Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (28)



I received a 15% off coupon to Barnes & Noble, so I bought this YA book:

RT Book Reviews gave this novel (published in January 2011)  4 1/2 stars.  From what I've read of the book so far, I have to agree: it's a page-turner!

Claire Ridgway of The Boleyn Files gave this novel a high rating.  I bought the Kindle edition for just $2.99!  I look forward to reading the book, my first Sandra Byrd historical.  I ♥ the Tudor era and Anne Boleyn!



Carrie of In the Hammock shared these free e-reads on her blog.  The cover art for both of these YA books are great, don't you think?!  I just had to download them after reading the blurbs on Amazon. Thanks for sharing, Carrie!
Thursday, May 24, 2012

Timely News

Around 1500, locksmiths and compass makers pooled their talents to make small, portable clocks.  Presumably they were paid by the hour for their efforts, as it would be another hundred years before the minute hand was invented.  First used by civil patrols so watchmen could make their rounds on schedule, these clocks took on the peace officers' names.  During the Renaissance, watches were encased in jeweled boxes shaped like shells, crosses, or skulls.

Cross-Watch, circa mid-1600's believed to have been invented by French masters.

 Mary Queen of Scots purportedly owned this 16th Century Skull Watch.

Because they were so costly, watches became status symbols: In the 1600's, they were worn on chains around the neck, as earrings, even as rings.

 Ring Watch, circa 1585

 16th Century Pocket Watch

And following the fashion, seventeenth-century Cardinal Richelieu was even able to corner "time on his side" by sewing seven three-quarter-inch gold watches along the outer seam of his waistcoat.

Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Moonglow

I recently read Firelight, the first book in the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan.  I enjoyed the book, and look forward to reading the sequel, Moonglow.

Darkest London Series, Book 2
Author: Kristen Callihan
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Expected Release Date: August 2012
Finally free of her suffocating marriage, widow Daisy Ellis Craigmore is ready to embrace the pleasures of life that have long been denied her.  Yet her new-found freedom is short lived.  A string of unexplained murders has brought danger to Daisy's door, forcing her to turn to the most unlikely of saviors...

Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, has spent lifetimes hiding his primal nature from London society.  But now a vicious killer threatens to expose his secrets.  Ian must step out of the shadows and protect the beautiful, fearless Daisy, who awakens in him desires he thought long dead.  As their quest to unmask the villain draws them closer together, Daisy has no choice but to reveal her own startling secret and Ian must face the undeniable truth: Losing his heart to Daisy may be the only way to save his soul.

Click here for a sneak peak.

~ Blurb courtesy of Kristen Callihan's website.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ringtime For Lovers

For stealing fire from heaven for mortal men, around 15,000 B.C. Prometheus was doomed by Zeus to be chained to a rack where vultures fed on his liver for 3,000 years.  The sentence was commuted, but Zeus insisted that Prometheus wear one line of the chain around his finger as a reminder of his bondage.  And the first ring was born.

 Iron Roman Wedding Band

Did the Neanderthal man whack his main squeeze over the head and haul her away he-man style, or did he drink a pterodactyl juice toast and slip a band of gold on her finger?  We'll never know.       

The first recorded wedding rings seem to have been used in the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom in Egypt, around 2700 B.C.  To the Egyptians, a circle, having no beginning or end, signified eternity; and gold was their most precious commodity.

 Egyptian Ring, circa 300 B.C.

 Gold Ring, circa 1353-1323 B.C.

Egyptian Ring from the Tomb of King Tutankhamen

There's also a romantic theory that the ring was placed on the fourth finger of the left hand (what we today commonly call the "ring finger"), in the belief that the vein of this ring finger ran directly to the heart.  Of course, there's a more cynical view: Egyptian texts also suggest that the left is the hand of subjugation.

 Roman Marriage Ring, circa 300 B.C.

In either case, it's probably wisest to demand a double-ring ceremony.

Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Short And The Loin Of It

Before the Ice Age and the invention of woven cloth, people were happy to walk around naked, covered with red ochre, or sometimes wrapped in a cloak of hide or fur called a loinskin.


Reconstruction of an Iceman's woven-grass sheath

But thanks to weavers, cloth began to replace hides, and after 10,000 B.C. in the temperate Near East, farmers discovered that light linen was a lot more comfortable than sweaty loinskins. 

At first the primitive pagne looked like fake animal skin - unable to forget the old ways of animal magic, early men tufted the cloth to make it look like fleece.  They wore their new fleeced cloth draped around their shoulders, but the heat of the sun and the need to free their shoulders for work forced them to drop the pagne to their waist, in what became the first loincloth.

As seen in the movie, John Carter 

Pacific Islanders

 Ancient Egyptians

A loincloth by an other name was a breech clout (old English), waistcloth, dhoti (India), moocha (South Africa), or hipping (Scottish).

The Dhoti

In the Middle Ages they were called slops; the French called them cache sexe - hidden sex.

 Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon in The Tudors.

Sir Walter Raleigh and son in slops, 1602

It's a fashion that has endured for 20,000 years, right up to the present day, most popular in India, where it's been around since 2000 B.C. in natty cotton.

Source: Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Starlight

This Carrie Lofty fan is very excited about this upcoming book:

The Christie Family Series, Book 2
Author: Carrie Lofty
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Expected Release Date: June 26, 2012

Esteemed astronomer Alex Christie, the eldest and most steadfast of the Christie siblings, has never possessed his late father's ruthless business drive.  But to protect his frail infant son from his cruel father-in-law's bid for custody, the young widower must undertake Sir William Christie's posthumous million-dollar challenge: to make a Glasgow cotton mill profitable.  At sea in an industrial world of sabotage and union agitation, Alex meets Polly Gowan, daughter of a famed union leader, who hopes to seize a mysterious saboteur without involving the police.

Because a sympathetic mill master would aid her cause, Polly becomes Alex's guide to urban Scotland.  From soccer games to pub brawls, Alex sees another side of life, and feels free for the first time to reveal the man - vital and strong - behind his intellectual exterior.  Polly is utterly seduced.  Their ambitions, however, remains at odds: Alex vows to earn the mill bonus to save his child, while Polly fights for the needs of her people.  Is there strength enough in their sparkling passion to bind them together in their quests - and in a lasting love that conquers all?

Click here to read an excerpt.

~ Blurb courtesy of Carrie Lofty's website.
Sunday, May 6, 2012

In My Mailbox (27)

Last time I went to my local used bookstore, I couldn't find a single book to buy.  Sad but true.  This weekend I found not one, but two books!  =)


 Monica McCarty is one of my favorite authors and an auto-buy.  

I've never read this author. 
 But I saw a good book review on The Anne Boleyn Files, and knew I had to read this novel.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: My Fair Concubine

If you're looking for an unforgettable love story set in a unique time period, read a book by Jeannie Lin.  Her romance novels are fabulous! 

Author: Jeannie Lin
Genre: Historical Romance
Expected Release Date: June 2012
During the Tang Dynasty, the imperial court used a practice called hegin, or peace marriage, to form alliances with their barbarian neighbors.  The alliance brides were officially recognized as Tang princesses, however often it was the Emperor's niece, palace concubines, or daughters of high-ranking officials who were sent to the frontier instead of a true princess with royal blood.
Chang Fei Long has been called back home upon the death of his father to learn that the family is swimming in debt.  Before his death, his father arranged for Fei Long's sister to become an alliance bride to regain favor with the imperial court.  When Pearl begs for mercy, he can't bring himself to  force her marriage and exile to a barbarian land.  As a result, he has to come up with another false princess to go in her place.
Yan Ling is a servant at the tea house where Fei Long goes to brood about his troubles.  When she mistakes his musings as a proposition for sex, she dumps a pot of tea on him and gets thrown out into the streets.  Now homeless and destitute, Yan Ling begrudgingly accepts Fei Long's offer to train her as a replacement princess.

This lighter look into Tang Dynasty culture takes place in the capital city of Changan, going from courtyard mansions to the infamous entertainment district to the seedier parts of the city.  In an homage to the classic story of My Fair Lady, Fei Long and Yan Ling are joined by a clever maid and a flamboyant actor as they work to fool imperial rivals and navigate the complicated landscape of their growing attraction.

~ unofficial blurb courtesy of Jeannie Lin's website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Releases

This month there are only two new releases that I want to read.  Both are YA paranormals.

What's on your must-read list this month?