All posts by Nemo

OCEAN PLANET – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Ocean Planet by Ben Rothery
TitleOcean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore
(Part of The Rothery’s Animal Planet Series)
AuthorBen Rothery
Publisher Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages80
GenreChildren’s Environment & Ecology,
Children’s Zoology, Children’s Marine Life
Language English
ISBN# 10/130884489167 / 978-0884489160

AUTHOR

BEN ROTHERY

Author and Illustrator of Ocean Planet – A Marine Life Book for children aged 9-12 years. Ben lives in London and works from his small studio in the capital . See more here.

SYNOPSIS

Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery, is an exceptional work for children. Rothery’s stupendously executed illustrations bring nature to life. Although Rothery’s exquisite masterpiece is meant for children aged 9-12 years, I believe that the book has a much broader appeal.

Ocean Planet covers a diverse range of wildlife as varied as the marine birds-of-the-air to the bacteria living in hydrothermal vents in the depths of the oceans. The book covers everything from the tiniest of microscopic organisms, also known as plankton, to the largest underwater species – the Blue Whale. Although Rothery primarily focuses on the marine environment, he also includes land animals and their environments and habitats. Polar Bears, Leopard Seals, and Penguins are not neglected; nor are the Wolves of British Columbia or the Bengal Tigers of the mangroves of north-west India.

Rothery shares his enthusiasm for his subjects with large, full color, high definition plates. All the plates are accompanied by comprehensive introductions to the relevant facts, figures, and details about the individual subjects. Rothery’s unbridled enthusiasm for nature and his undeniable skill coalesce into a joyful, engaging, and edifying experience. Ocean Planet is a true work of art in every sense of the word.

CONCLUSION

Ocean Planet is a banquet for the eyes, a stimulant for the mind, and a tonic for the soul. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and so it is with Ben Rothery’s magnificently illustrated work. It is not an over-statement to say that this book is truly epic.

The illustrations are bordering on hyperrealistic and are so well executed that they move ones soul and strain credulity. That one man could create with his primitive tools such a magnificent panoply of life like, natural subjects is truly an impressive feat.

Do you have a favorite book from your childhood? Does the thought of it even now stir your memory and take you back to more innocent, happy days? Well Ocean Planet, by Ben Rothery could be that legacy for your child. Please do not take my word for it, I encourage you to get a copy and decide for yourself.

This book makes a great gift; but take care, it is such a valuable jewel that you may well claim it for yourself. I have to admit Ocean Planet is on the top of my gift list this year, and I cannot wait to own a stunning copy.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ben Rothery, Tilbury House Publishers (October 5, 2021), and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Ocean Planet: Animals of the Sea and Shore.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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

RELATED POSTS

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

RELATED POSTS

THE KING’S PAINTER – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

The King's Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle
The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein by Franny Moyle
TitleThe King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein
AuthorFranny Moyle
PublisherAbrams Press (October 5, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages400
GenreArt History, Artist & Architect Biographies, Great
Britain History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131419749536 / 978-1419749537

#Artist & Architect Biographies, #Art History (Books), #Great Britain History (Books)

AUTHOR

Granny Moyle Author of The King’s Painter Author Section

Franny Moyle is the author of The King’s Painter. She is a Cambridge educated art historian and biographer.

SYNOPSIS

The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein written by Franny Moyle is a long-awaited full biography of the great German Artisan. Moyle presents her research and analysis into his life, times and work. Moyle posits that Holbein was arguably the greatest renaissance Master painter in Northern Europe with a wide repertoire during the 1530’s until his death. Holbein was exalted by his peers as comparable to the German artist Albright Dürer and indeed there are some similarities in their style of painting. Nicholas Bourbon compared him to Apelles of Kos. Others have described him as a multifaceted genius, humanist, political propagandist and a satirist. A man who’s deft work consisted of loosely concealed symbolism and allusion, hidden in plain sight. Moyle’s focuses upon the period of Holbein’s life from the 1520s until his death and the administration of his will. 

The King’s Painter begins with the unique and close relationships that Hans Holbein enjoyed with King Henry Vlll of England. Holbein is at the height of his power, and his talent was known around Northern Europe. He was arguably the most notable painter in Europe during the Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England.  

