Book Review Tulsa 10 2

event guide
Book Review
Luther: The Calling
Obsessive detective solves the
Page 4
One Last Thing
Before I Go
Bedtime Is Canceled
Page 8
Now, that’s news!
Page 10
The Grass King’s
Dearie: The Remarkable Life
of Julia Child
By Bob Spitz, Random House, Knopf,
$29.95, 557 pages
December 2012
The combination of an incredible and
unique life story and great writing make for
a fun and interesting book. Julia Child was
unlike anyone else. Her height and sense of
humor made her stand out while her cooking
methodology made her an icon. Her candor
and straight forward opinions make it clear
that she was always herself and did not fear
disapproval from anyone. Although she was
“to the manor born,” she chose an adventurous life over that of a Pasadena patrician.
She married for love not dynasty, and her
passion for her spouse probably led her to
perfect her cooking to please him. It is clear
that the feeling was mutual; Paul Child organized Julia’s cooking shows and staging,
and wholeheartedly supported her celebrity.
Theirs was a great love story. They met while
they worked together in Burma for the OSS
(early wartime spy organization). The methods she developed in her work there was a
See Dearie, cont’d on page 8
A quest to discover the roots of
her family’s wealth
Page 13
Computing for
Ordinary Mortals
Amazingly understandable explanation of how computers work
Page 15
43 Reviews
Book Reviews
Biography &
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
January First
By Michael Schofield
Crown Publishers, $25, 291 pages
Check this out!
Michael Schofield and his wife always
knew that their daughter, January, was different. She learned to speak at eight months
and knew all of her letters by 18 months. At
three she could read, write and recite the
periodic table of elements. Unfortunately,
January barely slept, had no friends and
frequently erupted with violence. January’s
imaginary friends forced her to misbehave
and even hurt people. After the birth of her
little brother, January’s violence escalated
and focused on the new baby. Fearing for
their son’s life, the Schofields sought help
from psychiatrists, eventually learning that
January suffered from schizophrenia.
Schofield showed us the struggle of dayto-day survival, trying to keep his family
safe and intact. He advocated for his daughter, even when her illness threatened to tear
their family apart.
January’s heartbreaking story fascinated
me, and I could not put this book down. I
found myself holding my breath, hoping
that January and her family could survive
her illness. The Schofields were regular
parents who made mistakes, who had disagreements, who didn’t always follow advice
from doctors, but their dedication to their
children was heroic, and their efforts saved
their daughter and their family.
Reviewed by Kerry Lindgren
And Live Rejoicing
By Huston Smith with Phil Cousineau
New World Library, $15.95, 207 pages
Check this out!
The great religious teacher Huston Smith,
aided by his friend Phil Cousineau, has collected high points from his life to illustrate
the hymn And Live Rejoicing. Anyone who
has heard Smith talk about world religions,
his experiences and a life of the spirit will
love to read this book, simple as it is. At one
point, just reconnecting with his wife sends
his spirit into exaltation. At another time,
an arrest and interrogation by Japanese authorities makes for an intense realization
of his rights as a human being, albeit also a
“national treasure.” Smith also writes of his
encounters with famous personages such as
AA cofounder Bill Wilson, Joseph Campbell
and Martin Luther King Jr., among others.
I particularly enjoyed his story of Aldous
Huxley whose wit and range of knowledge
delighted Smith.
Smith has written 17 other books, the
most famous being the classic The Religious
of Man. He was born in China in 1919, the
son of missionary parents, and has lived,
taught and traveled the world. In the Epilogue of this book he quotes Dag Hammarskjold: “How long the road is. But, for all the
time the journey has already taken, how you
have needed every second of it in order to
learn what the road passes by.”
Reviewed by Julia McMichael
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 2
Photo by Guy Mendes
Saturday, Dec. 8 • 10:30 a.m.
Central Library, second floor • Fourth Street and Denver Avenue
Wendell Berry, American writer and farmer, has spent his career
exploring man’s relationship with the land and the community
in his more than 50 works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. He
is known for his Port William series, which includes the novels
“Nathan Coulter,” “Jayber Crow,” “Hannah Coulter,” “Andy Catlett:
Early Travels” and others. Berry and his wife, Tanya, live on a
125-acre farm in Port Royal, Ky.
Monday, Dec. 3 • 12:10-12:50 p.m.
Central Library, Aaronson Auditorium
Join District Judge William Kellough for an introduction to
Wendell Berry’s works. Sponsored by the Friends of the
Tulsa City-County Libraries.
Book Review
Tulsa City-County Library
400 Civic Center
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103
Ph. (918) 549-7323
Ross Rojek
[email protected]
Biography & Memoir......................................2
Mystery....................................................4 & 5
Fiction................................................. 6, 7, & 8
Grayson Hjaltalin
[email protected]
Lori Freeze
Diane Jinson
Lori Miller
Robyn Oxborrow
Holly Scudero
Kim Winterheimer
Shanyn Day
Christopher Hayden
Erin McDonough
Lisa Rodgers
Justin Salazar-Stewart
Elizabeth Tropp
Teen Scene......................................................9
Tween Reads...................................................9
Picture Books.......................................10 & 11
Kids’ Books...................................................11
Popular Culture............................................12
Mind & Body Fitness.....................................13
Urban Tulsa Weekly
The Tulsa Book Review is published
monthly by 1776 Productions, LLC.
The opinions expressed in these pages are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the
views of the Tulsa Book Review or
1776 Productions advertisers. All images
are copyrighted by their respective copyright holders.
All words ©2012,
1776 Productions,
Cookbooks.................................................... 14
Happy holidays from all of us at the
Tulsa City-County Library! Many people will receive an e-reader or iPad® as a
gift for the holidays. If you receive one,
please know that the library has more
than 10,000 e-books and e-bestsellers
for you to borrow, many of which are
featured in this publication. Plus, we
are adding more titles nearly every day,
and the library community is working
with an ever-growing list of publishers
in order to make their books available
via public libraries.
Owning an e-reader does not mean
you will forever read books only in an
electronic format. People who read enjoy reading in many formats. Every
day we meet people who read e-books
as much as they read traditional books;
we even meet people who read books
on their smartphones. Some of our customers borrow from the library as much
as they purchase from the bookstore.
They also may buy books online. All of
this shows us that people who read love
to do it and they read A LOT!
Please take advantage of all the amazing resources your public library has to
offer. Whether you prefer paperback,
hardback or electronic, we are here to
connect you with the best books and
other resources on a particular topic
or genre of interest to you. So, please
be sure to ask your librarian for help or
We hope you enjoy this holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you
at the library soon. And always remember: Libraries change lives!
Warmest regards,
Nature & Science...........................................15
Adult Creative Writing.................................16
Gary Shaffer
Tulsa City-County Library CEO
Coming Up!
For your New Year’s resolutions, set a goal to
learn a new language using Mango Languages. Or perhaps you want to change careers
next year. If so, check out Job Now! If your
child wants to become a better student, he
can achieve his goal with Homework Help
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Book Reviews
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
Leader of the Pack
By David Rosenfelt
Minotaur Books, $24.99, 360 pages
Check this out!
is a lawyer whose clients tend to be guilty.
He is so wealthy
that he rarely has to
work, that is, unless
a case arises that interests him. Enter
Joey Desimone, who
has spent six years in
prison for a murder that Andy believes
he didn’t commit. New information arises
when Andy pays a visit to Tony’s uncle
Nicky. Suffering from senility, Nicky lets
slip that the murdered man might have been
involved in illegal activities.
Now Andy is determined to get to the
truth and see his client released from prison. He is pursued by gangsters, including a
hit man who tries to run him off the road,
while people close to the case begin dying or
are kidnapped as hostages.
Andy as a character is extremely sarcastic, something only a fictional character
could get away with in real life. The book is
a light but entertaining read.
Despite the title and cover photo, this
book has very little to do with dogs, other
than an occasional appearance by Andy’s
golden retriever, Tara. Leader of the Pack is
one of several dog-themed titles from the
Andy Carpenter mystery series.
Reviewed by Leslie Wolfson
Luther: The Calling
By Neil Cross
Touchstone, $25, 368 pages
Check this out!
This is one of the
best police procedurals I’ve read so far this
year. The quality of the
prose, so sharp and
visual, picks you up
at the beginning and
drives you through
to the end with real
drama and mounting
excitement. There’s just one problem. Many
of you will find it on the violent side.
Featured in this year’s Primetime Emmy
Award shortlists, Luther has been winning
praise on both sides of the Atlantic for its
hard-hitting, darkly psychological themes.
