Friday, February 27, 2015

Cover Reveal and Q&A for Fire Season by Hollye Dexter!

Fire Season by Hollye Dexter will be released April 15.  Below is the cover reveal for the book plus a Q&A with the author!  Make sure to check out the book trailer for the book.  We will have  a review up on Thursday, April 23!  Can't wait to dig in! :)

About the book:
Awakened by her husband’s yells of panic, Hollye Dexter found herself in bed with her toddler son asleep next to her, and their home set ablaze. Hollye and her family had no choice but to leap out of a second-story window on to the concrete below and watch as everything they owned burned to the ground. Homeless and jobless, Hollye began to unravel emotionally, struggling to hold on to her identity and her marriage. Determined to save her family from destruction, Hollye decided to pull herself together and focus on starting anew. Hollye Dexter soon realizes that when everything you identify with is gone; you are free to discover who you really are. 

Poignant and breathtaking, Holly Dexter tells a beautifully uplifting story that pulls readers out of the ashes and into the sun. Fire Season is an unforgettable true-life tale that provides hope for people who have lost everything and have no choice but to start again.

Fire Season Book Trailer:

Q&A with Hollye Dexter:

What gave you the courage to write such a raw and emotional memoir?
I wish I could say it was courage that motivated me to write Fire Season, but the truth is it was pain. I was in another “season” of loss in my life where I felt I was spiraling downward and everything was falling apart. It was my friend, author Amy Friedman, who told me that I needed to write this book in order to face everything that happened in the aftermath of the fire, that if I didn’t figure out the lessons, I would stay stuck in the pattern. Wanting only to climb out of the desperate hole I was in, I began the painful process of writing. Fifteen years had passed since the fire and I still couldn’t talk about it, let alone write about it. There was a lot of truth I needed to confront, and I really did not want to. I cried a lot during those two years of writing Fire Season. It took me another two years to edit and rewrite it. Maybe by the end of the writing, it became courage, but it didn’t come easily.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned while working on this book?
The biggest lesson was to stay centered in love. Fear is a dangerous neighborhood that I need to stay out of at all costs. I saw, in writing the book, that every time I made a decision to stay in a place of love, everything fell into place. Fear is what tore my life and marriage apart. Love healed it.

Where do you do most of your writing?
I have friends who go away on retreat to write books, or they book hotels or stay in mountain cabins. I didn’t have that luxury, so I did my writing at home during the hours my youngest son Evan was in school. When I am writing, I do not answer the phone, or the door and anyone’s requests of me. Dishes pile up in the sink. Dust bunnies accumulate. If my cat pukes on the carpet, it stays there until 2pm when I have to get ready to pick my son up from school. Because solitude is so scarce in a mom’s life, my writing time is sacred to me.

What books are you currently reading?
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, As Good As She Imagined by my friend Roxanna Green, Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women by Nina Gaby, Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping and The 8 Habits of Love by Reverend Ed Bacon. I am also “listening” to Traveling With Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd on Audible, whenever I drive, cook or do dishes.

What is your favorite motivational saying?
I have a million, but here are three:
“Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor.” – Rumi
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“Everything is going to be okay in the end. If it isn’t okay, it isn’t the end.”- Unknown

 About the Author: Hollye Dexter is the author of two memoirs and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press), praised by best-selling author Gloria Feldt (former CEO of Planned Parenthood) as “a brilliant book that just might change your life.” Her essays and articles about women’s issues, activism, and politics have been widely published in anthologies, as well as in Maria Shriver’s Architects of ChangeHuffington PostThe Feminist Wire, and more. She teaches writing workshops internationally and for at-risk youth in LA, where she lives with her husband and a houseful of kids and pets. Learn more about Dexter at Connect with Hollye on Twitter at

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: New Uses for Old Boyfriends by Beth Kendrick

Members of the Vise Library were selected to participate in a blog tour for New Uses for Old Boyfriends.  We received a copy of Beth Kendrick's book for an honest review.

About the book:

After growing up in privilege and marrying into money, Lila Alders has gotten used to the good life. But when her happily-ever-after implodes, Lila must return to Black Dog Bay, the tiny seaside town where she grew up. She’s desperate for a safe haven, but everything has changed over the past ten years. Her family’s fortune is gone—and her mother is in total denial. It’s up to Lila to take care of everything...but she can barely take care of herself.

