Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Published June 21st 2016
by Hogarth
Kate Battista has been feeling a little stuck. Stuck in her job at which she seems to be frequently in trouble. Stuck in taking care of her widowed father and her somewhat obnoxious teenage sister. Now Kate is in a bit of a pickle. Her beloved, socially inept father wants her to marry his research assistant so that he can remain in the country. He feels that he is on the verge of a breakthrough and losing Pyotr will set him back.

This is a reworking of The Taming of the Shrew. Instead of multiple suitors, Kate has just the one, Pyotr. And it becomes a question of will Kate be able to resist the clumsy plan of Pyotr and her father to woo her into acceptance and get her to marry Pyotr. Kate isn't as biting as the character in The Taming of the Shrew. Instead she has her own social awkwardness. She seems to feel like she doesn't quite belong at work. And at home, she feels taken advantage of by her sister and father.

Will she marry Pyotr? Will she fall in love with him or would it be in name only?

It's a nice little tale at 240 pages and a good summer read. There is humor in the way that the characters handle things. I found it to be a quick read, the pace gradually increasing until the end. There is a short epilogue at the end, sort of a this is how things worked out in the long run.

I give it 4 stars out of 5 because it's well written. It feels a little awkward at times. There are some surprises as to how the characters acted. Three of the main characters are portrayed as lacking socially, and yet it works. I could almost picture this taking place in mid twentieth century rather than in the 21st. I would recommend this book for people who enjoy retellings of classic literature and enjoy the modern twists that they often involve.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #143: Lowcountry Book Club by Susan M. Boyer


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Expected publication: July 5th 2016
by Henery Press
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Somebody pushed Shelby Poinsett out her second-floor library window and it wasn’t her husband. At least that what Charleston’s most prestigious law firm wants Liz Talbot to prove. Liz must run the spectrum of Southern society, from the local homeless shelter where Shelby volunteered to the one-hundred-year-old book club where Charleston’s genteel ladies are dying to join, to bring a killer to justice. 

Related subjects include: women sleuths, private investigator mystery series, cozy mysteries, murder mysteries, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, Southern fiction, Southern humor, Southern living.


Why am I looking forward to this book? It's going to be a humorous, Southern, mystery. I enjoy reading that type of thing. And I have enjoyed the other books in the Liz Talbot mystery series. This is the fifth one in the series. It looks like a winner to me.

What book are you waiting on this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out. Thanks for coming by!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
 Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Expected publication:
June 21st 2016 by Hogarth
She tried to remember how Mrs. Darling had worded her threat from the day before. She hadn't said anything about "Just one more offense and you're out, " had she? No, it had been less specific than that. It had been something like the vague "or else" that grown-ups were always threatening children with, that children eventually realized was not as dire as it sounded.
The phrase "thin ice" had been involved she seemed to recollect.
~ 19% through on my Kindle
What's your teaser this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our ever-growing TBR list. Thanks for coming by!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood

Published June 7th 2016
by Sourcebooks Landmark
Some Unusuals, Dozens, and a Plague
It's Coney Island 1904 and Kitty's mother has disappeared from their hotel while Kitty went to fetch medicine for her. Kitty is alone, penniless, and has no place to stay until conman Archie introduces her to the other Unusuals at Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet. And so we get to meet Zeph who has no legs and pretty much runs Magruder's, P-Ray the boy who tends to the flea circus, Rosalind - half man/half woman act, and Timur a brilliant scientist who lives upstairs at the Cabinet to name a few.

The Unusuals agree to help Kitty even though she is one of the Dozens - so called normal people. A sickness is spreading across the island. It's definitely worse than the flu. It's killing people seemingly randomly and without mercy. The end result is a quarantine of Coney Island cutting them off from the rest of New York. What will become of them all?

The characters are well developed and interesting to read about. They all are confronted with the plague and handle it in different ways. Some rise to be better, while others sink lower. My favorites are Kitty, Nazan, and Zeph. Kitty and Nazan were two of the Dozens. Zeph is an Unusual . It's interesting to watch how some of the Dozens become used to the Unusuals and start to see past their appearances and behaviors. I very much enjoyed the story and wished for a better outcome for several of the characters. It definitely has its dark moments.

