29 Jun

Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl Book Cover Vinegar Girl
Anne Tyler
Fiction
Hogarth
2016
Hardcover
237
Blogging for Books

From the dust jacket:

"Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister, Bunny? Plus, she's always in trouble at work- her preschool charges adore her, but their parents don't always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has his own problems. After years in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There's only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he's relying- as usual- on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he's really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men's touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?"

The Vinegar Girl is presented as a modern re-telling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. However, I feel like calling Kate a Shrew, or even implying that she is a “Vinegar Girl” as Pyotr calls her, is not a fair assessment of her character.

To me, Kate is a strong, independent woman who has had to take care of an absent-minded father and a spoiled, bratty little sister. She is direct and rebels against being taken advantage of, all of which, in my opinion, are good character traits. Yes, she has issues at work, but that is simply because she is direct, not shrewish.

Kate’s father and sister, on the other hand, are both self-absorbed and selfish in my opinion. They have gotten so used to Kate taking care of things and getting their own way, that they take her for granted. Pyotr, while seeming oblivious initially, ends up being the one person who ultimately champions Kate, pushing her to pursue her own dreams.

Both Kate and Pyotr are flawed characters, which makes them ultimately a much more realistic couple that you find in most stories. Pyotr is neither handsome or wealthy, he is a socially awkward scientist with a language barrier. Kate is not classically beautiful and tends to be a loner. Each is eccentric and different, but in the end, they are perfect for each other.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books and Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

28 Jun

Top Ten Tuesday Bookish Birthday Wishes

I am joining The Broke and the Bookish for another round of Top Ten Tuesday this week. This week’s topic was a freebie, so I decided to share my birthday wishes. I will be turning 45 {seriously, how did that happen?} on July 15th and think the perfect birthday this year would revolve around all things bookish. In truth, I should be up at my brother’s visiting Cheshire on my birthday, so most of these won’t happen, but this is a list of wishes, not actual plans.

A trip to a larger library

This one isn’t a fantasy, I do hope to get down to the larger county library soon. I definitely won’t be there on my birthday since this branch is closed on Fridays, but I might be able to visit sometime during my birthday week at least. If not then sometime soon after that. I have exhausted most of the books at my local branch.

Blue and Gold Cover Book on Brown Wooden Shelf

A trip to Barnes & Noble {with money to spend}

Since the closest Barnes & Noble is about 90 minutes away, {and I haven’t found a local bookstore yet either} this is pretty unlikely, especially the “with money to spend” part. One of the hardest things about my current situation {ok maybe not the hardest, but still hard}, is being unable to buy books. The library is great, but I have to give them back. I want to keep them!

A day surrounded by books

I can probably make this happen, but I have a suspicion that my family is going to make plans for me on my birthday, so I’ll have to figure out a day somewhere around my birthday to focus on just reading, smelling, petting, and all around loving books.

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Bookish presents

This one will most likely happen. My parents have already told me that they are getting me an e-reader so I can have access to more books from the library {and ARCs}. My brother will probably get me something to complement that. Of course since my parents are currently housing me and my brother is currently housing my cat, I really don’t expect them to get me anything.

A day spent completely alone {with books}

Pure fantasy right here! I have this dream of checking into a nice hotel with a soft fluffy bed and surrounding myself with books, and Cheshire if they allow cats, and no other people for a solid 24 hours. This is not going to happen, but it was something fun to add to the list.

Couple Smiling Behind Books

Cards from my friends

Another fantasy here, but I can always count on a few Facebook friends to get the reminder and post on my wall. Other than that I don’t really talk to many people other than my immediate family, so cards are pretty rare.

Birthday wishes from my favorite authors

As you can tell, I added a lot of fantasy items to this list! But wouldn’t it be amazing to receive birthday wishes from Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jayne Ann Krentz, or any of the other genius authors I love?

Free stock photo of books, bookshop, magazines

A trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Someday, but not for my birthday. This is on my Bookish Bucket List and I added it here to get up to 10. But once I’m working and self-sufficient again, I am saving for a trip to Disneyland and the Harry Potter theme park in California.

To find the books I’ve been dying to read at my library

My local branch doesn’t have any of series that I have been dying to read, but they are at the big library… The Lunar Chronicles and The Raven Cycle are the two biggest ones I’m looking for right now. It would make my day if I could find them before my birthday. If not, I’ll keep looking until I do!

Grayscale Photo of Hanging Books

To win the lottery

Yep, you guessed it, another pure fantasy item. But winning the lottery would enable me to build my dream library, complete with built-in bookcases and a window seat. And to stock it with (as Cait @ Paper Fury says) “all the books of ever!” so it makes the list!

