First Line Friday: 18/09/2020

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

 

Happy Friday!

It is time to guess that book. As per usual the answer is below the cats.

“Anna peered through the window of the gatehouse, watching the chariot trundling through below, enjoying the rich sensuousness of the new silk gown she was wearing, and conscious of her parents’ expectations of her.”

 

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ANSWER

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Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed. Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived.

Please drop me a comment with your First Line Friday and I will head over for a visit.

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WWW Wednesday: 16/09/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

 

What I am Currently Reading

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I took a bit of a break on this but have now started reading it again. So far so good.

 

What I have Recently Finished

Loved both of these books and highly recommend them.

 

What I will Read Next

As per usual I’m never sure what I will read next. It all depends on my mood.

So there is my WWW Wednesday. Please drop me a message with the link of your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit. 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers That I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For more info please check out Jana’s blog.

 

Hello!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie but must be cover related so I have chosen Book Covers That I Love. I will be honest I have chosen books because of their cover rather than their content but sometimes you just can’t help but be tempted by a pretty cover. I am really guilty of buying Christmas books due to their pretty covers but I will try not to have just ten Christmas books on my list, I promise.

So here is my list…

 

  1. The Everyman’s Library. This isn’t really a book but a collection of books but I love the covers and happily collect these books. I just love how uniform they all are.
  2. Dickens. I love my Dickens collection, they are early 1900’s and just beautiful and so tactile to hold.
  3. Magic Windows. Now people who have been reading my blog for a while know that I love this book and always read it on Christmas Eve. It just reminds me so much of Christmas as a child.
  4. Old Possum’s Book of Predictable Cats by T. S. Eliot. I love this book and when I went to buy a copy of this book there were quite a few different copies to choose from and I chose this one just because of the cover.
  5. The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins. Oh dear now this was a book I chose because of the cover and was sorely disappointed with the actual story. I really should have learned a lesson from this book but it is doubtful.
  6. The Immortal City by Amy Kuivalainen. Read this book as a NetGalley read and then promptly ordered the book as I loved it so much and was even happier when I saw what an amazing cover it has.
  7. Five Feet Apart by Mikki Daughtry, Rachael Lippincott, and Tobias Iaconis. Haven’t read this yet but have seen the film and loved it. I really love the cover of this book.
  8. The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith. My husband had this book sat on his bookshelf for ages and I was desperate to read it as it was so pretty. Thankfully I loved the book as much as the cover.
  9. The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. I love the film so much! I was so happy when I discovered this book last year.
  10. Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls. I have this on my Ipad and have preordered the hardback which is due out near my birthday. The whole book is just gorgeous so I am really excited to actually own a physical copy.

 

There is my list! Please drop me a comment with your thoughts on my choices and of course if you have taken part in Top Ten Tuesday the feel free to drop a link and I will head over.

 

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The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva (Review)

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

Blurb

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

Review

Firstly, a massive thank you to Lana Grace Riva for supplying me with a free copy of her wonderful book to review.

I will be honest this isn’t a book that I would have chosen to read on my own but I am so happy that I did read it and I definitely plan on reading more of Riva’s work.

Amy is a wonderful character and one that I loved and felt a rollercoaster of emotions for. Amy has a good group of friends, a fantastic job and what appears as a normal happy life. However, Amy is also plagued by her own mind, that little voice that insists she should live a certain way to survive, even though Amy knows this makes no sense. This almost double life for Amy is exhausting and upsets her greatly because she realises she is missing out on things she would love to do and she is grieving for a time she can remember where she didn’t have this weird double life and grabbed life with both hands.

Riva has really done her research for this book and the character of Amy is brilliantly thought out and her friends are perfect. Sally is the loud socialite who doesn’t see that there is more to Amy than she sees and so thinks wrongly of Amy and leaves Amy out of things but is still Amy’s friend. Nathan is the bubbly happy friend who cares for Amy and wants to help her. Then there is Ed who has always had a deep relationship with Amy and cares for Amy a great deal. Ed and Amy share the same tastes and love nothing more than going around an art exhibition.

The thing I love most about this book is that the story is so simple and it focuses on Amy’s daily life and the struggles she encounters each day. This simplicity makes the story so much more real and makes you realise as a reader that this could be anybody in the world who is facing these struggles, including your own work colleagues and friends. This book definitely makes you think about the struggles people have to deal with that you can’t see.

I am so happy that I read this book and highly recommend it to everyone. It won’t take you long to read but I can guarantee that it will stay with you and give you a lot to think about. I give this book a big 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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The Weekly Brief

It has been another busy week on the blog again this week which is always good.

Posts This Week

 

Currently Reading

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Books Acquired

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Blogs I’ve Enjoyed This Week

Here are some lovely blogs that I have really enjoyed reading this week:-

 

So there is another week of blogging complete. Now I’m off to carry on watching The Curse of Oak Island, I love a good treasure hunt!

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WWW Wednesday: 9/09/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

 

Happy Wednesday!

So here is another book update. I must admit I’m quite pleased with how my reading is going at the moment.

What I am Currently Reading

Just started Mexican Gothic but a bit worried it is going the way I think it is and if I am right I will be a bit disappointed as the storyline is so predictable.

 

What I have Recently Finished Reading

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Click the picture for the review but I will be honest I wasn’t impressed.

 

What I think I will Read Next

As per usual I’m never sure but here are a few options on the list.

 

There is my WWW Wednesday post. Please drop me a message with your WWW Wednesday and I will hop over for a visit.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books for My Younger Self

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For more info please check out Jana’s blog.

Hello!

I love this weeks prompt as I have a huge list of books that I would have loved to have read as a child.

 

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr, Ernestine Carey

Mr Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

 

There is the list of some the books I wish I had read as a child but I plan to read them as an adult. Please drop me a comment with your Top Ten Tuesday and I will head over for a visit.

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The Weekly Brief

Happy Sunday!

So here is what the blog has been up to this week.

Posts This Week

 

Currently Reading

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Blogs I’ve Enjoyed This Week

Now here is a new favourite for me, I love Marjolein’s blog Url Phantomhive. Marjolein does some fantastic reviews and the stats are just incredible!

Kristen at Kristen Kraves Books is another favourite blog of mine. Kristen writes some fantastic posts and is a historical fiction fan like myself.

 

So there is another week at Lady Book Dragon! Happy Reading!

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Sappho: Poems and Fragments by Sappho (Review)

Sappho: Poems and Fragments by Sappho, translated by Josephine Balmer

About the author

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Sappho (Σαπφώ or Ψάπφω) was an Ancient Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos. In history and poetry texts, she is sometimes associated with the city of Mytilene on Lesbos; she was also said to have been born in Eresos, another city on Lesbos. Her birth was sometime between 630 BC and 612 BC, and it is said that she died around 570 BC. The bulk of her poetry, which was well-known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her immense reputation has endured through surviving fragments.

About the translator

Josephine Balmer is a British poet, translator of classics and literary critic.

Blurb

This second, expanded edition of Josephine Balmer’s classic translation of the Greek poet Sappho has new, recently-discovered fragments, including the Brothers Poem, the Kypris Song and the Cologne Fragment. In a new essay on these additions she discusses the issues raised in translating these fragmentary and ever-shifting texts. Poems & Fragments is now the only complete, readily-available translation in English of Sappho’s surviving work. Sappho was one of the greatest poets in classical literature. Her lyric poetry is among the finest ever written, and although little of her work has survived and little is known about her, she is regarded not just as one of the greatest women poets, but often as the greatest woman poet in world literature. In a comprehensive introduction, Balmer discusses Sappho’s poetry, its historical background and critical reputation, as well as aspects of contemporary Greek society, sexuality, and women.

Review

This is another read for my Masters and I must admit I was very excited to read it as I had done a unit on Sappho and just a handful of her work so it was nice to read all her known works. Sappho’s work sadly is mainly only fragments and I will be honest I find this so depressing as from the known fragments that we do have it is evident that Sappho was an amazing talent. I just hope more of her work is found over time like it has been so far.

The introduction of this book is excellent and I really enjoyed how it was broken down into sections and was so informative. I also enjoyed the section on the new fragments that have been found recently.

I’ve always found Sappho a fascinating character and I wish more was known about this very talented poet but sadly not a lot is known and what we do know was written many years after her death and can’t be relied upon.

Sappho’s poetry although only fragmentary is full of passion and life and it was a joy to read. Her poetry is full of different forms of love; romantic love, maternal love, friendship and love for all the many wonders in this world. I love reading her poetry because it is as relevant today as it was when it was written, Sappho is timeless.

Balmer has been really sympathetic with the translation and the translation flows well which makes reading this book a joy. I will admit I could not put it down once I started reading it.

I highly recommend this book, it might be mainly fragments but it is worth the read to see how this amazing woman’s voice has survived all these years and opens up a small window to a part of history that was thousands of years ago. I really hope we continue to find more of her work and hopefully learn more about this talented poet. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons and I leave you with one of my favourite fragments.

Beauty endures only for as long as it is seen;

goodness, beautiful today, will remain so tomorrow.

 

Purchase Links

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(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you)

 

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Blog Tour: The Milan Job by Krista Cagg (Excerpt and Giveaway)

Blurb

Meet Captain Alexandria de Sade, the proud and once loyal captain of Naviwerks chrono-ship #25. When she learned the truth about how the company was fleecing their customers she turned her back on the promotion they offered her, left the man she loved without a word, and disappeared with her ship.

With a plan in mind to undermine Naviwerks’ business of artifact and heirloom retrieval, Captain Alex hired on several like-minded misfits to crew her chrono-ship which she re-christened The William’s Hunt. They are: An awkward but genius Horotech, an irascible ex-marine, a flamboyant playboy, a churlish physician, and a hot-shot pilot.

Their first venture: go to Milan, Italy 1490 and retrieve the working model of Leonardo da Vinci’s Gran Cavallo before Naviwerks does. What should have been a simple snatch and run mission for the newly formed band of pirates goes south nearly immediately. In their struggle to recover, they learn that there is much more behind Naviwerks’ actions. Captain Alex and the crew of The William’s Hunt are the only ones that stand a chance of putting things right,and it seems as if her crew’s every step takes them deeper and deeper into discovering just how nefarious Naviwerks truly is.

 

Excerpt Nine

“Report,” she said as she made for the captain’s chair with a hurried limp.

“We’ll be landing in the Papal Gardens.  E.T.A three minutes.” Angel replied with only slight distraction. She was busy going back and forth from toggle to switch to control their drop. “There’s some kind of hubbub in the area, but I don’t think it’s our guys.”

“Show me,” ordered Captain Alex.

Angel looked to the overhead display as she turned a knob that would enhance the external visual. “On screen.” Immediately they could see the stampede of horses.

Nigel came to stand next to the helm and snorted as he crossed his arms. “Oh, I don’t know. Those horses might have gotten a look at our good Mr. Reynolds.”

Captain Alex didn’t bother replying to her Historian. Some sort of explosion was in the offing, and she would feel much better about it if they had a visual on her landside team. “Belay the standing protocol, Miss Flynn. Steady as she goes.” Her expression turned grim as she sat in her chair. Her hand came to rest on the pommel of the sabre where it rested in the stays to her right. She purposely didn’t clench her fingers around the hilt not wanting to give away her tension level.

Dr. Hennessey took up position behind her chair while Nigel and Angel exchanged a quick glance. There were probably going to be historical reports and paintings with sightings of their ship after this, but no one dared question the Captain’s order. Angel just kept the heading steady.

Finally, the Holy See compound could be seen through the windows. It was still too far away for Alex’s peace of mind, but they were coming in swiftly. It took every ounce of self-control that she had not to get up out of her seat, but her jaw was clenched tightly together, and her fingers drummed against the arm of her chair.

The buildings increased in size as they steadily grew closer until details of people rushing to catch the horses could be picked out along with the images in the stained glass windows.

“Landing procedure engaged.” Angel took the wheel with one hand while the other pulled a lever down its slot. A moment later a sudden vibration announced a successful lowering of the landing gear.

“What is that?” Nigel asked. He frowned in curiosity as he moved around the helm towards the front windshield to get a better look. Something had crashed through the glass of a tall narrow window that faced the Garden. “Is that…Mr. Kane?” he asked incredulously.

“What?” Captain Alex didn’t have to ask Angel to focus on the side of the building. Her Pilot just made the visual adjustment and the view on the steam screen zoomed in to show Laurence with his arms full of books tumbling out of the window. He got tangled in his monk’s robe as he tried to stand and juggle the books at the same time. Then they saw Geri appear in the window. He slapped an arm against the outside of the building, but he seemed to have trouble squeezing his chest through sideways.

He appeared to have made it, but no one could be sure since the screen filled with a blinding flash. Nigel’s hand pressed against the forward window as that wing of the library suddenly collapsed in on itself sending a cloud of dust and debris into the air thick enough to obscure sight.

Captain Alex’s eyes went wide as she lurched out of her chair and cried out, “GERI!”

Buy it Now

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Giveaway: A Signed copy of The Milan Job

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About the Author

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According to her mother, Krista has lived in her own imagination since birth. The real world let her down. It was, frankly, boring beyond belief. After she discovered fantasy novels and comics there was no going back. This didn’t win her any popularity contests (or dates) until after high school. Art school introduced her to other geeks and the wonderful world of AD&D. A love for RP eventually led to LARP (the goth/vampire era of her life). Finally, sci-fi/fantasy/fandom conventions introduced her to the beautiful world of Steampunk. Music. Clothing. And books. She dove into the books she took a shine to and absorbed them. But something was missing. She wasn’t satisfied. During her recovery from neck surgery something she’d heard somewhere stuck out in her mind: “If you can’t find the stories you want to read then write them yourself.” On a couch in Savannah, GA. with Sons of Anarchy playing in the background, The William’s Hunt began.

Currently, Krista lives in her home town in Pennsylvania with five cats, a husband, and a weiner dog, Pete, who watches from the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Check out her website: https://www.kristacaggauthor.com/ and follow her on social media.