Friday, June 24, 2016

Young Adult Summer Reading Challenge: Within Reach by Jessica Stevens





This summer, members of the Vise Library are participating in a Young Adult 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 Within Reach by Jessica Stevens!







About the book:

Dying wasn’t on seventeen-year-old Xander Hemlock’s summer to-do-list. Finding ways to spend more time with his girlfriend, Lila, was the most critical thinking he planned on doing. But that was before he found himself trapped in a realm of only darkness with thirty days to convince Lila he’s not actually dead―well, not completely, anyway.

As Xan tries to show Lila she isn't alone, she struggles to comprehend how her life has changed so completely. Six months ago her life was perfect: she was on her way to becoming a professional dancer, her parents were still married, and her boyfriend was alive. But now, with her anorexic tendencies stronger than ever, she must decide which is the lesser of two evils: letting go to be with a boy she doesn't love, or holding on to the unreasonable, yet overpowering, feeling that Xan is still within reach...and trying to show her something.

Improbable and endearing, Within Reach is a story of two soulmates discovering that sometimes it takes more than one lifetime to get it right.
Within Reach is a story about soul mates, love, death and the decision of letting go.  Xan and Lila are soul mates and completely in love.  However, Xan is murdered and his soul is trapped in a realm where he has to prove to Lila that he is still there.  There is someone trying to pull Lila away from Xan in order to have a chance with her.  Xan has to continue fighting and looks for help to show Lila that he is not completely gone.  This book is full of suspense and you will be rooting for Xan and Lila (and booing someone else) throughout the story.  It is heartbreaking and sad because Lila not only has lost Xan, but also something she had a true passion for: dancing.  It is also very sad from Xan's point of view because he sees Lila suffering without being able to help her.  The ending is really interesting and keeps you wondering until the very last sentence!!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |






About the author:

Jessica Stevens grew up knowing without a doubt that she would become a professional ballet dancer. When life told her otherwise, she went to college like the rest of the world and earned a degree in psychology. Shortly after, while raising her two boys, she found herself glued to her computer all hours of the night while everyone else slept. Today she lives in suburbs of Milwaukee spending as much time as possible on lakes and rivers.


Connect with the author:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Young Adult Summer Reading Challenge: Running for Water and Sky by Sandra Kring





This summer, members of the Vise Library are participating in a Young Adult 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 Running for Water and Sky by Sandra Kring!






About the book:

They say that right before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes. But what they don’t say is that the same thing can happen when your soul mate is dying.

After spending most of her 17 years being shuffled between families that don’t want her, Bless Adler has no intention of opening her heart to anyone. And then she falls in love with Liam Reid.

The closer Bless lets Liam get, the more fearful she becomes. Then her new friend, Maylee, convinces her to go see a local psychic―and the woman’s glimpse into the future is anything but reassuring: Bless’s absent father, drunk and bitter. A frantic crowd gathered at the beach. Liam lying in a pool of blood, a gun at his side.

Now Bless has 14 blocks to reach Liam on the shores of Lake Michigan. If he’s still alive, she’ll beg for him to fight for his life. If he’s not, she’ll say good-bye to the first person who made her want to fight for her own. Edgy, intense, and emotional, Running for Water and Sky
 is a story of the elation and angst that comes with love, and the challenge of learning to trust when betrayal is all you’ve ever known.
Bless has not had an easy life growing up.  She has been been passed around and been shown that she is not a priority.  That is until she her dad unexpectedly shows up and takes her to live with him.  When she moves away with her dad this is where she meets Liam.  Liam becomes someone that she trusts to open up about her life and her heart.  One afternoon she is talked into visiting a psychic (by her friend Maylee) and is given a warning about someone she deeply cares about.  In order to see if the vision of Liam committing suicide is true or not, she must travel 14 blocks to find out.  

I felt very surprised by the ending of this book and it was an intriguing read through the entire story.  There are a lot of great lessons about love, trust and how to not let our past determine our future.  There are also social issues to think about that are associated with this book, such as abuse and poverty.  I really felt for all of these characters and felt heartbroken for them when things did not go their way.  Overall this story was a very great read and hopefully Kring decides to continue writing in the YA world!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |






Connect with the author:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Young Adult Summer Reading Challenge: Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer





This summer, members of the Vise Library are participating in a Young Adult 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 Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer!






