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Book Reviews
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She Come By It Natural
by Sarah Smarsh

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It was a interesting look at Parton’s career through a feminist lenses, yet it left me wanting to simply read Dolly’s autobiography. 2.5 stars

Hidden Valley Road
by Robert Kolker

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In 1945, Don and Mimi Galvin welcomed their first child into the family. They settled in Colorado Springs and, over twenty years, added eleven more children to their brood, with a final tally of ten boys and two girls. Don’s early years were in the Air Force while Mimi ran the busy household and, to outsiders, they seemed like a highly functioning, although rambunctious group. All of the kids were good-looking, tall and athletic and their proud parents felt they were living the American Dream. But as the children grew, six of the boys would become schizophrenic while the healthy kids lived in terror of developing the same mental illness. Despite many stays at the Pueblo state hospital, Mimi was determined to care for them. In an endless cycle of psychotic breaks, debilitating medications and returns home, the Galvin house was anything but normal. The six healthy children had to fend for themselves emotionally as their mother tended to their six sick brothers.

Star Wars, The Force Awakens
by David Fentiman

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We like this book because it told us a lot about Star Wars.

Boyfriend Material Alexis Hall
by Alexis Hall

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Listened to the audiobook, as I knew Joe Jameson was good with voices and he doesn't disappoint here. This book was adorable in its wit, and a lot of the bantering had me laughing out loud. Some authors have funny characters in their romance novels but then the banter gets to be unbearable. It starts to become funny for funny’s sake and not deepening the characters. But it works here. Lucien reminding everyone and anyone over and over what a trainwreck gets tiring at times, but I truly get it--abandoned child of a narcissistic has-been rock star in the process of looking for a comeback, constantly scrutinized in public, everyone waiting for him to screw up, while he genuinely wants love and connection and not his personal life splashed in the tabloids should the relationship end. “Pushing people away, rather than watch them leave,” as he says at one point. Some moments of contrivance throughout the book stomp the brakes on the momentum--not just a needle scratch on a record, but smashing the vinyl altogether. But it is still worth the read for the delight Lucien and Oliver bring to their story and to love in general.

His Wicked Reputation
by Madeline Hunter

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Mary Jane Wells did a good job with Gareth’s voice, reaching a lower pitch most female voice actors can’t reach. It was slow to start but I liked the art theft at the center of the story. There’s also the greater theme across the three books in this series of the possible murder of Gareth’s half-brother, Percy, a malicious sort who’s one of three legitimate son’s of Gareth’s duke father. (The two other brothers, Ives and Lance, get their own books.) But since the subsequent voice actor’s narration made the 30-something year old men sound like old coots, I won’t be listening to the rest of the series.

Star Wars, The Force Awakens
by David Fentiman

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We like this book because it told us a lot about Star Wars.

Escape Room
by Megan Goldin Books

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Two main storylines parallel each other throughout the book. Team members Vincent, Jules, Sam, and Sylvie are commanded to show up for an “Executive Exercise”: Complete an hour-long game known as the Escape Room in which participants are locked in an enclosed space and required to follow clues to get out. But something goes wrong,of course, and the four are forced to use more than simple coping skills to end their ordeal. Elsewhere, a

Pyramids
by Terry Pratchett

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Classic Pratchett!

The Scent Keeper
by Erica Bauermeister

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We meet Emmeline on an isolated island living with her father and forging on the island for their survival. Everything Emmeline knows comes from her father and his love of scents. His special scent machine holds scents. In true coming of age stories, we find Emmeline challenging what she knows about her life on the island and what is beyond the waters. Her world of fairy tales and dreams come crashing down when she realizes her father lied to her about how special items such as a goat arrive on the island. There are points in the story when the story stretches too much to make connections and move the story along. The ending of the story came to a screeching halt leaving too many loose ends that I wish were answered more.

Dear Edward
by Ann Napolitano

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A moving story about 12-year-old Eddie Adler, who is the only person to survive a plane crash. Eddie progresses slowly from recovery and complete shock to going through the motions of living with his aunt and uncle. The story is told in alternating chapters, one set being about the flight leading up to the crash and the people on board, and the other set about Eddie, now Edward, and his new life in New Jersey. Edward makes one real friend over the course of middle school and high school and together they navigate Edward's unique situation. Many people tell him he is lucky to survive, but Edward is mourning his parents and older brother. The bond between brothers was especially strong. How Edward copes is the gem of the story, best left to read first-hand.


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