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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
Author: Charles C. Mann
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
Review Date: 6/20/2020

After reading '1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus,' I was in awe of Charles Mann's research abilities and insightful writing skills. Mann has written a sequel, '1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.' It is just as good as the previous work. Unfortunately, I decided to 'listen' to the book and I plan to get a physical copy soon and reread it. I thought I missed a great deal by listening.

In the '1491' book, Mann showed that the Americas were already populated with indigenous peoples. However, the early explorers brought their diseases with them from Europe and elsewhere and decimated the local populations as they ravaged the areas for valuable resources. This book talks about the global changes that occurred because of the interaction with the Americas. One crop that created so much change was the lowly sweet potato; I was really shocked to see its worldwide effect on nutrition. Potatoes and rubber were other products highlighted in this study.

With amazing dexterity, Mann talks about the effects of crops, diseases, domesticated animals, pests, and of course, slavery in the world. His explanation of the moving of the silver and gold from their source to other nations initially created vast wealth, but when the markets were flooded with a continuous flow of these metals, it created economic instability and collapse.

Mann shows how America's discovery caused a convulsion in the world's status quo. He explained how each of the new products (crops, diseases, livestock, pests, and slavery) changed the world. This is just as brilliant as the previous book.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake: A Captivating Guide to the Deadliest Earthquake in the History of the United States
Review Date: 5/30/2021

This is a very exciting description of the earthquake of April 18, 1906. It is amazing that buildings (the ones that stayed upright) moved their foundations 2 to 3 feet! It is shocking to hear that the earthquake was the minor end of the tragedy. Stories are told from the viewpoint of those who were there.

Our son lives in southern California and says that there is no way to prepare for the shakes, and that is the most difficult part to accept (He's used to facing hurricanes here on the Gulf Coast, and people have plenty of warning).

This book offers the feeling that you are there, experiencing the fear and trauma, just like another stellar book by Captivating History, "ThePeshtigo Fire of1871: A Captivating Guide to the Deadliest Wildfire in the History of the USAThat Occurred in Northeastern Wisconsin." If you haven't read it, it is another story that readers don't forget soon.

The 1920s (Decades of the 20th Century)
The 1920s (Decades of the 20th Century)
Author: Nick Yapp
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
Review Date: 1/22/2015

This book captures the 1920s beautifully; from silent films to the Depression, from the Jazz Age to economic chaos. There are over 300 black-and-white photos that show it all and explain things in English, German and French.

The section, The Haves and the Have Nots is a particularly poignant group of photos. We tend to see films with famous actors in their later years; this book offers early views of Jimmy Cagney, Noel Coward, Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich.

This is an engaging book that brings to the reader the grotesque and gorgeous era in Americas history. The entire series is worthwhile but this book really gives a broad view of an exciting and frightening age.

1950s - A Decade of Serial Killers: The Most Evil Serial Killers of the 1950s (American Serial Killer Antology by Decade)
Review Date: 7/1/2021
Helpful Score: 1

This seemed very average; one story came from Kenya. Maybe there wasn't much by way of serial killing in the US in the 1950s. The author gave an overview of what each person had done, but he gave his opinions, which I thought was odd. What each serial killer did was horrific enough without the author adding his 2 cents worth. This almost seemed like a book report; he told the reader which book he used to glean his information from.

The 1960s (Cultural History of the United States Through the Decades)
Review Date: 5/8/2016

Having lived during these turbulent 10 years, I appreciated the fact that things seemed to be reported in a rather even-handed fashion . Although aimed towards 9 to 12 year-olds, I found this tome very interesting. It did a wonderful job of looking over the panorama of a very upsetting era. I was disappointed with the large number of black-and-white (instead of color photos).

The author makes a point of saying that the 1960's opened with happiness. A young president and his wife occupied the White House and many referred the presidency as Camelot. The euphoria ended with John Kennedy's death. I was a junior in high school (American History class, to be exact) when the news came.

Then, it seemed as if the country was coming unglued: another Kennedy murder, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, rioting over civil rights and the Vietnam War. It was the first time war was shown literally as it happened and US citizens didn't like what they saw.
I remember feeling very frightened about what was happening. Things that had made sense suddenly changed. People we thought were leading our country sounded like regular liars on TV (LBJ, General Westmoreland, etc.).

This volume offered a useful chronology of the decade; provided the books used and offered suggestions for further reading.