About the book:

In Remember to Forget from Watty Award-winning author Ashley Royer, Levi has refused to speak since the tragic death of his girlfriend, Delia, and can't seem to come out of his depression and hindering self-doubt. Desperate to make some positive change in Levi’s life, his mother sends him to live with his father in Maine. Though the idea of moving from Australia to America seems completely daunting, Levi passively accepts his fate, but once he lands faces personal struggles and self-doubt at the same time he and his dad battle through resentment and misunderstanding. And then, while at therapy, Levi meets Delilah, a girl who eerily reminds him of someone he lost.
Levi is struggling with anxiety and depression after the death of his girlfriend Delia (what happened to her???). He has stopped talking not just to his therapist but even to people that he truly cares about.  Levi's mom has run out of ideas in order to help him.  She decides that maybe Levi needs a fresh start in a new place.  So, his mom sends him away from his home in Australia to live with his dad in Maine.  She knows that she is going to miss him but she hopes being away from the reminders of Delia and her death will do the trick.  At first, Levi is very angry about his new life and his new surroundings.  The relationship with his dad is strained at first and he tries to keep the two teenagers (Aiden and Delilah) that live down the street from him at a distance.  Aiden and Delilah are persistent and eventually wear Levi down.  They are even a big help to Levi when he experiences his panic attacks.  Slowly, but surely, Levi starts to come out of his shell thanks to his new friends and through some of the people he meets through his new therapy.  This book shows how having support and forgiving yourself can really help someone get through something that they think is insurmountable.  Levi does just that through his friends and family.  This book was a really wonderful read and it really shows what living with anxiety and depression can be like.  It just felt very genuine and authentic.  The characters in this book are so great and make this such an enjoyable read despite such a hard subject matter!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |







About the author:

Ashley Royer is a seventeen-year-old high school honor student. She lives north of Boston, Massachusetts. She works at a local retirement community where she is part of the wait staff and serves the residents. Ashley has been publishing her writing on Wattpad since she was thirteen years old, and she has over 30 million combined reads on her stories. “Remember to Forget” is her first published book. Ashley also has a YouTube channel, callmeashley98, where she posts videos and covers of songs. (taken from author's web site)


Connect with the author:

Summer Reading Challenge: The Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan





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 Sweetheart Deal by Polly Dugan!






About the book:

A widow and her husband's best friend fall in love, but even if it's what the husband wanted, is it real?
Firefighter Leo McGeary has always joked that, in the event of his death, he wants Garrett, his best friend and a consummate bachelor, to marry his wife, Audrey. One drunken New Year's Eve, he goes so far as to make Garrett promise to do so. Twelve years later, Leo dies in a freak skiing accident. Within hours, Garrett quits his job and purchases a one-way ticket to Oregon to be with Leo's family. As Audrey learns to navigate life as a widow and a single parent, her feelings for Garrett become more than platonic, and he begins to fall for her, too. But when she learns of the drunken pact made long ago, the promise that brought Garrett into her world becomes the obstacle to his remaining in it.
The Sweetheart Deal is a story of a widowed mother, Audrey, and her three boys. Before her husband, Leo's, death, he made his best friend Garrett promise to look after and marry Audrey in case something every happened to him.  Leo was pretty persistent with his plea and Garrett agrees through a signed piece of paper.  Leo never told Audrey about the arrangement with Garrett and when Leo dies she is still left in the dark.  Garrett uproots his life (and helps with building a house in process) in order to fulfill his promise to Audrey to the point that his intentions towards her are very genuine and not out of duty.  Of course, Audrey is dealing with grief and at first only looks at Garrett as a friend, until she doesn't.  However, the pact that brought Garrett and Audrey together is something that becomes a driving force to tear them apart when Audrey finds out the truth of the pact.  

In this book you will read through the perspectives of Audrey, Garrett and Audrey's sons.  The grief in this book feels very real.  Audrey is struggling, for obvious reasons, and you can just imagine those instances taking place.  This book is about love and the different kinds that exist: between friends, family and spouses.  Garrett has his own issues to deal with, like, why did he actually uproot his life to help Audrey?  You realize that there is more to it than just helping out a friend and it's something that has been there all along.  Audrey has to sort through the hurt and coming to terms with her own feelings.  This was a really well written book and I think readers will enjoy the unique situation that Audrey and Garrett finds themselves in, even if it is out of a sad situation!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |






About the author:

Polly Dugan lives in Portland, Oregon, and is a reader at Tin House magazine. A former employee of Powell's Books, she is an alumna of the Tin House Writer's Workshop. Dugan's first published story, "A Matter of Time," was Line Zero's Spring 2012 Literary Contest Winner, "Masquerades" (as "One At a Time"), was Narrative's Story of the Week (December 2012), and "Kitten Season" was an Honorable Mention Recipient in Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers (August 2009). (taken from author's web site)


Connect with the author:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Reading Challenge: Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford






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 Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford!





About the book:

Twenty-six-year-old Evelyn Beegan intended to free herself from the influence of her social-climbing mother, who propelled her through prep school and onto New York’s stately Upper East Side. Evelyn has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she lands a job at a social-network startup aimed at the elite, she has no choice but to infiltrate their world. Soon she finds herself navigating the promised land of Adirondack camps, Hamptons beach houses, and, of course, the island of Manhattan itself. Intoxicated by the wealth, access, and influence of her new set, Evelyn can’t help but try to pass as old money herself. But when the lies become more tangled, she grasps with increasing desperation as the ground beneath her begins to give way.

