The Great Quake by Henry Fountain a Page Turner Book Review

The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet

  • Print Length: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Crown (August 8, 2017)
  • Publication Date: August 8, 2017
  • Sold by: Random House LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating ♥♥♥♥♥

My Review: 

When I saw this cover, I knew I wanted to read more about the great quake in Anchorage, Alaska, on March 27, 1964. The earthquake that I can remember seeing in my grandparent’s copies of Time and Life magazine with the images of houses lifted in the air while roads sunk several feet below right down the street, and absolutely no houses standing between.

The subtitle is How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding Of The Planet, and this book certainly fulfilled that promise. I have always been fascinated by geology. My grandfather took us on rock digs from the time we could walk. So this made me want to understand exactly what is going on deep within the earth.

The book covers in depth the personality and the work of the main researcher of this 9.0 earthquake, George Plafker. Also covered in great detail are the people that lived and died during this quake. The narrative, personal accounts,  and documents study the makeup of the area, the demographics, and the personalities of these brave Alaskans. I read this book slowly absorbing each detail and there are so many important details that are uncovered in this book. Henry Fountain brings the instant of the quake to life for the reader with eyewitness accounts, memories, and photos.

I read this book slowly absorbing each detail and there are so many important details that are uncovered in this book. Henry Fountain brings the instant of the quake to life for the reader with endearing, sad, and powerful eyewitness accounts, memories, and photos.

The geological makeup of this area is so well explained that after hearing the term plate tectonics for years, I finally actually understand how they work, what is going on, and how it affects us living on this active and dynamic planet.

I found this book through Blogging for books and this is why I love reading hardbacks, I will keep this forever and read it many more times. This review is my honest opinion and I thank Blogging for Books and Crown, the Publishers, for allowing me to have this copy for review.

Not stodgy and boring and not a textbook read at all, but a personal glimpse into the terror of this powerful natural disaster as well as the excitement of new discoveries. The excitement of realizing that a little snail-like creature holds so many answers. This book is like being on a dig alongside one of the premier geologists.

If you like history and knowing how things really work, then pick this up and you will enjoy it as much as I did. I have had a reading hangover from it since I finished it a few days ago. I wanted to read another fact-filled and an exciting book like this to transition me back into fiction.

I have a niece that is a geologist and I am sending her this book. I believe she will be as enthused about it as I am.

This Science-based non Fiction book is available on Amazon / Barnes and Noble /and Books a Million in Hardback and e-book format.

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Neespaugot by John Mugglebee

 

Excerpt from Neespaugot by John Mugglebee

Della gave the two boys another looking-over. One broad and muscular, the other short and wiry. One Slavic, the other Mediterranean. Brothers. Interesting.

“All right, you two. You’ve come here to know something, so here’s my deal. I’ll answer your questions if you promise to leave me in peace for good. Do you agree?”

“Yeah, sure, whatevah,” said Ezra.

“Good. Now, you, the little guy, you go first.”

Zeke nodded. “How old are you, ma’am?”

“Seventy-four. How about you?”

“Eleven.”

“Anything else?”

“How come people say you’re a commie?”

“Because labels are simpler than the truth, young man. I was a newspaper editorialist for many years, defending those without a voice against those with more than their fair share. In particular, I wrote against federal anti-immigration laws aimed at Southern and Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, East Asians and Asia Indians. In short, anybody who wasn’t a WASP. My enemies labeled me an agitator, a Bolshevik—that’s a communist with an attitude. None of it was true, but that’s the thing about smear tactics. In this country, when it comes to race, religion, gender and politics, the label always sticks. I hope you’ll never have to learn that hard lesson, Zeke. Now, I’ll give you one more question, and then we’ll let Mr. M.I.T. have a go.”

The boy vacillated. His brother started to speak for him, but Della tapped her cane on the floor to silence him. After turning it over in his mind, the smaller boy blurted proudly, “Do you know our ma?”

“You idiot,” said Ezra, groaning.

