Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero – Christian Di Spigna

Founding MartryYou all know the story of Dr. Joseph Warren, don’t you? Surely you remember him. He was a close friend of Samuel Adams and he spearheaded the original group of insurgents in Boston. Shortly before the Battle of Bunker Hill he was made a Major General. He died at the Battle of Bunker Hill. His character was featured in a miniseries but I can’t recall learning of him during American History studies. This comprehensive biography tells the story of Dr. Warren, a man so important to the revolution that if he had lived, our capital might be named Warrenton. Joseph Warren was the eldest son of a gentleman farmer in Roxbury, two miles south of Boston. After he graduated from Harvard he apprenticed with Dr. James Lloyd, one of Boston’s most famous physicians. Soon he had a thriving practice and was on his way to becoming a very wealthy man. But when he became convinced that America should be free and independent he did everything he could to make it happen. He ran the rebels’ first spy ring, was at the center of almost every major conflict, and was a fine and moving orator. This is a very thoroughly researched book, well written and thoughtful, hard to put down. I hope that it will find many readers, for Dr. Warren deserves to be remembered.

eGalley review                                                   Publication date 8.14.18

Posted in Uncategorized, biography, adult | Tagged

The Raging Ones – Krista Ritchie and Becca Ritchie

The Raging OnesFrom the publisher: “In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds. Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday. Until the day she does. Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.
Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.
With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.”

Earth has colonized three different planets.  Court, Franny, and Mykal live on a cold planet blanketed with lavender clouds, so thick the sun does not shine through and stars are not visible.  At birth, a prick with an instrument reads the child’s death date.  There are three categories: Babes – destined to die in childhood, Fast Trackers – die before 30, and Influentials – die after a very long life.  Court, Franny, and Mykal are all Fast Trackers but miraculously live past their death dates.  When this happens, they become linked with each other feeling emotions and sensations.  Court is the most driven and determined that they should have a better life.  Against all odds he intends to get them off planet by getting all three into the elite Stardust program as crew of the only space ship that has ever left the planet.

Very clever!  The authors have taken an interesting premise, advance knowledge of death date, and built a society around this.  Each character is well developed with a rich background yielding plenty of emotional depth.  The pacing is brisk, the characters are often duplicitous, and the plot is layered. The alternating voices of the three main characters move the story along without getting redundant in plot.  It’s all very well done leaving the reader wanting more.  I eagerly await the sequel.  Highly recommend

eGalley review                                                                   Publication date 8.14.18

Posted in dystopian, highly recommend, science fiction, Uncategorized

Three Things About Elsie – Joanna Cannon

Three Things about ElsieEighty-four-year-old Florence was quite happy living in her own flat. But the council decided that she needed help coping and now she finds herself at Cherry Tree, an assisted living facility. Unfortunately, Florence, considered difficult, stubborn, far too independent, has been put on probation. If things don’t change, she will be sent to Greenbanks. But Florence is sure (well, almost sure) that the odd things that keep happening to her are the fault of a new resident who is out for revenge. He looks just like Ronnie Butler. Even Elsie says he looks just like Ronnie. The problem is, Ronnie drowned in 1953. This is a little mystery story and a big story about the struggles with the onset of dementia. And it is also a story about how all lives make a difference. Flo is a wonderful character, full of life, funny. And she is trying desperately to understand what’s happening to her. Her best friend Elsie helps her sort things out, always makes her feel better. It is a bittersweet, gentle story, told with love and compassion.

eGalley review                                                                         Publication date 8.7.18

Posted in adult, gentle reader, mystery, realistic fiction, Uncategorized | Tagged

Worlds 2 – Eric Flint

Worlds 2I have enjoyed Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire alternative history books, and just had not noticed that he writes other stuff. I have noticed now. This really long book (544 pages) contains some Ring of Fire short stories and a short novel, several other short stories, a long steampunk novella, and a lot more. I got a kick out of his three stories “From the Pen of a Grouchy Atheist.” They were outrageous, and a ton of fun. As a big plus, Flint’s introduction to each story in the book includes a bit about its origin. Flint fans will love this book.

eGalley review                                    Publication date 8.7.18

Posted in adult, science fiction, story collection, Uncategorized | Tagged

Jefferson’s Treasure: How Albert Gallatin Saved the new nation from Debt – Gregory May

Jefferson's TreasureThe Federalists were not happy campers when Thomas Jefferson appointed Albert Gallatin Secretary of the Treasury in 1801. This was the man who was responsible for the Republican win. And now, this immigrant who spoke with a heavy French accent, who was from back county Pennsylvania, who had been Hamilton’s greatest critic, who had objections to spending any federal money, was to be in charge! Disaster was imminent! But Gallatin understood finance very, very well, and he knew that he must work to make the new nation debt free if it were to survive. And to free the country from debt he knew it could only be achieved by restraining the federal government’s fiscal power. I am amazed that Gallatin is so little known. Besides his influence in finance he was an adviser to Jefferson, Madison, and all of the notable Republicans. He served on the Treaty of Ghent commission that ended the War of 1812, was ambassador to France and Britain, helped found New York University, studied the languages of Native Americans and founded the American Ethnological Society. Whew. Gregory May, an internationally known tax expert, has written a very readable book, full of interesting asides, interesting facts. Gallatin became flesh and blood to me, a real person, and a very important person in the history of the United States of America. This is a must read for anyone interested in early American history.               Highly recommend.

eGalley review                                                                  Publication date 8.6.18

Posted in adult, biography, highly recommend, history, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Dancing on Thin Ice: Travails of a Russian Dissenter – Arkady Polishchuk

Dancing on Thin IceFor twenty-three years, from 1950 to 1973, Arkady Polishchuk, a Russian Jew, worked as a journalist for Russian media, and for much of that time he also worked on behalf of persecuted Jews and Christians who were denied emigration. His memoir, told with humor and irony, chronicles unbelievable suffering, forced labor, show-trials, constant surveillance. He lived in the fear that soon, he too, will be targeted. After he was given permission to emigrate in 1977, he continued working to end these abuses. This book was eye-opening for me. I’d been aware of the human rights abuses in Russia during that time. But when a name, a face, is put on the suffering it becomes all too real, almost unbelievable. It describes a depressing life, where a three-bedroom apartment will house three families, where all too often people live on the edge of starvation. Where people can just disappear. But it is told in such a matter-of-fact manner. That’s what life is like, don’t worry about it. Reading this was sometimes difficult, but it was good for me, made me think about how much we take our life, our human rights, for granted.

eGalley review                                                                         Publication date 7.31.18

Posted in adult, biography, history, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

The Quiet Side of Passion (Isabel Dalhousie #12) – Alexander McCall Smith

Quiet Side of PassionWork keeps piling up for Isabel. Editing the Review of Applied Ethics takes so much time, and Cat seems to always need extra help at the deli. She would love to have more time with her boys. Magnus and Charlie are growing up far too fast. Jamie thinks that perhaps hiring some help would be a good thing, and Isabel reluctantly agrees. So, an au pair from Italy and an editorial assistant from the university join the household. But, somehow, things get more difficult for Isabel. There is a bit more mystery in this book than usual, but it isn’t the main story line. Or maybe it is. It’s hard to tell, since most of the book is filled with Isabel’s musings. And that’s why I love these books. Isabel can fill several pages deciding just why she invited a friend for coffee. Mostly, everything is quiet, gentle, so very civilized. I need that. This is book 12, but there is a bit of background included so it can be read alone.

eGalley review                                                                      Publication date 7.31.18

Posted in adult, realistic fiction, Uncategorized