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!

Things that go BUMP?

Royal Ghost Stories - R.B. Swan

If you love a good spine tingling ghost story, this book is not for you! But if you love something that delves into the ghost stories of the Royals, then check this book out.

 

Interesting glob of ghost stories from all over the world. The writer does a fairly decent job at fleshing out the stories, but at the same time, writing is not this authors strong point. If you are interested in tidbits of history, royal ghosts and don't mind jumping around a bit, then you will really enjoy this book. From Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Germany and more, there are some age old tales and some new ones thrown in that you might not have heard before!

As stated above, writing is not the authors strong point, and there are several sentences that made my brain tingle, but overall, I enjoyed the stories that were laid down in the book! Some of them are rather short, while others are a bit longer.

To be or Not to be...

Shakespeare's Hamlet for Kids: 3 Short Melodramatic Plays for 3 Group Sizes (Playing with Plays) - Brendan P. Kelso, Hannah Sidaris-Green, Shana Lopez

Want to share Shakespeare with your kids but afraid of scaring them away from away from literature for good?? Well then you HAVE to check out this book!! For a small family to a group that want to try something new and fun with a twist, this is exactly what you are going to need! A new age twist on a classic work, while still capturing the essence of the entire play.

Masterfully written and the entire book is a fast read for an adult that wants to sit and read through each scenario on their own before they sit and go through it with the kiddos. This was fun and will make you chuckle as you go through! Don't let this great book slide past unnoticed!! As stated, its written for different group sizes, so you can choose to have as many or as few people involved if you want, but honestly... GO BIG! SO much fun and everyone will enjoy the entire process!

Order your copy today!

Fell off the wagon

Well I completely fell off the "keep track of the books" read wagon. Its been a crazy busy year!! I will do much better next year to stay on track better, and continue to share those books that are completely worth reading!

 

So that being said.. have you set your challenge for next year yet!? I am already planning mine, and have a book challenge that I am putting together - 50 categories and five set books that will be read over the course of the year. It is MUCH harder than you think! Trying to get some books to fit a category can be quite interesting! 

 

What was the best book you read this year? I think mine would have to be "The Memory of Us" by Camille di Maio, and "Jamaica Inn" by Daphne du Maurier. Those books just spoke to me, and they draw you in so entirely that you are not sure if you can walk a straight line when you are finished with them!

 

Merry Christmas all!!

Everything We Keep... and then some..

Everything We Keep: A Novel - Kerry Lonsdale

Aimee is on top of the world. She is fixing to marry the man she loves, and everything has just been perfect. She has plans to open her own restaurant, and it seems nothing can destroy the happiness that she has... until James takes a last minute business trip.
When he does not come home, the search is on. But instead of celebrating her wedding, she is attending his funeral instead. But when someone tells her that he is not dead, she begins to wonder if he is still alive, and if he is, why has he not come home?
Her journey will take her through every emotion that she has, and some that she did not realize that she could feel. As she begins to rebuild her life, and put the pieces back, she knows that she has to find the answers to all the questions that have been plaguing her. But what will she find, and will she have peace when its done?


This was a roller coaster of a read! It was hard to put down and there were some scenes that I honestly felt could have been left out. I enjoyed the book overall! What a read.

 

**Some sexual content, not recommended for anyone under 21**

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Harry and his friends are off on another adventure, and this time is it more whirlwind than ever! As they battle through the forces that have been assaulting the school, they are determined to find out what is going on and who is attacking the students at Hogwarts.

When Hermoine is attacked, Harry and Ron know that they have to figure out just what the riddles are and who is going to be next. Will they be in time to save the next student?


Cute little book, easy read!

Black Hills

Black Hills - Dan Simmons

** spoiler alert ** Paha Sapa was just a young boy when the battle of the Little Big Horn took place. When he placed his hands on the lifeless body of General Custer, the spirit of the man flowed into the boy. As his life moves on and the times begin to change, he becomes a powderman on the Mount Rushmore project, and the destruction (in his mind) of the sacred places.


This was an interesting book, and it was both a good and disappointing read. I was frustrated with the way that they portrayed General Custer. I felt that some of the characters were not as developed as they could have been, and that there could have more in places, and less in others.

Confessions of a teenage queen..

The Confession of Katherine Howard - Suzannah Dunn

Katherine Howard was the fifth queen of Henry VIII. She led a life of promiscuity, and could not seem to curb herself once she was in the palace. Her ladies covered for her, and one even lost her head with her mistress over the deception that had been taking place.

Katherine Howard was a sad story. It is the tale of a girl sacrificed for family, and for wealth and honors. A girl that had no business ever being there in the first place, but because of her family connections and the prominence that they wanted to regain, she was thrust forward as a candidate when the king began searching for another wife.


There are to many things that bothered me with this book. One, it really had nothing to do with Katherine. It was all from the point of her maid, so the title is a bit misleading, and she didn't really confess anything. The slang and the wording was frustrating as it was from outside the time period and did not fit what the vernacular of the time would have been.

Could have been a better book, and much more could have been added. There was many holes in the story, and a great many pitfalls.

Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa

Field Guide to the Battlefields of South Africa - Nicki Von Der Heyde

STOP! This book is your ONE STOP to all the battles in South Africa! Everything you wanted to know and more!
Nicki Von Der Heyde breaks down each of the battles, beginning with the colonial wars. Each of them are broken down into easy to read articles. Each of the 71 battles depicted give the reader a sense of accomplishment.
Each of these are broken down, making them easy to read and understand. The timelines, pictures and the maps that are included gives the reader a chance to put the pieces all together. If you plan on travelling to the region, I think this guide would be extremely handy to have, as you move from one location to another. Military historians as well should take note. This well documented book has a lot to offer! Teachers, historians and more can glean a lot of information, and use for many different projects!

I was excited to read this book, as I have always had an interest in the history of different places, and being able to find this book and have a chance to put it all together was exciting! This has been a very handy guide for me to use in some of the online college courses I teach, as well as being able to use the pictures and maps in my own children's school work. I look forward to being able to use this book many times over in the many years to come!

Warriors Seven

Warriors Seven - Barney Sneiderman

Warriors Seven is a great read! Get the inside view on SEVEN of America's warriors, and what their lives were like.
Barney Sneiderman has delved into the personal and political lives of these great warriors. He not only pinpoints what made them successful, but what really made them tick. What did they think, how did they live, and what were their personal views on some of the issues of their times? Take a brief look into the lives of Benedict Arnold, Andrew Jackson, Winfield Scott, Robert E. Lee, George Dewey, Billy Mitchell and George Patton.
Each of these men have been devoted to their own chapter, in order of their time in history. As we dig in to each one, the history feels as though it comes alive, and we are able to see how these men operated. Their stories are not only inspiring, (and in some cases, come with the how not to turn traitor), but give us a chance see how they interacted with their men, their personal correspondence, and their daily drive.
As I read through this book, I was able to find some great tidbits and facts that I had not come across before. This book was well laid out, carefully planned and written, and one that history lovers should embrace.
As you read through this book, it is easy to take notes in the margins! Take your time and join in the fun of learning about these great warriors!

Fortune's Wheel doth quickly turn!

Faithful Traitor: The Story of Margaret Pole - Samantha Wilcoxson

Margaret Pole was born into one of the most powerful families in England. But power does not always mean safety. Daughter of the Duke of Clarence who was executed for Treason, niece to two kings of England, she is hardly just anyone. When her uncle loses his throne to Henry Tudor, she knows what it is like to feel fear. Living daily with the fear and the past is something that she is able to come to grips with. But she slowly manages to keep her fingers in the political games going on in England. Married off to a knight, she finds love with her husband, and after the birth of several children, she learns that her beloved husband has died.
After the death of Henry Tudor, his son Henry VIII takes the throne. Margaret is a friend of the new queen, and through her manages to begin to rebuild her family fortune. She regains her family title, and is now the Countess of Salisbury. But the wheel of fortune doth quickly turn! With her Plantagenet blood, she is constantly under suspicion, and when one of her sons refuses to bend to the kings will in his great matter, her relationship which was already fraying with the king undergoes further deterioration. When her friend is set aside as queen so that Henry can marry another, the political divides become more apparent at court. But what will the future hold for the Countess of Salisbury?

This book was a great read! I had an extremely hard time putting it down! I had read Hazel Pierce's biography of Margaret Pole prior to reading this one, to make sure that I had the basics of her life down. Samantha Wilcoxson has not disappointed. She brings the reader into the story, and you feel as though you are going through the trials along with the Countess. Her life was one of heartbreak and terror. It is amazing that she managed to live such a long life, considering that her brother was executed merely for being a Plantagenet. It might be that she escaped early detection, simply because she was a woman, however, Henry VIII had different plans. While he could be generous, he was demanding and if he thought there was any chance at all of you being disloyal, your life was in jeopardy. There was nothing disappointing in this read at all! You are hooked from the first page! The entire story is enthralling, but specked with sadness as you read about the trials and heartbreaks that Margaret Pole endured in her lifetime.

The Daughters of Red Hill Hall

The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall - Kathleen McGurl

** spoiler alert ** Thank you NetGalley for the book and the chance to review it

**Spoilers**

Gemma has her dream job.. she is working in the museum in her home town, and although it can drag at times, especially when she has to sort through dinosaur fossils, there are things that occassionally jump out at her. When she comes across a box that seems to be full of garbage, she finds a hidden treasure at the bottom. The tag on the box has her curiosity peaked, and she asks for permission from her boss to investigate it further, in order to build a exhibit for the museum. With permission granted she dives into an investigation that is going to reverberate much more than she is willing to admit. When her boyfriend dumps her unexpectedly, breaking their engagement, Gemma is shocked and hurt. She has no idea where any of this is coming from, and her best friend has been acting very odd since they got engaged. But that is just the beginning..

Rebecca and Sarah have been raised together since a young age, and when her mother dies, Sarah stays in the house to be Rebecca's companion and friend. While they are not related by blood, they are closer than friends and call each other sisters. In fact, Sarah even begins to call Mr. Winston father. As the girls grow older small cracks in their relationship begin to appear, especially when Charles begins to court Rebecca. They have been reared with the expectation that they should marry when they were older, but only if both were willing to do so. Sarah seems angry with Rebecca for getting the attention of an attractive young man, and seems bent on doing anything that she can to thwart the relationship. Soon afterwards, strange accidents and deaths begin to plague Hill Hall. First, Rebecca's mother tumbles down the stairs and breaks her neck, and then her father begins to suffer from heart issues, and shortly thereafter he dies as well. With her engagement broken off and her fathers will hiding a huge secret, Rebecca is unsure of how her future is going to turn out, that is until Sarah forces a confrontation, one that only one of them is going to walk away from.

Gemma has become so entwined with the history of Hill Hall and the mystery that seems to be hiding within its walls, that she spends her week off going through the archives at Hill Hall. She has to know what is going on, and at the same time, she is pondering the very strange twist that her own life has taken. Her best friend has become deceitful, stealing from Gemma and doing whatever she can to sabotage her life. She knows that it she is going to have to confront Nat, but the thought of it makes her sick to her stomach. After talking to Ben and smoothing things over with him, she knows that she cannot put the confrontation off any longer, especially after discovering the latest twist her "friend" had planned for her...

Kathleen McGurl has created a masterpiece of interwoven history. By combining the stories, you are drawn in to the characters, finding yourself despising some and pitying others. While you have an idea of what is coming next, there are so many twists that you begin to wonder if you are missing something! The end of the book left nothing hanging, and draws it all in neatly. This is a great weekend read!

The Memory of Us - Review

The Memory of Us: A Novel - Camille Di Maio

Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book!
**Spoilers**

When the young and beautiful Julianne meets the handsome Kyle McCarthy, her entire life is about to change. Before she found her parents dark secret, her life revolved around parties, pageants and prosperity. When she secretly begins to visit her twin brother who has been kept in a home, due to his disabilities, she meets the groundskeeper. She begins to visit more and more, just to spend more time with Kyle. When her mother hires him to do some work at their home, they are able to spend even more time together.
She knows that he is to become a priest, however, their budding romance cannot be put off forever. She does her best think about anything or anyone else, but her thoughts always return to Kyle. When his father becomes seriously ill and refusing to see a doctor, Julianne puts her nursing skills to use and spending time with the father to make him more comfortable in the little time that he has left. After his fathers death, Kyle tells her that she is his world, and he is going to leave the seminary, if she will agree to marry him.
While they are happy and planning their new life together, her parents throw a wrench in their plans. They refuse to allow the couple to marry, but true to her rebellious streak, she and Kyle are determined to marry anyway. Considering Kyle below their class, the Westcott's are horrified at their daughters choice. When the couple runs off together anyway, her parents are devastated and she is told that she is no longer welcome in the home. When war breaks out and Kyle joins up, little does Julianne realize just how much their lives are going to change. When a bomb destroys the bomb shelter that she and her friend are taking cover in, her life takes the biggest turn of all, and one that will have huge repercussions for all...

This story is more than just a great novel. It draws you in and keeps you hooked from page one until the end. The story of Julianne and Kyle is not your typical happily ever after. There are so many twists and turns that you are left holding the box of kleenex and wondering what surprises are going to jump out at you next! I absolutely loved this read! If you are looking for an author that can weave a web as delicate as this one and then strand by strand draw you farther in until you finish and can come up for air, this is the one for you!!

