Thursday, May 31, 2018

First Line Friday: Mona Lisa Edition

First Line Friday is brought to you by Hoarding Books.


"A genius immortalized her. A French king paid a fortune for her. An emperor coveted her. Poets lauded her. Singers crooned of her. Advertisers exploited her."

I suppose the day I finally make it to the Louvre to view (and ugly-cry about) the only item known to exist that was at one time owned by Eleanor of Aquitaine, I could stop by and check out Mona Lisa as well.

Have you seen the painting in person? If so, was it everything you thought it would be?

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Happy Reading!

State of the ARC 5

State of the ARC is a monthly feature hosted by Avalinah's Books. I am so glad I stumbled upon it, because it is really helping me with my 2018 Reading Goals (also find a related Top Ten Tuesday HERE). Links go to Goodreads, unless I have finished the review, in which case it goes to that. All ARCs are from NetGalley or Edelweiss, unless otherwise noted.

(Format equals = title/% complete, pub date)

Pending Approval/Denial = None

Not Started = None

Started = Five
The First Congress (33%), 2-9-16 (Received one month after publication)

The Price of Greatness (24%), 6-5-18

George Washington's Washington (10%), 4-1-18 (received in May from my NetGalley Wishlist!)

Top Hoodlum: Frank Costello, Prime Minister of the Mafia (55%), 6-26-18

Cecily Neville: Mother of Richard III (11%), 4-30-18 (received three weeks after publication)

DNF = Two

Finished/Review to Come = Nine
Six Months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln, 4-15-16 (Received three days after publication)

Queens of the Conquest, 9-26-17

Whose Promised Land, 10-15-15 (received four months after publication)

We Were Eight Years in Power, 10-3-17

American Gothic, 10-4-16

The Black Prince, 5-1-18

Those Three Words, 5-15-18 (from publisher)

The Poison Plot, 5-1-18

Review or Feedback Sent = Five

How successful were you this month in getting your ARCs under control? I am pretty proud of the progress I have made this month, and also for letting myself DNF two that were not holding my interest, no matter how many times I tried.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Would You Rather... #7

This is becoming one of my fave things. I love debating the pros and cons of a comfy and not-so-comfy reading nooks.



...Have Option A or Option B?

(Remember, you are choosing ONLY based on how comfy/cozy it would be for reading, and ease of access to books while reading!)

Monday, May 28, 2018

First Ladies of the Republic: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and the Creation of an Iconic American Role


I received a free ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 2.5 Stars

The book is best summed up in this way: Martha didn't want to be First Lady, Abigail was mad at everyone who didn't like her husband, and Dolley liked to party.

I wanted to like this one. I was stoked when I saw it on NetGalley, because I am just as interested in the First Ladies as I am in reading a biography of every president. Unfortunately this one fell short for me and was disappointing. The main issue I have is that it became so repetitive once we moved into the sections about Abigail and Dolley. This was especially problematic because Abigail was given the most coverage. Each woman was not showcased on her own, and their stories did entwine throughout but there is a point when enough is enough. I felt like we are constantly being told about Dolley being social. We get it, she was social. SHE WAS SOCIAL.

Now, I did only read an ARC and not the final copy. I know the book has been published now, but perhaps in a future edition the repetitiveness can be curbed so we can have a clear picture of the women in their time. On a positive note, the use of primary sources was fantastic and helped to really flesh out the women to help us understand how they fit into their roles and supported their husband and his politics. 

Top Ten Tuesday #32

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is "Bookish Worlds You'd Want to Live In/Never Want to Live In". Well this is super easy and it is safe to say I would never want to live in any of the eras I love to read about. Sure, castles are neat and I'd love to have met Eleanor of Aquitaine, but I also would rather not be murdered by Vikings or subjected to Roman rule.

Ancient World

Pros: Witnessing how Stonehenge was built, what its purpose was
Cons: Literally everything else about life in ancient times
Verdict: Pass...but I had to think about it a minute

Roman Britain
Pros: Boudicca, Bath, St. Patrick
Cons: Romans barging in and taking what is not theirs
Verdict: Hard pass. Sorry Boudicca.

