Thursday, November 30, 2017

First Line Friday: Eleanor Edition...I've Lost Count

Hoarding Books

Whew! The last couple of weeks have been CRAZY. I missed a couple FLFs because work was insane and then last week I was in such a blissful turkey coma with my food baby that I could not be bothered to do much more than lift up a book in front of my face. Now the food baby is gone and I am sad that the turkey is too.

This week my line is from a book I was not-so-patiently waiting for, and finally have in my hands. I'm very interested to see what it has to say about Eleanor and Aquitaine, and hopefully will assist me in my own research on the medieval queen. It will not surprise you if you saw this week's Top Ten Tuesday (and you really should look because it was a very fabulous list) that I am showing off a book from Amberley.


"Heroines come in many different forms, and it is no less true for medieval heroines."

Leave a comment and/or your first line, then head over to Hoarding Books to see what other first lines you might discover today.

Happy Reading,

Monday, November 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday!

Once again TTT is here, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is 'Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR' and boy, do I have some good ones. Thanks to Amberley Publishing and their amazing/ridiculous sales, I keep finding books that I can't pass up. Seriously. It's like their Black Friday 30%-off-the-entire-site sale was just for me. My entire list is comprised of books from my most recent Amberley order. There are worse things to be addicted to.

Here are my picks, in no particular order:


1. There are few atrocities that Henry VIII committed during his reign that were as cruel and vile as Margaret Pole's imprisonment and execution. I, however unfortunately, already know that story and am interested in her life and want to learn as much as I can about the one woman who frightened Henry so much, he had her murdered to be rid of her.


2. I absolutely love any and everything having to do with King Arthur - insomuch as trying to determine whether he was actually a king who ruled, or nothing more than a mish-mash of several rulers, or pure fantasy. I think I enjoy the what-ifs the most, though in all likelihood he did not exist in the way we think of him today.


3. I am so excited for this one. I love reading about the places that these fascinating people spent their time, and I can't wait for this one to arrive. I myself am trying to do something in a similar vein for Eleanor of Aquitaine, though you can imagine it is a bit trickier going back 900 years than 500.


4. EEEEEK! Another one I can not wait for - that Bess of Hardwick sure was an instigator. This one won't actually be out until May, but it counts for my winter TBR because I have pre-ordered it.


5. Another that I am not-so-patiently waiting for. The origins of the Tudor line never cease to amaze me. Just imagine, had Owen Tudor and Catherine of Valois never had children, what would the UK look like today?


6. Another one that I am EEEEKed about. I know very little about Anne, but plenty about her husband and brother-in-law. And I did not realize until now that she did in fact serve all six queens during Henry's reign. I'm quite interested in finding out more about her.


7. A pattern is quickly developing, isn't it? Nearly every book on my winter TBR involves the Tudors somehow. This is yet another I have ordered and am waiting to get my hands on. Arbella's story is such a sad one, I am thankful every single day that I was not in any way, shape, or form connected to the royal family, regardless of which dynasty was in power. So much tragedy for so many.


8. I was pretty much sold on this one the moment I read the phrase 'the Medieval Boudicca'. Plus, she's the daughter of my fave king (Alfred the Great). Heck yes, I'll take a copy ASAP.


9. I almost bought this one so many times with Amberley's previous sales but am glad I waited for the 30% off. You can't really turn down hardcovers for that price, as long as you pretend that the £ is equal to the $. Which I never do.


10. I truly love Scotland best of all the countries I have visited. I've really got quite a soft spot in my heart for Mary. She never stood a chance once she left France. She trusted the wrong people and in the end had nothing to lose as plots against Elizabeth began unfolding. Seeing as how she had been held prisoner for so long, it is easy to see why she would risk her life; one way or another, she was going to be free.

Let me know what you think of my Amberley-sponsored (joking) Winter TBR picks and I'll be sure to do the same for you.

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday

Happy Thanksgiving Eve-Eve!

It's Tuesday and that means a new Top Ten list brought to you by the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is the top ten books you are thankful for. Please be patient with me, because you know this list is going to be more than ten. I will try my very best to keep it under twenty - no promises though.

