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text 2018-03-09 09:37
Tea's TBR Thursday - March 8, 2018
The Long Way Home - David Laskin
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
The Darkness Knows (Viv and Charlie Mystery) - Cheryl Honigford
Celtic Myth & Magick: Harness the Power of the Gods & Goddesses - Edain McCoy
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life - Ed Yong
Mistress of Rome - Kate Quinn
The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue - Michael J. Tougias,Casey Sherman

*Bookish meme created by Moonlight Reader


Books added to my personal TBR:

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (NOOK)

2. The Long Way Home by David Laskin (NOOK)

3. The Darkness Knows by Cheryl Honigford (NOOK)

4. Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome #1) by Kate Quinn


Books borrowed from the library:

1. Celtic Myth and Magick by Edain McCoy


Books put on hold at the library:

1. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Young

2. The Finest Hours by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias


Books Read:

1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (personal copy)

2. Danger in High Heels (High Heels #7) by Gemma Halliday (personal copy)

3. Deadly in High Heels (High Heels #9) by Gemma Halliday (personal copy)







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review 2018-02-19 05:49
The Birth of the West by Paul Collins
The Birth of the West: Rome, Germany, France, and the Creation of Europe in the Tenth Century - Paul Collins

TITLE:  The Birth of the West:  Rome, Germany, and the Creation of Europe in the Tenth Century


AUTHOR:  Paul Collins




FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  978-1-61039-368-3



Tenth century Europe may have been a chaotic mess, but Paul Collins believes that the process which ended in the Renaissance and Enlightenment had its beginnings in the tenth century Europe.  Collins attempts to show how various individuals (e.g. the 3 Ottos and Gerbert d'Aurillac/Pope Sylvester II) injected vigour into the Holy Roman Empire, reorganised the Church and bring some semblance of order to the State.

The book (briefly) covers the breakup of Charlemagne's Empire in the mid-800's; the development of France under Viking invasions and settlement into a large number of smaller semi-independent regions; and the solidification of a Germanic Holy Roman Empire during the 10th century under the Saxon kings Otto I, II, III.  It also follows the development of Roman Catholicism and the Papacy.  There is also a fairly decent description of monastic life, as well as the role of monasteries and religion in the lives of ordinary people.

Collins weaves a sometimes convoluted narrative, starting somewhere in the middle, going back to the beginning, discussing historical events, then focusing on individuals in a biographical manner, hopping around different regions in Europe from Spain and Britain to Byzantium.  The first chapter was a bit tedious but the pace of the narrative picked up by the second chapter and the story became more interesting.  There are a few maps in the book but I would have preferred a few more.  I would also have found a timeline useful.  A more structured approach would also have been more useful as well as more analysis.  The author dropped the ball a few times by failing to connect his various chapters to the main thesis of the book, making this something of a collection of juicy facts but failing to show how they relate to the birth of the west.

I would not recommend this book to the history novice but it may prove interesting to someone who has some familiarity with events after Charlamagne.

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review 2018-01-22 21:24
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. 

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text 2018-01-02 18:01
My top reads of 2017 - the top 3!
Bad Sister - Sam Carrington
I Am Watching You - Teresa O'Driscoll
Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital,Sarah Hilary,Imogen Church
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text 2017-12-30 00:43
My Top 10 Reads of 2017!
Theophilus: A Tale of Ancient Rome - Lewis Ben Smith
Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome - Crystal King
Regarding Tiberius: An Epic Tragedy of Mass Murder, Sworn Vengeance, Forbidden Love, Greek Ambition, Persian Honor, & Roman Might in the Ancient Near East - Helena Mithridates Kleopatra,Bartholomew Boge,Raelenne Boge,Rosani Akhtar-Moore
Infinite - Jeremy Robinson
Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar
Eternal Darkness - Tom Deady,Pete Kahle,Richard Chizmar
The Last Child - John Hart
Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) - Connilyn Cossette
Puzzle Master - J.T. McKenna
Mysterious Kemet - Book I: Intrigue and Drama in Ancient Egypt - S.R. Anand

These are my top 10 reads of the year and as always, most of them are historical fiction, but I loved them all and would recommend them to anyone!


Theophilus by Lewis Ben Smith is the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts is addressed to in the Bible and not much is known about him. The author, however, did a magnificent job in taking this character and building this story around him that coincides with the biblical narrative.


A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King: This book mainly centers on the life of Marcus Gavius Apicius whose recipes were written down, but according to the author's notes, no cookbook survived but some of his recipes did survive in the writings of other historical figures. Apicius was a very wealthy Roman citizen whose passion for cooking and good food sees him spend a great deal of money to buy a slave named Thrasius to be his cook. His dream is to be the gastronomic advisor to Caesar himself. 


Regarding Tiberius by Helena Mithrtdates Kleopatra is the novelization of a series of ancient scrolls recently discovered in the ruins of famed Roman commander Scipio Africanus' seaside villa (near Naples, Italy). Written in the First Century by a young woman of Persian and Ethiopian ancestry, Helena Mithridates Kleopatra, they comprise an account of how her life and destiny were forever altered by her chance meeting with Tiberius, the son of a prominent Roman senator.


Infinte by Jeremy Robinson- Earth is no longer habitable and a crew of 50 scientists and engineers aboard a spacecraft head to a new planet that will hopefully be hospitable. After ten years in a failed cryogenic bed--body asleep, mind awake--William Chanokh's torture comes to an end as the fog clears, the hatch opens, and his friend and fellow hacker, Tom, greets him...by stabbing a screwdriver into his heart.

This is one of my favorite authors, and this book was awesome!


Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- quickly becoming a favorite author. This one takes the character of Lydia from the Book of Acts in the Bible and tells her story while staying true to the biblical account.


Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady- I just discovered this author this year when I read his book, Haven. I enjoyed it so much that I got this one, which is a coming of age story about vampires, and enjoyed it even more. He will also be writing a sequel to it. Lots of fun.


The Last Child by Jon Hart- I loved this coming of age, mystery!
Don't get me wrong though...this book is dark, but the characterization is excellent, especially of the main character, Johnny. This kid carries a heavy burden, with his twin sister having disappeared a year before, his father leaving, and his mother- who is a ghost of her former self. A sequel is supposed to be out next year, and I am looking forward to it!


Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette - Set during the time of the Great Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and follows a slave girl, Kiya, who escapes the bonds of slavery and joins the Hebrews as they flee.

The whole 3 book series was excellent!


Puzzle Master by T.J. McKenna: It' s the year 2022 and all religion has been banned and every sort of vice is condoned. Enter a history professor, Cephas, who not only loves puzzles, but is known as the Cult Hunter...famous for breaking the codes that leads the government to track down "hidden Christians". Now in order to stop them once and for all, Cephas is given the chance to go back in time to prove, once and for all, that Jesus was not the Messiah and did not come back from the dead.


Mysterious Kemet by S.R. Anand- is a collection of 5 novelettes set during the times of Imhotep, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut, Intef the Third, and Ankhtifi. Tempered in the fire of greed, revenge, lust, and ambition, this collection tells the following five riveting tales from Ancient Egypt.

I think this is the first time I had a collection as one of my top 10, but I really enjoyed this one!


My honorable mention is one that I have read before, and re-read this year, but I can't say enough about this series. The Voice in the Wind series by Francine Rivers will always be in the top 10 books of all time for me. I always come away a changed person from reading it. It is Christian fiction and many people would find it "preachy", but it comes with my highest recommendation!




So that's it! Hope everyone has a fantastic New Year full of new discoveries in books and authors!

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