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Adult Book Reviews

Book Review: Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Phot
Egan, Timothy
4 stars = Really Good

Many readers may have seen Edward Curtis's turn-of-the-last-century sepia photographs of Native Americans--the photograph of Chief Joseph or that of a line of Indians on horseback, small in comparison with the monumental rock formations of the southwest, traversing Canyon de Chelly in Arizona.
Born in 1868, Edward Curtis devoted his life to documenting in photographs and text the life of the North American Indian--in the end, producing a twenty-volume collection of books. Egan's fascinating and informative book narrates the story of Curtis's life and life work, time spent with Indians of the southwest, the northern plains, the northwest coast, and Alaska. Egan relates Curtis's association with, among other well-known Americans, Teddy Roosevelt and J. P. Morgan. Readers interested in the history of photography, in the history of the United States, and in the history of Native Americans would enjoy this book.

Book Review: River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Millard, Candice
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Explore an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River with President Theodore Roosevelt in The River of Doubt by Candice Millard. The adventure encompasses United States history, South American politics, native populations along the Amazon, and the relationship that President Roosevelt had with his son. Learn about the animals and plants along the dangerous Amazon and the near death of the President.

Book Review: The Lost City of Z
Grann, David
4 stars = Really Good

This is a non-fiction book about explorer Percy Fawcett who, along with his son, disappeared in the Amazon while looking for “Z.” Using information from journals and other sources, the author makes his own trip to the Amazon in an attempt to figure out what happened to Fawcett. I really enjoyed reading this book. Along with being entertaining, I found it very educational. I definitely recommend it!

Book Review: Bossypants
Fey, Tina
4 stars = Really Good

Tina Fey's account of her journey to become a successful writer/comic/actress is funny and interesting. With sincerity, warmth and wit, she tells about her life without glossing over the awkward and challenging moments. BTW, she's awesome!

Jenny P.
Book Review: Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There: Trusting Him in Uncertain
Graham, Ruth
4 stars = Really Good

Very encouraging book. Lots of examples from her life and the Bible about trusting God about the future and hope for the hard times.

Sh*t My Dad Says
Halpern, Justin
4 stars = Really Good

A very funny portrait of a son's relationship with his eccentric father. I loved that the author was able to draw out the love his father had for him through these ridiculous things he said. A clever book and a quick read.

Book Review: Radical Survivor
Saltzman, Nancy
4 stars = Really Good

This was an interesting book. I liked that it takes place in Colorado Springs. Nancy Saltzman is a very resilient woman. I'm not sure I would have the kind of strength she had if the unthinkable ever happened to me. I guess I was expecting more of a direct 'how to' on grief and loss, but instead the book was more of a teach by example. That's not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.

Book Review: Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
4 stars = Really Good

Great book , I love all the references to the 1980 and 1990.

Book Review: Dune
Herbert, Frank
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is my all time favorite book. To quote the book. plots with in plots. Every time I read it (6 times) I find more and more subtly plot lines.

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy
Rowling, J. K.
2 stars = Meh

I wanted to like this book. Rowling is a good writer and there are some interesting plot lines. However, there were too many stories, with no central story or character to root the reader. I also found myself either not liking or being apathetic toward most of the characters. The common factor to all the characters and plot threads is the shared geographical location; it doesn't seem to be enough to pull it all together. It felt like a slice-of-life account rather than a novel. The Casual Vacancy would be a good read for a book group--perhaps discussion with more enlightened readers would help make sense of it.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Shaffer, Mary Ann
4 stars = Really Good

This epistolary novel is a quick read. At the beginning of 1946 a young newspaper columnist named Juliet receives a letter from a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. She soon finds herself on the Channel Island of Guernsey meeting the members in person to learn about their island and find out the impact the recent German occupation has had on each of their lives.

Book Review: Notorious Nineteen
Evanovich, Janet
4 stars = Really Good

Stephanie is at it again – blowing up cars, breaking and entering, being pursued by a lunatic, landing in a grave, and being rescued by Ranger among other things. She and Lula, once again, are searching for someone who has mysteriously disappeared, while at the same time are dealing with some of the nut-jobs from the Trenton area. Steph does have a tender heart toward them though. Grandma Mazur is once again instrumental in her successful sleuthing. Stephanie is slightly less conflicted this time about Ranger and Morelli. Hmm…

It’s a fun and easy read, and some parts made me laugh out loud

Book Review: Loving Frank
Horan, Nancy
4 stars = Really Good

LOVING FRANK is the dramatic story of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's affair with a married woman in the early 1900s. Based on real facts, the novel explores their love and motivations. The ending is jolting and unexpected...gripping, but true.

