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Review of the DVDs Frozen and Frozen II:

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From the moment I saw the murky figure appearing above the ice and then having the saw be plunged through that frigid surface as a chorus of male voices begins the song, “Frozen Heart,” I really, really liked the Disney animated film, Frozen.   It has everything a movie goer hopes for as the lights go down and a movie begins.  A compelling story that holds your interest throughout with a climactic moment that genuinely tugs at the heart.  A musical score that is not only one of the best for an animated film, but for any film.  The movie came out in 2013 and I have yet to tire of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” or “Let It Go.”  It has characters that you grow to love and care about, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and, of course, Olaf. And it has those that you are glad to see done in in the end.  Anna’s smackdown of Hans was righteous! I even got a kick out of the incidental character, Oaken, and his family in the sauna. There is nothing not to like about this movie.  It did win the Ac…

Review of the book Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans by Brian Kilmeade

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The film, “The Buccaneer,” was my introduction to the events of the Battle of New Orleans at the conclusion of the War of 1812.  It stared Charlton Heston as General Andrew Jackson, and Yul Brenner as the infamous pirate, Jean Lafitte.  This fictionalized account focused more on the character of Jean Lafitte and his romantic entanglement with the governor of New Orleans’ daughter and his personal struggle with determining which side of the upcoming battle for the port of New Orleans he would support, the British or the American. The truth of this historic and final encounter between British and American military forces is better told by Brian Kilmeade in his book, “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans.”  The title, itself, captures well Kilmeade’s perspective on this decisive event in American history.  He labels it a “miracle” and not simply a battle; such were the odds against an American victory in the face of their very formidable British adversary. It took inspired lead…

ONCE GONE: A RILEY PAIGE MYSTERY by Blake Pierce

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Author Blake Pierce drew me into his book from the very first page with his writing style, and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the book.       FBI agent Riley Paige is a no-nonsense agent who uses her instincts and has a heart for the victims of a serial killer who tortured women before he strangled them to death.  Riley herself had been in a similar situation of being tortured by a psychopath until she managed to escape. Now she’s baffled by this case, until one of the victim’s father, Senator Newbrough, inadvertently gives her a clue that sets her on a trail of discovery, and leads her closer to the killer. Riley and her partner, Bill, struggle to end the series of murders by finding their suspect.       The story is a gruesome one, but you’ll want to keep reading to the very end. A thumbs up novel for those who love a good mystery. 
by S.M. OKelly Memorial Library associate. 



Review of Sam Houston & the Alamo Avengers by Brian Kilmeade

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My fascination with the Alamo may go back to seeing “Davy Crockett at the Alamo” on the television show “The Magical World of Disney” back in the 1950s.  It may come from seeing the 1960 production of “The Alamo” staring the Duke, John Wayne, as the Tennessee frontiersman.  It might even come from my Uncle Theodore whose last name was Crockett.  He claimed that his linage went back to this fallen hero of the Alamo.  Wherever it came, I have always been fascinated by the mystique that surrounds this legendary Texas adobe mission turned fortress. The Alamo is one of the few public places that I find to be hallowed.  There is a certain reverence about it as you walk through its compound and recall what happened there.  Roughly 182 Texians sacrificed their lives to liberatetheir republic from the dictatorial regime of Mexico.The names of its leaders are seared into historic memory.  I have mentioned Davy Crockett, but there was also the notorious, Jim Bowie, and the hubristic, William Tr…

Review of The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

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When I was a Lutheran pastor, I started a congregation in Lexington, Kentucky, Word of Hope Lutheran Church.  Before we had a building of our own, we held services on Sunday mornings in a landscaping firm’s office.  Sunday evenings, a local Roman Catholic parish let us use their sanctuary for a second service.   I quickly learned that for some of our congregant’s time was more important than space.  They would come every Sunday morning to the “transformed” landscaping office for Mass.  Space didn’t matter.  It was time that mattered.  For others they would come every Sunday to the traditional space of the church even though the time was not what they were accustomed to.   For them space was more significant than time. The truth is both are consequential.  Time and space.  Both have sacredness about them.  But the older I get time is becoming more precious than space.  Space is replaceable, even sacred space, i.e. the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  Time, of course, is not.   Once this mome…

"The Gate House" by Nelson Demille

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While the plot of this book is a good one, the story is very drawn out, and the author loses me as an interested reader.  DeMille’s attention to unnecessary detail is a bit too much for me. I’m wanting to get to the point of the story, but must get through all the things that I think could be edited without diminishing the plot itself.      It’s about a lawyer, John, who’s ex-wife, Susan, kills her Mafia don ex-lover. The don’s son, Anthony, is intent on revenging his father’s death. Anthony also wants to get to John by pulling him into a life with the violent Bellarosa family.  John and Susan (released legally for her crime) happen to live close by each other on Long Island, and soon become mutually attracted once again. Can they save one another?      If you like a good lengthy read, then this book is for you. I feel it might be better as a movie!
BY S.M. OKelly Memorial Library Associate.

Review of Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity by Abraham Joshua Heschel:

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In his famous march to Selma, Alabama there is a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the frontline linked arm-in-arm with Ralph Abernathy.One person down to King’s left is the social activist and eminent Jewish theologian and philosopher, Abraham Joshua Heschel.Heschel was a very prominent figure in both the Civil Rights and the Anti-Vietnam War movements of the 1960s and 70s.In the aftermath of Selma, he said, “I felt my legs praying.”Of his involvement in the anti-war movement Heschel wrote, “To speak of God and remain silent on Vietnam is blasphemous.”For Heschel politics and social concerns were intimately linked to theology.Belief in God was inconceivable without concern for the pinnacle of His creation, mankind.This is evident from two of his most famous books, Man’s Quest for God and God in Search for Man.Both of which I highly recommend. But if you want to just sample the incredible depth of Heschel’s thought about all things moral and spiritual, you should take a gander at…