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Sorry kids, no feet.

I am a stay at home mom with three girls. All of the time I should spend cleaning or making things I see on Pinterest is usually spent reading instead. Pinterest can get expensive. The library is free. At least until I rack up the fines for overdue books. If I'm not reading something that interests me, I'm listening to my seven year old read to me about fairies or princesses or fairy princesses. If she's not reading to me, I'm reading to my four year old twins about Batman or Star Wars or Legos. We value diversity around here.

Currently reading

The Goddesses: A Novel
Swan Huntley
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
In the Name of the Family
Sarah Dunant


Someone posted this article link in a group I moderate for over on GRs:

50 Essential Historical Fiction Books


My first thought was- Nope. Just nope.


Other thoughts were:


1.) It's a pretty Euro-centric list. I understand that part of the problem lies in translation. There just isn't a market for translating Asian or African historical fiction into English. Granted I could learn another language but honestly, I struggle enough with English most days. That aside, that doesn't mean there isn't non-European historical fiction available in English. James Clavell's Shogun is just one example off the top of my head. 


2.) The Other Boleyn Girl is essential reading?!?! Sorry, I can't take you seriously any more. I won't deny the impact the book has had on the genre. I would be ignorant to deny it. Essential? Not so much. I can probably list 20 books about the same time period that are better reading than TOBG. While they may not be any more accurate, Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Brown, The Concubine by Norah Lofts, and The Lady in the Tower are all significantly better stories about the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn. 


3.) This list reads more like a best seller list than an essential list. Quite a few of these novels aren't even ten years old. The creator of this list left of works by Uris, Penman, Shaara, Dunnett, Renault, you get the point for books published in the last three years? I get that there is a lot of historical fiction out there but come on? Where did you look for suggestions? Literary review magazines and the bestseller list on the back page of the newspaper? 


Those are my thoughts. I'd love to know what other readers think. 


Reading progress update: I've read 4 out of 528 pages.

Heretics  - Leonardo Padura Fuentes

This book was recommended to me by a librarian. I don't think she realized it was the 8th book in a series. 


I was hesitant to try it when she said it was about a painting. The last book I read that involved a painting was The Goldfinch. That book was a horrid waste of my time. Fortunately, I have learned from my past. Life is too short to read books that suck. So if this book doesn't go well, I'm returning it with no shame. 

It's raining.

Since it's raining for the third day in a row, I decided to take advantage of the weather. My girls are so fed up with the raining that they have all retreated to their rooms. I think my oldest has finished ten books in the last three days. I'm not sure what the Twinkers have accomplished and frankly, I'm afraid to find out. 


I still haven't solved some of the problems I was having with my blog but I'm trudging ahead with new posts anyway. Hopefully I stumble upon the solution while I'm working. 


Forget Noah, I'm looking for Steve Carell

Shameless Plug Time

It's cold. It's storming. It's raining. Moana is the only thing keeping my children from clinging to me. 


I've spent the better part of the last week trying to figure out why I can't get my preview page of my blog to match the published page. It's incredibly frustrating as a person who spends nine and a half months out of the year troubleshooting computer problems for other people. Usually I depend on Google to save me. Google is failing me. 


All of this extra work is taking away from my reading. Seriously. It's cold and raining. That is the best weather for reading. But I have to figure out my blog first. See, I started this new thing. I recently became a distributor for SeneGence. I needed a summer job. I have developed an addiction to LipSense. Why not combine those two things? Actually, I had a summer job working at a local winery. One of my other great loves is wine. However, I recently tried to start my face on fire while working. If you are trying to find an alternative to waxing your eyebrows, I don't recommend fire. In addition to developing a sudden fear of fire, I also managed to give myself some nasty burns on half of my right had. That's fine. It's not like I'm right-handed or anything. Oh wait. 


Anyway, if you are all about helping a book obsessed, fire fearing, make-up loving, mother of three girls who will some day develop make-up habits of their own, I have a group over on Facebook. Gettin' Girly with Gretchen


I promise this will be my last shameless plug. Since my in-house IT person has thrown his hands in the air, I must return to my blog problems. The faster I figure this out, the faster I can go back to my books. 





Help Wanted

I'm trying to make some changes to my current blog. My edit screen is showing me one thing but my actual blog looks completely different. Does this problem make sense to anyone? Can anyone help me? For someone who is a member of the technology department for a school district, this is a bad look. Ugh. 

Monday. Monday.

Two blog posts in under a week?!?! There might be some magic in my coffee. 


Or my children were just that exhausted after spending four days with grandma and grandpa with no scheduled bedtimes. 


Maybe both.


A Vacation of Sorts

I Like to Procrastinate

While trying to avoid my to-do list today, I realized I hadn't written a blog post since April. 


Check one thing off my to-do list (even if it was a thing that wasn't originally on my to-do list). 



Reading progress update: I've read 112 out of 592 pages.

American Gods - Neil Gaiman

I want to read all day. No sleep needed! My kids can eat cold pop-tarts and waffles, right?