So there you have it, my bookish birthday fantasy wish list!

27 Jun

Monday Update #11

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Recently Completed:

French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French     All the Light We Cannot See      Vinegar Girl       Secret Sisters      Water for Elephants

French Toast//All the Light We Cannot See//Vinegar Girl//Secret Sisters//Water for Elephants

Currently Reading:

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)       Losing It (Losing It, #1)     Nora & Kettle (Paper Stars #1)      Room       Choose To Be Happy: A Guide to Total Happiness

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince//Losing It//Nora & Kettle//Room//Choose to be Happy

Up Next on the TBR:

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)      Can You Keep a Secret?      Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives      The Witness     Into the Dark (The Bodyguards, #6)

The Death Cure//Can You Keep a Secret?//Run Like a Girl//The Witness//Into the Dark

** All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

26 Jun

Sunday Post #8: Catching Up

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Life Happenings:

I took a couple of week’s off to clear my head about some personal issues and am back and ready to focus again! Life is pretty much the same as always- lots of reading, trips to the library and grocery store, hanging with Cheshire every other week, job hunting, etc. I have taken a step back from social media for now, especially Twitter. There is just so much negativity out there right now and I don’t want that in my life. I still have auto posts and shares set up for the blog on Twitter, but I have not visited personally in several days. I’ve also dialed back my visits to Facebook, though it hasn’t been as bad. Instagram is the only place that I really haven’t encountered a lot of hate posts, so I’ve been spending my social media time there and on Goodreads lately. Everyone has their own views and opinions, but the way in which people are expressing them is just too stressful for me right now.
On a more positive note, I have been eating a lot better now that I am able to buy food again… veggies and fruits are now a daily part of my life again 🙂

Last Week on the Blog:

A Tribute to My Beloved Disney
Monday Update #10
Stacking the Shelves #4

This Week on the Blog:

Monday Update #11
Top Ten Tuesday~ Freestyle
Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts #1

Reviews This Week:

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

Book of the Week:

Secret Sisters

Quote of the Week:

“She looked at him through the lenses of her sunglasses. She couldn’t see his eyes because he, too, was wearing dark glasses. But she had learned a lot about Jack in recent days. He had retreated into his own personal no-go zone. She wanted to force her way past the invisible barrier, but she had no clue how to go about it. No clue if it was even possible. And no clue about how Jack would react if she was successful.”

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz, pg. 274

This Week’s Goals:

Social Media: Creative bookish photo-shoot
Blog: Schedule all posts by Wednesday
Reading: Complete at least 5 books
Personal: Apply to all available positions in my field

Notable Posts from the Blog World:

No posts to share this week, I’m really behind on my blog reading.

25 Jun

Stacking the Shelves #4

STSmall

I am linking up once again with the team at Tynga’s Reviews for Stacking the Shelves this week. This week I had a great book haul that included some book mail as well as a trip to the library.

For Review:

Vinegar Girl

Vinegar Girl

Thank you to:
Blogging for Books
Penguin Random House

Won:

One Less Problem Without You: A Novel

One Less Problem Without You

Thank you to:
Goodreads
St. Martin’s Press

Library Haul:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)      Orphan Train      Whiskey Beach      Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)      Until the Real Thing Comes Along

The Lightning Thief//Orphan Train//Whiskey Beach//Shadow of Night//Until the Real Thing Comes Along

Another Day (Every Day, #2)      Friction

Another Day//Friction

** All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

20 Jun

Monday Update #10

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Recently Completed:

Under the Wire (The Bodyguards, #5)      The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane (MacKades #3 & 4)

Under the Wire//The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane

Currently Reading:

All the Light We Cannot See     Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)      Water for Elephants      French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French      Secret Sisters

All the Light We Cannot See//Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince//Water for Elephants//French Toast//Secret Sisters

Up Next on the TBR:

Losing It (Losing It, #1)      Nora & Kettle (Paper Stars #1)      Choose To Be Happy: A Guide to Total Happiness      Room      The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)

Losing It//Nora & Kettle//Choose to Be Happy//Room//The Death Cure

** All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

19 Jun

A Tribute to My Beloved Disney

Today is a bit bittersweet for me. 8 years ago, on June 19th, 2008, I found my very best friend and brought her home. From the very first day, Disney and I were bonded. And while I had doubts about whether I was cut out to be a kitty mom in the first few weeks, I always knew that she had stolen my heart and I would never be the same again.

