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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.

Plot

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Author: Stephanie Grace Whitson

This was a historical fiction/romance (set in 1869). The story of a young girl (18) from the east who sets out to find her only living relative in Montana Territory. I am amazed at the courage it took to settle this country. Stories like this give our history flesh and bones. The author makes the characters 'real'.

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Author: Marcus Zusak

This is an excellent book .   The narrator is both unusual and abhorent, to most. The story takes place in Nazi Germany 1939 and progresses from there.   This well written story involves a girl who suffers again and again due to Hitler and his war.  More than once, she looses everything including family, friends as well as material things.  Her only escape is through books and since most people cannot afford food, books are not readily available to her.    She finds a way to read some, as the title reveals, as she takes them from some unusual sources.   Her experences leave her hardened beyond her years.     I highly reccommend this book and the recently released movie, with the same title.

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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!

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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: 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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Title: Valhalla
Author: Robert Mrazek

Vikings, Norse mythology and world domination come together in this suspenseful novel.  This first novel in a new series was fast paced.  The characters were compelling and interesting.  But the storyline really intrigued me -- Archaelogy under the Greenland icecap. The twists and turns on Vikings, secret religions, and conspiracies that the author led us through were great.  I couldn't figure out the end and was surprised at the conclusion.  It should be interesting to see what these characters will be up to in the next book of the series.

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Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

I give this one 4 stars!   This is historical fiction following a family of Botonists begining with trade in medicinal herbs.  This business was quite lucerative and the successful not only located the valuable herbs, but then determined how the valuable plants might be grown in a more convienient location, on the property of the trader.  The Whittaker family leaves europe for opportunities in the new world.  They are unconventional and are not bothered by the dictates of  society.   They rather surround themselves with learned individuals of fame and conduct debate at the dinner table.   Growing up in this atmosphere, the main character, Alma Whittaker becomes a precousious child and a famous botonist in her own right.   Her physical characteristics do not draw suiters to her door and she is resigned to this fact of life.  This does not exclude her from love, or sex, but her love life is frought with problems.

  Her story touches on Darwin's discovery of evolution, but was he really the first?  She becomes involved with two very unusual men  After her fathers death, she spends years  in Tahiti.   The story comes full circle when she returns, late in life to find the family her parents left behind in europe.  I found this book to be well written and also had  an unusual and  entertaining story as well as characters.   I reccommend this to adult fans of historical fiction.

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Title: White Fire
Author: Douglas Preston

FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast is back in another thrilller from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.  Pendergast is back to being eccentric, odd, brilliant, still doesn't like rules, but gets results. Our man in the black suit works his magic to find answers to an number of questions. His actions and thoughts take on Sherlock Holmes' attributes. I enjoyed how Sherlock was integrated into this story.  Corrie Swanson, Pendergast's protege, is determined to find information for her thesis.  She has been written as an intelligent girl who does not think through the problem before she acts.  It was irritating at times.  But throughly entertaining.  A great mystery thriller with a few twists.  Enjoy the read.

More of Eve Dallas

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Author: J. D. Robb

I have not had enough of Eve Dallas.  The 39th installment of the In Death series is just as good as the first.  Eve Dallas is a person I would like to know. Gritty, focused, loved by her friends and utterly delightful in her naivety and as for her husband Rourke, well lets just say I want one just like him.  This Christmas Eve is still befuddled with the gift giving and receiving.  She doesn't shop and when she does buy somehting (there is a difference), it is perfect for the person receiving it.

The murder aspect could have been a bit more edgy, especially since I did not like the murdered person. Without giving away more, I can easily say read the book.  It is a fast read and holds your attention. You will laugh and cry and hope the next installment arrives soon!

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Author: Cleo Coyle

As a lover of coffee, I was entranced when I found a coffeehouse mystery.  What could be better.  There is nothing better than settling back with a good cup of coffee and reading a book.  I do it every morning.  Billionaire Blend interested me right from the start.  And start with a bang it did when a limosine blew up in front of the Village Blend coffee house.  Coyle has a great insight into the coffeehouse and New York City culture.  You never know who you will be rubbing elbows with in New York, or any where. Clare Cosi, barista heuristic, comes in contact with billionaire Eric Thorner, founder and CEO of Thorn, Inc.  There are twists and turns, bombs and murders, and visits around the world. 

This was an interesting read and I will search for more of Cleo Coyle's  work.  Enjoy and check out the recipes in the back of the book!