“Hush, you. No, Zeke, I don’t know your mother, not really. She was born at the end of the First World War, by which time I was no longer having anything to do with your grandmother. I moved to France shortly thereafter. Okay, Zeke, normally it’s your brother’s turn, but due to his rudeness, you can have another.”

“No way!” said Ezra.

“Says the boy who broke into my house. Proceed, Zeke.”

Zeke looked to Ezra for a clue but got shut out, so he was on his own to come up with a question.

“Oh, yeah. Are you a lesbian?”

“Do you even know what a lesbian is, Zeke?”

“Women kissing each other?”

“It’s an orientation, child, a sexual orientation. A woman feels a pull towards other women. But I have never felt a pull towards other women—or men, for that matter. The fact is that I have only ever known one passion for another human being in my entire life, and she happened to be a woman. Before meeting her, I had no interest in a relationship of any kind. Since her death twelve years ago, I have lived comfortably and gratefully alone. So, my answer to your question is no, I’m not a lesbian. I’m not a label of any sort. I’m, well, nothing at all.”

“How did your friend die?”

“Sorry, Zeke. You’re moving off the subject. Your turn, M.I.T.,” she said, turning a critical eye on Ezra.

“Well, I don’t give a rat’s ass about ya dead girlfriend, that’s fah sure. My Ma’s a big fat liar, so I need you to put somethin’ straight for me. You got the Indian’s coin?”

The question, totally unexpected, hit Della sideways. “Who put you up to this?”

 

 

OF LOVE & LORE

By John Mugglebee

 

My novel Neespaugot tracks a colonial coin across the historical landscape of New England in order to trace an ancestral line of ethnically and racially diverse characters. One of the more frequent questions I’m asked is if my characters are based on real people. The simple answer is “yes, no and maybe.”

Countries, communities and families bond over lore, and my family was no different. I grew up hearing tales woven from our ancestry, colorful in a literal sense, stitched from Native American, African American, Scots-Irish, Chinese and Russian Jewish cloth. Very little of it was verifiable, but that meant nothing to a young boy in search of an identity. Mythology is not a statement of facts but a quest for hidden truths. The storytellers’ words were good enough for me, and all the storytellers were women. The men juggled two, sometimes three jobs at once and had little to say about anything, so it was up to the women in my family to dole out love and lore. It seemed only natural that those who carried life into the world should dispense its lessons.

My mom would have answered “yes” to the question of whether or not my characters are based on real people, and she would have backed it up with a small tintype portrait of a young Ching Archung standing on the Salem pier circa 1867, and by a picture of Bridget Griffin, Ching’s Irish wife. Mom left the tall tales of Native tribes and implausible births to Great-aunt Alice and Aunt Helen.

Aunt Helen, my mom’s older sister, lived four miles north of Boston, in Everett, a working class city of 40,000 predominantly African-American, Hispanic and Asian residents. Aunt Helen and my mom looked nothing alike. Mom was dark-skinned and sloe-eyed; Aunt Helen passed for white (their two brothers looked Chinese). The two sisters married outside their supposed racial demographic, Mom settling down in all-white Beverly, Massachusetts, with a second generation Russian Jew, and Aunt Helen wedding a black sheriff from Everett. Aunt Helen was a kind woman subject to bouts of hysteria. Once, I heard her screaming at a house plant. On another occasion, she assaulted a living room wall with a broom handle. But of the hundreds of boyhood visits I made to Everett, that was the extent of my first-hand experience with my aunt’s psychological withering. Aunt Helen told me the story of Lydia Freeman, an African-Native American woman who would form the basis for the eponymous character in Neespaugot. According to Aunt Helen, a middle-aged Black-Indian spinster went to work in the mid-1800s for a bachelor doctor of Scottish descent, either as his maid, gardener or midwife – Aunt Helen couldn’t make up her mind which one. Miss Freeman soon became pregnant in her 50s, and she and the doctor were married a decade before the Civil War.

Even to a kid, the yarn sounded hokey. I was prepared to accept some embellishments if they coated kernels of self-worth, but Aunt Helen’s claim was really out there. So, I took the matter to the two other dispensers of family lore, my mom and the family doyenne, Great-aunt Alice, whom we all lovingly called Aunty. Mom refused to demean her kooky sister in the eyes of a seven-year-old, instead choosing prevarication, neither confirming nor denying any aspect of the tale. “Ask your Aunty the next time you see her.”

Great-aunt Alice, an elderly woman of bark-brown skin and golden generosity, lived alone in Salem, in a small one-bedroom walkup near Salem Willows Park, a seaside grassland where the amusement rides were. We kids would fight over who got to sleep over at Aunty’s and get spoiled rotten the next day at the park. Aunty would walk us down Essex Street to the Common, passing by the witch houses and the House of Seven Gables and gazing across the bay to Marblehead where the woebegone Naumkeag tribe lived until small pox wiped them out in 1617. On one such walk, I asked Aunty what she thought of Aunt Helen’s tale of the doctor and midwife. She said she didn’t know how plausible the doctor bit was. “On the other hand,” she said, “my grandmother most definitely did conceive my father when she was 50.”

Years later, between the passing of my three storytellers and the writing of Neespaugot, I got ahold of a copy of our family’s genealogical tree. It dated back to 1794, beginning with Freeman, Lydia, who was married to George Sylvester Osborne with whom she had one child in 1846. The record validated Aunty and Aunt Helen’s assertion that Lydia Freeman gave birth to her one and only child at age 50, at a time when child mortality ran at 50%. As for the rest, the record remained mum. Was Osborne a doctor? Was Lydia Freeman an African-Native-American? Freeman sounded suspiciously like free man, a common and administratively lazy last name given to ex slaves, but it’s all conjecture.

As I perused the pre-20th-century fruit of my tree, I realized that most of the names were completely foreign to me. I had the impression that I was walking through a cemetery, staring at tombstones chiseled with appellations that used to apply to somebody who breathed and expired and sank into oblivion. I refused to accept that. Sometimes, it’s all you have to go on, a name, and it’s up to a storyteller to make something of nothing. Love and lore demand it.

Neespaugot: The Legend of the Indian's Coin

  • Print Length: 380 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0974260797
  • Publisher: Brandt Street Press (May 20, 2017)
  • Publication Date: May 20, 2017

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

My review: 

Reading an epic family storyline like Neespaugot brings so many emotions into play.  I loved so many of the family members. I loved Lydia and her Scottish Husband. I loved at least one person from each generation, many times more.  I cried for the pain inflicted on innocent people and I laughed just as often.

Powerful and fascinating men and women that carry out the vision of their ancestors are only the beginning.

Families with their strengths and weaknesses displayed actually allow for more intense feelings. Not everyone is all good or all bad and this book teaches that point through the relating of brother against brothers and sister against sister.

There are petty grievances and insurmountable odds in these families and it paints the history of the country and the world in the telling of the family dynamics.

Part history and part mystery there is something so compelling about these generations of people that kept me utterly entranced.

Without a doubt, this book is a testament to strong family histories, the good, bad, and the ugly.

You can find a copy here. It is certainly a great read. Amazon

Book Review: A Record of my Vinyl by Potter Style

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  • Diary: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Gjr edition (August 29, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804189609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804189606

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

My Review: 

When this book arrived in the mail I was floored by how attractive the cover is and how nice it is going to look on my bookshelf. This family is a collector of vinyl records and the number of pages that are available will provide plenty of space for new acquisitions. I love the way the entries are laid out. The entries allow for artist, title and liner notes. Making this a really comprehensive collection diary.

Just perfect for any collector, is an area devoted to the most wanted albums. Every collector has a few on their need to obtain list, and now it can be documented for anyone that wants to pick up a special gift for the collector. This is really a great gift idea for the record collector. I am quite impressed with the quality of the book and the pages.