Anglo-Saxon England
Pros: Alfred the Great and his support of education, unification of England under Athelstan, guys with cool nicknames like Edmund Ironside, Battle of Stamford Bridge, the last great Viking warrior Harald Hardrada
Cons: Blood Eagle (if you don't know, consider yourself lucky), Danelaw and the Vikings harassing everyone and carrying off captives, Edward the Confessor having no children, Norman Invasion, Battle of Hastings, dying before age 35
Verdict: Alfred is my fave king and I would love to have the chance to tell King Harold to WAIT FOR REINFORCEMENTS AND DON'T MARCH STRAIGHT TO HASTINGS FROM STAMFORD, but again, have to pass. 

Medieval England
Pros: Eleanor of Aquitaine, William the Marshal, Chaucer, Magna Carta, knights and jousting, castles
Cons: Henry II, John, mercenaries raping and murdering everyone and decimating villages when they did not get paid, the Black Death, dying before age 45, Hundred Years' War that actually lasted 116 years
Verdict: I can't help it. I have to meet her. YES!

Renaissance England
Pros: witnessing the rebirth of arts and literature, chatting it up with Martin Luther, seeing the castles/palaces that no longer exist (Woodstock, Nonsuch, etc)
Cons: Henry VIII murdering everyone
Verdict: Pass

Is there a pro or a con I am missing for any era that you think is important? Leave a comment and let me know!

Leave a link to your TTT so I can take a look at what worlds you would or would not want to inhabit.

Happy Reading!

Memorial Day 2018

I have said before that visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. I feel, very strongly, the same way about visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial in 2010. I was able to take my grandma on this amazing trip that included a day-long tour to various sites around the island, such as Wheeler and Schofield, among others.

But our day began here at Pearl Harbor and to see it all first hand is something I can't describe adequately. Standing aboard the memorial with the knowledge that mere feet below was the final resting place for so many young men who died before they even knew what was going was powerful and as I said, humbling.

Image may contain: cloud and sky
(I took this photo aboard the USS Arizona Memorial in June of 2010)

So, this Memorial Day I will make the same plea I do every year. Please, please, do not forget what this day truly means. While you are celebrating with family and friends, remember that freedom is not free. Men and women far braver than I have given their lives for our nation. Don't take that for granted. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture


I received a digital galley free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 Stars

I'm being generous with the 3 Stars. It's hard to take a book seriously that, at 3% in, refers to Amy Schumer as a 'feminist icon'. I considered putting the book down then and there, but continued in the hopes that would be the last of her, while simultaneously knowing it would not be. At 73% he goes a step further and says, "The success of the above-the-title funny women like Amy Schumer and Tina Fey may give the impression that comedy's gender gap is gone completely...". Not only did he keep bringing up Schumer, but he put her ahead of Tina Fey. She's not funny, and most definitely NOT funnier than Fey. Seriously.

Honestly, this book was...boring. Not exactly what you would expect about a book that talks about how comedy has 'taken over our culture'. But it was. it really was. I did find that overall, the last third or so was far more interesting. Not sure why, but it was easier to keep going, compared to the dozen times I wanted to toss it aside when I first started.

I would like to end on a positive note though. At 37% Jennings wrote, "Lorne Michaels famously hates it when Saturday Night Live cast members "break" - crack up or break character - during a sketch, but in the last few decades it's become a common occurrence on the show. Audiences always go nuts for it." This is very true, and here I leave you with my favorite, and perhaps one of the greatest breaks of all time...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Slayer Stats: The Complete Infographic Guide to All Things Buffy


Rating: 3 Stars

I soooooo wanted this one to be good. I was kind of disappointed, might as well be straight-up about it. I have been so spoiled by some of the other Buffy-related books that have come out over the last few months in honor of Buffy the Vampire Slayer turning twenty. This show meant EVERYTHING to me when I was in high school and college, and still does today, over a decade after it has gone off the air. I can not wait to be able to show it to my own daughter (except for very specific parts of season six, which was devastating).