Now the screenwriter, Neil Cross, has written a prequel novel called The Calling. This
shows Detective Chief Inspector Luther’s
decline into an emotionally disturbed state.
His marriage is in serious trouble, and his
loyal deputy, Ian Reed, is in hospital — the
victim of a punishment beating for interfering in the business run by a local criminal.
This is not the best time to pick up a horrific
murder case with child abduction elements.
Nevertheless, he pitches in and, by bending
the rules, gets enough evidence to make a
profile of the killer(s). Now it’s a race against
time as a second murder occurs and an older
child goes missing. Quite simply, it’s a wonderful read!
Reviewed by David Marshall
Murder Most Austen: A Mystery
By Tracy Kiely
Minotaur, $25.99, 304 pages
Check this out!
Tracy Kierly has
surely set the cat
amongst the pigeons in this, her
fourth Jane Austen-inspired contemporary mystery
novel. This witty
and charming episode takes place in
Bath! England, that
is, where Ms. Austen herself once trod the
very streets idolized by Elizabeth Parker,
who adores all things Austen. When Elizabeth’s Aunt Winnie (another Austen devotee) secures two extremely hard to get tickets to a conference there, the two intrepid
travelers set off for the UK.
Mayhem will ensue, guaranteed, unfortunately without Elizabeth’s on/off fiancé
Peter and her extremely aggravating sister
Kit. But not to worry, there are plenty of
other attendees around to get in the way
this time.
The major speaker at the conference is
one who delights in finding the ‘secondary and very dark sub-stories’ in Austen’s
books. This time he really has a corker to
unleash! Except that he is found dead before he can do any damage. He has a current
wife as well as a former one (with whom he
had a son) and a dazzled female student
who, it turns out, is carrying his child. Is
one of these women guilty? Not necessarily
– there are other suspects as well, including
even Elizabeth and Aunt Winnie! Heaven
forfend. These clever mysteries should be at
the top of everyone’s reading list!
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 4
Search the library’s catalog at to reserve your copies now.
The Cleaner
By Paul Cleave
Joe is in control
of everything in
his simple life,
both his day
job as a janitor
for the police
and his “night
work.” He isn’t
bothered by the daily news reports
of the Christchurch Carver, who, they
say, has murdered seven women.
Joe knows though that the Carver
killed only six. He knows that for a
fact, and he’s determined to find the
copycat. He’ll punish him for the one,
and then frame him for the other
six. It’s the perfect plan because he
already knows he can outwit the
police. Originally published in 2006
in Cleave’s native New Zealand, The
Cleaner is a chilling and darkly funny
thriller that will leave you clamoring
for his next.
Killer Sweet Tooth
By Gayle Trent
implicated when
she stumbles on
the murdered
body of a local
dentist, cake
Daphne Martin
works to solve
the mystery and clear her name, an
effort that is complicated by rumors
about an affair and a traveling
convention of Elvis impersonators.
By Irene Hannon
reporter Moira
Harrisons turns
to a handsome
private detective
to help her solve
a mysterious
the police say
never happened, but someone
will stop at nothing to keep the
truth hidden.
Blood Relative
By David
How well do we
know our loved
ones? In the
wake of a brutal
murder, architect
Peter Crookham is
forced to confront
this question,
launching him on a dangerous
quest to uncover the truth. When
Peter arrives home late for a dinner
engagement with his beautiful wife,
Mariana, and his journalist brother,
Andy, he encounters a bloodbath:
Andy has been brutally stabbed to
death, and a nearly catatonic Mariana
is bathed in his blood. Convinced
Mariana is incapable of murder, Peter
vows to clear her name. But when he
discovers that Andy had been secretly
investigating Mariana’s past, Peter can
no longer trust his instincts. Desperate
for answers, he travels to Mariana’s
childhood home in East Berlin and finds
himself caught in a web of intrigue
involving the notorious Stasi and a
terrible secret that someone will kill for
in order to keep hidden.
The Preacher
By Camilla
In the fishing
community of
Fjallbacka, life is
remote, peaceful,
and for some,
tragically short.
Foul play was
always suspected
in the disappearance 20 years ago
of two young campers, but their
bodies were never found. But now, a
young boy out playing has confirmed
the grim truth. Their remains are
discovered alongside those of a
fresh victim, sending the tiny town
into shock. Local detective Patrik
Hedstrom, expecting a baby with
his girlfriend Erica, can only imagine
what it is like to lose a child. When
a second young girl goes missing,
Hedstrom’s attention focuses on
the Hults, a feuding clan of misfits,
religious fanatics and criminals. The
suspect list is long but time is short –
which of this family’s dark secrets will
provide the vital clue?
Book Reviews
The Look of Love: A Piper Donovan
Mystery (Wedding Cake Mysteries)
By Mary Jane Clark
Avon, $7.99, 384 pages
Check this out!
Mary Jane Clark’s
The Look of Love has
an intricate, detailed,
and complex plot
filled with an interesting array of characters
that are interconnected at the spa Elysium.
Flores is mistakenly
attacked with a face
full of acid meant for her boss Jillian Abernathy, Jillian not only postpones her wedding but also narrows down her guest list.
Piper Donovan is invited to Elysium for a
week at Jillian’s invitation to make her wed-
ding cake. As Piper arrives in L.A., a murder
occurs within the confines of Elysium, and
Piper is thrown into the middle of the investigation. The murderer is targeting Jillian,
and Piper steps in to help save her life.
Mary Jane Clark does an outstanding
job of creating a suspenseful atmosphere
throughout The Look of Love. The vast
amount of characters with different stories
and vengeance on their minds makes for
constantly changing suspects and leaves
readers guessing until the end. The story
takes many chilling turns that make it hard
to put the book down. Clark certainly knows
how to write a mystery thriller that will
leave the hearts of readers pounding and
wanting more. New and old Clark fans alike
will love this book.
Reviewed by Lindy Gervin
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
A Fool’s Gold Christmas
By Susan Mallery
Harlequin, $16.95, 320 pages
Check this out!
The inhabitants of
Fool’s Gold, Calif., are
so sweet they must
have a built-in immunity to tooth decay!
But how refreshing to
read a story in which
people are nice to
each other and continually get together
to help out on the various projects required
to make the town’s Christmas Festival a
huge success.
Not everything goes smoothly here;
there are frequent changes of plans and
weather to bog things down a bit, but overall, it’s a joyous read.
When football cheerleader Evie Stryker
is accidentally tackled during a game, she
knows her dancing career is really over. Desire is not an adequate substitute for talent
in the ballet field, but if she can’t dance for a
living, she can certainly teach. And that she
does very well.
The dance studio is located one floor
above the law office of Dante Jefferson, who
objects to the clog dancers overhead. Before
he knows it, he’s totally bush-whacked by
the effervescent Evie, who just wants to get
along. Each of them has an unhappy past
and family history to overcome, but when
the entire community turns out to support
Evie and her girls, how can a mere male lawyer hope to ignore it?
This is a delightfully heartwarming tale
that should only be attempted with a tissue at the ready! Holiday music in the background is a bonus.
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
Carolina Home: A Dare Island Novel
By Virginia Kantra
Berkley Sensation, $7.99, 294 pages
Check this out!
Life hasn’t been
easy for Matt Fletcher. A single dad who
has put his own life
and dreams on the
sidelines to support
his parents and teenage son, he’s a comm it m e nt - a v o i d i n g
fisherman in a dying
industry. When he meets Allison Carter,
the attraction is magnetic. Yet neither of
them wants to jump into a relationship.
He doesn’t want love with strings attached,
and she doesn’t want to join the long list
of women who have dated Matt Fletcher.
When Matt’s brother shows up with a child
of his own, a girl who desperately needs
love and direction, Matt has no choice but
to turn to Allison for help. His feelings for
Allison are frightening to him; what happens if she leaves Dare Island with a piece of
his heart? If Matt can learn to let go of his
past, the future could be better than he ever
imagined. In this story of personal growth,
family ties, and the close-knit South, there
is always room for a little more love in one’s
Virginia Kantra’s fresh, sweet romance is
utterly satisfying and a joy to read. Perfect
for a cool fall or winter evening by the fire,
it’s a celebration of love and second chances.
The characters are realistic and wonderfully
flawed, and they will capture your heart
within the first chapters. Carolina Home
truly stands out in the romance market and
is a heartwarming tale. I can’t wait to read
another of this author’s masterpieces.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Ruined by Moonlight
By Emma Wildes
Signet Eclipse, $7.99, 336 pages
Here we have two
young ladies, cousins; one is married,
the other betrothed.
Neither of them are
currently deliriously
happy, desirous of being so.
