Strange History by The Bathroom Readers’ Institute

Available now: Strange History

****4/5 stars

Fabulously entertaining, Strange History has great anecdotes, myths and more in history.

Recommended readers:

  • If you need some quick reading facts and story
  • If you’re a history buff and like odd facts
  • If you need an entertaining bathroom read

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess



Have  you been reading the same old bathroom book? Strange History is the perfect, entertaining read with funny anecdotes and facts from history. A great read for kids too, even as young as middle grades, since the stories are short – sometimes just a paragraph. Much like a Guinness Book of World Records, Strange History is super entertaining. It would be a fun gift for a hubby, gag gift or friend.

Available now: Strange History


Available June 21st: Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl

Available June 21st: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

****3.5/5 stars-really liked it

Anne Tyler takes on The Taming of the Shrew.

Recommended readers:27070127

  • If you’re a fan of comedy,
  • Shakespeare,
  • and contemporary takes on classic stories, this one is for you.
  • Here’s my Rankings:
  • 3.5/5 characters
  • 3.5/5 plot
  • 3.5/5 overall


In the very popular vein of revisiting the classics with a modern twist, Hogarth Press’ Shakespeare series has so far taken on The Merchant of Venice and  The Winter’s Tale with more to come, including Margaret Atwood’s retelling of the The Tempest. In Vinegar Girl, Anne Tyler’s revision of The Taming of the Shrew, Kate Battista is primary school aide stuck ordering the life of her scientist father, her flighty sister, and a whole host of toddlers, until her father’s lab assistant needs help to stay in the country.  The modern version of an arranged marriage! A brief and fun charmer, though maybe a bit of a random start in Anne Tyler.

Available on June 21st: Vinegar Girl

Review: Cluny Brown

29335278Available now with a brand-new cover: Cluny Brown

**** 4/5 stars- loved it

Originally published in 1944, Cluny Brown is an unconventionally-attractive parlormaid who refuses to know her place.

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of British humor
  • fans of Bridget Jones
  • fans of a comedic play

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall


If you could use a little cheering up, do yourself a favor and check out Margery Sharp, author of The Rescuers and The Nutmeg Tree. She is long-hailed for her wit and charm, wry humor, and eye for social change, and her latest re-release,  featuring a young who Londoner takes calls for her plumber uncle and tea at the Ritz just to see what it’s like, is no exception. Cluny Brown is apparently not exactly beautiful but impossible not to notice, attracting troubles and admirers left and right in spite of herself. Banished to the countryside by her uncle to “learn her place” as a housemaid, Cluny soon turns the village on its head and keeps you guessing in this comedy of manners of days gone by. Throw in the arrival of the eligible son who is to inherit, along with a handsome and learned Polish refugee and a beautiful socialite, and I challenge you not to enjoy not being able to quite figure out how it all ought to go, and being quite surprised when you do.  Quirky and fun!

Cluny Brown  is available now








See our review of The Nutmeg Tree

Valentine’s Day: Best Gifts for Book Lovers

PSA for book lovers this Valentine’s Day.

what women want for valentines day

And some Valentine’s Day gift ideas for book lovers:

  1. Books (duh). Shop Amazon’s books selection.
  2. Unlimited eBooks Online. With Oyster now out of business, you’ve got a few options for unlimited book sites. Most popular is Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/month and 30-day free trial), which admittedly is confusing to set-up especially if you’re not an Amazon user already. Also Scribd ($8.99/month and 14-day trial) has a great selection and is available on multiple devices.
  3. Kindle Device/Ebook Reader. For the techy reader or one who flies through 3+ books per month, a electronic reader is a great option. Kindle by Amazon is a great option – starting at $79.99. Bonus for Kindle owners: You get a free new book every month.
  4. Monthly/Quarterly Book Subscription. Book of the Month is an example of a site which will send you (print) books each month. We haven’t tried (so can’t endorse fully) – but worth a look.  We’ll do a full review if we get the chance.

An Outlander delayed reaction

It took a little time to get over last season’s Outlander season finale, and no little effort to unsee a thing or two.  All in all, I have to admit I was appalled by the episode, and not for the reasons you might think (well, not entirely.)

We were treated to all the psychological trauma Black Jack could summon, but we get NO CLAIRE THE EXCORIST?!  C’mon, Starz!  You didn’t shy away from one tough scene, how could you skip the whole ransoming the soul part?  I’m not sure a few slaps really covers it, and I’m definitely not sure you deserved to use that episode title.

Instead we get a little, Och, you’re right Sassenach, let’s cut out the brand and get on a ship and let the wind blow through our hair. (In fairness, that scene DID make me feel much better)


Other departures of note?

Claire’s got a bun in already.  Cause we all know a baby fixes things.

But are we tuning in early 2016 to see where Outlander takes us next?  Absolutely.

In the meantime, if you’d like a little historical drama a bit lighter on the deep emotional trauma, might we suggest: Turn: Washington’s Spies on AMC, based on the book by Alexander Rose or one of our other recommendations in: If you like Outlander TV Series, You’ll like …

Ever After by Jude Deveraux

Available June 23: Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

****4/5 stars– loved it!JudeDeverauxEverAfter

In true Jude Deveraux style, you’ll stay up all night enjoying the third book in the Nantucket Brides Triology.

Recommended readers:

  • If you love Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts
  • For those looking for the perfect summer/beach read
  • And for those looking for a fun, fast all-nighter type of read

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 characters
  • 4/5 plot
  • 4/5 overall


Since she was young, Hallie has taken care of her stepsister – from postponing her college education to help her through school to sacrificing to allow her sister to pursue her Hollywood dream. So when her sister tries to steal her surprise inheritance, Hallie has had enough and takes a chance with an opportunity in Nantucket. The third book in the Nantucket Brides trilogy, Ever After is a fabulously fast and fun read – you’ll want to pull an all-nighter. With a touch of supernatural and two characters with painful pasts, you’ll love the twists and turns the story takes. So take a few trips to the beach, or curl up on your shabby-chic couch and enjoy this idyllic Nantucket setting.
Available on Amazon: Ever After: A Nantucket Brides Novel (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

Oyster launches new online store

In a move to compete with’s ebook sales, Oyster, the monthly book subscription service for $9.95, is now going to sell ebooks.  The new option is likely a move to provide readers with access to new releases and other books that aren’t available through their subscription site.

Here’s a look at the online store:

Book checkout screen on Oyster's new ebook purchase site.

Book checkout screen on Oyster’s new ebook purchase site.


Oyster book ebook purchase site.

Oyster book ebook purchase site.

According to, “Even with these changes, Oyster still faces an uphill battle. Its service doesn’t run on Amazon’s popular Kindle, and the company doesn’t offer its own e-reading alternative. Anyone hoping to read Oyster books must own a smartphone, tablet or computer, and read from the same screens they use to respond to email and watch cat videos on the Internet.” Full article here.