Mental Health Matters

This is off topic but it’s all I can concentrate on right now. Just a friendly reminder that no matter how hard things are right now, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. If you feel like giving up, reach out to someone. You are loved. You are needed.


The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Review

12786118 The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of the Moving Pictures

by Edward Ball

Synopsis: From the National Book Award-winning author of Slaves in the Family, a riveting true life/true crime narrative of the partnership between the murderer who invented the movies and the robber baron who built the railroads.


I am a sucker for historic true crime. I love reading about crime, detection, and the law from the past. This one sounded pretty interesting. I really liked the movie aspect of the story, more about the early days of film.

Unfortunately, this book didn’t really work for me. It’s a joint biography of two men in the 19th century, inventor Eadweard Muybridge and rail tycoon Leland Stanford. I liked the story about the building of the railroad – and the many references to Utah in there – and the story of the inventor/photographer was pretty interesting too. But together, they didn’t make any sense. The only connection, as far as I could tell, was that that had a brief business connection. But I’m sure that millionaire Stanford had lots of business dealing with a lot of people.

But the author chose to drop plenty of hints about the murder and then drop it for another chapter about the plight of Chinese workers on the railroad. Honestly, I finally just got bored and let it go. I need a better book about the the building of the railroad. This one just didn’t work for me.

Going camping!

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Hey bookies! I am off on a big adventure with my family. We are taking our first actual family vacay in years. We are heading out to a cabin by the lake for some relaxation and recreation. It’s not too crazy, but I am SO excited! Actually, right now I am exhausted! Packing and planning for a trip is hard work.

However, I have a few posts planned for you until I get back. I hope your weekend is great and I’ll see you soon!

Friday Flashback!

This review appeared earlier.

gray concrete triumphal arch surrounded by flowers
Photo by Lisa Fotios on
Themes: royalty, family, ambition, religion, commerce, politics, love
Setting: 13th century EuropeGreat story about four wealthy and powerful sisters who changed the fate of Europe. They were the beautiful and charming daughters of the Count of Provence, Raymond Berengar V, and each one of them became a queen: Marguerite, the eldest, became Queen of France and married Louis IX, Eleanor married Henry III, Sanchia, the saddest story of them all, married brother to King Henry, Richard, who became King, but not Emperor, of the Holy Roman Empire, and Beatrice, who married Charles of Anjou, brother to King Louis, who became the King of Sicily by conquest.

Despite all the royal names and politics involved, this one was an easy read that was more like a modern family drama than a dry historical treatise. There was plenty of feuding, an occasional war, going on Crusades, a rebellion here and there – it was certainly not a boring time to live. This is a great one for the RTT theme this month.

I could have used more maps, but even without them, I really enjoyed the book. Maybe somewhat slow to start, but once the first couple of sisters were married, I couldn’t put it down. I’m not really familiar with this time period, although I recognized a lot of the names, so I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. 4 stars

There Is Something about Edgefield – a Review


Title: There Is Something About Edgefield: Shining a Light on the Black Community through History, Genealogy, and Genetic DNA

Authors: Edna Gail Bush and Natonne Elaine Kemp

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions remain my own.

Genealogy has become something of an obsession for many people today. There have been shows about it, Ancestry makes lots of money off it. It seems that more and more people are driven to discover their ancestral roots.

I am no exception. I am a Latter-day Saint, and honoring our ancestors is an important part of our beliefs. I think this made me a good choice to review this book. In this little book, the authors, both of whom are African American, describe their attempts to uncover more of their family heritage. They combine family stories and photographs with the latest research techniques and new sites that use your DNA to pinpoint your unique heritage.

They also go through all the records they search, looking for the slightest clue to how their ancestors lived and what they experienced. Land records, census, court and probate records all work to complete a fuller picture. It’s not all pretty. Since like many African Americans, some of their ancestors were enslaved and some were the slaveholders, it shines a light on a dark and ugly chapter of American history.

