A Tale of Two Pages

Books, Books and More books! There is never enough time in the day for all the books, but here we will post books worth reading, discuss why some are not worth wasting your time and more!

More twists than an ice cream cone!

My Sister's Bones: A Novel of Suspense - Nuala Ellwood

Kate's work as a journalist takes her all over the world. She has been exposed to several situations that would break a weaker person, but Kate is tough. It is not until she gets personally involved with a family that she feels her world begin to crumble. With the death of a young boy, he begins to haunt her dreams. But he is not the only one. There are others, and the voices are not always quiet. She takes medicines to help her sleep, but they do not always work. When her mother dies, she returns home, but the voices return with her, and the cracks are beginning to show.

Kate's family is dysfunctional to the max. Her father was an alcoholic and abusive toward her and her mother. Her brother drowned when he was three, which caused a bigger rift in the family. Now that they are grown and their father is dead, her sister Sally has turned to alcohol to cope. Paul, her brother in law does his best to keep the family together, but even Sally's daughter Hannah has escaped her mother's wrath and run off. No one has heard from her in quite some time. Kate wants to see where her mother is buried, and Paul is more than willing to drive her around, to the lawyers and the graveyard. But when a young boy begins to appear in the garden at night, Kate is sure that she is not seeing things, but no one believes her. She does her best to find out what is going on, but the woman next door insists that there is no little boy living there. Kate knows what she has seen, but the police find no trace of a young boy anywhere. When she is arrested for assaulting the neighbor, Kate must undergo an evaluation to see if she must be kept for further treatment, or if she will be allowed to leave the center. She can be held for 72 hours while the doctor asks her all sorts of questions and drags her back to situations that she does not want to revisit. 

But when she is released and allowed to return to work, she escapes back to Syria determined to lose herself in her work and get her life back on track. Sally however, angry that Kate, perfect Kate, is fixing to leave again turns on her sister. The sisters have not been close for quite some time, but Kate reaches out to her, something that Sally does not remember since she was drunk again, but Kate is desperate to find out what is going on with the young boy next door. When a bomb hits the camp that she is staying in, she is feared dead, but Sally refuses to believe that Kate is gone. She holds onto the hope that she is missing and will resurface soon. When she gets a visit from their mother's neighbor, begging for help, Sally refuses to listen to her and turns her out. But after Paul leaves, and she listens to the dicta-phone that belongs to her sister she decides to pay the neighbor a visit to see what she wanted and see if she can get to the bottom of the mystery that Kate was concerned about when she left. But when she arrives she finds Fida at the bottom of the stairs bleeding, and a shock that no one could see coming that awaits her in the shed in the backyard....

Follow the story of Kate and Sally - the twists and the turns - as these sisters learn the meaning of family and in the end, solve a mystery that will leave the countryside shaking their heads over the fact that this could happen under their noses with no one being the wiser..

This was a book that was well worth reading! I was hooked from the beginning! There were several scenes that were rather hard to read through, but they drew the story together. The tapestry that is woven, through the eyes of the sisters is expertly done. This book will leave you wanting to know more at the end! Head over to the library and grab your copy today

Medieval Mayhem

The Medieval Anarchy: History in an Hour - Kaye Jones

Quick overview of the war between Stephen and Matilda for the control of England. This book makes for easy and fast reading, and covers the ground of the family feud quite well. 
**short review due to time of morning.. will add more soon**

A woman's worth..

The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women: A Social History - Elizabeth Norton

Take a step into the lives of Tudor women. From Elizabeth of York to Elizabeth I, this book dives into the lives of not only the nobility, but some of the more notable names of the day. 

Most women were seen as quiet and "homemakers" some women in the Tudor ages made a name for themselves. Nuns, queens, and members of the working class, all of them had one thing in common.. they were women trying to survive in a male dominated world. They were not written into history of their own accord, but we can learn quite a bit about them from some of the surviving documents of the time, and through the lives of their husbands (of course). While some male figures, such as Henry VIII thrust many women into the spot light that might have had their names lost to time, there are others that made a splash into the spotlight owing to some very daring behavior. Anne Askew, Elizabeth Barton, Jane Dormer, and Cecily Burbage are just a few that are named in this commentary. 

