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Sorry kids, no feet.

I am a former stay-at-home mom who has given up her hopes and dreams of becoming a professional reader. I now spend my days showing small children how to play games on computers. Right now I'm living vicariously through my 9 year-old who is reading everything she can get her hands on. 

Currently reading

A Corpse at St Andrew's Chapel (The Chronicles of Hugh De Singleton, Surgeon)
Mel Starr
After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle For the Throne of England
Leanda de Lisle

Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha #1) - Tasha Suri

Empire of Sand - Tasha Suri

There was a moment when I didn't think I would finish this book. I was about half way when I found myself asking, "What is keeping me entertained?" Honestly, nothing was keeping me entertained. Stubbornness alone kept me going. That seems to be a constant theme in my life. Ask my mother. 


I will admit to knowing very little about Indian culture. Perhaps if I had a better understanding of Indian mythology, I might not have found the book to be such a trial. I did find myself involved enough with the characters to want to push forward. That combined with the fact that it's been deathly cold and snowing for the last two days was enough incentive to push me to the end of this book. 


So how do I justify a four star rating when it doesn't sound like I even liked the book? It took me  16 days to get through the first 3/4 of the book. It took me three hours (Constantly interrupted, hours. Stupid Mondays when kids aren't in school.) to get through the last 1/4. The end of this novel was riveting. Enough so that I might go ahead and pre-order the next one. 

Francis I - The Maker of Modern France by Leonie Frieda

King Francis I Of France - Leonie Frieda

I will admit to being a huge Tudor enthusiast. I can name all of Henry's wives, Mary's priests, and Elizabeth's potential husbands. It seems odd that I know so little of Francis I whose own rule intersected with Henry VIII's in so many ways. With that in mind, I was immediately intrigued when I saw this book featured on my library's new release shelf. 


While, I found this book to be an interesting read, describing as a biography of how Francis created modern France is a little misleading. The author spends most of the time focusing on the relationship between Francis and Charles V of Spain. A lot of time is devoted to their various campaigns against each other in attempts to control portions of Italy and southern France. Henry VIII comes to play once in a while but he is by no means the major player most Tudor biographers would have you believe him to be. 


The author spends very little time on any kind of policy or trends Francis created in France. She does take time to name names regarding the various artists (including DaVinci), Francis patronized. However, there is not much time spent on describing any kind of influence those artists had on Francis or France as a whole. That is something I would have like to have been given more information about. 


Overall, if you are looking for an introduction to Francis I, this book works. I'm currently taking suggestions if anyone has any good books that delve a little deeper into how he ran France and/or his family life (specifically his own children). 

I'm still here!

I had all of these wonderful dreams of a summer spent reading and blogging. It's almost July. Neither of those things seem to be happening. 


As I am starting my third year at my job, my new boss has decided it's time for me to actually do something. Seriously, what a buzz kill. This means I've spent the first two weeks of my "summer vacation" at various training sites. I spent three days out of state at Google school. Sure hotel rooms without my children that I don't have the clean are fantastic. However, at the end of the day, I miss my kids and I can only eat so much pizza. I have no scheduled training dates in July so fingers crossed. 


My best friend is preparing for deployment. The last time she deployed, I said I was having a baby for her when she came back. That was when I had my twins. You might say I literally had a baby for her to take home when she came back. There are several days when I send her a text reminding her I'm still waiting for her to take delivery on her baby. Anyway. This time she has decided she wants to get married before she deploys. Her fiance is in her unit. They will be deployed together. It only makes sense. Well what's more military than a 4th of July wedding on a military base? The problem is, she has been out of state playing war games so I have been playing wedding planner. The chaplain who was suppose perform the ceremony backed out suddenly. Now instead of being wedding planner/matron of honor, I am wedding planner/wedding officiant. I pulled a Joey from Friends and became an internet ordained official. It just might be the coolest and most exciting thing I've ever done. To quote my mom "If anyone was going to pull a stunt like this, it would be you two. The only shocking thing is that you aren't marrying each other." 


I also have my summer side hustle involving the selling of lipstick. I'm not going to shamelessly self-promote here but if you want more information........I have more information ;) 


So, I'm still here. My girls start two weeks of swimming lessons after the 4th. With two hours poolside, maybe I'll have some time to catch up on my reading.