As far as the writing and the style goes, I’m a little torn. They definitely could have summarized more of the steps they took to find out the information, and just included what they found out. Sometimes the actual research parts – what records they found and where – was a little boring. On the other hand, I think this book could also be viewed as an instructional book for other African Americans trying to find out what records exist for their history. I think it could be very valuable in that way. I loved all the stories they included and they way the writers reached out to living family members to hear the stories they grew up with.

In all, I would say this book is not for everyone, but if you are interested in researching your family tree, and especially if you have southern African American roots, this book would be one you’d want to read.

Coming soon!

I’ve been thinking about doing a Booktube channel. I’m really getting into watching book videos and I thought it would be fun to try making my own. I hesitated though because I don’t know how to do all the technical stuff. Then my son, who wants to get into film someday, was saying that he wanted to make more videos! So we’re going to team up.

Step one is finding a place to film. I’m this crowded little house, that’s a challenge, but we found a place downstairs that needed a little work. Make that A LOT of work. We got some junk hauled out and now we’re ready to clean. I’ll post some pictures of the project so you can see what we’re up to.



Infinity War tonight!!!!!


Making plans


Hey bookies! How was as your week? We had several doctor visits, but we all survived to the weekend. I read some good books, but what I’m really excited about is next week –

Avengers: Infinity War!

What else matters!!??!?

Kidding. Mostly. I watched this promo and I honestly got so emotional I started to cry. I am THAT nerd. And I’m not ashamed. I got tickets for next Friday, IMAX in 3D. Cannot wait.

In other news (There’s other news?) We are actually taking a vacation this year, renting a cabin with my sister for a few days in June. No internet. Forgot that was even a thing. We’ll see how it goes. But seriously, it will be a chance to play some board games and read, so it should be fun.

That’s about all the news here. I have some more reviews to add and an update to my Library Thing challenge. Have a good weekend!

My top 6 writing pet peeves

Definitely agree with 4 & 5! I have a lot of trouble with my Kindle Fire wanting to autocorrect to the the weirdest things!

The Cat's Write

by Amy Karian

1. When I have three characters in a scene and one just kind of disappears into the sidelines 


They might be smoking a cigarette or off drinking a Coke. Maybe they’re having a bathroom break. Maybe they’re lurking in the corner, reading ahead in the script to see what happens next or if their character is going to die. No one knows. That character is just missing in action and I can solemnly swear that I did not send them out of the room.

2. When my characters have out of character moments 

idea cat

They might say something that just doesn’t mesh with who they are and their normal way of talking/acting. My Internal Editor usually puts an end to that nonsense. I’ll have another character actually say, “What’s gotten into you? You’re not acting like yourself.” And I’m like “Heck yeah. He isn’t acting like himself. I’m…

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What Are We Reading Now?

Hey bookies! How was your weekend? We had a fun time around here with a trip to the library, a very nice little session of Dungeons & Dragons, church, and plenty of reading! This week I’m planning another viewing of Black , and I have a new book I want to write! Here’s a teaser – it’s a twist on a fairy tale.

As for what I’m reading right now, I have 3 nonfiction titles going.

The first is from Net Galley and it’s called Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Change and/or Ruin Everything, by Kelly Weinersmith. It’s a little rough to read because the ARC copy throws the formatting off a little. It’s kinda fun, but not compelling or anything.

I’m also reading one called What Wizards Ate and Kings Drank by Krista Bell. It’s also kinda fun, but not the sort of book you want to binge read. I’m falling behind with it.

Finally, I’m enjoying the audio version of The Templars by Dan Jones. Definitely becoming a fan of his.

Sam the cat 🐱 says hi! He survived his first trip to the vet, but we discovered why he has a certain odor about him. Apparently his teeth are bad! So expensive repairs are needed. Super excited about that.

Hope you have a good reading week and tell me what you’ve enjoyed lately in the comments!

Early weekend?

How’s your week been? Mine has been, well, kinda off. For instance, I made it to therapy this Wednesday to discover that I was an hour late. I still hadn’t changed my bedroom clock ⏰ to daylight savings time. 😒 And now I have a little stomach thing and I don’t feel up to doing a long post. Can we just start the weekend now?