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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.

Relationships

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Author: Kourtney Heintz

I rated this book 1 star.

I must admit, the title grabbed me (as I am a Wisconsinite) and the synopsis sounded good. Little did I know what I was in for!

I could deal with the fact that this was "paranormal" ~ to a point. Some of it was just a little to out there for me. But even then, that wouldn't have been so bad. Oh my goodness. I did not need a simile for every feeling, action, or whatever else was going on. Too many words, too descriptive, and the story just seemed to drag on forever. The relationship with Kai and Oliver was a little too over the top too. Were they adults or middle school kids? After while it got old. I should have read the short story at the end of the book!

There were the occasional one liners thrown in, which made me chuckle. I liked the humor, and it did break the monotony.

I think this book could have been so much better with a lot of editing and the characters not acting so juvenile.

Premise was good, just not the execution . . .

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Author: Ann Leary

This book was closer to 5 stars, than 4, and deserved the higher rating.

If you have ever had someone in your life who is an alcoholic, this was an excellent insight into how they think. They will give you every reason they can possible think of to justify their drinking. How it is not a problem; they can function, have successful careers, etc. Whatever excuse they can give.

It is difficult to watch the person you love descend into the abyss that their behavior causes. I agree with what was said in the book. Intervention does not always work. The alcoholic (or drug addict) has to WANT to change. When and until the person admits that alcohol is in control of their life, and they WANT to change, we can and often do feel helpless.

This book is not a solution. What Ms Leary does is offer us insight into the life of an alcoholic. How they think. Their excuses. Denial. How they justify their behavior. Pain. The internal demons. It is spot on, and offers to those who love someone who is an alcoholic what goes on in their head.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has alcoholism in their lives.

Thank you Ms Leary for such an insightful book.

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Author: Jennie Shortridge

I wish there were half stars, this one got 4, but was really worthy of 4 1/2.

This book kept me turning the pages ~ when I KNEW I should go to bed!!



Standing in the freezing Pacific Ocean, off the shore of San Francisco, Lucie Walker, looking around, doesn't have a clue who she is or where she is.  She realizes she is freezing.  Her legs are numb, but she is unable to move.  A kind man approaches her and gently coaxes her to shore.  She is rushed to a hospital, and is discovered to have dissociative fugue.  Amnesia.  Her fiance, Grady, comes from Seattle to take her home.  Her Aunt Helen from whom she has been estranged for 25 years contacts Grady.  As she begins the process of trying to piece her life back together, she discovers that there secrets, and not everyone is honest . . .

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Author: Katherine Center

Libby is the mother of two young children who has been widowed after the sudden death of her husband.  Trying to get her life back together after she finds he has left her penniless, she moves in with her mother, who is none too nuturing and makes her life miserable.  She toughs this out for three years until she suddenly gets a letter in the mail from her Aunt Jean (her mom's sister from whom her mom is estranged) inviting them all to come live with her on her goat farm.

Leaving her city life with all its conveniences and heading out to the goat farm is a decision she regrets initially, but it soon becomes a life savior, both for her and her children, who bloom under Jean's patient guidance and the multitude of animals on the farm.  Aunt Jean is a hippie of the best sort.  There are no televisions, and cell phones do not get reception.  Soon, though, the family is immersed in farm chores and in healing themselves.

I loved the book start to finish and hated that it had to end.

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Author: Gary Chapman

My boyfriend suggested we read this book together in order to build our relationship even stronger than it is already.  I strongly suggest this book to anyone in a relationship as Gary Chapman breaks down different "love languages" as well as a "love tank" philosophy.

I suggest people to read it before the relationship is strained for whatever reason, but if it is strained or not doing well check this book out and get some advice from Gary Chapman.

I am recommending this to many of my closest friends in family because it is that well written and informative.  A good read as well as a fast read.

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Author: Laila Ibrahim

This was a fast and easy read. This was a well written, poignant tale of a slave and her charge that reached beyond the scope of slave/master. With a wide range of emotions running through the book, from extremely tense, to tender moments, there was always the undercurrent of how radically the life of a slave could change on the whim of a master.