Moyle’s research puts flesh on the bones of Hans Holbein the Younger. He was the son of Hans Holbein the Elder, also a painter famed for creating The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian. Holbein the Younger earned his accolades through his skill, commitment and hard work. He aligned himself with wealthy patrons, principal amongst them: Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn, and King Henry Vlll of England.

The book begins in the 1530s; Holbein was an exalted artist enjoying the fruits of his labors. He had a wealthy clientele, fame and riches; all forged on his talent of creating realistic likenesses for his patrons. Such was his success that he was one of the few who could engage with King Henry Vlll in private, a very rare honor indeed. 

The gravitas of Holbein’s fame as Northern Europe’s most heralded painter comes into stark contrast when one considers his contemporaries. His peers during the period were: Leonardo da Vinci who was working in France at the time; Michelangelo who was painting the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul lll; and the Venetian artist Titian da Cadore, also know as Tiziano Vecelli,, who was creating work for King Charles V The Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria.

Hans Holbein the Younger worked during some of the most tumultuous times in history. Times that were resplendent with great artists. His work was held in the highest esteem due to the verisimilitude of his portraits. He was respected and valued by the political elite, religious, and other connoisseurs.

It is difficult for us to imagine today just how popular Holbein’s art was during the late 16th Century’s European Renaissance period. When he released a new work, there was a frisson of excitement so powerful it was palpable. Holbein’s projects were considered to be a luxury. At a time before modern photographic processes, his paintings were seen as a way of passing down your visage to history and your decedents. At no time since Apelles had an artist been so able to depict his subjects with unfettered verismo.

By the end of Holbein’s life, he had accrued wealth and notoriety. Moyles posited that his sad demise was due to the plague. However, the absence of an identifiable resting place or his remains leave us with an enduring mystery.

CONCLUSION

The King’s Painter is a detailed history of 16th Century England, the Monarch Henry VIII and a testimony to the verisimilitude of the portraits painted by Holbein. Moyles book will be popular with those interested in; Hans Holbein the Younger, art history and those who wish to understand Holbein’s work through the context of his life and times. The King’s Painter is an authoritative dive into Hans Holbein’s past. It enlightens those of us who are fortunate to still enjoy the great artists work today. 

The King’s Painter is not a gallery book filled with images of either the artist or his works. Instead, Moyle has produced an academic examination of Hans Holbein, his associations and challenges. Moyles writing is exceptional and she maintains the readers attention with her deft narrative.

The King’s Painter is engaging, entertaining, informative and accomplished. The subject is handled masterfully and is impeccably researched. There are extensive and detailed Notes for each chapter and in addition a short, Selected Bibliography. The King’s Painter proved to be an addictive read.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Franny Moyle, Abrams Press, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The King’s Painter: The Life of Hans Holbein.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. TurnerBy Franny Moyle
Turner: The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner By Franny Moyle

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ENTANGLED LIFE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Entangled Life By Merlin Sheldrake

“If you only take one thing from Entangled Life take this; Mycorrhizal Relationships are the bedrock of life on earth.”

— DR. C. A. Hampson Ph.D.
TitleEntangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change
Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
AuthorMerlin Sheldrake
PublisherRandom House; Illustrated edition (May 12, 2020)
FormatKindle
Pages352
GenreMushrooms in Biological Sciences Ecology Biology
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/130525510311 / 978-0525510314

AUTHOR

Meet Dr. Merlin Sheldrake Ph.D.

SYNOPSIS

Entangled Life abounds with astounding facts about fungi. Sheldrake’s seminal work is densely packed with a plethora of scientific research, amazing facts and humor. Sheldrake has created a revolutionary narrative and is a must read for all ages.

Through Sheldrake’s eyes you will discover how mycelium networks manage to have such a superior ability to communicate over great distances at incredible speeds. Sheldrake describes how the communication methods include not just mushrooms or fungi, but insects, animals, plants and codependencies that are so eco-dependent that they become life and death. You will learn how mycelium computers could be in our foreseeable future.

The author explains how the very ground we stand on only exists because of fungi dating back into ancient history. Your forest walk will be forever changed when Sheldrake explains how ubiquitous the vast mycelium network is below ground. You will learn how fungi can assist urban rail architects in designing the most efficient routes. 

