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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.

Audiobook Review
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Author: James Patterson

A very different ending to this Alex Cross book. But, as always, Alex and John have a case. Only this time the tables are turned.

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Author: Graeme Simsion

For an entirely different kind of romance, read this book! Don Tillman, a professor of genetics with Aspberger's syndrome, is seeking out a life partner. In order to do this, he has created an application for the ideal life partner. (The application has a life of its own because Don changes the application as he sees which questions are working and which aren't.) His best friend, Gene, sends Rosie his way. Rosie is on a mission to discover who her father is. She enlists Gene's help to gather DNA from possible candidates and to check the subsequent DNA. (This is when we have a mystery on our hands.) As they work together they bond and find out that the meaning of love is not decisive. The expectations of what one wants in a mate can be overturned! The book is written from the perspective of Don and it is very, very funny! I could see this as a comedy. Gene, who is a womanizer, in an open marriage with Claudia, has a growth experience in the book, too. When Don discovers who Rosie's father is, it is perfect! This book is well set up, well written, and sensitive. It is a fast read and I just loved it! Thanks to Sue B. for recommending it to me!

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Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch

(translated)

This is a well crafted and disturbing book. Of course, when a book is written in first person the reader is caught up in that person's thoughts and you become an ally as you read his reactions to the people and situations around him. In this case, the protagonist is Paul and the story begins as he and his wife Claire go out to dinner with Serge and Babette (after leaving their teenage son, Michel, at home). From the beginning, we understand that this dinner is going to be a difficult one because the meeting is fraught with so much stress and anxiety. The book is divided into the courses of the meal and as each course is presented new information is revealed. Basically, something has happened with the adolescent children, of both couples, that needs to be "addressed". Two thirds of the way through the book, flashbacks come closer together and we piece together a new image of Paul. We begin to question whether or not Paul and Claire should have reproduced. Paul's derogatory descriptions of both Serge and Babette start to ring false and, indeed, they (Serge & Babette) begin to appear to have an integrity that we did not at first grasp. This integrity is not part of Paul, Claire and Michel's collective or individual plans so they summarily "take care of business". It is shocking and haunting and violent and a book that you will be dying to talk to someone else about who has read it!

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Author: Maggie O'Farrell

This fast read leaves you with lots of food for thought. It has several mysteries running simultaneously. During parts of the book, the author uses a very interesting writing style in which she injects fragments of thought and/or action from the perspectives of different characters which also cover different periods in time. Don't let this put you off! Just keep reading and it will all come together!

Esme is the main character who is institutionalized for over sixty years. (She has been disrespected in a series of ways. First and foremost is that the administration in the asylum will not call her by the name that she goes by, Esme.) The psychiatric unit is closing down and a great niece named Iris finds out about Esme. She never knew about her great aunt before! Iris goes to meet Esme and feels responsible for her future. Iris feels connected to Esme on some level that she doesn't understand. She knows they are related but it goes deeper than that.

Esme and Iris have had a series of dysfunctional experiences and they intersect at the end over a horrifying realization.

I was especially put off by how men treated women in this book. Also, how the women were not familiar with their own sexuality. When you are done reading you are left wondering, was Esme sane or insane?

Good one!!!

(For some reason reminded me of THE DINNER, by Herman Koch.)

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Author: Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb's latest family saga shifts from present to past and from one character's point of view to another. The story centers around Annie Oh, a successful artist about to marry her female partner who manages her career. The secret's from Annie's childhood and her adult life threaten to overtake her on the eve of her wedding. Her ex-husband and children struggle to adjust to Annie's new life and feel a sense of abandonment, while she herself is ambivalent about her impending marriage and relationship with her family. In the periphery of this story is that of another artist who once lived in the family home. His work inspired Annie as she carved time out from motherhood and marriage to make her art. The artist died mysteriously on the Oh's property a generation earlier, and rumors of murder followed. Thes two stories intertwine throughout the novel, and characters from the past make appearances. Whether Annie's secrets will be revealed and if the mystery artist will be avenged are just some of the questions readers will want to have answered.

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Author: Barry Livingston

Barry was a successful child actor. He was a neighbor kid on Ozzie and Harriet before he got the role of Ernie on My Three Sons to replace the departing oldest son, Mike. In the book he writes behind the scenes antidotes and working with major stars like Fred McMurray, Lucille Ball and Brad Pitt. In the beginning his horn rimmed glasses and "nerdy" looks almost derailed his career and later became is biggest asset. A real enjoyable read for fans of 60's and 70's situation comedy. My Three Sons lasted 12 seasons.

Audiobook Review
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Author: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This was a book club book read and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It was much different than what the title indicates. It should be a good discussion.

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Author: Rebecca Musser M. Bridget Cook

Rebecca grew up in the FLDS. She lived in fear concealing her family's polygamous lifestyle from the outside world. When she was a young teenager she became the 19th wife of her people's profit, 85 year old Rulon Jeffs. She watched as forty eight other wives were added. After she was widowed, the new profit Warren Jeffs threatened her with remarriage so she escaped to start a new life. By 2007, Rebecca was sick of hearing about all the abuse against young girls and women, so she agreed to be a witness, sending leaders to prison for years and Warren Jeffs to prison for life.

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Author: Robert Remington Sherri Zickefoose

On April 26, 2006 the bodies of Marc and Debra along with their 8 year old son, Jacob were found with multiple stab wounds. Where was their 12 year old daughter, JR? Investigators found out that JR had a disturbing alter ego online and called herself, Runaway Devil. The 12 year old had a 23 year old boyfriend and together they enjoyed a fondness for the dark side and the Goth culture. Shocking evidence in the girl's school locker led police to discover that she manipulated her boyfriend into killing her family and was the one who killed her own little brother. The final chapters told readers of the trial and how the jury did not believe the girl's story. 12 year old JR was the youngest person ever convicted of murder in Canada.

Dust

Audiobook Review
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Title: Dust
Author: Patricia Cornwell

Another suspenseful Patricia Cornwell book. I've really come to enjoy the consistency of characters, as well as the narrator of her books. Gripping storyline as usual.