Today’s Book – Non-Fiction & Travelogues

Today, I’m highlighting three books on my TBR.  I’ve said before that I want to read more non-fiction this year and while I haven’t stuck with my one non-fiction book a month idea, I have added several to my list.  Let’s take a look.

Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World’s Greatest Empire by JC McKeown – I love strange facts about ancient Rome and this one promises to provide me with facts for days about Roman life, superstitions, and customs.

Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach – This one appealed to me because her travels are centered in Europe.  It’s also got a bit of the finding yourself theme that I don’t so much like but I think I can look past that to enjoy the travel part.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams – We live near the Peruvian embassy in DC.  Right now they have banners up celebrating the discovery of Machu Picchu and the photos on the banners make me want to get on a plane.  I also have a friend that hiked the trail this year so there are many reasons this one appeals.

Anything interesting on your list?

Library Loot – The last time I go without a list…

Last Friday, I decided to head over to the library and see what the stacks had to offer.  This will be the last time I do this — at least for the next few months that is.  I left when I couldn’t carry anything else and almost dropped what I was holding while standing in line because my circulation was being cut off by the books I was holding.  I over did it…but I have no regrets!

The Mosaic of Shadows by Tom Harper.  It’s a historical mystery, and even though mysteries are not my thing (I spend too much time trying to figure out who did it that I forget to enjoy the story.), this one looked really interesting and I love the back drop.  I started it today and so far so good.

Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom.  This is the first book in the Warrior of Rome series and I’m a sucker for anything that promises Roman soldiers.

A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer.  I’ve never heard of this author before but I wanted some fantasy and this one was on the shelf.  It’s a series, so if it pleases, the second will be coming home as well.

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach.  My husband loves watching the NASA channel.  Do know what happens on the NASA channel?  A whole lotta nothing.  BUT, he likes it so I endure.  Anyway, we both saw a review for Packing for Mars and we lucked out and managed to get it without having to wait eons for it.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.  I’m attempting to read every Cornwell book my library has which is a lot.  I took a break after reading a few of his books earlier this year but couldn’t pass this up — it’s the Saxon trilogy.  I cannot express how excited I am about this book!  🙂

The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis.  I love Kalogridis’s writing but my library doesn’t have many on her backlist.  I’ve been trying to get a hold of this book for a while and it was there waiting for me this time.  It’s set in 14th Century France with Knights Templar, witchcraft, the Black Death, and the Hundred Years War all thrown in.

The Clouds Beneath the Sun by Mackenzie Ford.  This is set in Kenya in 1961.  I have to admit that the cover got me and that’s why it came home but the story sounds very intriguing as well.

Enchanted Ground by Sarah Woodhouse.  I’m not sure how I ended up with this book but it promises a lot of family drama and looks sad and wonderful all at the same time.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a cover for this book.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Library Loot – August 20th Edition

This week’s library loot is an odd mix of books — Anglo-Saxons, French medieval history, time travel, Greek mythology, and the Jamestown settlement.  I’m at a bit of a loss to explain how I ended up with this lot, sooo, instead of waiting for me to come up with something witty, let’s just get to the loot.

The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America by Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith.  I was doing a general history search since I’ve been feeling a little historically deficient lately and found this.  I started it earlier in the week and so far it’s very interesting.

Achilles by Elizabeth Cook.  This one’s fiction and looks like a tasty little bit of reading.

The House on the Strand by Daphne Du Maurier.  Time travel, 14th Century France — there is nothing more that I want in a book.

Life in Medieval France by E.R. Chamberlin.  This is sort of a reference book and doesn’t have any cover art so enjoy the red little beauty I found as a place holder.  Oddly, for a book with no cover artwork, there are a ton of photos inside.

The Anglo-Saxons by James Campbell, Eric John, and Patrick Wormald.  I picked this one up for A Tournament of Reading Challenge.  Again, amazed by the amount of pictures in this one too.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

Friday Finds – Fantasy and Strange Roman Habits

This week, two of my favorite things, a fantasy book and strange facts about Roman life.  And let’s begin…

The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett.  This is the follow-up to The Magicians & Mrs. Quent which I read earlier this year.  While I thought parts of The Magicians & Mrs. Quent were a little disconnected, I liked the characters and the world enough to want to read more.  This one comes out on September 28th.  Description from Barnes & Noble: Her courage saved the country of Altania and earned the love of a hero of the realm. Now sensible Ivy Quent wants only to turn her father’s sprawling, mysterious house into a proper home. But soon she is swept into fashionable society’s highest circles of power—a world that is vital to her family’s future but replete with perilous temptations.  Yet far greater danger lies beyond the city’s glittering ballrooms—and Ivy must race to unlock the secrets that lie within the old house on Durrow Street before outlaw magicians and an ancient ravening force plunge Altania into darkness forever.

Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World’s Greatest Empire by J.C. McKeown.  I love anything about Roman history so this one had to go on the list.  Description from Barnes & Noble: Here is a whimsical and captivating collection of odd facts, strange beliefs, outlandish opinions, and other highly amusing trivia of the ancient Romans. We tend to think of the Romans as a pragmatic people with a ruthlessly efficient army, an exemplary legal system, and a precise and elegant language. A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities shows that the Romans were equally capable of bizarre superstitions, logic-defying customs, and often hilariously derisive views of their fellow Romans and non-Romans.

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Leave a comment here with a link to your own finds, or share your answers at Should Be Reading. Happy Friday.

Friday Finds – Fantasy Series

I love a series and I’ve been looking for some new fantasy so when I came across these two authors while looking up a book at my library the other day, I knew they had to go on the list.

The Skewed Throne, The Cracked Throne, and The Vacant Throne by Joshua Palmatier. The series takes place in a city called Amenkor and follows a young girl named Varis who has the ability to see innocence and guilt in colors and develops a knack for murder. She eventually becomes the Mistress of Amenkor and tries to lead the city through political turmoil while fighting to keep the city’s citizens from starvation. When an alliance with another city becomes a possibility, Varis must find an ancient stone throne that was lost centuries earlier to seal the alliance. I tried to sum up each book in a sentence so this short description covers all three books.

Green Rider, First Rider’s Call, and The High King’s Tomb by Kristin Britain. This series is a quest tale with a medieval fantasy setting. In the first book, Karigan is expelled from school, and in a forest on the way home, she finds a Green Rider, a magically bound individual who is carrying a message for the King. She takes his magic brooch and takes over his mission becoming a Green Rider herself. The second book sees tainted magic seeping into the world and Karigan, poisoned by the magic, begins seeing visions of the first Green Rider who tells her how she must overcome a great evil. In the final book, Karigan receives a message from a dead magician and she begins to accept that she is destined for extraordinary things, especially after the god of death’s horse shows up for her.

Find anything good this week to share?

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Leave a comment here with a link to your own finds, or share your list at Should Be Reading. Happy Friday.

Library Loot – Giving Up on Holds and Browsing the Stacks

Usually, I make liberal use of the holds system at my library. Lately, it hasn’t been working to my advantage. This week, I had some extra time and several books to return, so I thought, why not just browse. With a list of authors and books I’d like in hand, I set off for the stacks. I limited myself to three books since I also did a quick peruse of the at home shelves and picked out a few forgotten books that are longing to be read.

Here’s what I came home with.

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn. I came across this one a few weeks ago and was thrilled to see it on the shelf. I’ve not read any of Raybourn’s books and I’ve read a few reviews that said this wasn’t as good as her other books but since I haven’t read them, I’m not worried. Ignorance can sometimes be a good thing when it comes to a new author. This one is about a woman named Theodora who abandons her life and heads to Rumania where rumors of vampires still run rampant. There are castles and counts and brooding noblemen and I’m guessing from the cover pic, some romance and heavy breathing as well. Not sure how I feel about that yet but we’ll see.

The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. I’ve been wanting to read this one for so long but never got around to adding it to the hold pile. I thought I’d take a shot and see if it might be available and, poof, there is was. It’s supposed to be gothic and spooky and richly imagined — OK, so that’s what the cover says and, yes, I fell for it. Abandoned as a small child, twelve year old Ren is missing his left hand, has no idea how he lost it, and has no idea who his family is. When a man appears at the orphanage claiming to be his brother, he convinces the monks to let him go with the man in the hopes that he will solve the mystery that is his life.

The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich. I was hoping for Napoleon’s Pyramids but this was all they had of Dietrich’s books so off the shelf it came. Thieves, sea voyages, armies, mysterious medallions, Egyptian scrolls…not sure what more can be added here but it sounds like a good summer read on a hot day by a lake.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Friday Finds – Letters and Family Drama

This week, it’s about family drama. The last few books that have snuck onto my TBR have all been about some sort of family drama. I’m not sure how this happened since I usually don’t go for drama of this type but lately I can’t help myself.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader has the most awesome book trailer of this one. I don’t usually watch trailers but this one is just amazing. And the book looks good too — letters, history, mystery. It comes out in November so I’ve got a while to wait on this one. Morton is an Australian author and I haven’t heard of her before but I think I might try to pick up another of her books if I can.

The Gin Closet by Leslie Jamison. Alayne from The Crowded Leaf gave this one an excellent review. A woman drops everything in her life to care for her dying alcoholic aunt and while it sounds like a tough book to read, it also sounds wonderfully written. The loss, loneliness, and survival of the two women in this book is something I don’t want to miss even if I know it will leave me in tears.

On Folly Beach by Karen White. I read another Karen White book earlier this year and enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to pick up another but my library doesn’t have many of her books which annoys me but I won’t go into my latest set annoyances with the library system. That’s another post. This one is about a woman who buys a bookstore in Folly Beach, SC while mourning the loss of her husband and finds love letters that draw her and the former owner’s sister into a mystery surrounding WWII.

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Leave a comment here with a link to your own finds, or share your answers at Should Be Reading. Happy Friday.