Sheldrake provides the historic context of fungi across eons of time. He explains how, from an experts perspective; the interconnectedness of mycelium has literally been central to earths evolution. In addition, he covers a myriad of practical applications and uses for mushrooms. Entangled Life covers every aspect of the importance of fungi from scientific advances in research that include the development of mycelium based neural computers. Then there are the revelations of fungi based medical advances that may provide improved treatments for depression and anxiety. The examples don’t end there; Entangled Life also contains detailed information relating to the complexity and quotidian nature of mycelium networks and structures. There isn’t a forest on the planet that doesn’t hum with activity of mycelium in epic underground networks across endless spaces of our global arboretum. 

Sheldrake further discusses the Wood Wide Web Labyrinth – AKA Mycorrhizal Relationships (the original WWW – Fungi, plants, bacteria, and trees). He details how fungi use chemicals to control or alter behaviors in plants, animals and insects. Zombie Ants are prime examples of how Ophiocordyceps, the zombie fungus, became totally dependent upon the Carpenter Ant. Even more exciting, is the possible environmental impact of fungi. Sheldrake reveals how in a process of mycoremediation, fungi are being used to decontaminate the environment.

Perhaps the most gratifying section of the book is the discussion on how mycelium networks manage complex communications in the absence of a central nervous system. Including the possibility of fungi based complex computer networks in the future.

If you are currently watching the latest Star Trek show then you know the Starship Discovery has a Spore drive. It allows the starship to instantly transport to any place along the mycelium network. A theory taken from some of the research described in Sheldrake’s book.

Zombie Ants and Ophiocordyceps

CONCLUSION

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake is a stupendous publication. It is engaging, awe-inspiring in its breadth and span, and it challenges the reader’s world-view with every turn of the page. It is less of a book and more of a journey that once you begin, you have to complete. If you want to expand your knowledge of our world from the edge of space to the depths below, Entangled Life is a work that will thrill you. 

To write exciting and interesting prose takes a special kind of academic writer. We find such a scrivener in Merlin Sheldrake. It is even rarer to find an author that doesn’t dumb down the science. Sheldrake doesn’t patronize his audience, but through his expert knowledge and communication, he elevates the reader to the appropriate level of comprehension. The reader gains more from Entangled Life than a mere text book, the reader gets a whole new weltanschauung or world view.

If you are the kind of reader who wants to learn while you have fun reading, then this is definitely the book for you. A thoroughly enjoyable sojourn into the alien world that is just below our feet.

I am already looking forward to re-reading Entangled Life again in the near future. I was saddened and reluctant to put it down. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Merlin Sheldrake, NetGalley, and Random House for affording me the opportunity to review Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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ADDITIONAL READING

The Mycelium as a network

City of death – review

Litercurious Book Review

City of Death, Scott McEwen & Ephraim Mattos
TitleCity of Death: Humanitarian Warriors In the Battle of Mosul
Author Scott McEwen (#1 Best selling Author of American Sniper) & Ephraim Mattos (Former US Navy SEAL)
PublisherCenter Street, Illustrated edition (October 23, 2018)
Pages 305
GenreHistory of Iraq, Philanthropy & Charity, Iraq War History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN/ASIN1546081828 / B079L5QNM3

#HistoryofIraq #PhilanthropyandCharity #IraqWarHistory

AUTHOR

Scott McEwen (#1 Best selling Author of American Sniper)

Ephraim Mattos (Veteran) United States Navy, Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL)

SYNOPSIS

City of Death by Ephraim Mattos and Scott McEwen is the recollections of Mattos’ time with the Free Burma Rangers (FBRs) in Mosul, Iraq, during April-July 2017.

Ephraim Mattos, a U.S. Navy Seal veteran and deeply spiritual man, becomes disenchanted with the military. Seeking a way to utilize his training and combine it with his spiritual beliefs he decides to invest himself in more philanthropic endeavors by joining the FBR. He wanted to use his skill set to help the FBR in their quest to provide humanitarian aid and record war crimes in high conflict areas of the world. 

The Free Burma Rangers (FBRs) are comprised of an eclectic mix of characters. They are a diverse multi-cultural, multi-denominational dedicated team of men and women. They share a unified mission to provide aid and comfort to those who require it the most in conflict areas of the world. 

Collectively, Mattos and the FBR quickly commingle to form a tight nit team. They unite spiritually, mentally, and emotionally in their commitment to provide medical aid to the Iraqi soldiers and citizens; whilst recording war crimes committed by The Islamic State a.k.a. ISIS/Daesh. The international melange manages to forge close bonds with the Iraqi Army during their efforts to retake Mosul. Although the FBR is mainly there to provide medical aid and comfort to the Iraqi soldiers and the fleeing citizens, they are targeted by ISIS and forced to fight for their own lives. Equipped with worn out AK-47’s and inferior equipment, the FBR continuously expose themselves to enemy fire while trying to evacuate the wounded soldiers and civilians. With bullets flying, bombs exploding and suicide bombers charging, the FBR set about their daily routine business. They witness horrific war crimes, bloody battles, and refugees trying to escape being gunned down by ISIS; victims that include small children. 

In an environment where alms meet arms, the FBR might be the civilians last best hope of help. 

CONCLUSION

City of Death is as gripping as it is gritty. It is action packed from beginning to end. The descriptions of daily life have a visceral intensity not normally present in works of this kind. The Author recreates the chaotic and unpredictable nature of modern urban warfare. The book describes the horror and humanity in the war to retake Mosul from ISIS in 2017. 

City of Death is, at times, deeply disturbing and infinitely inspirational. The synergy of Ephraim Mattos’ graphic reminiscences and Scott McEwen’s stirring prose provide a captivating read for lovers of real-life action adventure and war stories. 

Scott McEwen’s skill in writing top selling literature and his unique style combine to produce a breath taking look at humanitarianism meeting a merciless and unrelenting foe. The result is a deep dive into catastrophic effects on the lives of those souls living in Mosul during April-July 2017. 

City of Death is a compelling and heart breaking look at asymmetric warfare at its worst in the early years of the 21st Century. The climax of the book is unbelievably breath-taking; involving life and death decisions. The account is all the more intense because it was visually documented and is available online.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Scott McEwen and , Ephraim Mattos, and Center Street for affording me the opportunity to review City of the Dead: Humanitarian Warriors In the Battle of Mosul .

OTHER BOOKS BY SCOTT MCEWEN

A TALENT TO DECEIVE – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

A Talent To Deceive by William Morris
TitleA Talent to Deceive: The Search for the Real
Killer of the Lindbergh Baby
AuthorWilliam Norris
PublisherCamCat Publishing, LLC (July 7, 2020)
FormatUnabridged Audiobook
Time11 hours and 52 minutes
GenreMurder True Crime
LanguageEnglish
ASIN # B08BQKX1NW

AUTHOR

William Norris

SYNOPSIS

A Talent to Deceive, by William Norris, focuses on the kidnapping of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Junior on the evening of March 1st, 1932. He was the son of the renowned aviator Charles Augustus Lindbergh Senior; the first person to fly across the Atlantic non-stop. Norris’ work is an in-depth and skillful investigation using a diverse range of contemporary sources. He seeks to enlighten us to the facts, opinions, and contemporaneous evidence he discovered through his extensive research. What he discovers has convinced him there was a miscarriage of justice.

If you are familiar with the case then buckle up because your preconceptions are about to be shaken in an avalanche of newly discovered information. Forget about what you thought you knew, try to put aside your biases and open yourself up to Norris’ detailed version of the events. 

On a Spring evening 98 years ago, 20 month old Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped and murdered. Eventually, the perpetrator was tracked, tried and executed; at least that is what we thought. Norris reopens the case with a comprehensive breakdown of the people and events that led to the disappearance and subsequent death of the Lindbergh baby. He leaves no stone unturned, and his research indicates a miscarriage of justice took place and the wrong man was tried and executed. He delves into the characters surrounding the investigation and how they influenced the outcome; including how Charles Lindbergh Sr. took over the case. Norris makes a compelling case that the “Crime of the Century” still remains unsolved.

