Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Contains all non-fiction book posts.

American Demon – Review

Litercurious Book Review

American Demon by Daniel Stashower
American Demon by Daniel Stashower
TitleAmerican Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for
America’s Jack the Ripper
AuthorDaniel Stashower
PublisherMinotaur Books (September 6, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardback, Audiobook
Pages352
GenreTrue Crime, Serial Killers True Accounts
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #978-1250041166

Quote:

It could equally have been called the Beast of Kingsbury Run, Cleveland. AKA Cleveland’s Torso Killer Quote: “Slays in the same manner as Jack the Ripper.”  Loc 57. Page number in this book unavailable.

AUTHOR

Daniel Stashower is an acclaimed biographer and narrative historian and winner of the Edgar, Agatha, and Anthony awards, as well as the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction. His work has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostSmithsonian Magazine

Excerpt taken from Amazon.

SYNOPSIS

American Demon is written by the highly regarded biographer and historian Daniel Stashower. In this his most recent publication Stashower documents the life, times, and cases of the eponymous Detective Eliot Ness. American Demon focuses on Ness’ most notable cases: The Cleveland Torso Killer, Al Capone and one that got away; the aptly labeled, American Demon.

Daniel used a diverse range of research resources that included: Eliot Ness’ original Manuscripts and the Library of Congress Manuscript Division; as well as books, magazines and journals. Written in a biographical style, Stashower catalogues Ness’ meteoric rise from his humble beginnings as the youngest son of an immigrant family, through his education in law enforcement and to his involvement with some of America’s most ignominious and memorable cases. 

CONCLUSION

American Demon by Daniel Stashower, is an interesting historical account of the trials, successes, and tribulations of Eliot Ness’ many high profile criminal investigations. 

Stashower’s narrative is easy to read, informative, expertly researched and concise. It was not the monograph I was expecting, but a compendium of Ness’ cases across his career. It was remarkably interesting learning about his various cases; some of which I was unacquainted with. 

There is much to discover in this notable work. If you find the accounts discussed in this tome worthy of further research, Stashower  provides an extensive bibliography for your reference.

I highly recommend American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Daniel Stashower, Minotaur Books, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review American Demon: Eliot Ness and the Hunt for America’s Jack the Ripper.

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RESCUE BELOW ZERO – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleRescue Below Zero (Kindle Unlimited)
AuthorIan Mackersey 
PublisherSapere Books (October 23, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
Pages175 pages
GenreDisaster Relief / Aviation History / Arctic & Antarctica
History
LanguageEnglish
ASIN#B0B7JCDXC1

AUTHOR

Ian Mackersey was a New Zealand writer and documentary film producer acclaimed for his deeply researched and revelational biographies.

A former head of film and television production at British Airways in London, where his documentaries took 24 international awards, Ian Mackersey is an ex-pilot, journalist, magazine editor, TV documentary producer and the author of ten books, including two novels. He began his writing career as a reporter on daily newspapers in New Zealand before going to London to work in Fleet Street and later as a feature writer for Royal Air Force Review, travelling the world reporting on the RAF’s global operations. There followed a year in Hong Kong as night news editor of the South China Morning Post, the editorship, back at the Air Ministry in London, of the RAF’s flying training magazine, Air Clues, and, later, a move to Central Africa.

In April 2015, after a short illness, Ian Mackersey passed away in Auckland. He is survived by three children; David, Paula and Kiri. Should you wish to make contact regarding their father’s work, please email Paula Mackersey here.

Excerpt taken in parts from https://www.ianmackersey.com

SYNOPSIS

Rescue Below Zero is the true story of survival in the middle of the Greenland ice-cap. 700 miles from the North Pole, seven crewmembers and five passengers fight for theirs lives after their aircraft crashes on a resupply mission. Ill-equipped for the harsh environment, the twelve castaways must try to stay alive until help can arrive.

On September 16th, 1952, Hastings 492 with 12 people on board plunged into the deep snow atop the Greenland ice Cap at over 8,000 feet. After a brief plow through the snow, the aircraft came to a silent stop. Luckily they were within sight of the British North Greenland Expedition that was there for scientific research. Although they crashed near the expedition, it still took hours of dogging thru the snow to reach the survivors. What followed was an excruciating wait for a rescue. Stuck in the broken plane for days on end, the survivors fight the elements, boredom, and injuries to stay alive.