Summer Reading

My nine (nearly 10) year-old wants to read mystery books. 


So.......give me your best suggestions for mystery books for a fourth grader.


She's reading Trixie Belden. So far has no interest in Nancy Drew or Boxcar Children. 


I'm open to suggestions. 

Reading progress update: I've read 53%.

Death and the Courtesan - Pamela Christie

Once upon a time, ribbons were sewn around condoms to help courtesans know what size they were. Apparently you did not want a yellow ribbon.


I'm telling my husband this and he stops me mid-sentence.


"So they poked holes in them? To put ribbons in them?"


"That's my understanding."


"The first thing every guy in college learns is that you only want one hole in your condom."


"What's the second?"


"When in doubt, use two."


Meghan Markle has a lip biting husband who tells her how amazing she looks. Mine is telling me about condoms and college boys. I think it's safe to say we are out of the newlywed phase.

The Throne of Caesar (Roma Sub Rosa #13) - Steven Saylor

The Throne of Caesar: A Mystery of Ancient Rome - Steven Saylor

I am electing not to mark spoilers in this review. I feel the events of the novel are prominent historical events that the majority of readers should be familiar with. 




As excited for this book as I was, I was also hesitant to read it. As I understand things, this is the final book in the Gordianus the Finder series (Roma Sub Rosa). I'm just not quite ready to give Gordianus up despite the fact that he seems to have acquired a few more years than most Romans of the age. The author has been releasing prequel novels. However, none of those novels have really been any good. 


If you are coming into this book expecting the traditional Gordianus mystery, you are going to potentially be disappointed. There is a mystery in this novel but it doesn't make an appearance until about the last 100-75 pages. The novel revolves around Caesar and his death. There's no mystery there. Everyone knows how Caesar dies. Everyone knows who killed Caesar. Saylor still managed to make me care and maybe even convince me that just maybe this was an alternate history. Maybe Caesar didn't really die. 


It is difficult to make the events of the Ides of March take a backseat. Saylor manages to put Caesar's assassination in the way back. Cinna takes a front seat in this story. Cinna's work and his death are the star of this show. If you aren't sure who Cinna (the poet) is and where he stands in Roman history, I would strongly recommend doing a little bit of background research before starting this book. I must confess I had heard the name but wasn't sure exactly who Cinna was. I had to pause my reading to do some of my own research. 


While the author has said there are no plans for more Gordianus novels, there was a door left open at the end of the novel for a spin off. I'm not going lie, the idea of a spin-off doesn't thrill me. The prequels were enough of a flop that I'm not sure I'm interested in anything other than Gordianus as "the Finder". 

Reading progress update: I've read 250 out of 400 pages.

The Throne of Caesar: A Mystery of Ancient Rome - Steven Saylor

"Aren't you going to bed?"

"I need to find out how Caesar dies."

"What? You know how Caesar dies. You have a t-shirt all about how Caesar dies. You just wore it. You even stabbed Caesar yourself when you played Assassin's Creed."

"I need to see how Caesar dies from Gordianus' point of view. It's different."

"How many different ways can a man be stabbed?"



Reading progress update: I've read 158 out of 288 pages.

Sleep of Death - Philip Gooden

Nick and Nell talk an awful lot during sex. I guess if you are into that kind of thing.....

Reading progress update: I've read 15%.

The Poisoned Crown (The Accursed Kings, Book 3) - Maurice Druon

At this point, I think I've spent more time on the footnotes than I have on the actual book. Name the last book you read with footnotes that were more interesting than the book. I know I can't. 


Another one of my favorite things about this book is the way the author will kind of go off and be like "Hey, don't get too attached to this guy. He's not going to make it to the end of this book. Also, watch out for this guy. He's planning something."



The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher #5) - Kerry Greenwood

The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood

Apparently Mother Nature forgot to break up with Winter. The upside to this continued relationship? I have an excuse to spend my Sunday inside with tea and a book. 


I adore Phryne Fisher. She definitely makes my list of fictional characters I would love to spend the day with. She never fails to make me giggle while taking my breath away. I love how she just plunges headfirst into life. 


More than Miss Fisher, I love Greenwood's ability to weave a complete story into so few pages. I have yet to get to the end and feel like I've been shorted. Pun intended. 


