WARRIOR’S RANSOM – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Warrior’s Ransom written by Jeff Wheeler
TitleWarrior’s Ransom – The First Argentines
AuthorJeff Wheeler
Publisher47North (May 18, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages411
GenreHistorical Fantasy, Coming of Age Fantasy,
Sword & Sorcery Fantasy (Books)
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131542027381 / 978-1542027380

Currently Warrior’s Ransom is Free-to-Read on Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR

Jeff Wheeler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He majored in History at the San Jose State University. He worked at Intel while attending college but retired early to write full time. Learn all about Jeff, his books, and his new projects on his website here.

SYNOPSIS

Warrior’s Ransom starts where Knight’s Ransom ended. Sir Marshall Barton, A.KA. Ransom, is on a pilgrimage to the “Chandleer Oasis.” There he hopes to discover some answers about his extraordinary abilities. He wants to find out if he is genuinely “Fountain Blessed.”

Ransom discovers that not only is he “Fountain Blessed,” but he has been chosen to defend the Argentine line. The Lady of the Fountain presents him with a scabbard with immense restorative powers to aid him in his quest.

Once Ransom arrives back in Kingfountain, he is quickly put in the service of King Devon the Elder. What follows are more deceit, rebellion, war, intrigue, battles, death, and love. How will Ransom fare? Read the story and find out!

CONCLUSION

Warrior’s Ransom is another fantastic tale. In book two, we resume Ransom’s journey as a Knight and Lord. The story is brilliantly concocted with plenty of loyalty, action, suspense, intrigue, love and betrayal.

Once again Jeff Wheeler has done a great job of mixing fantasy with history. He’s taken some historical events and employed them as a backdrop to design this world in which Ransom lives. The picture he depicts is so effectively presented that I can visualize the scenery in my mind without any issues. The castles, the battles and the environment are all described in exquisite detail.

Another incredible book from Jeff Wheeler. I heartily recommend this book to all readers who enjoy historical fantasy. If you like Knights, chivalry, ancient kingdoms, intrigue, betrayal, fantasy, suspense and massive battles, then is the book for you.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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DEAD SILENCE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes
Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes
TitleDead Silence
AuthorS. A. Barnes
PublisherTor Nightfire January 25, 2022
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Pages352
GenreScience Fiction Adventure, Science Fiction Adventures, Horror
LanguageEnglish
ISBN-13:9781250819994

“Barnes leads us through a spectacular Sci-Fi based phantasmagorical journey into horror in the Communications Web of deep space.”

Nemo 25 October, 2021

AUTHOR

S.A. BARNES works in a high school library by day, recommending reads, talking with students, and removing the occasional forgotten cheese-stick-as-bookmark. The author has published numerous novels across different genres. Barnes lives in Illinois with more dogs and books than is advisable and a very patient spouse.

SYNOPSIS

Dead Silence by S. A. Barnes is a space based tense sojourn into the Schitzo-effected world of Claire Kovalik, Team Leader of LINA – a communications repair space vehicle. Claire, as a child, was the sole survivor of the accident at the Ferris Outpost. An experience that left her traumatized and experiencing the supernatural, or is it just Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

The crew receives an emergency transmission from the Aurora; a space liner that disappeared twenty years ago without a trace. They reluctantly answer the call and discover horrors, mysteries, phantoms, and challenges beyond their imagination. Claire Kovalik must conquer her conflicted self, the crew and the company to find her own salvation in the face of incredible odds. Will she be able to put her own demons to bed and rise to the occasion, or will she lose everything by trying?

CONCLUSION

Dead Silence is expertly crafted and the stress ramps up as the story advances. There are shocks, jump scares, and descriptions of horrific encounters throughout. The crew are a disparate group of mismatched characters that are bound by a loose affiliation. As the team begins to be challenged, they pull together in an unholy alliance to combat the growing threats leveled against them.  United in their hate for the Verux Company and the wish to grow rich, they combat the enemies within and without in a fight to the death. 

A truly original narrative, captivating throughout, driven by the psychological complexity and flaws in the lead characters personality; together with the interplay of the small crew. 

Dead Silence is written in a style of the great science fiction writers. It is every bit as consuming and compelling as Alien, Ghost Ship, or Event Horizon. There is a very real recognition of Claire as being a genuine character. We know she is unlikely to circumvent the multitude of challenges she must face and survive, but regardless we are encouraged to stay with her until the end. 

