What are you reading?

Happy weekend! 😃 What are your plans? I’m celebrating my kid’s birthday 🎂. They’re 23. We are going to get takeout BBQ and have presents and cake. 🎁

Last night I finished my Net Galley book, What Hides Beneath. It’s a mystery set in an art museum. An employee’s discovery of  a hidden treasure in a storeroom leads to a burglary and murder. I’ll post a review soon, but it was good.

Next is Shadows in the Jungle, a non-fiction book about World War two set in the Pacific. I’m also really liking my audiobook of  Nation by Terry Pratchett. It’s not a Discworld book, it’s a stand alone, so if you’ve been looking for a way to give Pratchett a try, this would be a great place to start.

What are you reading?

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Queens of the Conquest: A Review

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Title: Queens of the Conquest: England’s Medieval Queens, Volume 1

Author: Alison Weir

Source: NetGalley

Setting: roughly 1050 – 1200 England and Normandy

Publishers Synopsis: The story of England’s medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. It is a chronicle of love, murder, war and betrayal, filled with passion, intrigue and sorrow, peopled by a cast of heroines, villains, stateswomen and lovers. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England’s queens in the century after the Norman Conquest.

Review: This book was a beast. If you’ve ever wanted to know anything at all about the Norman Queens of England, the answers are in here. What they ate, what they looked like (probably), what historians said about them, their families, their children, their hobbies, how they dressed, what they did, and most of all, who they were – it’s all in here.

It’s just very slow to get through. I felt like I read this book for a month and I barely got through it. It’s not the writing. That was pretty entertaining, and I liked that Weir’s own opinions were in here. I think it was the format. I read this on my phone, and that made it feel like a chore to read.

I would recommend it, if you like dense, meaty history with a lot of detail. Just don’t expect it to be a quick or easy read.

Witness to Revolution

Title: Red Fire: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Author: Wei Yang Chao

Setting: Beijing, China 1960s

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a witness to history, to watch these watershed moments take place in front of your eyes? From what I’ve read, the answer is – terrifying. Wei Yang Chao was a witness to one of the biggest revolutions in history, especially if you go by the sheer number of people involved. He attended one rally that included over a million people, and the prospect of violence at every turn. He was lucky to survive.

This book  is a first-hand account of the Cultural Revolution in China. Chao was there after the Summer Palace was destroyed. He was a witness to the rise of the Red Guard. He saw teachers and other “enemies of the state” tortured, sometimes to death. His own parents were victims of a “struggle session” as soldiers his own age smashed through the house and beat his parents.

This was an incredible but grim read. To me it was nothing but terror and abuse, as the country fell into chaos. But Chao was more caught up in the struggle. At times, he wanted to fight against the class enemies, but when people he respected became targets, he would question why this revolution had to be so violent.

I would definitely recommend this book. I knew little about this time, so I found it darkly fascinating. It’s not for everyone. It is violent. But it’s an important record of real life.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost

Kester is having a hard time since his mom died. He doesn’t have a job, he has no friends, and no plans, but he does have a lead. His mom mentions something before she dies, a Dr. Ribero. Kester decides to follow up and finds himself in a whole new world. One where there are ghosts.

This reminded me a little of the Jonathan Stroud series, Lockwood & Co. Ribero’s group of ghost hunters is similarly short-staffed and underappreciated. But this, while still a really clean read, is geared more for adults than kids. The staff is a lot pricklier too, but I did like the whole bickering crew. I hope this is the first of a long series, because I really want to read more. Thanks for the chance to read it.

I received this for free in return for a review from NetGalley, but my opinions are my own.