Tessa’s Recommendation: Easy Reading Off-Planet Romances for the SciFi fan!

Feel like you need some easy reading time? Then join me on the fascinating future planet of Harmony, discovered through and between Jayne Ann Krentz different series and pen names! This famous and best-selling author has been writing since 1979, usually with a paranormal twist to her romances. Around the turn of the millennium she began a new series in a new setting—the distant planet, Harmony. Although she has used up to 7 different pen names, currently she only uses three. The Harmony novels are written under her maiden name, Jayne Castle. Recently, however, she has begun tying her other two series in with the Harmony series, which has made for lots of fun figuring out which book goes where.
Personally, I mostly dislike romances. Especially the sickly sweet ones. But a Harmony novel grabbed me one day a half-dozen years ago when I was looking for something else. I snuck one home, secretly, not wanting to get caught reading any “romance tripe.” Surprisingly, it was kinda fun. The planet Harmony has been cut off from Earth for about 200 years, and its human society has developed its own mores and laws. It has also developed new paranormal skills associated with the crystals found everywhere: even whole ruined cities are built of green crystal. There were intelligent beings living on Harmony before humanity discovered it, but they left long ago, leaving behind many artifacts and mysteries. New skills and new crystals are discovered all the time, so each book focused on a new type of crystal for a while. There are about ten novels in the two basic Harmony series (Ghost hunters and Rainshadow), with a few others linked to other series. The Ghost hunters series came first, and it was in book four, Silver Master, that she introduced the delightful creatures dust bunnies. These cat-sized intelligent animals adopt someone and move in, showing themselves greedy but pleasant companions and truly scary guards. Their cute blue eyes are suddenly joined by a pair of amber ones, and the four-eyed bunny goes ballistic, to the terror and pain of those targeted. If you are pet lover, they will add more enjoyment to the books.
Be warned that the first book was pretty lame, but they get better. Each book contains the requisite two or three sex scenes, but there is plenty of warning so you can skip it if you want. None of the plots are complicated, and all of them have a formula, but the mystery and suspense along with the gradual reveal of the planet’s secrets, make them a great choice for a scifi fan’s evening relaxation. Nowadays I carry Jayne Castle novels proudly.  ~ Tessa

5 Healthy Towns Recipes — Return of the Salsa King

It was 5 Healthy Towns time again in Grass Lake! Brad West gave us a variety of fiery and sweet salsas to sample. Next month’s program is ‘Fall Fungi’ showing attendees how to harvest and prepare some fantastic fall ‘shrooms. Reservations are required; please call the Grass Lake Branch at (517)522-8211 or email grasslake@myjdl.com to reserve your spot.


Grilled Pineapple & Pepper Salsa

  • 3 c. grilled pineapple, diced
  • 1 ½ c. grilled red & green peppers, diced
  • 1 c. grilled red onions, diced
  • ½ c. grilled green onions, diced
  • 2-4 Tbsp. grilled or roasted garlic, minced
  • 2-4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, taste and adjust seasonings.


Grilled Vegetable Salsa

  • 1 c. grilled zucchini, diced
  • 1 c. grilled yellow squash, diced
  • 1 c. grilled sweet onions, diced
  • 1 c. grilled green onions, diced
  • 1 c. grilled red & green pepper, diced
  • 2 c. grilled tomatoes, diced
  • 1 c. grilled corn
  • ½ c. grilled hot peppers, minced
  • 3-6 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3-6 Tbsp. roast or grilled garlic, minced
  • ½ – 1 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
  • ¼ – ½ c. cilantro, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, taste, and adjust seasonings.


Watermelon and Feta Salsa

  • 4 c. watermelon, diced
  • 1 ½ c. crumbled feta
  • ¾ c. sweet onions, in ½“ julienne
  • 2-4 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 Tbsp. honey
  • 1-3 tsp. fresh mint, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, taste, and adjust seasonings.


Dead of Winter Salsa

  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (can be Mexican style or fire roasted)
  • 1 ½ c. diced sweet onion
  • 1-3 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2-4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1-3 pickled jalapenos, diced
  • ½ – 1 tsp. ground cumin (optional)
  • 3-6 Tbsp. cilantro OR 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine ingredients, pulse in blender, taste & adjust seasonings.


Mean Green Salsa

  • 2 c. tomatillos
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ – 1 c. pickled jalapenos
  • 1 c. sweet or red onion
  • 2-4 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 3-6 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2-4 Tbsp. cilantro
  • ½ – 1 tsp. cumin (optional)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Pulse or puree in blender or food processor. Taste and adjust seasonings.