The former golden girl of Black Dog Bay struggles to reinvent herself by opening a vintage clothing boutique. But even as Lila finds new purpose for outdated dresses and tries to reunite with her ex, she realizes that sometimes it’s too late for old dreams. She’s lost everything she thought she needed but found something—someone—she desperately wants. A boy she hardly noticed has grown up into a man she can’t forget...and a second chance has never felt so much like first love.
I love when fun, enjoyable books teach us lessons on life.  New Uses for Old Boyfriends does just that!  Lila Alders has always kept up appearances and done all of the things that were expected of her.  She married someone that provided her with a lifestyle other people might be jealous of and had a career on TV.  Her life takes a turn for the worst when her contract with her job is not renewed and her husband informs her that he has found someone else to be with.  So Lila packs up her life in her newly purchased FUV (her SUV that she purchased to stick it to her ex-husband) and heads back to her hometown of Black Dog Bay.  Lila's mother, Daphne, still lives there, but is struggling with her own problems.  Daphne is a recent widow and on top of missing her husband is having a lot of financial difficulties.  

Lila learns that her mother has spent waaaaayyyy beyond her means and does not see a way out of the hole.  Meanwhile, Lila's old high school flame, Ben, has come back to town and her mother will do anything to match them back up.  Lila (without the help of her mother, who is in total denial) tries to help clean out the home she grew up in in preparation to sell it.  She discovers a ton of priceless vintage clothing her mother has accumulated over the years and she has an idea to save her mom and herself.  Through a ton of good luck (thanks Ben!) and stars aligning (you'll find out the help of an old high school classmate that she doesn't even remember, Malcolm, that helps make things possible), the two women set out to start a vintage clothing store that will attract the wealthier tourists of Black Dog Bay.  Things start looking up for Lila and Daphne, but unfortunately they have another stroke of bad luck come their way.  I won't give away the details of that, but they both have to learn about themselves again and learn to pick up the pieces.    

Beth Kendrick wrote a great book to continue the Black Dog Series.  Each one can be a stand alone book, but it is always fun to see glimpses of other characters make their way into each book.  I really cared about these characters and felt for them when things didn't go their way.  I loved how Lila learned not to do what was expected of her but rather what she really wants.  Daphne always wants Lila to project an outside image that just doesn't seem to fit Lila anymore.  Lila also discovers to take her life into her own hands and take action to turn things for her and her mom around.  She is able to also teach her mom a few lessons along the way and Daphne discovers she is capable of doing things she never though possible.  I love how this book teaches the reader that even though a person's circumstances seem to be insurmountable, if they just take the next five minutes at a time, then they can do it.  I feel like Lila taught me that you can have more inner strength than you think is possible of yourself.  Even though Lila and Daphne have a lot of troubles in this book, they are able to have a lot of fun and gain great new friends along the way.  This book was sad, but hilarious due to the FUV (I love that!) and Malcolm (who was in the military) and Lila's covert operations language they use to communicate.   
I am so glad that I had an opportunity to read and review New Uses for Old Boyfriends and I am sure once you pick up this book, you will too! :)

Buy the book:

Praise for the book:

"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 on CURE FOR THE COMMON BREAKUP

“A smart, funny spin on happily-ever-after!"
—Beth Harbison, New York Times bestselling author

"Kendrick writes with a wicked sense of humor and great wisdom about the power of friendship [and] the importance of true love."
The Chicago Tribune

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.

Connect with the author:


Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: Blushing by Katie Delahanty

If you remember correctly, this past summer the Vise Library was given an advanced copy of Katie Delahanty's first book In Bloom.  (Our review of that book is here.Through the powers of the internet after my review, I have had contact with Katie's editor.  Since I enjoyed first book so much, I was given a copy of Katie Delahanty's newest book, Blushing.  This was given to me out of my love for the first book as a gift, not with any promises of a review.  However, since we (Vise Library) love books and authors so much, I decided to write a review regardless.  Reviews (good or bad) help authors in many ways.  Anyways, on with what Blushing is about and what I took away from the book!

About the book:

My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Engaged.

When Berkeley proposed I thought we’d live happily ever after—we’d plan our wedding and he’d tour with the Brightside while I continued designing lingerie. But instead he dropped a bombshell that turned my life upside down: he’s set to star in a movie with, who else, his gorgeous ex, Christina Carlton. And what’s more? I’ve been erased from the public eye. All anyone can talk about is #Berkstina.

Berkeley wants me to work on set as a costume designer—a dream come true—but there’s a catch; we have to keep our relationship secret. I’m okay with not being photographed, but the sneaking around, the lies, the love scenes; it’s not how I imagined our engagement. I know Berkeley is passionate and driven, but he has so much going on—I don’t know if we can take it. I’m starting to wonder how well I know him.

I love him, but am I ready to drop everything and decide the rest of my life? To become Olivia Dalton?

So as I stated above, I LOVED Katie's first book.  I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read her book before publication.  Sometimes with sequels to movie or books there is the possibility of the letdown, but honestly, I wasn't worried about that at all with Katie Delahanty's newest book.  I enjoyed the story of Liv and Berkeley so much, that I was anxious (in a good way!) to continue reading about their story.

