsequent coma, and the agonizing decision over whether to continue life support. Robin is a star athlete, and has always been the favourite child and Molly’s guilt over their sibling rivalry is a major theme of the story.

While cleaning out her sister’s room Molly discovers Robin’s diaries and some of the family secrets in them. Molly risks her mother’s scorn as she works toward accomplishing her sister’s deepest desires.

Barbara Delinsky is a master storyteller and has penned another “hard to put down” novel that examines family relationships and the importance of honesty and forgiveness.