I am starting to wonder if I should attempt to watch the television series based on these books. Do I need to progress further in the series to avoid spoilers? Will I inevitably disappointed with the adaptation? The little snippets of the show I have seen look promising enough. The actress cast as Miss Fisher certainly seems to fit the part which is more than I can say for that abominable Last Kingdom casting. *Listen, I don't know who the casting direction was trying to cast but that man is NOT Uhtred. He's too much of a pretty boy to be my Uhtred.*


The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte and Thomas Pitt #1) - Anne Perry

The Cater Street Hangman - Anne Perry

I'm still here! We've had a crazy few months at my place. I've had three sets of tonsils removed from various people in as many months. The two five year olds weren't so bad. The 33 year old? That was a special kind of fun. Seriously, the adult caregiver in charge should get drugs too. And I still have that full-time job thing that requires my attention. Unfortunately for me, the 33 year old from my house who just had surgery is also the head of the department I work in. Apparently since we share a mortgage, children, and weddings rings I get to do all of his work on top of my own work. I'm not really sure I get paid enough for that. Actually, I'm 100% positive I don't get paid enough for that. 


I have read books since I last reviewed. I think. I'm pretty sure I have. Maybe not. I don't really know. I'm not really even sure what day it is. 


My latest task for Historical Mystery Clue was to read a book with a black cover. I bought this book nearly two years ago for my Kindle when it was 99 cents. The goal was to read it when I bought it. The book came fairly highly recommended by people with similar tastes to my own. This book is also on The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List's Classic Historical Mysteries list. To me that implies it is a must read for fans of that particular genre. The other two books on the classics list are A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters and The Crocodile in the Sandbanks by Elizabeth Peters. I have now read all three classics. I was not impressed with any of them. I haven't even continued with the series in the case of the later two. 


So what was my problem with the book? It wasn't an overly complex book. I could have easily polished it off in a day if I had the time or the desire. The fact of the matter is, I didn't have the desire. Early on I found myself annoyed with the sisters. It was like Mean Girls meets Victorian London. The bickering and the nit-picking was almost more than I could take. I had the mystery figured out pretty early on. What kept me reading was the need to know if I was right. I was right. However, to find out I was right, I had to deal with pages and pages of sisters bickering, grandma bickering, and mom fighting with the mother-in-law. It was tedious. 


Based on how the book ended, I'm going to guess there's less of sister bickering in the coming books. Hoping this is true, I'm going to pick up the second book in the series to see if this series really does live up to the hype. 

Not-so-Super- Super Bowl

There was a point where I threatened to boycott the Super Bowl. After the way Vikings' fans were treated in Philadelphia, I told myself "Nope. I'm not watching that." 


Then I remembered Justin Timberlake was the halftime show. My 13 year old self said, "You have to watch!" I settled on watching but only for the commercials and the half-time show. And, if Philly happened to get trounced, it would be a bonus. 


So I watched. Here were just some of my thoughts"


-"So what? Philly has a lead. Did you see last year?"


-"Crap (or another word). Now my kid is going to have nightmares about a dinosaur trying to eat her while she sleeps. Thanks Jurassic Park."


-"Tom Brady is still on the other team. This game isn't over yet."


-"The skinny girl in the Diet Coke commercial stole my dance moves."


-"I should have made some food instead of taking a nap this afternoon."


-"Did Morgan Freeman just lip sync to Missy Elliot?!?! Best commercial ever!"


-"I forgot to go to the liquor store on Saturday."


-"Is it halftime yet?" 


-"I want an Alexa but only if she yells at me like Gordon Ramsay."


-"So is JT actually going to sing? Or are we just going to watch him dance?"


-"Where are the other N*SYNC guys?"


-"I wish Prince were alive. This show would be a million times better."


-"Maybe he won't actually do the Trolls' song?"


-"Damn it. Now I have the Trolls' song stuck in my head!"


-"Eli Manning has something funny coming. Maybe I'll keep watching."


-"OMG!! I'm going to pee my pants from laughing! That was the funnies thing I've ever seen!" 


-"Tom Brady is still playing. This isn't over."


-"I feel sorry for anyone who lives within 100 miles of Philly." 


Anyone else have any semi-interesting thoughts during the Super Bowl? Or were you like most of my friends who were just in it to get to the episode of This Is Us?



Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell

I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell. His Uhtred makes my list of literary boyfriends. The book Uhtred. Not whatever abomination they have cast in the television show. I don't know who that guy is but he's not Uhtred. Anyway.........I am also a big fan of historical fiction set in Tudor England. When I heard one of my favorite authors was writing a book about one of my favorite time periods? I was immediately sold.


It was purely coincidental that I read this book on the heels of reading another book featuring a Shakespeare brother. However, the Shakespeare brother in Cornwell's novel is an actual historical figure. There is a birth record for a child named Richard Shakespeare born after William. John Shakespeare of the the Rory Clements' novels is not listed anywhere as a brother to William. 


Fools and Mortals centers around Shakespeare's first performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Richard is a member of his brother's theater company, the Sharers. The relationship between the two brothers is far from close. Richard needs money and William is a means for Richard to earn money while doing something he likes (and by all accounts seems to be good at). While the company has found royal favor through their employer, Lord Hunsdon, they are never completely safe from the Percies who are charged with keeping London "moral". By moral, I mean, not Catholic. One of Willam's manuscripts goes missing and chaos follows.


If you read the book's blurb and pick this novel up expecting some deep, twisting mystery, you are going to find yourself disappointed. While there is a missing manuscript that needs finding, the reader immediately knows who took it. To classify this novel as a mystery is a stretch in my opinion. The manuscript doesn't actually go missing until the book is over half finished. The mystery is quickly solved. The bigger focus of this story is the process. How did the theater work in Elizabethan England? What did actors do? How did Shakespeare work? What was life like in London? All of these questions are answered as only Cornwell can do. My biggest problems with novels of this sort generally tend to be issues with setting the scene. An author will completely immerse their reader in Elizabethan London and then BAM! Something horribly out of place and anachronistic comes along to spoil the whole story. Not once did I get that feeling during this novel. Cornwell creates an authentic atmosphere. Not once does the reader feel like something is out of place. The manner in which his character speak and act flows with the addition of the lines from Shakespeare's works. It is wonderfully done. For that reason, I highly recommend this book. The setting, not the characters or the mystery, is the real star here. 


I would love to see more of this time period from Cornwell. 

I am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

I Am Livia - Phyllis T. Smith

I am reading books at a rapid pace right now. I've more or less been stuck on a couch with a pair of recovering five year olds for the last four days in addition to being hit with a terrible bout of sudden insomnia. At least I have plenty of books. 


To start, I have a minimal knowledge of Ancient Rome. I know what I've been taught in school. I know what my boyfriend Gordianus has taught me with his adventures. However, Gordianus (to this point) only brings me through Julius Caesar. Livia's tale begins with the death of Julius Caesar. However, my minimal knowledge of Caesar Augustus and his quarrels with one Mark Antony was enough to get me through this book without too much help from Wikipedia. 


I think my minimal knowledge actually worked in this case. I know about Livia and Nero and Claudius. I know who they are but not necessarily where they came from. While this book doesn't go into much detail about Nero or Claudius, it gives the reader an excellent glimpse into the life of the family's real power, matriarch Livia Drusilla. This Livia is not the scheming, poisoning, and manipulative woman we have been told about before. This Livia is slightly manipulative but not in the power mad way you think. At no point does the author lead you to think Livia's actions are meant to benefit anyone but Rome. This author does an excellent job making Livia human. She is a wife who cares for her husband. She is a mother who wants what is best for her children. She is a citizen who cares for her country. She is a woman who is constantly working to keep these three things in harmony even if it requires a personal sacrifice. 


I would have liked to have seen more of Livia later in life. I would have like to seen Livia during Nero. I would have liked to have seen Livia during Claudius even though the glimpses of Claudius we are given suggest that Livia wasn't exactly a fan. 

Reading progress update: I've read 55 out of 384 pages.

Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell

What is it about the playhouse that turns men and women into quivering puppies? All we do is pretend. We tell stories. Yet after the play the audience lingers at the house door wanting to see us, wanting to talk to us as if we are saints whose very touch could cure their sickness? But what sickness? Dullness? Boredom?"

Reading progress update: I've read 55 out of 384 pages.

Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell

I gave up on my Vikings. Kind of like they gave up on playing........nope.......too soon.


Instead, I'm moving on from one Shakespeare to another.