First line: In the sixteenth century the English historian John Foxe looked over his shoulder at the great sweep of the near, and distant, past.
Summary: Dan Jones’ newest history of the medieval ages covers the period from the end of the Roman empire to the rise of Protestantism. He covers major players, battles and nations giving his readers a look into a world that was constantly changing.
My Thoughts: Dan Jones is a wonderful historian. He covers many of the people and time periods that I am interested in. He makes his topics easy to read and learn from. This one was no different. I know some about the Middle Ages from other readings of authors like Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory but this gave me much more of an insight into other parts of the world than just England.
He brought in major players like Genghis Khan, who I knew very little about. Learning about this warlord’s life before and his rise to power was all new to me. I never really think about how Asia and Europe had lots of interactions during this time due to the crusades and religion.
And during the chapter on the crusades they even mentioned something I had never heard about but was related to my family history. There was a Wendish Crusade where powers in Germany against a Slavic group called the Wends. My Pohlenz family were part of the Wendish community in Germany and lived in heavily populated Wendish towns in Nebraska after emigrating. I had never heard of this crusade against them but I instantly had to read more about this little known piece of history.
Jones does a great job of laying out his storyline. He goes chronologically but breaks each time into important factors like crusaders, knights, Arabs, Mongols, merchants and more. It gave me a feeling that the time was definitely broken into different parts and governed by these persons for their span of time but as the world changed so did the leaders of the time.
FYI: A concise but wide spread look at a time that covers hundreds of years. Great for people looking to learn more about the Middle Ages.
Recently Miss Hannah and I recorded a podcast where we gushed about how much we love the author Cassandra Clare and her work. If you love everything Shadowhunters then you should listen to our podcast episode and check out her newest book, The Red Scrolls of Magic.
First line: From the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, the city was spread at Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s feet like a gift.
Following the Mortal War against Valentine Morgenstern and his
followers, it is time for a much needed vacation. Alec Lightwood and his
warlock boyfriend, Magnus Bane, are on a romantic adventure through
Europe. However, everything does not go as planned. With the arrival of
an old friend, Magnus is warned that there is a demon worshipping cult
making trouble in Europe. And the rumored leader is none other than
Magnus Bane himself. In order to clear his name and bring down the cult
he and Alec travel across Europe fighting demons and attending some
rather exciting parties.
My Thoughts: I have been waiting
for this for years! I love Alec and Magnus. I have been a huge fan of
their relationship from the very beginning. And now they are traveling
across Europe. Yes please! One of the best things about Clare’s
characters, especially Magnus, is their wit. He always has perfect
The story started a little slow and the pacing
seemed a little off from Clare’s other works but that may be due to
having a co-writer on this novel. However, once I got into the story I
was hooked. I read the last 200 pages in one day. I could not put it
down. I loved their banter. I was happy to see some characters from
later timelines make an appearance. Even though this novel is much
shorter than her more recent ones it does not lack any of the pieces
that makes her other books so gripping. There is a lot of action,
romance and demons.
And this novel is her first adult novel in
the Shadowhunter universe. It is evident that this is written for a
little older audience because there is some more graphic scenes but it
does not go too far. At the end Cassie writes about how she wanted to
write this novel for a long time and left a gap in her timeline in case
she was able to get it written. I could tell that it was a project she
felt very passionate about.
FYI: This is the first in a new trilogy, The Elder Curses. It takes place after the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series.