While rescuers try to come up with a plan, the weather is quickly turning to winter. Soon it will be impossible to send in a rescue team to pick up the survivors. Planning and preparation must account for trying to land on the snow covered ice cap and takeoff again. An ingenious plan is developed to utilize smaller planes with skis and jet assisted packs for takeoff. Will this never-before type of rescue work? Will the planes be able to make the journey to the crash site and back on the limited fuel capacity? Will the rocket packs, that have to be installed after landing, even work? Will the planes get stuck in the ever deepening snow? Can the survivors and the injured live long enough for help to arrive? How much longer can they fight the cold, the frostbite, and the never ending wind?

CONCLUSION

Ian Mackersey has delivered an exceptional masterpiece with Rescue Below Zero. It is meticulously researched and written. It is obvious Ian loves his subject material. He keeps the reader riveted to the story and the “what happens next.”

Rescue Below Zero is an intriguing tale about extreme survival. The true-life story brings to light the fight between harshest environments and the human spirit in the struggle for life.

I truly enjoyed this book and the detailed account presented by Ian Mackersey. I have been associated with aviation my entire life and love to read any books on the subject. Ian really did a superb job with this one. He keeps the reader riveted and entertained. He captures the spirit of exploration and the humanity in desperate conditions. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

Now, I am reading Smithy: The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, also by Ian Mackeresy. A review will follow shortly, but I must say this is another exceptional book by a gifted author.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ian Mackersey , Sapere Books, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Rescue Below Zero.

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THE MAN WHO INVENTED MOTION PICTURES – REVIEW

Litercurious.com

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer
The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer
TitleThe Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True
Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies
AuthorPaul Fischer
PublisherSimon & Schuster (April 19, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Audio CD
Genre19th Century World History, Arts & Photography,
Biographies, Memoirs of Abductions, Kidnappings
and Missing Persons
Pages406
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #1982114827

AUTHOR

Paul Fischer is the esteemed author and screenwriter of this most magnificent literary masterpiece: The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures. Fischer’s first non-fiction book, A Kim Jong Il Production was transliterated into almost twenty languages and voted Best Book of 2015

by the National Public Radio (NPR). His work has appeared in such august publications as The Guardian Newspaper, The Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. He also wrote a screenplay adaption called The Body which premiered on Hulu during 2018.

SYNOPSIS

Louis Le Prince could have been as famous as Thomas Edison but for a mystery that has occluded his achievements from history.

At mid-day on Tuesday, September 16, 1890, Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince was saying au revoir to his older brother and his niece at the train station in Dijon. Little did they know they would never meet again. Louis was on the very cusp of consolidating his decades long passion of creating realistic moving pictures and was about to disappear along with his belongings. He left a grieving widow, family and friends with a conundrum seemingly without end.

According to the author, Le Prince was working on a machine capable of creating motion pictures. Other innovators and entrepreneurs were endeavoring to be the first to claim the prestigious title of inventing the first reliable working cine camera. However, Le Prince’s technological innovation was decade’s in advance of his closest competitor. Lamentably, his hard-fought competitive advantage would disappear with him leaving behind only a few of his amazing inventions; some of which were utilized in modern cinematography until the digital revolution rendered them obsolete.

Paul Fisher provides a chronological essay into the development of moving pictures. He discusses the visionaries that tried to invent the motion camera and the circumstances surrounding Louise’s disappearance. Did Thomas Edison have him murdered, as Le Prince’s widow claimed, just so Edison could steal his patents? Was his disappearance more sinister, or did he just get tired of everything and walk away from his family and life?

CONCLUSION

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures is a truly epic narrative with wide appeal. It is as educational as it is thrilling whilst inspiring and edifying in equal proportions. Paul Fischer’s manuscript is a lively and compelling read for those who enjoy a thrilling mystery. Additionally so, for those who enjoy photography and would value learning more about the key characters at the most revolutionary time in cinematic photography.

This work will enjoy broad appeal and a diverse reader base. Those that will find this book appealing will be: students and aficionados of photography and motion pictures; true crime and mystery readers; students of modern history during the Industrial Golden Age; and everyone who appreciates a well-written non-fiction book with a cast of compelling characters.

