Tag Archives: holiday

Enthralling Mysteries: Lavender House by Lev AC Rosen, Dashing Through the Snowbirds by Donna Andrews, and Harry Wild starring Jane Seymore

19 Oct

Lavender House
by Lev AC Rosen

Lavender House is a captivating new mystery by Lev AC Rosen set in 1952.  Andy Mills was recently fired from the police force for being caught at a gay bar.  He is contemplating ending it all when he gets a proposal he can’t refuse.  Irene Lamontaine the matriarch of the famous Lamontaine Soap Company passed away under suspicious circumstances, her personal assistant, who is secretly her widow, wants Andy to prove whether Irene’s death was a tragic accident or murder.  Andy feels a sense of safety at Lavender House, where almost everyone is gay including Irene’s son and the staff, and is able to be his true self, but he becomes increasingly suspicious about what happened to Irene.  The ending though the one I was hoping for, felt a bit simplistic for what was otherwise a fairly gritty story.  I would recommend the book for its interesting fictionalization of a tumultuous time in LGBTQ history and engaging characters.  Rosen has previously written for YA and Middle Grade audiences as well as for adults.

Dashing Through the Snowbirds
by Donna Andrews

You may remember that back in August, I reviewed Donna Andrew’s Round Up the Usual Peacocks, now only a few months later and we have received an early holiday gift in the form of her annual holiday installment in the bird themed Meg Langslow series, Dashing Through the Snowbirds.  This Christmas a herd of Canadians from an Ancestry like company have taken up residence at the Langslow residence while they work on a project with Meg’s brother’s computer programmers.  Things are going wrong with project and they get even worse when one of the Canadians turns up dead on Meg’s property.  There is also a subplot for those that enjoyed the true crime podcast storyline in the previous novel, about Meg’s nephew Kevin’s fellow podcaster, Casey, being stalked by a fan.  As usual Meg’s quirky relatives play a large part in the charm of the story.  Particularly in this novel, Meg’s grandfather causes trouble and lends a helping hand.  For cozy mystery fans Dashing Through the Snowbirds is a warm cup of holiday cheer.

Harry Wild
Literature Professor Harriet “Harry” Wild played by Jane Seymour, has just retired but instead of a life of relaxation she is drawn to solving crimes. Her son is a senior detective on the Dublin Police force, who would prefer his mother let him be the one solving cases, but she soon finds a sidekick in Fergus Reid played by Rohan Nedd, a teen in need of some adult guidance. Nedd previously was a recurring character on Whitstable Pearl. The first season of Harry Wild is a bingeable 8 epsiodes and is available to stream for Hoboken patrons from Hoopla or borrow on DVD from BCCLS libraries. Cases include a wife looking to learn the cause of her husband’s death, a mysterious kidnapping, and even the case of a murder of the wife of one of Harry’s former colleagues. For those who like cozy capers and are fans of Seymour’s Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman series or movies, this is sure to please.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

HPL Staff: Holiday Traditions

23 Dec

It’s almost Christmas! Similar to last month’s #Gratitude post, I asked my Hoboken Public Library colleagues about their favorite Christmas books, films, and music. Following are their favorites, which are available at the library or through interlibrary loan.

Dear readers, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

santa-mouse

Image via Amazon

Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

My favorite holiday tradition as a child was when each year after stuffing ourselves with Thanksgiving turkey my mom would pull out our personal collection of Christmas books from storage so that bedtime was full of stories of reindeer, snow men, and elves. Our December library visits also found us lugging home books with a holiday theme. Now I love getting to read Christmas stories to my own son. My favorite as a kid that I enjoy getting to share with him is Santa Mouse by Michael Brown and illustrated by Elfrieda DeWitt, which features an adorable mouse who decides to give Santa a present of his own. It is available from several BCCLS libraries. Of course there are plenty of other books my son likes as well; several of his current favorites are How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague, Merry Christmas, Splat by Rob Scotton, and A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas by Philip Yates and illustrations by Sebastia Serra. I also delight in reading my own holiday themed books; some of my favorite choices for adults are Rhys Bowen’s The Twelve Clues of Christmas, Donna Andrews’s The Nightingale Before Christmas, and Miracle, and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis.