The married Alicia, Lady Heathton,
is in love with her
husband Ben, but does he really love her?
She determines to find out. The unmarried
Lady Elena Morrow has granted her father’s
request to accept a marriage proposal from
the rather bland Lord Colbert, but then she’s
always been a considerate, dutiful daughter.
The seemingly steady Regency world in
which these people live and play is disrupted
by the disappearance of Elena at the same
time that Randolph Raine, Lord Andrews,
disappears from his usual haunts. Ran is a
notorious rake who tends to avoid unmarried ladies. Elena and Ran awaken from a
drugged sleep in a large bed in a romantic
bower. Their outer clothing is missing, and
nourishment mysteriously appears. How
did they get there? More urgent is why are
they there?
When Elena’s father asks the former spy
Ben to please find his daughter, these stories intersect in myriad ways, providing romance and mystery in abundant doses. The
solution is a bit of a stretch, but plausible all
the same. As always with this author, the
characters and settings are superb!
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
A Kwanzaa
Community Celebration
WEDNESDAY, DEC. 26 • 6-8 P.M.
1520 N. Hartford • 918.549.7645 • For all ages
Celebrate Kwanzaa with performances by the Light House Academy
students and Louder Than a Bomb poets. Plus, show off your
talents during the “Mamanem” segment of our celebration.
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 5
Book Reviews
story itself. This classic story is masterfully
translated into a book that all readers can
forever enjoy. Rabassa does an outstanding job on the translation, making the book
simple and easy to read, and something
that students and casual readers alike can
appreciate. Penguin has once again made a
wonderful addition to their classics series,
and every Penguin Classics lover will want
to have this story on their shelf.
Reviewed by Lindy Gervin
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
The Double Death of Quincas WaterBray
By Jorge Amado and Gregory Rabassa
Penguin Books, $14, 71 pages
Check this out!
The Double Death of Quincas WaterBray is the story originally written by
Jorge Amado about a drunkard who had
abandoned his family for a life of prostitutes and alcohol. Now, newly translated
by Gregory Rabassa, the story of Quincas is made available to a wider audience.
The story begins with the death of Quincas. His abandoned family attempts to
give him a proper burial, but Quincas’
lowlife friends have other plans. His friends
take him on one last adventurous night of
drinking and revelry before his burial.
Death of Quincas
Water-Bray is full
of raucous characters that make for
a satirical story.
The introduction
by Rivka Galchen makes for
interesting background on Jorge
Amado and a nice
transition into the
The Unfaithful Queen: A Novel of Henry
VIII’s Fifth Wife
By Carolly Erickson
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 291 pages
Check this out!
The wives of
King Henry VIII
have always been
fertile ground for
historical fiction
all, who hasn’t
fantasized about
beheading their
spouse? In The
Unfaithful Queen,
author Carolly
Erickson elegantly takes up the cause for
Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife. While
Catherine’s marital indiscretions are histor-
ical facts, in Erickson’s hands, the motivation for them makes for compelling fiction.
The book is not a typical rehash of Henry’s poor leadership, but a fresh look at a
complex man with political and personal
desires. Erickson bravely explores the machinations of court life and reveals sharp insight into the burden of the Crown.
As a girl, Catherine was sent to live with
her step-grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, whose extensive holdings
and aristocratic background had made her
the guardian of many wards who were usually the children of poor but aristocratic
parents. Catherine was still a teenager when
she became a lady-in-waiting for the German Anne of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife.
Having caught the eye of the much older
Henry, Catherine’s fate was sealed.
Eventually, her inability to conceive a
child led to charges of treason, and even
though many of her sins were committed before her marriage to Henry, in an age where
political liaisons meant life or death, the
circumstance of her youthful indiscretions
were ignored during her trial. Even though
Catherine never admitted to infidelity, her
former lovers’ heads were displayed on top
of the London Bridge while she awaited her
own fate.
Reviewed by Sheli Ellsworth
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Visit and use your Tulsa City-County Library card to access JobNow!
This free service is sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust.
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 6
Book Reviews
To Whisper Her Name: A Belle Meade
Plantation Novel
By Tamera Alexander
Zondervan, $14.99, 480 pages
Check this out!
To Whisper Her Name is an excellent melding of real people and places with believable
fiction. It could very well have happened just
this way — even if it didn’t. There are so
many levels in this story, it could easily be
enjoyed by anyone.
Ripley Adam
Cooper is a native of South
Carolina who
didn’t believe
in the customs
of the South,
and he joined
Army. He was
captured and
sent to Andersonville where
he nearly died.
A chance encounter with a slave, known as Uncle Bob
Green, drew Ripley back to Tennessee, once
he was freed and the war was supposedly
over. Of course it wasn’t then, and isn’t even
yet today — 150 years later.
Belle Meade is an important part of the
history of Nashville, being the home of Confederate General William Giles Harding,
who had been captured and imprisoned on
Mackinac Island. His fragile wife, Elizabeth,
bore the brunt of that time, struggling to
keep the plantation alive for her husband’s
return. Eventually, Belle Meade became the
most influential thoroughbred stud farm in
American history.
Now with her husband returned to her,
she also takes in a friend’s orphaned daughter, Olivia Aberdeen, who would otherwise
have been run out of town on a rail. Her
crime was having been pushed into marriage with a man who turned traitor. Even
though innocent, Livvy was tarred by the
same brush and desperate for a home after
George was lynched.
Ripley is on his way to homestead in
Colorado, but wants to learn about horses
from Uncle Bob. On his way to Belle Meade,
he rescues Livvy from a carriage wreck and
escorts her to the stud farm. In spite of himself, he is drawn to her, while trying to gain
the trust of the temperamental horses in his
care. He walks a tightrope of secrecy as only
Uncle Bob knows his real story.
Together, Elizabeth and Olivia form the
backbone of this story, which is also a tale
of gaining trust. They take great risks, but in
the end, receive great benefits.
The longing for each other is evident
whenever Ripley and Olivia are together.
They know they’re meant to be together, but
life isn’t always that simple. They have to
fight for it, and it takes until the next to the
last page for them to prove it to each other.
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
Weapon of Choice
By Patricia Gussin
Oceanview Publishing, $25.95, 328 pages
Check this out!
In Tampa,
chief of surgery
and research
professor Laura
Nelson finds
her hospital’s
intensive care
unit ravaged by
a virulent rogue
Among those
threatened are
daughter and her daugh- ter’s boyfriend.
Aided by her Atlanta-based friend Dr. Stacey Jones of the Center for Disease Control,
Laura helps put quarantine measures into
effect and seeks an effective countermeasure.
Readers soon discover that the killer bioagent has been purposely planted by a mad
scientist who wants revenge on his former
NIH colleague, a man who had attained
great prestige and wealth developing formulas on which the men had collaborated.
As is common research practice, the virulent bacteria strain was developed not for
biotech warfare but rather as a first step toward designing its antidote.
A twin to this bacterial menace is also
a research subject at CDC, where it is clandestinely duplicated by a white supremacist
whose racist venom intensifies when Stacey
Jones, an Afro-American woman, is promoted over him. This man, Charles Scarlett,
is part of a plot to bring catastrophe to an
elite Atlanta gathering celebrating the accomplishments of an Afro-American newspaper publisher. Scores of Afro-American
leaders can be killed by eating bacteria-laced
Switching setting and point of view with
skillful pacing, Patricia Gussin builds enormous tension as time is about to run out to
control the emergency in Tampa and thwart
the plot in Atlanta.
Strongly etched heroes and villains anchor a top-notch biomedical thriller that rivals the best work of such masters as Robin
Cook and Michael Crichton. Set in 1985,
the doomsday premise of Weapon of Choice
seems just as eerily possible today.
Reviewed by Phil Jason
and Talulla prepared for a long life together,
but love stories don’t always have a happy
ending. In Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan,
readers find Talulla grieving Jake’s sudden
death (this takes place in The Last Werewolf).
Now she is on the run from the WOCOP and
avoiding the vampires who want to study
the genetic properties of her blood. She is
fully dependant on the phases of the moon.
Talulla is shocked to discover that she is
carrying Jake’s
baby… and that
werewolves exist.
Duncan proves
that he can
write from the
perspective of
a female just as
well as a male.
Fans may enjoy Talulla even
more than Jake
because she is
partly him and partly this other unique, dynamic character. Jake’s presence is still felt
as Talulla regularly consults his personal diaries. Duncan sets up the story for the next
highly anticipated installment.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin
Perfect Is Overrated
By Karen Bergreen
St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99, 308 pages
Check this out!
