The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History – Kassia St. Clair

Golden ThreadWe take cloth for granted. It has just always been there. Cotton, silk, wool, linen, have been with us forever, nothing special. But this book shows how fabric has shaped our civilizations, has allowed us to go to extreme places, to do extreme things. This wonderful story takes us from a cave in the republic of Georgia where traces of the oldest fibers known to have been used by humans were found, (fibers more than 30,000 years old), to the fabric used in space suits. We travel around the world to China where an empress makes the first silk, to Egypt, where linen was filled with magic, to the Vikings, whose ships had sails made of wool. We meet makers of lace and weavers of wool, athletes and astronauts. I love fabrics, so I enjoyed this book very much. But if you are a person who doesn’t know the difference between velvet and denim, and really don’t care, you might enjoy the book a little bit.

eGalley review                                         Publication date 11.12.19

Posted in adult, history, nonfiction, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Conversations With RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty and Law – Jeffrey Rosen

Conversations with RBGJeffrey Rosen is a law professor at George Washington University and a legal writer. He first met Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg when he was a young law clerk. They discovered a mutual love of opera, and began a friendship that has lasted more than twenty years. These thirteen recorded conversations began in 1990 and continue into the present. They talk about landmark cases, the Bill of Rights and equal protection, her view of Row v Wade, her bouts with cancer and her fitness exercises, the other Supreme Court justices and just about everything important to her. I know less than nothing about the law and the workings of the courts, yet I found the discussions of cases and how they are resolved very interesting, and I loved tiny glimpses of her personal life. If you want a fist glimpse into the workings of a great mind, you will enjoy this book. If you have followed her career for years, you will find nothing new, but may find it interesting to hear her own words.

eGalley review                                                           Publication date 11.5.19

Posted in adult, biography, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The Way I Heard It: True Tales for the Curious Mind with a Short Attention – Mike Rowe

The Way I Heard ItPart autobiography, part biography, this is a collection of stories from a master storyteller.  As I read, I heard hear his rich baritone telling the stories with the unique cadence of his voice.  Each short chapter focuses on a life-changing moment in time for famous person, not revealing the person until the end.  He then ties their story with something in his own life.  An enjoyable, quick read, this book is perfect for short trips, for shared bookshelves in hostels, resorts, waiting rooms, etc.




eGalley review                                                Publication date 10.15.19

Posted in biography, history, humor, Uncategorized | Tagged

To The Land of Long Lost Friends: No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (20) – Alexander McCall Smith

To the Land of Long Lost FriendsOh My! It was so nice to be back in Botswana, feeling the hot dry wind blowing in from the Kalahari, appreciating the lacy shade of an acacia tree, and listening to the musings of Mma Ramotswe. When she happens to meet up with old friends from her childhood, naturally she feels she must try to help with their problems. Charlie is still working as an apprentice detective and seems to finally be growing up, to be actually helping. Mma Makutsi and Charlie are getting along a bit better and Mma Potokwane is again bribing Mma Ramotswe with fruit cake. That pretty much sums up the plot. If you are looking for an intriguing mystery, murder, grand theft, don’t even think about reading this book. BUT if you are in the mood for a gentle story with thoughtful, lovable, characters, this one’s for you. It would be a bit helpful if you had read the preceding books, but that is not absolutely necessary.

eGalley review                                                                Publication date 10.22.19

Posted in adult, fiction, gentle reader, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

Daughters of Chivalry: The Forgotten Princesses of King Edward Longshanks – Kelcey Wilson-Lee

Daughters of ChivalryJoanna, Margaret, Mary and Elizabeth, were the daughters of Edward I, who reigned from 1239 to1307. The traditional view of medieval royal princesses is of quiet young ladies, tending to their needlework, participating in royal pageantry dressed in beautiful silks and velvets, fading into the background and not really doing very much except producing children (preferably males). Not these young ladies. They were well educated and strong willed. They did, of course, make dynastic marriages, endowed religious houses, participated in the pomp and circumstance, but they also were able to influence a husband, and even occasionally defy the king. The survival of the Wardrobe Book for the children’s household allowed a wonderful look into the life of the royal nursery. Many other records still exist, including bills that were paid for jewels, silks and other finery, food that was ordered, horses and carts, builders of castles. All of these records gave the author the ability to recreate the lives of the royals in great detail, to bring these women to life. The illustrations that precede each chapter are a wonderful bonus. This was a lively and interesting book, and I enjoyed it very much.

eGalley review                                                   Publication date 10.1.19

Posted in adult, biography, history, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Tiger Queen – Annie Sullivan

Tiger QueenFrom the publisher, “In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an old law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena against twelve suitors to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, losing is not an option because in order to fulfil her promise to her late mother, she must win to keep her crown and lead her people. The situation outside the palace is uneasy. The harsh desert is unforgiving, water is scarce, and Kateri’s people are thirsty. To make matters worse, the gang of thieving Desert Boys, the same group that killed Kateri’s mother and her new baby, frequently raids the city wells and steals water, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is the choice between two doors. Behind one door lies freedom and behind the other is a tiger.

The people of Achra are growing restless and distrustful of the monarchy, and when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In her desperation, Kateri turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. Her future now, too, is behind two doors-only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which will release the tiger.

I enjoyed this book!  The author jumps right on in with the story beginning in the arena and the hardened life of the princess. She toughens from her merciless trainers, her father and then the horrible Rodric who plots to win the throne and kill Kateri. Kateri makes a good heroine, admitting to mistakes and growing.  Cion is the much-loved hero, strategic, and self-sacrificing. While there are no plot surprises for the seasoned reader, for the target audience it’s great.  This might be their first introduction to political deception and manipulation.

This is the first book I’ve read from the Blink Imprint and I am impressed.  The developing romantic relationship was handled delicately and didn’t become the focus of the story.  Perfect for middle school plus audience.  I’ll look for more to read from Blink and from this author.  Highly recommend!

eGalley review                                           Publication date 9.10.19

Posted in fantasy, highly recommend, Uncategorized | Tagged ,

The Girl the Sea Gave Back – Adrienne Young

Girl the Sea Gave BackFrom the publisher, “For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse. 

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.”

Set a few years after Sky in the Deep, we catch up with Halvard who his now the leader of the merged clans.  The new character is Tova, from the mysterious Kyrr clan, who washed ashore when she was 6 years old.  The Svell instantly fear and loathe her so that her life is constantly in danger.  Yet it is the only home she knows as she cannot remember her time before.  Halvard’s clan seeks peace with the Svell but during their meeting, the Svell attack.

I really enjoyed Sky in the Deep.  Perhaps too much of my time passed between books because I had to relearn the land.  This book moved more slowly, more plodding.  Either from the sparse dialogue or the amount of introspection.  Still a satisfying read, it did not have the edge of the first book.  I do look forward to more from the author.

eGalley review                                                    Publication date 9.3.19

Posted in adventure, fantasy, folklore, Uncategorized | Tagged ,