Thursday, August 17, 2017

First Line Friday: Bible Edition


Happy First Line Friday! Technically it is still Thursday because, well, it is. It is 8:20 PM on Thursday night as I am typing this and by tomorrow I will be exhausted because let me tell you a major truth: there is NO tired like first week of school tired. AND next week will be the worst of it, because the first three days of this week were meetings and working on our classrooms. Students started today. Next though...I'll be lucky if I can keep my eyes open by Wednesday. I hope I can though, because next week my church is starting our new small groups for the fall and I AM SO EXCITED because we are reading this book, which my first line comes from this week:

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"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."

I first attempted to read the Bible cover to cover in seventh grade. I made it through Deuteronomy before I gave up. I know the New Testament much better than the Old Testament and I am looking forward to this one, plus I get to be in a small group lead by my pastors, who are pretty much two of my most favorite people on the planet.

Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week. We have several new members who have joined in the recent weeks, make sure you check them out!


If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!

Sarah

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Obamas

FYI: I'm not going to debate anyone about my opinions on President Obama. Don't bother with that nonsense around here. If you want to talk about the book, cool. I'm not doing political debates on my book review blog.

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Rating: 1 Star

So I wonder if, in an attempt to appear unbiased, the author realizes just how far she went out of her way to make the Obamas nearly unlikable. I absolute love the Obamas, and if Barack could have run for a third term, I'd have voted for him. Michelle is one of the top five people on my list for best shopping buddies. But if I did not know anything about them, and I had only this book for knowledge, I would think Michelle was angry all the time, super controlling and unwavering in her opinions, never one to compromise with anyone. And Barack - a pompous introvert? Really? The author's little play with his supposed 'I told you so" looks was ridiculous. I have never seen two people more in love, more electric, more everything. 

I guess the author thought she was being so sly with her 'sources' but ultimately this is poor writing at its best, or worst, however you want to look at it. The author tries the, "look at me with all the insider knowledge" garbage, and it comes off as abrasive and condescending. Do not bother with this one.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

First Line Friday: Bible Stories



Happy First Line Friday! I missed out on last week because E and I were traveling to visit family Friday and I am one of those "last-minute packers". But I am excited to share this week's words from a gem I found via BookBub, a steal at $1.99 recently. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, it is back to its regular price. But I recommend taking a look at it anyway and I am super psyched to start this one.

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My first line is (actually a paragraph) from the introduction:

"A generation ago, public discourse was littered with biblical references. Someone who endured painful circumstances without giving in to resignation and despair was said to have "the patience of Job". Someone who demonstrated an uncanny ability to see the true nature of things was said to have "the wisdom of Solomon." Great stories like David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion's den and Balaam's talking donkey were mentioned in stories and songs - both religious and popular. Everyone was at least somewhat familiar with them. But that isn't the case anymore."

While I do somewhat disagree with the last two sentences - I don't think the situation is anywhere near as dire as made out to be - I am excited to start this devotional and see where it takes me.

Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week. We have several new members who have joined in the recent weeks, make sure you check them out!

If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!

Sarah

Just Call Me Braggy McBraggerson...

So, guess what was waiting ever so patiently in my mailbox when Eleanor and I arrived home from vacation today!

I'll give you three guesses but I bet you only need one.

No, Dan Jones was not actually in my mailbox.

But this was:



Why yes, you are looking at copy #78 of 120 LIMITED EDITION PROOFS! And it is autographed! I HAVE A BOOK THAT DAN JONES PHYSICALLY OPENED AND SIGNED! Even without the lettering, it is gorgeous. I was lucky enough to win one of the copies given away a couple weeks ago by the UK publisher, Head of Zeus books - which is how I snagged the UK cover in the first place which, as you might recall, is my favorite.

Also, US tour info has finally been updated and I will be going to one of Jones' book signings in the fall! Eek.

I'm telling you, we are so going to be best friends. Once he sees I am a normal person and not actually as crazy as I seem, of course.

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Update!

I know it has been a while since I have posted any reviews. I miss it terribly, but I am in the middle of working on my own writing project that is really important to me and so while I am still reading a lot, I am not reviewing nearly as often. I will be back to it in a while, or at least post  a few reviews here and there, but none like the quantity before until my own project is done.

As an aside, I received an ARC of The Templars by Dan Jones, so you KNOW I will be posting a review of that one closer to the publishing date 😏

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, July 20, 2017

First Line Friday: Coach K Edition


Happy First Line Friday!

This week's line comes from:

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"Sitting in the tower that had been built for him, Mike Krzyzewski had a spectacular view of his kingdom."

I took the line from the first chapter instead of the introduction, because the intro was about Dean Smith. And as a wish-I-were-a-Cameron Crazy, I could not abide that. I hugely respect Dean Smith as one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time, but abhor his program and every player to come out of Carolina - except, of course, for Michael Jordan (sorry I'm not sorry LeBron, you'll never be The G.O.A.T.). I am a huge college basketball fan. I have loved Duke since I was 9 years old. Very specifically, I became a fan on March 28th, 1992. My cousin Jenny loved basketball and Duke at the time, so I loved whatever she did. This date is very specific because it was the first - and one of the greatest - Duke games I had ever seen. Even if you are not a sports fan, you might be vaguely aware of a play commonly referred to as The Shot, where Christian Laettner hit a highly improbable shot to reduce Kentucky to tears (something I always love because I might actually despise Kentucky MORE than Carolina, which is kind of insane to think about) and propel Duke into the Final Four, on their way to their second national title in two years. If you have never seen The Shot, please allow me the honor of showing you now:



While my cousin outgrew her attachment a year or so later, I never did. So, for the last 25 years of my life, I have been a Duke fan and March Madness is my most favorite time of year. I love Duke so much in fact, that had Eleanor been a boy, her name would have been Cameron David (Cameron for Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke plays, and David for my grandpa). I only chose Cameron because my mom said Krzyzewski was not a nice first name for a baby to be saddled with. As a teacher, I knew logically she was right. I have watched students for YEARS struggle to spell their own names because their parents are ridiculous. But I digress.


Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


Rachel - Bookworm Mama




Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes

Andi - Radiant Light


Robin - Robin's Nest

(Sydney is currently on hiatus but her previous FLF posts will still be available)

Kathleen - Kathleen Denly



Jeanette - CJaneReads

Christina - Moments Dipped in Ink



If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!

Sarah

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

DEAL ALERT!!!

The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones is on sale right now for $1.99. This is a MUST READ if you enjoy the time period. 

The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors by [Jones, Dan]

I found the deal via BookBub and it is on sale for Kindle, Nook, and a few other e-readers. Get your copy today!!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

First Line Friday - Templars Edition



Happy Friday!

This week's book is extra special because it is a book I have been dying to read for months - and it is not even being published until September. I am posting both covers because I am partial the UK one (white) over the US one (black and red).

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Note: The first lines are taken from an advanced reader copy provided by NetGalley.

"The Templars were holy soldiers. Men of religion and men of the sword, pilgrims and warriors, paupers and bankers. Their uniforms were emblazoned with a red cross, symbolizing the blood Christ had shed for mankind and that they themselves were prepared to spill in the Lord's service."

Okay, I am about to fangirl pretty hard, and brag a little too. Be prepared.

It is no secret that Dan Jones is one of my most favorite authors, and definitely my favorite historian. He's intelligent and hilarious, which is almost always a winning combo. The last few weeks he has been doing various giveaways using Facebook Live on his page. He posts the giveaway and participants only needed to comment on the post to be in the mix to win, which he announces live on Fridays. Sadly, I had yet to win and was not very happy about that by last week, which involved a giveaway of an autographed ARC of The Templars. I had also been watching NetGalley for The Templars to be posted in that time. I requested it as soon as it was up but was very upset when I was declined. It was pretty traumatic - my profile even says that Jones is my fave.

Naturally I took my whiny self right on over to Dan's Facebook post about the Templars giveaway and lamented the fact that I had been declined by Viking on NetGalley, and thus deserved the autographed ARC.

That did not happen.

But that is okay, because guess what happened instead?

Dan Jones SENT ME A MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK saying that because I had been such a loyal supporter, he asked Viking to get me a galley! You can imagine my surprise and absolute giddiness that not only was Dan Jones TALKING TO ME, I was going to get my hands on a book that I thought I would be waiting on until September. I received an email from Viking on Monday with a link to download my copy, and am pleased to say it is exactly as great as I expected it to be and I am a very happy history nerd right now.

Now, you might be wondering why I would rather have a digital galley instead of a signed one, and the truth is I wouldn't. However, Jones will be doing a US tour to promote the book in the fall and you can bet I will be in St Louis to ugly-cry and tell him how much I adore him. It's going to be great. In the meantime I get to read a great book and think about which of the zillion Plantagenet questions I will ask him in the brief moment we will have to chat while he signs my book. For the record, I want him to sign my copy of The Plantagenets, because that is the book that introduced me to Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


Rachel - Bookworm Mama




Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes

Andi - Radiant Light


Robin - Robin's Nest

(Sydney is currently on hiatus but her previous FLF posts will still be available)

Kathleen - Kathleen Denly



Jeanette - CJaneReads

Christina - Moments Dipped in Ink



If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, June 29, 2017

First Line Friday

***Warning: This week's line is from a book about a journalist who was sexually assaulted while on assignment and her subsequent investigation into the man's life***



Happy Friday all!

It is no secret that I am addicted to books. Seriously addicted. I can not stop wandering the shelves in search of new books, when I already have so many at home. This week has been especially rough, as we have been to one library twice so Eleanor and her BFF could play and we are going to a different library tomorrow for story time. Needless to say, I now have a stack of about 30 books by the couch, when there are already so many that I own on my desk and Kindle. On the other hand, there are worse things to be addicted to, so...

I came across this book in the biography section and the title intrigued me. I had no idea what it was about until I saw the cover. I considered putting it back; it is heavy subject matter and truth be told, once I had a child I could not even watch Law and Order: SVU anymore, so the idea of reading about one woman's real life trauma was almost too much. But then I reconsidered. While I am not a survivor of sexual assault, I know many women who are. I have a daughter who I am raising in this incredibly difficult time when rape-culture and victim-blaming is still the norm. So, with caution I am starting this one tonight after I post the line.

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"I was thirty years old when I left my body for the first time."

Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


Rachel - Bookworm Mama




Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes

Andi - Radiant Light


Robin - Robin's Nest

(Sydney is currently on hiatus but her previous FLF posts will still be available)

Kathleen - Kathleen Denly



Jeanette - CJaneReads

Christina - Moments Dipped in Ink


If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, June 22, 2017

First Line Friday: David and Goliath Edition



Happy First Line Friday!

In the wake of VBS ending recently, I myself feel so invigorated after a fun but tiring week and am ready to confront some things head-on that need to be taken care of. I found this gem recently at a local Christian bookstore and am ready to get started. It is non-fiction, of course, relying on the David and Goliath narrative to help us conquer our own giants by "fixing our eyes on the size of our God, not the size of our giant(s)".

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"The king ducked his head, shuffled outside his tent, and stared at the far hill that lay just outside his war camp."

I'm sure, given the context, you can guess which king and war camp is being discussed.

Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, June 8, 2017

First Line Friday: Chuck Klosterman Edition


Happy First Line Friday!

This week my line is from one of my most favorite authors who is not a historian. Shocker, right?? This author very much writes of the here and now...or sports/music/pop culture-related events within the last couple decades or so. Give or take. Really depends on the essay.

Chuck Klosterman is MY. FAVE. I absolutely love his humor and writing style; if you have not read anything by him, I definitely recommend starting now. He has written for SPIN, The A.V. Club, WaPo, GQ, and Grantland, among many others.

My line this week comes from:

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"What is the most villainous move on the market?"

If you are new to Chuck Klosterman, please allow me to make a few recommendations.

599 is by far my most favorite. Start here if you have never read anything else by him. I just lied to you, however, because 597 is actually tied for my most favorite. Both are excellent and I have read them multiple times. 6462010 was Klosterman's first foray into fiction and I loved it. He has another fictional work, 10373933, which I did not like nearly as well. If memory serves (and really, it doesn't. I had a baby almost four years ago and my memory is still shit), I really did not like the main character. I mean, you weren't supposed to, but I REALLY did not like him. I will probably have to revisit this one and see if my memories are correct. 6386555 is another one I do not feel as strongly about. I don't know why, and I probably need to reread it again, too. I really liked 690186 and 24476. I am also currently reading 27068734 and 33353952 in addition to Black Hat.

