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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: Neil Gaiman

Like Coraline, Gaiman's new novel explores the dark beauty of childhood--the suffering, pain, fears, and imagination adults tend to forget and gloss over with our idealization of childhood.  The Ocean at the End of the Sea possesses the same trenchant glimpses of childhood that we find in Henry James's What Maisie Knew coupled with Gaiman's terrifying yet realistic vision.  An addictive novel.

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Author: Kathrine Switzer

As a runner and a Women's Studies professor, I was very naturally predisposed to love Marathon Woman--Kathrine Switzer's beautifully written, powerful story of how she challenged the Boston Marathon's all-male tradition by running the 26.2-mile race in 1967.  I wasn't prepared, though, for how powerfully the book would motivate me to relish and treasure every step I take as a runner.  While reading it, I began to recognize that running--and racing--is a privilege. Thinking of running as a gift may not make my legs stronger, but it does inspire me and fill me with a new degree of intention on my runs. 

Even for non-runners, the book is fueled by Switzer's personable voice and her attention to details. 

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Title: Night Film
Author: Marisha Pessl

Like Marisha Pessl's debut novel Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Night Film is a sprawling and ambitious novel with vertiginous effects on its reader's imagination.  Unfortunately (and also like Special Topics), the novel suffers from Pessl's desire to show off for her readers.  She is a smart, gifted novelist but wastes too much time trying to impress readers with her intellect. 

Night Films dives into one man's complex relationship to the work and world of a reclusive cult film director.  Hinging on the protagonist's desire to get to the bottom of the director's daughter's suicide, the story is a mystery that blurs the boundaries between horror films, witchcraft, and reality in fascinating ways.

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Author: Lisa Renee Jones

So here we are again with another Trilogy. I am sure a lot of us are groaning and moaning again, saying not another one. I have to say though that the moaning and groaning within the pages of this book make it a MUST READ!!!!! Yes, this is another trilogy but it is sooooo much more. What would you do if you came across someone's journals in a storage you just bought? Would you read them, I confess I would read them. This is were the trilogy begins, with Sara coming across the journals written by a woman named Rebecca who has disappeared. Sara introduces herself into Rebecca's world in the hopes to find out what has happened to her. What Sara finds is mystery, alpha males; a hot, hot, hot sexy artist named Chris and passion. Lisa Renee Jones is a talented author who does a marvelous job of drawing the reader in and making them not want to put the book down. The characters are real and developed, the story line is good, the book is not to wordy or descriptive and the endings have the perfect cliffhangers. I would highly recommend this book, its awesome. I give it 5 stars.

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Author: Stephanie Evanovich

OMG !!!!! This book rocks the house. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish this book. Holly is a recently widowed and has a "slight" weight problem. Logan is well known personal trainer for some major athletes. They meet on a flight back home and he offers to help her get back in shape. Holly turns out to be a natural for getting in shape and as she starts to shed the pounds the attraction begins to sizzle. This is a story of stereotypes, proving them wrong and looking at what's on the inside is what really matters. Stephanie's debut novel is well written, keeps the reader engrossed and gives you a happy ending. I give this book 5 stars.

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Author: Stephen Kiernan

Dr. Kate Philo makes the most amazing discovery. A man buried in the ice at the Arctic Circle is found and brought back to life. The man's name is Jeremiah. Dr. Kate ends up falling for her reanimated man but his life is slowing coming to an end, only this time permanently. Stephen's debut novel is a masterfully created work that keeps the reader engrossed till the very end. The tale is original and makes you think - what if this was too really happen - what would you do? I give this book 5 stars.

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Author: Susan Mallery

This was a really charming story about a long ago crush that becomes love. Ford Hendrix time in the military was hard on his soul but the letters he received from Isabel Beebe kept him sane. The meet up again after years of not seeing one another and the crush is still there for Isabel. Susan Mallery is a masterful story teller. Her stories a witty, lovable and sweet romances. I love how the story gives us the background on the crush and brings their love together at the end. You can always count on Susan Mallery to deliver a wonderful book, every time. I give this book 4 stars. A must read!!!!

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Author: Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a thriller that delves into stories of corruption and power, particularly in so far as these issues become complicated in, by, and for the media.  The ethical issues the book raises about information—its dissemination and its production—are fascinating, and Larsson handles them with an ambiguity that forces the reader to recognize the limits of "right" and "wrong" in relation to some tricky questions.

But the real subject of the novel is sexual violence. 

Larrson intersperses statistics about sexual violence throughout the book—he sets the data apart from the fictional narrative in a way that serves as a very strong anchor into reality.  For me, this was one of the most important components of the book because, recursively, I was forced to remember/acknowledge the fact that although the book's gruesome chain of events is fictional, it is based on the cultural reality that sexual violence is ubiquitous and affects us all.

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Author: Crystal McVea

This is a nonfiction book about a young woman, Crystal McVea, who had continuous strife in her life.  She was raped when she was three years old, then endured more sexual abuse, and her family history was violent. She had a baby out of wedlock at age 17 and an abortion soon after.  She tried drugs and dated the wrong men.  She struggled with balancing two jobs, taking care of her children, and studying to be a grade school teacher.  Her young son was hit by a car and almost died.

Finally she met and married a wonderful and godly man and had twins with him.  The twins almost died as they were only two and four pounds at birth.  Later in 2009 Crystal had surgery that went wrong, and she died for nine minutes.  During this time she was with God who made her realilze all the abuse she had endured was not her fault and she had a new purpose in life.

After she healed, God would "nudge" her often to tell her story of abuse and of her glorious visit to heaven.  Eventually she was guided to meet persons to help her write her book.  By telling her story she helped other victims to also heal, and she spread God's message of love and redemption to all.  Alex Tresniowski, who wrote "The Invisible Thread", helped her write the book.

I thought the book was very interesting and worth reading.  It was amazing she didn't die, especially since her drunk stepfather took a shotgun and shot a hole in the wall a foot above her head while she was sleeping.  Her family was also in two horrible storms on the highway.  Oklahoma has many sudden tornadoes.

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Author: Joe Schreiber

When 18-year old Perry's family decides to host an exchange student from Lithuania, he is expecting a steamy romance. Instead, Gobi turns out to be frumpy and uninteresting. That is, until Prom night when everything changes. Gobi turns out to be a little more than Perry can handle.

I listened to the audiobook and it's wildly entertaining. The narrator, Steven Boyer, does a wonderful job with the different voices.