September/October 2014 Newsletter

The newsletter is in!

Hope you all had a wonderful summer. September is library card sign-up month and it’s going to be a great month to become a regular at your library. In this edition of Chapters you discover how to meet and learn from a northern Michigan ‘bootstrapper’ that knows a thing or two about getting things done.


Michigan Author Mardi Jo Link will visit Carnegie Library this month, and will lead a writing workshop. To find out more click on the cover image to download this edition of Chapters.

Find Everything

Our New Catalog Search Is Here

Did you notice anything new today? Our brand-new library search tool launched this morning, and we’re really excited to share with you all that it can do. There are now several ways to access the new catalog and everything the library has to offer. There’s also a form to submit your thoughts.
Find Everything
We have created a short introductory tutorial to help you find your way around. You can also find your way in by doing a search in the search box at the top of our website. The “My Account” and “What’s New” links also lead you there.


After you try the new catalog out look for the Tell Us What You Think button on the new catalog homepage


We Want To Hear From You!

In an effort to offer the very best service possible, the Jackson District Library has begun a strategic planning process. We are seeking input from all residents in Jackson County on current and future library services.

Please complete our short survey.

The survey will run from August 7 to August 22. We greatly appreciate your support!
Find Everything

The New Way to Search JDL: A Tour

On August 18th you’ll find a whole new way to discover what your library has to offer. Jackson District Library’s new catalog is more powerful than before and offers new ways to discover what’s available from your library.

Use the PREV< and >NEXT buttons to see all that our new search can do.

Birder's Guide To Everything

Tessa’s DVD Dis: A birder’s guide to everything

The new release DVD A birder’s guide to everything was missed by most people when it was in theaters for a couple months. That’s probably just as well. This pic should be missed. Even though reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes seem to like it, I simply can’t agree.

This is a movie about a father-son relationship in difficulties. The nerdy main character deals by going on a birding road trip with his high school buddies, even though he is supposed to be in his dad’s wedding. Sounds epic for families, right? Nope.Birder's Guide To Everything

Here’s the main issue: the audience. Who on earth were they targeting when they made this? First, don’t make the mistake of thinking this movie is ok for your kids. That’s only the case if you don’t mind them hearing lots of really crude sexual remarks, foul language and seeing a completely gratuitous breast flash. The high school boys’ language and remarks may be accurate and realistic, but that doesn’t mean you want to encourage your 10-year-old to talk that way. So. Not a family movie.

Is it for birders? This birder says absolutely not! The target bird of the movie is completely ridiculous. Both my husband and I looked at it and said, “It’s a mallard!” The most common water bird of North America? Really? That’s the bird they chose to serve as the extinct Labrador Duck? They also made up a bird name in another situation—why? Weren’t there enough weird bird names for them? Seems like dickcissel would’ve worked. Or bobolink. Or even veery.

Not family, not birders. Who then? Guys? Nope—too touchy feely for them. I mean, the teenaged main character cries, for crying out loud! Teens? Same thing. Maybe teen girls, but probably not. I guess the appeal is mainly for adults who like offbeat dramatic offerings. Bearing the above cautions in mind, you might find it mildly entertaining. Don’t expect any awards for this one. Not even any nominations. ~Tessa 2.5 out of 5 stars   July 2014

A variety of Summer Coolers from the program.

5 Healthy Towns — Summer Coolers

It’s recipe recap time from the latest 5 Healthy Towns program in Grass Lake. July brought Brad West again, this time with a rainbow of breezy summer drinks for all to enjoy. Try your hand at some of them below. The next 5HT program features Brad again, in the ‘Return of the Salsa King’, teaching us how to make awesome salsa’s from farm fresh ingredients. Contact the branch at (517) 522-8211 or grasslake@myjdl.com to reserve your spot!

Better than V-8 Drink

  • 4 c. tomatoes, diced (I used grape tomatoes)
  • 2 c. carrots, diced

    (Right to left) Strawberry Cucumber, Vegetable Blend, Pineapple Mango, Blueberry, Citrus, Watermelon

  • 1 c. red pepper, diced
  • 1 c. celery, diced
  • 1 c. beet, diced  (yes raw beet is okay)
  • 1 c. cucumber, diced (if you can’t get fresh from the garden or a farmer’s market use the little pickling cukes from a store)
  • 3-4 kale leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1-2 tsp. fresh garlic
  • 2-4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. agave syrup
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Puree all together in a blender; add water as needed to thin it to you desired consistency.


