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Adult Book Reviews

Shteyngart, Gary
4 stars = Really Good

This certainly was a super sad, albeit not really true, love story. I really enjoyed the near-future setting with the destruction of the U.S. and the "sci-fi-ish" element with the Post-Human Services idea, and the fact that it was written like journal entries is a plus because that makes any book crazy easy to read. Makes one wonder about the prospect of love and the future.

Cassie
Cameron, Graeme
2 stars = Meh

It started off really intriguing, almost like a Dexter meets Hannibal premise. Ended I don't know where. I couldn't tell how the author was trying to portray the narrator. Was he a psychopath with daddy issues or a hopeless romantic who deserved empathy and compassion? It's a big meh.

Cassie
Foster, Thomas C.
3 stars = Pretty Good

The book is a very practical book and an amusing guide to literature. It is about a chatty Professor from University of Michigan who talks about different elements of literature such as mythology, geography, faith, Bible, seasons, Shakespeare, etc... There are ample of examples and the language is friendly. The author is quite controversial about some topics but overall, the book is entertaining and fun to read!

Shivani
Pratt, Maureen
4 stars = Really Good

Millions of Americans experience pain every day of their lives. Maureen Pratt, who has lupus, is intimately aware of the toll chronic pain takes on people and their families. In this practical and spiritual guide, she shares how she navigates through the frustrations, fears, and complexities of living with chronic pain and illness. Pratt provides help on such issues as finding meaning in suffering, feeling guilty for being a burden to others, and resolving unmet expectations. The chapters are short and concise, written with honesty and humor. The book can be read from cover-to-cover or just choosing individual topics.

George H.
Hough, Jason M.
4 stars = Really Good

Any fan of adventure, aliens, sci-fi, Australia, daring innovations, zombie-like creatures, characters some could easily relate to, flying ships, and an interesting plot is sure to love this book. I randomly checked out this book for the summer and was surprised to enjoy it; unlike other books where it takes a few chapters to get to the point and books with boring dialogue, this book can take any reader to another world which, in a couple of decades and some imagination, a reader can understand happening for real.

Caitlyn
Book Review: Homeschooling FAQs
Orr, Tamra
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

By far the absolute best and most resourceful homeschooling book In have read on our journey. Very Informative!

Jill
Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss
Perkins, Stephanie
3 stars = Pretty Good

This is a cute story about a girl in her Senior Year of High School discovering the ups and downs of love. The beginning of the book isn't written as well as the middle of the book, and the ending is very cliche. But it was a pretty good read, likeable characters, and I would recommend it to any High Schooler looking for a fun read.

Elizabeth
Book Review: William Shakespeare's: Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope
Doescher, Ian
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Who knew that theater greats Willy and George were meant to be together???

Fans of Shakespeare will recognize both passages ripped from his major plays and the similarities of Lucas' characters to greats like Hamlet.

Wanna make it better? Get the audio version performed by Danny Davis, Jonathan Davis, Ian Doescher, Jeff Gurner, January LaVoy, and Marc Thompson.
The drama of C3PO's delivery alone makes it worthwhile.

Doescher's iambic pentameter treatment of Star Wars doth make me merry! Also, check out the Empire Striketh Back and the Jedi Doth Return.

Renee
Wolff, Isabel
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I love dual timeline novels, as long as they are well done. This one alternate between Jenni, who is a ghostwriter who prefers to dig into other people's lives rather than deal with her own past, and Klara, a Dutch woman who was interned in a camp on Java during WWII. Jenni is an interesting character, but I felt like she was more of a foil for Klara's amazing story of survival. Very powerful book, one that will linger in my mind for quite a while, I'm sure.

Krista
Dean, Josh
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Very interesting inside look at the world of show dogs. You follow the progress of Jack, the Australian Shepherd, but the author also gives you a brief history of dog shows in general, different breeds, and even the evolution of the dog from wild animal to domesticated pet. Well written and fun to read (I finished it in just a couple of days), this is a great book!

Krista
Bradley, C. Alan
3 stars = Pretty Good

Not my favorite of the series. SO many characters, I had a hard time remembering them all! I understand it must have been nice to have Flavia visiting his home country (the author is Canadian), but I preferred the books set in Bishop's Lacey, England.

Krista
Gruen, Sara
4 stars = Really Good

This was my first Sara Gruen book and it was thoroughly enjoyable. I have not read many books from this time period set in Scotland, so it was interesting to see how they were living their lives. I liked the characters (well, except for Ellis, but I loved that I disliked him so much). A slight mystical element rounded out a truly good story.

Krista
Book Review: Delicacy
Foenkinos, David
4 stars = Really Good

Accounting the death and rebirth of the heroine Natalie's love life, this book grants a portrait of delicacy that is both poignant and awkward--in a good sense. Subtle hints are expertly woven in with seemingly random facts that set the stage and build the characters to their climax. This whimsical and yet realistic tale of romance is a far cry from the brazen romantic novels that litter the shelves. "Delicacy" recovers a classic sense of romance in its honesty and unhurried pace, drawing the reader in to an intricate life story filled with metaphors and tasteful symbolism. Lyrically written and wonderfully charming!

Danielle S.
Book Review: Without You, There is No Us
Kim, Suki
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A very unique perspective of North Korea. Kim's descriptions are hauntingly beautiful and poignant. I found this book hard to put down once I started, the suspense of Kim's situation will pull you through her story. I became so attached to the student's stories that it made this book both gut wrenching and heartfelt.

