Friday, April 30, 2010

Lover Mine - J.R. Ward

Lover Mine
J.R. Ward

New American Library
Copyright: April 27, 2010

The description:
The hot new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by the #1 New York Times bestselling author

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity.

Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable.

Lover Mine is a book with at least four, perhaps five different storylines going on, some of which don't seem to have any connection to the story until the very end. Frankly, I found myself skipping one of them to get back to the characters I knew and loved from the previous books. This is also a book which benefits from a re-read of Lover Avenged, the previous book, before you start. I didn't, and I found myself rather lost in places. For example, Payne, and Xhex's capture at the start of the new novel.

Definitely a book worth the wait. And, I wasn't the only person waiting. There were two people waiting at the doors of the bookstore on Tuesday morning so they could get it right away. This is a story that's been building for several books now, but it doesn't seem to finish off the series. At least, I hope not, although I can't guess who the next book is going to be about, unlike some of the last books.

Although Lover Mine is a romance and therefore is guaranteed to have a happy ending for the main characters, this particular book is one where I was wondering if that happy ending was going to happen or not all the way to the last pages of the story. Which just added to the tension. So much has happened to the main characters of this story that you just had to wonder.

But the story of John and Xhex wasn't the only one being told here. There was also an interesting storyline from the past concerning Torhment and Darius, which was a neat read too. Especially when it came to it's end.

There were a couple of things that could have used some explanations, or else I've just forgotten them from previous books, such as what the heck Shadows are (Trez and iAm), but that's a pretty minor gripe.

If you're looking for a book that'll keep you up late, Lover Mine is definitely the one. Yet another five star read from J.R. Ward.

What Would You Recommend? - Garden Books

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

In honor of the season and the fact that I got out in the garden for the first time this year, I'm asking for your recommendations of books on the subject of gardening. Vegetable gardening, flowers, container gardening, whatever. What's your "bible" on the subject?

Considering that I mostly do vegtetable gardening, my favorite for the last few years has been the 2005 edition of Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. My last review of the book is here. I'm also now looking closely at some other gardening books too.

So, what is your suggestion for a good reference book on the subject?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Money Than Brains - Laura Penny

More Money Than Brains: Why School Sucks, College Is Crap and Idiots Think They're Right
Laura Penny
McClelland & Stewart
Copyright: April 20, 2010

The product description:
One of Canada's funniest and most incisive social critics reveals why in North America, where governments spend so much on schools and colleges, training is valued far more than education and loud-mouth ignoramuses are widely and publicly celebrated.
Public education in the United States is in such pitiful shape, the president wants to replace it. Test results from Canadian public schools indicate that Canadian students are at least better at taking tests than their American cousins. On both sides of the border, education is rapidly giving way to job training, and learning how to think for yourself and for the sake of dipping into the vast ocean of human knowledge is going distinctly out of fashion.

It gets worse, says Laura Penny, university lecturer and scathingly funny writer. Paradoxically, in the two nations that have among the best universities, libraries, and research institutions in the world, intellectuals are largely distrusted and yelping ignoramuses now clog the arenas of public discourse.

A brilliant defence of the humanities and social sciences, More Money Than Brains takes a deadly and extremely funny aim at those who would dumb us down. 
 First off, the description is absolutely right. This is an incredibly funny read. I picked it up based on the title and the jacket description, and boy, am I glad I did. Laura Penny is equally hard on both ends of the spectrum, both Liberal and Conservative or Republican and Democrat, depending on which country you're in. More Money Than Brains should be of equal interest to both Canadians and Americans, as she looks at the situation in both countries.

Some of the things she mentions, including direct quotes are enough to make you cringe, but she does it in a very humorous way - probably a requirement so you don't end up completely furious. Still, this is a book to be taken seriously and thought about although there are no real solutions suggested.

Personally, being a reader and having one of the 'useless' arts degrees the author is defending, I can definitely see the book's point. I took Medieval Studies and Classical Studies because that's what I'm interested in, but I've certainly found myself falling into the trap of "now what do I do with this degree?" more than once.

Definitely a book worth the read. And I'm now going to have to hunt down Laura's previous books. If they're as good as this one they'll be well worth reading.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - April 26

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted each week over at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books. It's a meme that I find helps me keep on track with my reading, provided I don't end up stalling out over a longer book. I'm getting somewhat back to normal in terms of reading this week.

This past week I read:
More Money Than Brains by Laura Penny. Non fiction about the state of American/Canadian universities. Just finished it this morning so had no time for a review yet. Not sure if this should actually be counted on next week's sheet.

Friday by Robert Heinlein. Science Fiction.

The Breath Of Allah by Tempest O'Rourke. Something of a thriller. This was a book that was sent to me for review.

What I'm reading right now:
Nothing. I finished the only book I'm seriously readng this morning.

What I'm planning to read this week:
With any luck I should be able to get my hands on Lover Mine tomorrow. I'm not too sure beyond that. Got to find something to start tonight though.

Mailbox Monday - April 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday is hosted each week at The Printed Page. There the warning is that: "Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." I've certainly found it to be true.

After a couple of months being good and not buying too many books I went to town this past week:

Robert A Heinlein

The product description:
Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss's whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face....

Everyman And Medieval Miracle Plays
Ed. A.C. Cawley

The product description:
In addition to the morality play, Everyman, this volume contains a selection of fifteenth century biblical pageants: the very best from the cycles of York, Chester, Wakefield, Coventry and "N. town." A translation of the Cornish Death of Pilate rounds out this fascinating collection for admirers of theatre and of medieval literature.

Medieval Costume And Fashion
Herbert Norris

The product description:
This superb panoramic study of clothing worn in the Middle Ages will fascinate costume enthusiasts, fashion historians and anyone intrigued by medieval life. A meticulously researched text is enhanced with nearly 700 illustrations depicting all manner of apparel—from fur-trimmed cloaks and brocaded robes of courtiers and the nobility to simpler mantles, tunics and trousers worn by merchants, huntsmen, and other commoners. Also included: hairstyles, foot-covering, jewelry, headgear, weapons, and even advice on table manners. "Fascinating in its detail and particularly clearly and well arranged [this book is] a helpful and welcome means of refreshing one’s memory with long-forgotten dates."

The Life of Christina of Markyate
Trans. C. H. Talbot

The product description:
'I wish to remain single, for I have made a vow of virginity.' This is the remarkable story of the twelfth-century recluse Christina, who became prioress of Markyate, near St Albans in Hertfordshire. Determined to devote her life to God and to remain a virgin, Christina repulses the sexual advances of the bishop of Durham. In revenge he arranges her betrothal to a young nobleman but Christina steadfastly refuses to consummate the marriage and defies her parents' cruel coercion. Sustained by visions, she finds refuge with the hermit Roger, and lives concealed at Markyate for four years, enduring terrible physical and emotional torment. Although Christina is supported by the abbot of St Albans, she never achieves the recognition that he intended for her. Written with striking candour by Christina's anonymous biographer, the vividness and compelling detail of this account make it a social document as much as a religious one. Christina's trials of the flesh and spirit exist against a backdrop of scheming and corruption and all-too-human greed.

Special Sistes: Women In The European Middle Ages
Arthur Fredrick Ide

The back cover blurb:
Special Sisters weaves a tapestry tightly illuminating the lives, labors and loves of medieval women. From a general discussion of women from 721 - 1431 A.D., to select biographical sketches of such women as the Merovingian Queen Brunhilda, the german nun Hildegard of Bingen and the French maid from Domremy, Jeanne d'Arc (St. Joan of Arc), this contribution to the history of women investigates all facets of the life of women who worked in the fields or managed manors; fought to defend their hearths, castles, nation, or against the Moslems who were in control of the Holy Land; owned businesses or took work home to finish and earn some income; to organizing guilds and going on strike against unfair employers.

Iron Butterflies
Andre Norton

The back jacket blurb:
Amelia could never have known that the necklace - the delicate filigree butterflies of dead black iron - would become the yoke that could drag her down to her death.

Amelia Harrach lived with a name blackened by scandal. They said her grandmother's marriage to a captive Hessian officer during the American Revolution had been false. Moreover, they said Amelia's father was a bastard. Then came the news that her grandfather was indeed alive, and ready to acknowledge Amelia's legitimace, and make her heiress to a great fortune in Germany.

And so began a journey - a journey into horror and evil that would endanger Amelia and her fortune.

Suddenly she was trapped in a world of drugs and nighmares. But the treacherous way to freedom lay ahead - and so did love...

The Last Apocalype
James Reston Jr.

The product description:
Enter the world of 1000 A.D., when Vikings, Moors, and barbarians battled kings and popes for the fate of Europe.
As the millennium approached, Europeans feared the world would end. The old order was crumbling, and terrifying and confusing new ideas were gaining hold in the populace. Random and horrific violence seemed to sprout everywhere without warning, and without apparent remedy. And, in fact, when the millennium arrived the apocalypse did take place; a world did end, and a new world arose from the ruins.
In 950, Ireland, England, and France were helpless against the ravages of the seagoing Vikings; the fierce and strange Hungarian Magyars laid waste to Germany and Italy; the legions of the Moors ruled Spain and threatened the remnants of Charlemagne's vast domain. The papacy was corrupt and decadent, overshadowed by glorious Byzantium. Yet a mere fifty years later, the gods of the Vikings were dethroned, the shamans of the Magyars were massacred, the magnificent Moorish caliphate disintegrated: The sign of the cross held sway from Spain in the West to Russia in the East.
James Reston, Jr.'s enthralling saga of how the Christian kingdoms converted, conquered, and slaughtered their way to dominance brings to life unforgettable historical characters who embodied the struggle for the soul of Europe. From the righteous fury of the Viking queen Sigrid the Strong-Minded, who burned unwanted suitors alive; to the brilliant but too-cunning Moor Al-Mansor the Illustrious Victor; to the aptly named English king Ethelred the Unready; to the abiding genius of the age, Pope Sylvester II--warrior-kings and concubine empresses, maniacal warriors and religious zealots, bring this stirring period to life.
The Last Apocalypse is a book rich in personal historical detail, flavored with the nearly magical sensibility of an apocalyptic age.

Organic Crops In Pots: How To Grow Your Own Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell

The product description:
Here's how to grow your own produce any place where space is at a premium. A tiny yard, balcony, or sunny windowsill can hold pots of organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs--and these 30 brilliant projects will show you not only how to grow them all from scratch, but how to plant them in an array of attractive containers, from colanders to recycled tins. There's an amazing range of crops that can be grown this way, including herbs, climbing beans, root vegetables, chilies, soft fruits, and cut-and-come-again salad leaves. Growing your own also means you can ensure that all your crops are produced organically, and this book is packed with tips and techniques, from advice on feeding and watering to knowing when to harvest. "Organic Crops in Pots" tempts the novice gardener to get growing and the more experienced gardener to grow organically. *Create your own organic garden using containers that will enhance the tiniest of outdoor spaces. *Learn how to grown more than 30 easy varieties of root vegetables and leafy crops, herbs, and fruits. *How to deter pests and avoid chemicals so your crops are naturally organic and delicious.

Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
Martha Stewart

The product description:
No matter how busy you are, at the end of the day you want fresh, flavorful meals that are easy to prepare. And you want lots of choices and variations—recipes that call for your favorite foods and take advantage of excellent (and readily available) ingredients. In the first book from the award-winning magazine Everyday Food, you’ll find all of that: 250 simple recipes for delicious meals that are quick enough to make any day of the week.

Because a change in weather affects how we cook as much as what we cook, the recipes in Everyday Food are arranged by season. For spring, you’ll find speedy preparations for main-course salads, chicken, and poached salmon that minimize time spent at the stove; summer features quick techniques for grilling the very best burgers and kabobs as well as no-cook pasta sauces; for fall, there are braised meats and hearty main-course soups; and winter provides new takes on rich one-dish meals, roasts and stews, and hearty baked pastas. Finally, a chapter on basics explains how to make year-round staples such as foolproof roast chicken, risotto, couscous, and chocolate sauce.

Designed in a contemporary and easy-to-read format, Everyday Food boasts lush, full-color photography and plenty of suggestions for substitutions and variations. With Everyday Food, even the busiest on-the-go cook can look forward to meals that bring freshness, nutrition, and a range of flavors to dinner all week long.

The Museum At Purgatory
Nick Bantock

The product description:
From magic carpets to miniature mummies to a room simply containing "obscure objects," Curator Non overseas all that is housed in the Museum at Purgatory, and afterlife way station where artists and collectors comb over their lives, trying to discover whether they are headed for Heaven or Hell.As Non takes readers on a fascinating tour through each of the Museum's rooms -- along with its contents and their owners -- he picks up clues about his own forgotten life, piecing together a past that finally allows him to conclude his own story.

Medieval Households
David Herlihy

The product description:
Traces the history of family life during the Middle Ages and examines medieval marriages, childhood, motherhood, and fatherhood. 

 Amusing side-note: I just discovered this book was referenced by another book I have: The Kindness Of Strangers by John Boswell.

The Venetian's Wife
Nick Bantock

The product description:
The newest novel by the acclaimed author/illustrator of the Griffin & Sabine trilogy is part love story, part mystery, and part ghostly tale--an altogether bewitching brew of sensualtiy and lost treasures. A young woman's obsession with a drawing of Shiva, the Hindu god, leads to a curious job offer: to find the few remaining pieces of a 15-th century adventurer's renowed collection of Indian sculptures. 90+ color illustrations.

Brandon Sanderson

The product description:
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon's new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping -- based on their correspondence -- to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn't recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It's also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

Sex, Dissidence and Damnation: Minority Groups In The Middle Ages
Jeffrey Richards

The product description:
For the authorities of medieval Europe, both secular and ecclesiastical, dissent struck at the roots of an ordered, settled world. But why was the danger felt to be so great and so immediate from a minority of mostly poor and powerless individuals. In Sex, Dissidence and Damnation , Jeffrey Richards looks at the persecuted lives of heretics, witches, Jews, prostitutes, lepers, and homosexuals to examine the motivation behind intolerance in the Middle Ages. Richards argues that, above all, it was deviation from the sexual norms of the Church which authorities sought to suppress. At a time when the Second Coming was expected, sexual deviance was seen as having a malignant influence, not just in an individual life, but on the world at large. Richards provides a comprehensive look at medieval sexuality, both in terms of society's official attitudes and its unofficial practices. He bases his study firmly within the context of the medieval psyche, charting the shifting perceptions of sex, dissidence, and damnation throughout the Middle Ages. Offering an insightful study of historical intolerance, Sex, Dissidence and Damnation enables readers to form their own judgements about how--if at all--attitudes have changed since then.

The Fires Of Vesuvius
Mary Beard

The product description:
Pompeii is the most famous archaeological site in the world, visited by more than two million people each year. Yet it is also one of the most puzzling, with an intriguing and sometimes violent history, from the sixth century BCE to the present day.
Destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 CE, the ruins of Pompeii offer the best evidence we have of life in the Roman Empire. But the eruptions are only part of the story. In The Fires of Vesuvius, acclaimed historian Mary Beard makes sense of the remains. She explores what kind of town it was—more like Calcutta or the Costa del Sol?—and what it can tell us about “ordinary” life there. From sex to politics, food to religion, slavery to literacy, Beard offers us the big picture even as she takes us close enough to the past to smell the bad breath and see the intestinal tapeworms of the inhabitants of the lost city. She resurrects the Temple of Isis as a testament to ancient multiculturalism. At the Suburban Baths we go from communal bathing to hygiene to erotica.
Recently, Pompeii has been a focus of pleasure and loss: from Pink Floyd’s memorable rock concert to Primo Levi’s elegy on the victims. But Pompeii still does not give up its secrets quite as easily as it may seem. This book shows us how much more and less there is to Pompeii than a city frozen in time as it went about its business on 24 August 79. 