Review Date: 5/3/2021

These are some of America's finest naval officers. Each of these men has his own story published by Charles Rivers Editors. My purpose is to give the reader some idea of the bravery and brilliance of their actions. They each made important decisions that had powerful effects on America and the high seas.

Charles Rivers offers a singleton story about each of these men. In this book, the lives of five sterling naval officers are told.

Stephen Decatur's most famous action came in 1804 in Tripoli. His job was to rescue or destroy an American ship that had been taken. In the end, it had to be destroyed. During action in Tripoli, Stephen's brother, James, was mortally wounded. Finding that James was wounded after he had surrendered; Stephen went to fight the cowardly Tripoli commander. During the hand-to-hand fighting, another Tripolian sailor swung his saber at Stephen. Ruben James stepped between Decatur and the saber, taking a blow to the head. He did not die and later continued in the Navy. This is the source of the famous song, "Reuben James."

Son of a commodore, Stephen flew the pennant of a commodore during the War of 1812. Then, Decatur was able to bring about peace with the Barbary pirates. Decatur was named to the board of Navy Commissioners in 1816. There was bad blood between Decatur and James Barron. It came to light that Barron did a poor job protecting his seamen from impressment. Barron challenged Decatur to a duel and killed Decatur on March 22, 1820, in Washington, DC. The information about dueling in general (during this era) and this duel, in particular, is fascinating and should not be missed.

Like Decatur, Perry was in the Quasi-War with France and the Tripolitan War against Barbary pirates. However, he played a small part in these actions. When the War of 1812 began, Perry requested action and received a commission to lead the building of a flotilla under construction on Lake Erie. He was successful in both building the ships and winning the Battle of Lake Erie. These were both arduous tasks.

On his next ship, Perry worked to quell the continuing problems with the Barbary pirates in 1815. During a shocking incident in which Perry slapped another officer, John Heath and Oliver Hazard Perry were both court-martialed and found guilty. Mild reprimands were issued to each man. Heath challenged Perry to a duel. Heath missed and Perry refused to pull the trigger.

While Perry was on a diplomatic mission to South America, crewmen caught yellow fever; five died. While underway to Port of Spain, Perry woke up with the illness and died on his 34th birthday, only a few miles from help.

Because of the untimely death of his mother, James Farragut left one naval family to live with another. Later, James adopted the name 'David' in honor of his foster father. David went to sea with his foster father when he was 9-years-of-age, as a midshipman. He would be a foster brother to both David Dixon Porter, a Civil War admiral, and Commodore William D. Porter.

Incredibly, David served in the War of 1812, under his foster father. By 1822, he was named lieutenant and roamed the West Indies, ferreting out pirates and making the shipping lanes safer. Farragut saw action in the Mexican-American War. When the Civil War started, mistrust was rife in the Union military.

The Union was going to leave Farragut out of the fighting because of his southern birth, his southern wife, and his long residence in southern states. His adoptive brother (David Dixon Porter), however, drew Farragut into the war. Porter wanted Farragut to help him take New Orleans. The description of the battles related to taking New Orleans (and the other Civil War battles) is very interesting reading. In 1862, in recognition of Farragut's exemplary service, Congress created the title Rear Admiral and gave it to Farragut.

By the way, it was David Farragut who yelled, "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead." He said it during an amazing battle at Mobile Bay with Confederate ships. Congress again awarded Farragut with a new title -- Vice Admiral in late 1864. By July 1866, Congress created another title and promoted Farragut to Admiral. He died just 4 months shy of being in the Navy, on active duty for 60 years.

David came from a very long line of exemplary naval men and he was a bit cocky about his status. Others saw David as a 'born fighter,' who was born for war. David had an incredible range of naval jobs during his life. When his father, Commodore Porter left the US Navy and accepted command of the Mexican Navy, David went along as a midshipman.

While under the Mexican flag, David saw considerable action. In one instance, he and his cousin, David Henry Porter were on the same ship. His cousin was killed, and David was injured. He was taken to Havana as a war prisoner. After that, the Commodore wanted David to return to the US Navy.

Just as David was going to leave the Navy, the Civil War began. He was assigned to take and hold New Orleans, which was the largest city in the Confederacy. By taking the city, the Union could cut off supplies to the troops and citizens. Both David Porter and his foster brother, David Farragut, saw considerable action. Then, the Union ships moved up to Vicksburg, hoping to split the Confederacy. However, it was a more difficult job.

