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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.

Science Fiction

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Author: Douglas Preston

A.I. --artificial intelligence.  An interesting concept in itself, but can we really create it?  This could happen. I suspend my beliefs for the sci-fi genre.   So in The Kraken Project  Preston has his character Melissa creates a new programming language an articifical intelligence called "Dorothy".  "Dorothy" was to man the Titan Explorer and enter into an extremely hostile environment.  Unlike "Hal" from 2001: A Space Odyssey,  Dorothy felt she was being harmed and found a way to escape -- via the Internet. Her journey to self awareness leads her to find what she perceives as her purpose. 

Preston presented many levels of fear and ideas that could have been further developed.

This was a very fast read, but I was left wanting more of everything.  

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Author: Douglas Adams

This book is the second in Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, and continues the adventures of the characters we met in the first book.  Due to Douglas Adams' writing style, the plot is complex.  Seemingly "throwaway comments" in one book may end up being major plot points in later chapters or books.  Therefore, I recommend reading the books of this series in order.  If you haven't yet read the first book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," I suggest reading that one first.

This second installment, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe," is every bit the hilarious page-turner that the first book was.  An assortment of characters from different planets continue their series of misadventures aboard the stolen starship Heart of Gold.  There is plenty of humor and satire, surprises, and hilariously shocking revelations.  If you enjoy absurdist science fiction, love to laugh, and are looking for a quick read... then this book may be for you.

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Author: Stephan King

I got this book, cuz of the TV series....I have never read a Stephan King book before. Just not a fan ogf his type of work.

Yes there is always extra stuff thrown in for the Tv hip....So far most of the TV part was straight from the book. Of course the book goes into more detail.King starts out  this thriller with a bang, he does a good job introducing the charcaters and the social-political issues in this small town. The plot twists and the small town issues run two thirds of this book.

I feel Mr. King gets bogged down with the over kill, Throwing in unnessary details and repetative plot twists for each character. Instead of giving the reader what we really want: more about the dome....

I know I am not a Stepan King reader....dont think I ever wiil be. I had to read the ending 4 times, I stll am not sure what he wanted me to think. After over 1100 pages the climax left me dissatified and not sure.  I think he got tired and wanted a quick ending.  ILike I said before, never read a Stepan King novel before, not sure If I ever will. Did not enjoy his "story" telling. 

Giving it a 3 star rating....Sorry people.

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Author: Justin Cronin

In a secret military lab, a virus that promises immortality has backfired to create twelve monsters that break free to infect and devour any human or animal in their path.  In the same lab, one little girl has also been infected, and she holds the key to saving the world. This unusual, complex thriller interweaves a diverse cast of characters as they fight and navigate a post-virus world in order to save themselves and all of mankind. The Passage is the first in a trilogy that tells a strange and riveting tale that I could not put down. 

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Author: Douglas Adams

The first book in Douglas Adams' five-book "trilogy" is a delight to read for anyone who appreciates satire and intricately crafted absurdist science fiction.  This introduction to the series begins the space-crossing adventures of Ford Prefect, Arthur Dent, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Trillian Astra, and Marvin the [chronically depressed] Android.

The thought-provoking hilarity of this novel is apparent from the beginning.  Arthur Dent of England awakes to find bulldozers about to demolish his house to make way for a highway bypass.  Minutes later, Arthur is rescued from a different calamity by his friend Ford Prefect, who reveals himself to be from a different planet.  As a journalist for an intergalactic travel guide, Ford knows how to hitch rides on spaceships, and does so seconds before Earth is vaporized to make way for a hyperspace bypass.  From there we meet the remaining cast of characters and follow them on a series of strange and silly adventures.

For me, this book was a quick read with an exciting page-turner ending.  Comical asides abound throughout the book, but most are not the "throwaway jokes" they first appear to be.  When reading Douglas Adams' works it is safe to assume that there are no coincidences, and what seems like an unimportant detail may be the punchline of a major plot line later.  There's no need to try making predictions, though... part of the fun is allowing the humor to "sneak up on you."

