Tag Archives: Travel and adventure

The Eye of RA – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TITLEThe Eye of Ra ( Book 1 “Eye of Ra” series)
AUTHORBen Gartner
PUBLISHERCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2020)
FORMATKindle, Hardcover, Paperback
FILE / PAGES3864 KB / 279
GENREChildren’s Historical Fiction / Children’s Egyptian Fiction / Children’s Archaeology Books. / Science Fiction
LANGUAGEEnglish
ASIN / ISBN 10/13B082WS8H4C / 1734155248978-1734155242

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

The Eye of Ra is the first book in the saga of Sarah and John. They are a preteen sister and brother who travel through time and experience all sorts of adventures and life challenging situations. Sarah is 12 and believes she is worldly. Whilst John is 10 and is more reserved and the “Little Chef” of the house. Together they make a great team of adventurers.

In this first installment, we are introduced to the siblings and their upcoming move from Colorado to Maryland. They experience all kinds of reservation about the move; the loss of friends and the unknown that lies before them in a new state. Sarah, the more adventurous of the two, is looking forward to the move. While John doesn’t want to leave his best friend and the only home he has ever known.

Prior to the move, the family goes for a hike up the mountain behind their house. Sarah and John go off on their own and find a cave. Of course Sarah wants to explore the cave while John thinks that is a bad idea. In the cave, they are astonished to find ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs on the wall. While tracing the Eye of Ra with her hand, Sarah accidentally transports the two to ancient Egypt.

Lost in the time of the Pharaohs, Sarah and John have to find a way back home. They meet a local boy, Zach, who takes them in while they are trying to figure out what happened and how to reverse it. While in Egypt they meet all kinds of people, learn about ancient Egyptian culture, and even help build the first pyramid! They even become temporary sleuths and uncover a local criminal. Along the way they have to deal with cobras, scorpions, and Nile crocodiles.

Will Sarah and John ever make it home? Will the criminal come after them? Will they ever see their parents again? Are they stuck in the land of sand forever?

CONCLUSION

The Eye of Ra is the introduction into the series. It is an entertaining and exciting historical science fiction story. In this first installment Ben Gartner sets the stage for the future adventures of Sarah and John. While it doesn’t have as much adventure as the later two books, it is a great beginning. Sarah and John experience life and death situations, criminals, venomous snakes and scorpions, and crocodiles. Along the journey we learn about ancient Egyptian culture, beliefs and their religion. Sarah and John learn valuable life lessons and more about their own strengths and weaknesses.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it isn’t as fast paced or as crammed packed with adventure as the next 2 books in the series; I found it gripping and hard to put down. I read it in less than 2 days.

The Eye of Ra is recommended for children 8-12 years of age, but I believe people of all ages will be entranced by this series. If you like science fiction, time travel, ancient history, travel and adventure; then you will enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

OTHER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES

RIVERS – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Rivers: From Mountain Streams to City Riverbanks by Claudia Martin. A picture book.
Rivers From Mountain Streams To City Riverbanks
TITLERIVERS: From Mountain Streams to City Riverbanks
AUTHORClaudia Martin
PUBLISHERAmber Books (October 5, 2021)
FORMATHardcover
PAGES224
GENRETravel, Reference, Adventure
LANGUAGEEnglish
ISBN 10/131838861025 / 978-1838861025

AUTHOR

Claudia Martin has worked in book publishing for 17 years. She is the author of several books and websites for children and young people. Her favorite subjects are history, current affairs and technology.

SYNOPSIS

Rivers by Claudia Martin is a visual catalogue of rivers and riverbanks across the globe. It covers such diverse locations as: North, Central, and South America; the Caribbean; Europe; Africa; the Middle East; Asia; and Oceania.

There are 225 totally immersive images in Rivers. It is a beautiful collection of plates with a perfect accompaniment of a precise but informative narrative. The images are mesmerizing and stimulating.

Images such as the commingling of the Blue Nile and the White Nile I found distinctly captivating. The Colorado River in Arizona with its adobe canyon walls and the azure blue of the river bend is an exciting image. The raging waters of the Iguazu River in Brazil with as many as 300 waterfalls surging over the Parana Plateau is especially intriguing and beautiful. The Thames in Great Britain lined with its iconic and historic riverbanks complete with Tower Bridge and shadowed by the White Tower is particularly special to me.

CONCLUSION

Martin has been a prolific writer for almost twenty years, and Rivers could be her pinnacle work. It has pages upon pages of glorious high quality, full color plates that feed the eye and fill the mind. It is a book that you can return to again and again and still enjoy it as much as you did the first time that you opened it. 

There are a number of images that are conspicuous especially because of their excellence that will remain with me long after I close the book. I highly recommend Rivers. Order a copy, but be prepared to never stop looking at it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Claudia Martin, NetGalley, Amber Books and for affording me the opportunity to review Rivers: From Mountain Streams to City Riverbanks.

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

FREE TO READ ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

COUNTRY JUMPER IN HONDURAS Claudia Dobson-Largie. Travel, adventure. #ChildrenslatinAmericanhistory

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Mutiny On The Spanish Main – Review

Litercurious Book Review

Mutiny on the Spanish Main by angus Konstam book review on Maritime History & Piracy and 18th Century World History
Mutiny on the Spanish Main by Angus Konstam
TitleMutiny on the Spanish Main: HMS Hermione and the Royal Navy’s revenge
AuthorAngus Konstam 
PublisherOsprey Publishing (October 27, 2020)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover
Pages320
GenreMaritime History & Piracy, 18th Century World History, Maritime History & Piracy
LanguageEnglish
ASIN/ISBN-10/13B0877CYJ72 /  1472833791 / 978-1472833792

AUTHOR

Angus Konstam 

SYNOPSIS

Mutiny on the Spanish Main is the bloody story of the HMS Hermione; the mutiny, murder, her transfer to the Spanish and subsequent recapture, and the Royal Navy’s never ending search and punishment for the mutineers.

In 1797 the crew of the HMS Hermione mutinied against its officers. They murdered the officers in a cruel and horrific manner. Then the crew stole the ship and fleeing for their lives and turned it over to the Spanish.

Mutiny on the Spanish Main is an in depth study of the causes and ramifications of the mutiny. Angus Konstam provides a look into the Royal Navy’s operating procedures, the lives of the seamen, and the hardships of the times. Life aboard ship was hard and trying. Punishment was severe and sometimes dished out without remorse. Seamen were “conscripted” into service and were basically no more than slaves. Men were stolen from all over and pressed into service. They were guarded at all times on shore to ensure they didn’t escape. Punishment ranged from beatings, to being keel-holed or even hung.

Captain Hugh Pigot, the commander of HMS Hermione, was a cruel and sadistic leader. He routinely dished out severe and arbitrary punishment to his crew. The crew was so distressed by the thought of being punished by the smallest infraction, that when Captain Pigot threatened to lash the last man down from the mast, three of them fell to their death.

The constant beatings, poor treatment, and lack of respect for human dignity finally forced the crew to takes matters into their own hands. What followed was the bloodiest and cruelest mutiny in the British Royal Navy. The Admiralty doggedly pursued the mutineers around the globe to bring them to justice.

CONCLUSION

Mutiny on the Spanish Main is a detailed account of the life and times of British sailors in the Royal Navy in the late 1700’s to early 1800’s. Angus Konstam details the methodology of seamanship, naval battles, politics, and discipline of the times. He provides an in depth look into the Royal Navy, the different types of ships and their primary purpose, the crew compliment, their different missions around the world, and how discipline was enforced aboard ship.

The research into this book is very good. The author provides an accurate look into the history of Naval Warfare and the British Royal Navy. He covers world politics, daily life, class structure, Naval Battles, supplies, disease, different ports, and the running and maintaining of the ships.

Overall, I found this book interesting and informative. I would recommend this read to anyone who has an interest in seamanship, maritime history, or the Royal Navy.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Angus KonstamNetGalley, and Osprey Publishing for affording me the opportunity to review Mutiny on the Spanish Main: HMS Hermione and the Royal Navy’s Revenge.

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Sol Invictus – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleSol Invictus (book 2 “Eye of Ra” series)
AuthorBen Gartner
PublisherCrescent Vista Press (February 1, 2021)
FormatKindle, Paperback
Pages / File300 / 3901 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreChildren’s Historical Fiction
ISBN 10/13173415523X/ 978-1734155235

AUTHOR

Find out about Ben Gartner and The Eye of Ra series here.

SYNOPSIS

Sol Invictus is the second book in the Eye of Ra series. It continues the adventures of its two main characters Sarah and John.

Sarah and John are pre-teens that are transported through time to the ancient Roman frontier. There they must unite the Roman Emperor Caesar Constantius with an enemy to save the time line and return home. This proves to be a difficult task since his enemy, the Alemanni teen Crocus, was made a slave after the Emperors soldiers killed his father. Crocus hated the Romans and only wanted revenge for his father death.

Sarah and John go through a lot of death-defying adventures to accomplish their task and return home. They fight in the arena, go on the run from the Romans, are turned into slaves, fight wild wolves and much more. The odds seem insurmountable, but they must endure if they ever want to get back to their own time and family.

CONCLUSION

Sol Invictus is an action-packed adventure into ancient Roman times. Mixed with a little history and a lot of imagination this book has it all for a young reader. There are ancient sword and shield battles, arena fighting with wild animals, chases through rough mountainous country, the defeat of capture and slavery, and the joy of friendship and camaraderie. This book has plenty to keep a young reader enthralled.

My only criticism is the constant referral to the first book in this series. My OCD wanted me to stop reading this book and start at the beginning of the series. Sol Invictus is a strong book and can stand on its own without the constant reminder of the previous book. If you can get past this little inconvenience, then you will truly enjoy this story.

My final thoughts on this book are: it is a great read. It has a lot of action and suspense, there are times of joy and sorrow, but overall, I’m glad I read it. Now, I must go get the first book, so I can appease my OCD.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank Ben Gartner, NetGalley, and Crescent Vista Press for affording me the opportunity to review Sol Invictus.

The Moth and the Mountain – Review

Litercurious Book Review

TitleThe Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of
Love, War, and Everest
AuthorEd Caesar
PublisherAvid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
(November 17, 2020)
FormatKindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, MP3 CD
Pages / File288 / 17784 KB
LanguageEnglish
GenreThriller, Suspense, Drama
ISBN 10/131501143379/ 978-1501143373

AUTHOR

Find out about Ed Ceaser here.

SYNOPSIS

The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest is the story of a troubled WWI veteran and his trek to find solace and meaning in his life. Maurice Wilson survived the war to end all wars, but not un-scathed. He was wounded in a horrific battle in France. Even though his physical wounds healed, his mental injuries could not be healed as easily. Maurice went through marriages, and traveled, looked for solace in different religions and beliefs.

Somewhere along the way he got the idea of climbing Mt Everest…alone. A man of determination, he learned how to fly, trained himself relentlessly, and started to procure supplies needed for his adventure. His plan was to fly to Everest, land on the lower slopes and climb to the summit. The authorities had other plans for him and worked tirelessly to prevent his trip. Maurice, however, sidestepped their attempts and just as doggedly continued his trek clandestinely.   

Maurice did make it to Everest, but to learn how and what happened, you will need to read the book.

CONCLUSION

The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest is a very good book. The author does a fantastic job describing the times, politics, and environment of the day. His descriptions of the horrendous battles leave little doubt as to the mental strain those young men endured, and later suffered from.

The author obviously researched his subject well and it is evident in the script how much he admires Maurice.

Overall, I found the book entertaining, thought provoking, and intriguing. The struggles that Maurice went through in life and his pursuit of Everest are inspiring. To overcome his post traumatic disorder, challenge himself, and embark on such a dramatic enterprise is awe inspiring.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in history, aviation, soldiers, or who will appreciate the inspiration that this man brings.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Ed Ceaser, NetGalley, and Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for affording me the opportunity to review The Moth and the Mountain: A True Story of Love, War, and Everest.

EPIC SOLITUDE – Review

LITERCURIOUS BOOK REVIEW

TitleEpic Solitude
AuthorKatherine Keith
PublisherBlackstone Publishing; Unabridged Ed.,
(Feb. 4 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover, MP3 CD, and Audiobook     
Page280
LanguageEnglish     
ISBN #/ASIN #9781538557044 / B07XJ8165Y     

‘Iditarod, the thousand-mile dogsled race across Alaska.’

Katherine Keith (2020); Blackstone Publishing; (Feb. 4 2020).

AUTHOR

Find the Author’s webpage here & here.  You can also find Katherine Keith on: Instagram at katherine.keith; Facebook at EpicSolitude; or on Twitter @KatKeith

TARGET AUDIENCE

I would say that this work has a universal appeal.

SYNOPSIS

Katherine Keith is epic and so is her manuscript. In a world where people breakdown or have a conniption-fit if their phone runs out of power there are others; extraordinary, resilient, talented, survivors that put the rest of us to shame. Whilst most of us consider we have had a bad day if we miss a phone call or a connection at the airport; this woman deals with exceptional challenges and never fails to meet them head on.

Katherine takes us on a journey from her most formative years as an adolescent and on to her 20’s. Partly forgotten memories emerge and create dissonance that she combats through the implementation of superhuman physical challenges. She tries to rein in her early experiences against the back drop of mountains, wild rivers, and valleys.

At 21 years old Katherine moved to Alaska and performed several jobs before finding her reason to remain. Happiness is fleeting, and an accident leads her to dig deep and change her circumstance. Coping with deep-seated loss, she seeks to drive away the overwhelming sadness with training; ultimately competing in the Iron Man Race and in several triathlons. Practical problems require practical solutions and we are there along for the ride as Keith uses academia to elevate herself substantially, economically, and psychologically. She endures through pilot training and engine malfunctions to earn her private pilot certificate.

One cannot help but feel inadequate for all that this woman achieves through sheer brute determination and personal application. Set against all the trials and tribulations is Keith’s passion for the wilderness and its solitude. In the wilds facing down the elements, living on the edge, and racing across the environment you feel she is the freest.

Interspersed through the book are Keith’s recollections of her Endurance Dog Sled Races. These races include: the Yukon Quest, the Iditarod, the Kobuk 400, and the Kuskokwim 300. They occurred during a period that spanned from 2012 to 2017 set against numerous and increasingly destructive personal experiences.

I am filled with admiration for Katherine Keith’s ability to get up again and again and continue fighting. She is all the more exceptional as she was also a single parent with all the responsibility that brings.

Her spiritual beliefs she found to be irreplaceable. When times were at their worst, she gained solace in their tenants. We are left in no doubt that without her core beliefs she would have had to struggle even harder to survive.

CONCLUSION

I have no reluctance in recommending this book to you. Katherine Keith’s tale is genuinely epic, as is the woman herself. After all the adversity, grief, heartache, misery and misfortune Katherine has never given up on her goals. She is currently working her way to climb 7 Summits in 3 years.

They are as follows:

  • Mt. Everest
  • Aconcagua
  • Denali
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Mt. Elbrus
  • Vinson Massi
  • Carsten Pyramid
  • Puncak Jaya [AKA Mt. Koscuiuszko]

When she isn’t planning the next adventure, she can be found working in her company with John Baker, owners of Remote Solutions, LLC based in the town of Kotzebue, Alaska. They provide the community with essential project management support and design tailored for remote communities.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

My sincere thanks go out to: NetGalley, the Author, Katherine Keith, Blackstone Publishing (2020) for affording me the opportunity to review; Epic Solitude.

World’s Greatest Cities – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Reviews

TitleWorld’s Greatest Cities: A Journey Through the Most
Dynamic and Fascinating Cities in the World
AuthorEditors of Chartwell Books
PublisherChartwell Books (11 Aug 2020) 
FormatHardcover
Pages256
LanguageEnglish
ISBN #9780785837947

AUTHOR

Editors of Chartwell Books

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

The World’s Greatest Cities is a book for all those who share a love of travel and exploration. Those who enjoy owning beautiful, high quality products will appreciate this tome. Anyone who has a yearning for knowledge of places beyond their reach or current understanding would benefit from the clear and concise information herein and the convincing visuals. For those who mourn the loss of the Cathedral Notre Dame, the edifice is included in this volume.

SYNOPSIS

Imagine for a moment that you can visit 30 of the most wondrous cities in the world all from the comfort of your own living room; well now you can. The World’s Greatest Cities reference guide from the stable of Chartwell Books, will provide you with such an experience. Whilst this book can never rival actually being there, the visuals provide you with a genuine sense of the neighborhood.

Each of the 30 cities has its own section complete with photos and descriptions. Each section frequently combines several of the following; topographical maps, satellite imagery, detailed architectural illustrations, inset images, the global and national location of each metropolis, and 2 dimensional virtual depictions of specific sites. In addition there are: numerous first person ground level photographs, day and night photographs of various venues, detailed building models including cut aways that reveal hidden secrets of the construction. These elements combine to present a vibrant, colorful, and exciting vision of the 30 metropoleis. The authors also include detailed information relating to each city, a key containing pertinent information relating to specifics about the area and the Global Positioning System (GPS) data.