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network - Kate Quinn

Best book I have read all year and quite possibly my favorite Quinn novel yet. This book proves Quinn can bring any era to life with characters who you will find yourself crying over when it is all said and done. Seriously, I need to go find a corner to curl up in now. I just don't know what to do with myself now that there is no more. Maybe if I go to bed early enough I will dream of Finn *sigh*

Roll 7 (I'm pretty sure)

So I'm pretty sure my last roll was my sixth. I had things written down somewhere. Ask me if I can find that piece of paper? 


For that roll I was tasked with reading somewhere other than my living room. I did some reading in my backyard while my girls played in the pool. I did more reading in the waiting room at Urgent Care this morning while I was waiting for the doctor to tell me I have strep throat. I already knew I did. The $300-$400 I'm going to have to spend between doctor's visit, lab, and drugs is just a bonus. On a side note, please don't ask me how I feel about the state of health care in the United States. 


Anyway, I finished In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear today while I was home hiding from my girls in an attempt to avoid making them sick. 


That brings my bank to $44. I would like to hit $100 by the time this thing is done. 


My seventh roll was an 8. This put me here:


I have browsed my TBR as well as my personal bookshelves. I don't really see anything that would fit this category. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears. 

Roll 6 (I think)

I finished The Mummy's Case for my task about a Victorian-era book. 


I rolled a 4 which lands me on the BL space on 32. I rolled an 8 for my task. So without further ado, I will be heading outside to read for an hour. This works out perfectly since my girls have been begging me for the last two days to let them play in our pool. It's finally nice enough outside. 


In a perfect world, the best part about working at a school is the prospect of summers off. 


In the real world, I work at a school. It is summer. I am currently 3 hours away from home in a completely different state. Say what?!? That's like a vacation, right? Sort of. I am staying in a fancy hotel room with no kids and no spouse. However, I'm spending two days at a conference for work. The goal is to learn new ways to implement technology into classrooms and retain that knowledge until September. 


I had these grand illusions about how I was going to spend my summer tearing through my TBR and writing witty blog entries. I got an InstantPot for Mother's Day. I was excited to chronicle my efforts to learn how to use this cult device. I've used it a handful of time. I'm not as in love with as say people who own four of them and never use their ovens. However, it has it's perks. It is faster than a crock pot. I don't have to turn on my oven when it's 90 degrees outside. The downside, the bar down the road from my house is loosing business. Instead of ordering food after children have gone to bed, the other adult and I are throwing meals in the InstantPot and letting it cook while getting said children into bed. 


In terms of reading this summer. Well.......... I think my eight year old has read more books than I will this summer. Right now I'm pretty grateful for American Girl books. Ideally there should be enough of them to get the child through this summer. I have no idea what I am going to do when the school year starts again. She's going to read me out of house and home. 


On the bright side, I am at this conference completely by myself. No children. No spouse. No other co-workers. Just me. This means I'm not obligated to be social when I get back to my hotel room at 4:00. And if the hotel is as loud tonight as it was last night, I will be up late enough to get a lot of reading done. 


How's your summer? Or maybe winter if you are on that side of the world? 

Roll 5

I only have my iPad on me and limited internet right now. This is more of a reminder than an actual post. 


I rolled a 4. I'm on space 28 (Paradise Pier). I'm going to read a book that takes place during the reign of Queen Victoria.


Maybe when I'm not three days behind at work or at a funeral, I can make an actual post. Until then, all of this driving is providing me with lots of read time. 

Roll 4


Number Rolled: 9

Space Landed On: ? (25)

Task: Read a Historical Mystery

Book to Be Read: <i> The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley </i>

Bank: $32

Book-Oply Roll 3

It's been 21 days since my last roll. The only reason I know this is because the book I read was an e-book library loan. E-books are loaned for 21 days. Now that I have finally finished, I can move on to roll three.


3rd Roll

Number Rolled: 4

Space Landed On:

* Personal note: It's not the fault of anyone here, but people who are putting books on that list have a pretty loose definition of cozy mystery.


Book to be Read: Death at Victoria Dock by Kerry Greenwood 

Potential Earnings: $2.00


Current Bank Total: $30.00

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

A Friend of Mr. Lincoln: A novel - Stephen Harrigan

According to the reviews, it seems I am one of only a few people who did not care for this book. 


Maybe it's because I'm just not all that interested in American history. As an American, I'm much more worried about how people are going to study current events under the historical microscope. I don't know much about the warring Whigs and Democrats of the 1800s. I learned the basics in school but still relied on Google to fill in the blanks. 


Lack of historical knowledge aside, I was bored. Cage just seemed to wander through life. He was a writer who didn't really write. He had money but I never felt like I figured out where it really came from. The few business investments he had didn't seem like enough to justify his days of sitting around general stores discussing politics. The author spent 80% of the book dealing with Lincoln's time in Illinois before he married Mary Todd and then crammed the events of the Donner party (which Cage was conveniently a member of) and the Civil War into what felt like 20 pages. And, oh by the way, Lincoln's a Republican now. There are no more Whigs. Wait? What? Apparently the author is going to assume my 7th grade American History class got that involved in what happened there. For a book that was suppose to be an in-depth look at how Lincoln became the president we all know and admire, I never once got a sense that Lincoln was going to be Lincoln. 


If not for Book-oply, I would have never ever picked up this book. On to the next roll!