I highly recommend The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer. It is a comprehensively researched investigation into the life and times of one of the greatest industrial pioneers. Fischer blows away the mists of time and reveals how anyone of us could be just one journey away from missing our destiny.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
First motion picture – Roundhay Garden, Leeds, UK- Louis Le Prince
Second Motion picture- Traffic crossing Leeds bridge, UK – Louis Le Prince

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Paul Fischer, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

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ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI: Illuminating Women Artists – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Artemisia Gentileschi Sheila Barker
Artemisia Gentileschi Sheila Barker
TitleArtemisia Gentileschi (Illuminating Women Artists)
AuthorDoctor Sheila Barker Ph.D
PublisherGetty Publications (February 15, 2022)
FormatHardcover
Pages144
GenreIndividual Artist Monographs / Art History (Books)
Women’s Biographies
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131606067338 / 978-1606067338

AUTHOR

Holding a PhD in art history from Columbia University, Sheila Barker works at one of the leading Digital Humanities laboratories for the exploration of Renaissance history: The Medici Archive Project, a non-profit that is based in the USA but

carries out its work in Florence. There, in 2010, Doctor Barker founded the world’s first archival research program dedicated to women artists, which was recently given an award by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for the “Best digital scholarship, new media, or web -based project of 2014.” In addition to publishing on women artists of the 16th-19th centuries, she has published on Poussin, Michelangelo, plagues and art, early modern news circulation, Urban VIII, Maria de’ Medici, and the contributions of Medici women to pharmacy and medical science.

Source: Excerpt taken from: Dr. Sheila Barker LinkedIn profile.

SYNOPSIS

Artemisia Gentileschi (Illuminating Women Artists) is a laudatory, panegyric on the life and times of this remarkably talented Baroque artist. This biographical monograph is the second book of the sub-series of Illuminating Women Artist: Renaissance and Baroque, by Sheila Barker. In Artemisia Gentileschi, Barker has produced an authoritative account of the artist that is appropriate for knowledgeable art enthusiasts and those with an academic interest.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1654) was the protégé and daughter of the illustrious and prolific artist, sculpture, architect, designer and internationally renowned Renaissance painter, Orazio Lomi Gentileschi (1563–1639). Artemisia was especially renowned in her time for her ability to paint complex large-scale compositions, as well as her ability to mix exquisite blues; considered a valuable skill during the period. Her skills and artistic abilities were appreciated at home, in Italy, and internationally; in such diverse locations as Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, and London. Her works convey a strong pictorial intelligence; with technical expertise equally as powerful as some of her male contemporaries. In recent times, Artemisia is becoming popular among collectors as new examples of her work are being discovered, increasing her oeuvre.

Artemisia Gentileschi is written as a comprehensive, detailed, historic, biographical, chronology of the life, times, travels, and work of this little known artist. Barker details the numerous challenges, tragedies and successes of this renaissance female. The imprint is grandiose in its span and breadth, detailing this International Baroque artist’s life and work. The publication is illustrated throughout with the highest-quality plates that depict many of Artemisia’s most notable works.

Barker details the artist, her attributed works, and her documented international travels during her life from her formative years through her active professional period. She discusses Artemisia’s commission for Urban VIII, Maria de’Medici in Venice, her later works and even her private life; finally, culminating in an account of Artemisia’s mysterious death and the search to find her final resting place.

CONCLUSION

Artemisia Gentileschi by Doctor Barker is an intricate and detailed analysis and expertly crafted eulogistic work on this much maligned female artist. Barker shines a light in this biographical account of the newly discovered archival finds.

My first impression of Artemisia Gentileschi: Illuminating Women Artists, is that the entire package is of the highest quality. Exceptional plates commingle in unity with the learned prose; accompanied by a comprehensive range of supportive content, references, image credits, a list of manuscripts and detailed bibliographical material. There is a subtle balance between the stunning imagery depicted by the large vibrant and dynamic images of Artemisia’s original works; works that stand as a testament to her unique and exceptional talents.

I’m mesmerized by the large, full color plates of her oversized and detailed paintings. The plates depicting numerous technically exceptional scenes executed with the grace and ease of an expert.

It seems, at times, that each consecutive plate exuded a greater level of technical excellence than the last. I’m struck by the diversity of subjects, poses, color harmony and hues combining to present powerful visual narratives that thrill the eyes and stir the senses. The imagery is not limited to the work of Artemisia, but is accompanied by examples of her contemporaries that include both Renaissance and Baroque Masters such as: her father Orizio; Van Dyck; Coppola, (a personal favorite I share with Artemisia) and Caravaggio.