Here they are in no particular order:


1. This one is a given, isn't it, for those of you who have seen many of my other TTT lists? This is the book where I met Eleanor of Aquitaine, and where I fell in love with Plantagenet history. This is THE BOOK that made me the BookDragonHistoryNerd that I am today. I have always loved to read, but the gravitational pull of non-fiction that I embrace is because of this book and now it is very rare for me to read any works of fiction. Plus, Dan Jones is pretty awesome. We are practically BFFs 😆


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2. Everything else Jones has written, because.


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3. I love Erik Larson's books. If you really are not into non-fiction, these read as though they are fiction. Another fantastic writer who brings history to life.


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4. Man, I loved this show and for years had cable and never missed an episode. I still love it, but I no longer have cable, so I have to rely on the show's website and clips posted on Facebook. Jon Stewart was so very comforting in those rough years of W's administration, and Trevor Noah has successfully helmed the ship for a couple years now in these very bizarre times. I greatly appreciate all he has done to keeping the show as quality now as it was when Stewart sat at the desk.


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5. Not only these, but a myriad of other texts written by contemporaries of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, and their children. My research and writing would not be where it is at today if not for these immensely valuable texts, as well as slews of surviving charters, letters, and objects even from the era - not to mention the Journal of Medieval History, from which I have dozens of articles to help paint a full an accurate picture of who Eleanor was and why she is so important. 


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6. Just a few of the many wonderful texts that are leading me to more sources and contemporary chronicles from Eleanor's time.



7. I read this book every year starting on Palm Sunday. It breaks down Christ's final week day-by-day. The book also puts the books of the Gospel side by side, discussing the differences in each account. It is a very important book and one I cherish.


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8. All of the small groups at my church right now are reading The Story and it is wonderful. My daughter's Sunday School class is also reading the age-appropriate kids' version and we read her copy together every night before bed also. Nothing compares to the real thing (and I myself am partial to the King James Version, which will shock NO ONE who knows me), but for those who feel overwhelmed by the Bible, this is a great way to be introduced to the most important book ever written.



9. I love Love LOVE this one. Though I recognize the need for William the Bastard to conquer England in order for my beloved Plantagenets to come to power, I can not ignore my love for the Anglo-Saxons and their way of life that was completely destroyed by the Normans. I treasure this book because it gives a variety of options for how things might have gone different in 1066, at varying times throughout the year, not only at the Battle of Hastings. There were many stories that were plausible and could truly have been the way things went had different people made different decisions. There were also some that were a bit more fanciful, but incredible reads none-the-less. A must-read for those who love the era.


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10. Two topics near and dear to my heart, by the same author. It absolutely guts me to think of that library and all the knowledge that was lost when it was destroyed. If I think about it for too long, I can occasionally nearly be moved to tears. And what else can be said about Alfred, the only English king to be called 'the Great'. Well-deserving, as it was all his work that paved the way for his grandson to unite the country.



11. I have a love/hate relationship with the title of the book, but I truly love everything else about it. The title bothers me in that it seems to be defeating the purpose of the book as a whole. The purpose is to showcase strong women who have made very distinct changes to our world throughout history. We should not be encouraging little girls to think of these women as rebels, but as powerful women who left their marks. If we continue to think of them as rebels, then we are further perpetuating the idea that these behavior and abilities are uncommon. Still, a wonderful collection of stories about women who followed their dreams, stood up for what they believed in, advanced our society, and fought for those who could not fight for themselves. My Mighty Girl loves this book and it is a treasure.

Here are a few others I am also thankful for, for my Mighty Girl. Reading to my sweet girl at bedtime is my favorite time of day. We love each of these books and in some cases the entire series. Seriously, do you know how hard it is to choose a most favorite Elephant and Piggie book? I recommend each of these books very highly; they are our go-tos for long car rides and cuddly rainy-day reading time. And really, pretty much any time.

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12. There are so many more books to include here but I could go on a while. I am thoroughly obsessed with the 5 boroughs and Manhattan in particular in the Gilded and Jazz Ages, but the city in general. I can not wait to see it for myself someday with my daughter and to take in the history and wonder of the City that Never Sleeps.

I feel like this is the best place to stop. I am pouring over my shelves and Kindle and trying so hard to determine which books truly deserve a place on this list and to continue choosing is almost too difficult. Plus, this might be one of my longest TTTs ever if I keep going.

Let me know what you think of my list and leave a link so I can take a look at the books you are thankful for also.

Happy Reading and Happy Thanksgiving,