Dead Silence is a must read! It is engaging, exciting, horrific, and surprising. It has been sometime since I have felt the kind of engagement with characters in a book that drive me to yearn for the next time I can pick it up; there is no higher form of praise than that. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank S. A. Barnes, Tor Nightmare and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Dead Silence.

WILDCAT – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West's Most Notorious Woman Bandit Joh Boessenecker
Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit John Boessenecker
TitleWildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild
West’s Most Notorious Woman Bandit 
AuthorJohn Boessenecker
PublisherHanover Square Press (November 2, 2021)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages385
GenreHistory of Southwestern United States, Criminal
& Memoirs of Criminals
LanguageEnglish
ASIN # B08QZHQZZT

AUTHOR

Author John Boessenecker

True West magazine, in 2011 and 2013, named Boessenecker Best Nonfiction Writer. He received a prestigious Spur award from Western Writers of America and Best Book award from Westerners International. He has appeared frequently as a historical commentator on PBS, The History Channel, A&E, and other media.

SYNOPSIS

John Boessenecker breathed new life into an old case; the case of Lillie N. Davy known by the noms de guerre of Pearl Hart. Drawing upon his research skills, he’s removed the fallacies, the myths, the lies and revealed in extraordinary detail the life and times of Pearl Hart. She was one of the most notorious late 19th Century female criminals of the old West. Pearl was a cross-dressing female with a flare for making herself incognito when the need arose. Her endless dalliances with numerous men doesn’t mark her as unique however, her need to control situations was unique for a woman of that time. At a period in history where women were meant to be housebound homemakers; meek, submissive, barefoot and pregnant; Pearl railed against the expected norms and challenged the mores of the time. 

What John Boessenecker has presented in Wildcat is the unoccluded view of a female recidivist from child to adulthood. His research is as exceptional as it is detailed and he comingles them into a completely engrossing narrative. Boessenecker artfully recounts Pearl’s story from her parents brief courtship to her birth and on. He details ad infinitum her early years as the daughter of an indigent, semi-literate, workshy child molester and petty criminal in Canada. We follow her itinerant lifestyle across  many years and locations culminating with the pinnacle of her criminal enterprise; a coach robbery. 

Throughout the book we discover Pearl’s life of bitter poverty, abuse, and abysmal parenting culminating in a damaged woman bereft of morals, dignity or honesty. Like many women in those historic days, she was often forced to make difficult decisions just to survive. After viewing her circumstances in the round one cannot help but be sympathetic.

Boessenecker reveals the uncompromising world that Pearl lived in and the uncompromising woman that it birthed. From his detailed accounts, she owned the ‘Wildcat’ nickname. She lived life her own way, loved risk taking and took the punishment where she found it. She was intelligent and ‘street smart,’ a potent combination for an erstwhile career criminal.

Living in a time where women rarely left the home once they were betrothed and were kept in check by societal and socio-cultural norms, Pear turned the world on its head to live her own way. She seamlessly integrates into the criminal underclass not as a woman, but as a boy and later a man. She would alter her outer appearance by cutting her hair and affecting a manly stride. She was often found in the company of the criminal class sharing or gleaning useful information for future criminal activities. Peal, we discover, took things to a whole new level when she began utilizing firearms. Weapons that no doubt added to her sense of safety and security, especially due to the company she would often keep. 

She is such an outrageous character, that it is amazing that her story has been lost in time until now. It seems strange that she is forgotten but characters like Big Nose Kate still hold a semblance of allure for many Western History fans. If I were to compare the two, I would say that Pearl’s story has far more impact than the latter. 

The review of Wildcat would not be complete without mentioning Katy Davy, Pearl’s younger sister. An outrageous character every bit as unique as her older sibling. Katy Davy, who used the sobriquets of Millie Davy has an incredible nerve and was talented physically and mentally. Both sisters were, without-a-doubt, survivors; Katy even more so. At thirty-six-years-old, in the 1890’s, Katy became an ascensionist and a descensionist. She took a rest from being a fille de joie started parachuting from a balloon at a thousand feet. Following a near fatal accident she retired, but not for too long. The many tales of prison escapes, her years as a teenage madam and rescuing her husband from prison, Katy appears to have an unending skill in creative problem solving. They sisters even made it into Cosmopolitan magazine, the nations most popular women’s publication at that time. The sisters were walking contradictions for women of their time.

CONCLUSION

John Boessenecker’s writing style is compelling from the very beginning. His research is second to none, and his narrative is fascinating throughout.

The book is entertaining, inspiring, alarming and touching in equal measure. The main characters are mentally re-created. Boessenecker did an exceptional job in breathing life back into the long dead. He avoided tainting the account with his own opinions and simply reported the facts previously occluded by time, myth, disinformation and lies. Overall, John Boessenecker created a fair illustration of the characters, the time period and the environment in which they lived. He’s managed to inject new life in the antics and life of Pearl Hart and her sister. It is a superior read. Some of the material discussed will remain with you long after you have read it.

I highly recommend Wildcat to all adults and children over the age of sixteen. It is entertaining, heartbreaking, outrageous and so much more in-between. If you enjoy reading about true survivors of extreme circumstances, look no further because Wildcat is the story of two consummate survivors.

Wildcat will resonate with you if you are an avid reader of Western History of the United States, Criminal Biographies or Women in History. This it is a rip-roaring tale. You know that if Pearl were alive today, she would be down at Cancún during Spring Break doing whatever she wants whilst engaging in some nefarious activity. You are left with the feeling that she was mad, bad and dangerous to know, but that she was also probably huge fun. 

Why not give it a read yourself? Be prepared, it’s quite a ride; remember to hold on to your hat!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank John Boessenecker, Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Wildcat: The Untold Story of Pearl Hart, the Wild West’s Most Notorious Woman.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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KNIGHT’S RANSOM – Review

Litercurious Book review

Knight’s Ransom Jeff Wheeler
Knight’s Ransom written by Jeff Wheeler
TitleKnight’s Ransom – The First Argentines
AuthorJeff Wheeler
Publisher47North (January 26, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Pages431
Genre Historical Fantasy, Coming of Age Fantasy,
Sword & Sorcery Fantasy (Books)
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/13154202529X / 978-1542025294

Currently Knight’s Ransom is Free-to-Read on Kindle Unlimited

AUTHOR

Jeff Wheeler is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He majored in History at the San Jose State University. He worked at Intel while attending college but retired early to write full time. Learn all about Jeff, his books, and his new projects on his website here.

SYNOPSIS

Knight’s Ransom is a fantasy book in the times of ancient knights, magic, and multiple kingdoms. The main character, Marshall Barton, is just a boy when he was taken as a hostage to ensure his fathers loyalty to the King. Claire, another hostage, nicknamed him Ransom just to annoy him, but the name stuck.

Ransom’s father disobeys the King, thus he is destined to be hung in front of his father’s Keep. The King, however, has a change of heart and takes Ransom into his household. When the King dies, Ransom is left to his own devices. He returns home only to be turned away by his own father.

What follows is a journey of hardship, pain, loyalty, honor and ambition for Ransom. He trains to be a Knight, and he becomes one of the best in all the Kingdom’s. He is “Fountain Blessed,” a term used for those who have a certain gift or “power,” with the innate ability to sense danger and the uncanny capability to fight.

The new King charges Ransom to look after his eldest son. Ransom is quickly intertwined in royal espionage, intrigue, political maneuvering and life-or-death battles. What follows is a tale for the ages.

CONCLUSION

Knight’s Ransom is a truly awesome book! I had trouble putting it down. It is full of Knightly Honor, sword play, jousting, loyalty and betrayal. This book has plenty of suspense, thrills, intrigue and action.

Written to please the fantasy reader, Knight’s Ransom has just the right amount of history mixed with magic and fantasy. The world that Jeff creates is described in a way that brings it to life in the reader’s mind.

I evaluate a book by the way it effects me. If I can see the world that a book creates in my mind, and keep thinking of it long after I put it down; then it is a very good book. I’ve already stared book two; Warriors Ransom.

I definitely recommend this book to all readers who enjoy historical fantasy revolving around knights, chivalry, kingdoms and massive battles.

Jeff Wheeler is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. His Grave Kingdom series was spectacular and now the First Argentines series is even better.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Jubilee – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Jubilee K T Johnston
Jubilee by K T Johnston
TitleJubilee: The First Therapy Horse
and an Olympic Dream
 
AuthorKT Johnston
IllustratorAnnabella Ortiz
PublisherCapstone Editions (February 1, 2022)
FormatHardcover
Pages32
GenreChildren’s Literature, Historical Non-Fiction
Equestrian competition,
LanguageEnglish
ISBN10/13168446255X / 978-1684462551

AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR

K. T. Johnston Author

Learn all about KT Johnston, her works and her upcoming books on her website.

Annabella Ortiz Illustrator

Annabella Ortiz is a freelance illustrator and designer. Learn all about her on her website.