Artemisia Gentileschi contains a plethora of dense and concise information. My favorite section discusses the opinions of her peers about her work. In the section entitled ‘Mizia,’ the author delves deeper into the observations and opinions of Artemisia’s burgeoning latent talents that were self-evident to her mature peers. I particularly enjoyed the section titled ‘Aquiring Skills,’ where the author introduces us to the opinions of other contemporary artists of her first foray into design; even though she was not yet a teenager.

This work is an exceptional piece of writing and as such will only really be appreciated by an elite few. Those who will find it most edifying are likely to be: art connoisseurs, art historians, art aficionados, art collectors, conservators, librarians, art graduates, students studying advanced degrees, historians, and archivists. In addition to these professionals, private artists may also enjoy the rewards of owning a copy. Artemisia Gentileschi is exceptional in every way and it along with the Illuminating Women Artist series is absolutely irreplaceable as a reference in any quality library.

Artemisia Gentileschi‘s biography by Sheila Barker Ph.D., has inspired me to read and research her work in greater detail. I discovered that a Gallery exhibition was recently held, posthumously, in her honor. It is pleasing to read that, at last, Artemisia’s first exhibition opened to some acclaim. It is a well deserved accolade that was long overdue; and at least the tiny portion of her attributed works were being openly acknowledged in recognition of her stellar achievements.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Doctor Sheila Barker Ph.D, Getty Publications, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Artemisia Gentileschi (Illuminating Women Artists).

Well, hello again! Thank you for visiting us at Litercurious. We appreciate your patronage and look forward to providing you with the best experience possible on each and every visit. Feel free to suggest any books you would like reviewed through our contact link. We look forward to you next visit. Feel free to share our posts on social media.

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SLENDERMAN – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Slenderman by Kathleen Hale
Slenderman by Kathleen Hale
TitleSlenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness,
and Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls
AuthorKathleen Hale
PublisherGrove Press (August 16, 2022)
GenreSchizophrenia, Violence in Society, True Crime, Computer History and Culture
Pages363
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #978-0802159809

Anissa later said. The new final plan, at that point, was to lure Bella into the woods, set her loose, and then hunt her down-“like lionesses,” SLENDERMAN, Kathleen Hale

AUTHOR

Kathleen Hale was born and raised in Wisconsin. She graduated from Harvard in 2010. She is now a TV writer and true crime author based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Vanity Fair and other outlets.

SYNOPSIS

Just how did an Internet meme of a fictitious Boogeyman, and two pre-teens end up in the tale of an attempted murder? More importantly, why did it happen at all?

It was the crime that shocked the world; every bit as infamous as the first US thrill killers Leopold and Loeb. The two adolescent girls conspired together, to befriended, lure, and stab their mutual acquaintance in a secluded woodland. Morgan and Anissa intended to act as proxies in the crime in order to becalm the Slenderman and save their own lives. In a complex, planned and highly detailed scheme, Morgan and Anissa conspired to kill. Fortunately, fate intervened and whilst terribly injured Bella endured the ferocious attack, but only just; having come within a millimeter of death.

Morgan Geyser, Anissa Weier and Payton “Bella” Leutner all lived in the idyllic Midwestern town called Waukesha, Wisconsin. Back in 2014, the three were peers in the sixth grade at the same local school. Whilst Bella was considered to be a happy well adjusted child, Anissa and Morgan were considered to be a little “strange.”

Morgan had a serious unseen mental health condition that she inherited from her father. No one understood just how ill she was and although she was a highly intelligent girl, she had an uncontrollable dark side; complete with visual and auditory hallucinations. She also suffered periods of manic behavior and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as paranoia and dissociation. Her multiple challenges, noted by her peer group, left her isolated, bullied and derided by her cohorts and marginalized by the school faculty. As a consequence, Morgan Geyser would look for solace and lose herself in literature and the internet. It was on the Web that she first discovered the fantasy character – Slenderman.

Slenderman was a fictional character originally created for a Creepypasta meme by Eric Kundsen in 2009. Morgan, the troubled and lonely 12 year old became obsessed, and so began the fascination that led to the events of 31 May 2014. Soon Anissa was also introduced to the Slenderman, and what had begun with an interest quickly became their shared mutual obsession.

On that fateful day in 2014, Morgan and Anissa led Bella to nearby woodlands on the pretext of playing a game of hide-and-seek. Morgan used this excuse to pursue and eventually stab Bella 19 times. Convinced that Bella was dead Anissa and Morgan followed their plan to travel the hundred miles to join the Slenderman at his reputed home in the Nicolet National Forest.

