Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: Dancing with the Tiger by Lili Wright

Blurb from Goodreads:
When 30-year-old Anna Ramsey learns that a meth-addicted looter has dug up what might be the funerary mask of Montezuma, she books the next flight to Oaxaca. Determined to redeem her father, a discredited art collector, and to one-up her unfaithful fiancĂ©, a museum curator, Anna hurls herself headlong into Mexico’s underground art world. But others are chasing the treasure as well: the shape-shifting drug lord no one can really describe; the enigmatic American expat, who keeps his art collection locked in a chapel; the former museum director who traffics stolen works, and his housekeeper—deeply religious, a gay woman in a culture of machismo, dependent on a patron she loathes; the painter Salvador on his motorcycle, complex, sensual—but with secrets of his own. 

Anna soon realizes that everyone is masked—some literally, others metaphorically. Indeed, Dancing with the Tiger is a splendid reminder that throughout human history, cultures have revered masks: whether in the theater or in war, for religious purposes, or to conceal identity, masks are as universal as our desire to transform ourselves, to change. Anna, without an ounce of self-pity despite traumatic losses, stands out as a heroine for our times as, traveling alone, she finds the courage to show her true face.
My Review:
I will admit that I was initially drawn in by this cover!  I love(d) the colors, the imagery and then I read the description and I NEEDED this book in my life.  First, I love Mexico; I always have since visiting as a baby and then again in middle school, high school and college -- I've been to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Baja, Quintana Roo including Tulum, Cancun and various other places along the border and the coasts.  Second, I loved how this sounded -- kind of like a caper for ancient artifacts in Mexico. So I didn't necessarily have expectations for this book -- I was unfamiliar with this author because it's her fiction debut -- but I had hopes for this book and all of them were met if not exceeded!  You know when you start a book and you immediately know it will be good?  That was this one!  I loved the whole thing -- there was no let down with the ending, no inconsistency with the characters, no predictions or obvious turns in the plot.  It truly is a fun caper told in multiple POV and you don't necessarily understand how all the POV will merge but they do, effortlessly, in this great hunt for an ancient and priceless mask around Mexico.  It was thrilling and exciting and beautiful and fun.  It makes me want to go and see the masks dance during carnival and to traverse all over the country -- it didn't end where it started but I loved how it got there.

What an amazing fiction debut!  I can't wait for more from this author but in the meantime, I am longing to go to Mexico.  Dancing With the Tiger came out last week on July 12, 2016, you can purchase HERE, and this is one instance where the cover is as good as the book!
I've worn a mask most of my life.  Most people do.  As a little girl, I covered my face with my hands, figuring if I couldn't see my father, he couldn't see me. When this didn't work, I hid behind Halloween masks: clowns and witches and Ronald McDonald.  Years later, when I went to Mexico, I understood just how far a mask can take you.  In the dusty streets, villagers turned themselves into jaguars, hyenas, the devil himself.  For year,s I thought wearing a mask was a way to start over, become someone new. Now I know better.   


  1. I can see your excitement over this book in the first paragraph of your review. I'm a little drawn by the cover as well. I'm glad you're picking up some winners, lately. :)

  2. WOW, 4.5 stars for a debut? NICE! I agree, the cover is BEAUTIFUL, and the story sounds complicated and amazing! definitely one to add to the TBR!

  3. I have never heard of this one but yes, the cover is so freaking pretty. The summary on the hand is very unique and the whole mexican art underground world has me very intrigued. I love books like this that are not well heard of that end up surprising you. Although it does suck that they are not more well known...

  4. Okay, before I clicked on this review, I had my fingers crossed that you loved it. It's one that I've had my eye on, but haven't really decided for sure. Great review!

  5. That cover totally catches my eye and I so want to know more just from that. I am so glad it lived up to how beautiful the cover is. I have never been to Mexico and I am not sure I have even read anything set there so that is a bog plus in my book. I love when you know a book will be great when you start it. Great review!!

  6. oh I just love this setting and isn't used as often as I would like, especially since Mexico is just beautiful. i so want to read this. I can see why you fell in love with it :)

  7. OMG YEY! I'm glad you love this one! I won it in a Goodreads giveaway so I'll be reading it myself soon. I'm so drawn in by the cover & the Mexico setting as well. I have never been to Mexico, but I would love to go sometime.

  8. I can see why the cover caught your eye! And for the story to live up to it - even better! I have to admit, the synopsis doesn't sound like something I would ever pick up, but your review definitely piques my interest!



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