The idea of human slavery/bondage is abhorrent to me, the reality and gravity of it hopefully never to be felt by anyone. But it was a reality for so many for too long. The brutality of slavery was horrendous, but there were people who were genuinely concerned and cared about there slaves, that they were not property. This story delved into the intimate relationship between a young girl and her nurse.

A story that still can be applicable in today's time, it is the story of a caregiver and the girl she cared for. There are many caregivers who provide more than just the element of taking care of children. They care for, nurture, and love the children. It is not about skin color, religious views, or political views, it is about something more fundamental. It is a heart issue; it is about love.

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Author: Maeve Binchy

I have enjoyed Maeve Binchy's books for years and was glad to see a new one published.  This is typical Binchy storytelling.  She richly develops the story and characters.  If you aren't familiar with the author she is lives in Ireland and her stories take place around the Ireland countryside.  She discribes the landscape so well you could picture yourself there.  Most of her characters have their human flaws but are loveable.  Her stories usually involve families, cousins, or in-law's lives as they intertwine together.  Close friends, room-mates, or co-workers lives as one characters actions create a cause and effect reaction with one another.  She develops the storyline and it flows along and you want to keep reading to find out what will happen next.  Her books are clean written without curse words or explicit sex or violence.  Another good Mave Binchy read and her last as she passed away shortly after she finished this novel n July, 2012.

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Author: Wendy Lawless

This true story that reads like fiction was penned by the daughter of a very mentally ill mother.  Despite the incredible weath that surrounds her,  mom is not satisfied.  It falls to Wendy to watch out not only for herself, but for her younger sister as mom smokes, drinks, abuses drugs, and attempts suicide multiple times.  One stable influence in Wendy's life is the housekeeper/nanny who cares for the children deeply and tries to protect them from what is going on around them.  Unfortunately, in a fit of anger, she is fired and the children are left without the one stable adult in their lives.  Mom's story is also a sad one of being dropped off at an orphanage and then being adopted and being thrilled to be chosen amongst all the children to finally have a home.  However, the fantasy soon turns to a nightmare on the very same day she is adopted.  How this influences her life choices later and her coldness and hugely negectful approach to her children is covered.  This book is hard to read in that it will touch you deeply as you feel the wretched life these children have, despite having the money to buy anything they want.  However, money can't buy love. 

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Author: Sue Monk-Kidd

I have mixed feelings about this book.  There were parts I loved, and parts that were overwhelmingly repetitious and sometimes downright boring.

The story revolves around a trip to Greece, France and Turkey taken by the mother-daughter team of Sue and Ann, not-so-loosely based on the real lives of Sue and her daughter Ann.  This book has been criticized because it seems to be an effort by the author to get her daughter published, and to that end, I agree. 

Throughout the book, the characters seem to be quite spoiled and grumbling, all the while being able to spend great amounts of time and money traveling.  A reoccurring theme also revolves around an obsession with Madona and the stories of Dementer/Persephone.  It waxes plenty on how Madonna is perceived as a woman, and whether she was weak or strong.  Sue is facing the age of 50 in this book and is struggling with where she goes from "here", whether she can write a book, why time is going so fast, and what appears to be a deepening depression in her daughter.  Meanwhile, Ann is depressed over a college graduate program scholarship rejection letter, yet she can afford to travel to Europe (not for the first time).  That just didn't make any sense to me.

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Author: Chad Harbach

This was our January book club book and I was a bit skeptical at first - baseball is probably my least favorite sport. However, I picked this book up last Saturday and I couldn't read it fast enough. I was instantly drawn in to the characters; their connections, compassion, resolve, dedication and unexpected friendships. I think another reason I liked it was because Westish College was a D3 school in WI and it brought me back to my D3 college days (including visiting my then-fiance's school which was on Lake Michigan). I really had a lot of the same feelings about my school as most of the main characters did in the book. This book also opened up a world that I never really entered before, having never played on competitive sports teams in my life. Overall it was a great read and one that I will recommend to friends and family.