This was an interesting read, and one that I enjoyed. While most of the names were familiar through other readings, there were a few that I had not heard much on before. This read is worth the time that it takes to get through it.

The Perfect Father... or the Perfect Terror

BoneMan's Daughters - Ted Dekker

Ryans life is semi-perfect. Husband, father, Naval officer, and adventures, it is what every person dreams of. But under the idyllic look, the cracks appear. His wife has never been faithful, his daughter loathes him, and when he is captured in the desert of Iraq, the remnants of his family fall apart.
Told he is not wanted, and a divorce pending, Ryan is adrift. But when his daughter is kidnapped by the serial killer known as the BoneMan, his entire world is turned upside down.
All he wants is for his daughter to survive, and he will do whatever it takes to ensure her safety. Hunted by the FBI and the District Attorney of Dallas, Ryan flees, making contact with the BoneMan to try and get his daughter back. What he gets is an angry DA and arrested. He is being held as the prime suspect in the murders of all the young women the BoneMan has claimed. But when the DA is murdered while Ryan is in custody, one FBI agent shares her doubts that Ryan is actually the BoneMan. Everyone else seems content to let the evidence fit, no matter who it is. 

But when Ryan escapes custody and is again captured by the BoneMan, there is only one father that will walk out of that basement alive....

This was a really good read! I LOVED this book! I have been meaning to read it for the past five years, but finally got around to picking it up! Oh my goodness! This is a book that will keep you on your seat! While the unfaithful wife bothered me (honestly, I wanted to slap the wife silly), as it plays to often into the scenarios that many military members face, reading and understanding the character of Ryan helped put into reality why it can happen, and of course, how you could avoid it. BUT, aside from that this was a fantastic and enjoyable read! Definitely one that I could see being read again in the future!

Not quite ladies

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings - Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

An interesting glimpse into the lives of some of the royal women in history. 

Although the book itself had some interesting tid-bits, I found myself annoyed at the voice of the narrator. I listened to this on audiobook. But I pushed through the irritant, and finished listening to the entire thing. While some of the women were known to me, there were some in there that I had never heard of. 

This would be a fun, in the car read (but get the actual book).

A ghost with no voice..

The Ghost of Cutler Creek - Cynthia C. DeFelice

Allie has a large task ahead of her for the summer. She is to watch her teachers dog, but also to befriend the boy that showed up for the last two days of school. LJ is not the easiest person to get along with, especially since he is so rude most of the time, but a promise is a promise. But Allie has a secret.. she can see ghosts. Most of the time they can talk, but this one cannot communicate past smells and whimpering. When she finally realizes its a dog, the case becomes even more complex.
But when Hoover, the dog she is caring for goes missing, she will do whatever it takes to get her back. She is sure that she knows who took Hoover. LJ is no help, but her best friend Dub is along for the ride! Together they are determined to crack both cases! As time progresses, she knows that she does not have much time, but then LJ surprises her and the case busts wide open.
Allie is suspicious of LJ and why he all the sudden seems willing to help her, but he has an agenda of his own, and secrets that go back several years. Will they be able to find Hoover and maybe solve the mystery of the ghost dog?

This was an interesting read and one that I enjoyed. I look forward to reading this one to my boys. It is not super fast paced, but laid out easily enough for kids ages 5 and up to follow. This would be a good one for a family read!

A Daddy's Girl...

Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father - Sally Cabot Gunning

Martha Jefferson is the very epitome of a daddy's girl. Her entire world revolves around him, and while others appear in her line of sight, the light never moves away from the one constant in her life, Thomas Jefferson. The pressures that he is under do nothing to lessen the attention that he lavishes on his daughters, both of whom have accompanied him to France. Upon their return, Martha is overjoyed to be home and back in familiar territory. But things are never going to be the same for the Jefferson's. Thomas Jefferson has been appointed as Secretary of State. But Martha is about to add her own stress to the mix.. a marriage to Thomas Randolph! What a marriage it should have been! But instead of everlasting happiness, she finds disappointment, debt, and an ever sure footing in the foundation of her father. While some of the ideas that they hold are not popular with some of their friends, they are views that are held and nurtured to a hope that it might one day come to pass. 

