Monday, August 15, 2016

July Reads // Pretty Diverse

The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay*

4.5 - 4.75 stars - I recommend if you like historical fiction, colorful characters, family dynamics, or books similar to Water for Elephants. This also reminded me a bit of Call the Midwife.

This book follows the Turner family, when their father breaks his hand and is unable to sew boots to support his family, the lady of the house has an idea: she trains her daughters into a Vaudeville tumbling act.. and they set off to tour the country. Along the way the sisters grow, family dynamics are tested and strengthened, they meet interesting characters, and perhaps fall in and out of love.

Right off the bat, this book was extremely delightful. The cover is darling! As soon as I started reading it, I loved the writing style, and time period, and the fact that it focuses on Vaudeville. The short quotes from vaudeville/era specific folks is also really charming at the beginning of each chapter. The characters are brilliant. You'll love the sisters, the family dynamic, the other vaudeville characters that the girls meet as they travel. It's such a colorful world! I loved learning about vaudeville, the acts, the time period, I felt like Fay really knew her stuff and did a lot of research to write this book! My only complaint is that I felt like the ending left me wanting more, but not so much that I'm expecting another book. Maybe I read the ending too quickly, but it did feel a little different from the rest of the book. Not quite sure, but all the same, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would rank it 4.5 - 4.75 stars. I gave it 5 stars on goodreads because it's worth rounding up for.

Has anyone else read this?

Austenland by Shannon Hale

3 - 3.5 Stars - I recommend this for fans of regency era books, as well as comedic present day fiction. If you have seen the movie already - it's a little bit of a toss up... because I think it's less exciting having knows what happens in advance.

This book follows Jane Hayes who is obsessed with Mr. Darcy. Because of her obsession all of her "relationships" were doomed to fail from the beginning. To kick the habit, (with a little help from a wealthy relative) she heads off to Austenland, a regency resort for grown ups. While she is there she mingles with colorful guests, charming actors, and one very refreshing gardener.

I read this as a part of the Semi Charmed Summer Reading Challenge. I had already seen this movie (which is rare for me to watch before reading...) so it wasn't the most exciting read. I already knew the little twists etc. Overall it was light, fluffy, funny, and cute. I recommend it if you have not seen the movie, or if you really love Austen and regency. Either way, it is a very short book and I read it in just two evenings. It helped to read this in between bits of The Cuckoo's Calling... which was dragging on quite a bit at that point. All that being said, I would definitely consider reading more of Hale's books including other books from this series. :)

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

3.75 - 4 Stars - I recommend if you like mystery and complex characters. It's very long, so I also recommend reading something light and fluffy in between if you are a read more than one book at a time type of person. The more I reflect on this one, the more I like it!

This book follows Coromon Strike a PI and former British Army Policeman who served in Afghanistan. He's lost his long-term girlfriend, his place of living, he's up to his ears in debt in his business.... and now he's got a temporary assistant he can barely pay. When a famous supermodel's death is ruled as suicide, her troubled brother comes to Strike for help investigating her death. Suddenly Strike has a case, and income, and a really great temporary assistant.

Overall this book was kind of a mix for me. On the one hand J.K. Rowling is a really great writer, and I like reading her characters and descriptions. The characters were so complexly deep - which was really fun to read. However, there is a lot of development up front, and the first half-ish of the book was a little slow for me. All that being said, once it picked up (in the middle) I was much more invested in the story and mystery. By the last chapters I found myself knowing I would like to read more books about Strike's cases. So, I wouldn't say this is for everyone, but I really did enjoy it and I'm excited to read more down the line. Reading some fluffy things in between this long (sometimes slow) book was helpful. However, I don't really have issues trying to read more than one book at once as long as they aren't similar. The more I reflect on this one, the more I like it. I'm excited to read more books in the series.

Gentleman Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos 

I technically finished this in early August... but I don't care, I'm putting it here! :P

2 - 3 Stars - I recommend if you like classic novels, fluffy books, and the notion of gold diggers. This one wasn't my favorite, but I'm trying to appreciate it for what it is. 

This book is set in the 1920's and follows Lorelei Lee a pretty, young gold digger living in New York. This book is a compilation of her diary entries, and records her exploits across New York and Europe alike. She has a desire to "improve her mind" and also a taste for a life of luxury. She uses her wiles to get what she wants.

I have really mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand - it's really written in a very cute kind of way. It has a sweetness and a little bit of a look into the 1920's to it. The version I have has fun illustrations as well. However, I have a really hard time with Lorelei's character. She always says she is "improving her mind" but she is bored with academics, abandons books frequently, finds the best part of travel is visiting the Ritz, etc. She is also making all kinds of spelling errors in her diary. But I can't tell how much of that is the character vs. slang/spelling from the 1920's. She's also just really mean. Obviously, the point of a gold digger is to use others to get what you want. I'm not about that. So it's not very fun to read. There is one part where her and a friend are just harassing this other lady. Kinda makes me cringe. Maybe there is a fabulous historical/social context I am missing here. But I don't really like reading fluffy books about horrible people. : /


I didn't abandon any books this month! :)

Currently Reading:

Someday I will Finish Possession and Pretty Happy... : /

On Deck:

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

The first and last here should work for Semi Charmed Summer Challenge. However, Magic is just one I've been meaning to read. I really need to post about my challenge list...!

What have you guys been reading? 

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Let's be friends on Goodreads!



* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

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