SYNOPSIS

Jubilee is the story of a Danish woman named Lis Hartel. As a young girl Lis was always around horses. She trained and later competed in dressage competitions. In 1943 she became the National Champion of Denmark. However, a year later she was struck down with Polio.

Fearing she might never walk again, Lis was determined to ride again. Eventually she started working with young gentle horse named Jubilee. Together they worked and trained. Although Lis was handicapped, she never gave up and through her determination and Jubilee’s good nature they started competing again. Not only did she have to overcome her disabilities, but she had to overcome the male dominated sport. She and Jubilee qualified for the 1948 Olympics. However, women were not allowed to compete in the Olympic dressage competition at that time. In 1952 women were allowed to compete and she and Jubliee won the Silver Medal!

CONCLUSION

Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream is a book about courage, determination, overcoming insurmountable obstacles, and a love for horses. This book is an inspiration to all those who not only love horses, but to those who are undergoing extreme hardships.

Lis is a heroine to all young girls! She teaches them to never give up, keep working for what you believe and love. Through hard work and determination, anything is possible.

The story itself, while inspirational, is a little choppy. I feel as if the story has been condensed a little too much. While all the main points are covered, there is much more to her story.

The illustrations are very good and age appropriate. Annabella Ortiz did a wonderful job depicting the horses, the people and the riding attire.

I enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end of the book. It was here that I learned more about Lis Hartel and Jubilee, although I wish this information was included in the book itself.

A great and inspirational story! I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves horses or needs some inspiration to get through a rough time in their lives.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank KT Johnston, Capstone Editions, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Jubilee: The First Therapy Horse and an Olympic Dream.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

Railway Jack by K. T. Johnston
Railway Jack by K. T. Johnston

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HORSES – Review

Horses, by Paula Hammond is a stunningly illustrated, beautifully narrated and skillfully written work. Containing 200 high definition, highly colored, rich, photographs that paint an evocative image of the species. So powerful in fact, that you can almost smell the leather, sweat, and soil that is so familiar to horse lovers everywhere.

Keep reading

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Turkey Goes To School Wendi Silvano
Turkey Goes To School by Wendi Silvano
TitleTurkey Goes To School (Book 5)
AuthorWendi Silvano
IllustratorLee Harper
PublisherTwo Lions (August 1, 2021)
Pages40
GenreChildren’s Books, Children’s Fiction, and
Children’s Farm Life
LanguageEnglish
ASINB08P1H5ZN7

AUTHOR / ILLUSTRATOR

Wendi Silvano Author of Turkey goes to School

You can learn all about Wendi Silvano and all of her different children’s books on her website

Lee Harper Illustrator

Lee Harper is an author, illustrator and farmer. You can learn all about him, his books, and upcoming projects on his website.

SYNOPSIS

Turkey Goes to School is the story of how a barnyard full of animals try to go to school. They try multiple ways to get into school, but they are constantly thwarted. However, they are not easily dissuaded and try more and more imaginative ways to sneak into the school. Do they ever get in?

CONCLUSION

Turkey Goes to School is an imaginative tale and designed for children 4 to 7 years of age. I found the book a bit blasé and the puns a little too much for the age group. The book feels as if the wording is for children 8 to 12 but the story is for kids 4 to 6.

The illustrations are wonderful and colorful. Lee Harper does and excellent job portraying the story. His illustrations are appropriate for the age group, vivid in color, and very nice. I must say that the pictures are the best part of this book.

As a Kindle Unlimited free book, the price is right. It is something that the pictures will entertain young children even if the story doesn’t.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Wendi Silvano, NetGalley, and Two Lions Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Turkey Goes to School.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

PREVIOUS CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEWS

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Holbein capturing character Ed. Dr Anne Woolett
Holbein: Capturing Character Ed. Anne Woolett et al
TitleHolbein: Capturing Character
EditorDr. Anne Woolett et al
PublisherJ. Paul Getty Museum (October 19, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Page192
GenreIndividual Artistic Monographs, Art Portraits, Calligraphy Guides
LanguageEnglish
ISBN#10/131606067478 / 978-1606067475

EDITOR

Dr. Anne Woollett is curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, USA.