What followed was a criminal trial that stunned the world, and that decided the futures of two twelve-year old children. So serious was the crime they were tried as adults despite their tender years.

CONCLUSION

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Hale has produced a sympathetic account of a horrific crime; the attempted stabbing murder of 12 year old Payton “Bella” Leutner by two of her classmates in order to appease the fictional character Slenderman. The seriousness of Morgan Geyser’s actions are in no way ignored. Hale acknowledges that illness was one feature of this crime obsession, and she also opines that perhaps there may have been an element of “folie a deux.” 

The author does a great job detailing the chronological events and of the crime itself as well as the the lives of all those directly involved. She covers the length and the breadth of the children from their upbringing, family history, their social interactions, the crime and the punishment. There is a sense that Hale fells some sympathy as she pays special attention to the mental health of Morgan and the lack of treatment she received prior to the crime and afterwards. Morgan was diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia, also known as adolescent onset schizophrenia while in custody.

Despite the significant life long injuries suffered by Bella, Hale prompts us to consider if it was appropriate for children of twelve years to be tried as adults; especially as the children had documented mental health challenges that were not being adequately treated at the time of the offense.

According to Hale, the medical neglect of Morgan prior to the crime and the neglect and clinical mismanagement since she has been incarcerated increased her continuing dis-functionality.

Slenderman by Kathleen Hale was an exceptional work; detailed, concise, informative and respectful. The focus of this book is different from many other true crime books. The interplay between the various individuals was the primary focus, and it made for a more fulfilling and satisfying read.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Kathleen Hale, Grove Press, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls.

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THE KING’S SHADOW – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

The King’s Shadow – Edmund Richardson
TitleThe King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria
AuthorEdmund Richardson
NarratorJulian Elfer
PublisherTantor Audio (April 12, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Audiobook
Time8 hours and 18 minutes
GenreAfghanistan Travel Guides, Central Asia History,
India History
LanguageEnglish
ASINB09WG9P7K9

AUTHOR

Edmund Richardson is Professor of Classics at Durham University. He was named one of the BBC New Generation Thinkers. He is the author of ‘Alexandria: The

Quest for the Lost City’ (Bloomsbury) and ‘The King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria’ (2022) (St Martin’s Press).

From Amazon’s Edmund Richardson Page

NARRATOR

Award Winning British born New York City actor JULIAN ELFER studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and the British Academy at Oxford University. Other credits include roles in the film Reverie, the pilot of Models and Me, The History Channel, several audio books and the voice of Twinnings Tea. Julian

graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and studied extensively with famed British Theater director Frank Hauser.

Excerpt taken from http://nycshakespeare.com/about/

SNYOPSIS

The King’s Shadow is the story of a modernized England, in 1827, making his way through rudimentary India and Afghanistan. Using his wits to survive and evade the East India Company’s agents, James Lewis truly becomes a chameleon.

A disenchanted soldier in India, James deserts at a time when absconders where, if caught, “broken on the wheel.” He quickly learns how to con the locals for everything he needs to survive from food and lodging to clothing and money. He discovers that the more outlandish his con, the easier it is to pull off. Along the way, he makes acquaintance with every stratum of class structure. He his entertained by King’s and befriended by peasants.

Changing his name to Charles Masson, he teaches himself to be an archeologist. However, he cannot stay ahead of the East India Company, and his true identity is uncovered. He is then blackmailed into becoming one of the most important spies for England in the Middle East. Although a renowned archeologist for his work on finding the lost city of Alexandria, it is his spy network which is the most important to the East India Company and England’s interests in the region.

CONCLUSION

The King’s Shadow is a true historic spy novel. It has suspense, thrills, danger, intrigue, blackmail and world politics. Dr. Edmund Richardson has done a superb job researching and documenting the life of James Lewis, a.k.a. Charles Mason. His attention to detail and the past is unequaled in this historic tale. This true-life spy drama excites the mind and provides a look into the time and politics of the region.

Julian Elfer’s narration adds a depth to the story that was not there when I read the book. His accent, inflection, tone and pace are perfect accompaniments to the tale. I found the audio version better than reading it myself due to the Julian’s style of narration. He really makes the story come alive for the listener.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Edmund Richardson, NetGalley, and Tantor Audio for affording me the opportunity to review The King’s Shadow: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Deadly Quest for the Lost City of Alexandria.

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A HAUNTED ROAD ATLAS – REVIEW

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REIVEW

A Haunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz
A Haunted Road Atlas – Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz
TitleA Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales
AuthorChristine Schiefer & Em Schultz
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing (May 31, 2022)
FormatKindle, Paperback, Audiobook
GenreHistory Humor, Supernaturalism, Internet
Social Media Humor
Pages / Runtime304 / 6 hours and 45 minutes / 473 KB
LanguageEnglish
ISBN / ASINBook 978-1524872106
Kindle B09TVHJLLC
Audiobook B09VYDGBWQ

AUTHORS

Taken from the A Haunted Road Atlas

SYNOPSIS

A Haunted Road Atlas is written and performed by Christine Schiefer and her co-author Em Schultz. There is one word that sums up this insanity; cleverly wrapped up in either the written work or the unabridged audiobook, and that word is – fun. Schiefer and Schultz have created a powerful diversion from everyday irrelevant concerns with their fantabulous journey across the entire Continental United States!

Now back to the review. The book is subdivided into individual geographic locations. The reader joins the trip mentally with Christine and Em, visiting haunted hotels, paranormal tours and strange and weird places. That’s not all; oh no! A Haunted Road Atlas also covers: notorious criminals, murders, mayhem, massacres, and con-men. All these are accompanied by fun facts and opinions. I both read and listened to their productions, and I highly recommend the audiobook version. The narrative is rapid delivered and the staccato humor just blew my socks off.

CONCLUSION

Imagine for a moment the most unhinged but fun person that you know or can imagine. Now add in a touch of Zac Bagin’s of Ghost Adventures fame. Sprinkle in some spooky places with two uproarious, loud and gregarious story tellers, and you have a simple idea of just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

It confounds me just how they managed to cram so much humor into this book. If you enjoy alternative humor, delivered by consummate entertainers look no further.

I sincerely hope that they manage to get to visit Alaska and Hawaii just so that there will be another magical creation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Christine Schiefer & Em Schultz, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review A Haunted Road Atlas: Sinister Stops, Dangerous Destinations, and True Crime Tales.

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A Hunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer and Em Schultz
A Hunted Road Atlas by Christine Schiefer and Em Schultz

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ARNHEM: TEN DAYS IN THE CAULDRON – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Arnhem - Iain Ballantyne
Arnhem – Iain Ballantyne
TitleArnhem: Ten Days In The Cauldron
AuthorIan Ballantyne
PublisherAgora Books (October 5, 2019)
FormatAudiobook, Paperback, Audio CD
Pages375
GenreDutch History / WWII Biographies /
World War II History (Books)
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131913099245 / 978-1913099244

AUTHOR

Iain Ballantyne has written extensively about navies past and present. A former newspaper defence reporter and current editor of the global naval news magazine ‘WARSHIPS International Fleet Review’, Iain has sailed in minefields off war-torn Kuwait, witnessed embargo enforcement in the Adriatic, and

reported on naval operations in the Arctic and counter-terrorism sweeps in the Mediterranean. He has contributed to national and regional newspapers, international magazines, as well as to television news, documentary programs, podcasts and radio shows. While working for a London-based multi-media production company, Iain played a pivotal role in creating training films and corporate communication projects for the Royal Navy. In 2017, Iain was presented with a prestigious Fellowship Award by the UK’s Maritime Foundation for making ‘a truly outstanding contribution to stimulating public engagement in maritime issues’. Iain’s books include ‘Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom’ (Agora) ‘The Deadly Trade’ (Weidenfeld and Nicolson), ‘Arnhem: Ten Days in the Cauldron’ (also for Agora) and ‘Hunter Killers’ (Orion), plus ‘Killing the Bismarck’, ‘HMS Rodney’ and ‘Warspite’ (for Pen & Sword).

From Amazon’s Iain Ballantyne Page

SYNOPSIS

Arnhem is an in-depth look into the lives of the soldiers and civilians during Operation Market Garden. In September 1944, the British launched an intensive foray behind enemy lines to capture key bridge crossings in and around Arnhem.

A massive night-time insertion by paratroopers and gliders well behind enemy lines put around 10,000 British troops on the ground. Things never go as planned in war, and almost immediately this was the case here. Lack of communication, troops spread far and wide, gliders that were off course, and lost equipment in crashes and due to enemy fire only made the situation worse.