So, there you go. Several recommendations in one post. Choose one and enjoy. You're welcome.

Let me know what you think of the line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Cover Reveal: Hearts Are Like Balloons

Cover Reveal!

Hearts are Like Balloons 
by Candace Robinson


This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The cover is designed by Jenny Zemanek from Seedlings Online (http://www.seedlingsonline.com/)

Hearts are Like Balloons
By Candace Robinson
Genre: Contemporary
Age category: upper Young Adult
Release Date: June 30, 2017

Blurb:
May Falkner’s past two years have been a rough road. When her father suddenly passes away, May needs to find a job to help out her mom and regain some control over her life. Working at the bookstore helps her heal, laugh, and hope again. It also leads her to cross paths with Nico Evitts, who begins as just a co-worker, but becomes so much more

When it all becomes perfect, because there is no perfect, life steps in to prove once again that it all can crash down harder than before. This is a story about finding yourself, love, and the things in life that are still here.

Hearts are like balloons. Sometimes they inflate… Sometimes they deflate…

You can find Hearts are Like Balloons on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34807723-hearts-are-like-balloons


About the Author:
Candace Robinson is just your average hemiplegic migraine sufferer. Her days are spent writing, book reviewing and traveling through books. She live just outside of Houston, Texas, where it feels like the hottest place on Earth with the crazy weather. No, seriously, one day it's 30 degrees and the next it's 70 degrees! She resides with her husband and daughter.

You can find and contact Candace here:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Line Friday: Magna Carta Edition


Happy First Line Friday! It is also my first Friday of freedom, as school and teacher meetings/work days are also DUNZO. I am looking forward to making more progress on my own writing projects, but even more so to having a lot of awesome time with my baby girl. We have very busy summers filled with camps and museums and of course trips to the library.

This week's line is from a book I really like, by an author you may have seen me mention once or twice. 

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If you are either unsure what Magna Carta is or why it actually matters, definitely give this one a read. You might be surprised that what you thought you knew about this document is not entirely accurate. Jones does a fantastic job explaining the true meaning of it; you won't be disappointed.

"Eight hundred years after it was first granted beneath the trees of Runnymeade, by the fertile banks of the river Thames, the Magna Carta is more famous than ever. This is strange."

Just why it is strange is something you will have to find out for yourself!

Let me know what you think of this line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


If you want to join in on First Line Friday, let Carrie know!

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Monday, May 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there's a new topic and who doesn't love making lists? It's also a fun way to meet other book bloggers and find new books to add to that ever-unwieldy TBR list.

I am super excited about this one because it is all about future releases that I can't wait to get my hands on. Seriously, I am practically dying over here.


May 30: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for the Second Half of 2017

While you will find a far shorter list than usual, I am so very psyched to read all four of them. Here they are, in order by release date.

Seriously. Dying.

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Publication Date: May 17th

I am kind of cheating a little with this one because it was actually just released here in the US, in what is still the first half of 2017. But you may know by now I tend to bend the rules a lot so, you're welcome. I know my fair share about Alfred the Great, but know much less about his children. Once again, my little Eleanor is lucky I discovered Eleanor of Aquitaine before Boudicca, or now Aethelflaed.



Publication Date: September 1st (UK)

(The author has informed me that while there is not yet a US date set, it will be released here eventually. In the meantime, he did also let me know that The Book Depository does FREE worldwide shipping, so...)

I always enjoy a good argument for whether or not Richard III ordered his nephews to be murdered. I used to unequivocally believe that yes he was the culprit. I still believe so, but now am much more open-minded about other possibilities. This book explores not the death of the princes, but the possible LIFE they might have had instead. What if they were not murdered at all, but managed to survive both the fall of the Plantagenets and rise of the Tudors?


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Publication Date: September 7th (UK), September 19th (US)

Duh.

My stomach does flip-flops just thinking about this one. I had to include both covers here, as I prefer the UK one (left) to the US one. I. CAN'T. WAIT. I am especially looking forward to it because there seems to be so much utter garbage popping up lately AGAIN about the so-called Templar caves and other rubbish. Hopefully people pick this one up to help them differentiate between fact and fiction.


