Sorry kids, no feet.

I'm a reader raising voracious readers. To mock my children, I have recently quit my job so  I can stay at home and read all day. I enjoy caffeinated beverages, short walks to the library, and long walks down aisles of used book stores. 

The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro #4) - Laura Joh Rowland

The Concubine's Tattoo - Laura Joh Rowland
I really enjoyed the first three Sano Ichiro books. This fourth novel? I'm not really sure what this was. The new characters, specifically Reiko, did not work for me. Reiko was a spoiled brat. All we were missing was a good foot stomping.

You would like to see a little bit of development from existing characters as you move through a series. There was development. Just not the kind of development one would typically expect. Male characters developed......they developed a lot of erections. At one point, I wasn't sure if I was reading a mystery/thriller or a samurai version of 50 Shades of Grey. This was the kind of book my grandma covered with a cute quilted book cover and then tried to tell us she skipped the smut. She was just reading for the story.

At the end, I was let down by this book as much as Hirata was let down by Lady Ichiteru. Well...he wasn't actually let down and that was part of the problem.
SPOILER ALERT!

Death in Focus (Elena Standish #1) - Anne Perry

Death in Focus - Anne Perry

Death in Focus is the first book in a new series by Anne Perry. It features Elena Standish, a seemingly ordinary girl who is trying to develop a career in photography (see what I did there?) in the years between WWI and WWII. 

 

I'm having a hard time understanding how Anne Perry is going to make a series out of the adventures of Elena Standish. Mainly because Elena should have been dead a thousand times over by the end of the first book. 

 

This book was pretty awful. I've been working on putting down books that I know are going to be one star reads for me. There are too many books waiting for me. Why waste time on books that aren't going to be any good? This book was an exception to that rule. Be warned there are a lot of potential spoilers ahead.

 

Elena was the biggest problem with this book. She was flat out stupid. At several points during the novel, the reader is reminded that Elena has more poor choices regarding men before. We aren't told exactly what her previous flame does. All we know is he betrayed England during WWI. He made her look like a fool. The reader is told this several time. Elena tells herself this several times. One might think a person would learn her lesson. If you can't trust a man you knew for years and found yourself to be in love with, why in the world are you trusting a man you met on the street in a foreign country? I have no idea what the answer to that is. Elena does though. Or at least she must have a good reason because that's exactly what she does. More than once. 

 

Elena decided to abandon her sister in Italy and go fleeting to Paris with a man she just met. The trip to Paris is interrupted when her new love interest is given a secret mission that requires him to immediately go to Berlin. "I'll just go to Paris and wait for you." That's what you might think Elena would say. You'd be wrong. Elena decides she should go to Berlin (a current powder keg where Hitler is doing everything he can to throw a match) with this man she knows nothing about.

 

Long story short, the man ends up murdered. Elena ends up on the run. She spills her guts to every stranger she meets but then can't figure out why the German police are after her. Meanwhile in England, her grandfather who use to be the head of MI-6 can't seem to come up with a plan to keep tabs on Elena and get her out of trouble. 

 

This was one of the most absurd, unbelievable novels I have read in a long time. I really only finished it thinking that the publisher was pulling a fast one on readers. Elena ends up dead at the end of the novel and there's actually going to be an entirely different series. Hopefully a series featuring Elena's Luger wielding grandma, Josephine. There's your series folks. If it weren't for the anachronistic political discussions sprinkled in, I would have forgot I was reading an Anne Perry novel. This had none of the trademarks of her Pitt, Monk, or even Christmas novels. 

Ravenspur: Rose of the Tudors (Wars of the Roses #4) - Conn Iggulden

Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors - Conn Iggulden

The more I think about this book, the more my rating decreases. I think that means I should probably stop thinking about it. That's not likely to happen any time soon. See, I have a huge problem. The problem is, this should have been two books. One book focusing on Edward IV retaking the throne from Henry VI. One book focusing on everything after Tewkesbury including Henry Tudor's coming to the throne of England. Instead we get both of these things crammed into one book. Is something really crammed if it's nearly 500 pages? 