While the world crumbles around her, Martha does her best to run her plantation, but the ever increasing debt, and the unraveling of her husbands family have left deep imprints on him. While Tom tries his best to make things work, nothing seems to flourish under his hand, except the growing brood of his children. While Martha continues to run Monticello, Varina and Edgehill to the best of her abilities. While her husband sulks, and continues to borrow large amounts of money from her father, Martha does her best to smile and carry on as though nothing were wrong. But, everything is wrong. The papers have caught wind of Sally Hemings, and while everyone denies the relationship, there are things that Martha notices, but cannot get her father to confirm. The charmed childhood she held so fond in memory, has turned to the ugly realities of adulthood, and the facing of truths that are not always pleasant. When her sister Maria dies, Martha is left feeling alone and wondering where her comfort will come from. Tom cannot or will not help, and there are none that she can truly turn to. 

When Thomas Jefferson is elected President, Martha does her best to continue caring for things at home, but she misses her father. The short visits he makes back to Monticello are brief and always filled with work. Visitors stream to and from the house, and Martha wonders when they will ever be truly alone. But of course, things cannot last forever, and even great men, lions in the foundations are only mortal....

This book is a MUST READ! It was one that I was able to finish in two settings, and kept you engaged from the first page to the last. You hoped for the best, you cared for some of the characters while wishing some of the others would simply drop off the pages, and laughed at some of the antics. I will say that I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the falling out between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both great men in our history. They of course both made up and corresponded later in their lives, but on an interesting note, they both died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. But other than that little note (history nerd moment), this book was fantastic! There is not a dull moment in this book!! Take it from the book lady here... this is a book that is worth the time!

Learning to survive a shadow

Here be Dragons - Sharon Kay Penman

This book was everything I would hoped it would be and more! I was enthralled from page one, wondering what Joanna's fate would be, watching her star rise and fall, and then rise again as she was reunited with her husband, Llewelyn. 

From the onset, Joanna expected nothing more than a meager existence, one of never having enough and wondering sometimes what the next meal would be, to the daughter of the Count, and then daughter of the King of England. Base-born as she was, she made an excellent marriage, one of her father's, King John of England, choice. She was not happy with the arrangement at first, but fear grew into trust and then into love. The story of Joanna, John, and Llewelyn is one to leave anyone's head spinning and wondering how a woman would have managed to try and please both her father and her husband, and to keep them from killing the other when the need arose. She used her love for her father to bring about several peace treaties with her husband, although none of them lasted for long. Joanna found her patience tried, not only with her husbands children, but with her own family. She strove for unity in a time of war, when each was looking to expand their borders and their land holdings. Her story is truly one that is wrought with war, love, hate, and peace. It seems that for Joanna, peace was never on hand, and there are times when I was reading the book that I truly wondered how she could have endured so much, and yet managed to survive the outcome each time, looking for the best in each situation. Her formidable spirit, even though she was very gentle and sometimes to meek for her own good, played itself out into the very best of characters for her, and she allowed her faith to lead her through life, trying to maintain what she saw as normal wherever she went. Through her life in exile after her affair was exposed, and then winning back the affections of each of her children, and finally her husband was something that was unheard of in her times. For she truly was Eleanor of Aquitaine's granddaughter. Her grandmothers teachings had not gone unheard by young Joanna who brought much more out of those stories and quiet times with her grandmother than anyone could have thought she would have. 

From the start to the finish, this book was so hard to put down! I found myself catching a page here and then when I had a few minutes to spare, and even putting everything else aside in order to get some extra reading time in. This was a story so amazing! Sharon K. Penman did a remarkable job in bringing the stories of these three lives into the light again and giving them breath once more.

The Great Brain strikes again...

More Adventures of the Great Brain - John D. Fitzgerald, Mercer Mayer

If you need an awesome kids read, this is it!! Funny, light, and a engaging read for children between the ages of 6-13.