CONCLUSION

The authors, illustrators, and photographers of World’s Greatest Cities have created a product beautiful to the eye and intriguing to the mind. It would sit comfortably next to other reference materials in any library.

If I had one concern, it is that I was disappointed with the Hagia Sofia Mosque depictions. Of all the pictures in the entire book, the images of the Mosque were of the most inferior quality, and in my opinion remain a missed opportunity.

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed reading World’s Greatest Cities, I didn’t warm to it as much as I did to a similar publication from the same stable. Check out my review of World’s Greatest Wonders to see the differences. Nevertheless, it is a magnificent edition.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Editors of Chartwell Books, NetGalley, and Chartwell Books for affording me the opportunity to review World’s Greatest Cities.

WALKING TO SAMARKAND – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleWalking To Samarkand: The Great Silk Road
from Persia to Central Asia
AuthorBernard Ollivier, (Translator Dan Golembeski)
PublisherSkyhorse (April 14, 2020)
FormatKindle, Hardcover
Pages312
LanguageEnglish
ISBN # 10/131510746897 / 978-1510746893

Life’s caravan is hastening on its way;
Brood not on troubles of the coming day,
But fill the wine-cup, ere sweet night be gone,
And snatch a pleasant moment, while you may.

Quatrains of Omar Khayyam (tr. Whinfield, 1883). Vol. 1, Quatrain 137

AUTHOR

Bernard Ollivier is a French Author who has become the inspiration for a generation. Once he retired he decided that rather than embrace leisurely afternoons in one locations he preferred the adventure of travel primarily by self perambulation. 7,456 miles later we have the benefit of his experiences, his reflections, and his opinions gleaned on his journeys, in a range exquisitely written travelogues.

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE

All of those with an adventurous heart.

SYNOPSIS

With the aid of Dan Golembeski, the translator of Walking To Samarkand, Ollivier has managed to cram his personal account into a seemingly impossible 312 pages.

Ollivier whisks us away with him from Bazaar to Bukhara across oceanic desert through multiple borders, and caravansaries (old world Bed and Breakfast, B&B’s). Our journey transports us to the magnificence of Samarkand in all its rare beauty. Along the way he introduces us to a host of characters including; the Robber-Cop, the pilgrims on the road to Mash-had, the Turkmens of Tehran and a myriad of other fascinating strangers.

We accompany Ollivier though our minds eye. We see and fell through his senses. We experience the sounds, the sights and the sensations through his exquisite descriptions. We feel as the heat rises and the competing demands of balancing hydration against the weight of carrying the priceless water press heavily on his mind. There is even a fleeting chance of a romantic liaison.

After Ollivier’s enormous effort the city of bright water and colorful people is finally in sight, and what a sight she is. For a millennia, Samarkand was the apple in many a tyrant’s eye. From the Khanates of Burkkara and Kniva to the Achaemenid Kings they all shared a thirst for her water resources. Samarkand is the very definition of an oasis in the desert. She has stood on the Great Silk Road from the beginning. Today however, Samarkand stands on the Great Cotton Road. White Gold, as cotton is referred to, has replaced the spices and other valuables. The road has had many names in the past; including the Golden Road during the time of the Achaemenid Kings. Who knows what it will called in the future. What we can say is that whatever the road is called, Samarkand will almost certainly remain a jewel of the desert.

CONCLUSION

It was a joy, a pleasure and an honor to have accompanied Bernard Ollivier on his journey, all be it vicariously though the pages of his manuscript. The phrase that ‘travel broadens the mindholds true. Ollivier includes a plethora of information about the culture, the language, and the people of the region. I am amazed he managed to consolidate all of his observations so succinctly. I can still sense the bustling Grand Bazaar, the heat of the day, and the sight of the once great Bibi-Khanym Mosque (now a UNESCO site).

If you have one adventurous bone in your body then you will love this journal. I heartily recommend Walking To Samarkand.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Bernard Ollivier, NetGalley, and Skyhorse for affording me the opportunity to review Walking To Samarkand.

I would like to make a special acknowledgment to Dan Golembeski for the exceptional job of translating Walking To Samarkand.