David was promoted to Rear Admiral. He was called on to assist General Ulysses S Grant, in Grant's efforts to take Vicksburg. The story of how Grant, Sherman, and Porter achieved their aim is rousing. At the end of the battle, the temporary rank of Rear Admiral was made permanent.

After the Civil War, Porter was named Superintendent of the Naval Academy. He revolutionized the buildings, training, and curriculum. In 1866, he was promoted to vice admiral. When his foster brother, Admiral David G. Farragut died in 1870, Porter filled his place. He was named admiral in 1871 (the second person to achieve that position) and spent the last 20 years of his life writing. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

After his training at the Naval Academy, Dewey saw action in the Civil War. However, his greatest claim to fame would be the Spanish-American War. In 1897, he requested to be moved to the US Asiatic squadron because he saw war with Spain coming.

He studied the Spanish-owned Philippine Islands and prepared for war. When it broke out in April 1898, he entered Manila Bay, where the Spanish fleet was anchored. He opened fire at about 6 am. Dewey's famous command was, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley." His four cruisers and two gunboats had sunk or destroyed most of the Spanish warships by the time he withdrew at 7:35 am.

His victory gave the US the Philippine Islands and increased America's stance in the western Pacific. Dewey was promoted to rear admiral in May 1898 and the next year, he became a full admiral. In 1903, Congress honored him with the special rank of Admiral of the Navy (but took retroactive effect from 1899).

This was the highest rank to be held by a US naval officer and Dewey was the only Naval officer to receive it. He also received other honors including the Battle of Manila Bay Medal and a special sword (especially crafted by Tiffany and Co.) from President McKinley in October 1899.

19th Century Schoolgirl: The Diary of Caroline Cowles Richards, 1852-1855 (Diaries, Letters, and Memoirs)
Review Date: 8/10/2013
Helpful Score: 1

The essential value of such a book as this is to take a peek at everyday life in America in the years before the Civil War. It is considered to be a primary source - which is important to those of us who work on genealogy. Primary sources give firsthand accounts of folk's lives; they may appear in letters, diaries, photos, etc.

Caroline was 10 years at the time she began her diary; she lived in western New York, in Canadagua, near the Finger Lakes region. When Caroline was 6, her mother died and her father wanted her to be raised well (good education). Thus, this teacher and Presbyterian minister sent his daughters to their grandparents to live.

His sons were sent to boarding schools. In those days everyone went to elementary school until age 10 - 12. The goal was to teach children how to read, write, spell, do math, plus learn geography, grammar and history. Both genders engaged in physical education.

After elementary school, only the wealthy could afford to send their children to private schools and the poorer children went to work. Seminaries (for girls) and boarding schools (for boys) were separated by gender because it was believed females and males had different educational needs.

The biggest surprise in this small tome is related to Grandmother Beals. Caroline reports that when her grandfather left on a trip out-of-town, Mrs. Beals invited an elderly (and quite portly) black woman to her house for dinner. She also sent a carriage to collect and return the woman to her home.

I was surprised; abolition might be the way people thought in New York State, but prejudice against interacting with them was still the accepted course. Grandmother was rather feisty to tempt the wrath of her neighbors.

The book is a delight with lots of photos, which made the diary jump to life. I just wish it had been longer.

4.5 stars

20 fat burning spices: Lose weight and stay slim with spices that speed up your metabolism and boost your fat loss
Review Date: 7/26/2021

The information on why and how each spice worked was impressive. However, I was disappointed that there were virtually no recipes. For you see, I wonder how these spices can make enough difference in one's weight, with the small amount put into a recipe -- and a recipe may feed several. That was what I was hoping the author would explain: How to use enough spice to increase the metabolism so that the food still tastes good but there is enough spice to make a difference.

21 Fat Burning Foods with Recipes: Best Fat Burning foods with Over 60 Recipes For Boosting Your Metabolism, Losing Weight and Feeling Great!
Review Date: 8/11/2021

The author gives a long-winded explanation of how the body turns food into fuel. However, he then goes into his 21 fat-burning foods. Fortunately, he explains why each item is on his list and what they offer the body. Then he offers a couple of recipes to increase the reader's intake of that fat-burning food.

One really great statement is, "However, studies show that dietary cholesterol has very little effect on blood cholesterol levels. Also, you should know that your body's cholesterol levels are typically a result of high arterial inflammation caused by processed carbohydrates." He is speaking about eggs. In my research, I've also found that most of our problems are from our over-consumption of carbohydrates.