The plot of Perfect Is Overrated revolves
around Kate Alger, a new mother and former assistant district attorney. Kate is a
good mother though she suffers from crippling depression. She finds the motivation
to come out of her funk when some mothers
at her daughter’s preschool are murdered.
It appears to be the work of a serial killer,
though Kate can’t help but notice the troubling fact that the deceased mothers had
children in the same high-end preschool.
Kate worries that she could be the killer’s
next victim. Throughout the ordeal, Kate relies on her two best friends: Peg and Miriam.
Peg is a rock of common sense and support.
She has Kate’s
back. Miriam is
the insufferable,
childhood. Readers
get a real treat
as they follow
Kate’s investigative exploits
Traveling the
Mother Road
this winter?
Download the Guide to
Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives
for diners on this route and
many others.
Talulla Rising
By Glen Duncan
Knopf, $25.95, 359 pages
Check this out!
Jake Marlowe believed that he was the
last werewolf on earth – until he met Talulla. Before encountering his soon-to-be
true love, Jake was ready to end his life and
thus end the ceaseless running and hiding
from the World Organization for the Control of Occult Phenomena (WOCOP). Jake
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 7
Book Reviews
and interactions with the awful alpha moms
from her daughter’s school. Woven throughout the plot are the emotional reasons for
Alger’s failed marriage to a New York City
cop. Her character is likable because her
flaws and infirmities are realistic. The crime
element is sufficient to keep readers turning the pages with anticipation, but the best
parts are Bergreen’s odd, awful and occasionally redeemable characters.
Reviewed by Grady Jones
One Last Thing Before I Go
By Jonathan Tropper
Dutton, $26.95, 324 pages
Check this out!
The Versailles is an apartment building
exclusively suited for castoffs of divorce;
men stripped of families and left derelict,
riding on reduced pensions and boredom. A
few nostalgically cling to the faint light of
return, but most have unpacked their suitcases. Among these is Drew Silver who has
been rejected by both mother and daughter
and spends his days by the Versailles pool
in poorly disguised indifference. However,
as fate would have it, he stumbles upon a
second chance to redeem himself — but in
a most unexpected, least to say unconventional way. His Princeton-bound daughter
is pregnant and is asking Silver for help. As
second chances go, the universe has granted him one most twisted, but he’ll take it,
even with the catch. Shortly after the news
of his daughter he discovers that his heart
is failing him, to the point that he could
spontaneously drop dead any second. And
while Silver does have the option of saving
himself with a simple operation (performed
by none other than his ex-wife’s fiancé) he
declines and decides to take what may be
a fatal opportunity to straighten up before
time runs out.
Jonathan Tropper is skillful in the sense
that he truly understands people, and readers will empathize in upturned pebbles of
time-acquired wisdom, unexpectedly iden-
tical to those in their own backyards. One
Last Thing Before I Go depicts first-world fatalism at its best, drawing each sad caricature with ingenuity and enduring hope.
Reviewed by Alex Masri
Lionel Asbo: State of England
By Martin Amis
Knopf, $25.95, 255 pages
Check this out!
In a 1990s
inter v iew,
Martin Amis
Milton’s Paradise
Lost compelling reading.
Like Milton’s
thoroughly unlikable Lionel
Asbo gets all
the best lines.
As in Paradise Lost, viscous dogs, howling
and gnashing their teeth, play a pivotal role.
Lionel Asbo distills some of the stylistic elements of Amis’ earlier books — the bizarre
names and brilliant use of dialect to depict
character and class, as well as the delicious
plot developments — and reveals the seamy
world of extortion and murder, vulgarity
and besottedness. I might add illicit sex to
the mix, however, no sex in this lower-class
world of Diston Town is illicit. Raunchy,
surely. Tormented, traumatizing and violent? Often. Lionel’s motivating force is not
women or recognition, but vengeance, with
his meek nephew Desmond Pepperdine
playing an aspiring, Christ-like journalist,
sympathetic to loose women (his grandmother), loyal and kind. The tensions here
aren’t between race and class as they are in
London Fields, for example; they are moral
tensions between Lionel’s vulgar world and
Desmond’s modest, simple one. I loved this
glittering satire of white working-class Londoners; this tale of incest, alcohol and vengeance gone amok; but I’m not surprised to
hear Amis has since moved himself and his
family to New York.
Reviewed by Zara Raab
By Alix Ohlin
Knopf, $25,
Check this out!
The three central characters from Inside
are all hiding from something. Grace, a
therapist, immerses herself in her clients to
hide from the pain of her failed marriage.
One of her clients, teenager Annie, seems to
be disappearing inside herself due to a dysfunctional family history. Mitch, Grace’s
ex, also a therapist, exiles himself in Alaska
to work with troubled Inuit clients, which
keeps him from connecting emotionally to
the women in his life.
Because none of these characters is
emotiona l ly
people who are
clearly unavailable.
rescues a man
from suicide,
only to fall in
love with him,
even though
he is emotionally dam- aged. Mitch is
obsessed with a woman who has an autistic
son and is clearly emotionally unavailable.
Annie reinvents herself as an actress, using
men and dropping them, and even engaging
in a lesbian relationship. Luckily, at some
point, each of the main characters evolves
into a better person.
Ohlin is an gifted writer. Her literary
novel is emotionally gripping and psychologically intricate, filled with complex and
multilayered characters. It’s a no-brainer
that this book comes highly recommended.
Reviewed by Leslie Wolfson
Death in the Floating City: A Lady Emily
By Tasha Alexander
Minotaur Books, $24.99, 320 pages
Check this out!
Ahhh. Venice. Especially
in the later
Victorian era
was a favorite
British folks.
When Emma
Callum, a former
schoolmate of Lady
Emily, finds
her father-inlaw murdered, and her husband (his son)
missing, she begs for help from Emily and
her husband Colin Hargreaves. The sometimes undercover spies promptly run off to
Venice to investigate.
Tasha Alexander describes the settings
so well, I think one can almost become giddy
from the languid movement of the gondolas
as they make their calm way through the
many canals of La Serenissima.
With sheer persistence, Emily finds
small clues to help Emma find the answers
she seeks. There has been a feud between
her husband’s family and another equally
prominent (although wealthier) one for several centuries. A ring from that other family
is found in the dead man’s pocket. But how
did it get there? And where did the piece of
parchment come from?
An antiques dealer who specializes in
books provides some answers, as does his
daughter, Donata, who becomes somewhat
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 8
of a friend to Emily. There are unsolved
mysteries around every corner, but you’ll
not tire of the chase nor the solutions to the
various puzzles throughout. The ending is a
dazzler. Totally unexpected.
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz
The Spymaster’s Daughter
By Jeane Westin
NAL Trade, $16, 375 pages
Sydney is married to one of
England’s most
poets, theirs is
merely a marriage of convenience. When
goes off to war,
Francis is asked
to be a lady in
waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. Her father,
who is a spymaster to the queen, sends
Francis to London, sending along Robert
Pauley as her servant. There is an immediate attraction between them, but neither of
them act on it ... at least not immediately.
Francis is a plucky heroine: smart, witty,
courageous, outspoken; not the proper temperament for a lady of the court. Francis
is interested in becoming a spymaster like
her father, and secretly begins decoding encrypted messages. Because of her unique
talent, she becomes involved in a cloak-anddagger plot to save the queen.
This historical novel is longer on fiction
than on history. Unlike authors Phillipa
Gregory or Allison Weir, who try to be accurate with historical context, author Westin
has essentially written a romance novel set
in Tudor England. However, it’s not an unpleasant diversion.
Reviewed by Leslie Wolfson
Dearie, cont’d from Cover
precursor to her obsessive approach to the
best possible outcomes in cooking and recipes.
The author traveled with Julia Child
through Sicily in 1992, and admits to being
charmed by her. That fact and the 30 flattering photos make this book a valentine to
America’s favorite chef. The only downside
of this fascinating book is the later chapters
about her decline – and even in decline her
schedule was incredible. This book is essential for Child followers and good writing for
all. Bon appétit!
Reviewed by Julia McMichael
Book Reviews
Teen Scene
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
Search the library’s catalog at to reserve your copies now.
The 39 Clues – Cahills vs.
Vespers: Trust No One
(Book #5)
By Terry Pratchett
Harper YA, $17.99, 359 pages
Check this out!
Dodger lives in Victorian London. He
is a tosher which is
a person who scours
the sewers for trinkets, jewelry, and
small coins. Dodger
is content to live with
his friend Solomon
the Jeweler, until one
night in the middle of a storm he rescues a
young woman from her tormentors. Dodger soon discovers that this is no ordinary
young woman; rather she is the wife of an
abusive prince, who is trying by any means
necessary to kill her. Dodger is quickly embroiled in a quest to both protect his lady
friend and bring the would-be killer to justice.
