Thursday, October 26, 2017

First Line Friday: Buffy Edition

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Happy First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

This week the line I am sharing comes from my (tied-for-first-with-FRIENDS) favorite show of all-time.

I LOVE Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Okay, not Buffy herself because truthfully, she annoyed me a lot of the time, at least in later seasons. Or, mostly season six when I was super angry at her for most of the time when she was being ridiculous and hooking up with Spike.

I love the show, the characters, the stories that Joss wrote in this amazing and terrifying and real world he created. I stumbled upon the show about halfway through season 2. I recall very clearly the first episode I ever saw was "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", when Xander asked Amy to do a love spell on Cordelia, which of course backfired. I was hooked. I could not get enough of anything having to do with the show. This includes a time when I pretended I was sick to stay home from school so I could listen to a radio interview on KDWB with David Boreanaz, that lasted all of maybe ten minutes. Mom KNEW I was faking and let me stay home anyway. That's real love.

Anyway. I love the show and still watch it - because of course I have the series on DVD. 2017 is especially important, because this year is the 20th anniversary of the show's debut and thus, a fandom was born. I have not been able to stay away from Amazon, and now have a neat little collection of anniversary items:

33783913 34466885
31183671 34480816 

My line this week, however, comes from this extra special treasure, the 20th anniversary edition Watcher's Guide. It is from the introduction titled "Life After Buffy" by Christopher Golden, who penned many books within the Buffyverse.


"It's difficult to remember with any real clarity what the pop cultural landscape was like before the arrival and the popularity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Ain't that the truth.

I don't think I can ever really accurately convey what this show meant to me growing up and still means to me now as an adult. I can tell lots of stories about it and how obsessed I was/am, but that does not really do the show justice. If you have never watched the show, I implore you to give it a try. I can even give you a top ten list of the best episodes, but this one really is worthy of a series-long binge. Don't let the title fool you, and do not believe the hype about one vampire show being just like every other. Buffy is so much more than that.

Happy Reading

Monday, October 23, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday!

Hooray for a TTT that I can participate in! It has been a little bit since there has been a topic I can make work for my non-fiction treasures and boy, do I have some good ones on the list this week!

If you are unfamiliar with Top Ten Tuesday, it is a weekly meme started years ago by The Broke and the Bookish. Tons of bloggers participate each week and it is always a lot of fun to take a look at what others come up with. It is also a good way to connect with those who share similar reading tastes.

This week's theme is Top Ten Unique Book Titles. I have selected some fun ones that amuse me, some that are salacious, and those that cover more serious subjects and deserve attention. They are not listed in any particular order. Leave a comment about my choices and let me know what you think!

Happy Reading!

1. Empire of Mud: The Secret History of Washington, D.C.


2. The Black Hand: The Epic War Between a Brilliant Detective and the Deadliest Secret Society in American History


3. Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans


4. The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy.


5. The Lost King of England: The East European Adventures of Edward the Exile


6. The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium


7. The Unreformed Martin Luther: A Serious (and Not So Serious) Look at the Man Behind the Myths


8. 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers


9. Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault/The Bride of Glass

34511974 34861186

(I know this is cheating a little, putting two books in one entry but I like the series and damn, aren't those covers beautiful?)

10. Blue on Blue: An Insider's Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops


11. Murder Over a Girl: Justice, Gender, Junior High


12. Met Her on a Mountain: A Forty-Year Quest to Solve the Appalachian Cold-Case Murder of Nancy Morgan


13. The Prisoner in His Palace: Saddam Hussein, His American Guards, and What History Leaves Unsaid


Thursday, October 12, 2017

First Line Friday: Crusader Edition


Heyo, it's that time again!

Last week was the debut of First Line Friday being hosted by Hoarding Books and I think this will work out so much better. If you are unfamiliar with how things work now, Hoarding Books was created by the original four members of First Line Friday - we've now grown to nearly 30 regular, active posters. It makes sense to start using a link-up so we are all connected in one place instead of trying to remember to add each new person to each of our individual posts. If you are a Top Ten Tuesday-er then the format will be very familiar to you. If not, check our The Broke and the Bookish for another cool way to connect with other bloggers and find new books to enjoy.

This week my first line is from one of the texts I am using for my research and writing on Eleanor of Aquitaine.


"Nine hundred years ago the Christians of Europe waged a series of holy wars, or crusades, against the Muslim world, battling for dominion of a region sacred to both faiths - the Holy Land. This bloody struggle raged for two centuries, reshaping the history of Islam and the West."

You might be wondering how any of the crusades could possibly relate to Eleanor and why a book about such topics would be useful to my own book. Please allow me the very briefest of explanations:

Eleanor and her first husband Louis VII of France lead the Second Crusade to the Holy Land. It was a dismal failure and Eleanor nearly succeeded in gaining an annulment from Louis right there in Antioch, with her uncle Raymond's encouragement. He was the prince of Antioch and had left Aquitaine when Eleanor was very young. As the youngest son in the family, he had no prospects by remaining in Poitiers so he made his fortune elsewhere, first in England in the service of Henry I and later in Antioch. Unfortunately he was killed in battle after Louis had forced Eleanor to leave with his army to head for Jerusalem.