The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
MacArthur, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception by John MacArthur is a must-read for Christians concerned with truth. In a politically correct world, “truth” tends to be described as relative to each person. Whether a person believes that gravity is “true” or not, the apple WILL fall from the tree. With the same certainty, MacArthur states that the Bible is God’s unambiguous truth - whether one believes that or not.

His introduction is titled “Why the Truth is Worth Fighting For.” The following eight chapters describe aspects of what is happening in our world today, especially with regards to Postmodernism, the Emergent Church Movement, and False Teachers.

I found John MacArthur’s book refreshingly honest, courageous, and like a drink of cool water. The book reminded me that Christianity is all about truth, not personal opinion. After reading this book, I am resolved that truth will always be important, and worthy to defend.

Book Review: The Book of Old Houses
Graves, Sarah
4 stars = Really Good

Maine towns are always a quaint setting for an adventurous tale and this book delivers. The remodeling situations that arise are hilarious and the book has useful "tool time" like hints sprinkled in at the beginning of most of the chapters. I found myself really looking forward to reading the next hint. There are quirky characters that you get to know, care about, and even want to emulate. The plot moves forward at a steady pace but sometimes for me mysteries throw in too many details and drag on just a little too long.

Book Review: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction
Karpyshyn, Drew
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A very gripping Star Wars Novel that provides insight and historical background into the origins of the Sith. Written in a suspenseful manner, this is the first of a 3 book series that is one of my favorites in the Star Wars universe.

Book Review: Shades Of Grey: The Road to High Safron
Fforde, Jasper
4 stars = Really Good

Incredibly entertaining book, with quintessentially British humor - convoluted, mocking and a bit dark. Though Jasper Fforde’s other books are enjoyable (the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series, for example), I found this one more coherent and the concepts more intriguing.

Read it to discover why spoons are a highly prized personal possession; why “chasing the green” is discouraged; whether the “Something That Happened” is ever explained; and why Eddie, the protagonist, is sent to do a chair census in a town on the edges of civilization.

Book Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Sloan, Robin
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

At the crossroads of book lovers, code-cracking, and the digital future of data (and the power of the Google empire), you'll find Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Set in San Francisco, this story follows a book store clerk and his Googler love-interest as they try to solve a secret society's ancient mystery with all the tools at hand, both antique and innovative. If you consider yourself both a book nerd AND a tech nerd, you will love this book.

Book Review: Ashenden
Wilhide, Elizabeth
4 stars = Really Good

I did enjoy this story of a house and the people who lived in it and loved it. The book opens in present day when the current owners are trying to decide what to do with it after inheriting it from their aunt. We then go back in time to 1775 and the building of the house, and then each subsequent chapter deals with another point in the history of the house, tying together nicely at the end. The house itself is the main character in the story, and you are actually rooting for it to survive and flourish.

Of course, some of the chapters were much more interesting than others, and I had to do a bit of flipping back to remember who characters were as they occasionally would pop up several chapters apart.

All in all, I give this book a solid 4 stars. Fans of similar books such as The Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland should enjoy this.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Lawson, Jenny
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book was hilarious. It's the book I wish I was clever enough to write. At one point I was laughing so hard I was crying. It might very well be the funniest book I've ever read. I highly highly highly recommend this book! Oh, and it's sweet and sad, too. But mostly funny. Did I mention it was funny?

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Grahame-Smith, Seth
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I read this book before I saw the movie. It is much better then the movie, books usually always are, LOL. It has much more in it and is way more cooler.

Where'd you go, Bernadette
Semple, Maria
4 stars = Really Good

Where'd you go, Bernadette is part comedy, part mystery, but definitely all enjoyable. Bernadette lives in Seattle with her daughter and husband (who works at Microsoft.) She is somewhat agoraphobic and when faced with a trip to Antarctica with her family, starts to behave erratically and disappears.
The book uses many email messages to tell the story and in this case, it works very well.

Book Review: The Invention of Everything Else
Hunt, Samantha
4 stars = Really Good

This book tells the story [historical fiction] of final years of Nickola Tesla's life. I was swept up in the journey and couldn't wait to see what happened next.

Book Review: The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again
Tolkien, J. R. R.
4 stars = Really Good

I quite enjoyed this book. I listened to it on audio, BBC version. The music was very cheesy, but I ended up laughing at it instead of being annoyed. The acting was very good, except Gandalf didn't sound nearly as good in this portrayal as he does in the movies. Still, thumbs up!

Book Review: Sh*t My Dad Says
Halpern, Justin
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Not for the easily offended, this book is a real gem of modern comedy. It is episodic, which allows easy reading in the few minutes you have while waiting in line someplace, or any time you need a good chuckle. It is obvious that the author's father cares about him and his happiness, but he definitely shows it through heavy doses of "tough love" that will have you laughing out loud as you read. Seriously, don't read this anywhere you need to stay quiet!

Adam C.