Book Review: The Rising Tide: A Novel of World War II by Jeff Shaara

The day to day lives of the fighting men in the unforgiving Libyan dessert were tough. Not only fighting heat and exhaustion, but the British Army Dessert Rats, the Australians and New Zealanders were battling the Dessert Fox (Rommel). Rommel used what he knew about other generals to his advantage and the results were German victories.

The story moves on to 1943 where the Allies believe that Italy will be a piece of cake and they could move on the Germany. Italy did surrender but the Nazis kept on fighting. The book ends after the battles in Naples and Salerno where the Allies paid a high price for the victory and the beginning of the plan to attack the French coast.

Book Review: Heart of Lies by M.L. Malcolm
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / April 24, 2011

I got this book for free as part of the TLC Book Tour pro­mo­tion. My rating for Heart of Lies – 4 About: “Heart of Lies” by M.L. Malcolm (website | Facebook) is the fictional tale of a family, inspired by the author’s husband, which takes place after World War I until the early days of World War II. 336 pages Publisher: Harper Paperbacks ISBN: 9780061962189 Pur­chase “Heart of Lies” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Thoughts: “Heart of Lies” by M.L. Malcolm is a well written novel, with interesting characters and a fast read. Ms. Malcolm certainly knows how to write exotic scenery and move a story forward.  The international setting is exquisite, taking place mostly in Shanghai, the reader travels to Hungary, France and New York. While I did enjoy the book I felt that the mystery was one of the weakest points, as it is more a character study of a man trying to run away from his past. World War I and World War II are mentioned only in passing, but that’s understandable as the book starts in the aftermath of the first war and end in the beginning…

Fun Facts Friday: Washington – A Life
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 22, 2011

It was announced this week that Ron Chernow’s most excellent biography of George Washington, aptly named “Washington: A Life” (book review) won the Pulitzer Prize. I think the prize is well deserved, Mr. Chernow has the ability to bring historical figures to life and his books read like novels. Here are a few interesting facts I learned from “Washington: A Life” and from our family trip to Washington’s estate in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. 1)      In the French and Indian War, while fighting in the British Army, Washington got hit with four bullets in his coat and hat and had two horses shot from underneath him. Washington remained unscathed which started his bullet proof reputation. 2)      George Washington always regretted not having a college education. 3)      Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon may look like it’s build out of stone, but it’s actually wood with sand thrown on the white paint. 4)      George Washington loved animals. Over his life he had over 30 dogs and when the Revolutionary War was over, he retired his horse Nelson and forbade anyone from using him for farm work. 5)      Martha Washington spent half of the Revolutionary War with her husband and used her time to fixed…

Book Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
4 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / April 20, 2011

I bought this book. My rating for Water for Elephants –4 About: “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen is a boy meet girl story. However the setting is unique and the descriptions of early American circus scenes are well worth the admission price. 464 pages Pub­lisher: Algonquin Books ISBN: 9781616200718 Pur­chase “Water for Elephants” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Yes, I am jumping on the bandwagon and posting this entry just because the movie is coming out. Thoughts: “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen is simple to read, an interesting story with engaging characters. Even though this novel is not perfect and a standard “boy meets girl” story it does have a charming setting, the descriptions are colorful and the characters are a variety of misfits; but somehow it all works and comes together very nicely for an entertaining read. While the book has its ups and downs, the narrative seems hurried at some points, the plot contains drama galore (stampedes, murders and many fights) Ms. Gruen’s managed to take an outrageous premise, combined with romanticism and make it enjoyable. There are pictures of real American circus scenes from the first half…

Book Review: Gated Grief by Leila Levinson
5 Stars , Latest Posts , Non-Fiction / April 18, 2011