Another plus of this author is that he explains that beans and legumes are incomplete (but valuable) plant proteins. He encourages readers to add barley, almonds, wheat, and/or corn to form a complete protein (with less fat than meat).

I don't agree with a few of his fat-burning foods -- pasta, rice, potatoes, and whole-grain bread. I don't care who said they are fat-burning, I don't agree. However, most of the author's advice was great and many of the recipes seem doable and tasty. I just questioned how much sugar some of the recipes contained. Overall score = G+

The 30-Minute Anti Inflammatory Diet Cookbook: Ready-To-Go Recipes to Reduce Inflammation, Heal Your Immune System and Restore Health
Review Date: 7/4/2021

Connor Thompson has written a highly readable book about inflammation and avoiding it through food choices. The recipes, however, didn't really ring my chimes. I thought it odd that the recipe for celery juice (for breakfast) called for mixing celery slices in a high-speed mixer, draining the celery, and drinking the water. I would have thought that it would be far better for a person to drink the shredded celery water for fiber.

44 Cranberry Point (Cedar Cove, Bk 4)
44 Cranberry Point (Cedar Cove, Bk 4)
Author: Debbie Macomber
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
Review Date: 1/18/2019

This is an incredibly dull bunch of mini-soap-operas combined to make one book of about 380 pages. I knew the Debbie Macomber offered light reading, but this book was plodding and boring.

Abby: Mail Order Bride (Unconventional) (Volume 1)
Abby: Mail Order Bride (Unconventional) (Volume 1)
Author: Verna Clay
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
Review Date: 8/14/2019

The pacing of this novel was perfect. Yes, there was sadness in this story, but frontier life was often sad. This was in a day in which there were no antibiotics and people often died of things we now consider minor. The author did some unique things for a novella or even a romance. I liked the fact that the heroine was 6 years older than Brant. It was a problem for Abby, but when Brant indicated it was immaterial to him, she let go of her concern.

Abby was stunned when she arrived and found there was competition for Brant's affections. I thought Brant handled it well, although Abby was horrified that someone else wanted Brant -- and the competition was beautiful. This book is under 200 pages, yet it offers an interesting story that stays with the reader. There is a great depth of emotion displayed in this book. It is a gem.

Unconventional Series
**1. Abby: Mail Order Bride (2012)
2. Broken Angel (2013)
3. Ryder's Salvation (2014)
4. Joy's Return (2014)

The Abduction (Harlequin Historical, No 78)
The Abduction (Harlequin Historical, No 78)
Author: Patricia Potter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
Review Date: 10/17/2012

This book is Patricia Potters first Scottish historical romance and frankly it shows. At an early point in the book, I found the traitor to be blindingly obvious.

This is an interesting story but the dialogue dragged at times and the build-up to the final confrontation seemed to last forever. However, Potter did one thing very well she offered a long enough ending to tie up several loose ends. Sometimes, Potter rushes the last few pages, as if she cant wait to finish the story.

Alex and Elsbeth are star-crossed lovers; each from an opposing, hostile clan. These two main characters lacked the sparkle and well-developed characterizations of other Potter novels.

Patricia Potter published five books in 1991 (Lawless, Island of Dreams, The Abduction, Rainbow, and The Greatest Gift. Perhaps this is why this book wasnt one of her best; however, Lawless was super!

The Abduction (Harlequin Historical, No 78)
The Abduction (Harlequin Historical, No 78)
Author: Patricia Potter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
Review Date: 10/17/2012

This book is Patricia Potters first Scottish historical romance and frankly it shows. At an early point in the book, I found the traitor to be blindingly obvious.

This is an interesting story but the dialogue dragged at times and the build-up to the final confrontation seemed to last forever. However, Potter did one thing very well she offered a long enough ending to tie up several loose ends. Sometimes, Potter rushes the last few pages, as if she cant wait to finish the story.

Alex and Elsbeth are star-crossed lovers; each from an opposing, hostile clan. These two main characters lacked the sparkle and well-developed characterizations of other Potter novels.

Patricia Potter published five books in 1991 (Lawless, Island of Dreams, The Abduction, Rainbow, and The Greatest Gift. Perhaps this is why this book wasnt one of her best; however, Lawless was super!