This book pretty much picks up right where the last one ended.  There is not any significant amount of time that has elapsed.  (Thank goodness, I'd hate to miss anything!)  Berkeley and Liv are now engaged and trying to figure out the details.  However, because Berkeley is starring in a movie with an old (and very famous & very liked) girlfriend, the two have to keep their engagement secret.  Berkeley has a lot at stake with this movie, so it is very important that Liv, who will be working as a costume designer on the movie, isn't recognized or seen with him.  Liv has to go under a transformation to keep a low profile.  At first, Liv can handle it, but the longer this charade goes on, the harder keeping it up (and their relationship) becomes.  Liv eventually becomes very secluded where doubts start creeping in.

Gosh, I wish I could dive more into the plot of this, but I do not want to give any of the major events away.  (And I DESPERATELY need someone to discuss this book with!)  I will tell you that I loved it (shocker, I know...)!   Like any relationship, Liv and Berkeley are still trying to figure out their relationship and each other.  They have a few added obstacles with the fame and now having to keep their engagement to themselves.  We get to explore different cities (New York and Pittsburgh) with these two and get to catch up with Liv's our old friends, Blair, Parker, Boots and Mark! There are a few different twists to this book and people's REAL personalities also are revealed.  

I was very happy with the ending, but if certain circumstances did not come to light, I would have been content with it going in the complete opposite direction.  I think this is due to Katie's writing.  I think the way she writes these characters makes you want to root and support them in any decision that they make.  They just feel REAL, that's really all there is to it. She also makes it possible to feel the emotions that Liv is experiencing.  I remember being almost as anxious as Liv was in some of the scenes when she was interacting with certain characters.  I'm pretty sure I haven't been this anxious about a character since I stayed up late in college reading the 5th Harry Potter book that featured Professor Umbridge (ugh, that women...)!  I just could empathize with Liv as some things started unraveling.  I take that as a good thing, because I was able to become so engrossed with this story.  These characters are not overly dramatic, but they do have real life circumstances and events happening to them.  I cannot comprehend Hollywood or the movie/music scene, but I felt like what is happening between Liv and Berkeley is relatable.  Even though at times Liv struggles and has burdens to deal with, she becomes a stronger person in the end for it. I wish I was part of the Brightside gang!

One thing I was happy to see again in this book was the tweets and messages from the characters before each chapter.  They seem to give a little insight into what you will be reading about.  They don't give too much away, but they keep you wondering what you, as the reader, will be experiencing in the next chapter.  (Plus, you can never get too much of Liv & the gang!) I think it's great to see Liv grow as a person and realize what she wants to do and needs out of life.  She has to figure out some of the logistics of her life that she has not contemplated before. And also like the first book, I went back to reread some of the major happenings to experience them again.  Some books just stick with you and never get old - this is one of those books & series.  Again, like the first book, I stayed up way too late reading this and ignoring other things I should have been doing.  (Sorry husband for not feeding you!  I am sure he TOTALLY understands!)  If you want a fun read with GREAT characters in it, make sure and check this one out! Even though I received a gift copy of this book, I purchased one to send to my kindle.  You should too!

Side note: Be on the lookout in early March for a special blog post for Liv... :)

p.s. I have heard that there will be a third book in this series, but not sure who or what that entails - either way, I am sold and counting down the days until it comes out!  *HAPPY DANCE!*  

About the author:

Katie Delahanty never knew she was a writer. Her childhood obsessions centered on old movies, costumes, fashion, playing dress up, and books. Lots of books. On her quest to play make believe for a living she decided she wanted to be a fashion designer and after satisfying her practical parents by graduating from UCLA with a BA in Communication Studies. She went on to pursue her design dreams with a Professional Designation in Fashion Design from FIDM. Now in charge of the ecommerce business for In Bloom Lingerie, she was asked to start the company blog. Not knowing what to say about lingerie but needing to use bridal keywords, she decided to start a fictional serial about how a girl named Olivia Bloom, who worked for In Bloom Lingerie, became engaged. And that's when Katie fell in love with storytelling and the path to make believe became clear. She hasn't looked back since.

Connect with the author:
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         Website 
·         Goodreads

Buy the book:

·         Amazon Kindle

'Praise for In Bloom:

"In Bloom is absolutely magical. With Olivia Bloom, Katie Delahanty has created a heroine who will both capture your heart and leave you longing to move to Los Angeles to pursue your own Hollywood dream. A dazzling debut novel with adventure, humor, and passion."--Marjorie Hart, New York Times bestselling author of Summer at Tiffany

"A delightful and dazzling Hollywood romp that had me laughing and loving all the way through!" --Ophelia London, author of
 Abby Road

"We're all Livs at heart...if she can meet her Prince Charming, maybe, just maybe, we can too. Liv reminds us to take a jump, to soar!" --Lola Jaye, author of By the Time You Read This