CONCLUSION

A Talent to Deceive begins as a non-fiction true crime drama but quickly evolves into a political psycho-drama with twists and turns, strong personalities and secrets. There is much to commend in A Talent To Deceive, not the least of these is the in-depth and detailed research undertaken by the author. His innate skill and deft prose are always engaging and entertaining. Norris manages to encourage the reader to empathize with the events that took place almost one hundred years ago. He quickly draws the reader into the historic case in such away that it affects you emotionally, intellectually, and psychologically. It is easy for the reader to become completely invested in Norris’ version of events. It is only with distance and hindsight that a dispassionate analysis is possible; even then a reader may still feel uneasy as to the events in those days so very long ago. 

If this is the first time you have come across the Lindbergh case, you can expect a real feast of information. Norris writes with conviction and clearly feels strongly about both the crime and the alleged unsafe-conviction. Most of all, he expresses his deep unease with regard to the motivations of the key players; including Charles Lindbergh Sr. and the State actors that conspired with, or for, Charles Lindbergh Sr.

A Talent to Deceive will live in your memory long after you have read it and certainly would stand a second or even a third read. This book is a must have for the avid true crime community and a special addition to the real crime aficionado’s library. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank William Norris, NetGalley, and CamCat Publishing LLC. for affording me the opportunity to review A Talent to Deceive: The Search for the Real Killer of the Lindbergh Baby.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

Willful Misconduct by William Norris
Willful Misconduct by William Norris

THE DARK SIDE OF ALICE IN WONDERLAND – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

The Darks Side of Alice in Wonderland by Angela Youngman
TitleThe Dark Side of Alice In Wonderland
AuthorAngela Youngman
PublisherPen & Sword History (April 14, 2021)
FormatKindle & Hardcover
Pages192
GenreHistory, British & Irish Literary Criticism, Popular
Culture / Social Sciences, Author Biographies
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #ISBN-10 : 1526785811
ISBN-13 : 978-1526785817

#British & Irish Literary Criticism #Author Biographies

AUTHOR

Angela Youngman

SYNOPSIS

The Dark Side of Alice in Wonderland is not merely an expose’ of the man behind the myth that is Alice in Wonderland; it is also a deep dive into the depths of depravity arising out of the concepts that Lewis Carroll introduced to the world. Angela Youngman leads us through the looking glass in an examination of the darker aspects of Lewis Carroll’s life. She includes a pantheon of related material arising from the Alice in Wonderland author’s immense global popularity. 

The Dark Side of Alice in Wonderland is presented to the reader as a patchwork of myths, interesting facts and other miscellaneous information collected from a variety of sources. The collation of research material provides the reader with a deep plunge into the somber elements that contribute to the life of this unique author and his factional creation. Youngman reveals how the real-life girl and the fictional character are blurred and codependent to some extent with each influencing the other.

Since the release of Alice in Wonderland, 160 years ago, the concepts shared in Carroll’s works became part of the global public psyche. The narrative has been reconstructed by each culture into its own unique derivation from the original. The etymology seems to be unlimited, and the popularity of Alice in Wonderland is still going strong today. There appears to be no constraints to the original concepts heterogeneity; nor does there seem any limit to the Aesopian utilization of the initial concept in the present. The Dark side of Alice in Wonderland focuses far more on the use, or misuse depending upon your view, of the multifarious versions of the corrupted original. 

The character of Alice has been hijacked and transformed into a revolutionary immersive theatre concept in which audiences act out her identity, or witness performers doing so. The fictional Alice has been psychoanalyzed, linked to hallucinogenic drugs, used to label medical conditions, used in adult coloring books, and a myriad of other alternative conceptualizations. In addition, there are the mysteries that continually surround her creator with suggestions of child abuse, pedophilia and madness – even suggestions of Carroll’s link to Jack the Ripper.

CONCLUSION

The Dark side of Alice in Wonderland is as disturbing and cringeworthy as it is compelling. 

Angela Youngman presents an unclouded account of the omnipresent influence of Carroll’s Wonderland legacy. She manages to make a prescient analysis of her collated data and demonstrates it in such a way as to allow the reader to color their own view. It is here that Youngman demonstrates her superiority in her writing style and presentation. Not all authors encourage readers to come to their own opinion but with Youngman’s writing it appears that this was her purpose from the inception. Youngman never allows distressing elements of the book to occult the more interesting information and the result makes for a compelling read.