 

 

its-a-wonderful-life

Sharlene Edwards, Senior Children’s Librarian

I love old-timey black and white films. I enjoy the thoughtful dialogue and the simplicity of old school visual effects. My top five B&W movies in order: Miracle on 34th Street12 Angry Men, Invasion of the Body SnatchersThe Bad Seed (have you seen this movie?!), and It’s a Wonderful Life, which also happens to be my favorite movie of ALL-TIME. I even have a dog named Zuzu!

I’ve watched IAWL at least once a year (usually twice a year) for the past 15 years. My mom and I have a tradition on Thanksgiving which involves getting comfy on the couch, flipping on the film, and crying tears upon tears of joy. For those not familiar with the film, the story revolves around George Bailey, a kind and passionate soul who puts others’ needs before his own, often to his own detriment. George finds himself in serious trouble after his scatterbrained uncle’s actions result in a warrant for George’s arrest. Convincing himself that he is more valuable to his family dead than alive due to a life insurance policy, George resolve to throw himself off the local bridge. An angel named Clarence intervenes and, after failing to convince George that his life is valuable, he decides to show George by unveiling an alternate reality in which George has never been born. As the two explore this new reality, it becomes increasingly apparent just how many lives George has influenced in positive ways…and how much worse off everyone would be if George had never existed.

This movie is a heartwarming annual reminder that “each man’s life touches so many other lives” and “no man is a failure who has friends.” Gosh, I’m practically tearing up as I write this!

Shannon Campbell, Children’s Librarian

Every Christmas Eve night, after all the family festivities have occurred, my family and I cuddle up in our living room and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Despite watching it every year, I’ve always fallen asleep during the second half of the film (to ensure that Santa will come, of course). Sadly, I have never actually seen the second half. But I usually do wake up just in time for the famous quote: “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.”

charlie-brown-christmas
Carolyn Hartwick, Account Clerk

Aside from the smell of gingerbread, for me Christmas is all about the music. I would have these songs playing the entire month of December if it did not irritate the rest of my family.  My playlist: Nat King Cole’s Christmas for Kids From One to Ninety-TwoBing Crosby’s Christmas, Diana Krall’s Christmas SongsThe Complete Christmas Recordings of Andy Williams, Light of the Stable by Emmylou Harris, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Martin Sexton’s Camp Holiday.  An additional gift is that all this holiday music is available through BCCLS!

santa-claus
Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian
I love Christmas movies! Every year I have to watch certain movies and TV specials before it truly feels like the holiday season to me. I always start on Thanksgiving night with the original Miracle on 34th Street and end on Christmas day with repeated viewings of A Christmas Story. It’s a tradition that’s been going on since I was a kid.

Many of my favorites are movies that are already popular, such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Elf, so I’ll recommend one that doesn’t seem as well-known… Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) starring David Huddleston, Dudley Moore and John Lithgow. When I was little I thought that this was the true story of Kris Kringle since it starts out with his origin story, explaining how a simple toymaker became the world-famous gift giver. Today, this movie still has magic and nostalgia and makes me excited for the holiday. If you need to get into the spirit of the season, I’d suggest adding this film to your preparations. The movie can be borrowed from the library.

 

 

muppet-christmas-carol

Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Every Christmas I like to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, based on Charles Dickens’ classic story A Christmas Carol. The movie features original music, the lyrics of which I still remember since first hearing them when I was 10. “Scrooge”, which introduces Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Michael Caine), includes the line “no cheeses for us meeces [sic]” sung by the Muppet mice that never fails to crack me up. Here is a clip of that song from YouTube.

My family is also Jewish, so we celebrate Hanukkah. Without a doubt more music, film, and movies are dedicated to Christmas, but we like to listen to Adam Sandler’s four iterations of “The Chanukah Song”. The original and Part 2 can be streamed on Hoopla Digital, and Part 3 is on the soundtrack for Eight Crazy Nights. Part 4 can be heard on YouTube, which we replayed over and over again during Thanksgiving, laughing and giving thanks for Adam Sandler being a mensch and filling the Hanukkah music void.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: