Saturday, August 29, 2015

Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Vengeance Road.  We received a copy of Erin Bowman's book for an honest review.






About the book:

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate. 
     In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation. 
I am not usually a big fan of westerns, but this book exceeded my expectations (big time!).  Kate's father has been killed by a gang called the Rose Riders.  She wants to avenge her father, so she sets out to find the group that did this to her.  Her father always told her that if anything happened to him that she should go see a man named Abe.  Kate in the disguise of a boy named Nate, seeks out Abe.  When she gets to where Abe lives, she discovers that he died and finds his children instead.  They have a letter for Kate from Kate's father that explains a few things about the men that killed him (gold is involved).  Kate, feeling unwelcome, sneaks off to find the Rose Riders.  Two of the children, Jesse and Will chase after her to offer help.  The three of them strike a deal that involves gold and revenge.  Eventually Jesse and Will find out that Nate is actually Kate and that changes the dynamic of their relationship (naturally).  The three of them pick up an extra member for their group and come toe to toe with the leader of the Rose Riders.  Mayhem  ensues and a few deaths happen (one that is just awful!) along the way.  There is a major twist at the end of the book that has a major connection to Kate's past.  I think my favorite part about this book is when Kate starts having feelings for one of the boys.  She can't believe it and decides she needs to drink more water and that will cure the "problem."  Kate has a great personality and is super strong.  This book was an amazing adventure into the Wild Wild West and was just a whole lot of fun.  Make sure you check this book out when it is added to our popular collection (keep your eye out)!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books








About the author:

Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her family and when not writing she can often be found hiking, geeking out over good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Visit her online at embowman.com or on twitter @erin_bowman



Connect with the author:
Twitter
   Website


Friday, August 28, 2015

In memory of Harry Vise

On Wednesday, August 26, one of the namesakes of the Doris and Harry Vise Library passed away. Although none of the current Vise Library staff members had the honor of meeting Mr. Vise, we are grateful for his contribution to Cumberland University. Adam Tamburin from The Tennessean newspaper wrote a piece about Mr. Vise's life. The article can be found here. Our thoughts go out to the family during this difficult time.

Pictured below are images from the 1989 Cumberland University yearbook that show the groundbreaking for the Vise Library, which happened on September 26, 1988.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge: Satisfaction by Andee Reilly




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 Satisfaction by Andee Reilly.



About the book:

When 22-year-old Ginny Martin discovers her husband has been cheating on her, she strikes back. Buying tickets to every concert on the Rolling Stones North American tour, this devastated suburban housewife packs up the car and takes to the road. Following the Rolling Stones from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, Ginny experiences freedom for the first time, while coping with the insecurities and limiting beliefs that had kept this small town girl’s life far too small. Bree Cooper is a nomad, a free-spirited drifter, and a mother who abandoned responsibility – and her young daughter – years before. When Ginny meets Bree at a roadside diner, they impulsively make the decision to throw their lot in together. In each other they find a friendship that they both had longed for. Bree also gives Ginny a chance to have a mother-figure who inspires independence and encourages confidence, while Ginny gives Bree a chance to get parenting right on the second try.
This book centers around two women (who don't know each other) that decide to go on a road trip together!  They are each running from something (Bree and relationship with her daughter & Ginny and the fact that her husband cheated on her...with her co-worker).  Ginny decides to follow The Rolling Stones to every state that they have a show.  What you find through this story is that both of these women needed this random friendship for different reasons.  You will also find in this book is a lot of information about the band.  I couldn't help but hum some of the songs while I was reading this book.  I think this book was a lot of fun and for anyone that has ever wanted to throw caution to the wind and take a roadtrip!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books





About the author:

Andee Reilly was born and raised in Los Angeles.  She fell in love with the Rolling Stones as a teenager, and their music has long served as an inspiration to her writing.  She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside and teaches literature and writing at California State University, Channel Islands. When not teaching or writing, she can be found surfing the many breaks of Southern California.  Reilly got the idea for SATISFACTION when she was buying tickets for the Rolling Stones appearance in Las Vegas.  While on the Ticketmaster website, she wondered, what if I clicked the “Purchase” button for every single city and went on the road with the Rolling Stones?
In Ginny Martin’s story, Reilly found her answer to just who might act on this impulse, allowing her to explore all of the unexpected consequences of such an action.
Connect with the author:
   Twitter
   Website

Monday, August 17, 2015

Book Review: Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan







Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Maid of Wonder.  We received a copy of Jennifer McGowan's book for an honest review.






About the book:

Sophia must master her psychic ability if she is to save the life of Queen Elizabeth and her fellow maids from a dark prophecy, in this third book of the Maids of Honor series

Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy of Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible new prophecy haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies.

Thrust into a dangerous and horrifying competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen’s personal astrologer, and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France.

In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle’s striking and overambitious assistant? Or, instead, should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of sorrow and death?

As new dangers surface and the dire prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown—and herself.
Maid of Wonder is the third book in McGowan's series about maids that serve Queen Elizabeth I.  Each one of the maids has a special ability and this one is about Sophie and her gift.  Sophie has developed quite a bit since we last saw her.  She is still a bit timid, but she is able to see the future and communicate with angels.  I do like that in this book you are able to find out more about Sophie and her personality.  She is struggling to find proof that Elizabeth is in danger, but Sophie knows the Queen has someone that wants to harm her.  I liked that Sophie has met her match (literally and figuratively) in Marcus.  Like the other books in this series, I enjoyed reading about the time period and seeing how Elizabeth is portrayed.  Of course, I continue to love the female spy aspect of this book.  I am excited to see what is in store for the other maids!

The Vise Library does own the other two books in this series: Maid of Secrets & Maid of Deception.  To find more information out about these books, click on the book's title.  Look for Maid of Wonder next month!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books






About the author:

Jennifer McGowan was born in Ohio, grew up in Montana, and studied in Paris. She has held numerous writing jobs over the years, but author is by far her favorite. A past Romance Writers of America Golden Heart winner, Jenn is the author of the Maids of Honor series, which currently includes Maid of Secrets (2013), A Thief Before Christmas (2013), and Maid of Deception (2014). She lives and writes in Ohio, and you can connect with her online at JenniferMcGowan.com, find her on twitter via @Jenn_McGowan, or visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferMcGowan



Connect with the author:
   Twitter
   Website

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge: Anchored by Bridgette Quinn



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 Anchored by Bridgette Quinn.



About the book:

How do you stay anchored when you’re attracted to your co-anchor? Barbara King’s dream is to become the next Barbara Walters. But for now, she’s anchoring at the fledgling Phoenix news channel, covering car chases and interviewing drunken showbiz has-beens. If she can just out-fox the conniving anchors at her cable channel and move up to its prime-time line-up, she’ll be able to fly the coop and ascend to a real news network. Enter Jack Stone, Barbara’s dynamic, witty—and did she mention sexy?—new co-anchor. Another potential competitor, Jack’s attitude is chilly toward Barbara at first, but it’s not long before a genuine friendship forms. Soon they find themselves finishing each other’s sentences, discovering all they have in common and, ultimately, attempting to ignore how wildly attracted they are to each other. Meanwhile, on the set, under television’s bright lights, they sit just inches apart, their chemistry even apparent to the quirky cast of characters in the gossiping newsroom. Will Barbara give in to her attraction to Jack and betray her husband, Ben, her sweet-souled moral compass? When a life-altering news event propels the Phoenix to the #1 news channel in the nation, will Barbara sell her soul to become a prime time star? How do you stay true to yourself when you’re being seduced by stardom—and your co-star?
Anchored gives readers a look at the world of television news.  Barbara is trying to make it big on the air.  She tries really hard to make sure her stories are delivered with integrity.  However, she has a new producer that is trying to make the news a little more "interesting."  Meanwhile, her boss has brought in a new co-anchor that is from another station, Jack Stone.  They do not seem to hit it off at first, but before long they realize they have a lot of chemistry...not just on  air.  Barbara is struggling with this because she is married and has a son (Jack is also married).  As she starts working on bigger stories, she starts compromising on the questions she asks (at one point she questions someone's patriotism!).  Jack gets a prime assignment that puts their working relationship in jeopardy and his safety.  As the story progresses, Barbara is involved in a slight scandal and thinks Jack has stabbed her in the back (did he or didn't he?).  Barbara must decide if she wants to take a job because of the scandal and how she is perceived.  The book to me ended on a cliffhanger with Barbara's job and with how things stand with Jack & her husband.  There are a lot great side characters; I think my favorite character was the makeup lady.  Like I mentioned, this book gives a lot of insight into the news profession.  It shows how cutthroat it can be and how people are as big as their next story!  

