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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

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Author: Kimberly McCreight

With a pageant of mostly immature and unreliable adults, this book is about the mystery of the death of Amelia, a student at a trouble-filled and dysfunctional college prep academy. Up until close to her death, Amelia had been a diligent and conscientious student. Her world is turned upside down when she makes the mistake of joining a secret cruel society at her school. She also falls in love with a girl named Dylan who she mistakenly believes is reciprocating her love.

She is having a hard time relating to her mom because her mom is a high-powered lawyer with limited quality time to offer her. Dad is out of the picture. This was a page turner with flashbacks by both Amelia and her mother. (Watch the dates of the entries closely so you can figure out what is going on!) I was welcoming every break in my schedule to sit down and catch up with this book. McCreight really sets up the story cleverly. After I got the whole book finished, I had to return to certain passages which foreshadowed the ending SO WELL but I just did not see any of it coming!! I love when a book can take me for a ride like that and I am blind to what is actually happening. Whew!

Author: Susan Schoenberger

There are two main characters.

The first one is Holly, a young widow trying to makes ends meet. She works in a small town newspaper that is struggling to survive. She is one of the constant volunteers that go in to help Vivian, who has been confined to an iron lung since she was 6 years old, the year she contracted polio.

Vivian is the second main character, who describes in detail her life in an iron lung. The small town rallys around and keep her alive.

This is a very good book, that has a surprise and satisfied ending.

Author: Maria Semple

I asked a former librarian for a new book to read. She said that this was one she was going to have us read for book club, so I gave it a shot. It's like a book with ADD...it's all over the place. But, a fun, fun read.

Audiobook Review
Author: Julia Dahl

Very interesting, albeit fiction, book. I've never given much thought to the inner workings/hiding of cultures. The book was riddled with true information and terminology about the Jewish faith. A good listen.

Audiobook Review
Author: Gabrielle Zevin

I liked everthing about this book- the characters, the setting, the humor, and the heartbreak. The story of a grumpy young widower who owns a bookstore is viewed from many perspectives. As A.J. struggles to cope with the death of his wife, some strange events alter his life permanently, starting with the theft of a rare, valuable book and leading to a toddler being left behind in his store. When A.J. decides to keep the child, his life becomes rich when he forms relationships with others to raise her. The author creates laugh out loud humor and heartwrenching observations, often in the same sentence. This slim novel is a new favorite.

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Author: JoJo Moyes

This is an excellent read.  The Story opens in occupied France during WWI.  Two sisters run a small hotel and resturant, that has been run down by "requisitions" from the German  occupiers, who have left little but the bare essentials for the restuant to run.  Food is scarce and rationed.  Both of  their husbands are fighting in the war.   Communication is slow to non existant. 

  Our main character, Sophie, works hard to provide for herself and her sister and sisters children, as well as their younger brother.   She also finds time to provide a little comfort  to some elderly and disabled people in their small community.   She has been dangeriously outspoken with a new German commandant, who is investigating a stolen pig, and then decides that the sisters will provide meals for his men.   The story weaves around a beautiful painting Sophie's artist husband painted of her prior to their marriage.   The German commandant finds himself  drawn to this painting, as well as to Sophie.   This leads to a disasterious outcome.

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Author: V. C. Andrews

This book is a sequel of sorts to Flowers in the Attic. 

A distant teen age relative finds a diary at old Foxworth burned out estate that her father is working on for a new owner.  She finds that the diary is written by Christopher, one of the 4 children that was rumored to be locked up in the attic for years on the Foxworth estate. She finds out that the rumors are true and becomes obsessed with the contents of the diary.

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Author: Ellery Adams

Having read the previous books in the Books by the Bay series, I was interested in the next installment.  It grabbed me from the beginning. Without giving much away, I was intrigued by the weddings being planned, emotional conflicts, the time capsule found and the body under the pier. The characters have evovled over time and have intriguing backgrounds.    There are secrets that come out in each of the books and most everything comes back to the main character Olivia.  Be aware even Olivia has secrets.  The past plays a major part in solving the murders and resolving personal issues of Olivia.

If there is a small town of Oyster Bay, I would find it interesting to visit as a tourist.  There  seems to be something being planned or happening all the time.  This cozy mystery is a quick read.  The book stands alone, but having read the  previous books I find the characters even richer.  The twists and turns are not always predictable.  Enjoy it.

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Author: Diane Gabaldon

After reading all of the eight "Outlander" books,  I found the last one to be disapointing..   Too many forgetable characters brought back from other books.   I actually found this hard to finish and after investing much time reading the first seven books in the series, I wanted to complete the whole thing.   This book has Breeanna's husband wandering around uselessly, looking for his son who is not in the time period he has arrived in traveling through the stones..  He is neither in the present nor the time where Jamie and Clair are, but rather visits Jamie's father Brian and the young Dougal McKensey.    Breeanna and her children are having big problems in the present.   Lord John is beatten by Jamie and winds up a prisioner of the Rebels.   William (Frazier) is in a crisis over learning of his true paternity.

 

For me this was too many tales going on at once, many are never resolved.  I found the end abrupt.  The first book in the series "The Outlander"  is wonderful , and many of the other sequels are also very good.    I reccommend this series, but I don't think it is necessary to read this last one.

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Author: Julie Lawson Timmer

Mara has it all. She's a lawyer in a successful practice, has a wonderful husband and a beautiful adopted daughter. Her husband started to notice changes in his wife's behavior. He tries to tell her, but she is in denial. She finally sees what her family sees and goes to a doctor who diagnoses her with Huntingtons, an incurable disease.

Then we have Scott, who is a middle school teacher, who has agreed to take care of a former student's little brother for a year while their mother is in jail.

The two characters are connected by a website and even though share their thoughts to each other, have never met.

The 5 days left is a character in itself. Mara decided to commit suicide because she feels she does not want to be a burden. At the beginning of the book, she gave herself 5 days to get her life in order for when she is gone.

Scott, has 5 days left when he has to return his foster son back to his mother.

I will not share the ending. That is for each reader to experience on their own.