Saturday, August 15, 2015

History Time! Eastern State Penitentiary

Cellblock 7. (I think?)
I have been to Eastern State Penitentiary plenty of times. For years, I have made a point to do their Terror Behind The Walls haunted house every Halloween. If you haven't done it, you should. It's considered one of the best haunted houses in the country -- and the location makes it extra cool.

A few days ago, I visited Eastern State for the not-haunted tour. And it's awesome. As a big history nerd, I have seen plenty of old sites, but the penitentiary is one of the most interesting.

Construction began in 1822 and the first inmate arrived in 1829. Until it closed in 1970, it housed thousands of men and women, among them some of the nation's most notorious criminals, the most famous being Al Capone.

Despite being abandoned for twenty years, the penitentiary is relatively intact. A few places have been reconstructed (i.e., the synagogue, Al Capone's cell), but the majority of the site is considered a "stabilized ruin."

If you're in Philly, check it out!

The kitchens!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

This Week in Google Searches (8/8)

As usual, I was at a loss for what to write on my blog, so I decided to "write what's on my mind." The best way to sum up what's on my mind, I've realized, is by looking at my Google searches.

How do you address a sultan?

Your Majesty

No, I'm not going to meet any sultans anytime soon. However, if you know me, you know I'm fascinated with Turkey. I research the Ottoman Empire for funsies. And until this week, I didn't know how to address a sultan. Now I do. And so do you.

You're welcome.

How do you find your previous Google searches?

I realized that "Things I've Googled" might make for an interesting blog post. Unfortunately, I can't remember the things I've Googled, but it turns out, Google does! Just go to your Google History! If you don't know how to get to that, I suggest you Google it.

For Such a Time

I found out about this book through Elana Roth Parker, a literary agent who was discussing the problems with For Such a Time on Twitter. Turns out, For Such a Time by Kate Breslin is a romance novel about a death camp inmate and a Nazi -- and that's a big problem. Nazis are not romantic heroes. Genocide is not sexy. You can read more about the issues with this book here.

Hungarian Surnames

"Farkas" is Hungarian. And for writing purposes, I needed more Hungarian surnames.

Cherry Hill Public Library Summer Reading

AWW YEAH BRING ON THE READING CHALLENGE. Turns out, for every book I read, I can get a raffle ticket to win a Kindle! Considering I read like crazy, that's a lot of raffle tickets.

Of course, I had to enter the "adult" category. I hope I don't have to read "adult" books, considering the vast majority of books I read are MG and YA.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review - A PIRATE'S COMMAND by Meg Hennessy

The jacket copy:

His secrets could destroy her... 

New Orleans, 1817

Colette Kincaid once knew such love and delicious passion in the arms of her pirate husband, Donato de la Roche. Yet Colette could not continue to live as the wife of a pirate, when reunited with her family. So she fled, taking their son with her and reconciling herself to never seeing her husband again...

Until their son is taken.

Donato is convinced his wife is behind his son's disappearance-just as she is convinced he is the villain. Now they're unable to leave each other's side as they seek their child, forced to confront the desire that still smolders between them. But Donato knows that soon he must face the secret about Colette he's been hiding for so long. And it's a secret for which there is no forgiveness...

Thank you to Entangled and NetGalley for a free ARC.

Overall: 3/5 stars.

All right. Well, I picked this one up because of the Spanish pirate. Of course I'd want to read that. Good premise, but the plot moves along slowly. That's this book's biggest fault. It's SLOW. I wanted more tension. More mystery.

I did, however, enjoy the characters. Colette is a little bland, and Donato isn't as pirate-y as I would have liked, but the side characters are fascinating. I liked Colette's brothers, Jordan and Loul, and I would have liked to see more of them. And then Rayna. I'm guessing the author is going to write a third novel with Rayna as the star, and if that's the case, I might give it a shot. We don't see her all that much, but the few times we do, she's COOL. Smart. Dangerous. Ruthless. I liked her.

What else can I say? Good job with nautical terms. Not such a good job with the Spanish. I often found myself quoting Inigo Montoya: "I don't think that word means what you think it means…"

I appreciate the historical time period. Yay Peninsular Wars! However, I wanted more more MORE.

Not bad. I'm certainly interested in this book's predecessor, which tells Jordan's story, and if there is a Rayna tale on the way, I'll probably check it out. If you're interested, you can find A Pirate's Command on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.