Saturday, September 3, 2011

King Richard I by Jacob Abbott

Again I downloaded this book free on Librivox. I'm sure there is so much more to learn about these monarchs but this recording was full of information. It spoke of Eleanora of Aquitane, Richard's mother, who was first married to King Louis II of France.  The lands which her grandfather had dominion over were turned over to her but it was a condition of the marriage that the land not be incorporated into France. 

Eleanora was a feisty woman and insisted on accompanying her husband on the crusades along with a number of the women from her court. This didn't turn out well, women being women.

She also liked men and her affairs were no secret. Even though they were catholic she and Louis found a way to be granted an annulment by the Pope so she could marry King Henry II of England. 

The events in this book were exciting. Many of us think our families are dysfunctional... King Henry II's sons were constantly at war both between themselves and against their father. He kept his wife and daughters prisoners for most of their lives with him. He also supposedly had a mistress, Rosamond, who's cottage was built for her within the grounds of the palace hidden away at the end of a maze. 

In the end all of his sons died with the exception of Richard, who accended the throne, and John. 

Then begins the story of the adventures of Richard I himself on the crusades. All in one book. 

Jacob Abbot did a wonderful job of relating a very complicated story. You can also download this book from the Guttenberg Press. That is where most of Librivox's readings are from and if you look at the Guttenberg site you can see the maps and illustrations that are in the book. 

These books have me thirsting for more knowledge of the Monarchy for some reason. I've downloaded Richard III now as well. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

It was interesting to read the reviews on Amazon by readers. Many of them didn't like this book. Many of them are getting tired of the same old, same old. But other's loved this book. I loved this book too. I live in a small town and I guess same old, same old, feels comfortable to me. These are cozy mysteries. They are books you can get lost in just for fun and don't require deep thinking. 

In this, the 13th book in the series, Hannah is asked on short notice to bake 1100 cookies for a charity event being organized by the mayor's wife. Her partner Lisa, much to Hannah's horror, suggests that they also set up an apple turnover stand. Of course the recipe for the turnovers is included in the book and they sound delicious. I love everything apple and am hoping I can make myself get into the kitchen and give these a try.

The Amazing Herb is going to be performing at a talent show during the event. His assistant is ill and Lisa, Herb's wife and Hannah's partner, can't take her place. Since Hannah has done the act before with Herb in an earlier book he enlists her help. She's sworn she will never do it again but it doesn't take much to convince Hannah to put on the dreaded purple dress once again. 

During the show the master of ceremonies is found dead between acts - of course, it has to happen to someone doesn't it?  Hannah could very well be considered a suspect this time as the MC is someone she hates. But it doesn't take long to clear her and she's off in search of the killer. 

Norman, the dentist and one of Hannah's love interests, isn't in this book aside from a couple of phone calls from a conference he's attending. The Mike/Hannah/Norman love triangle is still there but it seems a bit shaky with both Mike and Norman. 

Personally I'm pulling for Norman but that's just me. 

Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I got this book from the library and read it in an evening. It wasn't at all what I expected and I was a bit disappointed about who I'd meet in heaven until I reminded myself this is just a book, one person's idea. It's about an 83 year old man who spent his whole life at a job that he didn't really enjoy. It was his life's story as much as it was about who and why he met who he did. 

What I did get out of it was that every person who crosses our path in life whether for a few months or for years... and even people related to events in our lives that we never meet.... are there for a reason. Maybe we won't see the reasons, or even meet some of the people who have contributed to our experiences or lessons in our lives, until much later. Sometimes you can see the lessons while  you're alive, other times you won't. 

The author suggests that death isn't the end, it is only the beginning. I like that idea. 

I love to read different sorts of things and maybe we choose the books we want to read for a reason too. Great food for thought.