Disney Tribute

For the next 7 1/2 years, Disney and I were always together. It was very clear that I was her mommy and she wanted no one else. When I lived with roommates, she was tolerant of them, but always wanted to be with me. When I would get home from work, she would wait for me by the door to greet me. She had to be in whatever room I was in and if she was sleeping when I left a room, she would wake up and find me, curling up near me again. If I had been away on a trip, she wouldn’t let me out of her sight when I got home. Every night she slept curled up with me in bed, either on top of me or right next to me, but always touching me in some way.

Disney1

While I had a cat for a short time as a child, Disney was my first kitty who was mine. And I was very definitely hers as well. She owned my heart. Together we survived 4 moves, 3 states, 6 roommates, 4 kitty roommates and 2 doggie roommates. I never thought that I could love a little bundle of fur as much as I loved her. She was never just my cat, she was my baby, my child.

Introb

When Cheshire joined our family 3 years ago, she wasn’t really sure about it. Now she had to share me with this new guy, who was quite frankly a bit crazy. Though they squabbled a lot, they still looked out for each other. And Disney learned to share my time, but came to understand that having a new brother didn’t diminish my love for her.

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When my life changed towards the end of 2015 it wasn’t possible to keep Disney and Cheshire with me. I am truly blessed that my brother and sister-in-law were able and more than willing to take my babies in for me and foster them, though it was very hard for me to not be with them every day. I will forever be grateful to them for watching over my babies for me. In the beginning, I was able to visit them once a week for a few hours, then schedules changed, and I wasn’t able to visit for several weeks. It was during this time that Disney’s health took a turn for the worse.

MyBabies

One January 27th, 2016, I received a call that I never wanted to receive. Disney was gone. I was numb for a while and it took me a lot of time to process it. Though I wrote a small tribute when she died, and another brief blurb on what would have been her 8th birthday {April 4th, 2016}, I really felt like I hadn’t done her memory justice or made it clear just how much she meant to me. There is still a huge hole in my heart from the piece she took with her.

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I have blamed myself a lot over the past 5 months, for not being with her before she died. I still worry that she thought I had abandoned her and she just gave up before I could be with her again (I was scheduled to visit her the next day). Or maybe she thought it would be easier for me not to see her suffer. All I know is that I missed her last few weeks and that is really hard for me to come to terms with, and it makes it hard to find closure. It’s also one of the reasons that my trips to visit Cheshire are so important, especially since I know he misses her too.

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No matter how many kitties come into my life in the future, Disney will always hold a special place in my heart. She was the first, and she was like no other. And I miss her every single day.

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Disney’s Magic Princess
April 4, 2008-January 27, 2016

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13 Jun

Monday Update #9 ~ Taking a Break

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Things have been a little “off” for me for the last week and I have not been able to focus on the blog as much as I would like. I decided to take a small break from trying to put together content while I focus on other things. During my break I will continue to post my Monday Updates, but may not post during the rest of the week. I am hopeful that this break will be relatively short and that I will return to my regular blogging schedule before too much longer. Thank you for your understanding.

Recently Completed:

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog      The Beginning of Everything      Falling Awake

Marley & Me//The Beginning of Everything//Falling Awake

Currently Reading:

Under the Wire (The Bodyguards, #5)      The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane (MacKades #3 & 4)      All the Light We Cannot See      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)     Water for Elephants

Under the Wire//The MacKade Brothers: Devin & Shane//All the Light We Cannot See//Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince//Water for Elephants

Up Next on the TBR:

French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French     Secret Sisters      Losing It (Losing It, #1)      Nora & Kettle (Paper Stars #1)     Choose To Be Happy: A Guide to Total Happiness

French Toast//Secret Sisters//Losing It//Nora & Kettle//Choose to be Happy

** All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

6 Jun

Monday Update #8

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I didn’t really do a lot of reading this week. Usually on the week’s I go up to my brother’s I read a ton, but I read barely anything while I was there this time. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to finish reading anything this week, but I did pull a couple of books out right at the end.

Recently Completed:

The Casual Vacancy      Being Single in a Couples' World: How to Be Happily Single While Looking for Love

The Casual Vacancy//Being Single in a Couples’ World

Currently Reading:

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog      The Beginning of Everything      Under the Wire (The Bodyguards, #5)      All the Light We Cannot See      The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane (MacKades #3 & 4)

Marley and Me//The Beginning of Everything//Under the Wire//All The Light We Cannot See//The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane

Up Next on the TBR:

Falling Awake      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)      Water for Elephants      French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French      Secret Sisters

Falling Awake//Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince//Water for Elephants//French Toast//Secret Sisters

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** All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}