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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.

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Author: Sheila Connolly

I think of Ireland as the "old country" and apparently so does Maura Donovan.  She is visiting Ireland at the last request of her grandmother.  Maura's planned short stay was extended when she takes a job at a pub and becomes involved with the locals.  This short easy read brings a great sense of Ireland and the way of life for the local people.  Interesting characters abound and interesting problems in Maura's life are solved.  This is a first novel in the new "County Cork" series.  Another Cozy mystery that will hold your interest.

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Author: Mark Twain

This classic American novel is hugely entertaining. If you haven't read it in years, pick it up again. There are many laugh out loud moments as Huck and Jim venture down the Mississippi River, both escaping from their former lives. The two manage to evade trouble repeatedly, always finding themselves in new predicaments. The frequent use of the "N" word is definitely uncomfortable for modern readers, but the novel is an important examination of the Southern mindset in the mid 19th century. Twain's satire and dark humor serve to magnify the questionable Southern ideals of honor and tradition. 

Audiobook Review
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Title: Chomp
Author: Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen's young adult and adult novels make perfect audiobooks. His sarcasm and understatement are conveyed so well by the readers, the stories become hysterically funny. In this one, Wahoo Cray is trying to help the family business, animal wrangling, stay afloat after his father is concussed when a frozen iguana falls out of a tree and lands on his head. His mother leaves for China to work as a translator for two months. When a reality show called Expedition Survival wants to use some of their animals, Wahoo and his father end up in an adventure they never bargained for. Derek Badger, the star of the show, projects himself as the ultimate survivalist, but in reality, he's a chubby, incompetent buffoon who must be managed with care. When Derek decides he doesn't want to use the Cray's "tame" animals, the cast sets off for the Everglades with Wahoo and his father along for a wild ride. The situations Derek gets himself into that Wahoo's father then has to get him out of are absurd and highly amusing. Things get even more complicated when a gun-toting drunk becomes part of the story, and when Derek goes missing. 

Audiobook Review
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Title: Flush
Author: Carl Hiaasen

This entertaining audiobook is fun listening for the whole family. As usual, Hiaasen's story includes a Florida setting, an environmental issue, and kids fighting for justice. The book opens with Noah visiting his dad, who's in jail for sinking a casino boat. The owner of the lucrative business is dumping raw sewage into the ocean, and Noah's father hasn't been able to convince anyone of this. Noah sets out to help his father prove his case with the help of his little sister. Hiaasen weaves a rollicking story with memorable characters and many laugh out loud moments.

Audiobook Review
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Author: Katherine Applegate

We listened to this audiobook on our road trip, and it's entertaining and appropriate for all ages. Adults will find it funny and heart-warming. Ivan is the star of a run down, past its prime amusement park and animal show that's owned by the occassionally abusive Max. Ivan's friends are Stella, an aging elephant, and Bob, a stray dog who sleeps on Ivan's stomach. Ivan doesn't worry about much beyond his next meal. but when Ruby, a young elephant arrives, he recalls life in the wild and wishes for a better life for her. When Ivan makes a promise to the dying Stella, his world and the worlds of his friends change forever. 

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Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

This novel is required reading in many high school and American Literature classes, and though I can understand why, I can't say I enjoyed it. It contains little in the way of plot or action, but is a study of guilt and its affects on the individual. After delivering a baby in a Puritan settlement, Hester is forced to wear the letter A for adulteress. She refuses to name her lover, and the novel becomes a study of her public shame and her lover's private guilt. Third in the triangle is Hester's husband, who doesn't acknowledge that he and Hester are married. His desire for revenge consumes him. Another key character is Hester's daughter, Pearl, who grows up in the shadow of her mother's shame, not understanding what makes them unique. The novel portrays a harsh Puritan morality that is difficult to fathom today, but certainly sheds a light on our cultural origins.

Cop Town

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Title: Cop Town
Author: Karen Slaughter

Interesting read, very graphic in some parts, but overall I liked the book. The story line is up to date and keeps your attention.

Audiobook Review
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Author: Sidney Sheldon

I'm just starting to get interested in Sidney Sheldon's work. Another good one by him; so far two out of two.

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Author: Daleen Berry Geoffrey C. Fuller

In July 2012, Skylar Neese became missing. Her remains were found in January 2013.

This book takes us step by step on what really happened. From the happy life the 3 best friends had  to how two of them turned on one and murdered her. There never was trial since eventually the two girls, Sheilia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf admitted their guilt. Sheila was sentenced to life for first degree murder and Rachel to 30 years.

The authors writes in the point of views of the parents, friends, the two killers and Skylar.

One the back cover of the book, it says that this finally provides the answer to Skylar's final quesiton. WHY? The killers say they killed her because they didn't  like her anymore. The investigation goes on to say that Sheila and Rachel were afraid Skylar was going to reveal their lesbian relationship. One investigator still believes it was a thrill kill. Sheila Eddy never shown any remorse for what she did. Rachel Eddy did and had a mental breakdown and eventually assisted the police in getting Sheila to admit her guilt.

A very well written book for true crime fans.

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Author: Patricia Heaton

Patricia Heaton is one great tv mom. She is now in the show, The Middle and it is hilarious. She wrote this book when she was on the tv show, Everyone Loves Raymond. Patricia writes about her road to fame and the challenges she has being on a hit show and trying to raise 4 boys under the age of 8. She said after a long season she was ready to just let her fake family go for her real one. Each chapter concentrates on a different subject. There is the subjects of survival jobs , all the jobs she worked at while trying to make it in Hollywood. My favorite chapter was the one where she finally was famous enough to be in the tabloids. Her first experience was in the fashion page where it was pointed out that she didn't wear stockings. A very hilarious memoir.