The Abduction (Legacy of Love)
The Abduction (Legacy of Love)
Author: Patricia Potter
Book Type: Paperback
Review Date: 10/17/2012
Helpful Score: 1

This book is Patricia Potter's first Scottish historical romance - and frankly it shows. At an early point in the book, I found the traitor to be blindingly obvious.

This is an interesting story but the dialogue dragged at times and the build-up to the final confrontation seemed to last forever. However, Potter did one thing very well - she offered a long enough ending to tie up several loose ends. Sometimes, Potter rushes the last few pages, as if she can't wait to finish the story.

Alex and Elsbeth are star-crossed lovers; each from an opposing, hostile clan. These two main characters lacked the sparkle and well-developed characterizations of other Potter novels.

Patricia Potter published five books in 1991 (Lawless, Island of Dreams, The Abduction, Rainbow, and The Greatest Gift. Perhaps this is why this book wasn't one of her best; however, Lawless was super!

Abigail's Adventure (Alphabet Mail-Order Brides, Bk 1)
Abigail's Adventure (Alphabet Mail-Order Brides, Bk 1)
Author: Caroline Lee
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
Review Date: 10/18/2021

There are three (yes, three) series crossing paths in this book. It is finishing up the SUNSET VALLEY series; while starting the ALPHABET MAIL-ORDER BRIDES series. It is also introducing the Robin-Hood type character mentioned in this novella, who will be important in the BLACK ACES series (see below for the list of books).

This book sets up the series of teachers who leave Wigg's School and Foundling Home and start lives elsewhere, starting new schools with some of Mrs. Wigg's money. This one is about widow Abigail Humbree and her two children; Abigail is a teacher at the school and her children reside with her in the school. Abigail and her son Joshua remember clearly the terrible life they lived under the roof of Cyrus Humbree.

Mrs. Wigg literally has to toss them from the nest to get Abigail to take a chance on a mail-order marriage. The advantage for Abigail is that Mrs. Wiggs will give Abigail a grant (after the school is started) to maintain the school. This has been Abigail's dream; however, it takes months for her to decide to take a chance in Montana.

This would be categorized as a sweet story. There's no foul language or sex scenes. There's genuine emotion and difficulties to be overcome. The Black Ace arrives and helps by giving Joshua the $50 needed to pay the mayor's rent on the dilapidated schoolhouse he claims to own. Thus, the third series about this masked stranger in black arrives.

Sunset Valley
1. Lucas's Lady (2018)
2. Verrick's Vixen (2018)
** 3. Abigail's Adventure (2019)

Alphabet Mail-OrderBrides
** 1. Abigail's Adventure (2019)

Black Aces
1. Ante Up (2019)
2. Three of a Kind (2019)
3. Wild Card (2019)

About Face (Guido Brunetti, Bk 18)  (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 9/22/2015
Helpful Score: 3

This story seems to have been snatched from recent headlines; it is about women who have plastic surgery; Italian political corruption and what to do with trash when all of Europe's landfills are full. Of course, readers are also allowed a glimpse into the home life of a Venetian family (Guido Brunetti).

There's a lot going on in this book; political corruption seems to be a constant in Italian life. With that in the background, the other two themes play out their stories. Commissario Guido Brunetti and his wife are invited to a dinner at his parents-in-law's home. Brunetti is seated across from a very interesting woman with a scarred face. Everyone who sees her think it is plastic surgery gone bad' -- most also think she is too young to have gone under the knife (she's in her mid-thirties).

The woman's much older husband asks Brunetti's father-in-law to go into partnership with him. Then, Brunetti's father-in-law asks him to casually look into this prospective business partner's background.

Solutions for handling trash (regular, medical, nuclear, etc.) are a growing problem in Italy. I learned a great deal about what countries are doing now and it is not a pretty picture. Although the potential business partner says he is in the transportation business, Brunetti soon learns that he is transporting trash to third world countries.

I found this to be a believable and fascinating -- story. This is the 18th story and I don't recommend someone start with this one. Leon's style is interesting; she doesn't explain any of the back stories of secondary characters. But her regular readers know about them as they have been introduced.

Guido Brunetti
1. Death at La Fenice (1992)
2. Death in a Strange Country (1993)
3. The Anonymous Venetian (1994) aka Dressed for Death
4. A Venetian Reckoning (1995) aka Death and Judgment
5. Acqua Alta (1996) aka Death in High Water

6. The Death of Faith (1997) aka Quietly in Their Sleep
7. A Noble Radiance (1997)
8. Fatal Remedies (1998)
9. Friends in High Places (1999) Dagger Awards Best Novel nominee (2000): Friends in High Places
10. A Sea of Troubles (2001)

11. Willful Behaviour (2002)
12. Uniform Justice (2003)
13. Doctored Evidence (2004)
14. Blood from a Stone (2005)
15. Through a Glass Darkly (2006)

16. Suffer the Little Children (2007)
17. The Girl of His Dreams (2008)
18. About Face (2009)

The Accidental Lawman
The Accidental Lawman
Author: Jill Marie Landis
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
Review Date: 1/29/2015

This is a sweet Christian Historical novel by Jill Marie Landis; I did not know she wrote Christian fiction. All of the characters (not just the main ones) were carefully drawn and participated in this story. The citizens (and town of Glory, Texas) were engaging.

Amelia Hawthorne is a healer who walks into the town bank just before it is robbed. A stranger trips over Amelia (Hank Larson) and happens to stop the robbery. Immediately, the citizens clamor to name him sheriff; Hank agrees reluctantly.

The citizens assure Hank that nothing ever happens in Glory; it will be an easy task until someone else will take the role. This story pulls the reader in rather quickly and keeps the readers interest.

Hank finds out that Amelia is a healer and a mid-wife; before his death, her father was the only doctor for miles. Hank is horrified; a year before, his wife and child were killed by the incompetence of a mid-wife and Hank still wears the scars of their loss.

The author captures the bustle of a small town and peoples it with folks the reader will care about; they will also enjoy the gossip-tendencies of the town folk. These characters are so likeable that readers are eager to meet them again in future books.

This is a low-key, pleasant story about 2 people who have to get over their prejudices against the other before they can enter into a serious relationship.

Ace of Hearts (House of Cards, Bk 1)
Ace of Hearts (House of Cards, Bk 1)
Author: Barbara Metzger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
Review Date: 7/24/2016

This is a delightful trio of stories (see the list below). You will laugh out loud with the antics in this story. It is just plain fun. The hero in this outing is almost an anti-hero. Ace, an earl, is shaking the dust of London to get away from the three women he is engaged to (at the same time). He makes a point of running away from unpleasant problems.

Alex (Ace) and his brother, Jack, were given a quest by their dying father. Earlier, there was a carriage accident that claimed his second wife and all hands in the conveyance. However, the baby Lottie (Charlotte) Endicott disappeared -- without a trace. The old earl was convinced that the child still lived and begged his sons to continue the search for their half-sister.

Ace decides that this would be a great time to search for Lottie. To that end, he goes to the place his step-mother was visiting at the time of her death. As he arrives at the Ambeaux Cottage, he finds that the brother entrusted with the care if his manor (and its tenants) has been stealing, draining the value from Ace's minor estate.

There, Ace meets the sister, Nell, a lovely spinster, under the thumb of her older brother. Nell is an interesting character; her best friend is a goose, Wellsley. The goose is rather protective of Nell and attacks those he feels have gotten too forward. When the goose attacks Ace and his horse, he winds up with a head wound, broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder. While Ace is trying to get well, Fiancee #1 arrives, planning to snare the earl at last.

The house also holds the old aunt, who has regular conversations with the dead. Ace has a wonderful valet who adds much to the comical goings-on. As you can see, there are plenty of zany characters to keep the story going. Be sure to read these books in order.

House of Cards Trilogy
1. Ace of Hearts (2005)
2. Jack of Clubs (2006)
3. Queen of Diamonds (2006)

The Achaemenid Persian Empire: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Greeks? Most Famous Enemy
Review Date: 11/7/2019

The Persians were unique in that they did not 'conquer, obliterate and rebuild according to their own terms' but were known by their tolerance of other cultures. As long as they paid their taxes to the Persian king, they could continue to live according to their own customs and culture. Old Persian was the language used for the bureaucracy, but otherwise, groups used their own cultural languages. When the Achaemenid inscriptions were found, they used Old Persian and the languages of the communities that they controlled. This is very different from other capturing groups, who tended to uproot conquered tribes.

The Persians were the first postal system with staging posts every 20 miles along a route. Travel was fast and safe along these roads the Persians built. Interestingly enough, the Persians left little in the way of writings behind, so what we know of them is from the Greeks, who were their sworn enemies. The last page sums up the Persians: They had respect for their subjects, religious tolerance, and promoted trade, art, and culture. They were a stable empire for 250 years.

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