This story details the fighting on both sides for control of the bridges and the terrain. It depicts the struggle of not only the soldiers but the civilians that were involved as well. The first hand accounts and the stories told by the survivors are depicted in gruesome detail. The struggle for survival and the devotion to duty are laid out bare in this book.

CONCLUSION

This book is one of the best that I’ve read this year. The research into this pivotal battle, the first hand accounts of the survivors in their own words, the detailed battles from individual soldiers against tanks to higher headquarters manipulation of troops and equipment, all coalesce into a great historic account.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Ian Ballantyne, Agora Books and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review Arnhem: Ten Days in the Cauldron.

OTHER WORKS BY THIS AUTHOR

SPITFIRE!-REVIEW

Spitfire is an exceptionally researched historical account of 19 Squadron and the Battle of Britain. The information contained within its pages is…

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ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS – REVIEW

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

All Aboard the London Bus
TitleAll Aboard the London Bus
AuthorPatricia Toht
IllustratorSam Usher
PublisherFrances Lincoln Children’s Books (June 7, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
Pages40
GenreChildren’s Europe Books /
Children’s Travel Books (Books)
LanguageEnglish
ISBN-10/13071127973X / 978-0711279735

AUTHOR

Author Patricia Toht

I’ve lived most of my life in Chicagoland. But for four years, our family was blessed to live in England. Windsor Castle was close to our home, and horses often clip-clopped down our lane. We made wonderful friends, ate lots of good pub food, and took long walks in Windsor Great Park. On weekends, we explored London. And sometimes we traveled to other countries, too.

Those years were magical ones, with a royal wedding (Will and Kate), the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and the Olympics all happening during our time there. Lucky us!

My book, ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS, grew from my experiences in London. 

Excerpt from https://www.patriciatoht.com

ILLUSTRATOR

Illustrator Sam Usher

Sam Usher graduated from the University of West England and his debut picture book Can You See Sassoon? was shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize and the Red House Children’s Book Award. He is particularly admired for his technical drawing skill and prowess with watercolour. Also a talented pianist, when he’s not holding a pen and wobbling

at paper you’ll find him perfecting a fiendishly difficult piece of Chopin.

Excerpt from https://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/illustrator/2693/Sam-Usher.html

SYNOPSIS

Come with us aboard the London bus. Let’s take a fantastic ride, through the streets both narrow and wide. Let’s see the sights that stimulate and thrill. Aboard the bus, excitement you will feel.

All Aboard the London Bus is a sojourn through the streets of London, England. Patricia Toht explores some of London’s most famous tourist attractions both historic and new. She visits such places as Buckingham’s Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the British Museum, the Tower of London, the London Eye and many more.

CONCLUSION

All Aboard the London Bus is a wonderfully illustrated children’s story about the sites around London. Pat captures the excitement and grandeur of some of London’s most famous places to visit. She takes the reader on a journey using rhymes and stunning graphics.

Sam Usher does an exceptional job illustrating All Aboard the London Bus. The drawings are vibrant in color and entertaining to look upon. Along with the narrative, the pictures help tell the story in an exciting and interesting way.

At the end of the book, the author includes a section “Find out more about London.” Here she gives little tidbits of historical data about the places the books visits. These tidbits of information are accompanied by illustrations.

All Aboard the London Bus is an entertaining fun read for children and adults. Both the narrative and the plates are child appropriate, radiant, colorful and beautifully delivered. This book is great for bedtime or just for reading. I heartily recommend this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Patricia Toht, NetGalley and Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for affording me opportunity to review All Aboard the London Bus.

OTHER PUBLICATION BY THIS AUTHOR

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THE HUNT FOR MH370 – REVIEW

Litercurious.com

Audio & Book Reviews Site. Why watch when you can read?

The Hunt For MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth, Ean Higgins
The Hunt For MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth
TitleThe Hunt For MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up.
The Truth
AuthorEan Higgins
PublisherMacmillan Australia (February 26, 2019)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Paperback
Pages334
GenreAviation History, Commercial Aviation
LanguageEnglish
ASIN #B07K9HPR71

“Good night. Malaysian Three Seven Zero.

The last recorded radio transmission from MH370’s, Flight’s Captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah spoken to Malaysian Air Traffic Control (ATC) at 01:19. There was no further communication from the aircraft.