 

Part one in which Edward IV is in exile and Henry VI (or what's left of him) is back on the throne is excellent. Iggulden writes a battle scene second only to Bernard Cornwell*.His characters are well rounded. The only thing I wish Iggulden would learn is to separate his personal feelings from his characters. His disdain for Elizabeth Woodville and her family is fairly obvious. However, his reasons for this disdain are not. The lack of screen time Henry Tudor is given would also lead me to believe Iggulden isn't a huge fan of the Tudors overall. Which leads me to wonder why one would even write this book. I digress.

 

Part two is like an irritating movie. You've been watching this incredible piece of cinema for nearly two hours when suddenly the director realizes they need to wrap it up and get butts out of the theater. Everything is thrown together. Questions you've had from the beginning are sort of answered. Suddenly the credits are rolling. You're not sure how you got to the end yet here you are. I'm sure there are reasons why this series didn't stretch into five books instead of four. Pretty good ones I would imagine since the four books were originally only suppose to be three. However, it doesn't change my opinion. This series should have been five books. Iggulden should have (or been allowed to have) time to really write about the "rise of the Tudors".  

 

All of those things being said, I would still recommend this series about the Wars of the Roses over anything Philippa Gregory has produced. I wouldn't even recommend wasting time, paper, or energy with PG's "Cousins' War" series. 

 

I'm planning on starting The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman fairly soon. I haven't decided if this is a good idea or one of the worst ideas I've had in a while. Time will tell. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Uhtred wins every time. Fight me on this. 

DNF @ 30%

Red Rising - Pierce Brown

I think I have put aside more books than I have finished so far in November. That's not encouraging. 

 

You know what else is not encouraging? Darrow and his "rebellion". At least I think that's what the endgame is suppose to be here. I'm not really sure. I had a hard time getting past the My Fair Lady portion of the book. So many people compared this book to a grittier version of Hunger Games. At least Hunger Games had some action. Maybe something will happen in this book eventually but I'm not going to waste time finding out. 

DNF - 50%

Gods of Jade and Shadow - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The cover of this novel was more interesting and intricate than any of the words inside. That's why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. 

 

It wasn't all bad. The author can set a scene with the best of them. Her characters just don't work. They were flat. Not engaging. Predictable. It just didn't work for me. Time to move on to something else. 

2020 Planning Thread

You would think being recently unemployed would leave me with a lot of extra time on my hands for things like reading. Apparently this is not the case. As it turns out, I'm incredibly bored. As it turns out, reading is something I can do just because I'm bored. It was a revelation 30-ish years in the making. 

 

As the new year approaches, I don't see my employment status changing. I need a hobby. Something I like to do when I'm bored is make lists. Is that weird? It sounds weird when I say/write it out loud. 

 

Once upon a time, my mom bought me the Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List. I shouldn't say bought. She got it for free at a garage sale. She thought it would be a funny gift. See, I'm not one who relishes in being told what to do. Especially when it comes to reading. I'm going to read what I want. On my very first day of freshman English in high school, I was handed a list of 50-75 books considered essential reading for anyone wanting to go to college. That list went in the trash as soon as class was done. 

 

How does any of this tie in to my need for a hobby and my mother's gift? In 2020, I'm going to read the books listed in the Idiot's Guide. The book breaks things down by genre. There are actually several lists within the book. I'm going to start with the historical fiction list. Mainly because I've already read several books on the list. 

 

This thread is going to serve as my tracking thread. 