This one though, left me very underwhelmed. I think part of it is because I already know so many of these facts. Maybe I don't have them organized in neat little pictures in my head, but for as OBSESSED with this show as I was (am), it would be pretty hard for me (or any Super Fan) to NOT know them. For the casual or non-fan, some of these will probably seem really picky and unimportant. But my expectations are suuuuuper high for content related to the show. There were some places that were not necessarily mistakes, but things that seemed odd or out of place. Other times there were actual mistakes that had no business in an authorized book about this show. I don't even really know the best way to do this and I was going to try to not do as many reviews for books that I did not enjoy, but this is Buffy we are talking about. These omissions and/or mistakes, I can not abide.

On page 12 there is a very basic map of Sunnydale. Angel's mansion is listed as being on Market Street. Sorry, but it was on Crawford Street. This is stated on the show. And while we are at it, the map shows Buffy's house being super close to City Hall, which is weird because it makes them look just down the block from one another. No aerial shots indicate Buffy lived near downtown, which is where one presumes City Hall would be. AND, how is The Bronze near the edge of Sunnydale when Cordelia makes the statement in the series premier about the good and bad parts of town? These are not just any old locations. With the exception of City Hall, these places play a pretty major role throughout the series. Seems like a little more thought should have gone into it.

On page 32-33 we get an infograph about Xander. It is all pretty accurate, though I think leaving Angel off of Xander's 'Hate' list is an omission I would not have made. I get that Spike was on the show much longer than Angel, but Xander definitely deeply hated Angel also. Perhaps 'Vampires with souls' would be more correct? Or simply Angel AND Spike? This is much more a personal preference than a mistake, so it doesn't REALLY count.

Page 34 and 35 give further information about Xander, in a line graph plotted to rank Xander's slightly embarrassing to very horrible 'trials and tribulations' as the subtitle calls them. Xander definitely had more than his fair share of shitty things happening to him, but there are a couple rankings in particular that trouble me. The first is 'Being dumped by Faith after losing his virginity to her.' He wasn't dumped, they didn't date. I would say the bigger embarrassment for him would have been the later conversation with Buffy and Willow, where Buffy breaks it to him as gently as possible that she doesn't really take the guys seriously that she hooks up with. And to me that would rank as both embarrassing AND terrible. Maybe this would have been better as a Venn Diagram than a line graph. On the same graph, 'Discovering Anya with Spike' is also ranked as 'slightly horrible' which makes no sense to me. For one, Xander still loved Anya even though they were no longer together, he was an adult at that point and not some high school kid, and this was a really awful thing to stumble upon. I'd easily give that a 'horrible' or at least a 'fairly horrible'.

On page 68-69 we do get an actual Venn Diagram, which displays the shows 'Saddest Moments'. Sad here is defined as: 1. feeling or showing sorrow, 2. Pathetic, uncool, or awkward (I would not equate that kind of sad with awkward, but whatevs), 3. Xander, according to Cordelia. This was the point where the Angel/Spike bias became most apparent. I appreciate that Buffy's killing of Angel was considered 'weepy', but then the authors also include Buffy telling Spike she loves him just as he's about to die on this side. I could buy that, despite my huge disdain for the Buffy/Spike debacle, had they not then put Angel being jealous of Spike's soul on the awkward side. What about that is awkward? Why would Angel NOT be upset? Yes, they were not together and had not been for a long time, but come on, soulmates, hello. (Don't come to me with info from the comics. Buffy and Spike do not belong together.)

One page 104 and 105 we get an infograph on Darla and Dru. The timeline where the two are connected is in 1880, where it says on Darla's timeline that she 'Sires Spike'. On Dru's it says for the same year 'Sires Spike (then known as William Pratt). Joss clarified the use of the word 'sire', because of when Spike was first introduced in 'School Hard'. There he referred to Angel saying, "You were my sire man, you were my Yoda." Angelus obviously did not turn Spike, Dru did. But Joss stated that 'sire' could refer to vampire lineage, which does make sense. This aspect of the timeline though, does not and actually makes it look confusing. Spike himself said to Angel, "Drusilla sired me, but you, you made me a monster." So, the referring to Angel as his sire also makes sense when used in the 'mentor/Yoda' sense. But Darla? It simply does not, except to go back to the lineage where Darla → Angelus → Drusilla → Spike. The next two pages are then a handy infograph titled 'Who Sired Whom' which shows that exact line. Still, it is not a choice I would have made.