The Forgetting Room 
Nick Bantock

The product description:
When his grandfather dies, Armon inherits the family home in Ronda, Spain, and finds himself trying to unravel the surreal conundrum his grandfather has left for him. Armon begins to remember his childhood art lessons, and gradually, as his grandfather's studio takes hold of him, he finds himself pulled, day by day, toward a most extraordinary elliptic link with his past.
Binding art and text in a narrative marriage, Nick Bantock takes us to the Forgetting Room, where he teases us through a tale of discovery, revenge, alchemy, and Moorish legend.

Friday - Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein
Del Rey
Copyright: 1983

The product description:
Engineered from the finest genes, and trained to be a secret courier in a future world, Friday operates over a near-future Earth, where chaos reigns. Working at Boss's whimsical behest she travels from far north to deep south, finding quick, expeditious solutions as one calamity after another threatens to explode in her face....
 One of the books I bought last week, I'm sure I've read this one before, but I sure didn't remember much of the story when I read it this time.

Friday is definitely a Robert Heinlein novel along the lines of Time Enough For Love and some of his other books. Not suited for all ages, but for adults, it might be a good read.

The main character, Friday, was an interesting one, as was the world she lives in. Both extremely high tech and at the same time, very low tech. I'd love to know what had set it on the path it was on, which was never even hinted at. At the same time, it was quite realistic with the character attitudes and prejudices that were encountered. A bit free towards sex however, but that's generally a hallmark of some of Heinlein's novels as I've already noted.

To be honest however, I have to admit that this wasn't my favorite of his books. I still don't have a clue what was going on in some ways and the book seemed to wind up too fast. Which again is something I've found true of some of his books. IIRC, it was The Cat Who Walks Through Walls that I found that about before. I think that predates this blog though.

Still, if you like Heinlein's books, it's worth checking out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What Would You Recommend? - David Weber

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

This week I'm asking about the author David Weber. His best known books are the Honor Harrington series, which begins with On Basilisk Station, but that's not his only series of books. He's also writing the Safehold series, of which book four, A Mighty Fortress, was just released. The next of the Honor Harrington books, Mission Of Honor, is due out soon too. He's written other books too, mostly military science fiction, but also some fantasy novels.

Typically, I've been recommending the books by John Ringo and David Drake when I get people who love David Weber's books, and sometimes the Vatta's War series by Elizabeth Moon. This time I'm also asking because I like the Honor Harrington books myself, and I'm hoping to find some other good books to read. So, what would you recommend?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Breath Of Allah - Tempest O'Rourke

The Breath Of Allah
Tempest O'Rourke
Synergy Books
September 1, 2009

The Product Description:
The appearance of an ancient Koran—one of the original twelve transcribed after Mohammed’s death—sparks questions about the authenticity of current Islamic practices and teachings. A deadly race begins as the American who inherited the historic text works to keep it safe while being hunted by the CIA, Islamic terrorists, and Jewish Secret Police. As the death toll rises, a mysterious Muslim prophet appears—a prophet who might be the leader Islam needs to restore peace among its followers. Together, the American and the prophet endeavor to reveal the true meaning of Mohammed’s Breath of Allah, but to do so they must overcome the deadly agendas of extremist clerics and terrorists, who are willing to silence the true Koran at any cost.
The first thing I should say is that I was sent a copy of this book to read and review. That now said, on with the review:

The Breath of Allah is an exciting thriller, one I was surprised that I liked so much given my track record with such books in the past (not very good). The author,Tempest O'Rourke weaves together a very plausible future for the world, given the way things are going today, as the book is set ten years in the future. Might be interesting reading in 2020, to see how much of a forecast the book turns out to be. It's definitely not a world I want to be living in, either!

On the other hand, looking at the little told about Tempest O'Rourke's background on the back jacket of the book, it looks as though he knows what he's talking about in the story, adding another layer of plausibility to the character's actions and the world politics described.

There is an element of history to the book, but less so than I thought there would be, not that it really needed more. Aside from the prologue and the very end, which involves Lawrence of Arabia, the rest of the book is all concerned with the 'present day' of the story. There are numerous references to events of the recent past - Iraq, 9/11 etc however.

Although there are a lot of characters, for the most part they seem to be well created and integral to the story, especially the main characters. I would have liked more of the prologue, more of Lawrence, but that's possibly just me. I know it wasn't critical to the story being told after the introduction of the Koran.

I will say that the politics of the story probably won't be to everyone's liking. I found after a while that they got on my nerves a bit, given the number of times that statements like "liberal do-gooders" and other negative references of the sort are scattered throughout the story. But then, I notice things like that when I'm reading.

The final thing of the book is that the ending doesn't seem to be especially resolved. It does leave lots of room for sequels though.

