A Tale of Two Pages

Books, life, motherhood, and more!

Christmas Gifts For The Book Lover In Your Life — 2018-11-29

Christmas Gifts For The Book Lover In Your Life

The time for Christmas gifts is here, and it can leave us scrambling to find those perfect items. Being a book lover, its hard to not just ask for books. I never know what to ask for any more! I have books coming out of my ears, and tons to get through, so I need to take a different route. Now, I come from a family of readers. Books have always played an important role, so when Christmas gifting rolls around, we usually just exchange our favorite books.

NOT THIS YEAR! This year, I am going to rock the gift giving! I am going to give book inspired gifts instead! I am not saying don’t give books, but give that special someone a book related gift that will make them smile and think of you each time they see it!

Super Cute Book Ends

I did a little web searching and found this site, All Seasons Book Lovers Gifts and totally fell in love! There are so many things on there that I want for myself. But there are perfect ideas for anyone, man, woman or child that you are wanting to buy for!

Christmas Gifts With Love

Each gift that we send is sent with love unless you are sending coal to someone (and honestly – does anyone really ever do that!??), but each item is selected with care. When you peruse through the site, there are TONS of things to choose from! Clothing, decorative, mugs, gadgets and MORE. You have to walk through the site to see just what you are missing out on! You will find something for every single book lover on your Christmas list this year! Get ready for some book-tacular gifts!

These are gifts that you can feel good about. Find something that will be used, loved and treasured for years to come! Check out All Seasons Book Lovers Gifts today, and tell them that I sent you over! Get ready to be in book lovers heaven!

Book with Succulent Plant

**Photo Credits go to the All Seasons Book Lovers Gifts Website**

Author Interview with Eleanor Herman — 2018-08-13

Author Interview with Eleanor Herman

If you loved the review for The Royal Art of Poison, then you are going to really enjoy this! I got an interview with the author!! Author interviews are thrilling!! I love being able to talk with the authors and get a little insight into the writing. I hope that ya’ll enjoy these few questions that I asked! If you have questions for the authors, please leave your questions in the comments! I will pass them onto the author!

Happy Sunday!

 

Interview with Eleanor Herman

 

  1. Is there one area of poisoning that you enjoyed researching more than the others?

I’ve enjoyed working with doctors and researchers all over the world to understand fully not only natural illness but also the forensic techniques currently used to discover what may have killed someone years ago. For instance, scientists can study a random skeleton and determine where the person was born based on the chemical make-up of its teeth. And arsenic or mercury in human remains might not necessarily mean the person was poisoned. The poison could have been used in embalming or in medications or cosmetics. Scientists have ways of determining how it got there, and if the intent was murderous or benign. I worked with a scientist in Copenhagen who dug up famed astronomer Tycho Brahe, and a professor in Italy who found the long-lost intestines of a sixteenth-century grand duke, riddles with arsenic!

 

  1. Given that many royal bodies have been destroyed over the years, do you think that the notes alone from the doctors of the time will help to narrow down more cases of poisoning?

They already have. By the nineteenth century, for instance, the copious notes taken by doctors attending royal personages helped determine the cause of death of Edward VI in 1553 (tuberculosis) and Henry, Prince of Wales, in 1610 (typhoid fever.) Other cases are less clear. In his final illness in 1791, Mozart’s alarming symptoms, carefully recorded by those in the sick room, have resulted in a current list of 118 possible natural causes of death. No one can say for sure what killed the greatest musician of all time, just that it wasn’t poison but an epidemic that was killing a lot of people at the time.

 

  1. Are there other cases that you feel could fall into this list, that did not make the cut in this book?

I would like to pursue ancient poisonings among the Roman emperors: Caesar’s heirs dropping dead at banquets, and Nero’s poisoning school set up in Rome under the direction of a renowned sorceress named Locusta. Exploration of those stories didn’t make it into the Royal Art of Poison as there was a huge time gap between them and the next poisonings we know about in the fourteenth century, and less documentation to really do a deep dive.

 

  1. Which royal did you enjoy researching the most?

I enjoyed researching the mistresses of Louis XIV in the 1670s and 1680s and the Affair of the Poisons. Beautiful, witty, sexy, these women threw themselves at the king and then clawed each other’s eyes out. Stories of poisoned gloves poisoned gowns; a teenager wasting away at the hand of an older, jealous mistress; love potions of baby’s intestines and bits of bats and frogs slipped into the king’s wine… It was an almost unbelievable story.