A lot of people really seem to like this one so far, and that's good for them. Maybe I am being nit-picky, I don't know. This one just was not for me, though there were also some pretty cool infographs. I especially liked the "Big Bad Lineup", "Magical Artifacts" (including details on what the weapon did, where it was found, and what happened to it), AND "The Web" which connected a myriad of characters with the helpful color-coded key of unreciprocated interest, reciprocal interest, relationship, and kill. Might seem odd to include kill on a web about love, but I will simply refer you to Angel's voice-over from season two's episode 'Passion'. I do question the inclusion of Larry on the list as having unreciprocated interest in Xander. He talked about being out to Xander in season three's 'Earshot' when the gang were trying to figure out who Buffy had heard threatening to kill people at school. He offered to help Xander 'come out' when he thought that is what Xander was talking about but I never interpreted that as hitting on him. Perhaps my favorite infograph of all though was the one titled "I'm Only Sleeping: All The Times Giles Is Knocked Unconscious".

So, I guess I would say I would recommend this one with caution if you are like me and any of the above issues bothered you to the extent that they bothered me. If you spent this whole time saying, "Slow down, Crazy. This stuff is not a big deal", then have it!

Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency


I received a a free ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 Stars

I went into this one not quite sure what to expect. I mean, Dan Abrams is kind of dramatic. At least, he is on Live PD. I have seen a couple episodes randomly and it is not boring, that's for sure.

Despite my own personal goal of reading books about all the presidents besides Lincoln/Washington/Kennedy, I could not pass this one up. I have read so many books about Lincoln (hence the goal that I set for myself last year), but as our 16th president. I've read very little about his life before DC, before the Civil War, before he became the Great Emancipator. This book seemed perfect to remedy that, and though the title is a little misleading (this was not his last trial, though it was certainly the last of his major trials. And while it may not have 'propelled' him to the presidency, it surely could have hurt his chances had he lost the case). In in the end though, it was exactly what I wanted. In fact, in looking back over my notes on Goodreads, I discovered that I did not actually take any notes. This is both good and bad. It bodes well for the book usually, meaning that I was so into the book that I could not bother to stop to take notes. On the other hand, it becomes tricky when time comes to write the review, and I have ti flip back and forth through the book itself for exact quotes and anecdotes. Ah well, such is the life of a book dragon.

To say that Lincoln has had the most books dedicated to his life is not any stretch, by far. I saw some stats recently on this very subject and wish I could find the article again to share here. Something like over 100,000 books about him. Washington was in second place with around 80k and Kennedy around 60k. Again, see the need for my presidential reading goal? Yep, I am part of the problem. EDIT: After doing A LOT more searching into this, I discovered that these numbers are hugely inflated, as they were counting EVERYTHING written about him, not just actual books. The more accurate estimates are as follows - Lincoln = 16,000, Washington = 900, and Kennedy = 40,000. As you can see, other information I have located appears to say that far more books have been written about Kennedy than Lincoln.

Anyway. Given the fact that there are SO MANY books about Lincoln, it is hard to find a fresh angle to approach his life story. And do we really need a fresh angle? Haven't we possibly said all there is to say? Well, in general I suppose that answer is a resounding yes. Unless long-lost diaries and documents are discovered, I think it is safe to say that Lincoln's life has been well-covered.

Specific incidents in his life though, that is another story entirely. It is THIS story, in fact. A high-profile case that became his final murder trial before moving on to run for the highest office in the land. Instead of the story coming to us from Lincoln's perspective, we are given the facts from Robert Hitt, a stenographer whom Lincoln had met while debating Douglas, and who was on-hand to record the trial. Hitt had been hired by the Illinois State Journal to transcribe the case for the paper's readers and thank goodness for that, because what a wealth of information they provide. This was not a common practice in the 1850s, unlike today where this is not even given  second thought, because OF COURSE there will be court transcripts. Several pieces of the transcripts were used and I found it utterly fascinating - and to think, these documents had been lost until their discovery in 1989. We are "seeing Lincoln in action" so to speak, in a way so different from his words we have from his presidency. It is like another door has opened into his life and we are getting a new glimpse of him. An unfortunate side note to consider though - throughout the book Lincoln's ability to deliver a closing argument is referred to more than once. Yet you will not find those words transcribed, which was a disappointment. Closing arguments were not considered part of the trial testimony and thus, they are lost to us.

