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Book Reviews
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Home With My Sisters
by Mary Carter

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A wonderful story of a family reunited at the invitation of their grandmother who is dying. Ms. Carter takes us through a Christmas gathering and three sisters spending time and sharing memories, healing old hurts and renewing their relationships. This is an easy and enjoyable read.

Long Sea Petal
by Isabel Allende En Español

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Long Sea Petal / Largo Petalo de Mar, another amazing book by Isabel Allende. I want to say that this has been one of my favorite stories written and told by the author. The incredible descriptions of history are breathtaking. The civil war in Spain generated countless tragedies and unfortunate situations, some of the situations had unexpected outcomes and at times happy endings like Long Petal of the Sea. Although tragedy and despair were the central discussions of the book, Isabel Allende, once again managed to include the most beautiful and pure of all the love stories. The tenancy bravery and endurance of both, the male and female roles are captivating and inspiring. I absolutely love the ending of the book because it is real and most people can relate to the circumstances.

Any Way The Wind Blows
by Rainbow Rowell

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Overall, the finale in the Simon Snow trilogy was worth the read and I still love the series. However, it was missing a few things that knocked it down for me compared to the other two books. The ending really could have used another 100 pages or so to wrap things up without just shoving the loose plotlines in as quickly as possible, in addition to the problematic handling of a character who is described as asexual in every way except using the actual term. I really did expect better, but I still count this series among my favorites in the YA fantasy genre.

The Big Heist
by Destefano

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Kinda dragged on. Interesting, but too much gratuitous (real) violence for my liking.

The Wedding Guest
by Jonathan Kellerman

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I decided to expand my Author horizon and chose The Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. The wedding guest was murdered before page 10 and after page 368, I still didn't understand why. She was not a friend of the bride or groom and neither was the murderer. I did finish the book but I really did not like it!

Shadow Of The Batgirl
by Sarah Kuhn

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Absolutely fantastic graphic novel! Cassandra Cain runs away from her assassin kingpin father, hiding out in the Gotham Public Library. I loved the artwork and character designs; Gotham is usually depicted as so dark and gothic, and while the artist kept that undertone, everything much livelier and softer. Cassandra's story arc is really well done, along with her growing relationships with characters like Barbara Gordon. Cassandra's first iteration of Batgirl saving the public library from messy patrons and out of reach books still has me laughing this morning :)

Echo Mountain
by Lauren Wolk

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This was an uplifting and mesmerizing story about a young girl's courage living in the woods with her family during the Great Depression. She shows true grit as she follows her own path, rather than one imposed by her mother; and in so doing teaches the whole family about connectedness...to each other, to nature, to those different from ourselves, and to one's own inner voice. I highly recommend this book to all, and especially to adolescent young women and their parents!

Sooley
by John Grisham

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John Grisham has a gift for getting the feel of the characters, the surroundings and the reality of the situation. Based on a true story, Grisham tells the story of young man from the South Sudan who loves basketball and gets a chance to play a few exhibition games in the US. Grisham conveys the amazement Simon, later known as Sooley, feels throughout the experience. Grisham also does a great job portraying Sooley's love of basketball and love of his family.

Nubia Real One
by L.l. Mckinney

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This story follows Nubia, a superpowered teenager who has moved with her moms more times than she can count to keep her powers under wraps. Nubia faces challenges that, despite her powers, are chillingly representative of real world events including police brutality, school shootings, and sexual harassment. I wasn't a fan of the artwork at first, but by the end of the book it had grown on me; some of the panels were absolutely terrifying. Great addition to the DC universe.

The Friends We Keep
by Jane Green

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While Jane Green started off as one of the more popular British chick lit authors, her more recent books have focused on her adopted home of the greater Westport, Connecticut area. The Friends We Keep takes us back to England and tells us the story of college friends Maggie, Evvie and Topher, from their first days at university through their early 50s. The three take different paths after graduation, with Evvie and Topher heading back to the U.S. for careers in modeling and acting while Maggie stays in England for a career in public relations. Something happens that causes Evvie to distance herself from Maggie and Topher, a secret she keeps for years until the three reunite many years later, when the arrival of a young man forces the truth to come out. Drama ensues, forcing all three to evaluate what's truly important. The book's conclusion shows how forgiveness can help people regain peace in their lives.