The Enchantress Returns

The Enchantress Returns - Chris Colfer, Brandon Dorman

Alex and Conner are off on their next adventure... to save the fairy tale world and their own!
When the Enchantress returns to throw her bid for power, she unleashes a series of events that Alex and Conner are trying to stop. With each of the kingdoms being overtaken and the people captured by large vines, they know its only a matter of time. When they discover that she does not plan to stop with the fairy world, they know that they are going to have to make sure she does not succeed.
Follow the twins on their journey through the Land of Stories and the exciting adventures that they are about to embark on!

This is a great read, and kids will love it. There are a few words in there that make this less of a childs book and more of a teenage read, however parents reading this aloud to their kids can edit out the words as they go.

The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours - Kate Morton Review coming soon

The Blessing Way

The Blessing Way - Tony Hillerman Follow Joe Leaphorn and Bergen McKee as they work their way through mystery, death and intrigue. When a wanted man turns up dead with no evidence as to how he died, Leaphorn is disturbed. With more and more reports of a ghost, or a Wolf Man raiding the cattle, rumors begin to fly and the case becomes harder and harder to solve. While Leaphorn is trying to solve that, McKee is trying to unravel the origins of some of the witch stories that have been on the reservation for a while. Needing more case studies, he does his best, but when he is pulled into the middle of the investigation without knowing it, he might just uncover his best lead yet...

This book will not leave you disappointed, and has you hooked from the beginning. It has been described as slow in places, but the webs that are being woven throughout the book deserve a closer look and a chance. I have loved these books for a long time, and being able to sit back and read slowly, I was able to pick up on things that I have missed previously.

Great read! Definitely recommend it as a MUST READ!
SPOILER ALERT!

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777

With Musket and Tomahawk: The Saratoga Campaign and the Wilderness War of 1777 - Michael Logusz THE BRITISH ARE COMING!!


Michael O. Logusz brings to the forefront a little followed section of the American Revolution. When we think of the American Revolution, we think George Washington and his amazing and daring tactics in bringing the British to their end in the American colonies. However, there is much more to this war than many are familiar with.
As we move through the many facets of the Wilderness Campaign, it can get really easy to get bogged down with some of the details. If you are looking for a novel read, this book is NOT for you. But if you want to get a deeper understanding of the Wilderness Campaign of 1777, the major players AND the mistakes that plagued both sides, then this is a MUST READ!! Logusz breaks down the campaign by days, not just notable markers. You get to know the mindset of not only the American Continental Army, but the British Officers as well. Taking the day by day approach, readers are treated to not only to maps and details from correspondence between the leaders, but to the fears and the doubts that plagued both sides. As the troop movements commenced and the Wilderness Campaign heated up, the Northern Army operated as well as they could. Supplies and moral were in place. However, on the British side, things were much different. Lack of supplies, risky intelligence, lack of knowing the area, and loyalist advisors who were in it for themselves, a reader can almost feel as though they are marching through these forests themselves.
Michael Logusz brings readers not only the big picture of how the Wilderness Campaign was lost, but the smaller and finer details that often escape other writers. From some of the first snipers in American history to the murder of Jane McCrea by Native Americans fighting for the British, the nitty-gritty details are brought to the front.
As General John Burgoyne began to prepare for his foray into the war, he studied the maps and what little intelligence that they had concerning the wilderness areas of the colonies. What they did not realize was that their maps were completely out of date and what they were being told from some of the loyalists that were still residing in the areas was not always completely true. According to the maps, what should have been a straight and narrow shot through the countryside was in fact, full of ravines and other obstacles that had not been noted. The British considered the American Patriots weak, and thought the war was won before they even started. As they moved into their first battles with the patriots, they were shocked at the tactics that they employed. To this point, British regulars had only been faced with pitched battles where each side would come out and meet each other head on. Instead, the patriots borrowed from their Native American counterparts, and began to use more guerilla tactics. They hid, they jumped up and fired, then ran. General Burgoyne kept waiting for the many loyalists that he had been told were waiting for the British before they would join but those loyalists never fully materialized. As for the American Patriots who were opposing the British, they were entrenched and more determined than they were given credit for. Even though they lost Fort Ticonderoga early, they managed to not give up much more.
As you read through there are several details that will catch you and make you thumb back a few pages. This is not a bad thing! The facts are such that you have to almost view British and American thought side by side, and Logusz does just that! Grab the book and join the Wilderness Campaign today! From triumph to hesitation, “With Musket and Tomahawk” will take you on a journey that will have you wanting to dive deeper in.
**The one historical discrepancy in the book was the statement that Daniel Webster wrote the dictionary. Noah Webster wrote the dictionary. There is no relation between the two men. **

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