SYNOPSIS

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character was edited primarily by Dr. Anne Woolett. Her collaborator’s include: Ulrich Hans BirkmaierAustėia MackelaitėPeter van der Coelen, and John T. Qillen. This work is a comprehensive monograph of the work of Hans Holbein The Younger (1497/98–1543). This compact Gallery Book was published to accompany the exhibition of the 16th Century renaissance Master Hans Holbein The Younger. The exhibitions at the J. Paul Getty Centre on October 19, 2021, – January 9, 2022; and continuing at the Morgan Library & Museum from February 11, 2022, to May 15, 2022. 

HOLBEIN: Capturing Character, although petite at just 9×12 inches, contains a genuine treasure trove of ultra high quality plates that depict:

  •  a selection of Holbein The Younger’s most valued paintings, 
  • blockcutts, 
  • woodcut illuminations,
  • chalk illustrations “Trois Crayons” (three chalks), 
  • oils on panel, 
  • engravings, 
  • jewelry, 
  • hat badges, 
  • medallion designs on paper, 
  • arabesque ornament designs on paper, 
  • silverpoint by Hans Holbein the Elder (1460/70-1524), 
  • designs for a stained glass window, 
  • cartouches
  • paintings from tempera and oil on panel, 
  • oil on canvas, 
  • oil on paper glued to panel, 
  • mixed technique1,  
  • a selection of ornamental lids,
  •  page drafts, 
  • tempera on unprimed canvas, 
  • an example of a rundel portrait, and 
  • studies pen and brown ink, brown and black ash ink wash and highlights of white gouache and black chalk on paper. 

Anne Woolett and her associates have produced a invaluable asset for anyone who wants to study Holbein or those who simply enjoy his amazing talents.  

Each listing is individually numbered and contains essential details relating to the image containing information on:

  • the artist, the subject where available, 
  • the date, the material used, 
  • the dimensions of the original, 
  • its current location, and 
  • the current owner if known.

Hans Holbein was an artist with unsurpassed levels of observation and the ability to translate his vision to oil on panel or many other mediums.

Additional information included in the book are:

  • an impressive Forward that sets the context for the reader
  • a detailed list of Illustration Credits
  • a list of short biographies covering the most notable figures who sat for Holbein
  • a chronology of each of the more significant works
  • an extensive bibliography
  • a list of Lenders to the exhibition, and 
  • acknowledgements 

1(a method originally accredited to Leonardo da Vinci. It involved tempera and oil, called tempera grassa, to try and extend the limitations of the medium. He would use one part egg yolk mixed with one part linseed oil to form the binder for his pigments.)

CONCLUSION

The plates in this work are exquisite in their reproduction being large, high quality, full-color images of the Master’s works. They are accompanied by comprehensive pertinent details relating to each work of art. The Editor and her collaborators excelled at the presentation, format, and underpinned these with exquisite insights to the zeitgeist of the times.  

Holbein: Capturing Character is a catalogue that is engaging, entertaining, informative and an accomplished illumination worthy of the Great Master. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed notes for each chapter, and in addition a short comprehensive Bibliography. Holbein: Capturing Character proved to be an addictive read.    

It is often said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever and so it is for this pocket-sized library of perfection. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Editor Dr. Anne Woolett, et al. , J. Paul Getty Museum, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review HOLBIEN: Capturing Character.

OTHER WORKS FROM J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM

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MONKEYS: Apes, Gorillas and Other Primates – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Monkeys Apes, Gorillas and other Primates by Tom Jackson
TitleMonkeys: Apes, Gorillas and other Primates
AuthorTom Jackson
PublisherAmber Books (November 2, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages 224 
GenreNatural History, Zoology, Primatology
LanguageEnglish
ISBN# 10/131838861009 / 978-1838861001

AUTHOR

Tom Jackson

SYNOPSIS

Monkeys: Apes, Gorillas and other Primates by Tom Jackson is a photo illustrative catalogue of primates. This monograph contains 150 high quality full color plates of the worlds monkeys, apes and other primates. The images are presented with concise descriptions or details about the relevant primate. Perfect for all those young and old who find monkeys fascinating.

CONCLUSION

Monkeys: Apes, Gorillas and other Primates from Amber Books, my favorite publisher of picture books in the industry, satisfies every expectation. Within its 224 image filled pages there is a plethora of different kinds of primates. Tom Jackson did an excellent job of collating the information regarding their anatomy, behaviors, family structures, and relatives. This work completes the circle and enlightens the mind and the soul. An ideal gift that will keep on giving for anyone of any age.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Tom Jackson, Abrams Press, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Monkeys: Apes, Gorillas and other Primates .

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

AN EARLIER TOM JACKSON REVIEW