If you like an exciting read, The Breath of Allah could be the perfect book for you. I give it four out of five stars.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday - Mission Of Honor

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted each week at Breaking The Spine to spotlight those books we're all waiting to be published. This week my choice is:

Mission Of Honor
David Weber
Baen Books
Release Date: June 22, 2010

The product description:
The Star Kingdom of Manticore and the Republic of Haven have been enemies for Honor Harrington's entire life, and she has paid a price for the victories she's achieved in that conflict. And now the unstoppable juggernaut of the mighty Solarian League is on a collision course with Manticore. The millions who have already died may have been only a foretaste of the billions of casualties just over the horizon, and Honor sees it coming. She's prepared to do anything, risk anything, to stop it, and she has a plan that may finally bring an end to the Havenite Wars and give even the Solarian League pause. But there are things not even Honor knows about. There are forces in play, hidden enemies in motion, all converging on the Star Kingdom of Manticore to crush the very life out of it, and Honor's worst nightmares fall short of the oncoming reality. But Manticore's enemies may not have thought of everything after all. Because if everything Honor Harrington loves is going down to destruction, it won't be going alone.
The series is getting a bit big, but I'm still enjoying it nonetheless.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Upcoming Medieval History Books

These are some rather intriguing looking medieval history books. Several of which, I'd really like to get my hands on. Some are relatively new, and others are still pre-order only.

Women's Lives in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook
Emile Ant
January 25, 2010 product description:
Long considered to be a definitive and truly groundbreaking collection of sources, Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe uniquely presents the everyday lives and experiences of women in the Middle Ages. This indispensible text has now been thoroughly updated and expanded to reflect new research, and includes previously unavailable source material.
This new edition includes expanded sections on marriage and sexuality, and on peasant women and townswomen, as well as a new section on women and the law. There are brief introductions both to the period and to the individual documents, study questions to accompany each reading, a glossary of terms and a fully updated bibliography. Working within a multi-cultural framework, the book focuses not just on the Christian majority, but also present material about women in minority groups in Europe, such as Jews, Muslims, and those considered to be heretics. Incorporating both the laws, regulations and religious texts that shaped the way women lived their lives, and personal narratives by and about medieval women, the book is unique in examining women’s lives through the lens of daily activities, and in doing so as far as possible through the voices of women themselves.

Early Medieval Towns In Britain: C700-1140
Jeremy Haslam
September 21, 2010

The product description:
Towns have been a place of evolution and development throughout British history, growing from royal 'wics' between the seventh and ninth centuries to characteristic Viking towns in the later ninth and early tenth centuries, then changing following the Norman Conquest in 1066. Using archaeological, topographical and documentary material, this book provides an extensive and detailed insight into recent ideas about the developments of towns in England in the first half millennium to AD 1140.
My one problem with buying this book is whether or not it will have all that much information. It's billed as being only 64 pages long.

The Medieval World: An Illustrated Atlas
John M.  Thompson
October 19, 2010

The product description:
Sumptuously illustrating the vivid parade of a thousand years of history, this comprehensive historical atlas concentrates on the Mediterranean world but also shows what happened across the globe between A.D. 400 and 1500 —from the fall of Rome to the age of discovery. Every page glistens with period works of art, fascinating maps, quotes from medieval figures, close-ups of intriguing artifacts, and rich landscape photographs of the places where battles were fought and monarchs were crowned. For every century, a signature city is spotlighted to represent that era's developments. Time lines connect the many dramatic events that took place in these dark and exciting times, which continue to shape our world today. Written by a team of veteran National Geographic writers, this richly illustrated reference includes full index, reading list, and glossary.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - April 19

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted each week at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books. Thanks for keeping me on track with my reading each week.

I hadn't posted for the last several weeks because my reading has been atrocious! Only one book finished so far for the month of April. Here's hoping things will improve this week though.

Last week I read:
The Aeneid by Virgil, translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Took a while to read, but it was worth it.

This week I'm reading:
The Breath of Allah by Tempest O'Rourke.
This is turning out to be a good book, and one that's ending up with an "I'd like to borrow that when you're done" list. Always a good sign, even though it's not my normal reading fare.

Non Campus Mentis: World History According To College Students edited and compiled by Professor Anders Henriksson.
Hillarious book currently available as Ignorance is Blitz. I'm finding it best in smaller doses though as too many of the anecdotes at one time leaves me cringing.

What I'm planning to read this week:
There are some intriguing books I've seen at work. Maybe one of those:
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay or The Conqueror's Shadow. If I'm too slow at reading the books I've got going right now, it may well end up being the newest J.R. Ward which is due out next week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pre-Printing Press Challenge 2010

The Pre-Printing Press Challenge
May 1st 2010-April 30th 2011
The Pre-Printing Press Challenge
May 1st 2010-April 30th 2011

I've seen a lot of challenges for reading romances, fiction, award winning books and many more. Challenges on various themes (King Arthur etc.) and challenges to fit certain criteria, such as the What's In A Name Challenge.

What I haven't seen is a challenge for reading books that pre-date the Printing Press. There's so many good pieces of writing that fit in this category (and I'm not asking you to read them in the original language unless you want to). So, for my first reading challenge, the pre-printing press challenge, I'm asking people to give these ancient and medieval books a try.