Cantaloupe Licuado

  • 6 c. cantaloupe, diced
  • 4-5 c. milk
  • ¼ c. agave syrup (optional)
  • 1 ½ tsp. real vanilla

Puree in a blender or food processor.


‘I Love the Tropics’ Smoothie (Rumless Pina Colada)

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 2 c. fresh ripe pineapple, diced
  • 1 c. coconut milk (the canned kind for cooking)
  • 2 c. Greek yogurt
  • 2 c. milk or water
  • ¼ c. agave syrup (optional)

Puree in blender or food processor.


Tropical Infused Water

  • 8 c. water
  • 2 champagne (ataulfo) mangoes, pitted, peeled and sliced
  • 6 slices fresh pineapple, peeled and halved
  • 6-8 slices fresh ginger root
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 2-4 Tbsp. agave syrup (optional)

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.


Strawberry Cucumber Infused Water

  • 1 c. strawberries, sliced
  • 2 pickling cucumbers, sliced
  • 5-10 mint leaves, crumbled to release flavor
  • 6 slices fresh ginger
  • 2-4 Tbsp. agave syrup

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


Berry Good Green Tea

  • 8 green tea bags
  • 8 c. hot water 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • ¼ c. agave syrup (optional)

Combine all ingredients and let tea bags steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, let tea cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. You can strain the berries and lemon or leave them in.


Citrus Tea

  • 8 tea bags
  • 8 c. hot water
  • 4 slices orange
  • 4 slices lemon
  • 4 slices lime
  • 4 slices grapefruit
  • ¼ c. agave syrup (optional)

Combine all ingredients and let tea bags steep 10 to 15 minutes. Remove tea bags, let tea cool to room temperature and then refrigerate. You can strain the fruit or leave it in.



  • 6 c. seedless watermelon, diced
  • 4 c. coconut water
  • juice of ½-1 lime (to taste)
  • 2-4 Tbsp. agave syrup

Puree in a blender or food processor.


Instagram Class at Carnegie

Are you a photographer looking to share your photos with the world? Do you want to document your travels or feature your art or hobbies? Instagram is a social network that lets you share photos and videos with friends and family. If you have a smartphone or tablet and an eye for detail, Instagram is a great way to connect with others who appreciate photographs. You can advocate a cause, be a tourist in your own town, share your brand’s story, and so much more!


Join me at Jackson District Library’s downtown Carnegie Library on July 29 at 6 PM or July 31 at 10 AM for a hands-on Instagram class. You’ll discover how to edit images, add filters, and use tags and hashtags to connect to Instagrammers using the Instagram app. You’ll also learn how to share your photos on Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr. You’ll need to bring your smartphone or tablet and be comfortable using your device’s apps and camera.ACC - Instagram


Space is limited. To register for the class, contact the JDL Training Coordinator at (517) 788-4087 ext. 1303.


See you there!

Tessa’s Rave Review of Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is a near-perfect read that fails to get 5 stars due to a couple jarring anachronisms in this early 60’s setting–one character’s name is Ariel, which wasn’t used in the early 60’s, not really. Then, at a crisis point, one character is thinking, “God, just kill me now.” Again, that phrase didn’t come into use until decades later. Other than that, this was an enjoyable trip down memory lane for me.Ordinary Grace Cover

The story follows events in the summer of 1961 when the main character, Frank Drum, and his younger brother, Jake, are just beginning to figure things out.  Their father is a Methodist minister with three churches to care for, their mother a gifted musician who works very hard to bring wonderful music to the churches and community.  As someone who has been a minister’s wife with children, I can affirm that those aspects of the book ring true.  Five deaths take place, and we spend a great deal of the book anticipating them and wondering who was involved in each.

Do not read this if you want a “typical” mystery or suspense—because it is so much more. People talk about predictability—that shows up only about 2/3 of the way through. The suspense and dread build and build in the early parts. And certain things I was sure were going to happen never did, so it isn’t completely predictable.

People have commented that the boys were taken places they would not have been in reality. I beg to differ. That was a different age, and preteen and teenaged boys were expected and invited (sometimes forced) to be in on many things that parents would protect them from now. And as an adult who has a horrid memory of the awkward results of eavesdropping, may I defend that trope? Yes, they did it a lot, but kids do, don’t they, when calamitous events are happening around them? Or even just when Christmas is coming. The real story nestled in this gem is that of the Drum family and the terrible effects of the events on them. I loved it very much, in spite of blasphemy and bad language issues which seem to go with that age group. Highly recommended if you want an intense, lovely book about family vulnerability, loyalty, and, yes, absolutely, grace. ~ Tessa     4.5 out of 5 stars