Then of course there is Richard the Lion Heart, Eleanor's most beloved son who headed up the Third Crusade while he was king of England. He was captured and imprisoned by former crusader allies whom he had managed to piss off, and they were working in conjunction with John to keep Richard from getting home. Eleanor naturally put a stop to that nonsense in typical mama bear fashion, collected the huge sums needed for Richard's ransom, and hand-delivered it to Duke Leopold of Austria in exchange for her son's freedom.

So, yeah, the crusades are kind of a major factor in Eleanor's life.

What are you reading this week? Leave a comment below with your own line, or thoughts on mine, or both! Then head over to Hoarding Books to see what other First Liners have this week.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cor Rotto: A Novel of Catherine Carey


Rating: 4 Stars

Full Disclosure: I have this book shelved as being a gift from an author or publisher because this is technically true. Adrienne Dillard is the author but she has, more importantly, become my friend. It will probably not surprise anyone that we 'met' on a post from Dan Jones' Facebook page. We share a love of history, specifically the Tudor era, and really ridiculous amounts of awesome GIFs. As such, while this book was a gift, it did not come with the expectation of a review. It came as a gift from one friend to another.

Normally, I do not like historical fiction. Everyone and their mother knows this by now. There are exceptions I am willing to make though - particularly if it is someone who I know about, but not too much. I can not abide fictional works of certain real-life people, namely Eleanor of Aquitaine and her brood. She is too near and dear to my heart for me to entertain what someone thinks she MIGHT HAVE said or thought. Novels like this then are ideal for me because I know who Catherine Carey was, but have no deep connection otherwise. I enjoy Adrienne's work because she is thorough in her research and always quick to make note of where she took her information from, what is historically accurate, and what came from her own imagination. That is the reason I read her second novel, of Jane Boleyn, so quickly. I could not put it down. I enjoyed learning Catherine's story, but was also pleased to find that I for the most part was able to decipher on my own what was real and what was imagined, based on my other Tudor knowledge.

One thing I am not a fan of is stories told in first person. That is really the only aspect of the novel that bothered me, and it bothers me in literally every other novel I have read in the last five years. I don't know what has caused this change in me, it never used to bother me so much. Perhaps it is because my brain is now wired for non-fiction, so peoples' thoughts and emotion perturbed me now. Who knows.

I did enjoy some of the perspectives taken in Catherine's eyes, particularly that of Mary I. I have long maintained a special place in my heart for the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. I feel the treatment of herself and her mother by Henry in the years leading up to and following his marriage to Anne Boleyn were what changed Mary into the person she became. By all accounts she was a happy, thriving child, but Henry took that light in her and twisted it and damaged it beyond repair. Had she been treated more justly, I believe her reign would have reflected that. I also appreciated Catherine's portrayal in how she regarded Elizabeth - that she was difficult. Elizabeth is one of my least favorite people in history, I find her manipulative and dramatic and annoying. I am glad to see I am not the only one who might view her as difficult and Catherine and I agreed greatly - though she was still loyal and loved Elizabeth dearly.

The tenderness between the various characters is what really stands out in this novel for me, whether it be between husbands and wives, parents and children, etc. Sometimes it is easy to look back on these long-ago times and see these people as so wholly different from us. But it is also easy to forget they were in fact real people with real thoughts and feelings and hopes and dreams, people who loved those dear to them. I always find this especially true when addressing the high mortality rate in infants and children of the time. Just because a family has so many children does not mean the deaths of little ones are felt any less deeply. I also appreciated the love between Catherine and her husband. While it was an arranged marriage, I can hope that it truly became a loving one - and I think the multitude of children reflects that.

The big question here though, involves the view that recognizes Catherine has Henry VIII's daughter, this making Catherine a half sister to three Tudor monarchs. I believe until there is DNA testing done to prove once and for all, this debate will not end. But, as we can not even pin down the time line correctly, this may be another one for the 'We will never know' pile. 

Overall this was a lovely portrayal of a lesser-known figure in Tudor history. If you enjoy historical fiction based on the facts available, you will likely enjoy this one. Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

First Line Friday - Now With Linky Widget

First Line Fridays hosted by Hoarding Books

Happy First Line Friday!

Due to the massive increase in the number of bloggers participating in First Line Friday, the decision was made to run the meme like you see from The Broke and the Bookish with their Top Ten Tuesday. If you're not familiar, click the links to check out how it works. This means that instead of each of us linking to every other blog every single week, we will simply post our own First Line, then add our blogs to the link-up so others can take a look. This will make things so much easier and allow many other participants, all while finding new books for those TBRs of ours!

This week my line is from a book I am super excited to read, but just have not had the chance to yet.


I think at some point, everyone experiences doubt. It's not always soul-crushing for everyone, but sometimes something makes you pause - then question everything you thought you knew.

"Life is fragile. We desire security and certainty, but we often face a world full of unknowns, danger, and brokenness. Faith is also fragile. We yearn for absolutes and rock-solid assurances, but we often feel insecure and uncertain about what God is up to and why He seems to be taking so long."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Let me know what you think of this line, then head on over to 

grab button for Hoarding Books

to find my fellow First-Liners.

Happy Reading!