Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge: The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri




This summer, members of the Vise Library are participating in a Summer Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!



This week's book is The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri.



About the book:

Situated deep in the Louisiana bayou is the formerly opulent Sorrow Estate. Once home to a magical family-the Sorrows-it now sits in ruins, ever since a series of murders in 1902 shocked the entire community. Now the ghosts of girls in white dresses shift in and out of view, stuck in time as they live out the past on repeat.
When Frances Green Sorrow is born carrying the "signs" of the so-called chosen one, it is believed she will bring her family back from the brink of obscurity, finally resurrecting the glory of what it once was and setting the Sorrows ghosts free.
But Frances is no savior.
Fleeing from heartbreak, she seeks solace in the seductive chaos of New Orleans, only to end up married too young in an attempt to live an ordinary life. When her marriage falls apart shortly after having a son, she returns home again-alone-just out of reach from the prying eyes of her family. But when her son disappears, she is forced to rejoin the world she left behind, exposing her darkest secret in order to find him and discovering the truth of what really happened that fateful year in the process.
Set amidst the colorful charm of The French Quarter and remote bayous of Tivoli Parish, Louisiana, Suzanne Palmieri's The Witch of Bourbon Street is a story of family, redemption, and forgiveness. Because sometimes, the most important person you have to forgive.... is yourself.
This book is set in the deep south in the bayou of Louisiana.  This book has two different story lines: one is in the past that involves murders at the Sorrow Estate and the other story line is set in present day.   The events of the past affects the present day.  Frances Green Sorrow hasn't left this area in years.  Frances has lost faith in herself and has really isolated herself.  Even though she has contact with her ex-husband (Danny) and her son Jack, she left them (you find out why later on).   Frances must leave the confines of her home to go looking for her son who has gone missing.  From here Frances learns about family secrets of the past (& present!) and what to do about them.  You learn who really brought the tragedy to the Sorrow family and you learn about Frances' big secret.  This book has so many elements to it: secrets, magic, redemption, forgiveness (Frances has to forgive not only her family but herself as well!), family and love.  
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books






About the author:

I've always wanted to be a writer, but life got in the way. At 22, I was a struggling, unwed mother on welfare who moonlighted as a cocktail waitress. My daughter and I collected food stamps and other social entitlements for several years. There never seemed to be enough money, and knowing I had to finish college I hustled to make ends meet. Education, and writing whatever I could, saved me.

I wrote everywhere: in journals, on napkins, on the inside of matchbook covers. After graduating from college, (walking across the stage with my baby on my hip!), I was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to Fordham; this scholarship allowed me to exit the welfare system for good. Also, being a single mother living alone in the Bronx would become the impetus for my debut novel THE WITCH OF LITTLE ITALY, which hit shelves in March 2013. I am also the co-author of I'LL BE SEEING YOU (writing as Suzanne Hayes). 
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge: The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop







This summer, members of the Vise Library are participating in a Summer Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!



This week's book is The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop.



About the book:

Find your way home... 

1891—Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts. 

1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.
This book by Kathleen Shoop weaves the lives of a mother, daughter and son all in one story. She gives great examples about how deep love can go and strengthen a person.  She also shows how people can be torn apart and what rock bottom really is.  Jeanie not only loses her precious items and home, but she also loses her children.  This book is shown from the points of view of Jeanie and her child and the hurt and loss they experience while they hope to reunite.  This book is very descriptive and it makes you hope for this family and everything they have lost.  This book is actually the second book in the series, but you can read it as a stand alone.  
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       

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Book Review: X by Sue Grafton






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review X.  We received a copy of Sue Grafton's book for an honest review.






About the book:

Of #1 New York Times–bestselling author Sue Grafton, NPR’s Maureen Corrigan said, “Makes me wish there were more than 26 letters.” With only two letters left, Grafton’s many devoted readers will share that sentiment.

X:  
The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss.

X: 
 The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. The most graphically dramatic letter. Notoriously tricky to pronounce: think xylophone.

X:  
The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet.

Sue Grafton’s X: Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.
Kinsey Millhone is back!  In Sue Grafton's newest book, Kinsey essentially has three mysteries going on all at one time (two of them unintentional).  First, Kinsey takes a case that seems like an easy $200.  Of course that is not the case (ha!).  Kinsey finds out that the wool was pulled over her eyes and is trying to get to the bottom of the lies.  This puts her in the middle of a petty divorce (and an annulment!).  Secondly, Kinsey is contacted about some paperwork from an earlier case involving Pete Wolinsky (one of the focuses of W is for Wasted).  When she goes looking for some tax forms she uncovers something hidden in the bottom of one of the boxes.  She realizes Pete was looking into a case and she sets out to finish some unfinished business.  She has to put aside her judgment of Pete and look through a different set of eyes.  Lastly, Kinsey doesn't feel like something is quite right with her new neighbors.  She feels like they are taking advantage of Henry (her landlord) and his kindness.  Like all of Grafton's novels, Kinsey's snark and intuition are one of a kind.  She always pens such incredible dialogue.  Grafton also does an amazin job on the little details and forces you to pay close attention to them.  Something that seems minor turns out to be something ground-breaking later on.  Lastly, I always think I know the who and the why in her books, but she fools me every time!  Millhone fans will love this novel and will be glad to see some familiar faces (and places!) along the way!

This book comes out August 25 and will be available for check out around that time.  Make sure to keep an eye out for it!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books








About the author:

New York Times-bestselling author Sue Grafton is published in twenty-eight countries and twenty-six languages--including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Books in her alphabet series, begun in 1982, are international bestsellers with readership in the millions. And like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Grafton has earned new respect for the mystery form. Readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling prowess. She has been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America (2009) and is a recipient of the Ross Macdonald Literary Award (2004).

Sue Grafton has been married to Steve Humphrey for more than thirty years, and they divide their time between Montecito, California, and Louisville, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. Grafton, who has three children and four grandchildren, loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine.


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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Book Review: Daughter of Dusk by Livia Blackburne





Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Daughter of Dusk.  We received a copy of Livia Blackburne's book for an honest review.






About the book:

After learning the truth about her bloodlines, Kyra can't help but feel like a monster. 

Though she's formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra's not sure she can trust him. And with James's fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.

As tensions rise within Forge's Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?

In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.
Daughter of Dusk is the sequel to Blackburne's Midnight Thief.  You will want to read the first book not only to gather the background information, but to also see how the stories and characters progress.  This story begins not too long after the first book.  Kyra is trying to come to terms about what she is (Tristam seems to be hesitant about this too) and Tristam is trying to become accustomed to his newly demoted role.  The Demon Riders have been attacking Tristam's family home.  In order to protect and help his family, Tristam must do something that severely damages his relationship with Kyra.  The Head of the Council is also up to some dirty tricks that must be stopped.  Kyra may have to collaborate with James in order to protect the city that she loves.  Kyra must turn into something that she eventually hated in James.  She also digs more into her past in order to find out where she comes from.  This story is action packed and I loved the ending(I laughed out loud about Tristam being demoted...again).  You will also read about some of the familiar characters and meet some new friends along the way!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books







About the author:

Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while she was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neuroscience of reading acquisition in children. Upon graduation, she switched to writing full time. Livia still blogs about the intersection of literature and neuroscience.



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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Review: Speaking in Bones





Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Speaking in Bones.  We received a copy of Kathy Reichs' book for an honest review.






About the book:

No one speaks the language of suspense more brilliantly than Kathy Reichs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Temperance Brennan series. In Speaking in Bones, the forensic anthropologist finds herself drawn into a world of dark secrets and dangerous beliefs, where good and evil blur.
 
Professionally, Temperance Brennan knows exactly what to do—test, analyze, identify. Her personal life is another story. She’s at a loss, wondering how to answer police detective Andrew Ryan’s marriage proposal. But the matter of matrimony takes a backseat when murder rears its head.
 
Hazel “Lucky” Strike—a strident amateur detective who mines the Internet for cold cases—comes to Brennan with a tape recording of an unknown girl being held prisoner and terrorized. Strike is convinced the voice is that of eighteen-year-old Cora Teague, who went missing more than three years earlier. Strike is also certain that the teenager’s remains are gathering dust in Temperance Brennan’s lab.
 
Brennan has doubts about working with a self-styled websleuth. But when the evidence seems to add up, Brennan’s next stop is the treacherous backwoods where the chilling recording (and maybe Cora Teague’s bones) were discovered. Her forensic field trip only turns up more disturbing questions—along with gruesome proof of more untimely deaths.
 
While local legends of eerie nocturnal phenomena and sinister satanic cults abound, it’s a zealous and secretive religious sect that has Brennan spooked and struggling to separate the saints from the sinners. But there’s nothing, including fire and brimstone, that can distract her from digging up the truth and taking down a killer—even as Brennan finds herself in a place where angels fear to tread, devils demand their due, and she may be damned no matter what.
Dr. Temperance Brennan has a very interesting case that has been presented to her.  "Lucky", who is a self-proclaimed websleuther, has found a recording in the woods of a woman being tortured.  Lucky thinks the woman on the tape is a girl named Cora that has been reported missing on a websleuthing site.  However, Cora's parents believe Cora ran off with a boyfriend and says she isn't missing.  Lucky also believes that Tempe recovered some bones (that were unidentifiable at the time) a few years ago that could be Cora's.  Tempe has a hard time deciding if Lucky has a valid case.  Everyone around Tempe is convinced that Lucky is crazy, but the more Tempe digs into the case, the more she thinks Lucky may be on to something.  Tempe sets several events in motion that turn this case even more deadly.  I never guessed the ending of this book and I think the twists in this story were great!  Tempe also has her own personal things to deal with in this book as well.  She still has not given Ryan an answer to his proposal from the last book.  She has apprehensions and she can't figure out why.  I was unsure and a little uneasy about this story line (at one point I was screaming "NOOOOOO" to Tempe).  Even though Reichs doesn't deliver an absolute "conclusion" to this, she does give a satisfying ending to the book.  Tempe fans will enjoy this book and be asking "When is the next book?"
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books






About the author:

Kathy Reichs, like her fictional creation, Temperance Brennan, is forensic anthropologist for the province of Quebec. She is Vice President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, serves on the Canadian National Police Services Advisory Council, and is one of only fifty-six forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal. Deja Dead, her debut novel, brought her fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. In 2007 Break No Bones was short- listed for the Ellis Award for Best Novel. Kathy Reichs is the inspiration for the television drama Bones; her latest novel featuring Temperance Brennan is Devil Bones. 



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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Who Do You Love.  We received a copy of Jennifer Weiner's book for an honest review.






About the book:

An unforgettable story about true love, real life, and second chances…

Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are just eight years old when they meet one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she’s intrigued by the boy who shows up alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy’s taken back to a doctor and Rachel’s sent back to her bed, they think they’ll never see each other again.

Rachel grows up in an affluent Florida suburb, the popular and protected daughter of two doting parents. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent for running.

Yet, over the next three decades, Andy and Rachel will meet again and again—linked by chance, history, and the memory of the first time they met, a night that changed the course of both of their lives.

A sweeping, warmhearted, and intimate tale, Who Do You Love is an extraordinary novel about the passage of time, the way people change and change each other, and how the measure of a life is who you love.
Wow.  Where do I even begin with the love I have for this book?  The story of Rachel and Andy will definitely be something to come back to again.  Their story starts out when they are young and both in the hospital for different reasons.  That chance meeting leaves a lasting impression on both of them. They are so different for so many reasons (race, religion, location and financial backgrounds) and at the same time couldn't have been more perfect for each other.  They both understand what it is like to be different and throughout their lives they try to turn to different things to change that.  Even though their relationship matures as they meet over and over, it is not always perfect (or always work out).  

This book could not be more perfect at feeling so much like real life.  As you read Who Do You Love you will be hating all the near misses and misunderstandings that happen.  There were times that as I was reading this book that I wanted to say "Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!" I wanted (of course) for them to always be together, but you can see the struggles of life and long-term relationships that impact what happens to these two.  This story shows that even though people are perfect for each other, that does not always mean they are perfect together (and that we need to learn a few lessons along the way).  People change and the things that they think are important eventually change too.  While Rachel in the beginning really concentrated on looks, she eventually decided other things were more important.  Andy comes from a more humble background and at one point gives into hype and the grass being greener.   It was so interesting to see how they evolved from the young kids you start off meeting to the adults that they become.  Your heart strings will be tugged on from time to time (a lot).  This book is funny (Rachel's J Date experiences) and thought provoking (Andy's way of thinking one night in New York).  I feel like every one of Jennifer Weiner's books become my favorite, but this one will be hard to beat (seriously, how?  I don't know if it's possible).  I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book and wish I were still in Andy and Rachel's world...

This song made me think of these two characters:



This book releases in August, so keep your eye out for our copy that will be added to our collection!  (Also, can I make a last ditch effort to convince Jen to come to an event in Nashville?????)
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books







About the author:

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven books, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, which was made into a major motion picture, and The Next Best Thing. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.


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Book Review: A Different Kind of Same by Kelley Clink






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review A Different Kind of Same.  We received a copy of Kelley Clink's book for an honest review.






About the book:

Two weeks before his college graduation, Kelley Clink’s younger brother Matt hanged himself. Though he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager and had attempted suicide once before, the news came as a shock―and it sent Kelley into a spiral of guilt and grief. After Matt’s death, a chasm opened between the brother Kelley had known and the brother she’d buried. She kept telling herself she couldn’t understand why he’d done it―but the truth was, she could. Several years before he’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she’d been diagnosed with depression. Several years before he first attempted suicide by overdose, she had attempted suicide by overdose. She’d blazed the trail he’d followed. If he couldn’t make it, what hope was there for her? A Different Kind of Same traces Kelley’s journey through grief, her investigation into the role her own depression played in her brother’s death, and, ultimately, her path toward acceptance, forgiveness, resilience, and love.
This book gives an honest memoir into grief, suicide and mental illness and what it is like to suffer through this.  Kelley tries to navigate through her grief to understand the "why" of what her brother did.  She goes through her brother's things to gain that understanding.  She does gain more of an understanding about her brother and she gives a real and honest look at struggling through depression.  This book also shows the process of Kelley and her family trying to heal after something so horrific.  Kelley not only tries to understand the "why" of what her brother did, but also the "why" of mental disorders.  I think a lot of us either know someone who does or suffer with some kind of depression.  This book will make you feel what Kelley is going through and it is written so well.  I think she handles a difficult subject matter and makes the subject where it can be discussed.  This book sheds some light on a taboo topic and will make you wonder why it is that way.  I am so sorry that Kelley and her family had to go through this, but I think it is great that she has written a book so that she could try to understand and possibly help others along the way.
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books








About the author:

Kelley Clink grew up in southeastern Michigan. She has degrees in literature from the University of Alabama and DePaul University. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Under the Sun, South Loop Review, Gettysburg Review, Colorado Review, and Shambhala Sun. She is the winner of the 2014 Beacon Street Prize in Nonfiction and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives near Chicago with her husband and son.


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