Tom is a genius, and the entire town of Adenville suffers from his pranks from time to time. All kids have lost toys, and other items to Tom, but he is about to pull one of his largest swindles yet, and it will leave his father speechless.
Join the Fitzgerald brothers as they solve a crime and capture a ghost, all in the span of one summer! The adventures just keep coming, and the brothers never disappoint on the shenanigans pulled..

Living through footnotes...

Queen of Martyrs - Samantha Wilcoxson

Bloody Mary... First Queen of England... Daughter of Henry VIII... Disinherited... Unloved and Alone.. These are just a few of the thoughts that come to mind when one thinks of Mary Tudor..


Mary Tudor has long been vilified in the eyes of history. Condemned for her harsh treatment of perceived heretics in her kingdom, the first queen of England was hiding the longing that was inside of her.
As a child, she was the apple of her father's eye, loved and cherished. Then came the nasty business of the "other woman" and the loss of Mary's mother. With queen Catherine removed from court, and the process of a divorce moving forward, Mary became lost in limbo. Losing her status as princess, and forced to serve in the household of her new half-sister, she throws herself deeper into her faith. All she wanted was her fathers affection, but that was only given sparingly. As she matured into adulthood, she began to hope for love and a family of her own. Her hopes her dashed as time keeps moving forward and no move is made to procure a marriage for her. When her father finally dies, and her brother comes to the throne, she does her best to be there for him, but the changing climate in religion forces her to move away from court.
Throughout her brothers reign, the warnings about her faith are given, but she continues regardless of what they say. But when her brother finally puts his food down, she realizes that he is growing up, and will soon be his own counselor. But the foundation of her faith is the only thing that keeps her going. Her house continues to practice Catholicism, regardless of the tenor from the courts. But after her brothers death and the young Lady Jane is proclaimed queen, Mary moves forward with her own claim for the throne. With the country behind her, she is swept into London, and proclaimed queen. Her countrymen have become her children, and she pours her love into her kingdom. With marriage coming into the picture, she can hope for happiness, but again she is disappointed. Philip fulfills what he must for the marriage, but no more. Mary pours herself into her marriage, only to have her heart broken continually. With the support of her cousin, the Cardinal Pole, she pushes forward with her reforms and her punishments, but slowly she is losing the love of her land. With no heir, she is forced to name her sister, who has not converted to the Catholic faith.
With the death of Mary comes the death of the hopes of returning England to the fold of the church of Rome, and ushers in a new era.

The story of Mary is one that is both heartbreaking and horrifying. All she wanted was love, the love of a father figure who was never there for her. The upheavals of her life must have seriously marked the young lady. Six queens, six mother figures, only two that were ever really there for her. Friendships which were lost through deaths, and the sad life of a woman who only wanted someone to confide in. With her husband not really caring for her and anxiously looking for any reason to leave, the queen is left with no one to really turn to for support. Her loyal ladies and the few supporters she has, are not ones that can be trusted with the pains of her heart.
I loved this story, and the breath of fresh air that has turned a history deemed monster back into a human being. Mary Tudor has become one of the most underrated and misunderstood women in royal England. The sad life of this woman has been summed up in very few books, very little has been kind to her. In a life that was never bright to a wearied woman, history was not compassionate in remembering her either. I do not think she was innocent in everything, I regard her as responsible for the deaths of those who were burned for their faith, but I also believe that she was zealous in her beliefs, and could not understand why everyone else could not entrench themselves in their religion as she did. Samantha Wilcoxson has done a wonderful job of bringing this sad queen back from the depths of history, and pushing her once more into the limelight. This books brings some well deserved justice for the queen who only wanted prosperity and happiness for her realm, not dejection and rejection at every turn in life.


Strengthening the bonds of Family...

On the Sickle's Edge - Neville Frankel

"Suspense... Powerful and thought provoking.... Horrifyingly accurate.... History may hide the truth, but it can never fully erase the past."

On the Sickle's Edge follows the history of the Shtein family. We follow them from Latvia, to South Africa, back to Latvia and beyond. As we intertwine through the lives of the three main protagonists, Lena, Darya and Steven, the story and history of this family bind them together stronger than most. Secrets that could tear the family apart are lurking beneath the surface, but stronger still is the will to survive, persevere and overcome.