 

I.) Historical Fiction Reading

  A.) Classical Reading

      1.) The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone

      2.) The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye

      3.) Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor

      4.) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

      5.) Hawaii by James Michener

      6.) I, Claudius by Robert Graves

      7.) Katherine by Anya Seton

      8.) The King Must Die by Mary Renault

      9.) The Lady in the Tower by Jean Plaidy

      10.) Shogun by James Clavell

  

  B.) Ancient World Reading

       1.) The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild

       2.) The Beacon at Alexandria by Gillian Bradshaw

       3.) The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel

       4.) Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

       5.) The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohn

       6.) Hippopotamus Marsh by Pauline Gedge

       7.) King and Goddess by Judith Tarr

       8.) Pompeii by Robert Harris

       9.) The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

       10.) Sarum by Edward Rutherford

 

  C.) Medieval Europe

        1.) The Innocent by Posie Graeme Evans

        2.) Jerusalem by Cecelia Holland

        3.) In the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

        4.) The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman

        5.) A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley

        6.) The Winter Mantle by Elizabeth Chadwick

        7.)The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

 

  D.) Royalty Rock Reading

      1.) The Alchemist's Daughter by Katherine McMahon

      2.) The Autobiography of Henry VIII, with Notes by his Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George

       3.) The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

       4.) Circle of Pearls by Rosalind Laker

       5.) The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

       6.) Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

       7.) The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett

       8.) The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

       9.) The Lady's Maid by Margaret Forester

      10.) The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gulland

      11.) Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian

      12.) The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

      13.) Penmarric by Susan Howatch

      14.) Sails on the Horizon by Jay Worrall

      15.) The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell

      16.) Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell

      17.) Through Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen

 

  E.) United States Reading

       1.) Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

       2.) The Alienist by Caleb Carr

       3.) Beloved by Toni Morrison

       4.) Brooklyn by Emily Barton

       5.) City of Light by Lauren Belfer

       6.) Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

       7.) The Color Purple by Alice Walker

       8.) Creek Mary's Blood by Dee Brown

       9.) Daughter's of Fortune by Isabel Allende

      10.) Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles

      11.) Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati

      12.) The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

      13.) The Known World by Edward P. Jones

      14.) Lincoln by Gore Vidal

      15.) North and South by John Jakes

      16.) People of the Wolf by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

      17.) Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

      18.) Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo

      19.) These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Pine, 1881-1901 by Nancy Turner

      20.) Voodo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewell Parker Rhodes

 

  F.) Asia Reading

      1.) Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

      2.) The Impressionist by Hari Kunzra

      3.) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

      4.) Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

      5.) Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord

 

  G.) Middle East/Africa REading

       1.) Exodus by Leon Uris

       2.) Flight of the Falcon by Wilbur Smith

 

At some point, I think the Asia and Africa lists needs to be discussed in comparison to the United States and Europe lists. 

 

 

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

The Lager Queen of Minnesota - J. Ryan Stradal

Without going back to look, I can't remember what my previous choice for favorite book of 2019 was. It doesn't matter. Whatever it was, it has been dethroned. The Lager Queen of Minnesota is and will remain my favorite read of 2019. 

 

This book demands that you read it while eating tater-tot hotdish and listening to Prince. It was absolute perfection. The characters. The setting. Everything. I laughed. I cried. I cried a lot. The women in this novel tore at my heart. I knew these women. I was raised by these women. This book made my heart ache for the carefree days spent following my grandma around in her garden or standing in her kitchen carefully measuring out ingredients to make something beyond delicious. 

 

It wasn't just the women who made me emotional. It was the beer. I'm a huge fan of beer. The guy who picks up our recycling every week would probably argue I'm something a little more unhealthy and he only takes clear glass. The beer in the book wasn't just beer. I could see and smell the Grain Belt, the Hamms, and the PBR my grandpa use to drink. It depended what was on sale. Every night for supper, he had a beer for supper. Even towards the end when the doctors told him he wasn't allowed to have beer with his medication. He didn't care. He fought in WWII. He was going to drink the beer. It was only one can. And honestly, it wasn't even one can. For 57 years, he split that one can of beer every night with my grandma. Even after she died, he only poured himself half a can. 

 

My own personal nostalgia aside, I highly recommend this book. It's just as Minnesotan as giant roadside attractions (shout out to the World's Largest Ball of Twine Made by One Man) and Sven and Ole' jokes. To some it might be boring but it's full of heart and people you won't easily forget. 

