Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Contains all non-fiction book posts.

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.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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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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WOLVES AT THE DOOR – REVIEW

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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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London A-Z – REVIEW

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Norman 2 – REVIEW

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DEAD SILENCE – REVIEW

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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

Operation Swallow – REVIEW

Operation Swallow is a no-holds-bar true life story of just one facet in WWII. Imagine this story multiplied across all the concentration camps run by the Germans and the scale of the atrocities is astronomical. Mark does a great job bringing this story to light and giving these soldiers who suffered at the hands of the Germans a voice. I definitely recommend this book.

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SPITFIRE!-REVIEW

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THE CODEBREAKERS OF BLETCHLEY PARK – REVIEW

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The Battle of Britain Broadcaster – REVIEW

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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

  • pick a pumpkin
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  • pick a pine tree

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.

The Hunt For History – review

The Hunt for History is a cross between a real-life detective story and an Easter Egg Hunt. It is a risky business and the find can sometimes be valued in excess of six figures. If you enjoy the thrill of the chase, the drama of the reveal, or relish the trip through the adventure of the hunt you will love this text.

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ENDURANCE – REVIEW

Anyone who loves: adventure, human struggle, epic survival, suspense, history, extreme seamanship, and great leadership will absolutely love this book.

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DANGEROUS SHALLOWS -REVIEW

This book is thrilling, mysterious, and intriguing. Even if you don’t know much about diving and especially deep diving, this book easily explains the terms and conditions. The stories of the individual wrecks are told in vivid detail. The reader can easily feel as if they are right there with him on this journey of discovery. I heartily recommend this book for everyone.

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A Dragon Named Egg – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleA Dragon Named Egg
AuthorHeidi Howarth
IllustratorDaniel Howarth
PublisherWindmill Books (December 15, 2020)
FormatLibrary Binding, Paperback
Pages32 pages
GenreChildren’s Dragon, Unicorn & Mythical Stories,
Children’s Self-Esteem Books,
Children’s Family Life Books
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131499486448 / 978-1499486445

AUTHOR

Heidi Howarth lives in Devon in the UK with her husband and two children. She writes picture books for children and my husband illustrates them. They have in excess of 100 titles available and enjoy a worldwide readership.

ILLUSTRATOR

Daniel Howarth started drawing from a very early age and went on to study Art at college and then university. He graduated with a degree in illustration in 1994 and started creating his own range of greetings cards with his wife, whom he met at university.

Daniel works from his studio in Exeter and enjoys the wealth of inspiration and imagination that comes from living deep in the Devon countryside with his wife and two children.

Excerpt taken from Little Tiger.

SYNOPSIS

Egg is different from all other dragons. The only dragon ever born from a cracked egg; he is the runt of the litter. He doesn’t possess any of the special abilities of other dragons. He feels like an outcast. He is self-conscious and a little depressed. He just wants to fit in and be like everyone else.

Will Egg ever fit in with the other dragons? Will he ever find his niche in life? Read the story to find out.

CONCLUSION

Written for children 4 to 7 years old, A Dragon Named Egg is a moral and ethical tale. Egg not only entertains but also delivers a life lesson. Age appropriate, picturesque and short, this book is perfect for a quick bedtime story.

Daniel is a wonderful illustrator and his art brings this tale to life. Egg is just the cutest little dragon! I immensely enjoyed looking at the artwork and how it synergizes with the story. I found myself going back through the book time and time again just to enjoy the pictures. The illustrations are breathtaking!

I whole-heartedly recommend A Dragon Named Egg. It is a wonderful, short bedtime book for all children.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Heidi and Daniel Howarth, NetGalley and Windmill Books for affording me the opportunity to review A Dragon Named Egg.

OTHER WORK BY THIS AUTHOR

The King’s Shadow – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe King’s Shadow
AuthorEdmund Richardson
PublisherSt. Martin’s Press (April 5, 2022)
FormatKindle, Hardcopy
Pages352
GenreAfghanistan Travel Guides, Central Asia History,
India History
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 10/131250278597 / 978-1250278593

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

SYNOPSIS

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.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Dr. Edmund Richardson, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Press for affording me the opportunity to review The King’s Shadow.

Other Books By This Author

THE DEVIL’S TRAP – Review

The events described in The Devil’s Trap surround the preamble to the First Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, specifically the Cawnpore Massacre, and the subsequent remedial actions taken by the British to re-establish control over the canton.

THE BYZANTINE WORLD WAR – Review

The Byzantium World War is set at a time when the power of Rome was beginning to ebb and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) was beginning. Some of the Key locations of historic importance include; Anatolia, Byzantium, The Middle East, The Balkans, The Caucuses, and North Africa. The timeline is 1068-1097 and this book is written almost as a thriller in its style.

LONDON EXPLORED – REVIEW

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

London Explored, by Peter Dazeley and Mark Day. Functional Image
London Explored by Peter Dazeley and Mark Day
TitleLondon Explored: Secret, Surprising and
Unusual Places to Discover in the Capital
AuthorPeter Dazeley and Mark Daly
PublisherFrances Lincoln (November 30, 2021)
FormatHardcover
Pages272
GenreMonument Photography, Landmarks &
Monuments, City Photography
LanguageEnglish
ISBN 0711240353 / 978-0711240353

AUTHORS

Peter Dazeley, Author and Photographer of London Explored.

Peter Dazeley BEM

Peter is the author of London Explored and several other publications. In 2017, he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to photography and charity.  He is a life member of the Association of Photographers.

Mark Daly, co-author of London Explored

Mark Daly

Mark is the co-author of London Explored; the author of 5 Steps to Board Success and Ten Treasures Strategic Playbook: The Map to Enduring Business Success.

SYNOPSIS

London Explored is a pictorial documentation of some of the diverse, hidden, and historically significant locations around the Capital of England. Peter and Mark cover a broad range of skillfully captured venues; places that include: religious and industrial sites, privately owned historical homes, as well as museums and gallerias. Some of the locations have restricted access and require special permission to enter. The authors include the access times in the accompanying guide located in the margins.

Included in the book are 213 images of the interiors and exteriors of sixty unique, occulted, lesser known London tourist locations. The catalogue includes the secret underground bunker where Churchill would reluctantly wait out the repeated air raids during the Battle for Britain. World War Two locations factor heavily with Biggin Hill being my personal favorite. Other military locations include The Old Royal Navy College, and for those who savor some images of the many Royal Air Force stations, there is the Bentley Priory Museum.

The images are accompanied by written descriptions and anecdotal stories describing the cultural and historical importance of each location. Patrons of the arts and architecture are bound to enjoy the wide variety architectural photographs; be they elitists or mundane.

CONCLUSION

London Explored provides those with enquiring minds a safe, convenient and informative means to explore Great Britains capital city. The metropolis of London is congested with tourist sites, and the major attractions are often over-subscribed. London Explored provides a large selection of alternative locations for prospective visitors. With this coffee-table book, the reader can explore the city in the comfort of their own armchair.

What sets London Explored apart from other works of its ilk, is the unique sites the author’s chose to include. Many of the most popular London tourist attractions are either historically important or elitist. It was an inspired choice to take the reader on trails less travelled but every bit as interesting and potentially more important from a cultural perspective.

The photography is faultless, and the accompanying accreditations and additional information provide an important context.

I suggest that if you want to know a little bit more about the hidden life of London, consider taking a look at my London A-Z review; where I take an irreverent look at my time spent there and some, not so well-known facts of the highways and byways of good old London Town.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Peter Dazeley BEM, Mark Daly, Frances Lincoln, and NetGalley for affording me the opportunity to review London Explored: Secret, Surprising and Unusual Places to Discover in the Capital.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

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