If you like to laugh and appreciate satire, then I recommend this particular escape from reality.

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Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

 I can't just pick one book out of this series so I am writing a review for all of the books in the series. As they all are very good reads. (Editor's note: Guilty Pleasures is the first in the series. Check here for the complete series list.)

This is an exhilarating series. This is the first supernatural series I ever got into reading since high school in which I mostly read regular romance novels. I started out with Book 7 in this series and was so enthralled with it that I immediately checked out the first book in the series and continued on until I have read all books in the series. 

It has an adornment of characters that I have come to love and some that I’ve even come to dislike. I like that the lead character is a strong woman and doesn’t take any gruff from anyone. All the different characters that make up this series is quite intriging to say the least. All the investigations that Anita has to do and all the mystery makes me so engrossed that I sometimes forget to eat lunch or even supper. This is a great series to read if you like drama, romance, intrigue, mystery, and exhilarating scenarios that you just can’t wait to read the next book and so on.

Farside

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Title: Farside
Author: Ben Bova

If you like science fiction that involves space travel, you will like this book.  I really enjoyed it, cover to cover.  The story revolves around outposts on the moon, literally the "far side" of the moon, where an egotistical scientist, Jason Ulrich,  in search of a Nobel Prize commands a group of subordinates who are constructing an unbelievably complex radio telescope facility for the Universtiy of Selene.  Ulrich was once a professor at the University, and though now blind, he is the director of the Farside complex.  Advanced medical technology has allowed him a little "sight" although it is nowhere near normal. 

As you might expect, some of the people have goals that may not be in the best interest of Farside, or for Ulrich to complete the task of being the first to verify the existance of an inhabitable planet nearer to Earth than otherwise thought.  In this vein, the villain is readily picked out by the reader who is paying attention, and therefore the ending is a little bit predictable.

Another interesting vein in the story line involves the use of nanobots, which have been outlawed on Earth due to some rogue bots commiting murder, being used to keep people healthy and young, and to prevent overexposure to radiation.

This book received less than good reviews on Amazon, but I really did enjoy it.  Die-hard sci fi lovers may find it a bit condascending but if you go into it not expecting some interwoven, complicated story, and just look for a good read, I think you will enjoy it too.

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Author: Michael Crichton

This was a great book much more detail than the movies, I like reading Books that spawn movies because the characters are more detailed and you can get more of their back story. Good book overall lots of action just like the movies very fun.

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Author: Rachel Caine

I have read many books by Rachel Caine and this is by far the strangest.  Bryn Davis is just an ordinary girl, starting a new job at a funeral home after serving four years in iraq.  She is eager to impress her new boss, funeral director Lincoln Fairview.  However, this may require skills that Bryn is not prepared to learn.  After a horrific first day on the job, dealing with an overly depressed customer and a creepy assistant, Bryn accidentally overhears a conversation in which her boss seems to claim to revive the dead.  Certain she has misheard, Bryn investigates further only to find herself waking up...dead.  Aided by Joe Fideli and Patrick McCallister, two security men working for a large drug company, Bryn must learn the truth behind Lincoln Fairview's words, all while being hunted by an executive at the pharmacy company who is bent on killing off her own employees, politicians, and other powerful people in an effort to secure that power for herself.  Relying on a drug that was never meant to exist and can only be administered by Joe and Patrick, Bryn must rush to expose the truth of this drug and the horrible future it could help enable.  

The story is very good and the book moves along briskly.  I would have liked to see more character development but overall, I liked it.  

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Author: Richard Paul Evans

The second Michael Vey book is exciting and eventful.  The book is easy to read and the ending leaves you wanting to know what will happen next.  Michael and his friends set out on an adventure to save Michael's mother who is being held by Dr. Hatch.  Michael learns along the way who his friends are and has to make choices about what new people he is able to trust.  He also learns more about his own powers that seem to be gainng strength. Dr. Hatch is very evil and is running a compound that produces electric rats.  His intention is to take over the world.  Michael is captured and finds himself in position to become the next meal for the rats. Just read the book, you won't be disappointed.