AUTHOR

Ean Higgins grew up in Texas and Quebec, before moving to Australia with his Canadian father and Australian mother. He has worked as a reporter, section editor, chief-of-staff and foreign correspondent for Australia’s three national newspapers over nearly four decades. He served his cadetship on the Australian

Financial Review where he was appointed the newspaper’s first New Zealand correspondent, then moved to the Fairfax group’s investigative title Times on Sunday, before joining The Australian in 1988 where among other roles he served as foreign news editor, Inquirer editor, Europe correspondent and Sydney bureau chief. In recent years he has returned to reporting on The Australianfocusing on crime, corruption, politics, aviation and the interplay among them. Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Sussex, and a master’s from the Australian National University. He learned to fly as a young man in Quebec, as a student piloting Cessna 150s on skis in winter. He won a Kennedy Award for Best Online Reporting for his coverage of a bush fire, and a Quebec Grand Prize for Independent Journalism for an opinion piece on language politics published in the French-language national daily Le Devoir.

Excerpt from Macmillan, Pan Macmillan Australia website

SYNOPSIS

In the early morning of 8 March, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. At the flight controls was 53 years old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his First Officer, 27 years old Fariq Abdul Hamid. Shah was an experienced pilot with and excellent reputation and extensive experience with 18,423 hours flight time; 8,659 in the Boeing 777-200. He was a Type Rating Instructor in the 777-200 airframe and was a Type Rating Examiner for Malaysia Airlines.

The weather that night was good, but for reason known only to Shah additional fuel was added; more fuel than necessary to cover the normal hours fuel contingency. The excess fuel gave the aircraft the ability to fly for almost two hours longer than the required flight time to the destination.

Around midnight the pilots began their normal run-up procedures beginning with the ‘walk around.’ Once complete, the pilots would gather in the cockpit to go through the Preflight Procedures whilst the Cabin Crew began boarding the 227 passengers that were heading for Beijing. The majority of the passengers were of Chinese nationality with an eclectic and diverse mix of other nationalities.

With the Preflight Checklist now complete and the Oxygen Check finished Shah and Hamid performed the ‘Before Start’ Checklist. Hamid requested pushback and engine start clearance from Kuala Lumpur Area Control Center. The time is now 0040 and Malaysia Flight MH370 taxis to runway 32 Right.

The last item on the ‘Before Take-off’ Checklist is ‘Flaps,’ with the response “Set,” Flight MH370 announced to the tower ‘370, 32 Right for Take-Off.’ The pilots pushed the throttles forward. The engines thrust increased, as did the vibration and speed. At V1 they rotated; and at 0042 local time on 8 March, 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 carrying 239 souls lifted off on a flight into oblivion. 

The Hunt for MH370 is a detailed analysis posited by author Ean Higgins on the various scenarios that may have led to the disappearance of flight MH370. His opines are aided by expert assessments based on the available data of the likely events that lead up to the vanishing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The author digs deep and reveals facts that were concealed; facts that could have helped locate the missing plane. Higgins seeks to clarify the events that may have transpired during the last flight of MH370. He avoids wild speculation in favor of expert opinions, hard facts and available data. The investigative body that oversaw the search are held to account. A rational well conceived, yet speculative, analysis is given of the events that tragic evening.

CONCLUSION

The Hunt for MH370 is a mystery encompassed by an enigma. Higgins carefully explored the many possibilities that may have lead to the loss of MH370. He collected and collated data and accounts from a diverse range of involved persons. He creates a plausible assessment of the likely causes of flight MH370’s disappearance using first person accounts, original documents, and international experts that included those from the fields of: aviation crash investigation, professional pilots with decades of experience, engineers (both aviation and oceanographic), as well as satellite data .

What happened to the passengers and crew of Malaysia Flight MH370?Did Shah highjack his own aircraft, kill the crew and passengers, then fly out into the middle of nowhere and ditch the aircraft into the Indian Ocean killing himself in the process? If he did, why did he do it? What was the evidence and why were essential clues to the disappearance hidden even from those conducting the search? Ean Higgins lifts the lid on the mystery and perhaps one day, if-and-when MH370 is found, his analysis might be proven accurate.

The Hunt for MH370 is a compelling read and is never dry or overly technical. It is captivating from the outset and once your attention is secured you will be in for the flight. The narrative is gripping and Higgins writing style ensures that that grip is vise-like. If you enjoy reading real-life mysteries that have yet to be solved and you gain solace from using your own acumen to forge your own opinion; then reading The Hunt for MH370 is a no brainer.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ean Higgins, Macmillan Australia, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review The Hunt for MH370: The Mystery. The Cover-up. The Truth.