Now, I am giving this to my son in law the jukebox restorer. I wrote a blog about his natural talent and I will just say he is at it again. This time with a jukebox that plays 78 RPM records.  We have been listening to some amazing Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians this last week and it is a lovely thing to listen to.  I had forgotten some songs like Wish Upon a Star.  It reminded me that you could be a donkey too!

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl: Book Review

Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)

Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)

 

  • Series: Book One
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Literary Korner Publishing; First Edition edition (June 27, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692913440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692913444

 

 

My Rating ♥♥♥♥

Continue reading “Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl: Book Review”

The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies: Book Review

The Tea Planter's Wife

The Tea Planter’s Wife

 

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (June 20, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451495985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451495983

 

 

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Continue reading “The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies: Book Review”

Heart of a Lion by Stephen Zimmer: Book review and Blog Tour

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Recently we met Stephen and shared his views on his heroine Rayden Valkyrie. This girl has a huge reputation as a warrior with the heart of a lion and the moral compass that keeps her busy getting rid of the wicked and corrupt. Let’s learn more about her and I will share my thoughts on the book Heart of a Lion.

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  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Seventh Star Press; 1 edition (February 2, 2015)
  • Publication Date: February 2, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00T44R6LE

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

My Review:

Heart of a Lion is a powerful fantasy story that has a lot of heart of its own. The characters are really well written with strength and courage that is totally befitting the name.  Rayden Valkyrie is such a lovely and intelligent woman with a code of honor. She is led to a life of wiping out corruption and she does a great job with her calling.

I found the story to be really well told. The characters are bursting with life.  You see her from an Avengers point of view and it is powerful to read.  The way that Stephen brings her to life, is a beautiful process.  I can see why this is being turned into a tv series.

The book follows Rayden as she sets out to take care of the wrongs in her land. Thoughtfully written and Stephen makes you fall in love with her sense of right and her character. She has strength but she is not one of those mindless hulks that are all brawn and no spirit. She is a very well rounded heroine.

You will enjoy this book if you like to find the heart of the character as well as the action and adventure in a well-crafted land.

Where to find Heart of a Lion: This Fantasy and adventure novel is available at Amazon.

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About the author:  Stephen Zimmer is an award-winning author and filmmaker based out of Lexington Kentucky. His works include the Rayden Valkyrie novels (Sword and Sorcery), the Rising Dawn Saga (Cross Genre), the Fires in Eden Series (Epic Fantasy), the Hellscapes short story collections (Horror), the Chronicles of Ave short story collections (Fantasy), and the Harvey and Solomon Tales (Steampunk).

Stephen’s visual work includes the feature film Shadows Light, shorts films such as The Sirens and Swordbearer, and the forthcoming Rayden Valkyrie: Saga of a Lionheart TV Pilot.

Stephen is a proud Kentucky Colonel who also enjoys the realms of music, martial arts, good bourbons, and spending time with family.

Author Links:

Twitter:  @SGZimmer

Facebook: www.facebook.com/stephenzimmer7

Instagram: @stephenzimmer7

Website: www.stephenzimmer.com

The Siege by James Hanna: A book review

The Siege by James Hanna

The Siege

  • File Size: 1488 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Sand Hill Review Press; 2 edition (February 27, 2014)
  • Publication Date: February 27, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IPROD3U

My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

My Review:

The Siege is told in a gritty and realistic manner. The story is told in time sequence so you could see the event unfolding one hour at a time.

There were plenty of characters to meet and try to understand. I found likability to be missing for the most part. Everyone was tainted, jaundiced, or hardened by the system they worked and lived in. I did find the personal relationships between some of the characters to be interesting and hopeful.  The storyline is interesting as you see the corruption, bad decisions and what can come from those.

The darkness of the material kept me from loving this book. When I read the book I found that I needed breaks due to the harshness of the environment. If you enjoy realism and reading about a dirty, corrupt, and seedy prison underbelly this book will be perfect. It is well written and interesting.

 Where you can Find The Siege:

This thriller is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.