This book was filled with action, highspeed pursuits, and daring hand-to-hand
combat. I liked the subtle politics of the
London underworld and the way that Dodger glided through them. Dodger was able to
acquire status and renown quickly by dint of
his charm and humor. The characters were
believable, even though there were a lot of
them. This was a really fun read that was
both enjoyable and engaging. I will definitely recommend it to my friends.
Reviewed by Peterson, age 14
Gathering Blue
By Lois Lowry
Houghton Mifflin, $17.99, 256 pages
Check this out!
Kira’s mother has
just died, and the
young girl with a deformed leg is not even
sure if she’ll be allowed to stay alive in
her community. The
village does not take
care of those who are
weak and can’t take
care of themselves. But she hopes that her
skill with tapestry and willingness to work
will give her a reason to stay. It does — even
more than she expected. She ends up living in the village’s main building and being
given everything she needs to contribute to
an important tradition of the community.
Unfortunately, as time goes on, Kira realizes
that there are dangers lurking — but very
different than those she’s always been told
to avoid. There are secrets and even lies.
In this companion book to The Giver, Lois
Lowry creates another isolated community
in which stories are carefully crafted to keep
citizens in line, even though these particular stories are different than those in that
volume. The people in this village live fairly
primitive lives, but they are still somehow
largely without joy. Lowry is immensely capable of crafting places and situations that
make the reader think about life, humanity,
and society.
Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim
Tween Reads
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
Splendors and Glooms
By Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick Press, $17.99, 400 pages
Check this out!
Puppet master Grisini’s helpers Lizzie
Rose and Parsifal are
slaves to his bidding.
Parsifal was plucked
from the workhouse.
Lizzie Rose’s actor
parents died from
diphtheria and an ac-
tor referred her to Grisini.
Clara Wintermute has her father hire the
marionette show for her birthday party and
then she goes missing the next day. When
police show up at Grisini’s apartment with
questions, since the three were the last to
see Clara, Grisini flees. Lizzie Rose learns
later from the landlady that other children
have gone missing after a show. Meanwhile,
Lizzie and Parsifal must now find a way to
make a living or end up on the streets.
See Splendors, Cont’d on page 10
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 9
By Linda Sue Park
When seven
members of
their family were
kidnapped, 13-yearold Dan Cahill and
his older sister, Amy,
got ready for the fight of their lives.
But their enemy, a terrifying group
known as the Vespers, remained
frustratingly elusive. They stay in
the shadows, picking off Cahills
one by one. And now the Vespers
have landed their most serious blow
yet – a blow that strikes at the very
heart of the Cahill family – because
Amy and Dan discover that there’s a
Vesper mole in their innermost circle.
Full Moon Kisses: A Full
Moon Novel
By Ellen Schreiber
Beware of the full
moon. A werewolf
wants to take you
into his world –
forever! Celeste and
Brandon know that
Nash in werewolf form is bad news.
But a new prediction from psychic
Dr. Meadows has Celeste wondering:
Which of them wants to turn her into a
werewolf? The third installment in the
sumptuous series about werewolves
and the popular girl who loves one is
full of danger, mystery and undeniably
romantic full-moon kisses.
Scandal (The Ivy, Volume 4)
By Lauren Kunze
and Rina Onur
Callie thought
she had finally
worked things
out and chosen
the right boy, but
Gregory suddenly
disappears with no explanation,
while she continues trying to prove
herself innocent of authoring the
anonymous Crimson blog and
leaking sensitive information.
Sybil the Backpack Fairy
Graphic Novel
# 3: Aithor
By Michel Rodrigue
Having a fairy friend
can be fun, but it’s
not easy. When
Nina first met the fairy Sybil and
her companion Pandigole, she had
no idea the fate of the world would
end up resting in her hands. After
her defeat in Sybil the Backpack
Fairy #2, the black fairy Amanite
has teamed up with the King of Evil,
Aithor, planning to destroy the “trees
of life” that are found throughout
the world of the fairies. If these trees
are destroyed, not only will the fairy
world fall, but the world of humans
as well. In response, the king and
queen of the fairies charge Sybil and
Nina with the task of stopping Aithor
and Amanite, as Nina gets closer
to discovering the truth behind a
mysterious prophecy that seems to
foretell her future.
(Pretty Little Liars #12)
By Sara Shepard
Its spring break and the pretty little
liars are trading in Rosewood for a
cruise vacation. They want nothing
more than to sail into the tropical
sunset and leave their troubles
behind for one blissful week. But
where Emily, Aria, Spencer and
Hanna go, A goes too. From scuba
diving to tanning on the upper deck,
A is there, soaking up all their new
secrets. The liars better tighten
their life jackets. A perfect storm is
brewing, and if they aren’t careful, A
will bury them at sea.
Emma, Smile and Say
“Cupcake!” (Cupcake
Diaries #11)
By Coco Simon
Emma wants to
be a model, but
membership in the
Cupcake Club might
be all the fame she
needs. The Special
Day wedding salon is running an
ad in the local newspaper, and
they want Emma to model in
the advertisement. When a local
department store also wants to use
Emma as a model, she’s suddenly
very much in demand! But after
running all over New York City for
auditions (and being told over and
over she “just isn’t right”) Emma
realizes being a model is a lot
tougher than she thought. Does
Emma really want to be America’s
next top model or is being a part of
the Cupcake Club sweet enough?
Book Reviews
Pictures Books
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
A Trip to the Bottom of the World With
By Frank Viva
Toon Books, $12.95, 30 pages
Check this out!
by an author
and cartoonist
whose first picture book was
named one of
the Ten Best Illustrated Books
of 2011, this adorable comic book for little
people fulfills high expectations. Based on
Viva’s own journey to the Antarctic Peninsula on a Russian research vessel, the story
chronicles the journey of Mouse and a boy,
who is never named. Using fresh and original cartoon style to teach variety without
bromidic airs (“I see a yellow-eyed penguin
... a fairy penguin ... a macaroni penguin”),
and teaching patience for Mouse, who is eager to get there, eager to leave, and eager to
go back, the boy patiently shows us around
the bottom of the world. Darling pictures,
accompanied by text that will be all too familiar for many parents (“Are we there yet?
Can we go home now?”), and large print
words make this a fun and easy read for
little folk - and their little pets!
Reviewed by Andrea Huehnerhoff
Bedtime Is Canceled
By Cece Meng, Aurelie Neyret (illustrator)
Clarion Books, $16.99, 32 pages
Check this out!
Maggie has a
great idea. She
gets her brother
to write a note
that says, “Bedtime is cancelled” and gives
it to their parents. They don’t
believe it. Maggie puts it into
the trash, but a bit of wind picks it up and
blows it across town where it lands on the
pile of finished work on a journalist’s desk.
The newspaper prints it on the front page in
big letters. Everyone who reads it believes it.
Principal Nancy believes it and sends a notice home to parents. The TV news reports
all this, and that pretty much makes it of-
ficial. Kids spread the word pretty quickly
by text and e-mail, and that night there is
no bedtime. The next day, all the adults are
tired – too tired to work or cook or wash
dishes or get dressed right or do anything
properly. Maggie and her brother decide it’s
time to make up a new note which Maggie
delivers personally to the newspaper reporter.
Kids three and up will laugh out loud at
this silly story by Cece Meng and the colorful, cartoonish illustrations by Aurelie Neyret that accompany it. This book is just plain
Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck
By Jan Brett
Putnam Juvenile, $17.99, 32 pages
Check this out!
Mossy has a
lovely home at
and the pond’s
cool, damp atmosphere leads
moss to grow
on Mossy’s carapace. Wildflowers soon take
root as well, and eventually Mossy has a
garden on her back. A turtle named Scoot
finds Mossy remarkable in every way, but
before the two can meet, Dr. Carolina spots
Mossy and scoops her up, certain she’ll be
a perfect addition to her museum. Along
with her niece, Tory, Dr. Carolina creates a
wonderful home in a viewing pavilion, with
everything Mossy could want. Crowds flock
to Mossy, and she is widely adored. What’s
missing, however, is Scoot. When Tory realizes Mossy is unhappy, she convinces Dr.
Carolina to replace the real Mossy with a
portrait — and to return Mossy to Lilypad
Pond at last.
Like all of Jan Brett’s books, Mossy is a
feast for the eyes. Every page is bordered
with intricately detailed parades of flora
and fauna — butterflies, mushrooms, wildflowers, seashells, beetles and many more
specimens. Brett spends an hour on each
square inch of her illustrations, and her
painstaking brushwork and touching storytelling make this a truly spectacular tale.