This is the second year for the Pre-Printing Press Challenge. I started running this one last year as I said.

I'll admit that I'm more familiar with the European books, but if you know of something that fits the qualifications of the challenge from other parts of the world, feel free to include it.

Just some rough examples of the sorts of books that count, both histories and fiction:
Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War
Herodotus The Histories
Homer The Iliad and The Odyssey
Greek Tragedies and Comedies

Norse Sagas
Geoffrey of Monmouth The History of the Kings of Britain
Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

The lists could continue on and on.

The rules of the Pre-Printing Press Challenge:
  1. All books must have come out before 1440, when the printing press was first invented.
  2. Books chosen for this challenge can overlap with other challenges.
  3. Books can be translated into the language of your choice.
  4. All the books you've chosen must be read by April 30th 2011.
  5. You can read 1-3 books, 4-6 books, 7-9 books or 10 or more books if you're feeling particularly ambitious.
  6. The choice of books is up to you. There are no set reading lists, and you don't have to set one when you join.
  7. Post your blog address where you'll be posting your comments on your choice of books in the comments of this post when you join, and tell me how many books you've chosen. I'll set up a link to participating blogs from here.
  8. Above all, Have fun.
The challenge starts May 1st.

Book Rambling: Multiple Titles, Same Book

This book rambling post brought to you by the fact that I found my old copy of Non Campus Mentis, now available as Ignorance is Blitz. Now, that is a funny book! It's also a prime example of what this post is about: books that have been reprinted under new titles. I'm not even going to go anywhere near the issue of reprinting books in omnibus editions. That's actually caught me several times when I've bought a book only to discover that I've already got the books it contains - Andre Norton's titles being the worst offenders here.

Different titles for the same book can create quite the stir - remember when they were first publishing the Harry Potter books, how much of an issue the retitling of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S.A. was? That's not the only book that's been given a different title for the American market. I know of at least one other too: Clothair The Frank, by Jack Whyte was called The Spear Carrier IIRC.

North American markets vs European ones are another cause of multiple titles: I know the first book by Diana Gabaldon as Outlander, but in England the book is called Cross Stitch. And, one of Anne McCaffrey's books was given a different title in the U.K.. If my memory is correct, the book was Dragonseye, retitled Red Star Rising.

Those aren't the most frustrating ones though - you just have to watch out at the library - they're less likley to be at the bookstore. It's the books that are reprinted in the same country that really drive me somewhat nuts.

Alison Weir's book on Katherine of Swynford was published in Canada hardcover as Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and his Scandalous Wife, but the paperback is called Mistress Of The Monarchy and both are on the shelf together. And, there's the book that I introduced this post with: Non Campus Mentis/Ignorance is Blitz. The third book I've run into recently where they've given it a new title is Tim Moore's Travels With My Donkey, which is the title I own it as, being widely available as Spanish Steps.

So far, I've mostly been able to catch these before I actually buy them. Mostly because I still buy the majority of my books through a physical bookstore where I can look through the book before I pay for it. Buying over the internet, though it gives me a greater selection, I can't get a feel for the book first.

So have you been conned into spending money on a book you think is a new one, only to discover you already have it?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

100 Books Meme

Found on Gryphonrhi's LiveJournal. These things seem to go around every so often, and it's always amusing.

Bold the ones you've read COMPLETELY, italicize the ones you've read part of. Watching the movie or the cartoon doesn't count. Abridged versions don't count either. BTW, according to the BBC if you've read 7 of these, you are above the average. My comments are in parentheses.)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings-JRR Tolkien (many, many times)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter Series- J.K. Rowling (To book four)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations-Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Ubervilles-Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (many times, but not lately)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (required reading for English class)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy- Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland-Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (years and years ago)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (and the other Narnia books)
37 The Kite Runner-Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi-Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert 
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale of Two Cities-Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden -Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno-Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madam Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton (I know I've read the first one, but not sure about the rest)
91 Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince- Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down -Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday, April 16, 2010

What Would You Recommend? - Cassandra Claire

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

This week I've decided to dip into the list of books I want to read at some unspecified point in the future. Cassandra Claire's series The Mortal Instruments has been very popular in the bookstore, starting with the first book, City of Bones. I've heard so many people raving about the series that I do intend to read at least the first book sometime in the near future. In the mean time though, I still have to find books to recommend to people who've read this series.

I know the Mortal Instruments series is definitely teen geared urban fantasy, but I honestly don't know too much more than that. What else should I recommend to go with it? P.C. Cast's books? The Hunger Games? What would you recommend?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Aeneid - Virgil

The Aeneid
Trans. Robert Fitzgerald
Copyright: 1990

The product description:
Virgil's great epic transforms the Homeric tradition into a triumphal statement of the Roman civilizing mission. Translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Okay, I've seen some non-descriptive descriptions before, but this one's pretty near the top. Still, I guess it does sum things up fairly neatly.

Although The Aeneid is written in the Homeric style, it dates from much later - the time of Augustus. The poem is also unfinished, or so the postscript says, because Virgil died. This is one of the most famous of the Roman poems too.