 

 

 

 

Edit- I've done the leg work. It seems my top books this year have been A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn, Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman and Virgil Wander by Leif Enger. I find it rather strange that two books about Minnesota by Minnesotans landed in my top five. I'll be the first to tell you Minnesota is kind of boring and ordinary. 

Try New Things

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie

When you quit your job and don't immediately go back to work full time, sometimes you have to make some cost cutting moves. First on the list of things to go, my subscription to Pandora. Second, extra cell data. I'm driving my girls back and forth to school every day. This leaves me with quite a bit of time in a vehicle with only the radio to keep me company. The problem with the radio is Taylor Swift. I can't. She's everywhere. Nope.

 

The girls found the audio books at the library recently. We've been working our way through various children's' books. I decided this might be an opportunity to look through the adult audio selections. This is how I stumbled on to And Then There Were None read by Dan Stevens. 

 

In my house Dan Stevens is Beast from the live action Beauty and the Beast. In my van, he saves me from the voices in my head by providing me with brilliant voices of his own. I'm enjoying listening much more than I thought I would. 

 

All of this brings me to a question- What audio books do you recommend? Who are some of your favorite narrators? Books can be children or adult.

The Library Book - Susan Orlean

The Library Book - Susan Orlean

It's been soooo long since I have read a book that was any good. The wait was completely worth it. 

 

If you love reading, you need to read this book. It is so much more than just an in-depth look at the Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986. It is a emotional, uplifting, and deep look at the role libraries play in our society. It goes beyond America. It looks at the impact of libraries on a global scale.

 

Once you get into it, the library fire is actually a very small part of the story. The Los Angeles Public Library is the star of this story. The supporting cast is a wide variety of people from all walks of life. By the end of this book. I found myself wanting to go the Los Angeles just to see if I could meet some of these people at the library. 

 

My husband was more than annoyed with me by the end of this book. I was constantly sticking my head of spouting random facts about fires and fire fighters. At one point, before I even said anything, he put his hand up "I use to be a fire fighter. I know!" Ok but did you know........There was just so much I wanted to share. And if you think he was annoyed with the fire facts, it was nothing compared to the look on his face when he watched my cry through all of chapter 9.

 

I could go on and on about this book. Or you could just read it yourself. It's just one of those books I feel like you need to read to understand how wonderful it really is. 

 

I can say all kinds of things that might convince you. Instead I want to share a passage:

"My mother imbued me with a love of libraries. The reason why I finally embraced this book project- wanted, and then needed, to write it- was my realization that I was losing her. I found myself wondering whether a shared memory can exist if one of the people sharing it no longer remembers it. Is the circuit broken, the memory darkened?"

 

And maybe one more-

"The idea of being forgotten is terrifying. I fear not just that I, personally, will be forgotten, but that we are all doomed to being forgotten- that the sum of life is ultimately nothing; that we experience joy and disappointment and aches and delights and loss, make our little mark on the world, and then we vanish, and the mark is erased, and it is as if we never existed." 

 

Seriously. Read this book. It is the best book I've read all year. 

 

The Electric Hotel - Dominic Smith

The Electric Hotel - Dominic Smith

I was immediately draw to this book by the cover. When I flipped it over to read the blurb, the spine had black and white images of tigers. Hotels and tigers? I don't even care what this book is really about, I need to read it.

 

About 50 pages in, I was already setting myself up to read yet another disappointing book. At least I'm consistent at this point. I really had to push myself to get through the next 50. At about 105, I knew sticking with it was the right choice.

 

The book follows Claude who is one of the very first concession agents for the Lumiere brothers. The Lumiere brothers invented the cinematographe, basically an improvement on Edision's peepshow device. I did a little research after reading this novel. Edison was a douche in this book which as it turns out is pretty true to life. 

 

Claude eventually decides to branch out. He decides he wants to make his own movies. He collects a group of people including an aging actress, a man who lights himself on fire, and a guy who just wants to get out from under the mod. It's the stuff good television is made of, right? Together they embark on the most adventurous cinema project of the age. The Electric Hotel is Claude's epic work. The story follows the "gang" through the movie's production and the events that follow the movie's controversial release.

