Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge 2014: The Barter by Siobahn Adcock #FRC2014



This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!






The book for our Intro to Ghost Studies class is The Barter by Siobahn Adcock.


About the book:


A heart-stopping tale as provocative as is suspenseful, about two conflicted women, separated by one hundred years, and bound by an unthinkable sacrifice.

The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

As Siobhan Adcock crosscuts these stories with mounting tension, each woman arrives at a terrible ordeal of her own making, tinged with love and fear and dread. What will they sacrifice to save their families—and themselves? Readers will slow down to enjoy the gorgeous language, then speed up to see what happens next in a plot that thrums with the weight of decision—and its explosive consequences.



This book is basically two stories within one title.  The two stories are similar in the sense that they each have a love story, a strained marriage, and revolve around two mothers.  However the stories are about 100 years apart from each other.  The story that is set in the early 1900s is about Rebecca, her husband, John and their son, Matthew.  After Rebecca has Matthew she begins to see life differently and her sole focus is on Matthew.  The later story is about Bridget and Mark and their infant daughter, Julie.  Bridget was an attorney, but has now decided to be a stay at home mom.  In the very beginning of the story, Bridget not only sees a ghost (the ghost is Rebecca), but smells the ghost as well.  Bridget believes that Julie is able to see the ghost also.  However, Mark cannot see the ghost.  This puts quite a strain (among other issues) on their relationship.

As you read about these two stories you realize how similar they are and how each woman struggles with something.  Those struggles are with marriage, a career, motherhood, and who they are themselves.  This book is very descriptive and engaging.  You realize that this is more than a ghost story and can be heartbreaking at times.  I think I liked Bridget's side of the story the best.  You will enjoy this book and all the things these characters have to offer! 



Buy the book:
·        Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1q0AmYK

·        Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1w9d7S0

Praise for the book:

"Eerie and atmospheric, this psychological thriller will twist its way into readers' psyches." - Booklist

"Suspenseful debut." - Publishers Weekly

The Barter is a delightful and utterly unique portrait of parenthood across the ages. Siobhan Adcock manages to express what is inexpressible about motherhood and marriage, deftly capturing the banal and the divine, the give and the take. As funny, profound, otherworldly, and terrifying as love itself, this is a debut novel not to be missed.” –Amy Shearn, author of The Mermaid of Brooklynand How Far is the Ocean From Here 

“Absolutely outstanding. The Barter is a ghost story haunted by love, a love story haunted by ghosts, and a literary mystery propelled by the unsaid secrets of marriage and motherhood. In Adcock's world, you won't know whether it's fear, love, or outright beauty making your heart beat like a drum. You won't know, and you won't care at all. You'll just have to keep reading.”
–Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River and The Cradle
 
“Reading The Barter is like standing at the edge of an abyss: deep, dark, and terrifying, it is also a gripping and exhilarating story about fear, courage, and the demands and sacrifices of love. An enthralling page-turner of a novel that had me on the edge of my seat from the first page and continued to haunt me after the last.” –Catherine Chung, author of Forgotten Country 

“Siobhan Adcock takes a very contemporary question – can women ever really “have it all” or are trade-offs invariably exacted? – and examines it through the startling prism of a ghost story. Part comedy of manners, part historical fiction, and part genuinely creepy page-turner, The Barter casts a lively eye on the sacrifices, willing and involuntary, women make as they endeavor to weave together the heart’s various desires.” --Leah Hager Cohen, author of No Book But the World 

“Siobhan Adcock’s impressive debut is a spellbinding blend of historical fiction and ghost story, made all the more believable—and harrowing—by its realistic depiction of the tenuous balance between fulfillment and sacrifice within a marriage.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival



About the author:

Siobhan Adcock received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University, and her short fiction has appeared in several literary magazines. She has worked as a writer and editor for Epicurious, Gourmet.com, iVillage.com, and The Knowm among other digital publishers. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Connect with the author:
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/siobhanster
·        Website: http://www.siobhanadcock.com/
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1naiZRx






If you want to find out more about the Fall Reading Challenge and the rest of our course schedule, click our student ID above!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

I had the opportunity of being part of the street team for K.A. Tucker's latest book Burying Water.  I received an ARC for this book for an honest review!



The top-selling, beloved indie author of Ten Tiny Breaths returns with a new romance about a young woman who loses her memory—and the man who knows that the only way to protect her is to stay away.

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.



Before I tell you what I think about this book, I will give a little synopsis (without any spoilers, hopefully)!  This book goes between the past and present.  The past is from Jesse Welles' point of view and the future is from Jane Doe/Water's point of view.  Jane Doe/Water wakes up in a hospital in Sisters, Oregon, badly injured and without a single clue to who she is.  She cannot remember her own name, where she is from or anything to clue in why she is the shape that she is.  While she is in the hospital, she has a roommate named Ginny.  Ginny is an older woman that has some eccentricities.  She does not want any men near her and she also does not appear very friendly.  The doctor for both Ginny and Jane Doe/Water is Dr. Alwood who also happens to be Ginny's next door neighbor.  As Jane Doe/Water begins to recover physically from Ginny takes Jane Doe/Water into her home.  Ginny has some very odd rules and does not like to leave her house.  Jane Doe/Water tries to remember who she is/was and has to keep a notebook of words and the words that she associates with them.  In someway she hopes that they unlock her memory.  When Jane Doe/Water finally discovers who she really was, it seems to shatter her current world.

Jesse Welles is the son of Dr. Alwood and her husband Gabe Welles (who also happens to be the town sheriff).  He does not live with them, but makes an appearance in Jane Doe/Water's current life when he visits his parents.  He keeps his distance and Jane Doe/Water seems to think that he is familiar somehow.  In Jesse's part of the story you learn about his life as a mechanic in Portland.  Without giving too much away, you also learn about his friends and acquaintances.  He has a chance encounter with a stranger early on that changes things for him.  You learn how his story is tied to Jane Doe/Water's story in some way.  But, I'm not telling you, so you will have to read the book!

Man, oh man, was this a good book!!  This book was crazy intense, but a really great read.  If you are looking for a book that you will continue to think about long after reading it, than you need to check out this book for sure.  The characters and their stories stay with you long after you finish!  I am sure that it was difficult to write not only from two people's points of views, but also from the future and past tense.  K.A. Tucker does this (or seems to anyways!) very easily.  She also pulls off the fact that Jane Doe/Water can't remember who she is.  The characters in this book where great and you learned that everyone had some sort of secret that they were protecting.  You see that some secrets are very hard to let go of, but eventually they all come to light.  Sometimes it's for the best and sometimes the cost of those secrets coming out can be dangerous and heartbreaking.  This is by far my favorite book by K.A. Tucker!


About the Author:


Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons.
She has come a long way from working in crayon. All four books (ANATHEMA, ASYLUM, ALLEGIANCE and ANOMALY) in her best selling YA Paranormal Fantasy series - Causal Enchantment- are available now.
Her USA Today best selling New Adult Contemporary, TEN TINY BREATHS--originally self-published--was acquired by Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), and is available now, along with subsequent books in the series: ONE TINY LIE, FOUR SECONDS TO LOSE, FIVE WAYS TO FALL. The prequel novella, IN HER WAKE, will be available September 2014. Her next project, BURYING WATER, will be out in October 2014 from Atria Books.
K.A. is a voracious reader and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

Connect with K.A. Tucker:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/K.A.Tucker.Author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kathleenatucker

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge 2014: Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon #FRC2014



This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!





The book for our Theatre Studies 201 class is Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon.


About the book:

In this sequel to Doon, Mackenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake in choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. To make everything worse, she's received her Calling—proof she and Duncan are each other's one true love—and it's pure torment, especially when visions of the very alluring Scottish prince appear right before she goes on stage. So when Duncan tells her an ancient curse threatens to overtake Doon and the new queen and Kenna’s best friend, Veronica, needs her to return, Kenna doesn't have to think twice. With darkness closing in on all sides, Kenna and Vee must battle a world of nightmares in order to protect the kingdom. But it will take the ultimate test of courage for Kenna to salvage her happily ever after.


So first things first, this is the second book of a four part series about the land of Doon.  Even though this book is the second in the series, it is easy to catch up.  I did not feel lost at any time.  If you are interested in reading the first book (which I am starting it tonight!) then get your copy!

Doon is a land that is not accessible to just anyone.  You either have to be born there or basically be called there for a specific job or purpose.  It is an area in Scotland that is set in medieval times, but present day is still going on around it.  Time does not move as fast in Doon as it does in the real world.  For instance, one of the main characters, Mackenna, is called back to Doon.  She has been living in Chicago for a year, but in Doon time she has only been gone 2 1/2 months.  I hope I explained that well and didn't confuse you!  Anyways, Mackenna left Doon to pursue her dreams as a theater actress.  She regrets leaving, because she fell in love with one of Doon's princes, Duncan while she was there previously.  Duncan was supposed to join her in the modern world, but she decided that she couldn't let him do that.  She felt that he belonged in Doon and felt it would be selfish to keep him from there for her.  Duncan appears to her at times, but it's only a vision.  There is one time that he appears in her dressing room after a show and instead of a vision, it is really him.  He has traveled to see her, in a way (there are ways to travel in and out of Doon).  He tells her that Kenna's best friend, Veronica (who is from the modern world, but decided to stay in Doon and is the queen there), has asked Duncan to bring Kenna to the kingdom.  The kingdom has something evil that is cursing Doon.  Through their travels to Doon, Kenna wants to apologize to Duncan, but he is very cold towards her. She wants to explain the reasons she left to him, but he does not seem to want to hear it.

Veronica has her own set of problems.  Some of the people in Doon do not believe in her as their queen.  With the curse that is growing, her boyfriend, Jamie (who is Duncan's brother and the other prince of Doon), appears to not have faith in her as a queen.  She feels like he is making decisions about the kingdom without her.  When Kenna and Duncan finally make it back to Doon, it is apparent that Kenna is meant to help.  She can see things about the curse that no one else can.  Through research the two of them figure out that the curse has happened before.  They have to go on a few adventures to figure out how and what will stop the curse.  In the meantime, there is the growing tension surrounding Kenna and Duncan.  They have to appear to be in love so that none of the townspeople question why she is back.  The queen and her advisers did not  want to tell the townspeople about the evil until they found a solution.  However, this arrangement is a little tought because it appears that Duncan has been spending a lot of time with one of the new residents of Doon, Analise.  Kenna wonders if her chance with Duncan is over, despite the fact that they have a Calling (it's basically a sign or that they were meant to be together) that goes deeper than she originally realized.  She decides that in order to let Duncan move on with Analise, she must leave again if she is able to help stop the curse.

The good about this book:  EVERYTHING!!!!!!  The characters are great.  I love Kenna's sense of humor and Veronica's kindness.  The minor characters in this book are fun too.  I love the setting and premise behind this story.  I loved how Veronica and Kenna tried to incorporate things from the modern world into Doon.  For instance Veronica has maxi dresses made so that she has something comfortable to wear and Kenna brings Veronica a solar battery pack so that Veronica can listen to her iPod.  Everything about this book is described so well that I feel like I can picture Doon myself.  Just such a vivid story! It kept me entertained and I liked the little things/missions that Kenna and Veronica had to complete in order to try to stop the limbus.  I also like the way that Kenna had to learn about forgiving herself and letting that go.  As the reader, you learn that not only does Kenna feel like she let Duncan down, but someone else (I won't say who!) has to deal with the fact that they felt like they had abandoned Kenna a long time ago.  I think any age would enjoy this book. It's not too dark and does not really deal with anything "mature."  At the same time, this book is very entertaining and enjoyable and has a little bit of good versus evil to it.  I have a new series to enjoy and cannot wait to start the first book to learn more about Doon and how the two main characters stumbled upon this world.  Some books that have co-authors do not seem to flow very well, but that is not the case in this book.  Even though the two girls in the book have their own personalities, they go together.  The book flows and you do not feel like you are reading two different books in the same story!

The bad: NOTHING! Well, except the fact that it will be another year until the third book comes out.  :(  I do have a question for Carey and Lorie...what in the world do Duncan and Jamie fight about at the last ball????????????????????????? I AM DYING TO KNOW!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously.


Buy the book:
·        Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1lhJVUg

·        Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1pL8F7k




About the authors:





Carey Corp lives in the metropolitan Midwest with her loveable yet out-of-control family. Carey wrote her first book at the age of seven, and currently begins each morning consuming copious amounts of coffee while weaving stories that capture her exhaustive imagination. She harbors a voracious passion (in no consistent order) for mohawks, Italy, musical theater, chocolate, and Jane Austen. Carey’s debut novel for teens, The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian, earned her national recognition as 2010 Golden Heart finalist for best young adult fiction and was recently featured at the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago in YA Alley.




Lorie Langdon has over ten years of experience writing online and print advertising for a Fortune 500 company, and left her thriving corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full-time author and stay-at-home mom, she spends her summers editing poolside while dodging automatic water-gun fire, and the rest of the year tucked into her cozy office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word and continue to build the young-adult-focused blog, HonestlyYA.

Connect with the authors:

Carey Corp:
·        Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1qqj0BL
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/careycorp
·        Website: http://www.doonseries.com/
·        Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1pez6SL

Lorie Langdon:
·        Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1nagUFl
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorieLangdon
·        Website: http://www.lorielangdon.com/
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1AyddRT






If you want to find out more about the Fall Reading Challenge and the rest of our course schedule, click our student ID above!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge 2014: Rebels by Jill Williamson #FRC2014



This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!




The book for our Advanced Dystopian Studies class is Rebels by Jill Williamson.



About the book:

The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth.

Levi watched his brothers’ public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive, He is forced to focus his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands’ newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar’s old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi’s new role be enough?

Meanwhile, Jemma’s sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the “Safe Lands’” children … but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar’s illness could be fatal.


If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands’ lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die.



So before you read this book (which you should!) make sure to read the first two books in this series (Captives and Outcasts).  If you don't, it will take some time to get caught up on what has been happening in the Safe Lands series.  There are quite a few characters in this book, so again I recommend to read the first two books in the series before checking this book out!  This book is very suspenseful and entertaining.  There is a "liberation" looming from previous books and this book answers all of those questions.  I had not read the first two books, so I am not sure what other readers were expecting, but I was certainly caught off guard!

This book is a very fun dystopia type novel.  It had a lot of angst and action to it.  The characters are fun to read about and you realize that people can be imperfect, but still be good.  Everyone experiences a different lesson such as addiction, heartbreak and lust.  Which, honestly those happen in everyday life to people.  I think a lot of people can learn something from this book and have it be enjoyable at the same time!  For fans of this series, I feel like it is a very satisfying (but bittersweet ending) to a great series!


Buy the book:
·        Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1z1dOcb

·        Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1AybKLx



About the author:


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including the Blood of Kings trilogy, Replication, the Mission League series, and the Safe Lands trilogy. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two children and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online at www.jillwilliamson.com, where adventure comes to life.

Connect with the author:
·        Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1pNjDsv
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillWilliamson
·        Website:  http://www.jillwilliamson.com/
 Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1w99POD






If you want to find out more about the Fall Reading Challenge and the rest of our course schedule, click our student ID above!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review! Love Nouveau by B.L. Berry



We are thrilled to be included in the blog tour for the book Love Nouveau by B.L. Berry.  We have received an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.

The only thing inevitable in love is despair. 

I knew from the start that he would wreck me. 
Nothing could have prepared me for the day he walked into my life ... 
or the day he walked out of it. 

I self-destructed. 

All that remained was a shell of the girl I once was. 
SHATTERED. 

And I don't know if I'll ever recover.





This is such a great book!  I read it all in one day and (unfortunately) ignored some responsibilities while finishing this book.  Aaaaaaannnnnndddd I do not regret it.  I am so glad that I read this book.  The story revolves around Ivy and the relationships around her.  She is very different from her (rich) family and is trying to make a name for herself, without the help of her family's name.  She has returned from a study abroad trip to Italy.  She wants to work in the art industry and has a potential job interview in New York (she is from Chicago).  Her family instead wants her to work for a museum in Chicago that they have arranged for her in the hopes that they can keep an eye on her.  Meanwhile, her sister is getting married and is completely self-absorbed in the process.  Ivy met Phoenix when she returned from Italy.  They have an instant connection and try to make a go at the long distance relationship while Phoenix lives in St. Louis.  Of course this can be difficult, but they realize what they have is very important.  They have to learn to trust each other through the process.

Something major happens a few days before Ivy's sister is married and the way her family reacts is really unbelievable.  Not only does Ivy have to deal with a major life event, her family is unfortunately not very sympathetic.  I won't give away what happens or why, but the event in a way affects her relationship with Phoenix to the point where she believes that she needs a fresh start.  (Sorry, you will have to read the book to find out what happens!)

This book was amazing.  It didn't just deal with a boy-girl cliche relationship, but it had substance to it.  Her family dynamics are something to read about as well.  Ivy has a great friend in Rachel and you will love reading about the characters.  Ivy, Rachel and Phoenix are not flaky and have layers to themselves.  Phoenix and Ivy both have to realize think they are worth to themselves and other people.  Just because someone isn't perfect, does not make them worthy of love.  There are several twists to the book that really keep you interested!  This is a debut novel, but honestly you wouldn't believe that.  I can't wait to read more from Berry!  





About the author


B.L. Berry is many things. A New Adult author. A self-proclaimed music whore. A long-course triathlete. A marketing savant. And a full-time working mom. While there are never enough hours in the day, she does the best she can to get things done and hopes for technological advances in human cloning.

When she’s not hiding behind her computer writing, you can find her spending time with her family or catching up on her favorite TV shows. Rumor has it she’ll sleep when she’s dead.

She is Canadian by birth. Mexican by marriage. Chicagoan by heart. Kansan by choice. Jayhawk purely by common sense.

Residing outside of Kansas City, she lives with her husband, two children and black pug. Each day her family thanks the makers of e-Readers, because without which they would be living amongst stacks and stacks of romance novels. Conversely, each day B.L. Berry thanks the makers of e-Readers for hiding her book-hoarding tendencies.

Connect to B.L. Berry



Buy the book:


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge 2014: A Blind Sport for Boys by Justina Chen #FRC2014



This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!



The book for our Finding Mr. Right 101 class is A Blind Spot by Justina Chen.



About the book:

Sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it's time to end the plague of Mr. Wrong, Wrong, and More Wrong.

Enter Quattro, the undeniably cute lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don't just fly; they ignite. And so does Shana's interest.

Right as she's about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Quattro is quickly forgotten, and Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see. So they travel to Machu Picchu, and as they begin their trek, they run into none other than Quattro himself. But even as the trip unites them, Quattro pulls away mysteriously... Love and loss, humor and heartbreak collide in this new novel from acclaimed author Justina Chen.



This story centers around Shana, who is a junior in high school.  She has given up boys for the time being after a break-up that strained her relationship with one of her brothers.  She does meet a boy, Quattro, by accident, but vows to just be friends with him.  (He just so happens to be on a break from girls!)  In the meantime, her father is given a devastating diagnosis.  Her dad has about six months left until he will be completely blind.  Her parents have put off some important adventures due to life getting in the way, but her parents decide to take a major trip with each of their kids before Shana's father loses his sight.  The book tells the story of Shana's trip with her parents to Machu Picchu.  

The trip is not going the way that anyone in her family expected.  Shana's parents seem to have a strained relationship for the first time.  Shana's mom is being protective of her husband, who does not want to be handled with kid gloves.  He has to deal with the anger he has over his diagnosis.  Shana is also blindsided by the fact that she runs into Quattro on the trip.  He is there with his father with another tour group, but they run into each other quite a bit.  Quattro is dealing with a different loss himself.  Something very tragic happens on the trip and it brings some people together and rips other people apart.  Shana learns to use her love of photography for two very important projects that will help bring some of the people that she cares about together.

Even though the main character of this book is a teenager, I think this book could be enjoyed by anyone.  There are so many great lessons to learn from this book.  Probably lesson that spoke to me the most was to cherish everyday.  In the case of Shana's father, his lesson was cherishing every experience that he had left to see with his own eyes.  Shana had to learn to appreciate her father in a whole new way and the relationship her parents have.  I'm not ashamed to admit my eyes got a little misty near the end when Shana showed them a video she made for her father's birthday.  She also learns to appreciate the sacrifices her father has made not just for her, but his own brothers and sisters.  Some people had a hard time accepting that.  Shana also learns many things about herself.  She learns some of the reasons her relationship ended so horribly wrong with her last boyfriend.  Everyone that went on the trip to Machu Picchu had a some kind of self discovery.  Quattro learns that everything happens for a reason and sometimes you have to be patient.  This really was a beautiful story and did not feel like a young adult novel at all. Like I mentioned before, anyone can relate to this book and learn something from it!


Buy the book:

·        Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1tgmB8H

·        Amazon Hardcover: http://amzn.to/1oUNdYr




About the author:


Justina Chen is the acclaimed author of young adult novels including A Blind Spot for Boys, Return to Me, North of Beautiful, and Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies), which won the Asian Pacific American Award for Youth Literature. She is a co-founder of readergirlz, the online book community for teens, and lives in the Seattle area with her two children. 

Connect with the author:

·        Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorJustinaChen
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustinaYChen
·        Website: http://justinachen.com
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1oUNpa0







If you want to find out more about the Fall Reading Challenge and the rest of our course schedule, click our student ID above!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Reading Challenge 2014: Mating for Life by Marissa Stapley #FRC2014



This fall, members of the Vise Library are going back to school by participating in a Fall Reading Challenge. Each of our courses has a required book to go along with it.  We have received copies of several books from publishers for honest reviews. We hope that you enjoy these reviews (and books)!


The book for our Guide to Women's Studies class is Mating for Life by Marissa Stapley.



About the book:

With pitch-perfect honesty and heartwarming humor, this captivating debut explores marriage, motherhood, identity, and what it takes to love someone—family members, friends, or spouses—for life.

Former folk singer Helen Sear was a feminist wild child who proudly disdained monogamy, raising three daughters—each by a different father—largely on her own. Now in her sixties, Helen has fallen in love with a traditional man who desperately wants to marry her. And while she fears losing him, she’s equally afraid of abandoning everything she’s ever stood for if she goes through with it.

Meanwhile, Helen’s youngest daughter, Liane, is in the heady early days of a relationship with her soul mate. But he has an ex-wife and two kids, and her new role as a “step-something” doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Ilsa, an artist, has put her bohemian past behind her and is fervently hoping her second marriage will stick. Yet her world feels like it is slowly shrinking, and her painting is suffering as a result—and she realizes she may need to break free again, even if it means disrupting the lives of her two young children. And then there’s Fiona, the eldest sister, who has worked tirelessly to make her world pristine, yet who still doesn’t feel at peace. When she discovers her husband has been harboring a huge secret, Fiona loses her tenuous grip on happiness and is forced to face some truths about herself that she’d rather keep buried.

