February Staff Recommendations

We now have displays of staff recommended items at the Lark and Palm View Branches as well as at the Main Library.  Come on by your favorite MPL location and enjoy the latest selection of books, DVDs, and CDs recommended by our dedicated staff!


February Staff Recommendations


  • The Japanese Lover, by Isabel Allende. “This new addition to the canon of Isabel Allende recounts the high and low points of a woman’s entire life- how her decisions and actions affected the future of her prominent San Francisco family.  The story also focuses on a Japanese-American family that spends time at a Japanese internment camp during World War II.  It is a timely echo of some of the frightening rhetoric of some of our current presidential candidates.” ~Julia
  • The Stranger, by Albert Camus. “The classic tale of a shipping clerk, who seems detached from the rest of the world, caught up with the wrong crowd. Drama, senseless crime, and existentialism at every turn of the page! ”  ~Rudy
  • Robert B. Parker’s The Devil Wins, by Reed Farrel Coleman. “The latest in Robert B. Parker’s “Jesse Stone” series; a winter storm uncovers the answer to a twenty-five year old cold case, but it doesn’t end there….”  ~John
  • Lady Boss, by Jackie Collins. “I really enjoy the character, Lucky Santangelo, and how adventurous she is through out the series. ”  ~Joanna
  • Tricky Twenty-Two, by Janet Evanovich. “This book is full of crazy action and humor. As a woman bounty hunter, if things can go wrong in her life and line of work, they most certainly do.”  ~Esther C.
  • Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. “This book takes a peek into the wonders of nature, and how humans are also a part of the natural world – whether we are conscious of it or not, and whether we care about it or not.  Heartbreakingly beautiful prose.”  ~Elizabeth
  • Luckiest Girl Alive, by Jessica Knoll.  “This book is not what it seems but in a good way. The story is quite unbelievable and has a few jaw dropping moments. Definitely a page turner and something you will want to read.”  ~April
  • Shadows Over Baker Street, edited by Michael Reaves and John Pelan.  “A strange collection of short stories featuring rationalist and man of science Sherlock Holmes coming face to face (where faces apply) with the demented creatures from H.P. Lovecrafts Cthulhu mythos. While the contents of the book are definitely derivative, many of the stories are of high quality – especially Neil Gaiman’s entry “A Study in Emerald”.”  ~Robert B.
  • Undercover, by Danielle Steel.  “I found it suspenseful and intriguing.  I couldn’t put it down.”  ~Andra


Young Adult Fiction

  • Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, by Holly Black.  “It balances the grittiness with the magic that can entertain teenagers while not feeling like they’re being talked down to and appeal to adults with its worldbuilding.”  ~Alison
  • The Girl From the Well, by Rin Chupeco.  “One of the best protagonists I have run across in a while, Ukiko the ghost has been dead for more than three hundred years, and the author makes her believable and sympathetic, even though she has a habit of killing murderers.”  ~Helen
  • Looking for Alaska, by John Green.  “This quirky, brilliant novel contains so many great quips, including one of my favorite lines in literature: ‘So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.'”  ~Sara
  • Gothic! : Ten Original Dark Tales, edited by Deborah Noyes. “Diverse range of imagination from established authors that can be a great introduction for those looking to read new things.”  ~Alison
  • Beautiful, by Amy Lynn Reed.  “It shows how changing because you want to be popular is not as fulfilling as one might think. ”  ~Joanna


Juvenile Fiction

  • The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau. “What happens when you’ve lived in a city underground that’s over 200 years old? What if that city were failing and the lights began going out? What if you’d only dreamed there’s a world outside your city and your only hope is to escape? Find out by reading The City Of Ember!”  ~Jacqui


Picture  Books

  •  Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae. “Amazing book to show kids that being different, unique is all right. Teaches you to follow your heart and love yourself.”  ~Diana
  •  Dot the Firedog, by Lisa Desimini. “Cute story about Dot and the firemen she works with.”  ~Andra
  •  Demasiada Televisión? by Gladys Moreta. “Cuentos divertidos que motivan a los pequeños lectores.”  ~Maria


Science Fiction

  • Foundation, by Mercedes Lackey. “A very good book for introducing Mercedes Lackey to new readers.”  ~Helen


Graphic Novels

  • Constantine, Vol.2: Blight, by Ray Fawkes. “This is a great series that has plenty of supernatural mystery and mayhem!”  ~Eric
  • Batman/Superman, Vol.1: Cross World, by Greg Pak. “This graphic novel with gorgeous artwork will give you a head start on the upcoming film Batman VS Superman.”  ~Veronica



