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 Hospital (Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town) by Brian Alexander

The Hospital: Life, Death, and Dollars in a Small American Town by [Brian Alexander]

Bryan, Ohio is a small town with small town problems. Keeping the town afloat. Keeping the hospital open. Alexander takes us into small town hospitals and the quickly disappearing small town hospitals and medical care.

Phil Ennen, CEO of the hospital is fighting what looks like a losing battle. They are losing money and the big guys are waiting around the corner to grab up another local hospital.

You find out a lot of things you may have never thought about if you didn’t grow up in a small town. I don’t think I have ever given it a thought since I’ve always lived in the city. On a road trip this past year we took the back roads to explore Oklahoma and it was then that I saw entire towns dying when the hospitals go down. Miles and miles from any form of emergency care or just continued care. It was shocking how the towns were just empty.

We see real people in real life or death situations and the consequences from lack of dependable medical care. We have one such town right now trying not to close its doors or give in to a buy out. With a lot of small towns still recovering from the 2008 recession, money is not exactly flowing in. People can’t afford to drive 2 hours in an emergency and they can’t afford healthcare.

With the Medical and Hospital Industry puts money over care, we all suffer. Look at the situation we are in now. Covid. Rural hospitals aren’t able to care for the people in their small community. Even big cities are ill equipped to fight this one. Why? This gave me a new insight into the issues we all will face.

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press March 09, 2021

VERITAS: A Harvard Professor, A Con Man and the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife by Ariel Sabar

 

Veritas: A Harvard Professor, a Con Man, and the Gospel of Jesus's Wife

 

The gripping true story of a sensational religious forgery and the scandal that engulfed Harvard.

Dr. Karen King, a well-respected professor at Harvard Divinity, announced to the attendees of a scholars conference, steps from the Vatican.

Someone had given her a scrap of an ancient papyrus where Jesus calls Mary Magdalene his wife.  As you can imagine, this was huge. I know I followed this in the news because I had an interest in the Gnostic Gospels and what was and wasn’t true. I never saw Mary of Magdala as a prostitute and I never found any corroboration of that.

Imagine if all these years later we find out Jesus had a wife. What? What a shakeup that would be for the Catholic Church especially. If he was married, why celibacy in the priesthood? Why no women in positions of power? There was a powerful uproar and King’s reputation suffered. Was this piece a forgery and if so was King in on it?

Amid all of these questions, journalist Ariel Sabar started digging into the story. Where did the fragment come from? With impeccable research and detective skills, he brings us the story of King and the man who may or may not be a forger.

This was a brilliant look at the rivalries in academia. The hopes of King that there was an alternative to the bible out there that was more inclusive to women. I’ll leave you to enjoy the mystery.

I am still mulling over questions this book brought up. And I’m sure I will be for a long time.

Well Done!

NetGalley/ August 11th, 2020 by Doubleday Books

 

 

 

THE SHIP of DREAMS: The Sinking of THE TITANIC and the end of the Edwardian Era by Gareth Russell

The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

Gareth Russell has done his research. Uncovering previously unpublished sources and including photographs. Russell tells the story not just of the sinking of the Titanic, but of six well-known and well-heeled passengers and the role they played in history.
He is a gifted writer and puts the event in context with what was going on in the world. Especially the Americans and the British. With the Edwardian Era ending, war on the horizon and changes in the social norms, technology, politics, Irish Home Rule, the class system, this was a major time of change for the world.
We follow the stories of six of those passengers on the Titanic and how their lives changed.  The description of the sinking, minute by minute, the different ways Americans and the British handled the tragedy. Not everyone was chivalrous or brave. And for some that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.
For me personally, this was the best book I have read on the subject. And that was because it was so well researched and written. Myths were shown for what they were. Facts and journals told stories never heard before. The pictures were priceless in creating an image in your head of who these people were and how they behaved.
I would have no problem recommending this book as a definitive look at this point in our history.
Extremely Well Done!
NetGalley/ November 19th, 2019 by Atria Books

IN ALEXA’S SHOES by ROCHELLE ALEXANDRA *Blog Tour*

In Alexa's Shoes

In the Fall of 1940, Alexa and her mother were taken by the Nazi’s. Stacked like cordwood in cattle cars on a train. Most would die and the rest would labor. If you were a pretty blue-eyed blonde, you could end up as the slave of a Gestapo head. If you were lucky you didn’t get beaten every day.

I enjoyed reading a first-hand account of Alexa and her family.

This is a true story told by her granddaughter. The story and what happened to her is a solid story. It’s true. At only 13, she must grow up very fast and learn to survive.

