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Showing posts from August, 2022

E-Readers or the Real Deal?

I know, I know, this post has been done before. Many times. I just can't help myself though. It's a real curiosity for me, how other avid readers feel about this topic. I have thought a lot about it over the years and at the risk of sounding like the mushy middle my conclusion for myself is this......they are both worthy of respect.  But the e-reader is just more practical. So I will elaborate and explain my thoughts. I am a Gen Xer. That group who always has one foot in the technology world and one foot in the old school, 80's, had to use Encyclopedias for reports world. So it's no surprise that when e-readers came out I was hesitant. I actually remember the first time someone mentioned theirs to me that I was like, "what?  Who would even buy that thing? No pages to turn? No book smell? No going to the LIBRARY??? It was unthinkable. Then I bought a paperwhite during a Black Friday sale and oh my goodness....the possibilities. I could get any book I wanted immediat

To Hold the Crown by Jean Plaidy (Uneasy Lies the Head- UK Version)

  Publication Date: September 28, 1984 Length: 416 pages I just adore Jean Plaidy. Sometimes she gets a bad rap because her books are simplistic in dialogue and don't have much in the way of fictional characters. But these things are her strengths I say. When I was in high school I wanted to learn about The Tudors and her books were so good about combining accurate facts with the feel of a novel. I went away feeling entertained yet all of it was true so I was learning so much. She has covered so many Kings and Queens from England, France, and Italy it's hard to find someone royal she hasn't written about. For some reason I had never read this book before, I'd always started with Henry VIII or Elizabeth Tudor. There just aren't many historical fiction books on Henry VII, although that is changing recently. So this one was a must read for me this year. The story begins in 1486 at the birth of Prince Arthur to Elizabeth of York, who is now Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henr

Why I Love Historical Fiction

  In my review of Gone With the Wind I stated that it was the greatest novel of all time. I read it (or at least tried to) for the first time when I was twelve years old and it really stuck with me. I was also just crazy about a series called Sunfire that featured different time periods with the main character living through an important event.  So it kind of surprises me that throughout my twenties and thirties I not only didn't read historical fiction, I actually loathed most of it. I recall searching for books and scorning the ones that weren't actual history books or biographies. I ate up true crime, politics, and courtroom dramas like the ones written by John Grisham. And I still think all of those books added deep knowledge and value to my life. But I just couldn't bring myself to read anything considered both historical and fiction. Fast forward fifteen to twenty years and now it is practically all I read.  I used to think the dialogue and character interactions were

Shattered Crowns: The Scapegoats 1913-1914 by Christina Croft

  Publication Date:  July 26, 2011 Length: 360 pages I first discovered Christina Croft when I read her biography of Princess Alice, Queen Victoria's daughter, and the mother of Tsarina Alexandra of Russia. I thought it was interesting that she had written a whole book on the subject of Alice because I hadn't found another one. With her Shattered Crowns series she takes on the subject of World War I in a unique way and is one of the few authors who has written historical fiction about the Great War that isn't straight battles and strategy. I wanted to know about the major players, their thoughts, their inner struggles, and also the why behind the causes of the war. I feel like World War II is overrepresented in print and media and World War I is often forgotten. So many people can tell you who the "bad" guys are for World War II but have almost no understanding of who they were in the first war. Croft puts a very real, human face to the monarchs and rulers of the

My Top Auto Buy Authors (What the heck is that?)

I learn something new all the time while writing this blog. That's why it's so much fun for me! I read an article yesterday called, "Who Are Your Auto Buy Authors?" I had no idea what it was referring to. Apparently in the book loving world "auto buy" authors are those whose books one will buy without even reading the cover, reviews, or the jacket. You just know  you have to have the book based on who wrote it. I have been doing this all my life but never knew it was a condition with a name, lol.  I started thinking about who my auto buy authors are. It has definitely changed over the years which is totally normal. As a teen and young twenty something I used to heavily read true crime and politics. Then as I got older I gravitated to classics and history. The last decade my tastes have moved into historical fiction. So that is where I wanted to create my list from.  Below are my top auto buy authors. Who are yours? Did you even know such a thing existed? Ann

The Jane Seymour Conspiracy (The Marquess House Saga Book Four) by Alexandra Walsh

  Publication Date: July 18, 2022 Length:  401 Pages Thank you to Net Galley for loaning me this book for review.  This book looked really intriguing to me just based on the title and cover. It is the fourth in a series and usually I'm a stickler for starting with book one. But it was new and I am trying out Net Galley so I wanted to just jump in and read this one now.  The story is a time shift going back and forth between 2020 and 1527-1536. The modern day timeline consists of twin sisters Perdita and Piper who have inherited Marquess House from their now deceased grandmother and all that goes with it. The ladies, along with their love interests, have already been through the ringer with attempts on their lives and shady villians in the first three books and are now thrust into another quest for the truth that will cause them to be in grave danger again.  The story centers around Jane Seymour who comes to the court of Henry VIII as one of Katherine of Aragon's ladies in wait

Back To School: Classic Novels For Kids

  I love back to school time. My job as a reading interventionist lets me work with kids all year on their reading skills....dream job! I often lament that I don't have enough time to read whole books with my student groups the way I did in the classroom. I miss really digging into a novel and its characters because I saw so much growth and excitement when we did. Kids wanted to read the sequels or books by the same author and many times it spurred them to try books on their own when they didn't want to read much the year before. But I've started trying excerpts from classic books if I don't have time for the whole novel and I've been pleasantly surprised at the results.  Kids who are behind are often just given practice passages to work on skills and while that is sometimes necessary in school it doesn't do much to ignite their love of books. The more they love books, the more they will read, and the more they read, the better they will be at it! So when I can,

Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman

  Publication Date:  October 7, 2008 Length:  753 pages It has taken me a very long time to finish this book. Not because it isn't wonderful (it is!) and not because I wasn't excited to read it but because it really takes your full concentration. I have found this to be true with all of Penman's books but especially with this one. I also was reading the paperback copy instead of the Kindle version so I needed extra light with my old eyes. So here we are nearly six months after finishing the second book in this trilogy, Time and Chance, and I am finally reviewing book three.  Our story picks up where Time and Chance left off. Henry II is King of England and has returned from his self imposed exile in Ireland after the death of his frenemy Thomas Becket, former Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry is still trying to work through his complicated feelings about the Archbishop's friendship that turned sour after the two could not agree on how to balance church rules with divine r