Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014: The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri #SRC2014


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 you enjoy these reviews (and books)!

The fourth book on our schedule is The Witch of Belladonna Bay by Suzanne Palmieri.

About the book:

Bronwyn "BitsyWyn" Whalen hasn’t set eyes on the red dirt of Magnolia Creek, Alabama, for fourteen years—not since her mama died. But with her brother, Patrick, imprisoned for the murder of her childhood best friend, and her eccentric father, Jackson, at his wits’ end while her eleven-year-old niece, Byrd, runs wild, Bronwyn finds herself once again surrounded by ancient magnolia trees and the troubled family she left behind. She becomes immersed in a whirlwind of mystery and magic as she tries to figure out what really happened that fateful night her friend died. And as her bond with Byrd deepens, Bronwyn must face the demons of her past in order to unravel her family’s uncertain future.In Suzanne Palmieri's thrilling new novel, The Witch of Belladonna Bay, readers will learn if love and magic are enough to bring a broken family back together.

Have you ever read a book that you just can't get into no matter how much you try? For me, The Witch of Belladonna Bay was that book.

I'm not sure what it was about the book that I didn't care for. One thing that annoyed me was how the Southern dialogue was written: "Jaysus" instead of "Jesus". Give me a break. I've lived in the South my entire life and have yet to hear anyone talk like that.

Another thing that I did not like was the jumble of characters. I never felt like I could sort out who was who, especially once she started including chapters written by ghosts, which brings me to my next point. I'm also not the biggest fan of magical realism. I can read books about magic, and I can read realistic fiction, but something about the combination of the two just shuts me down.

I'll be honest; I couldn't finish this one. I even tried to read the ending, hoping that something would catch my attention and draw me in enough that I would be tempted to muddle through and figure out how the author got to that point. Sadly, nothing caught my eye, so I'm shelving (ha) this one.

The Witch of Belladonna Bay will be available for checkout soon at the Vise Library. I would love to hear opinions from anyone who reads it!

About the author:

Suzanne Palmieri Hayes is the author of The Witch of Little Italy and the forthcoming The Witch of
Belladonna Bay (May, 2014). She is also the co-author of I’ll Be Seeing You under the name Suzanne
Hayes. She lives by the ocean with her husband and three darling witches. She is currently hard at work
on her next novel.

Connect with the author:


If you would like to find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge click on the image below.  See ya next time!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014: Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick #SRC2014

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)!

The third book on our schedule is Cure for the Common Breakup by author Beth Kendrick.  

About the book:

Flight attendant Summer Benson lives by two rules: Don’t stay with the same man for too long and never stay in one place. She’s about to break rule number one by considering accepting her boyfriend’s proposal—then disaster strikes and her world is shattered in an instant. Summer heads to Black Dog Bay, where the locals welcome her. Even Hattie Huntington, the town’s oldest, richest, and meanest resident, likes her enough to give her a job. Then there’s Dutch Jansen, the rugged, stoic mayor, who’s the opposite of her type. She probably shouldn't be kissing him. She definitely shouldn't be falling in love. After a lifetime of globe-trotting, Summer has finally found a home. But Hattie has old scores to settle and a hidden agenda for her newest employee. Summer finds herself faced with an impossible choice: Leave Black Dog Bay behind forever, or stay with the ones she loves and cost them everything...

Cure for the Common Breakup by Beth Kendrick is actually a sequel to a book called The Week Before the Wedding.  If you have not read the previous book do not worry!  The main character in this book is the best friend of the main character in the previous book.  This book was a very entertaining book set in a small town named Black Dog Bay, Delaware.  Black Dog Bay is a tourist town that many people choose to visit to escape from life.  This book will make you chuckle to yourself and laugh out loud.  You will really enjoy the main character Summer.  

