SKIRTS by KIMBERLY CHRISMAN-CAMPBELL

Skirts traces the shifting roles of women over the twentieth century through the era’s most iconic and influential dresses.

The evolution of the skirt over pants took quite a bit longer than it should have in my opinion. Practicality should be first and foremost I think. And a lot of other women thought so too. And so we have the evolution of the skirt. Soldiers marched in skirts as did the suffragists and the civil rights marchers. Famous women all over the world made their stands in skirts.

The author takes us along to the twentieth century where things begin to change. And what a good look it was. From the LBD to the Bar Suit, the Taxi dress, and the Pop-Over, which I loved because it said it came with a potholder! Can you imagine?

My own mother never wore a skirt. Ever. Lots of dresses and later pants, but I never saw her wear a skirt. I, on the other hand, own tons of them and love them. This book was fashion fun. I loved every minute of it.

NetGalley/September 6, 2022, St. Martin’s Press



THE POPE AT WAR by DAVID I. KERTZER

Pulitzer Prize-winner David I. Kertzer brings us this magnificent work of the history of Pope Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler.

Based on newly opened Vatican archives, a groundbreaking, explosive, and riveting book about Pope Pius XII and his actions during World War II, including how he responded to the Holocaust, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Pope and Mussolini

Pope Pius XII, who died in 1958 and immediately had his archives sealed, probably didn’t think they would come to light in 2020. For a long period of time, we have wondered about his stance on the war and the people who surrounded the papacy. As a Roman Catholic myself, I can say he was very controversial.

Kertzer, who is one of the world’s leading scholars on the Vatican has been digging around in those archives for a while now. And he reveals how this pope traded moral leadership of the church to save its power.

It was difficult to read the atrocities and the deals that were made with fascists. But really haven’t we always known the church always acts in its own best interest? Not only is the research impeccable, but the facts are also explosive.

The amount of research that had to take place is monumental. I thought it read like historical fiction, but unfortunately, it was not fiction.

Outstanding work!

NetGalley/ June 7th, 2022 by Random House






UNDER JERUSALEM by ANDREW LAWLER

Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World's Most Contested City

Under Jerusalem is a 150-year history of the ground just beneath one of the world’s holiest cities.

This is the well-researched, and well-written history of Jerusalem. From the time it was not much of anything to a major religious center, fought over by three or more religions.

We begin in 1863, when a Frenchman with an adventurous soul, heard a rumor. Buried beneath the city there was said to be a mother-lode of biblical treasure. Archaeology was just beginning to be a thing. Mainly with the idle rich who had the time and money to go on a treasure hunt.

When De Saulcy dug into a spot in the desert and found an old tomb, others followed quickly. The dig was great for archaeology but not so great for Jerusalem. Greed will do nasty things to ordinary people. As we can see now, Israel is a land being fought over every day. And the claims to Jerusalem are made by many different religions. What has come out of the digs and finds have turned this area into a war zone.

The books” timeline takes us way back in history. So many people have fought over and claimed this area and so much has been destroyed in the process. This book is for the history lover, the truth seekers, and the treasure seekers.

I loved every second of it. I have never had an opinion one way or the other on the subject of Israel and Jerusalem. And I still don’t. But at least now I know the story.

Excellent work!

NetGalley/Doubleday November 02, 2021

CARE FREE BLACK GIRLS by ZEBA BLAY

Carefree Black Girls

This book is a look and a celebration of black women’s identity and impact on pop culture by HuffPost critic, Zeba Blay.

Blay was the first person to give us the #carefreeblackgirls, in 2013 on Twitter.

This is a series of essays that took me longer than normal to read. This isn’t my story and I wanted to really absorb what she was saying.

Blay takes us on a journey to meet black women who were significant throughout history. Each in a different way. Starting with Josephine Baker, Michelle Obama and Cardi B and Lizzo!

She shares her own story and experiences as well as those women she writes about.

I think what I was left with in the end was a celebration of women who defy stereotypes. Women who stand up and stand out. Black women get things done. They are strong because they have had no other choice.

What a beautiful look at the women who changed history really.