 

All of this is being told to Martin, a college student who seeks out Claude at his current residence, the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. Claude's story telling is mixed with current events. Current, like 1962 current. 

 

As mentioned before, the first 100 pages were a bit of a struggle for me. More than anything going on in the story or the author's writing, it was the format. I thought it was clunky. The author uses block paragraphs. Some paragraphs are full of three or four long sentences. Some are long paragraphs filled with short sentence. He doesn't punctuate conversations the way you normally would. 

 

--Hi

--How is your day?

--I think we need a tiger in this movie.

--I'll find one.

 

That is how conversations appear. It took some getting use to. If that tiny example turns you off, don't even bother with this book. 

 

So why did I stick to it? One, I'm determined to get out of my bad book slump. Two, once I got to the part where Claude and crew are making their epic masterpiece, I couldn't put the book down. The author made me feel like I was watching a silent movie. The images that ran through my head were black and white accompanied by dramatic piano scores. It was brilliant. It was haunting. It was beautiful. 

 

I'm curious to know if anyone has read The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Smith. I would love to know if his different style is his signature or just something done with this novel. 

Not Really Book Related

One of my seven year olds has discovered Disney sequels. I don't know if there is enough alcohol to get me through this. 

 

I came downstairs a little before 7:00 this morning to find she's watching the second Pocahontas movie. You know, the one with the James I who is probably an accurate depiction? Where Pocahontas is a perfect example of British society with enough white paint? 

 

I think this afternoon, we are going to the library and getting the real story of Pocahontas. It could be the most traumatic thing my children experience. Seriously, other than a means of torture, why was this movie made?

 

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) - Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco

It looks like my quest for a good book continues.Stalking Jack the Ripper is just the latest in a line of bad books. I understand that this book was written for a Young Adult audience. However, this book is a prime example of why I avoid Young Adult books. Even when I was a Young Adult, I avoided Young Adult books. I went straight from the Babysitter Club books in the basement of the public library to Anne Rice upstairs. There was never an in-between stage for me. I'm not saying that there isn't good Young Adult literature out there. This just isn't an example of it.

 

First of all, I think the author could have easily avoided using the Jack the Ripper story line. She could have easily told her story as something separate from Jack the Ripper. If you read her author notes at the end, you'll find she more or less told her story separate from Jack the Ripper. The notes were full of things like "I know this happened like this but it didn't fit my story so I changed it" and "I didn't mention this person, even though they were kind of a big deal because it didn't fit my story". Then tell a different story. Plenty of books exist dealing with the mythology of Jack the Ripper without actually being about Jack the Ripper.

 

If she would have told this story with different characters it would have been even better. I will preface this by saying I finished Anne Perry's A Breach of Promise right before starting this book. One of my biggest problems with that book was the lecturing about feminism during Victorian England. I don't want to be preached at. I understand that women were poorly treated. I understand sexism still exists. I'm raising three girls. I get it. Anyway. I knew this book wasn't going to be about a Victorian teenage girl who falls into the expected societal roles. The blurb tells you she helps her uncle perform autopsies. That's fine. I have no issues with that. What I do have issue with is a character who has to constantly remind everyone around her (and the reader) that she's not just a stupid girl. However, at the same time, don't tell her she's not a lady. She may like dead bodies but she also really likes pretty things. She's complicated like that. More than solving the mystery of Jack the Ripper, our protagonist Audrey Rose, sets out to answer the question "Can I be taken seriously in the science world if I still wear make up and pretty dresses?" Again, I have zero issues with the feminism at work here. My problem is the way the author continues to hammer it home. I get it. She's unconventional. I get it. She's in a man's world and she has to prove herself. Tell me who Jack the Ripper is already.

 

The other main character, Thomas, was just as irritating as Audrey Rose. We get it. You like her. You've done everything put push her off the playground swings and pull her hair. The author set out to make Thomas, a younger, more dashing, and significantly more handsome (we are constantly reminded how handsome Thomas is) Sherlock Holmes. It didn't work. Part of the wonder of Sherlock Holmes is how he figures things out first and the reader has to figure out how he figured it out. This kid was trying to be Sherlock Holmes hosting a cooking show. The reader had to be told everything he was doing as he was doing it. Not a fan. 