The writing was monotone. I didn’t feel any emotion behind the characters. A lot of it could benefit from more editing. I didn’t feel her fear or any emotion. It is a true story and one with a horrific topic and that felt as if there should have been some emotion in it. I didn’t feel any fear or horror or anything.

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TRUTH WORTH TELLING by SCOTT PELLEY

Truth Worth Telling

An inspiring memoir from the front lines of history by award-winning 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.

Don’t ask the meaning of life. Life is asking, what’s the meaning of you?

Journalist, Scott Pelley, is someone I have always respected. And counted on to give us the news and the story behind the news. The Truth.
Scott gives us true accounts of people changed forever by the events like The World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq.
I found his telling of his own and others experiences on 9/11 to be difficult to read. The book is raw and unforgettable. Pelley has a writing style that is equal to his reporting style and that made this both a heartbreaking read and a profound one.
Free Speech and what it means for the people. Why it is the most important thing at all times and especially at this moment in history. A Free Press is part of the checks and balances that we must have in a democracy.
For readers who believe values matter and truth is worth telling, Pelley writes, “I have written this book for you.”  Scott Pelley
NetGalley/ Harlequin Hanover May 21, 2019

SAY NOTHING: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions.

The horrific conflict known as The Troubles is introduced to us beginning in 1972, when Jean McConville, 38 and a mother of ten children was abducted from her home in front of her children and neighbors, never to be seen again, until years later when bones found on a beach turned out to be hers.

Everyone knew it was the IRA, but no one was speaking out. Fear and Paranoia were rampant and no one was safe. Family members turned on each other. Neighbors turned a blind eye and some, like Dolours Price, were carrying on the family tradition of violence and proud of it.

This was a bitter conflict that I once thought was over Catholic vs. Protestants but that was only a small part of the story. Everyone wanted peace, but when it came, it was shaky at best.

This is one of the best books I have read on the Irish Conflicts. Turning loved ones against each other and so many deaths and in the end, who was right? Was it all worth it?

I don’t know but reading this account I fully intend to find out more.

Very Well Done!

Netgalley/ February 26th 2019 by Doubleday Books

THE END OF PROCRASTINATION by PHILLIP LARK

THE END OF PROCRASTINATION: Proven Strategies to End Procrastination, Motivate Yourself and Become a Master on Getting Things Done (Productivity Book 4)

Productivity Series Book #4

Self help books aren’t really my thing. And this wasn’t either. I found more quotes and sayings such as ‘Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.’ That was what it all boiled down to.

I wasn’t impressed with this one.

Netgalley/ St. Martin’s Business December 31, 2018

THE LIBRARY BOOK by SUSAN ORLEAN

The Library Book

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Susan Orlean is an exceptional writer and her love for the written word and libraries is all over this work.

As she digs into the fire at the LAPL, this becomes a book about libraries and the people who inhabit them. The librarians and all of the ins and outs and backrooms and quirky people who make up the library. What she finds is something that we all have found at one time or another, a second home. A place of community, a place that levels the playing field for those who don’t have the luxury of buying a lot of books or resource material.

I often joke I would love to be locked in a library and after reading Susan’s book, I really want to do that! I associate the library with my childhood, my first library card, the smell, all the adventures I took in those books.

Librarians are really lucky!

I loved this book and I hope you do as well.

Netgalley/ Simon and Schuster October 16, 2018

BOOM TOWN by SAM ANDERSON

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

A lively and introspective look into Oklahoma City, where colorful city officials business leaders, artists, and sports fans have turned an unassuming Southwestern city into a thriving metropolis with a dazzling basketball team.

Sam Anderson–award-winning critic and journalist–makes his long-awaited debut with a stunning, insightful, and raucous portrait of Oklahoma City, an iconoclastic outpost in America’s heartland.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’ve lived in Nichols Hills since Hurricane Katrina spit us out of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. The entire state has been a mystery to me.

I had never heard of Sam Anderson, sorry Sam, but I won’t forget him! This was the best unvarnished look at who makes the rules here and what the powers that be have envisioned for the city.  Oklahoma City is a huge sprawling area of tiny pockets of old-established neighborhoods. While there have been huge improvements to downtown OKC, beyond the city center the homeless linger under bridges and overpasses and oil and gas rules. Unemployment is rampant unless you are an oil field worker and even then you may only have a job until it’s bonus time.

From the Land Run to Aubrey Mclendon’s spectacular exit from his oil and gas woes to the Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne, whose house I have been in and it is just as weird and wacko as Sam will tell you about.

I laughed so hard all the way through this book. Sam has captured the city perfectly as well as all of its most colorful residents.

Very Well Done and I look forward to more from this author!

Netgalley/August 21st 2018 by Crown