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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.

Christmas

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: Debbie Macomber

A society page newspaper columnist looking to break out of the mold and get bigger news scoops takes on a challenge posed by her boss that is supposed to open up new doors for her. In taking the assignment, she travels to the Alaskan wilderness in search of a best selling author who would prefer to remain hidden from the public. The adventurous trip provides her with an opportunity to meet the elusive author and write the article. However, during the brief time spent with him in his small living quarters, she enjoys getting to know the man and begins to have feelings for him. When she returns to the states, she has second thoughts about doing the article as printing it would jeapardize her relationship with the author. The love story a bit "mush" at times, but an enjoyable light read with a feel good twist.

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Author: Susan Wiggs

I have to read enough heavy material in my work, so I enjoy frivolous reads that don't really require me to develop opinions or perform research. This book fits the bill- it's fun, entertaining, and feel good with enough plot twists to keep it interesting. The settings are part of the draw, the romance is entertaining, the children and family are enchanting. This is a definite feel good book for a Christmas read. While I think the romantic aspects are a bit over the top, most of us don't like romance novels that consist of going to work, grocery shopping, and dirty dishes- that being said, it's a nice diversion on a cold winter night.

Book Features:
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Author: Patrick Taylor

More tales of country GP Barry Laverty and his partner, Fingal O'Reilly centered around Christmas.  One storyline centers around a little boy who doesn't want to go to school, it turns out he wasn't picked to play Joseph in the pageant, rather the innkeeper.  He has some choice words about the other little boy, which shouldn't be funny, but it is and later in the book at the pageant it happens he lets loose on this other little boy, so funny.  Just a feel good type of book.

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Author: Liz Curtis Higgs

This book is a short novella that can be read in one sitting, so it's perfect for the times when you just want to cuddle down and read a complete story.  The book is well written, albeit a bit predictible in the plot, but very, very enjoyable.  The story revolves around Meg Campbell, a young lady fleeing from her home and her abusive brother on Christmas Eve.  Her brother suffered an injury at the hands of Gordon Shaw years before and has been taking it out on everyone ever since.  Mr. Shaw happens to be on the same train that Meg boards to head back to her job, a train destined to become snowbound in a blizzard.  Based in Scotland, I was happy to see the names of some small towns in Scotland that I happen to be familiar with as I have friends there.  I was a bit taken aback when I saw the little town listed in the story but it made me smile.  She did her homework!  She vividly describes the scenery, the biting cold, and the emotions of Christmas, a time that should be filled with joy, but are filled with heartbreak for Meg.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

The Stupidest Angel

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Author: Christopher Moore

Are you weary of all the tireless holiday cheer? Does the thought of one more caroler have you reaching for the Pepto? If you answered yes to either of these questions then The Stupidest Angel might be the story for you.

Pine Cove is a small California town filled with eccentricity, and those eccentricities certainly do shine during the holidays. The story is impossible to sum up but let’s just shoot through the highlights. Santa is nearly decapitated by a shovel. A stoner constable tries to find the killer while keeping tabs on his B-movie actress wife who has taken to thinking she is an Amazonian warrior goddess. The dead are rising from the grave and the stupidest angel is going about trying to find the right child to grant a Christmas miracle to.

If you can suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride The Stupidest Angel is a lot of fun. It starts off fast and absurd and neither the pace nor the absurdity let up through the book. I would highly recommend this “holiday” read to fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey, or anyone who enjoys a dose of the absurd in their reading.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

White Christmas: the story of an American Song

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Author: Jody Rosen

What’s the most popular Christmas song of all time?  Based on record sales, it may well be Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”  The song was written for a specific situation in a movie, 1942’s “Holiday Inn,” starring Fred Astaire and (of course) Bing Crosby.  The movie was a big hit, but the song really took off due to its popularity among the soldiers and sailors fighting in World War II.  The Christmas of 1942 was the first that millions of young men were away from home and “White Christmas” perfectly expressed their longing for the kind of holiday they used to know.  In this book, the author tells the captivating story of “White Christmas” and its tremendous impact.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

I am Half-Sick of Shadows

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Author: Alan Bradley

Flavia de Luce is eleven years old, one of three motherless sisters living in 1950s England. She takes an extreme interest in chemistry--especially poisons--and fortunately is in possession of her Uncle Tar's laboratory where she can make use of the information she discovers. In the first three books she deals with a corpse in the cucumber patch, cruel pranks by her older sisters, and gets involved in mysteries involving old murder investigations, puppet theaters, and gypsies.

The fourth book, the title taken from the poem The Lady of Shalott, takes place just before Christmas. Money has gotten so tight that Flavia's father has rented Buckshaw, their family home, to a film company. Meanwhile, Flavia has reached the age where she is not so sure that Father Christmas is real and has formulated a plan to prove his existence once and for all.

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