Reviewed by Margo Orlando Littell
Too Tall Houses
By Gianna Marino
Viking Juvenile, $16.99, 40 pages
Check this out!
Rabbit and
Owl live on
top of a hill in
right next door
to each other.
They are good
Rabbit likes to grow
the bright sunlight. Owl loves
to look at the beautiful forest. Rabbit is a
very good gardener and soon his vegetables
grow very, very tall – tall enough that they
begin to block Owl’s view of the forest. Owl
complains, but Rabbit says there’s nothing
to do – he has to grow his food. Owl builds
his house taller so he can see over the garden to the forest. Rabbit complains that
Owl’s house blocks the sunlight from his
garden. Rabbit builds his house taller and
plants vegetables on the roof. Owl answers
by building his house taller. And so it goes.
The houses grow taller and taller while Rabbit and Owl grow angrier and angrier. Can
this ever be solved? Will they ever be friends
This charming picture book will delight
little ones with a funny story and simply enchanting illustrations, both by Gianna Marino. Young children will learn important
lessons of cooperation and friendship, but
they will think they are just having a great
story read to them.
Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck
Splendors, Cont’d from page 9
Far away at Strachan’s Ghyll, a witch
named Cassandra has a different worry. A
fire opal she once stole has given her all her
powers, but it will consume her by fire unless she can find someone to steal it from
her. She conjures Grisini, and he suggests
Lizzie Rose and Parsifal.
Like a puppet master, the author dances
these characters together in a compelling
and complex story that leads to a surprising
conclusion. The characters are well-rounded
and the setting of Victorian London comes
Reviewed by Elizabeth Vardan
Search the library’s catalog at to reserve your copies now.
Awesome Autumn
by Bruce Goldstone
Autumn is awesome!
Leaves change color.
Animals fly south or
get ready to hibernate.
People harvest crops
and dress up as scary
creatures for Halloween. And then
there are pickup football games to play,
Thanksgiving foods to eat, leaf piles
to jump in. With colorful photographs,
lively explanations and classic craft
ideas, Bruce Goldstone has created a
festive and fascinating exploration of
autumn’s awesomeness.
The Gymnastics Book: The Young
Performer’s Guide to Gymnastics
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 10
by Elfi Schlegel
This indispensable
guide is simply
the best book for
beginners to the
sport of artistic
gymnastics. Illustrated
with stunning full-color photographs
of gymnasts balancing, tumbling and
jumping, The Gymnastics Book features
skilled guidance from a medal-winning,
record-breaking gymnast who is now a
noted instructor.
Unusual Creatures: A Mostly
Accurate Account of Some of the
Earth’s Strangest Animals
by Michael Hearst
With humor and
flair, Michael Hearst
introduces the
reader to a wealth of
extraordinary lifeforms. Which animal
can be found at the top of Mount
Everest, 10,000 feet under the sea and
in your backyard? Which animal poops
cubes? Which animal can disguise itself
as a giant crab? These fascinating facts
and hundreds more await curious minds,
amateur zoologists and anyone who has
ever laughed at a funny-looking animal.
Book Reviews
Kids’ Books
SNAP IT for additional
book summaries.
By Patricia Polacco
Putnam Juvenile, $17.99, 48 pages
Check this out!
Lyla is the new kid
at school, and she’s
there’s another new
kid, and he introduces
himself. Lyla and Jamie become instant
friends. Jamie suggests to Lyla to get a
cell phone and computer to be more connected. When Lyla decides to try out for
cheerleading, Jamie warns her about Gage,
Kenyon, and Maeve – a clique of popular
girls. Lyla makes the cheer squad, and she
talks her parents into getting cell phones
and a computer for her and her brother.
Lyla is finally invited to sit at the celebrity
table with the girls. She is in and suddenly
Jamie is out. Lyla find out the girls are bullying people on Facebook, including her good
friend Jamie. It’s fun to be popular and accepted, but maybe true friendship is more
important and fun. Can Lyla do the right
thing? And if she does, what will the consequences be for that?
Patricia Polacco has written an important book that will resonate with kids everywhere. This is a story in which kids can see
themselves whether they are bullied or bullies, and this book will do a lot of good. Her
illustrations are just as good as her writing.
Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck
Fox and Crow Are Not Friends (Step Into
By Melissa Wiley and Sebastien Braun
Random House Books for Young Readers,
$3.99, 48 pages
Check this out!
Suggested for children in grades one
through three who
are ready to read on
their own, this Step
3 book about Fox and
Crow is an excellent
book to hold their interest. What is particularly good about
the Step books is that the grade level is
only a general guideline. When a child has
mastered the Step 2 books, one is ready for
Step 3. Mastering these books systematically will increase a child’s confidence and
love of reading, making them an excellent
educational tool.
Fox and Crow do not like each other, and
through they fight over cheese, children will
want to read on to find out the resolution of
the fights.
The illustrations by Sebastien Braun
wonderfully enhance the text, adding the
extra allure to maintain children’s interest,
while not telling the whole story, further
encouraging the children to read to find out
all that is going on.
It is a cute story that is easy for children
to follow and remain engaged. The easy to
understand plot holds their interest and encourages them to expand their reading with
minimal effort, making reading fun.
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Hands Around the Library: Protecting
Egypt’s Treasured Books
By Karen Leggett Abouraya, Susan L. Roth
Dial, $16.99, 32 pages
Check this out!
Not long ago, many
were angry and sad
because they didn’t
have the freedom to
speak, they weren’t
able to vote as they
wanted to, or gather in groups. Instead, they
learned about freedom inside the safe walls
of the Alexandria Library. The young people in Egypt began protest movements in
Cairo and in Alexandria. The author joined
the protests and marched with the others.
She was both hopeful and afraid. In some
parts of the city, some protesters set fires in
anger. When they reached the Alexandria
Library, many were afraid some protesters
might cause harm to others or to the library.
The library director stood before the library
and reminded everyone that there were no
gates and the doors were made of glass. He
reminded them that the only protection
for the treasures inside was the will of the
people. Some of the protesters joined hands
around the library, working together to protect it.
It is difficult to write about such troublesome events, especially for very young children, but Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett
Abouraya do a fine job with this non-fiction
story and wonderful back matter. The collages by Roth that illustrate the book are
Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck
Rabbit & Robot
By Cece Bell
Candlewick Press, $14.99, 56 pages
Check this out!
Rabbit has invited
Robot to come over
for a sleepover. Rabbit has a list of things
they will do. When
Robot arrives, Rabbit
tells Robot what they
will do. When Rabbit
tells Robot one of the
things they will do is
play Go Fish, Robot
says he’d rather play Old Maid. Rabbit reminds him that Old Maid isn’t on the list.
Robot says he’s crazy about Crazy Eights,
but that isn’t on the list either. First, though,
they are going to have pizza. Rabbit gets out
two cheese pizzas and puts out carrots, lettuce and snow peas to put on the pizzas,
but Robot would rather have nuts, bolts and
screws on his pizza. He takes the table and
chairs apart to get what he wants. Rabbit is
very upset, yelling and running around the
house throwing things. Finally Robot calms
Rabbit down and solves the problem. In fact,
when these two work together, they manage
to solve all their problems and differences.
Cece Bell, author and illustrator of the
popular (and wacky) Sock Monkey series,
has herself a new franchise that will be just
as popular with youngsters. These characters are charming, fun and, well, wacky.
Kids will love this.
Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck
The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael
and Her Tribute to Veterans
By Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and Layne
Johnson (illustrator)
Calkins Creek, $16.95, 40 pages
Check this out!
Moina Belle Michael, a school teacher
from Georgia, was deeply saddened by the
need for the United States to go to war in
1917. The young men who would be called
to serve were her students or brothers and
sweethearts of her students. She needed
to do something. She rolled bandages for
the Red Cross. She delivered candy, books,
and magazines to nearby camps and invited
soldiers to her home for dinner. She wanted
to do more. She volunteered to work in canteens overseas, but was told she was too old.
In the dreary basement hall where servicemen came during free time, Moina looked
for a way to brighten things up. On her
small salary she brought fresh flowers for
the room. Moina found a poem called “We
See Rabbit, Cont’d on page 13
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Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 11
Book Reviews
Popular Fiction
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Death of Yesterday
By M.C. Beaton
When a local
woman tells
Sergeant Hamish
Macbeth that
she doesn’t
remember what
happened the
previous evening,
he doesn’t begin to worry. She
had been out drinking, after
all, and he’d prefer not to be
bothered with such an arrogant
and annoying woman. But when
her body is discovered, Hamish
is forced to investigate a crime
that the only known witness –
now dead – had forgotten.
