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    Unique fun romance

    I was looking for something different to read and the title caught my eye. I'm so glad it did. Crista McHugh did a wonderful job bringing to life realistic characters and Shakespeare. Kate and Gabe develop a friendship via the phone as she coaches him on her life's work, Shakespeare. I loved that the author took the time to develop that relationship before it evolved into romance. I also enjoyed the supporting characters that made Kate's world come alive. This is the first book I've read by Crista McHugh and I look forward to checking out her back list and her future releases. I received an Advance Reader copy of this book.
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    Of Bards and Barbies

    Kate Mireau is a grad student trying to get her P.H.D in English writing a dissertation based on the works of William Shakespeare, as that has been the love of her life… The Bard. Growing up on a hippie Alpaca farm in Washington State with no T.V she had to try to keep herself occupied the best way she knew how.. by reading anything and Everything, ESPECIALLY, the works of William Shakespeare over and over again to the point of knowing them all of by heart. After finding her fiance in the arms of another woman Kate is forced to find a new place to live, which winds up being on the Upper East Side in New York City right on Park Avenue, living as a sort of live in maid for “Ringleader Barbie” Ari Horowitz. After moving in, she starts getting calls from Ari’s brother, Gabe, an actor in California, trying to get a hold of Ari. This turns into some tutoring as Gabe is trying to get a Shakespearean role that is out of his element and Kate is the only one who can help him. But is Gabe really who he says he is? Or will he throw her hum-drum scholars lifestyle into chaos as the two of them grow closer together? I liked this read, the relationship between Kate and Gabe was ok… it felt a little rushed. But, I enjoyed their conversations and the fact that they started falling for each other sight unseen. I just felt that the whole story needed some editing. While fairly decently written, it contained too many extra people and situations that were unnecessary. Her friend Livvy and Livvy’s girlfriend Aisha for instance. I understand them being there to help her find her place to live, but the personality of Aisha and the animosity between her and Kate wasn’t needed, the proposal was not needed as nothing came from it, etc… there was just a lot that could have been cut out to slow the story down and to keep the focus where it should have stayed. They also could have focused on Gabe’s sister Ari a little more as well, as I feel like she could have been a good character edition of the story and there could have been more growth between her and Kate and in her personality in general… but, instead she just ran in and out all the time. It did, though re-kindle my interest in The Bard a little though, and those who know me? That is saying A LOT!!! I fell out of love with Shakespeare in high school when I was always told what to think of his works, and what he meant by certain things like I couldn’t have any thoughts or feeling of my own. This was a man who was poor and wrote to eat. Although, I will not lessen his talent, I don’t know if he would have even thought of half of the things the scholars have read into his plays! I would LOVE to go back and meet him to find out! But, some of the quotes in this book made me want to go back and re-read some of his works to, in my later years, get my own opinions! It was a speech that Kate makes that really made me want to do this, and I think she said it best. “I remembered that his words were never meant to be read on a page. His words were meant to be read aloud. I never truly understood the power of them until I heard him recite a speech to me while he was preparing an audition piece. That led me to explore modern interpretations of his work. “Shakespeare is not just confined to the Elizabethan world. His works are as real and as universal today as they ever were. And in the hands of skilled actors, they become living, breathing creatures. My hope is that this passion I’ve discovered will be able to draw modern students into Shakespeare’s world so that they appreciate the Bard as more than just a dead poet who talked funny.” Well said, Kate. Well said.

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