This is not a story for children. It is very much an adult story and an excellent one at that. It deals with adult themes such as how people behave when they are cut off from the general populace with disease running rampant, racism, and differences in class.

I gave this book 4 stars based on the characterization, the plot, and pace. Even with the dark moments, it is a good read. There is more information about the book and its inspiration on the author's website.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #142 - Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.


Synopsis from the publisher:

Beloved author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) returns with this long-anticipated new novel, a beautifully bittersweet tale of passion, enchantment, and the nature of fate.

It was a typically miserable Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos.  An enigmatic young waitress with strange abilities, when the lovely Lioness comes to Gardner Island even the weather takes notice.


As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers—dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson—visited by Joanna’s previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires.
Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness’s past is a dark secret—and even summer days must pass.
Advance praise for the book from Patricia A. McKillip: "Peter Beagle’s novel Summerlong is a lovely, tantalizing read that moves through a finely-detailed, familiar world into a tale as old and as urgent as language.  Its strong-minded characters grab threads of the tale and try to pull it into wildly different directions, tangling passion, comedy, love, despair into a study of life on the B-flat harmonica, accompanied by a soundtrack of wind and waves, and, always, good smells from the kitchen.”
Summerlong is due out September 30, 2016 from Tachyon Publications. About half way down the publisher's page for the book, there is an excerpt.

Why am I waiting on this book? I've enjoyed Peter S. Beagle's writing in the past. I'm intrigued by the character Lioness and what her special abilities might be. And I wonder what tale it is that Patricia McKillip refers to in her advance praise. 

What book are you waiting on this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our TBR lists. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Magruder's Curiosity Cabinet by H.P. Wood


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
 Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
 BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Published June 7th 2016
by Sourcebooks Landmark
Did he really tell Miss Nazan that their Fiji mermaid is a fake? It's one thing to explain how shrunken heads are made - that only increases interest. But warning against paying to see a gaff? 
He sighs, yanking off his gloves in defeat. "I gotta stop talking to pretty girls."
~12% through on my Kindle
What's your teaser this week? Share it or a link in the comments so we can check it out and maybe add it to our ever-growing TBR list. Thanks for coming by!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review: Wicked Burn by Rebecca Zanetti

Demons, shifters, and witches... Oh my! Well, there certainly was a lot of action in this book. There was both the action sequences of fighting and running and the bedroom action scenes. This was my first book by Rebecca Zanetti. The action scenes were good. The bedroom scenes I wasn't as thrilled with.

I was surprised by how quickly the characters fell back in bed together after being broken up for 100 years. It seemed like some kind of insta-love or insta-lust. And also surprised by how frequently they were in bed together. There's nothing really wrong with that. It's just not really my cup of tea. Especially with one of the characters tending to be on the controlling side of things.

The plot was interesting. Simone is an Irish witch who has been falsely accused of some things including attempted murder of other witches on the high council. And someone is definitely after her. If they can't get her in court, they seem determined to kill her outside of it. Some of her family want her to hide out while they prepare a defense and they've chosen Nikolaj Veis to aid them - her former demon lover who broke up with her 100 years ago.

I liked the idea of shifters that can change at will. And this was my first bear shifter story. I liked that there were other kinds of shifters. How the group interacts seemed explained well.

These characters are supposed to be immortals of sorts. And they are trying to hide their existence from the other people on the planet. Frankly, I don't know how they could with chase scenes and the like.

It is a fast paced book. I read it as a standalone, but it definitely should be read as part of the series in order to fully appreciate what's going on. I was a little lost at times.

By the time I got to the novella that is included in the book I had a fairly good grasp of what kinds of things to expect from the characters. I actually enjoyed the novella a little more than the novel. Again it was action intense. There were people out to kill or kidnap one of the main characters in the novella named Cara. The reason why isn't fully understood until near the end of the piece.

Overall I give both the novel and novella a rating of 3. I liked them, but for me they weren't great. They are paranormal romances, and  hot ones, definitely aimed at adults. They have enjoyable stories overall. If you like your paranormal romances hot, then this is a good book for you. Just read the other 2 in the series first for your best experience.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.