Secrets From the Past
Ride, Boldly Ride: The Evolution of the
American Western
By Mary Lea Bandy, Kevin Stoehr and Clint
Eastwood (foreword)
University of California Press,
$39.95, 309 pages
Check this out!
Ride, Boldly Ride takes its title from the
smoothly comic 1966 Howard Hawks film
El Dorado, a movie about middle-aged,
drunken westerners starring Robert Mitchum and John Wayne, who often quotes a
line originally from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem
First-rate film books like this one are like
good cookbooks; they tell you what to shop
for (in this case on Netflix) and help you savor it. I had fun watching the films and reading Bandy’s and Stoehr’s discussions, even if
their tone in writing about Clint Eastwood
was a bit too worshipful for my taste. (Eastwood wrote the foreword to this book, and
features in the chapter on High Plain Drifter,
The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Unforgiven.)
The book begins with silent Westerns
and their views on Native Americans, covers the early comic Westerns like Ruggles of
Red Gap, and moves on through the great
films of Howard Hawks and John Ford to
the revisionist Westerns of the 1960s. The
authors analyze not only cinematography,
acting performances, and plot lines, but also
provide the larger story or history behind
the films. Generous displays of still photographs accompany each chapter, as well as
detailed chapter notes and bibliography, but
alas, no handy index.
Reviewed by Zara Raab
The Painted Word: A Treasure Chest of
Remarkable Words and Their Origins
By Phil Cousineau, Gregg Chadwick
Viva Editions, $16.95, 404 pages
Check this out!
Fungible. Onomatopoeia. Sabotage.
Chocolate. Hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica. You could spend your whole life studying
the wild variety and incalculable complexity of the English language, and there would
still be words both new and old to surprise
and beguile you in the next life.
The Painted Word, Phil Cousineau’s followup to the equally engaging Wordcatcher, collects words from all corners of the Englishspeaking world, from the run-of-the-mill to
the most obscure and esoteric. Within the
pages of The Painted Word, you’ll meander
from how the formal “ball” relates to the
kind you throw, to the far-from-average
story of how “average” took shape, and everywhere in between.
But this isn’t simply a collection of evocative and uncommon words; it’s a testament
to the vibrant, ever-evolving nature of language. The shift of usage, definition, and
popularity for hundreds of words over the
centuries provides fascinating insight into
the culture of a given time period, especially
what was interesting, important, and frivolous at the time.
It’s a time capsule and tribute all at once,
hoping to fuel a fellow verbivore’s linguistic
delights or to spark a love of the language’s
highways, byways, and dirt roads. On all accounts, The Painted Word is a joyous success.
Reviewed by Glenn Dallas
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 12
By Barbara
Taylor Bradford
At 30, American
Serena Stone
has already
made a name
for herself with
her unique and
dramatic coverage of wars in
the Middle East, following in her
famous father’s footsteps. But
after his unexpected death in
France, she has left her job at the
renowned photo news agency
that he founded. Weary of years
of dodging bullets and exploding
landmines, Serena leaves the
front lines behind and returns to
New York where she starts work
on a biography of her celebrated
father. When Serena discovers
that her former lover Zachary
North is in trouble overseas, she’s
forced to leave the safety of her
new life and head back to a place
she was trying to escape – and
her life will never be the same
again. She brings Zac back to
health, first in the agency’s bolt
hole in Venice, and later at her
family home in France. It is there
that she discovers a shocking
secret in the huge photographic
archive of her late father’s work.
It is a secret that will propel her
back to war-torn Libya, risking
her life looking for clues that she
hopes will piece together the
mystery surrounding her parents’
marriage and the part of their life
together she never knew about.
You and I, Me and You
By MaryJanice
Candice (and her sisters)
has moved in with Patrick
and everything is more
than she could have
ever dreamed. Except
why does the dreamy
Dr. Gallo keep popping
up unexpectedly in her fantasies? When
her pleasantly steady love life suddenly
starts looking pretty darn shaky, Candice
and her sisters find themselves knee-deep
in a new case that brings the escaped
Threefer Killers back onto the scene.
Deeply Odd
By Dean Koontz
In a sinister encounter
with a rogue truck
driver, Odd has a
disturbing vision of
a shocking multiple
homicide that has not
yet been committed.
Across California,
into Nevada and back again, Odd
embarks on a riveting road chase to
prevent the tragedy. Along the way,
he meets – and charms – a collection
of eccentrics who become his allies in
a terrifying battle against a sociopath
of singular boldness and cleverness –
and a shadowy network of mysterious,
likeminded murderers whose chilling
resources seem almost supernatural.
The Guardian
By Beverly Lewis
When schoolteacher
Jodi Winfield goes for
a morning run, the last
thing she expects is to
find a disheveled little
girl all alone on the side
of the Pennsylvania
road, clad only in her
undergarments, her chubby cheeks
streaked with tears. Jodi takes the
preschooler home with her, intending to
find out where she belongs. But Jodi is
mystified when no one seems to know
of a missing child, and the girl herself is
no help, since she can’t speak a word of
English. It’s as if the child appeared out of
nowhere. As the days pass, Jodi becomes
increasingly attached to the mysterious
girl, yet she is no closer to learning her
identity. Then an unexpected opportunity
brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow – and into
the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old
Order Amish. Might the answers lie there?
Book Reviews
get tested is over. Cassels is heralding a new
age rife with skeptical patients and statistically informed doctors.
Reviewed by Samantha Herman
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The Grass King’s Concubine
By Kari Sperring
DAW, $7.99, 481 pages
Check this out!
As a girl, Aude, who
lives with her wealthy
uncle in Silver City,
had a vision of what
she calls her Shining
Place, a place she still
hopes to find someday. But after a trip
to nearby Brass City,
where everyone is as
poor as the residents
of Silver City are rich, Aude finds herself
wondering where her family’s wealth came
from. She finds herself in the company of
Jehan, a soldier in Brass City, and together
they run away in search of truth. But Aude
is kidnapped away to WorldBelow, a land
spoken of by the legendary Marcellan and
thought to be nothing more than myth. The
Cadre of WorldBelow believe Aude is the
key to restoring their ravaged land. Jehan
follows in the company of exiled shapeshifting twins, once beloved by the Grass King of
WorldBelow. There is a mystery here; Aude
and Jehan are determined to find answers.
It’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a
fantasy novel that I wanted to dive into and
not surface until I had read the last page.
The Grass King’s Concubine was just such a
novel; Sperring’s world is so fascinating,
her characters so easy to relate to, her plot
so unique that it’s hard to put this novel
down. Her writing makes both WorldAbove
and WorldBelow come alive. The industrial
setting of the Brass City is sure to appeal to
today’s lovers of steampunk and dystopian
fiction, while the contrasts between the rich
and poor will resonate to anyone affected by
today’s economy. Read this book!!
Reviewed by Holly Scudero
The Mindful Way Through Pregnancy:
Meditation, Yoga and Journaling for
Expectant Mothers
By Susan Piver (editor)
Shambhala, $16.95, 119 pages
Check this out!
something about being
life inside your own
body, that inspires
many women to really get in touch
We eat healthier, give up bad habits, try
to maintain a gentle fitness regimen. As
we struggle to bond with the being growing within, we often find that we are really
struggling to understand ourselves, to really
understand and nurture the connection between our mind and our body. In The Mindful Way Through Pregnancy, Susan Piver has
compiled a small series of short essays addressing various pregnancy topics, such as
building a bond with your baby or how to
prepare for the act of childbirth itself. There
are thoughts on keeping a journal, basic
instructions for simple yoga practice and
thoughts for meditation. This little book,
an ideal baby shower gift, also comes with
a CD featuring several guided meditations,
perfect for the mama-to-be. The essays are
thoughtful and well-written; they are meant
to be savored, and the messages they impart
will linger long after you’ve finished this
book. A great read for any pregnant woman.
Reviewed by Holly Scudero
Rabbit, Cont’d from page 11
Shall Not Sleep” that spoke of poppies growing over the graves of fallen servicemen.
That gave her the idea to wear a poppy to
remember the soldiers, and she made it her
goal to see every American wearing poppies
in remembrance of our brave servicemen.
Barbara Elizabeth Walsh wrote an enchanting telling of Moina Belle Michael’s
story, but Layne Johnson’s glorious paintings that illustrate the story will leave readers breathless.
Reviewed by Rosi Hollinbeck
Mind & Body
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Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening
and the Misguided Hunt for Disease
By Alan Cassels
Greystone, $16.95, 177 pages
Check this out!