The Aeneid deals with the story of Aeneas' travels from the conquered city of Troy after the Trojan War as told in The Illiad and The Odessey, when he journeyed to Italy to found a new city on the commands of Venus. As to this particular translation? I can't say anything about the translation from my own experience, not having enough latin to even attempt the original. But, the Fitzgerald translation was the one we had in class at college. Also, there's a review from Bernard Knox on the back cover, who's written the introduction to the Fagles translation of The Aeneid IIRC. I can definitely say that this is a very readable book.

On the other hand, I felt like I needed a detailed map of the Mediterranean with all the old names in order to follow the route that Aeneas takes. That's one thing that this book lacks: a good map. I would have said also that I needed a glossary to the names, but I discovered that hiding at the very end of the book after I finished the read last night. Otherwise, I'd likely have found myself resorting to hoping the Oxford Classical Dictionary had them. I'm still thinking of doing that anyway.

Reading this with my notes (such as they were) from class was definitely interesting. They reminded me of the use of simile and elaborate naming conventions which are rife throughout the poem. There's also the traditional invocation of the Muses, both at the beginning of The Aeneid and then again several times throughout.

This poem drops names left, right and center. Especially during the battle scenes of the final two or three books. I kept going "who's that?" and "which side is he on again?". Because of that, I felt that they went on too long and I found myself skimming. Admittedly, that's because I was completely lost.

There are also quite a few references to events that happened after the time of Aeneas but up to the time of Augustus. The scene in the underworld and also the scenes depicted on Aeneas' shield were two of the best examples of those, and that's why I'm thinking of resorting to the Oxford Classical Dictionary. I shouldn't admit this, given that I went to University for Classical Studies, but I missed a lot of those references.

Overall though, I quite liked the read. I read The Aeneid for the Pre-Printing Press Challenge, and also because I was inspired by my read of Jo Graham's novel based on the poem: Black Ships.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday - Lover Mine

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking The Spine which allows us to spotlight the books we're waiting eagerly to read. I'll admit that I'm not the most regular poster to this event, but I'm back this week.

My pick for this week is the upcoming book by J.R. Ward:

Lover Mine
J.R. Ward

Due out: April 27.

The description isn't much unfortunately. Still, it's tantalizing:
The hot new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by the #1 New York Times bestselling author

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity.

Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable.
 This is the one we've been waiting for for a while. John's story. Personally, I can't wait to see how it's going to turn out, although, given that this is a romance novel, I already know that somehow there's going to be a happy ending.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pre-Printing Press Challenge - Question

The end date for the Pre-Printing Press Challenge is nearly here. I'd like to know if there's enough interest for me to run it again this year. I know I discovered a few neat things while doing it this past year (such as the fact that reading these books takes longer than I tend to think it will, and as a result I was less successful so far than I thought I'd be).

So, should I run it again?

Night Pleasures - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Night Pleasures
Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2002

The product description:
The Dark-Hunters are ancient warriors who have sworn to protect mankind and the fate of the world is in their hands. . .
 He is solitude. He is darkness. He is the ruler of the night. Yet Kyrian of Thrace has just woken up handcuffed to his worst nightmare: An accountant. Worse, she's being hunted by one of the most lethal vampires out there. And if Amanda Devereaux goes down, then he does too. But it's not just their lives that are hanging in the balance.  Kyrian and Amanda are all that stands between humanity and oblivion. Let's hope they win.
Night Pleasures, the second book in Sherrilyn Kenyon's world of the Dark Hunters is the story of Amanda and Kyrian of Thrace. I have to say it's not the best introduction (at least for Amanda), but it certainly is amusing: she wakes up to find herself handcuffed to this handsome stranger in an unfamiliar room. For Amanda, who just wants an ordinary life, this is the start of her introduction to the hidden world all around. The world her sisters believe in. It's a world populated by ancient Greek gods, shape-shifters (the Were-Hunters), Dream-Hunters, Dark-Hunters, Daimons and so much more). This is also a dangerous world.

Although Night Pleasures is the second book set in this world, it really does feel like the first. Fantasy Lover, although a good read, doesn't have the Daimons, Dark-Hunters or any of the other mainstays of the series in it. This is the book that introduces so many of the characters from future books to us: Tabitha, Talon, Sunshine, Nick, Acheron and others.

There's non-stop excitement in this book, as well as many amusing moments. One of my favorites is when one of the other characters phones Amanda and asks her to check on her dog, saying that all she's doing is reading the latest Kinley MacGregor (Taming The Highlander). Why it's so amusing to me is because Kinley MagGregor is the other name that Sherrilyn Kenyon writes under.

Night Pleasures is a romance novel, so the general plot is fairly predictable. You know right from the start that Amanda and Kyrian are going to get together by the end of the story, it's just a question of how. And, the odds do seem to be stacked against them.

This isn't my favorite book in the series, but it's a good one nonetheless, and one that I've read several times. I do recommend Night Pleasures along with the rest of the Dark-Hunter world to any fan of paranormal romance novels.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Little Brother - Cory Doctorow

This review was originally posted at Royal Reviews.

Little Brother
Cory Doctorow
Tor Books
Copyright: 2008

The product description:
Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
Engrossing but somewhat spooky was my first  reaction as I started to read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. Not because the book was a horror novel (which it's not), but because it was a warning of what our world could so easily become if we're not careful.

