Tag: Shakespeare

Book Review:  Long Story Short, by Serena Kaylor

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

TitleLong Story Short    
Author: Serena Kaylor
Genre: YA  
Rating: 5 out of 5

Growing up homeschooled in Berkeley, California, Beatrice Quinn is a statistical genius who has dreamed her whole life of discovering new mathematical challenges at a school like Oxford University. She always thought the hardest part would be getting in, not convincing her parents to let her go. But while math has always made sense to Beatrice, making friends is a problem she hasn’t been able to solve, so her parents are worried about sending her halfway across the world. The compromise: the Connecticut Shakespearean Summer Academy and a detailed list of teenage milestones to check off. She has six weeks to show her parents she can pull off the role of “normal” teenager and won’t spend the rest of her life hiding in a library.

Unfortunately, hearts and hormones don’t follow any rules, and there is no equation for teenage interactions. When she’s adopted by a group of eclectic theater kids, and immediately makes an enemy of the popular—and, annoyingly gorgeous—British son of the camp founders, she realizes that relationships are trickier than calculus. With her future on the line, this girl genius stumbles through illicit parties, double dog dares, and more than your fair share of Shakespeare. But before the final curtain falls, will Beatrice realize that there’s more to life than she can find in the pages of a book?

This was such a fun, sweet book! It was a bit like reading from a female Sheldon Cooper’s POV. Bea is clueless about so many things, but fortunately she manages to make a couple of good friends who help show her the way. The secondary characters are wonderful, and I loved them a lot. Nik came off as jerk at first, but it was soon easy to see the truth of him (Well, I could see it. Bea definitely couldn’t.). This was such a relatable read, and made me laugh out loud several times.

Long Story Short is Serena Kaylor’s debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Summer Set, by Aimee Agresti

the summer set
Image belongs to Harlequin/Graydon House.

Title:   The Summer Set
Author:   Aimee Agresti
Genre:   Fiction
Rating:   3.5 out of 5

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood’s hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she’s pushing forty, exiled from the film world back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career—and where her first love, Nick, is the artistic director.

It’s not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself thriving: bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick despite their complicated history.

Until Charlie’s old rival, Hollywood’s current “It Girl,” is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she’s been working towards. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on one heck of a show to fight for the second chance she deserves in her career and in love.

If you’re looking for an easy read with a Hollywood-insider feel, this is probably a good choice for you. I enjoyed the Shakespeare references, but this novel wasn’t a good fit for me. Charlie and Nick—okay, and basically every other character—acted like a bunch of self-absorbed teenagers with almost zero communication skills. I found this to be a very negative portrayal of people involved in Hollywood in any way, shape, or form, but it might be accurate. I have no idea. It could work as a fun summer read for anyone who loves melodrama, but it doesn’t do much for a serious Shakespeare fan.

Aimee Agresti lives in Washington, DC. The Summer Set is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/Graydon House in exchange for an honest review.)

Vinegar Girl, by Anne Tyler

vinegar girl
(I do not own this image. Image belongs to Crown Publishing.)

Anne Tyler is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such books as The Beginner’s Goodbye and Breathing Lessons. Her newest novel, Vinegar Girl, is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Kate Battista is stuck. She runs the house for her father—eccentric at best, “mad scientist” at worst—and attempts to care for her pretty—and to Kate’s way of thinking, useless—younger sister, Bunny. The kids at the daycare where she works love her, but their parents are less than impressed with her forthright opinions and inability to sugarcoat her thoughts. In short, she is smart, capable, and independent, with absolutely no prospects.

Kate’s father is on the verge of a breakthrough in his research that could help millions, but he’s about to lose his brilliant research assistant, Pyotr, who is about to be deported. Then Dr. Battista comes up with a plan:  have Kate marry Pyotr so he can stay in the country. Kate is furious at her father, and at Pyotr, but the two men begin a relentless campaign to bring her around to their way of thinking.

Vinegar Girl enters the life of tart Kate, the bulwark of her stagnant family, the always-dependable daughter who sacrifices her own happiness to the sake of her family. But will Kate continue her self-sacrifice, or will she finally stand up for herself and what she wants?

(Galley provided by Crown Publishing via NetGalley.)