 

  1. New information is discovered all the time, and it is possible that a cache of documents may turn up one day that would lead to more interesting cases. As historians, we have to view each document with discernment. I wonder at times if doctors did not “edit” their notes to save their own skins. What do you think?

There wasn’t just one doctor in a royal sickroom. There were several, in some cases a dozen or more. And the doctors were all watching one another and writing down what was done for (or to) the patient, and who did it, and what the symptoms and results were. After the death, they would often sit down and write up an in-depth report and all sign the document. Doctors took careful notes to protect themselves from charges of incompetence or intentional murder. Fortunately for the doctors, people of the time knew medical treatment often didn’t work and chalked the death up to either God’s will or some nefarious poison no physician could successfully treat.

 

  1. Is there one case in the book where you felt as though the person really deserved to be poisoned?

Yes! Russia’s Joseph Stalin, a mass murderer who threw shade on Hitler. Not only did he kill his political enemies, but millions of hapless citizens. There is some debate among historians and scientists as to whether he had a stroke—the official cause of death—or had been poisoned. His initial autopsy referred to extensive bleeding in the stomach, not a symptom associated with stroke but with the use of the drug warfarin, odorless and tasteless and easily concealed in food or drink. All mention of stomach bleeding was removed from the official autopsy report. Clearly, Stalin had many enemies, some of whom had dinner with him the night before he died.

Summer Vacation and the Book Dilemma — 2018-07-17

Summer Vacation and the Book Dilemma

Summer vacation is upon us, and the time for reading has become slimmer. I try to read for an hour every night before going to bed, but this last week that proved impossible. My sister stayed with me while I was at my parents for a week, and so instead of reading – we talked and listened to CreepyPasta stories.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely LOVE the time that I get to spend with family! It is wonderful getting caught up and making new memories. Books are my relaxation tool. I read to forget stress and frustration. I realized as I was packing up to leave, that I had not cracked open one of the books that I had brought to read. I read several stories to my nieces and nephews, but my reading was put on the back burner. Ya know, I am okay with that! I would rather have the memories of snuggling with the littles and sharing some of my favorite stories with them, then sitting there going, “I read four books this week.”

Now that I am back home, and the quiet of the house has settled around me, I find myself looking through my list of books trying to decide what to read next. There are so many books that I need to read, want to read, or have planned to read – however, nothing is grabbing me! I cannot find the want to read now. I missed it while I was away, but now that I have the time – nope!

Summer is always an enigma in our house. We tend to become busier than normal. Schedules are filled with activities, fun, and everything else in between. There are days I am not sure exactly what day it is, but as long as everything is on the calendar, I am good to go.  Right now, I am kid free! My kidlets are spending time with their grandparents. I have more time on my hands, and I am not sure how to fill it! I have had the time to sit back and evaluate how things are going in my life, my house, and work on figuring out a plan to get through the remainder of the summer and into the fall.

I have begun the planning segment for the upcoming school year. Lists are in progress of how I want certain things to go, and finances are being looked at. But there is something missing – the ordinary insanity in my house has come down to the dog, and she is content to lay on my feet and snooze the day away. In the insanity of feeling like I am forgetting something, I have started the massive MUST READ LIST – and adding it to my calendar. I love being able to plan everything out and look ahead to see what is upcoming.

How is your summer shaping up? Do you have any fun plans? Share your plans and summer reading goals with me!

 

A to Z Mysteries: The Missing Mummy ~A Book Review~ — 2018-06-15

A to Z Mysteries: The Missing Mummy ~A Book Review~

Hey all! I have a  quick and short review to share with you today!  If you are looking for a fun, quick and easy read for your kids this summer, check out these books! I listened to The Missing Mummy through Scribd, and it took me less than an hour to listen through.

Review

Three friends are looking forward to some fun at the museum during the week. The first item up is Mummy Monday. But while the professor is showing them the mummies, someone steals one of the mummies out of the case! The three friends stumble upon a few clues and work to help the police solve the mystery.

If your child is learning to read on their own, or just looking for some summer books, then you need to check these out! My boys and I will be finding these books at the library and working through them together.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have come across these books! I have been searching for something that my son can read through this summer that is a little outside his comfort zone. These are super simple, the words are small enough that beginning readers can easily read, and more advanced readers will be sucked into the mystery aspect quickly. Perfect for out loud reading before bed, or quiet time in the afternoons.

Author: Ron Roy

Let me know what ya’ll think of these books! Share your favorites with me.

The Widows Watcher – A Book Review — 2018-05-22

The Widows Watcher – A Book Review

I have a new book review to share with you! This book is scheduled to be released on May 29, 2018. Get your library to request it, or pre-order it today. It was that awesome. I sat and read the entire book in just under three hours – it was that good! I am going to warn you though – this book will run you through the gambit of emotions, and run you through an emotional wringer. I wanted to set it aside and finish another time, but there was no way I could set the book down and move on. I had to know what was going to happen next! Add this to your summer reading pile! It is one that is definitely worth the read.

*Some adult language used in the book*

 

Review:

She was suffering from a loss. So was he. She was ready to end it all, but he refused to let her…..

Jenna Shaw is suffering guilt and grief from losing her entire family in an accident. She was supposed to be there, but the chance to have some quiet time was something she could not pass up. Sending her family to Alaska, she gets ready to settle down to some much-needed rest and recuperation after a busy summer. But then tragedy strikes, and she is left alone – forever. She has coped the best she can, but she is ready to let everything go, and join her family in death. She hears her daughter Cassie’s voice in her mind – but nothing from the remainder of her family – just her teenage daughter giving her advice, and questioning the choices that she is making.

Lars is suffering from a loss of his own. He has covered the grief over the many decades that have gone by, but the memories are still there. He does the best he can to cope, but at any moment, the memories can rear their head. Two children missing, one son who was left behind, and the one person who knows where they might be is not talking. Lars has done the best he can to move on, but both he and his son have buried the memories of the day his mother walked out of their lives, taking her two youngest children with her. While no sign of Francine or Will is ever discovered, Audrey is discovered – incoherent and mentally broken.

Jenna shows up next to his house, thinking that she will walk out into the lake and just end everything, but Lars catches her and refuses to let her kill herself. Saving her life, he drags her back towards his house. Instead of bringing her inside, he leaves her on his porch, in a frigid Minnesota winter. When the tow truck driver finally shows up, she is in for an even bigger surprise. Owen forces his dad to take Jenna in until he can get her van fixed, and neither of them is happy with the situation. As the days go by, a truce is formed, and little by little a friendship begins to form.
As their stories unfold, they both find that they are burying painful memories, and perhaps the other can help them get through the grief.

Eventually, Lars asks Jenna to use her skills as a journalist to see what she can uncover about his family and the mysterious disappearance of his children. He is desperate for any information that can be uncovered, holding onto the slimmest shred of hope. Jenna is hesitant to do so, but she does not want to let Lars down. She begins to dig into the families past, but she discovers that there is more than one secret lurking, and the truth just might destroy the fragile older gentleman’s heart once and for all…

 

Lake Union Publishers

Release Date: 29 May 2018

Eliza Maxwell – author

Advanced Copy from NetGalley

On A Cold Dark Sea – A Book Review — 2018-04-20

On A Cold Dark Sea – A Book Review

If you have not seen the new novel from Elizabeth Blackwell – check it out! This book was amazing! New release, just in time for Mother’s Day!

 

THE TITANIC HAS SUNK! 

These words reverberated around the world, and tore countless families apart. But for the people who were on the Titanic and survived it created a bond. Regardless of station in life, they had to pull together to save themselves, and then learn to cope with the guilt of surviving in the aftermath.

The story follows three passengers, Esme, Charlotte and Anna. Each one of these ladies have goals, dreams and secrets. Esme is cheating on her husband. Charlotte is pretending to be a married woman. Anna is secretly in love with Josef who is going to marry another.

Esme covers her affair by eventually marrying the man whom she pulled into the boat, leaving her husband to his fate aboard the sinking vessel. Time has not been kind her to her, and the excitement that she felt with the clandestine relationship quickly soured after a few years of marriage. Seeing the marriage through to the end, she discovers a secret strength within her, and of course, a friend who has always been there. While Sabine may have only started as her maid, she has been the one constant in the headstrong Esme’s life.

Charlotte is a thief. She has fallen in love with the roguish Reg Evers, and is willing to follow him anywhere. But he has been hiding several secrets from her, and while she goes along with his plans, she is deeply hurt by his rejection of her affections. Styling herself Mrs. Evers aboard the vessel, she and Reg are travelling with a young English aristocrat who has been disowned by his family. The secrets that she carries from the Titanic that night will push her to new heights in creating her new identity, but they also eat away at her as the years go by. After she is contacted by a family looking for their son, she begins a search that will take her from England to America in search of answers, resolution and peace.

Anna survives, but has to live with the guilt of being separated from her two companions. She wants to search for them, but the rest of the people in the boat cannot understand her Swedish tongue. As she makes her way to Josef, she worries about what the future will hold, and what she will say to him when she arrives. He lost his brother and fiance in the sinking. But as they grow their lives together, she has one secret that she never shared with him….

As we watch the story of these three ladies unfold, and how the Titanic sinking affects them in the future, we see more than just people. We see their stories, their pain, and the growth that they must learn to accept as time moves forward.

Fantastic book! I loved the twists and turns, and the many layers that each person seemed to possess. Anna’s story really struck me harder than the rest, and of course, the massive loss of life that was incurred during the sinking. Strength and determination are some of the major themes through this book, and I enjoyed watching many of the secrets play out and unfold upon the pages of this book!

The Forgotten Ones – A Book Review — 2018-03-24

The Forgotten Ones – A Book Review

Alright ya’ll – I have a new book review for you – and I guarentee, this is one book that you are going to want to add to your pre-order list today! The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes releases on 1 April 2018.

5/5 stars

Danger, wonder, secrets, family, and forgiveness. This book is a MUST HAVE.

Elle has done a good job of managing life. Her mother is certifiable, and the mood swings can take a toll on her. However, life has a way of taking a detour, and Elle is fixing to stumble on a huge secret – one that her mother has kept buried for years.

When Anna Marie was growing up, she had a rather dysfunctional childhood. Her father was a long haul trucker and her mother – well her mother lived in a world all her own. Gertie lost many of her children, and they were all buried in the backyard. David would weave stories for his little daughter, weaving a fantasy world that will stay with Anna Marie for the remainder of her life. As much as she loathed her parents, she used that same fantasy world with her daughter Elle.

Brennley, Elle’s best friend and roommate is also a fellow nurse. Together they weather the storm of losing patients and battling the emotions that come with it. Brenn and Elle balance each other out. While Brenn knows the background of Elle’s mother, their past is as much of a secret to her. One of her patients, a man dying of cancer, becomes more than just a patient. Brennley is becoming more and more attached to the lonely older man. But as they become closer – a bit of Elle’s past is opened. Brennley calls her, reading a letter that David has written. She believes that Elle is the granddaughter of the man in the hospital bed. Elle does not think so, her grandparents are dead – it is what she has always been led to believe. But secrets have way of reaching the surface and this one is about to put her entire family on a roller coaster that is going to take many twists and turns. Buckle your seat belt, and get ready for a story that will literally knock your socks off!

A missing child, an imaginary friend, and the secrets of the past have come back to haunt Elle. As she listens to the stories that David tells her from his hospital bed, she believes that they are made up – at least at first. As her mother becomes more and more unhinged, Elle begins to wonder what really happened, and who Bella really was.
By continuing to delve into her mothers past, she begins to push against the history that she has been told, and comes to not only love her grandfather, but wonder what her own future is going to hold. But before her world entirely gets turned upside down, there is one major secret that her grandfather has been hiding – and it could entirely destroy her mother.

OH MY GOODNESS. When you sit down to read this book – do not start it late at night! Book hangover material! The twists and turns that Steena Holmes weaves will keep you guessing, and wondering. As the story progresses, you begin to really feel sorry for David. Choosing between a wife or a daughter is not a decision any person should have to make, but when you are hiding an even darker secret – life becomes a torment. Elle is determined to find the truth, but her mother is becoming more and more unhinged.

This book is one that will make you laugh, it will make you angry. It will leave you horrified and mystified. Ya’ll this book has it all! There are no disappointments, no letdowns, just page turning electricity.

Life Unfiltered — 2018-03-22

Life Unfiltered

Life has been one roller coaster after another these past few weeks. It seems as if one thing can go wrong – five will. Having constant upheaval, and watching as events unfold around me – it makes one sit back at times and wonder what will happen in the end.

Today, I am sitting here watching it snow. For some reason everything calms down on snow days. These are some of my favorite days! I love the quiet, the calm, and the ability to curl up on the couch and get some reading done. Reading is the best way to relax!