As tensions mount in the USSR, one man is desperate to do whatever he has to to keep his family safe. Having already deserted the army, and left the country, Issak Shtein is no stranger to the ups and downs that life can bring. He arrived in South Africa looking for his brother, only to find that his brother had passed away shortly before he arrived. Saving money and bringing the rest of his family to South Africa, he does his best to make a decent living and provide for his growing family. After the death of his wife in childbirth, Issak makes the fateful decision to take most of his children, leave South Africa and return to Russia. There he can find another wife, and then return to his two sons. But he cannot foretell the horrors which are fixing to be unleashed throughout the world, and the best of intentions soon turn to disappointments.
As the world erupts into war, their small village is razed to the ground, and Issak, Esther and their children are on the move. They are doing their best to stay out view of the soldiers. As they travel through the countryside, Esther and Issak are at odds as to the best way to proceed. They know they must get to Moscow as they will have the best chance to find work. By working they can save the money they need to get back to South Africa, and the two young boys that were left behind. Esther knows that they must hide the fact that they are Jewish if they wish to find good jobs, and have a chance at a better life.
But even this is not enough to keep them completely out of harms way. Having already lost one child soon after returning to Latvia, Issak is about to lose another. As they are attacked one afternoon by young men from the village they just left, Avrom who was only six years old, does his best to defend his step-mother, but in the process, he is killed. While the family mourns his loss, no one feels it more than Lena. Avrom and Lena were twins. They were brought into the world in joy and sorrow, and they were parted in the same way. As Lena grows up in Moscow, she is withdrawn and adrift. Her stepmother notices and takes her with her to the library every afternoon. There she sees a painting, one that will stay with her throughout her entire life. As she grows, she remains faithful to the Ivanov. In the shadow of this painting, she meets the man who will become her husband.
As the years pass, things do not get easier, but now the fear is that one will disappear. Everyone has been affected by the sudden arrests, but when it happens to Lena she falls apart. After Vasily, she floats through her days, to the detriment of her young daughter. Klara leaves home as soon as she can and gets a job far away from where her mother is. Lena keeps herself thrown into work, and she travels quite a bit with the railway job that she has. After returning from one of her trips, she gets a message that she needs to go to the Youth Ministry. Once she arrives, she finds that her daughter and son in law were killed in an explosion at the munition plant where they worked. Lena is now responsible for her young granddaughter Darya.
As Darya grows, she follows the strict Communist party line that has been taught and pounded in their heads from childhood. As she becomes a young woman, she is noticed by Grigory Yanov. While he comes across as charming, Lena dislikes him immediately and tries to get Darya to forget him. However, its to late. Grigory has gotten to her. Darya likes the lifestyle that he can give her, but he is far from being the charmer that he portrays. He enjoys the slow torture, the mind games where one never knows exactly where they stand with him. Darya thinks that she has outsmarted him throughout the many years of their marriage, and has been questioning the lines that she is feeding to the rest of the world on her travels. She begins to listen to the dissenters, and imagine what might be. When she meets her distant cousin Steven, she dares to love him, knowing that she is putting herself and her children in terrible danger. Without knowing it, she has walked into the trap that Grigory was waiting for, and now he is ready to spring, and he knows exactly which buttons to push.
Steven is reeling from the first blushes of love that he is feeling. After his first visit to Russia, he cannot get Darya out of his mind. They meet when they can in secluded places during her travels, but he dreams of more more. He wants more from her, but she is not free to give it. He is content for a while to take what she offers.When he gets a frantic letter begging for help, he knows that he cannot just leave her to whatever fate her husband might have in store for her. So he heads off to Russia for a final confrontation that has no certain ending....

Oh my goodness! What can I say!? I was blown away with this book! At a time when many families were torn apart, one family stood together, no matter the amount of distance that came between them. It is a story of hope, survival and renewal. Love and loss. Grief. Diving into a subject that for so long has been hidden. Neville Frankel brings life to the characters, lifting their story from more than just words on a page. Add this to your summer must read list! It will not disappoint!
**Recommend for adult audience due to some graphic scenes in the book**

A child who was loved more in death than in life...