NetGalley/ October 19th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Griffin

A Mudlark’s Treasures, London in Fragments by Ted Sandling

A Mudlark's Treasures: London in Fragments

I read quite a bit of historical fiction set in London. Mudlarks are mentioned quite a bit so I knew it was a name for those treasure seekers along the Thames.

Around the 18th and 19th centuries, there were young boys trying to make a living with the things they found along and in the Thames. Today’s treasure hunters are still there looking for treasures from the past and there are plenty to be found.

,This is the story of one man’s finds. And they are extraordinary! Roman tiles, pottery, coins, pipes and, my favorite, the Frozen Charlotte dolls. Yes they are a bit creepy, but I am fascinated with them.

Looking at the pictures you can almost see the history of London. Who was ruling, who was at war with them? What people wore, common items they used. It’s all a mystery and a treasure hunt.

I loved this little book and passed it along to several historical fiction authors.

Of course here in the USA,we don’t have a river Thames to hunt for treasure, but I was fortunate to live in the south and when my father built his fishing and hunting camp on the banks of the Mississippi, we found out it had been the site of a huge antebellum house which caught fire only weeks after the family moved in. It burned to the ground and was never rebuilt, so with every rain we dug up more treasure. Beautiful pieces of china and pottery. Everyday items and lots of buttons. It instilled in me a lifelong love of treasure hunting.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

VALCOUR-The 1776 Campaign That Saved The Cause of Liberty by JACK KELLY

Valcour: The 1776 Campaign That Saved the Cause of Liberty

The wild and suspenseful story of one of the most crucial and least known campaigns of the Revolutionary War when America’s scrappy navy took on the full might of Britain’s sea power.

Valcour is about the people involved in the 1776 three-day battle of the fledgling American Colonies against the pesky Brits. In the summer of that year, word came that the British were coming from Canada.

The Americans had wanted to maintain their hold on the upper rivers and knew that to do so they would have to make a stand. And what a brave stand these soldiers who were really just volunteers, made. A stand that would change the course of history.

You will recognize the names. Washington, Schuyler, a General who would become Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law by marrying Eliza. We also see a different side of Benedict Arnold. A bit rougher than some, but a brilliant strategist.

While Washington routed them in Trenton, Arnold sent the British Gates packing in a three-day battle on Lake Champlain and forced a retreat.

This is a well-researched book. I think we all are familiar with Benedict Arnold as a traitor, but he really is so much more. These men were young and untried but passionate about not being under the thumb of Britain. This was more than a history lesson. These were real people who overcame incredible odds to hold up our fledgling country against more powerful enemies and prevailed.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one.

NetGalley/ April 6th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

THE VAGINA BIBLE by JEN GUNTER, MD

thevaginabible.

I was thrilled to get this one from Kensington Books! I spent the first 10 minutes laughing hysterically over that little quote at the top. In case you can’t see it, here it is.

“Buy this book if you have a vagina or if you spend any time at all in reasonable proximity to one” Aylet Waldman, NYT Best Selling Author.

One may think that an entire book about the vagina, written by an OB/GYN, would be a bit dry reading. One would be wrong. I have never highlighted so many pages and subjects before. To be educated in such an entertaining way kept me turning the pages faster and faster! There was a lot of WHAT? REALLY? WELL, WHO KNEW?

I wish I had had this book a long time ago. It answers every question you may ever have about the miracle that is the vagina. Whether you were born with one or had one built for you surgically, you’re covered. Trans men, Trans Women, Anyone with a vagina will have myths busted, and facts stated. From how to keep it clean, (please don’t steam it!) to why we have pubic hair, what the hymen is and is not and when and how to talk to your doctor about issues down there. Forget everything you’ve seen and heard from any celebrity. It’s debunked here. By a real doctor.

If I were a comedian I would want this book right now! I could do an entire show with material from this book! And my husband so appreciated the little tips and pictures I sent him at work. Mainly rubbing in the fact that the clitoris is solely for pleasure. The only body part for that! Amazing! We also get the low down on how long does sex last? How many times a month or year are people really having sex? What are the STI’s we should be screening for and getting vaccinated against? Tampons or Pads? Shave or wax?

I will be talking about vaginas for a very long time to anyone who will listen! Now my husband would like to know when the Penis Bible is coming. We all do babe, we all do.

Kensington  August 27, 2019