The author’s style is engaging and seductive. Although she discusses some vile concepts, she never goes full salacious. Instead, she prefers maintaining an element of decorum whilst describing the pestilent aspects of the life and times of the eponymous Lewis Carroll‘s child focused literature. 

The Dark Side of Alice in Wonderland is sometimes nightmarish, other times profoundly moving. Youngman has produced a must read for all those faithful fanatics of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a mathematics lecturer at Christ Church College, Oxford; also known as Lewis Carroll. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Angela YoungmanNetGalley, and Pen & Sword History for affording me the opportunity to review The Dark Side of Alice In Wonderland.

Written in bone – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Written in Bone by Sue Black Adult Non-Fiction Book Review
TitleWritten in Bone: Hidden Stories in What We
Leave Behind
AuthorSue Black
PublisherArcade (June 1, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Pages336
GenreUnabridged Adult Non-Fiction, Biographies
of Scientists, Scientist Biographies, Women’s
Biographies, Biology
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B08LDYKCGM

#Biographies of Scientists #Biology #Scientist Biographies #Women’s Biographies #Forensic Anthropology #Anatomy #Forensic Science #Forensic Anthropology #Forensics

Dark, mysterious, and enlightening; Written in the Bone is as satisfying as it is truly disturbing; with a shocking personal revelation that comes out of no-where. 

N, Nemo Litercurious.com

AUTHOR

Professor Dame Sue Black DBE, FBA, FRSE, FRCP, FRAI

SYNOPSIS

Written in Bone could be the best non-fiction book you will read this year. A colorful non-fiction dive into the anatomy of crime and all that remains.

Dame Sue Black’s outlines her career as a Forensic Anthropologist (FA) investigating human and non-human remains as well as her work as a professional expert in criminal cases. She cleverly utilizes the skeleton as a roadmap of clinical and not so clinical facts in her investigations. She references historic accounts, such as the one involving Doctor Buck Ruxton who murdered his wife and housekeeper. The investigation that followed utilized some seminal forensic techniques, a number of which are still utilized today by forensic anthropologists.

Black manages to weave scientific fact with legal imperatives against the backdrop of horrific violence that leaves its mark on the bones. A work that is simultaneously chilling and compelling in equal measure. Written in Bone is a skillfully constructed dissection of the human skeleton from zygote [DIPLOID] to birth and on unto death. Black’s book divides the skeleton into three sections beginning with the head, followed by the body, and finally the limbs. She further sub-divides the sections into their constituent parts. Using forensic techniques both new and old, she was a member of an international scientific team that investigated some of the most horrific crimes in our time; including the War Crimes in Bosnia, and the tortures and executions in Syria.

CONCLUSION

Written in Bone is a real life forensic detective account, a tutorial on the human skeleton and a Forensic Anthropologist’s (FA) biography of an incredible career. It is neither dry nor stultifying and contains first-person examples of evil crimes and their terrible tragedies. Written in Bone puts the profession of the FA front and centre instead of in the shadows that the profession once inhabited. There is a consistent message from the author that FA’s should always follow the evidence rather than unsupported assumptions.

Written in Bone manages to convey the reader into the world of the FA in a way never seen before. Hard cold facts meet the warmth of humanity on the frontline of the war on crime. It is accompanied by gallows humor and some slight irreverence for those experts that strayed into the field of FA, and fell flat on their face.

Black’s narrative manages, throughout, to maintain the interest of the reader. She imparts her personality with the imprint. A genuinely remarkable work of non-fiction and definitely one for the true crime community. No true crime library would be complete without a copy of Written in Bone, by Sue Black. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank, Professor Dame Sue Black, NetGalley, and Arcade Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Written in Bone.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

All that Remains by Sue Black Non-Fiction Adult Scientists Biographies Forensic Anthropology
All that Remains by Sue Black Adult Non-Fiction Unabridged Pathology of Forensic Medicine Biographies of Scientists

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The report download below is mentioned in Written in Bone, it contains details of torture and should only be viewed with discretion. This material is NOT suitable for for children. View at your own discretion.