The book is fairly straight-forward, following the events from the feud between the victim and the defendant up to the end of the trial and Lincoln's victory. The lives of so many of the principal players were intricately entwined, as one would expect in a small town. The young man who died, Greek Crafton, had worked as a clerk in Lincoln's law office. Crafton's grandfather, Dixon Cartwright, makes several appearances - he and Lincoln were certainly not on the most friendly of terms, often butting heads in the political arena, though Cartwright was a preacher. The defendant was a young man named Quinn "Peachy" Harrison, who claimed to have stabbed Crafton in self defense. Lincoln knew Harrison well also, and was good friends with Harrison's father. I could not help but notice a parallel in this case to what Lincoln would deal with as our 16th president. Perhaps I am reading too much into it, or perhaps this is what Abrams intended, but hear me out. Springfield was a small town - around 10,000 at the time. Many people knew these young men and their families well. Lincoln had an unenviable role, his ultimate task was to try to bring closure to a painful episode for the community. Isn't that ultimately what he had to do during the Civil War? He had difficult decisions to make as our country tore itself apart, turning family members and friends against one another. The feud between the two men had been simmering for a while and ended in death for one of them. The raging debates over slavery had also been waged, simmering and eventually boiling over. I don't know, maybe I am looking too deeply, but that is the connection I made.

Despite my personal five star rating, the book is not without some flaws. There were certain aspects of the writing, such as conversations, thoughts, and feelings projected onto the men involved that we simply can't know for sure if they are accurate. There is a bit of conjecture, things Lincoln might have said based on what is known of his previous trials that would have been applicable here, and I am never a fan of that practice. However, so much of the book is based on Hitt's records, that it is a little bit easier to handle this conjecture than in other books that might be lacking contemporary sources and direct quotes. It is sometimes easy to get caught up in the narrative and forget, so just keep that in mind.

Overall, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. To see Lincoln the Lawyer instead of Lincoln the President was something I really liked. Lincoln clearly excelled in his profession and I wonder what his life, and our nation, would have been like had he remained a successful attorney and not sought the presidency. It is an interesting thought to ponder. A readable and engaging look into his life, highly recommended.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Like so many others I have been watching the havoc wreaked by Kilauea for the last three weeks. It is hard to reconcile what I see now with what I saw in 2010 when my grandmother and I visited the Big Island. We visited all over Volcano National Park, walked through the Thurston Lava Tube, and were able to traipse around the hardened lava flows from past eruptions. It's hard to believe it is even the same place.

Grandma and I in June, 2010 at the Jaggar Museum overlooking Kilauea.

Kilauea in May, 2018

 (2nd and 3rd photos taken from this slideshow)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #21

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature co-hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It is a chance to showcase all the goodies you've collected throughout the week, whether they're bought on-line or in-store, an ARC or a final copy, borrowed from a friend or the library, physical or digital, etc. Never has my addiction been more obvious than when I am now keeping track of every single book I acquire.

Amazon (via BookBub)

11857098 34145288 8253866



What did you add to your stash this week?
Happy Reading!

So I've Been Thinking...

Happy Friday!

I truly mean this, it is a happy Friday because today was the last student-day of the year. Teachers have to be at school next Tuesday and Wednesday for year-end meetings and classroom tear-down but I am THISCLOSE to summer vacation with my daughter before she starts KINDERGARTEN. It terrifies me to write those words, for so many reasons. Mostly, I don't even know how she is almost five. I feel like just yesterday she was a baby and now I have this mature little lady.

Now to the serious stuff.

I love reading and I love talking about books. I love writing and researching and basically if it has to do with a book or reading, I love it. I love reading, got it?!

I love sharing my love of books, but honestly, sometimes I put way too much pressure on myself to churn out reviews and it is making book blogging decidedly not fun anymore.

There, I said it. Blogging is not as fun as it used to be.

This is mostly my fault. I requested way too many ARCs and galleys and that is where my biggest stress is coming from in being behind on reviews. When I started my own writing project, I pushed the ARCs aside and went headfirst into that. I still am aiming for the first draft to be done by August 1st. And yet...all these damn ARCs are in the way.

I have to review them. Yes, even the ones that I received after they were published. Even the ones that were published two years ago. I have to, because that is my end of the deal. I can't imagine too many things worse for a writer than letting your precious words go out into the bloggosphere and hearing...nothing back.

I would hate for that to happen to me, and I don't want to be someone who does that to a fellow author. I enjoyed the books (most of them, anyway), so they each deserve a well-thought out review.

And that is the problem.

I (almost) always try my best to give a thoughtful review to each book and unless their are extenuating circumstances and the author turns out to be a terrible person or insane, I aim to be constructive in my critique for things that could be fixed, and generous with my praise for everything that went right. But, those reviews take a long time for me to do, a couple hours each sometimes. I comb through my notes on Goodreads, I (sparingly) check out at least a few other reviews to see if I am way off-base on my interpretation, and I try to provide examples that are most pertinent to my opinion.

If you hang out here a lot, you might have noticed I have not posted many reviews in a while. It's exhausting sometimes, plain and simple. A few months ago I created an "Upcoming Reviews" page to try and hold myself accountable. It has backfired completely because I have let the list get so huge, I don't even look at it anymore when I add a book to the list. It makes me want to cry.

I'm not even totally sure where I am going with this. I am venting a little, but I know that now that summer is here, I need to get both my own book, and these mounds of reviews done. But I also will always put my daughter first, and all the fun things we have planned this summer.

Reviews can take a long time and I will never stop reviewing, but I also know that I read a bit more non-fiction than most. I love to talk about bookish things, and I find more conversations happening on posts that are not reviews. I want to go where the conversations are, but I also want to review without spending hours on something that no one reads. (And, I know that they do get read, so thank you! I am just being dramatic right now.)

So my solution for the time being is that I will continue to review, but sometimes they may be a bit shorter than something I have churned out in the past. I've read plenty of books over the last year where a paragraph would have sufficed. I am hoping to have a more healthy mix of longer and shorter reviews sprinkled in with all the bookish fun going on - the Top Ten Tuesdays, Would You Rathers..., First Line Fridays, Stacking the Shelves, State of the ARCs, and whatever else I find that amuses me.

If you stuck with me to the end of this rant, thank you.
As always, let me know your thoughts and how you maintain your sanity while reading and reviewing.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

First Line Friday: Chernobyl Edition

First Line Friday is brought to you by Hoarding Books.


"Radiation is perhaps the most misunderstood phenomenon known to humanity"

I am hopelessly drawn to Chernobyl. I think it is partly because I am hopelessly in love with ruins - during my jaunts across Scotland and Ireland, by far my fave castles were the beautiful ruins. But there is something else to it with Chernobyl. Much like the endless fascination with Titanic and the tragedy of that dark night, it is the intrigue of man trying reign in that which he will never have complete control over.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Would You Rather...#6

Happy Wednesday!

This is becoming one of my fave things. I love debating the pros and cons of a comfy and not-so-comfy reading nooks.



...Have Option A or Option B?

(Remember, you are choosing ONLY based on how comfy/cozy it would be for reading - and ease of access to books while reading!)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #31

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is "Best Character Names". Forget all those fantasy/paranormal/whatever names fluttering around, there are plenty of unusual/uncommon names found in all sorts of beautiful non-fiction books that I am happy to share. Today I am focusing on three figures from history, some pretty bad-ass women who have amazing stories to tell.

(Links go to Goodreads)

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Okay, so this name is not unusual, and is kind of making a comeback (something that distresses me to no end). But one of the things that makes her name special is that it is possible she was the very first Eleanor. (I find some variations to the story, so this is not a 100% for-sure thing). However, Eleanor's mother's name was Aénor. Eleanor was named Alíenor, literally meaning 'another Aénor'. Also, Aquitaine in itself is pretty neat.