PS I think my favorite thing about the book is the "Hello Newman" Seinfeld reference! :)     
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books



About the author:

Brigitte Quinn is the morning anchor at 1010WINS radio in New York City and a former television news anchor at Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and NBC. "Anchored" is her first novel.
Connect with the author:
   Twitter
   Website

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Book Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino






Members of the Vise Library were selected to review Before We Were Strangers.  We received a copy of Renee Carlino's book for an honest review.






About the book:

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M
When this book starts, you are taken to present day in Matt's life.  He is unhappy at his job, divorced, and overall not thrilled with life.  One day at lunch he sees "the girl that got away" while waiting on a train.  They do not get a chance to speak, but he still thinks about her.  The book then takes you in the past where Matt meets Grace (aka TGTGA).  They build a solid friendship that turns into more.  However, Matt is a photography major and gets the chance of a lifetime to photograph with National Geographic.  Matt doesn't think their relationship will be affected, but, of course (isn't it always??), it is (with the help of someone's doing).  Grace ends up traveling herself with an orchestra and they lose touch.  We are then taken back to the present where they reconnect through Craigslist, of all places.  They have to figure out if what they had before is as good as they thought it would be and if their previous connection from 15 years before is enough.   I think because Grace and Matt started out as friends it is easy to see why they felt like something was missing from their lives.  Life and people are imperfect.  This book shows you that and that sometimes you have to go through the tough stuff to appreciate the amazing stuff.  This book also shows you (through Grace) that you do have to have faith in people or you will miss out on the important things (and life!).  Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes you have to brave enough to correct them!
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books






About the author:

Renée Carlino is a screenwriter and bestselling author of New Adult and contemporary women's novels. Her books have been featured in national publications, including USA TODAY and Latina magazine. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next project, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. Learn more at www.reneecarlino.com



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Challenge Participant

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer Reading Challenge: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica





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 Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica.



About the book:

A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica.

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head… 

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home. 

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.
This book is told through multiple points of view: Heidi, Chris and Willow.  Heidi is the ultimate do-gooder: she works for a non-profit, doesn't kill spiders, recycles everything and takes in a young stranger and infant.  Chris is Heidi's husband and he isn't exactly thrilled about Heidi bringing a stranger and infant into their home.  Willow is the teenager that Heidi notices in the cold one day and ultimately offers a meal and shelter to.  As the book progresses, we learn more and more about these characters: Heidi: who hasn't gotten over losing a child; Willow: who actually came from a good childhood; and Chris: is he cheating on his wife or not?  This book is very complex and what you see on the surface is not what is really going on.  This book focuses on themes of grief, abuse, the foster system and homelessness.  I was not expecting the outcome of this book and was on the edge of my seat as the story progressed.  Like Kubica's bestseller The Good Girl this book is also a very intense psychological thriller.  An added layer to this thriller is that you could see how these events could unfold in real life.  This book will consume you (kind of like the baby does with Heidi...) and takes you on a roller coaster ride of a story. 
Buy the book:
     Amazon
       Barnes and Noble
      Parnassus Books





About the author:

Mary Kubica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children and enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.
Connect with the author:
   Twitter
   Website