Mary N.
Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Rothfuss, Patrick
4 stars = Really Good

For fans of his series, this novella may be a disappointment. It does not continue the main storyline, but focuses on Auri and her life in The Underthing instead. It is a short, quick read, but is beautifully crafted. It really lets you into the broken mind of Auri as she goes about her life, one day at a time. Rothfuss fully admits this book isn't for everyone, but I think his fans should at least give it a shot.

Becca
Book Review: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking
Cain, Susan
4 stars = Really Good

As an introvert, reading this book felt like coming home. There were many times when I so identified with the feelings and behaviors Susan describes it was like looking into a mirror. Cain examines different facets of personality and why we as a society value certain traits over others. She also looks at what introverts can offer to businesses and in leadership positions. Great read for introverts and extroverts alike!

Becca
Book Review: Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's
Robison, John Elder
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I put off reading this book because I didn't want to read yet another sad story about someone's rough time growing up. Finally, after seeing all the wonderful reviews about it, I decided to go ahead and read it. I am ever so grateful that I did.

John Elder Robison grew up having Asperger's before it had a name or had been widely recognized. In his book, John tells the story of how he figured out how to fit in with "normal" people without knowing why he didn't see things the way they did. The book is often hilarious, especially in terms of how John worked his way through various phases of growing up not being able to pick up on social cues then mastering self-developed workarounds to succeed in life.

I recommend this book to all adults, those who have Asperger's, who have relatives with the syndrome, or not because sooner or later, you're likely to encounter and try to communicate with someone who does. That's why I'm so glad I read this book. Asperger's isn't a disease, it's a way of perceiving that is different from most just like a left handed person has to learn to live in a right handed world...sometimes things don't fit right and adjustment needs to be made. Try using left handed scissors if you are right handed and see right away what Aspergians deal with in a "nypical" (neurotypical) world. The book is a GREAT read on its own, but has the added bonus of understanding. Such a rare gift in a book these days.

Pauline
Book Review: Your Brain: The Missing Manual
MacDonald, Matthew
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Your Brain: The Missing Manual is the book for "the rest of us" who don't want to or can't take in all the medical jargon that usually infests books about how the "little grey cells" work.

Matthew MacDonald takes the information about how the brain functions and breaks it down into usable chunks. He gives a brief but thorough explanation of several functions the brain performs in simple English, then explains how the brain's owner can make the best use of how the brain works. An analogy would be that instead of someone trying to explain what's under the hood of that great car, he shows you the control panel and HOW TO USE the car. Chances are, you don't need to know how many cylinders there are, what kind of oil it uses etc. because all you plan to do is USE the car and maybe do a bit of maintenance. Matthew MacDonald's approach is that of someone explaining just enough of how the brain functions so that it can be used more efficiently and to the owner's benefit. I heartily recommend the book, especially to staff and teens who could use the problem solving techniques the author includes in the book for learning, school problem solving, etc.

Pauline
Book Review: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
Evison, Jonathan
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

From the technical aspect, it was fantastic. The prose was warm, conversational and casual, yet intelligent. The characters were well developed and complicated, yet relatable and amiable. The plot was marvelously weaving in and out within itself and came together seamlessly. It was an easy read, yet I took so much away from it. From a personal and emotional aspect, it hit every human emotion so directly and so real, I fell in love with the narrator and every person he encountered during the story.

Many times, I felt I was seeing so clearly from Ben's eyes and connecting so well, and the same with many of the other characters. They were all so human.

When I finished, I almost felt like keeping a secret so that I could have the experience all to myself, but I feel like many other people could find something within this story to help them through whatever life is throwing at them.

Cassie
Safran, John
4 stars = Really Good

I am a fan of true crime, but I have never actually read a true crime book. I just watch alot of Investigation Discovery! I read several reviews of "God'll Cut You Down" and they were all positive. So I had to read it. What an intriguing story about a murder in Mississippi. John Safran was able to convey what living in Mississippi is like - the haves, the have-nots, politics,etc. It made me sad and afraid to realize that people are still upset over the Civil War. That really stuck with me. But the story of Richard Barrett and Vincent McGee is still a mystery as to what really went on and what lead to murder. I just wish we could know about their secret lives and if that was the real motive behind the murder. A really great true crime book! I couldn't put it down!

Melissa M.
Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express
Christie, Agatha
4 stars = Really Good

A classic whodunit. Campy but fun. I'm not really a mystery person, which is probably why I didn't give it 5 stars. I found myself getting bored with the whole process about 2/3 of the way through. But I really liked the ending.

vfranklyn
Book Review: City of Bohane
Barry, Kevin
2 stars = Meh

Once I finally got a hold of the Irish dialect, it just ended, leaving much to be desired. I don't feel like there was any resolution, or even a point to the entire story.

Cassie
Book Review: Beautiful You
Palahniuk, Chuck.
4 stars = Really Good

Glad to have stuck with Palahniuk after reading the Pygmy atrocity. This one was classic Chuck. Shocking, slightly disturbing, darkly humorous, unexpected.

Cassie
Book Review: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage
Murakami, Haruki
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Murakami's quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. This story was exactly what my soul needed. It was so human and it kept me out of my head. When it ended, it left me with so many questions, but as much as that usually bothers me, it was the most perfect of an ending as it could be. Because that's what life does, it leaves you with unanswered questions.

Cassie
Book Review: Wolf in White Van
Darnielle, John
3 stars = Pretty Good

It was an easy read, very down to earth language and kept me interested the whole book through. But when I finished it, I didn't feel accomplished at all. I don't think I really took anything away from it. And that was a little disappointing. I do love how Darnielle's songwriting style transfers over to a novel; Darnielle is a great writer and I loved lyrical way that his story came together.

Cassie