 

I think it's kind of obvious at this point that this book didn't work for me. Let me assure you, it wasn't just the characters. Again, I realize this was a Young Adult book. I was promised a huge plot twist. I did not get a huge plot twist. I had the "who" figured out about 20 pages in. Spoiler alert, I was right. The "why" was a little bit of a surprise but once I thought about it, the clues were there the whole time. It is possible I was just so annoyed with the main characters, I glossed over a few things. I think it does a little disservice to young adults to assume they can't handle a plot any more complex than what this book offers. 

 

It's safe to say, I won't be picking up any of the other books in this series. It's also safe to say, I won't be recommending any of these books to my girls either. 

A Breach of Promise (William Monk #9) - Anne Perry

A Breach of Promise - Anne Perry

I spent this whole book feeling like I was missing something. As it turns out I was missing books 7 and 8. Oops.

 

This book was a little too preachy.

 

The twist completely took me by surprise.

 

Too bad everything had such a convenient ending. You can't tell me that many coincidences actually exist in a place like London.

Reading progress update: I've read 246 out of 384 pages.

A Breach of Promise - Anne Perry

A plot twist I didn't see coming has now turned the last part of the book into a lecture on feminism. I understand that some of these issues were beginning to come to the forefront during this particular time period. However, Perry's lecturing feels a little anachronistic, as well as repetitive. I was hoping it was something that would stay only in her Pitt novels. It appears that's not the case. Has anyone read through the Pitt and/or Monk series? Does the political undertone stay with all of the coming novels? I have found myself enjoying these books, Monk more than Pitt. That being said, I don't want to keep on if I'm just going to get lectured every time I pick up a new book. 

Reading progress update: I've read 37%.

Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland - Susan Fraser King

I think I'm about to add another book to my DNF pile. Isn't it weird how you can read in streaks? Sometimes you get a five of the most amazing books you've ever read. Then you pick up that sixth book and suddenly you get eight in a row of the most questionable choices you've ever made. Having bangs for most of the 90s is proof of my questionable choices. 

 

My issues with this book need to be taken with a grain of salt. I've freely admitted that I just don't like e-books as much as paper copies. However, I think I might have the same issues with this book regardless of format. The characters are weak and one dimensional. Margaret's family are a bunch of ungrateful turds. Margaret herself is empty-headed and spoiled. "Look at what a good person I am! I gave away shoes that were too small for me anyway!" Malcolm is just your typical blundering neanderthal who Margaret will reform at some point. It's just not working for me. 

 

So many books. So little time. 

July Reading Wrap Up

After Elizabeth: The Rise of James of Scotland and the Struggle for the Throne of England - Leanda de Lisle The Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye Bethlehem Road - Anne Perry Her Royal Spyness - Rhys Bowen The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls - Anissa Gray A Trail of Ink - Mel Starr Oksana, Behave! - Maria Kuznetsova The Pericles Commission - Gary Corby King, Kaiser, Tsar: Three Royal Cousins Who Led the World to War - Catrine Clay

July was a good reading month. I can't remember the last time I finished this many books. I was helped by the vacations and swimming lessons my children participated in. My girls are still on vacation with my in-laws for another week. Hopefully I can get some more reading done before the back to school craziness hurts.

 

King, Kaiser, Tsar was the most fascinating book I have read in a while. I don't know about everyone else but my public school education only glosses over WWI. Archduke Ferdinand was shot. War started. Nobody listened to Wilson when he said splitting Prussia up was a bad idea. That's about the extent of our education. This book didn't spend a ton of time dealing with WWI specifically but it did give the reader a great deal of insight to the men who helped get us to that point. I highly recommend it even if you don't have an interest in that time period. 

 

Her Royal Spyness and The Pericles Commission were my fiction favorites. The problem with both of them is the number of books that exist in each series. Of course I needed more books on my TBR.