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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.

A Book Blog Farewell

In consultation with the primary staff reviewers, we have decided to discontinue the InfoSoup reading blogs. Since 2008, InfoSoup users and staff have posted over 3000 reviews to Books to Hoot About!, the book blog, & Books R Us. It has been a fun ride, but now seems the right time to bring the blogs to an end.

We would like to thank all the users who participated in our reading challenge in 2013 and 2014, all the kids and teens who posted summer library program reviews, and the InfoSoup library staff who gave their time and shared their insight.

We will keep the reviews up for the rest of the year and, relaunch the site in in the new year with more of a focus on booklists and other resources for readers.

Thanks, and happy reading!

Audiobook Review
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.

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.

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.

Audiobook Review
Author: Sue Grafton

I enjoyed this book, but at times I felt like it really dragged along. Sometimes you just wanted to say, get on with it already.

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

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.

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.

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.  

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".