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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.

family relationships

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Did you ever read the first sentence of a book and know right then and there that this was a 5 stars book? Well that happened with me and FOREVER INTERRUPTED. I felt connected to the characters immediately, I was part of their world from that first sentence and stayed connected through the whole book. This story is a sad/happy story. You know from the back cover that Elsie faces the death of her new husband, Ben, shortly after they are married. You are also told that she is to face her mother in law, who was never informed of her son's relationship with Elsie, let alone their marriage. What unfolds in this story is the stinging truth of loss and grief, so honestly portrayed that it breaks your heart and a love story that is so uplifting, powerful and unforgettable. This story is about loss, finding peace within life's harsh circumstances and loving with your heart each and every moment. This is an amazing debut novel from a writer who knows how to write characters that you are instantly attached to, with compelling and rich story line. I cannot say enough how much I enjoyed this book and like the front cover says "this is not your average love story". 5 stars!!!! (less)

Author: Kate Morton

Spanning two continents and two centuries, Forgotten Garden tethers readers to the power of individual histories and the quest for roots and meaning. An Australian embittered woman cannot form deep attachment after discovering that her parents are not her biological parents. Her search for her parentage is posthumously assisted by her granddaughter, herself deeply scarred by her own family history. Embedded in fairy tales and evoking other childhood classics, Forgotten Garden reads like a cautionary tale as well, entrancing its readers with multi-layered shadowy characters.

Title: Wife 22
Author: Melanie Gideon

This was such a fun read! I thought the author did an excellent job with the characters, giving them "warts and all"!! I felt that I knew them personally.

I know that sometimes I really become oblivious to the outside world when I am reading a book, and someone can ask me a question, and I don't even hear them (and it's not because I'm deaf ~ well, maybe a little)! I think that we are all guilty of that sometimes, right? Wife 22 becomes a little oblivious to her surroundings because she is so wrapped in her social media! Sometimes we just need to "unplug" ourselves from so much activity, and look within our home (and hearts) to see how really connected we are to ones we love and really do matter in our lives.

I also think the book is an eye-opener for those that are so constantly tethered to their phones, computers, social media, games, etc.

I will be recommending this book to others, as it really is a good read!!

Quite Funny!

Author: Jenny McCarthy

Star Jenny McCarthy bares all (pun intended) in this amusing book.  Whether or not you were raised Catholic, you can relate to her escapades, most of which cause great embarrassment to her mother, not the least of which was her appearance in Playboy.  After she receives a phone call from a male relative who reads her the riot act for disgracing the family by doing this (but who never explains why he was reading the magazine in the first place), Jenny decides to go all the way and try for Playmate of the Year.  She succeeds.  It is an enjoyable book, one that will make you laugh out loud.  Jenny was a wild child who grew up to become a famous actress, and as such, I knew of her reputation, so I wasn't surprised by the antics she describes in this book.  It was a very lighthearted and fun book to read.

Author: Terri DuLong

This was one of those books that grabs your interest and holds on, one you really don't want to put down.  However, there is an integral part of the story that is totally forgotten about when you get to the end, and that disappointed me greatly.  The book centers on a woman in her 40's, Berkley,  who is looking to solve a puzzle from her past involving her mother and why she left her at a young age to go to Cedar Key for a summer.  Her only clues are found in a stack of postcards her mother left behind which she found after her mother passed away.  She goes to Cedar Key, falls iin love with the area and the people, and makes a life for herself there, all the while trying to find out what secrets it holds regarding her mother.  Throughout the story, there are hints of magic, including a plant which has been passed down from her grandmother, an antique clock, and other items.  Continuing a family traditon, Berkley opens a chocolate shop on Cedar Key, and is quite successful.  One of the ingredients in her chocolate is a portion of the plant mentioned earlier.  When people eat her chocolate, good things begin to happen.  This is the part of the story that is neglected in the ending, and I was quite curious as to what the plant was and why it had seemingly magical qualities.

That being said, the book is still an excellent read, giving you a great feel for the people and the island they love, and I would highly recommend it. 

Originally posted in: APL Picks

Letter to My Daughter

Author: George Bishop

On the night before her fifteenth birthday, Liz gets into a heated argument with her mother that ends with Liz running away from home. Laura, the anguished and guilt-ridden mother, is left sitting in their Baton Rouge home praying for Liz's quick and safe return. To pass the time, Laura decides to write her daughter a letter about her own troubled adolescence. In doing so, she hopes to give Liz insight that she does understand what she is going through. Laura's parents had her sent to a strict Catholic boarding school following her forbidden relationship with a boy from the wrong part of town. In the telling of her story, the reader is transported to a time when some things were different but others very much the same.

This is a great coming of age novel that women, both young and old, can relate to. It is an extremely fast read at less than 150 pages, but it will touch you for a very long time. Have a box of Kleenex nearby when you read this one - for a man, George Bishop captures the pain of being a teenage girl and a mother with astonishing accuracy. Well done!

Originally posted in: APL Picks

More Than You Know

Author: Beth Gutcheon

More Than You Know is a gripping novel that crosses genres and does so beautifully. Elderly Hannah Gray narrates the story of a summer spent in Dundee, Maine, when she experienced her first love. The story of her relationship with town "bad boy" Conary is in itself a beautiful, well-written tale. But Gutcheon weaves in more: the century old tale of Claris Osgood and Danial Haskell, whose ill-fated marriage ends in murder. Throw in difficult family relationships and an angry, vengeful ghost and you have the makings of a real page turner. I found the supernatural element of the story very well handled - rather than diminishing the main stories, it added wonderful suspense. This was one of those books that I just couldn't put down.

Originally posted in: APL Picks

Silver Girl

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Meredith’s husband has just been found guilty of bilking billions of dollars from his investors through a Ponzi scheme. Meredith is left homeless, penniless, and hated by America. Sound familiar? Meredith turns to an old friend, Connie, for help. Connie has troubles of her own, she is still mourning the death of her husband and isn’t quite sure how far she can trust Meredith. They have not spoken in years, yet she knows she can’t turn her back on her once closest friend.

Connie brings Meredith to her secluded summer home on Nantucket where Meredith can hopefully hide from the press. Can Meredith and Connie’s friendship be saved? Is it possible for Connie to find true love again? Will Meredith prove her and her son’s innocence? It is definitely worth reading this book to find out!

Originally posted in: APL Picks

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Author: Garth Stein

I will admit that I am biased against books and movies that get too much good press. Often I find that they do not live up to the hype, so I picked up The Art of Racing in the Rain fully prepared to be disappointed by it. Wow - what a surprise I got! I was blown away by how good this book was. It is the story of a family as told through the eyes of Enzo, the elderly family dog. His wisdom and gentleness shine throughout the novel as he tells of the loves, losses and struggles faced by Denny, a race car driver and his owner. The main story of the family and how it is almost torn apart is interspersed with brief sections devoted to the art of auto racing.

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