Cassels has guts.
In his book Seeking
Sickness: Medical
Screening and the
Misguided Hunt for
Disease, he challenges everyone
from the bigwigs
at major pharmaceutical companies
to the optometrist
with a small practice down the street. From
the wealth of statistics he provides, Cassels
successfully explains how testing for medical problems like high cholesterol, colon
cancer, and even glaucoma in patients with
no symptoms can be absolutely futile. It can
even be harmful, leading people who are
healthy to begin taking preventative medications that have horrible side effects.
Do not expect to get lost in paragraphs
filled with medical jargon or pages detailing complicated studies. This book is a fast,
compelling read with a clear call to action.
Cassels implores every patient to take control of medical appointments and refuse to
be coerced into unnecessary screenings. The
era of blindly following a doctor’s order to
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your family tree today!
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 13
Book Reviews
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book summaries.
Japanese Farm Food
By Nancy Singleton Hachisu and Kenji Miura
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35, 386 pages
Check this out!
While it’s essentially a cookbook,
Japanese Farm Food
also narrates the history of one woman’s
long romance with
a country, the man
she married and the
cuisine that brought
them together.
As a California-born girl transplanted to
rural Japan, Hachisu’s culinary and farming experiences are unique, and she shares
them with insight and humor. As a former
outsider, she understands exactly what her
readers might find unusual about Japanese
farm cooking — whether its ingredients or
method — and her explanations are indispensable.
There’s a handy section on international
suppliers, but as a proponent of organic and
homegrown fare, Hachisu makes recommendations regarding substitutes when it’s
possible. As a cook who tries to get away
without measuring when I can, I love that
most of the recipes have their ingredient
ratios included, too. I wish all cookbook authors could be so thoughtful.
The volume itself is beautifully designed,
with Kenji Miura’s evocative photographs
and the simulated cloth binding that complements the book’s interiors. It’s a detail
that only a dual fan of book design and
Japanese textile can fully appreciate. Japanese Farm Food is simply a tour-de-force that
deserves to be devoured from cover to cover.
Reviewed by Rachel Anne Calabia
The America’s Test Kitchen Quick
Family Cookbook: A Faster, Smarter
Way to Cook Everything from America’s
Most Trusted Test Kitchen
By America’s Test Kitchen
America’s Test Kitchen, $34.95, 464 pages
Although it can be a delight to spend an
afternoon laboring on a magnificent feast
for family, every other day of the week we
need something that we can prepare in a
realistic time-frame, with realistic ingredients and realistic cooking skills. The ideal
quick-cooking book would include ingredi-
ent prep time in
the recipe, offer
dishes that were
tasty and delightful, have a broad
range of recipes to
choose from, use
ingredients that
are easily accessible to the average cook, and (as a matter of
personal preference) be loaded with glossy
color photographs on every page. Thank
you, America’s Test Kitchen, for giving us
that book! This book redefines the quickcooking category for home kitchens. With
every recipe clocking in at under forty-five
minutes, and specially marked ones sliding in at under twenty-five minutes - and
almost a thousand recipes to choose from every home cook can find something to satisfy for a well-rounded family meal without
camping out in the kitchen all day. Specially
marked sections highlight feature ingredients, with five blazing fast ways to prepare
the feature ingredient into a unique and
satisfying dish. Covering everything from
appetizers to desserts, with salads, soups,
pressure-cooker recipes, and meat dishes in
between, the only thing this book is missing
to make dinner perfect is you.
Reviewed by Andrea Huehnerhoff
The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show
By Editors of Cook’s Country
America’s Test Kitchen, $26.95, 390 pages
Check this out!
Cook’s Country is the one
show that you
can’t wait to end
- so you can race
to the kitchen to
duplicate the recipes showcased on
set!This beautifully appointed book
brings every recipe, tip, and trick to your
shelf - along with a full-color, full-page photo of each dish, and a reference index in the
back listing which episode each recipe is featured on. A detailed equipment guide is also
included, with the famous Cook’s Illustrated
recommendations that are considered gospel by so many home cooks today. The eleven
chapter topics include Steakhouse Specials,
Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 14
Tex-Mex Favorites, Our Sunday Best, RiseAnd-Shine Breakfasts, and Breads ... and all
of three chapters of cakes, cookies, fruit desserts, and pies! Memphis Chopped Coleslaw,
Grilled Butterflied Lemon Chicken, Betterthan-the-box Pancake Mix, Baked Apple
Dumplings, and Shaker Lemon Pie are just
a few of the traditional, heartland recipes
you’ll find in this book. Crispy Potato Tots,
Seven-Layer Dip, and Raspberry Chiffon Pie
are just the beginning of the new, old favorites that will make this book one of the most
speckled, spattered and tattered favorites in
your collection!
Reviewed by Andrea Huehnerhoff
Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for
Miniature Meals
By Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park
Quirk, $18.95, 160 pages
Check this out!
If you love giving parties, Tiny Food Party!,
a trade paperback, is going to be a good addition to your cookbook collection. The concept is not original – high-end caterers are
serving gorgeous bite-size hors d’oeuvres,
sweets, even full meals, where eating utensils are superfluous. In this book, Fischer
and Park present a wide array of the same:
tiny, bite-size foods for any party occasion.
They divided the book into four sections:
snack party, dinner party, dessert party and
cocktail party. Though they claim these are
“fun to make”
recipes, when
you are stuffing
forty-eight tiny
quail egg halves,
or mounds of
into little wonton square cups,
the fun quickly
ends after the
first half a dozen. These recipes are for cooks
with much patience who don’t mind the
puttery prep work for hours, like preparing
clam-size empanadas by the dozens. There
are a few easy recipes (little-bitty savory
scones), but most will take serious kitchen
time. Yet the results will impress the most
jaded guests. The layout is excellent with
easy-to-follow recipes conveniently placed
on single pages, the photo illustrations are
beautiful, and the index is very good and
well cross-referenced. Many “A Little Menu”
suggestions and tips in the sidebars are useful.
Reviewed by George Erdosh
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English as a Second Language
Choose from nearly 40 languages and learn
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in the interactive lessons offered through
this user-friendly language instruction tool.
Visit and use your
Tulsa City-County Library card to access Mango Languages.
Book Reviews
Nature & Science
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Everything Is Obvious: How Common
Sense Fails Us
By Duncan J. Watts
Crown Business, $16, 368 pages
That the obvious
choice is usually a
quick regret is a proverb that Duncan
Watts might agree
with, and while it is
habitually repeated
that a commonsense
approach is usually
more effective than
abstract theorizing,
the author will certainly challenge such a notion. Trained as a physicist, with time spent
in the Australian military, and now working
as a sociologist, Duncan Watts examines
behavior on the individual as well as the
global level. While common sense depends
on our experience, it cannot delve into all
the details determining various behaviors.
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book summaries.
Unfortunately we look to ourselves when
interpreting group behaviors excluding the
other myriad factors that influence opinions. Why is the Mona Lisa so famous or
the Harry Potter stories such a huge success,
such reasoning is dissected and examined.
In discussing fairness and justice, both the
Halo Effect and the Matthew Effect tend to
influence the public’s view of worth. Business success, which may be due to chance or
what is labelled “luck” frequently, rewards
the CEOs and other leaders beyond their
actual worth or talent. Even contemporary
Malcolm Gladwell is charged with circular
reasoning in his book on the Tipping Point.
Without data, clear thinking and a good bit
of hindsight, everything is not obvious and
the reader should question his intuition.
This is a thought-provoking book that expands social science from the localized self
out to the business community, government
areas and global environs.
Reviewed by Aron Row
Computing for Ordinary Mortals
By Robert St. Amant
Oxford University Press, USA,
$29.95, 256 pages
Check this out!
Ordinary Mortals is
a computer book
for people who
don’t read computer
books. It gives a
straight-for ward,
basic look at how
and is written for
readers with no
background in technology. St. Amant explains the how behind
computing, building up from how a machine
actually runs on binary (and what binary is),
to how programming languages and operating systems turn that simple foundation
into an interactive environment. He goes
on to show what the internet is and how it
functions, how artificial intelligence works,
and ends it with a discussion of the very nature of computing; what it might eventually
help us do, and what it can never do. The author does so without requiring any previous
special knowledge.
St. Amant uses many analogies to explain difficult concepts, but is quick to point
out where these analogies break down, so
as not to lose accuracy and truthfulness. It
can be dense, and can require a little time in
each chapter to really get one’s head around
some of the concepts, but the author really
strikes the perfect balance between accuracy and understandability.
Reviewed by Evelyn McDonald
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Tulsa Book Review • December 2012 • 15
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