Recommended Titles

While the name is a mouthful, she is a most intriguing figure from the long-ago days when the Anglo-Saxons ruled and William the Bastard was still nearly two centuries away from setting foot on England's soil. Aethelflaed was the first-born child of my fave king, Alfred the Great and there is some interesting research out there about her that shows perhaps she learned a thing or two military-wise from her father. When her husband died in 911, she became known as 'Lady of Mercia' and sought out her brother Edward the Elder as a partner so they could rule their respective kingdoms with aid from one another and attempted to further their father's idea of a united England - something that would come to fruition during the rule of Edward's son Athelstan.

Recommended Titles

Boudicca, Bouddica, Boudica, Boudecea

I have said, more than once, that my little lady is extremely lucky that I discovered Eleanor of Aquitaine before I learned about the mighty queen of the Iceni, Bouddica. And for the record, there are so many spellings even I use them interchangeably because honestly, it is easy to lose track of the number of consonants and vowels when one is typing quickly. Whether Bouddica's story is true or not, whether she was a warrior who rallied the tribes around her and defeated the Romans twice, rather completely before being routed in a third meeting and subsequently losing her own like (either from illness or suicide), the story is A-MAY-ZING. However, given the fact that her revolt was written about by both Tacitus and Cassius Dio, I am inclined to believe she existed. Not to mention the fact that there is a whole layer of earth in both Colchester and London referred to as the 'Boudiccan Layer' or 'Boudiccan Destruction Horizon' that reveals her presence the complete decimation she and her followers brought down upon the two Roman-controlled cities at the time. Her story is so intriguing, it is a shame we don't know more of it.

Recommended Titles

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Leave a link to your TTT so I can take a look at what you've shared this week.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Stacking the Shelves 20

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature co-hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It is a chance to showcase all the goodies you've collected throughout the week, whether they're bought on-line or in-store, an ARC or a final copy, borrowed from a friend or the library, physical or digital, etc. Never has my addiction been more obvious than when I am now keeping track of every single book I acquire.

17289930 18593101 14680501

Kindle Unlimited
32471499 38724054 37540850
37003347 37651557 37809400
39729934 37819590 38560707

Much like the Charles River Editors books I have mentioned in the past, these Hourly History books are short and concise. I find this series to be of better quality than the Charles River ones, though they can sometimes be hit or miss. For the most part they are much more accurate and contain fewer typos and errors of that nature.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hopefully God and I Can Negotiate...

Okay, so of course I was not actually on my deathbed last week (though I definitely felt like it last Sunday when the pain was unbearable and I was driving myself to the ER), but I foresee this conversation in the future.

But, hopefully it is far far far in the future, when I will have read every book I will ever want to read.

Would You Rather... #5

In case you missed my little announcement about the fun at the ER on May 6th, I have been a little less active than usual. I returned to work this Monday, May 14th, and have been doing well until yesterday when I was experiencing pain again. I am supposed to take it easy for the next few days and hopefully that will help.



...Have Option A or Option B?

(Remember, you are choosing ONLY based on how comfy/cozy it would be for reading!)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Stacking the Shelves 19

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature co-hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It is a chance to showcase all the goodies you've collected throughout the week, whether they're bought on-line or in-store, an ARC or a final copy, borrowed from a friend or the library, physical or digital, etc. Never has my addiction been more obvious than when I am now keeping track of every single book I acquire.


NetGalley Wishlist
Wishes DO come true! I have had this book on my NetGalley Wishlist for a long while and this week I was randomly selected as one to receive the book. I've never gotten one of these before!

Amazon (via BookBub)
8682940 16275050 25277073
St Marks is pretty special to me and I read it a couple years ago, but I had to have my own copy. You can check out my review HERE. At the end of the book Calhoun lists all the pop culture references to St Marks in movies, television, music, etc. In the hardcover version, the episode of Friends that first introduced me to St marks was not included. I mentioned this to her on Twitter and am happy to report that it made it into the paperback version!


Happy Reading!