Summer Benson is a flight attendant that usually does not like to stay in one place for an extended period of time.  Of course that changes throughout the book.  Summer ends up in Black Dog Bay after surviving a plane crash. Before the crash, she found out that her boyfriend was going to propose and she was not exactly thrilled about this.  After the crash the both of them reexamine their life and Summer takes off to Delaware alone.  She becomes a big fan of the little town and the people in it.  They become huge fans of her as well.  Well, most of the local people end up liking her anyways.  She ends up working (not by choice!) for town’s oldest resident, Hattie, who has a grudge against the whole town.  Summer also starts to pursue Dutch Jansen who is the mayor. 

Summer tries to find out why Hattie hates Black Dog Bay and why she particularly hates Dutch.  Summer must also figure out if the people in Black Dog Bay are worth sticking around for even if it will be bad for the town. Kendrick has written an entertaining story that has some lessons of choosing to be happy and never settling for anything less than what will make you happy.  Kendrick must also have a great sense of humor since all of her characters do as well.  She also writes about what resentment and grudges can cost you if you hold onto them for too long. If you are looking for a book that will be a fun read with a little lesson in it, then you will enjoy this book.  After reading this book you will want to find out more about the town and its residents!

About the author:

Beth Kendrick is the author of The Week Before the Wedding, The Lucky Dog Matchmaking Service, and Nearlyweds, which was turned into a Hallmark Channel original movie. She lives in Arizona with her two rescue dogs, but she loves to vacation at the Delaware shore, where she goes to Funland, eats boardwalk fries, and wishes that the Whinery really existed.

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Praise for the book:

“Beth Kendrick has reminded me once again exactly why I love her books so much. Cure for the Common Breakup is packed with humor, wit and a lot of heart.  A charming and exceptionally entertaining story!  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”--Jane Porter, national bestselling author of The Good Wife

“Beth Kendrick has written a sharp, sassy, surprisingly emotional story that will make readers laugh out loud from page one and sigh from the heart at the end.  Light and lovely perfection!"--Roxanne St. Claire, New York Times bestselling author of The Barefoot Bay Series

“Utterly delightful! Summer Benson will charm and disarm her way into the hearts of readers as easily as she does the residents of Black Dog Bay.”--Meg Donohue, USA Today bestselling author of All the Summer Girls

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Reading Challenge 2014: Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan #SRC2014

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 you enjoy these reviews (and books)!

The second book on our schedule is Love and Other Foreign Words by author Erin McCahan.

About the book:
Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue--the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiance up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn't always like, and the best friend who hasn't said a word--at least not in a language Josie understands.

I usually really enjoy young adult (YA) books, but this one was just okay to me.

To be honest, I didn't like Josie for the better part of the book. I haven't been a teenager in more years than I care to admit, but I felt like she wasn't a realistic representation of a fifteen-year-old (who turned sixteen during the book). I know that part of the behavior was based on her giftedness, but I still found it difficult to root for her or her plot to break up her sister and fiance. However, there is a scene between Josie and one of her professors that explained part of her behavior, and that helped make her more relatable.

I also sometimes had the feeling that the author was using Josie and the other characters to show off her own intelligence (or great research skills). For example, there is a scene where Kate, Josie, their mother, and Kate's bridesmaids were at a dress fitting, and Josie has a conversation in French with a boutique employee. Things like this didn't add anything to the story for me, and I felt that they were a bit forced at times. I liked the scenes when Josie and Kate acted a bit mischievous more than any other portions, probably because they seemed like normal people then!

The main plot of the book centered on Kate's wedding and Josie's determination to make Kate and her fiance break up. There were other subplots that revolved around other aspects of love, and those tied in with the overall theme of Josie not knowing about love or why people fall in love with one another.

Overall, this wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't anything outstanding. It would be a good, quick read for anyone who wants to relive their adolescence (wait, why would anyone want to do that?!?). We will be adding the title to the library's collection, so be sure to check our catalog and see when it is available for checkout. 

About the author:

Erin McCahan is the author of the YA book I Now Pronounce You Someone Else (Scholastic, June 2010). Erin's debut novel was a 2010 Cybils Award finalist. She grew up in Michigan and worked extensively with teenagers before beginning her writing career. She lives in Columbus, Ohio. 

Connect with the author

To find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge, click the link above!