Interweaving the alternating perspectives of Helen, her daughters, and the women surrounding them, “each new chapter brings a wise and tender look at single life, dating rituals, and marital unease” (New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Close). In this “absolute feat of storytelling” (bestselling author Grace O'Connell), Marissa Stapley celebrates the many roles modern women play, and shows that even though happy endings aren’t one-size-fits-all, some loves really can last for life.

I liked the format of this book.  Each chapter was from the view point of a different character.  You even had the viewpoint of some of the minor characters from the book.  You heard from the main characters in three different parts.  I think this helped you sympathize with what the character was going through.  Like in real life, if you do not know or experience exactly what that person is going through, then you do not have an accurate picture of the person's struggles or happiness.  Everyone has projections of what someone is going through, even the characters of this book have projections about other characters, but they are not accurate.  I loved that about Mating for Life.  You learned so much more than if the story was told from one point of view!

Anyways, let's get on to the bones of the book!  This story centers around Helen (a former folk singer) and her three daughters Liane, Ilsa and Fiona.  Helen was never one to be about commitment and because of this it has affected each of her daughters differently.  Fiona, who values truth and stability without drama, is about to find out something her husband has kept from her for awhile.  The order that she is accustomed to is no longer present.  She has to find a way to get it back, with or without her husband.  Isla who is on her second marriage is being tempted to not stay faithful in her marriage.  She is trying to figure out if she can not give in or live a lie.  Liane has finally met someone wonderful but she does not know what to do if the magic and happiness of her relationship are not there anymore.  She is letting that fear seep into her relationship and then in turn making it difficult to still have magic in it.  Helen is also struggling with the fact that she has found someone she wants to be with, but feels like marriage is just too much of a commitment.  She wants to just be happy about the fact that they are together.  I will not tell you how any of these relationships turn out (read or buy the book!), but I will tell you it is like real life: some work out with work and some can never be salvaged once the damage is done.

Each of the characters had their own unique voice.  Some of the stories were heartbreaking to read, but you learned something from each of them.  They were so well written that you really cared about what happened to them.  I liked that it felt realistic too.  Not everyone gets what they want out of life, but most people try.  This also showed that some of the worst things have the best outcomes.  This book showed that you should treasure and appreciate people and the bonds that you have with them.  Helen realizes some of the things that she failed to do as a parent, but at the time that they happened, she thought she was doing the right thing.  She never thought that her independence would come back to hurt her girls or herself.  Fiona learns that just because things are not perfect that her life is bad.  Isla learns to find her own voice again with her painting and to find what makes her happy.  Liane learns to just be happy in the moment and love what you have around you.  Those are all great lessons that most people probably learn at some point in your life.  The when is usually is what is different.  Is it too late to cherish someone or can you truly be happy with your life?  What makes one person happy does not necessarily mean it will make someone you know happy as well.   Marissa has a great book under her belt and I can't wait to see more from her!  What an awesome and thought provoking book!

Buy the book:

·        Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1pAeofM
·        Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1kP277i



About the author:

Marissa Stapley is a National Magazine Award nominated writer and former magazine editor whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, National Post, Elle Canada, and many others. Mating for Life (Atria Books; Simon & Schuster Canada) is her first novel. When Marissa is not writing, she’s reading. (In fact, she never goes anywhere without a book. Except maybe swimming.) Some of her favorite authors are Meg Wolitzer, Julia Glass, Alice Munro, John Irving, Lauren Groff, Margaret Atwood and James Salter. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children, where she teaches writing, and is working on another novel.

Connect with the author:

·        Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MarissaStapleyAuthor
·        Twitter: https://twitter.com/marissastapley
·        Website: http://www.marissastapley.com/



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