I have been reading – I have just been terrible at getting the reviews transferred to the blog, so that I can share them with you. Right now, I am 43 books in for the year. There have been some fantastic reads, some blah reads, and some that are just time fillers. Discovering that I can listen to audio-books while I get some other work done has helped immensely at getting through several that I have had tagged to read for quite a while. Newer books are harder to get on audio, but that is alright! I am content to wait and watch for them to hit the platforms I use to listen through.

Do you dislike paying for books or audio-books? I do! There are some books that I want on my shelves. Favorites, research materials, and of course the must-have reads are ones that I will invest in. For all the others, I am happy to use to library and the many different apps available for reading. I have been using Scribd.com for quite a while to listen to audio books. I pay by the year (cheaper that way), but I can listen away to my hearts content, and get my book fill in. I also use free apps like Hoopla, OverDrive and RBDigital. I am a book junkie to the core!!

How do you get your book time with a busy schedule? Let me know your favorite methods for reading!

Francis I: The Maker of Modern France – A Book Review — 2018-03-16

Francis I: The Maker of Modern France – A Book Review

Francis I of France has long been overshadowed in history. He lived through the times of Henry VIII and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Leonie Frieda breathes life back into one of the major players in European policies and military movements, in such a way that you feel as though you are walking through the halls of the french palaces.

Francis was not born with the promise of a great future, but through his mother and her endless working and dealing, he claimed the French throne. As he sought to bring France into the newer Renaissance era, he also managed to make himself one of the most enigmatic figures of the time. While he lacked Henry VIII’s flair of marrying and throwing off of wives, Francis did his maneuvering through military show and treaties. Eventually, much of this backfired on the monarch, who was seen as unable to carry through with the majority of promises. Most monarchs at the time would have dealt with the treaties the same way, Francis almost took his to extremes. He wanted to prove himself time and time again, and that lack of faith in himself could have lead to the loss of throne more than once.

This book was a fascinating read. I was hooked from the beginning. Not only does the author lay out the life and death of Francis, but she also ushers in the next era, laying the groundwork for some of the more disastrous events that will befall France. Francis may have been the founder of the modern era in France, but it was his daughter in law that brought that dream to full fruition.

5/5 stars

Publishing Date: 10 April 2018

 

Elizabeth’s Rival – A Book Review — 2018-03-06

Elizabeth’s Rival – A Book Review

Elizabeth I was the glittering jewel in her court, and she was unwilling to share any of the limelight with anyone. As her reign progressed, she made her feelings on marriage well known, and many in her court were afraid to ask her permission to get married. Some married in secret, and for those unfortunate souls, the effects were long reaching and dire.
Robert Dudley was the favorite of the queen. They doted on each other, and there was fear among the queens Councillors that he would persuade her to marry him. After the death of his first wife, his name was tarnished enough that she could never give him much credence in his suit, but he continued to pursue her for years. Finally realizing that his dreams would never be realized, he set about to find a wife that could provide him with heirs for his landed estates and title.
Lettice Knolly’s was a close relation of the queen, whether it was remarked on or not, and her role in the court was tenuous. Given her mothers relationship with the queen, she was given a court position, but marriage and motherhood kept her from the court much of the time. Upon the death of her husband, and the massive debts that he had incurred, she began to make plans for her future. Whether she and Dudley had been more than friends for many years is a point of conjecture that we will never fully have an answer to, but she waited the required amount of time for mourning before considering marriage again. Her marriage would be the cause of contention for decades to come. Lettice might be well loved by the queen, but she threw it all away for the love of one man – and the one man that no one else in the kingdom had dared to make any designs on. He was the queens favorite, her darling, her right hand. That Lettice and Robert dared marry in secret, and then continue to hide it from the queen make it all the worse for the pair when it was finally outed to the monarch.
Dudley was forgiven, but Lettice was never again fully welcomed at court. She was banished from the sight of the queen, but the long drawn out spite was not to be forgotten. There could be only one and the queen was not about to share with anyone. But which one will outlast the other….

Lettice is quite a enigmatic figure. That more has not been written about her prior to this is a shame. She was a woman to be reckoned with, and one that did not back down no matter who was on the other side. While her family would find their tempers caused them lucrative positions at court, they always managed to come back up around. Fortunes wheel doth turn and turn. This is one book that I would read again – as there is so much information presented, that it is hard to take it all in at once, but it would be a good one.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Release Date: 6 March 2018

Elizabeth’s Rival: The Tumultuous Life of the Countess of Leicester: The Romance and Conspiracy that Threatened Queen Elizabeth’s Court – Nicola Tallis