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Publication date: August 15th (UK), November 1st (US)

I just stumbled across this one by accident and am so glad I did. While I have a pretty good knowledge base about Henry VII, I don't know nearly as much as I'd like to about his mother, father, and uncles - or any of his extended family.

What books are you most excited for? Let me know what you think of my choices and leave me a link to your TTT as well.

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Friday, May 26, 2017

First Line Friday - Bannockburn Edition



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Happy First Line Friday and last day of school!

I am super late in posting this, but here it is now, short and sweet and a line from a book about a battle fought in a country I love so dearly.

"2014 sees the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, one of the few events that genuinely changed the direction of Scotland's history. Its outcome was far from inevitable, indeed it was a remarkably unlikely victory."

Let me know what you think of this line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, May 18, 2017

First Line Friday - Picture Book Edition


Happy First Line Friday. I am so very excited for the book I am sharing this week, because though it is not about Eleanor of Aquitaine, it is about another Mighty Girl who I absolutely adore.

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Not only do I adore Ruth Bader Ginsburg - or Notorious RBG, as I like to call her - but here is a book that I can use to introduce her to my own Mighty Girl. Here is the first line(S):

"You could say that Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life has been one disagreement after another...Disagreement with creaky old ideas. With unfairness. With inequality. Ruth has disagreed, disapproved, and differed. She has objected. She has resisted. She has dissented. Disagreeable? No. Determined? Yes. This is how Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed her life - and ours."


Notorious RBG, please live forever.

Let me know what you think of this line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week.


Rachel - Bookworm Mama




Lauraine - Lauraine's Notes

Andi - Radiant Light


Robin - Robin's Nest


Kathleen - Kathleen Denly



Jeanette - CJaneReads


Molly - Molly's Cafinated Reads (Disclaimer: purposeful misspelling)

Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, May 11, 2017

First Line Friday - YA Edition


Happy First Line Friday!

This week I am doing something waaaaaaay out of the ordinary - sharing a line from a fiction book, and a YA book no less!

I know, I know. Not my usual book. But I found this one to be very entertaining (though I did skim some parts that were too yucky for me. It is a horror/fairy-tail retelling mash-up after all. I can do without the trolls and billy goats. Yeesh.)

I received this book a few weeks ago from the author, Candace Robinson and participated in her cover-reveal last week. It is beautiful, by the way.

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I will have a full review up a some point this week, I hope (end of school year madness is upon us. There is no paperwork like end of the year paperwork. You know, on top of all the regular paperwork.)

Despite my own personal feelings about first person, and especially first person told in PRESENT tense (it bothers me), the story was very twisty and turny. That' a word, I promise. Then I was at nearly 90% wondering how it could possible end and boom, bolt of lightning, an ending I did not quite so coming. It is not a story for the faint of heart though, like myself who is not necessarily a horror fan, but someone who digs fairy tale retellings. Anyway, on to the line. Or paragraph. Whatevs. I do what I want.

"Overwhelmed with boredom, Vale stares down at his fingernails. He can only spend so much time tormenting those he encounters in the afterlife. After making them as miserable as possible, he finds himself needing to search for new prey."

Let me know what you think of this line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week for you.


Happy Reading!
Sarah

Thursday, May 4, 2017

First Line Friday: Eleanor Edition VI


There is no cover this week, because what I am reading is not a book. Instead, it is a collection of letters. Thanks to this amazing website from Columbia University, Epistolae: Medieval Women's Latin Letters, I now have a treasure trove of goodies - the surviving letters to and from Eleanor in both English AND Latin.

This week's line then comes from one of the many letters Eleanor dictated to the public, dated May 4th, 1199. Almost to the day, this is a letter written 818 years ago, and (for the most part) are the words of a woman I admire greatly:

"Eleanor, by the grace of God, queen of the Angles, duchess of Normandy and Aquitaine, countess of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops, counts, viscounts, barons, justiciaries, provosts, and all her bailiffs and faithful, and to all the sons, present and future, of the holy mother Church, greetings."

Quite the intro, no?

Let me know what you think of this line, and/or leave a line of your own. Then, visit my fellow First-Liners to see what they have this week for you.


Happy Reading!
Sarah