The Boy in the Box: The Unsolved Case of America's Unknown Child - David Stout

I have to give this five stars for the excellent work that the author put in to writing this heartbreaking history. The tragedy of losing a child is made harder when the child is not reported missing or people coming forward to claim or identify a missing child.
The case of the Boy in the Box, from Fox Chase Pennsylvania, is something that consumed the careers of many police officers and left many of the brightest minds scratching their heads. Discovered in February 1957, the young boy was seen a case that would be easily solved, as someone would come forward to claim the body. The medical examiner noticed the bruising and wounds on the body. Each person who worked the case of the Boy in the Box became so involved, that the child became an silent member of each family. With the hope of a fast solve quickly becoming dashed as the days turn into weeks and then stretch into months and years.
The Boy in the Box was buried by the police department, everything being donated and contributed by the community and the homicide detectives. The case was never closed and they continued to work the case and follow any and all leads. Nothing was considered to small to follow up on, and the case moved from small files to the several boxes of notes and mementos. Today the case is still open, and the young boy who was more loved in death than he was in life, remains nameless, cared for by the policemen who take over the case and the community who have adopted him as their own..

This book was a hard read. I love true crime and the many facets of what can make a person tick, but this story... this was enough to keep me awake nights. I don't often cry while reading or watching a movie, but this book had me in tears more than once. I found myself asking questions throughout this entire read.. how could anyone do this to a child? Who could not claim the young boy and give him his full identity back. I found myself wishing that they could have done more, even though they did everything they could and then some. While this case is still open, given the length of time, its entirely possible that this case will never be solved, and that makes it even worse. As a mother, I can't imagine how any parent could not come forward and claim their little child. I hope that this case will continue and that maybe with the leaps and bounds that forensic science has taken, that this little boy will be identified. Even if the person who caused the injuries or placed him where he would be found is gone, knowing the full story and getting a conclusion to the story would help complete the thousands of hours of work that the original officers and medical examiner put into trying to find the answer. Closure will never fully happen, but a completion and explanation will go a long way to helping a community and police department close the case of the young child who became the "Boy In The Box."


Not your average grandparents!

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules: A Novel - Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

A delightful and funny read!!

Martha and her group of friends had decided that they were all going to live in the same retirement home. For the first few years, things were good. But when management changed, they find their luxury living is coming to an end. Nurse Barbara is a constant thorn in their sides. They are bored and looking for excitement.
That is when Martha gets the bright idea to commit a crime so that they can go to prison, where they would get better food and have a bit more freedom. But when they commit their crime, and go to the police to confess, they are initially brushed off as crazy. But they lay out how they have committed the crime, the police have no choice but to charge them and bring them to trial. As they spend their time in prison, they find it is not all what it was cracked up to be. But they spend their time working on planning new crimes, trying to figure out what happened to part of their ransom money, and wanting to get away with the next one.
Brains and Martha find a way to send messages back and forth through a clergyman who has been visiting them.
What transpires is a tale of hilarity, with the League of Pensioners center stage working to get a better life, and find a way to help other senior citizens who are in the same boat that they are.

This book was such a delight to read. It was funny and engaging. The characters were well fleshed out, and one can almost imagine Martha being their grandmother! This is a book that everyone needs to read and pass on to someone else to enjoy!

Taming the Wild...

The Black Stallion - Walter Farley, Keith Ward

Alec of off to visit his uncle in India for the summer. One his way home however, he is shipwrecked. He and a wild black stallion are the only survivors of the tragedy. As they learn to survive on a desert island in the middle of the ocean, Alec wonders how long they are going to be there. After a couple of weeks, they are rescued when his hut catches fire and the smoke and flames are seen by a passing boat. Alec refuses to leave the island without the stallion. Although the stallion is wild, they have formed a fragile friendship over the past couple of weeks, and a bond is beginning to form between the two.
Finally getting the horse on board the vessel, they are taken to a port, where Alec's parents have wired money for him to get back home to America on. Securing passage for himself and the stallion, Alec wonders what his parents response will be when they see the horse.
When they agree to let him keep the stallion, providing he pay for the upkeep through his allowance and finding a stable to keep him in, Alec already has the perfect place in mind. He asks the neighbors if he can stable the stallion there. They agree, and a new friendship begins to form between Henry and Alec. Henry was a jockey back in the day, and he and Alec decide together to start training the stallion to perhaps be able to enter races one day.
But when the chance for their dream becomes a possibility, they are beyond excited...