Little Brother is the story of Markus, a teen living in the near future (references to Windows Vista, wi-fi etc, all set the period), but it's a world where surveillance is everywhere, even in schools. One day he and some friends decided to cut school in order to continue with a multi-player game. Bad decision. They end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, during a terrorist attack and are gathered up by Homeland Security for interrogation.

When Markus is finally released, several days later, he discovers his parents had believed him to be one of the victims of the attack, and he discovers how much power Homeland Security really has. Too much. And everyone seems to think that's OK.

What's one teen to do? Try and stop them. That's what Little Brother is about, the struggle and the growing movement against Homeland Security and paranoia.

I liked this book a lot, it didn't feel young like some of the teen books I've read. Instead, I think it's just as good a read for adults as it is for teens. There's a lot of information in here as well, mostly tech-related but it all fits into the story well, IMHO, but not everyone may feel that way. The story is from Markus's point of view, and it's clear he's quite the computer whiz, as are a lot of other people in this time and place. It's good, because we get a very clear picture of his thoughts and feelings as he discovers the dark side of the world he lives in, but it's also a bit of a negative. I for one would have liked to see some of the reaction outside of San Francisco to the terrorist attack and the crack-down.

The ending was definitely interesting. Happy, but not complete, rather like real life. It felt like there was more to the story, although perhaps not enough for more stories. It wasn't too 'perfect' though, which is a bit of a change. On the other hand, was the tech knowledge of Markus and most of the other characters in the story realistic? I can't really say.

This book is, I think, designed as a warning against complacency and trading freedoms for security. It definitely left me thinking hard.

Recommended for people who like science fiction, technology and an exciting story (a.k.a. most teens and many adults).

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Would You Recommend - 39 Clues

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

With the new 39 Clues book, The Emperor's Code by Gordon Korman being newly released, I have to ask what you'd recommend for the kids in buying it now to read next? Some of them may well like Gordon Korman's other books, so I've been pointing them in that direction already. I know that one of his books, No Coins Please has stuck itself in my head for years, ever since I first read it as a kid myself, and leaves me laughing out loud at the situations those kids got themselves into.

It's also safe to guess that books by the other authors in this series are good guesses - especially Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. Beyond that, however, I'm not entirely certain what else to suggest, although I'm thinking that the various spy/thrillers designed for kids might catch their interests: The Young Bond series or the Alex Rider books for example.

What would you suggest?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Excuse for being so quiet

It's simple. The Aeneid is taking me far longer to read than I thought it would. Because of that, I don't want to start another book in the mean time. That would simply push Virgil's classic into the abandoned status. Of course, it hasn't been helped when I forgot to take the book to work with me to read on my breaks.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs

Silver Borne
Patricia Briggs
Ace Hardcover
Copyright: 2010

The product description:
All-new action in the #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series

When mechanic and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson attempts to return a powerful Fae book she'd previously borrowed in an act of desperation, she finds the bookstore locked up and closed down.

It seems the book contains secret knowledge-and the Fae will do just about anything to keep it out of the wrong hands. And if that doesn't take enough of Mercy's attention, her friend Samuel is struggling with his wolf side-leaving Mercy to cover for him, lest his own father declare Sam's life forfeit.

All in all, Mercy has had better days. And if she isn't careful, she might not have many more to live...
Silver Borne, the fifth book of the Mercy Thompson series was as good as the previous four. Although I wasn't hooked right at the first page, I certainly was within an hour of fully settling in to read. I ended up finishing the book the same night. I just couldn't put the book down. It certainly held up to the anticipation that waiting brought.

Mercy's certainly gotten herself into a nice tangle in this book, although none of it is her fault exactly. A number of the loose ends from the previous books have all come together in this one and need to be resolved. There've been hints previously about Wolf/coyote issues which blow up here, some feelings about what's been going on in the Alpha and Omega series as well come to light, and they Fey are back. Not that they exactly left.

Things are getting better on one front at least, however: Mercy's relationship with Adam, though still rocky is improving. She's starting to get over what happened at the end of Iron Kissed, the third book in the series. Everywhere else though? Well, I really don't want to give out any spoilers.

Some interesting things went on in this book that may serve as fodder for situations in the next books though. Here's hoping there are some more books in the Mercy Thompson series. It's definitely one of my favorites.

Highly, highly recommended, but you need to start with Moon Called.

What Would You Recommend? - Philippa Gregory

This is a question I get asked all the time working in the bookstore: "What would you recommend for somebody who loved "_________"? (fill in the blank)" Usually I can come up with something, but that something can be a bit of a wild guess if it's not a book or genre I normally read. This is where you helpful people come in. If you have a suggestion, I'd love to hear it.

Philippa Gregory is one of the more popular and prolific writers of historical fiction. I think there's a full shelf length of her titles at the store I work at. She specializes in fiction about women from the Tudor era: Elizabeth, the Boleyns and others. I get a lot of requests for her books, and I'd love to know what else I can suggest. The Tudor era is a popular one in fiction right now (Probably thanks to the show The Tudors), and it's hard to keep up with the new books on the subject. Until now, I've been suggesting the novels and biographies by Alison Weir, and also the book Bess of Hardwick, written by Mary Lovell. What other books do you think fans of Philippa Gregory will like?


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