  • Amor Sin Limites, by Nick Vujicic. [SP 248.844 Vuj] “Amor Sin Límites nos demuestra que no es necesario ser perfecto para hallar el amor.”  ~Ema
  • History Decoded, by Brad Meltzer. [364.1 Mel]  “This is an interesting book. I liked the chapter on DB Cooper.”  ~Sean
  • Those Guys Have All the Fun, by James Andrew Miller. [384.555 Mil]  “It is an interesting look at the history of ESPN told from people who worked there.”  ~Sean
  • Fifteen Candles, edited by Adriana Lopez. [394 Fif Copy c1]  “Filled with cuentos about quinceañeras, this anthology includes a story by local author Erasmo Guerra and will make you laugh, cry, or have you reconsidering your next fiesta!”  ~Priscilla
  • El Chef Medicinal, by Dale Pinnock. [SP 613.2 Pin] “En su primer gran libro de cocina, Dale Pinnock  presenta su singular enfoque sobre la cocina y la salud. Comer para mantener una buena salud nunca ha sido más fácil, ni más delicioso.” ~Ema
  • Grilling for All Seasons, by Rick Browne. [641.5784 Bro] “I like the idea of having different foods for the seasons of the year. Recipes look good.” ~Sean
  • Coffee Obsession, by Anette Moldvaer. [641.6373 Mol] “If you want to know more about where the different types of coffee beans are cultivated, the many styles of coffee combinations and how they are made, then this is the book to read.” ~Veronica
  • Altered Books Workshop, by Bev Brazelton. [702.8 Bra] “If you love collage and altered art, this is the book of ideas for you.” ~Rebecca
  • Japanese Style, by Suzanne Slessin. [747 Sle] “There are numerous and beautiful photos of Japanese rooms and decorating style.” ~Rebecca
  • Showtime, by Jeff Pearlman. [796.326 Pea] “Pearlman is a good author and I think even a casual NBA fan might enjoy this look at the Lakers of the 1980s. ” ~Sean
  • Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler, by Juan Felipe Herrera. [811.54 Her Copy c1] “Herrera, our current U.S. Poet Laureate, provides glimpses of vibrant Chicano life using the many flavors of language and imagery those of us who grew up in the valley can easily relate to. ” ~Priscilla
  • Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. [940.54 Hil] “It is an amazing book of resilience and redemption.” ~Esther R.



  • Después de Usted, by Rubén Aguirre. “Las memorias del profesor mas querido de America latina.”  ~Maria
  • Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, by Ruth Reichl. “Ruth Reichl tells story after story of her experience as the New York Times food critic. She went to great effort to conceal her true identity as she put restaurants through their paces. This is a very entertaining book, full of anecdotes and even a few recipes. I’m still wondering what the secret was to those hash browns. Even Ruth Reichl doesn’t know!”  ~Beverly



  • 1984, by George Orwell. [Y CD F Orwell]  “I read this book in the 1980’s an was blown away. Listening to it again in audio book format brought back my original intrigue and awe of the story, while experiencing it in an auditory way. Audio books are a great way to relax and get absorbed into the story.”  ~Rolando
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell. [CD 823.912 Orw] “Even though I enjoy reading physical books, I am truly an audiophile by heart, whether that be music or literature. I came across Animal Farm by George Orwell on audio CD and it was amazing to listen to. If you have never experienced any of Orwell’s literary greatness, this may be the right format to jump in with.” ~Rolando



  • Battle of the Damned, directed by Christopher Hatton. [DVD 791.43 Bat] “It is a movie with zombies fighting robots.”  ~Sean
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, directed by George Roy Hill. [BLU 791.43 But] “A fantastic movie that lies somewhere between a western, a comedy and a tragedy in terms of genre. Likable characters, great dialogue and a surprising soundtrack all contribute to making this film a pleasure to watch.”  ~Robert B.
  • Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorcese. [BLU 791.43 Rag] “Not just one of the best films of the 1980’s but one of the greatest films of all time. Scorsese and De Niro are an explosive combination, and it garnered De Niro best actor Oscar for his role as aging boxer, Jake LaMotta. ” ~Bobby
  • Because of Winn-Dixie, directed by Wayne Wang. [J DVD 791.4372 Bec] “A smiling canine, and a mouse in need of prayer. Enough said!” ~John
  • Best of Me, directed by Michael Hoffman. [BLU 791.4372 Bes] “This is a good love story.” ~Sylvia
  • Focus, directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. [BLU 791.4372 Foc] “If you like action filled movies, focus is a great movie that keeps you In suspense. You should check out this movie if you like drama.” ~Joanna
  • Labyrinth, directed by Jim Henson. [J DVD 791.4372 Lab] “Labyrinth is a classic featuring direction and muppets by Jim Henson and fantastic music by the great David Bowie.” ~Sara
  • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, directed by Wes Ball. [Y DVD 791.4372 Maz] “If you like series of book with adventure and suspense you will enjoy this movie. ” ~Joanna
  • McFarland, USA, directed by Niki Caro. [DVD 791.4372 McF] “This is a true story, and the movie is truly good and sometimes moving. How these kids struggle to become winners.” ~Victor
  • Pan’s Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del  Toro. [SP DVD 791.4372 Pan] “If grim fairytales and themes of war and civil unrest catch your interest, this is a must see. This critically acclaimed film by Guillermo Del Toro presents the story of an imaginative young girl who seeks to escape from a violent, war-torn reality through a mysterious world of fantasy and wonder. A note of warning, however; this beautiful masterpiece does contain some graphic scenes and content that may not be suitable for the little ones.” ~Robert M.
  • Relatos Salvajes/Wild Tales, directed by . [SP DVD 791.4372 Rel] “Wild indeed! These short films will leave you surprised, amazed and in awe of what human nature can and, sometimes, will do.” ~Beverly
  • What If, directed by Michael Dowse. [DVD 791.4372 Wha] “It is nice to see Daniel Radcliffe in a non-Harry Potter movie.” ~Sylvia
  • I Hate to Exercise, I Love to Tap! directed by Bonnie Franklin. [DVD 792.78 I Copy c1] “This video has some great tips for beginning tap dancers of all ages.  The routines are enjoyable and get progressively more difficult, so you can learn at your own pace.” ~Elizabeth


Music CDs

  •  The Very Best of Eagles, by the Eagles. [CD 781.66 Eag] “After the recent passing of one of the founding members, the great Glenn Frey, I think it’s time we all enjoy a few (or a lot) of the Eagles classics in his memory. Desperado, Take It Easy, Wasted Time, Hotel California… Must I go on?”  ~Rudy


 Stay tuned for next month’s MPL Staff Recommendations!

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