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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.

Author: Michael Pollan

If you enjoyed Pollan's Ominvore's Dilemma, this is a must read. In this book, Pollan examines how what he calls "nutritionalism" movement, and how much about what we think about healthy eating is misguided. He argues that instead of breaking our food down into nutrients to determine what our bodies need, we should "eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much." He gives compelling reasons to avoid most of the food we find in grocery stores in favor of what is locally produced. He reveals that a lot of the science of nutrition has been disproved and focuses on these few core principles.The book definitely motivates readers to make healthier food choices.

Author: Phillipa Gregory

Mary Bolyn is married at thirteen and Henry VIII's lover at fourteen. Her life at court is manipulated by her uncle and father, who seek to use her and her sister Ann to advance the family. The two girls are competitive but close, and with their brother George, try to use their power for their own gain. Mary falls out of favor after having two children with Henry, and Ann becomes the new prize. The plot centers on Henry's desire to divorce his wife and replace her with Ann, and the Bolyn's play a dangerous game as they try to manipulate Henry, who must also consider the political and religious repercussions of his actions. Mary wishes she could extricate herself from the intrigues of court, but she becomes increasingly controlled by her power hungry sister. Her efforts to make a life of her own are at the heart of the novel.

Author: Arthur Miller

This play is an easy read, but what it reveals about human nature is troubling. Miller sees the communist scare of his own time as a modern reenactment of the Salem witch trials that he writes about, and they are indeed similar, but the human tendency to use fear to manipulate people and to follow the masses instead of taking a stand is reflected throughout history. When a group of young girls and a slave woman are suspected of practicing witchcraft, they direct the blame elsewhere to keep themselves out of trouble. Soon, their accusations touch even the most upright of citizens, with the majority of the town either supporting the witch hunt or hoping it does not affect them. A few try in vain to speak up in support of themselves or others. The play offers insights on this shameful historical event, but more importantly, shows how a few powerless individuals can incite fear and hatred on a large scale and leave a trail of destruction in their wake.

Author: Liane Moriarty

A very smart read with characters that you find yourself becoming attached to.   It is the story of 3 women whose children are all beginning kindergarten in a small town in Australia.  The author captures the poitics of elementary school moms with humor and brutal honesty (in my experience with over zealous moms and PTA parents).   There is humor on one page and then on the next page I found my heart hurting for Jane or Celeste.   This was a story that I just enjoyed from the first page.  I didn't try to figure anything out (who died?  was it murder).  I just enjoyed the way the author gently unfolded the story.   My favorite character was Madeline.    

Book Features:
Author: Janet Chapman

The 6th in the Spellbound Falls series The Highlander Next Door was a surprise to me.  I expected more involvement from previous characters.

Birch is a strong willed women who runs a women's shelter and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to protect the women who live there. She presents a tough-as-nails exterior, but has fears and longings like all women.  Her neighbor Niall MacKeage, a 12th century time traveler, is the new police chief in town.  I would have liked to learn more about Niall's history in Scotland.  Bits and pieace were thrown out, but it just left me wanting to know more.   There is also a new god, Telos,  that Chapman is toying with.  He steps in when he wants to and uses the excuse of not interefering with free will to help or not help at his whim. 

Remember the words of wisdom "you must embrace the entire journey to truly appreciate the destination".  Though not my favorite Spellbound Falls book The Highlander Next Door  does entice me to visit the destination of Spellbound Falls.  Enjoy a light and fast read.

“must embrace the entire journey to truly appreciate the destination” - See more at:
“must embrace the entire journey to truly appreciate the destination” - See more at:
“must embrace the entire journey to truly appreciate the destination” - See more at:
Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell

A different kind of time travel story.

Georgi could not go to Omaha for Christmas with her husband and two daughters because of work. Her husband was very upset about it, to the point that Georgi thought he was endng the marriage. She decides to go to her mother's house, the house she grew up in because she could not stand the thought of going home to an empty house. Her cell phone has a bad battery, so she decided to use the old yellow phone that was in her old bedroom. She gets a surprise when she starts talking to her father in law, who died a few years before. When her husband gets on the phone, she realizes that she is talking to him in the time before they were married.

The twist is when she calls her in laws house on a cell phone, she is talking to them in present time period.

Author: Regina Calcaterra

This is the story of two sisters and their siblings, living with a mother you may not believe could actually be a real person.   As a retired Social Worker, I can tell you these situations do in fact exist   The public is often unaware of the neglect and abuse that  goes on in their own communities.  In defense of Social Workers, the laws in Wisconsin would not have prevented more involvment than in the state this case took place in.   What is harder for me to believe, than their case and what happend to them,  is the amazing way the girls were able to overcome their childhood experiences.

If you can read about  some sad and deplorable situations you will be rewarded with a unbelievable outcome given what happened to these girls.  This part of the story, unfortunately, is not  what usually happens in real life.  (  I can also reccommend another memoir  similar to this one  : A Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls)

Author: Sarah Jio

This is the first time I read this author and look forward to reading more.

June lived in New York and was successful in finance. She inherited a children's book store when her favorite aunt died. She left New York to take care of her estate and decided to reopen the book store. Her aunt left clues in the store and June realized that her aunt was good friends with the author of Goodnight Moon and how the bookstore she now owned was the inspiration to the famous children's book. There is one big twist at the end I was not expecting. A real wow moment.

Great Thriller!

Author: Mary Kubica

This debut novel is not to be missed!  Mia Dennett, daughter to a prominent judge, is kidnapped after leaving a bar with a man she just met.  Halfway through the process, her kidnapper decides not to deliver Mia to his employers and instead hides her in a cabin.  The intricate story unfolds with more depth than anticipated and keeps the reader hanging on for the full story until the very last page.  The story is expertly written from the viewpoints of Mia's mother, her kidnapper and the detective desperately looking for her as well as told from perspectives "before" and "after" the incident.  The characters are deep, well developed and the lies they hide behind damaging.  This book has often been compared to the likeness of Flynn's Gone Girl.

Author: Herman Koch

This is the first time I read this author and looking forward to reading more of his books.

This is a story of a doctor who has celebrities as his patients. He and his family has been invited to his summer house, but he declined the invitation. The doc does make sure that he and his family go vacation in a campground that shares the beach with the summer house.

This vacation turns into a nightmare and as time goes on the celebrity dies and the doctor is found at fault. As the story goes on what really happened that summer night is revealed.