I got this book for free as a winner in a giveaway from Knitting and Sundries My rating for Gated Grief – 5 “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.” General Eisenhowser About: “Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma” by Leila Levinson who started the charity Veteran’s Children (website | Facebook | Twitter)  is a non-fiction book about the author’s five year research to understand her father’s trauma from liberating a concentration camp in World War II. The book is filled with graphic pictures which will stay with you for a long time. 272 pages Pub­lisher: Cable Publishing ISBN: 1934980544 Pur­chase “Gated Grief” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on: Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK Thoughts: “Gated Grief” by Leila Levinson is a powerful book which follows the author’s search  to find the truth about her father’s World War II experience, particularly the trauma he has suffered from witnessing the human cruelty while helping liberate Nordhausen concentration camp. Mrs. Levinson travels all over the world and the US in order to get firsthand accounts from other surviving liberators of Nazi camps. Throughout…

Factual Friday: Libraries
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / April 15, 2011

By Matl (own work (photography)) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons This week is National Library Week (April 10 – 16, 2011) sponsored by the American Library Association (website | Twitter | Facebook). Pub­lic libraries are some of the few pub­lic build­ings the pub­lic actu­ally uses. Whether you are rich or poor, edu­cated or not and no mat­ter to which polit­i­cal party you donated to, you are always wel­come at your local library – they are the great equal­izer of our society. Probably due to that fact, libraries have been bombarded with budget cuts all over the world (but that’s OK as long as the politicians get a raise for the mass they created). National Library Week has been around since 1958 and some schools make it National Library Month. If you haven’t been to the library recently I encourage you to do so. A day at the library is a “fun day” in our house – the library provides games, the kids can play, read some books, flutz around on the kids’ computer and all for free. The librarians are always very helpful, even I, who has been in the IT industry for over 20 years, acknowledge their superiority over…

Book Review: A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer

Claire Shipley, a single mother and a photojournalist working for Life magazine gets a new assignment, to document an experiment doctors are doing on a patient in New York’s Rockefeller Institute. Luckily for Claire, handsome doctor Jamie Stanton is on hand. Not so lucky is the patient.

Not enough penicillin is yet available to treat a patient all the way to a healthy life.

Classic Lit for Kids – Getting Started
Latest Posts , Opinion / April 13, 2011

As a big proponent of public education (and a critic) I realize the tough jobs teachers face and, as a former part-time instructor, I know the difficult job at hand. However, schools no longer teach a comprehensive, deeper understanding of literature due to the pressure on teachers to teach for standardize tests at the expense of critical thinking abilities. Six years ago, that became my job. Last weekend I took my son (3) to Barnes & Noble for a cup of coffee (daddy), a Batman book (for him but that’s often disputed in our household) and a creme puff which he generously split with his old man. While at the store I was looking for a book for my daughter (6), because as you know, a parent cannot buy for one child without the other getting anything. The fact that mother and daughter went $hopping for a $ummer wardrobe the day before is, seemingly, inconsequential when it comes to bestowing Bat-gifts upon her younger brother. Due to my spectacular failures of intro-to-classics in the past (“Charlotte’s Web” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) when she was younger I had to be extra careful. My beloved wife also had a few…

Sense and Senselessness or A DRM Love/Hate Story (OK, Hate)
Latest Posts , Opinion / April 12, 2011

Yesterday MediaBistro published an article quoting Richard Nash from Red Lemonade imprint stating that they are taking the unusual step of giving out eBooks for reviewers without Digital Rights Management (DRM) imprinted on them. Mr. Nash said: “Well, I don’t think consumer books should have DRM, so putting DRM on reviewers’ books is even dumber. I want to make it as easy as possible to get it to you, as easy as possible for you to read it, as easy as possible for you to assign it to a reviewer, as easy as possible for you to send it to a friend.” Do you get it, Mr. Nash’s thinking, common sense to you and me, is considered “unusual”. Newsflash if you’ve been in a cave/ivory tower/corporate America for the past 20 years. DRM has never worked. All DRM did is give honest consumers a hard time and waste the company’s money by fighting DRM pirates who are always one step ahead (at least). Not to mention that all you need is one person to crack the DRM and the file will be available to everybody. I can assure you that your DRM will be cracked in about 15 minutes after…

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