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Right Rose, Right Place by Peter Schneider

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Anyone can grow a rose; success is dependent on the correct garden placement.  Lucky for us the author’s rose garden is in Ohio.  Peter Schneider grows over 1200 roses in his garden, all are recommended for northern and Midwestern gardens.  All levels of rose gardeners will enjoy this well written, detailed, and beautifully illustrated book.

Unsinkable: A Memoir by Debbie Reynolds

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A youngster during movies ‘Golden Age’, Reynolds writes a wonderfully funny & heartfelt memoir of her trials, tribulations and friendships.  She shares her children, Carrie and Todd Fisher, personal problems, as they struggle with their own successes as well as their famous parents.    Her disastrous marriages brought her to bankruptcy, but she never despaired- and that’s the heart of this story, how her spirit, talent and personality kept her from sinking.

"My Mother was Nuts" by Penny Marshall

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Comedian/director Marshall writes very openly on her life experiences growing up in the Bronx, getting pregnant and married young in New Mexico, her marriage to Rob Reiner, friendship with Carrie Fisher, and relationship with Art Garfunkel.   Marshall revisits tough subjects like abortion, drugs, lack of mothering skills, and her now fading health. Great stories abound of her time spent on TV shows, movies, and her career as a movie director.  Marshall's humor is how she gets through the difficult stuff and lives with a simple motto: “try hard, help your friends, don't get too crazy, and have fun.”

"The Dinner" by Herman Koch

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It begins with dinner at a high-end restaurant in Amsterdam. Two brothers, Paul and Serge, and their wives meet to discuss their teenage sons. It is quickly apparent this is no ordinary discussion.  What have the cousins done? What is to be done about it? Slowly the tension builds and the reader becomes anxious as the story unfolds. The ending is a stunner!

"The Hypnotist's Love Story" by Liane Moriarty

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The hypnotist has finally started dating someone that seems like he could be “the one.” He tells her on a date that he has a stalker and she finds herself fascinated rather than disturbed. This story is told from the point of view of two characters, one of whom is the stalker. The author has such a way with character development that it's easy to sympathize with the stalker and you find yourself liking her. Moriarty seems to be able to capture the most complicated of human emotions and motivations in a simple and accessible way. There are no black and white issues in her books and the truthfulness of that really shines through. This was a very enjoyable read.

"Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis" by Timothy Egan

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This is the biography of Edward Curtis, a talented photographer.  His obsession was to photograph and document the American Indian before destruction of their ways. Egan writes is a riveting story of how Curtis spent ten years, sacrificed his marriage and family, finances and health to produce a twenty volume work The North American Indian. The photographs at the end of each chapter are a good accompaniment to the text.

"A Light that Never Goes Out: the Enduring Saga of The Smiths" by Tony Fletcher

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This is a detailed story of the band The Smiths by a clearly ardent fan that would certainly be of interest to other fans of the band (like myself), but also to anyone following the history of indie music. They are such an English band, and the author details many locations and subtexts that may not be readily apparent to those who are not native Mancunians or familiar with British pop culture and local history. He talks about all of the band’s influences and shows the reader where they fit into musical history. This is a really thick book of 704 pages covering the span of the band’s life, so there’s a lot of detail here, considering they were only together for 6 years.

"Me before You: a novel" by Jojo Moyes

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Me before You is the story of Louisa Clark, and Will Traynor. “Lou” is a small town British girl, living with her zany family, and a waitress in a small Tea Shoppe. She answers an ad in the paper for a companion to a young man, and is hired for her likability and cheerfulness. Will, who was once a very active man, had an accident and is now a quadriplegic. His depression and sorrow are understood, but his mother would like him to live life in a different way. What follows is a combining of heart and soul, as these two unlikely people share their lives careening toward an unbelievable ending.

"The Last Runaway" by Tracy Chevalier

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In the early 1850’s Quaker sisters, Honor and Grace Bright, set sail for America. They begin a journey to Ohio where Grace will marry Adam Cox, a Quaker, who has settled near Oberlin, Ohio. In Pennsylvania Grace contacts Yellow Fever and dies. With the help of strangers, Honor continues to Ohio. Her arrival, instead of her sister Grace, is an unwelcome surprise to the small Cox household. While Honor struggles to adapt to the Quaker Community in America, she, unwittingly, becomes involved with the Underground Railroad. Once again, Tracy Chevalier has written an informative and compelling historical novel.

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