This book is such a fantastic read! I am looking forward to hearing my son read it out loud to me over the next couple of weeks, and hear his thoughts on the book. This is a story that the entire family will enjoy.

Delicious desert mystery

The Last Camel Died at Noon - Elizabeth Peters

The Emerson's are off on another adventure, and this one is bound to leave you begging for more! Don't be deceived into thinking this one will not be as grand as the others. While we are not spending much of our time in Egypt, there is quite a bit that this book has to offer. Grab your book, a great beverage, and spend the day on the couch reading.

As they travel for their yearly digging expedition, they are bothered by the events that happened before they left England. Having a map brought to them, with the claim that their might be to British subjects still alive and held captive in distant land, there are questions that they have asked, but with no clear answers. As they begin to dig, they are beset by the nephew of the gentleman that visited them, who is determined to find and bring his parents back to England, if they are still alive. But when he vanishes into the desert, the Emerson's are forced to go after him and try and bring him back alive. Instead they are deserted by their servants, and as their camels die, they are left to face certain death in the desert. When Kemit, their last remaining loyal servant disappears, they are almost sure they will die quickly. But they are saved when he returns with men to help bring them back to a safe haven (or so it seems) and nursed back to health. In the days that follow, they understand that there is a struggle for power, and Kemit is really a prince. As they try to avoid intrigue and stay alive, it is hard to know who to trust and who to be wary of. Kemit, who is really Tarek, (name shortened and used as it is in the book), is being hunted by his brother who wants the crown for himself. As events unfold and the Emerson's are sure that they will be put to death, they are determined to help their friend Tarek as much as they can. But as always with the Emerson's, there are so many surprises and hilarious scenes that are bound to keep you begging for more, and crying when the book is finished.

I cannot recommend these books enough! They are some of the best that I have come across, and the character definition is something that is lost on many today. You will become intertwined into the lives of the Emerson family, and miss them as soon as you turn the last page.

Delving into history..

Raven Queen - Pauline Francis

Lady Jane Grey has often been delegated to only a couple of lines in a history book. But her life was so much more than what was contained in those texts. As Pauline Francis delves into the life of Lady Jane, she brings her to life in a way that has not been done before.

Jane Grey is destined for great things. Her parents have been working tirelessly to ensure that she makes a good marriage, and one that will bring prestige to the family. They are looking for a royal connection. Jane on the other hand, would rather be left alone with her books and studies. No amount of beatings or berating from her parents can deter her. She has is completely wrapped up in her faith and education.
Ned is just thankful to be alive. Lady Jane saved him from a terrible fate, and has shown him nothing but kindness in return. The only sticking point in their relationship is that he is Catholic and she is of the Protestant faith. While they secretly love each other, there are insurmountable differences that they know can never be over come.
When Jane is proclaimed queen by her new father in law, shortly after the death of the King, she is shocked. She has no desire to become queen. She thought she had made that quite clear, however, her feeling are entirely put aside by those who are looking to advance themselves through her.
When the Princess Mary gathers an army to reclaim her throne, she is met by thronging people who are enthusiastic that she has come back. Jane is not a popular queen, the people did not view her as the legitimate heir of their last ruler. Mary is met with open arms, and supplies by the people who are ready to see her in their rightful place. But now the question will become, what will happen to Lady Jane, the poor girl who reigned only nine days?

This was an interesting read, but I cant pretend that I just loved it. I felt that it was a bit stretched in parts, and some of the scenes were entirely to out there for me. While this is a work of fiction based on real characters, I was just a little disappointed with it. I did however, enjoy the historical accuracy that was wound around the characters. While some scenes are entirely fiction, others really hit on the reactions and hopes of each of them. Ned is a made up character to add a dimension to the virtually unknown Lady Jane. I would recommend this for late Junior High to High School students for reading.

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