A sparkling debut that is “full of ambition and grit” (Emma Straub), Stephanie Clifford's Everybody Riseis a story about identity and loss, and how sometimes we have to lose everything to find our way back to who we really are.
Evelyn is under intense pressure (by her mother and her job) to climb to the top tier of the social ladder.  As you read this book, you will see Evelyn navigate through crew races, high tea, gossip, ladies who lunch and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.  Evelyn gets engrossed in a culture that she is having a hard time (financially) being in and understanding.  Of course, where there is climb to the top, there is the inevitable fall that comes with that and Evelyn does this spectacularly.   She finds out that her lies (many to herself) to get to the apex of society have caught up with her and she has lost the spot in society that she craved.  However, this leaves the chance for Evelyn to rise (everybody, ha!) again and really understand the importance of friendship and family.  There are several laugh out loud moments in this book that readers will appreciate.  Make sure you get your hands on our copy of this cautionary tale!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |






About the author:

Stephanie Clifford is a Loeb-award winning reporter at the New York Times, where she currently covers Brooklyn courts. She joined the Times in 2008 from Inc. magazine, where she was a senior writer. Stephanie grew up in Seattle and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and two cats. EVERYBODY RISE is her first book


Connect with the author:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer Reading Challenge: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid






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 One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid!







About the book:

From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a "Best Book of the Summer" by Glamour and USA TODAY—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancĂ© who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancĂ©, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.
This is the third book by this author that I have read.  Each and every time she comes up with some unique premise that I think her next book could not possibly be as good.  However, she continues to stun me with the concepts that the she writes about and examines.  Can we first talk about how gorgeous this cover is?  It's subtle, understated and I just think it's amazing!


If the cover does not catch your eye, then the synopsis of this book will hook you in.  After I read the back cover this book I immediately thought "Ohhhhh, that's a good question!  Who does she pick???"  This is not your traditional love triangle since our main character Emma, thought her husband, Jesse was dead.  He's been gone for YEARS (where was he???).  She eventually finds a way to move on from the loss of her childhood sweetheart (again, years later) and falls in love with Sam.  When she thinks she has the rest of her life figured out, well, Jesse comes strolling back into the picture and Emma has a choice to make.  This book takes you on an intriguing journey of love and grief in different forms.  This is a beautiful work of art and it's amazing how Reid writes about the reemergence of Jesse.  This is a book that will have you underlying so many wonderful lines that it will look like a college textbook!  Even though this book had a unique premise, it felt very real.  The characters felt real and the entire journey felt possible.  Be on the look out for this book in our Popular Collection and thank us later! 


Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |






About the author:
Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author, essayist, and TV writer from Acton, Massachusetts. Her debut novel, Forever, Interrupted, has been optioned with Dakota Johnson attached to star. Her second book, After I Do, was called a "must read" by Kirkus. Her most recent novel, Maybe In Another Life has been featured in People, Cosmo, Bustle, Good Housekeeping, PopSugar, USA Today and more.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Rabbit. 


Connect with the author:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Summer Reading Challenge: Appetite by Sheila Grinell





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 Appetite by Sheila Grinell!







About the book:

When Jenn Adler returns from a year in India, she has a surprise for her parents: a young guru from Bangalore whom she intends to marry. Her father, Paul, is wary of this “beggar” Jenn has brought home―who, he suspects, is conning his much-loved daughter―while her mother, Maggie, is frightened that this alien stranger will steal away her only child, her focus in life. 

In the months leading up to the backyard wedding, Maggie is forced to reevaluate her virtues as she casts about for support, and Paul faces an unexpected threat at work―one that Maggie could help him meet, if he would only ask. But even with these distractions, the two parents are focused on one primary question: Can they convince their daughter she is making a terrible mistake before the wedding takes place?
Jenn, the daughter of Paul and Maggie, has come home after a year in India.  Not only has she come back home, she has brought her fiance, Arun, to meet her parents.  To say that her parents are less than thrilled about her prospective husband would be the understatement of the year.  Paul thinks that Arun is trying to take advantage of his daughter and Maggie is afraid that Jenn will no longer be around for her to dote on.  The current dilemma with their daughter causes them to gain a little perspective about their own lives. Maggie and Paul have issues of their own to deal with: Maggie feeling second fiddle to Paul's work and Paul feeling the pressure when it comes to his research.  Throughout the book Maggie really struggles with the decision to interfere with her daughter's life when she believes Jenn is making a big mistake or just letting Jenn live out her own life by giving up that control.  Are Maggie and Paul able to show Jenn how they perceive Arun and prevent a marriage?  Or, are they able to put everything aside for the sake of their daughter's happiness?  Are they able to navigate through their own lives and issues?  How all of this plays out is very interesting and worth reading!  I think everyone can relate to the family dynamics of this story and its characters!

Find it: Amazon Barnes & Noble |






About the author:

Toward the end of her forty-year career as a creator of science museums, Sheila Grinell began to write fiction. Born in a taxi in Manhattan, she studied at the Bronx High School of Science, Harvard University, and the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Phoenix with her husband and dog.
Connect with the author: