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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: Kimberly Elkins

This is the fictional account of the first blind/deaf person that was taught to communicate.

The author spent 2 years studying the life of Laura Bridgman and I think she did a very good job of what might have been. She did take  some liberties and added a few characters and events  that were not in the real Laura's life. This  is fiction, historical fiction at it's best.

The characters take turns with their point of view, each in their own chapters. The book takes us from when Laura got the sickness that caused her to lose her sight, hearing, taste and smell,  to the epilogue where she meets the child Helen Keller and her death of a streptococcal infection.

In the afterword we find out that the real Laura is the one who taught Helen Keller's teacher Annie Sullivan the manual alphabet. "Without Laura Bridgman, there could never have been a Helen Keller."

Witches abound

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Author: Dawn Eastman

I'm always looking for new authors and found one in Dawn Eastman.  A thoroughly entertaining cozy mystery, Be Careful What You Witch For was a fun read. Clyde has an interesting time dealing with her quirky family and friends in Crystal Haven.You will find characters with special gifts and witches focus on Crystal haven.  This mystery won't keep you on the edge of your seat, but will bring you back to finish the book.  Twists and turns abound as in any mystery, pick up this paperback and enjoy.

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Author: Nickolas Butler

I love reading books by Wisconsin authors. Michael Perry, Jane Hamilton, David Rhodes, & Jacquelyn Mitchard are some favorites, to name a few. Nickolas Butler now joins my list of favorites with his book, Shotgun Lovesongs. The book has a distinctive midwestern voice, and I, as a reader, felt like I was in familiar territory. At the same time, the lives of his small town, rural characters were anything but typical and kept me interested from the very start. The book's description in InfoSoup states, "Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again - the the kind of steely faith and love returning requires." Maybe that's why I identified with it so strongly - I left my small hometown for college and never went back. Relationships lost and history left behind - this book made me think about what it would have been like to go home.

Author Nickolas Butler was raised in Eau Claire, WI and studied at the University of WI-Madison. He still lives in rural Wisconsin on 16 acres of land. 

Author: Melody Carlson

What a nice, feel good, summer read. I got this book from my mother in law and wasn't sure what to expect. But, I'm so happy I read it, really enjoyed this guidepost book.

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Author: Lin Stepp

Not my ordinary read, Down by the RIver is an inspirational Christian novel.  The setting is a B&B in the Smoky Mountains of Townsend, Tennessee.   This is a nice contemporary romance with some real life family drama.    Grace is an older woman intent on changing her life, most of the changes are moved by God. Grace moves to Townsend and purchases an old B&B to run.  She finds romance with Jack , a neighbor,  who finds strength from the Lord while going through his own problems.  Her daughter, Margaret, finds her own road and grows closer to Grace and the Lord. 

An interesting read, the characters are believable and the story line holds your interest.  Just the type of read for a lazy afternoon.  

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Author: Elizabeth Gitter

Everyone thinks Helen Keller was the first blind/deaf person to learn language. Fifty years before Helen, there was Laura Bridgman. Laura and many members of her family got sick with scarlet fever. Her two older siblings died. Laura not only lost her sight and hearing, she lost her sense of smell and taste. The only sense she had left was touch.

Then we have Doctor Howe. He decides he wants to do a scientific experiment that can prove that blind/deaf people can learn how to communicate. He finds Laura and her parents make the decision to send 7 year old Laura to Dr. Howe's school. Laura is the only blind/deaf person in the School for the Blind.

The book shows the history of how Laura became blind/deaf to the most well known female besides the Queen of England. Dr. Howe would write articles detailing his success with teaching Laura language. Dr. Howe would put Laura on display at conventions to show HIS success. The doctor had other blind/deaf subjects that were failures. One was a women in her late twenties that the doctor realized was too old for his techniques. One little boy, who lost his sight and hearing at 4 was also a failure, but was trained to do minor tasks.

Dr. Howe eventually lost interest in Laura and sent her back to live with her family. Laura became anorexic and the doctor took her back to the school, to live out her life.

Laura Bridgman was bascially forgotton by the world when Helen Keller became famous.

I was so fasinated by the story of Laura Bridgman. What got me interested in Laura's story was the fictional book written by Kimberly Elkins called, ?What Is Visible".

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Title: That Night
Author: Chevy Stevens

Toni and her boyfriend was accused and convicted of killing her sister one summer night years ago. Now out on parole she decided to live back in her home town where she was accused. Her boyfriend is also out on parole and decided to look into who really killed Toni's sister. Toni at first wants nothing to do with it, she is just satisfied to live a quiet life, that is until she is falsely accused of theft.

This book was one I couldn't put down. A lot of twists and turns and a surprise who really killed Toni's sister.

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Title: Longbourn
Author: Jo Baker

Pride and Prejudice is told from the servants' point of view, centering on Sarah, a young house maid who longs for adventure and love. When a young man suddenly appears and takes on the job of footman, Sarah is both frustrated and pleased with his presence. Meanwhile, the handsome servant of Mr. Bingley vies for her attention, and Sarah struggles to decide the direction of her life when she suddenly has options. Readers who enjoyed Pride and Prejudice will appreciate the details of setting and plot in this book that slow closely mirror the original. Baker recreates the period with an entirely different focus of what goes on behind the scenes of Austin's grand and refined story.

Audiobook Review
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Author: David Baldacci

Another good David Baldacci book. I could read this authors work over and over again. I have to make myself move onto someone else.

Mad River

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Title: Mad River
Author: John Sandford

What a page turner this one turned out to be. I've read a few works by this author, but this book made me make a list of books by him to read in the future.