I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 5
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 1, 2012

Summary – I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906

Ten-year-old Leo loves being a newsboy in San Francisco — not only does he get to make some money to help his family, he’s free to explore the amazing, hilly city as it changes and grows with the new century. Horse-drawn carriages share the streets with shiny new automobiles, new businesses and families move in every day from everywhere, and anything seems possible.

But early one spring morning, everything changes. Leo’s world is shaken — literally — and he finds himself stranded in the middle of San Francisco as it crumbles and burns to the ground. Does Leo have what it takes to survive this devastating disaster?

First Thoughts

I’ve read the first couple of books in the series and I’m going down the line.

Book Cover

The cover is “realistic” enough in the sense that shows the heart of what the story is about – right in the middle of the natural disaster.

Plot

Leo goes about his normal life, selling newspapers and occasionally getting beaten up by some local bullies. He treasures his father’s piece of real gold that was passed down from his father’s father.

Then the earthquake happens and the fire spreads. Leo and his friend stick together in order to survive and possibly get out of the city – but there’s really nowhere to go. The journey they go on for those few hours is a great one of determination and survival that no one should ever have to go through. It was an interesting read.

Characters

Leo and his friend Morris were great characters to read about through this tragedy. They even help the two bullies out when they were in trouble and even become friends with one of them. It was great character development for all of them throughout.

Writing Style

As always, this book was a quick and easy read. There was just enough information about the natural disaster, but it wasn’t thrown into your face.

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great, informative read. Even though it’s a big young, anyone can read it and get something out of it.

3.3

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I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission should you purchase anything from these links. It’s no extra cost to you and supports this blog. If you’d like to learn more about affiliate links on this website, please read my Privacy Policy. Thank you.
I borrowed a paperback copy of this book from my library. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis | Historical Fiction | Middle Grade | Book Blogger | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Title: I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived, 3
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 2011

Summary – I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005

His whole world is underwater…

Barry’s family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. But when Barry’s little sister gets terribly sick, they’re forced to stay home and wait out the storm.

At first, Katrina doesn’t seem to be as severe a storm as forecasters predicted. But overnight the levees break, and Barry’s world is literally torn apart. He’s swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive the storm of the century – alone?

First Thoughts

These are quick reads and I enjoy the historical tidbits. After reading the first two books in the series, I grabbed the next three.

Book Cover

The cover shows Barry and a dog he rescued in the middle of Hurricane Katrina trying to find their way to safety. As always, it shows a lot about the plot and the design is well done.

Plot

Life is normal for 11-year-old Barry until the forecasters urge everyone to evacuate for the upcoming storm. Everyone is worried, though Barry doesn’t fully understand why until the storm is directly on top of them.

The plot was well executed with enough information about the historical tragedy without laying it on thick.

Characters

Barry was a good protagonist to follow along with such a story. He was strong and brave throughout the whole event. He followed his parents’ lead and overcame the storm. It was interesting to see the events through his eyes, even though he’s fictional.

Writing Style

This is a super quick and easy read. I learned more about Hurricane Katrina than I thought I knew. The information is easy to comprehend and it’s quick enough to read in one sitting.

I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This is another great addition to the I Survived series. If you’re looking for something quick with a little history boost, this is the one for you.

4

Favorite Quote

“Out there in the flood, Barry had discovered some powers of his own.”

Lauren Tarshis, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (I Survived 3)

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The Shark Attacks Of 1916 (I Survived, 2) By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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Book Review: The Shark Attacks Of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis

The Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, 2) by Lauren Tarshis | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: The Shark Attacks of 1916
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived (Book 2)
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 1, 2010

Summary – The Shark Attacks of 1916

It’s the summer of 1916 and the Jersey shore is being terrorized by a Great White shark. Can 10-year-old Chet and his friends survive a swim in the local creek?

Chet Roscow is finally feeling at home in Elm Hills, New Jersey. He has a job with his uncle Jerry at the local diner, three great friends, and the perfect summertime destination: cool, refreshing Matawan Creek.

But Chet’s summer is interrupted by shocking news. A great white shark has been attacking swimmers along the Jersey shore, not far from Elm Hills. Everyone in town is talking about it. So when Chet sees something in the creek, he’s sure it’s his imagination. . . until he comes face-to-face with a bloodthirsty shark!

First Thoughts

I read the first book of this series and enjoyed it so I wanted to continue the series. Plus, they’re quick, informative reads.

Book Cover

The book cover is nice and showcases what the book is about. The shark is creepy looking and fairly realistic which is a nice touch.

Plot

The plot of this story is, of course, the shark attacks of 1916. Back then, no one knew much about sharks and it was believed that sharks wouldn’t attack willy-nilly. They were proven wrong when a few shark attacks occurred unprovoked.

This story follows a 10-year-old boy named Chet. He and his friends hear stories about the sharks but don’t believe them. His pranks prank him making him believe there’s a shark in the water. Chet gets them back so when the real shark appears, no one believes him.

I found the plot of this story to be better executed than The Sinking of The Titanic, which is the first book in the I Survived series. I enjoyed the characters a bit more and the plot didn’t seem to go as fast. Yet, all the information was there and well done.

Characters

Chet is a regular ten-year-old boy living with his Uncle when his parents were traveling for his father’s work. Chet isn’t sure he belongs there and is happy to have made some friends. That is, until they prank each other and get into a fight.

Chet redeems himself though as do his friends. His uncle was a great character as well. I enjoyed reading this bit of history with these fictional characters telling the story.

Writing Style

Being under 100 pages, this story was well told with all the facts present. There was no filler yet there was just enough character background and development for the fictional characters who encountered a real-to-life problem. The quick read was worth it.

The Shark Attacks of 1916 By Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

This quick read is worth it. The characters are likeable, the history is easy to learn, and the facts are laid out. This is a good one if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the shark attacks of 1916.

4.7

Favorite Quote

“And then he saw it – a large gray fin, slicing through the water like a knife.”

Lauren Tarshis, The Shark Attacks of 1916 (I Survived, Book 2)

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The Sinking Of The Titanic (I Survived 1) By Lauren Tarshis [Book Review]

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Book Review: The Sinking Of The Titanic By Lauren Tarshis

Book Review: The Sinking of The Titanic (I Survived 1) by Lauren Tarshis | Middle Grade | Historical Fiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Title: The Sinking Of The Titanic, 1912
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Series: I Survived (Book 1)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Summary – The Sinking Of The Titanic

The most terrifying events in history are brought vividly to life in this new fictional series! In book 1, ten-year-old George is trapped on the Titanic — how will he survive?

Ten-year-old George Calder can’t believe his luck — he and his little sister, Phoebe, are on the famous Titanic, crossing the ocean with their Aunt Daisy. The ship is full of exciting places to explore, but when George ventures into the first class storage cabin, a terrible boom shakes the entire boat. Suddenly, water is everywhere, and George’s life changes forever.

First Thoughts

This series has always been in the back of my mind. The 9-year-old I babysit for mentioned these books to me and I decided to try to read some of his favorite books over the summer before I see him again in the fall.

Book Cover

The book cover is nice. It shows all the elements of the book and the title is big and easy to read.

Plot

This book tells the story of the Titanic through the eyes of a young boy boarded on the ship. His name is George and he’s on the Titanic with his Aunt Daisy and younger sister Penelope. They’re on their way back home to their father. When there are about three days left of their trip, the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink.

The plot is well executed and tells the story of the Titanic well. It’s a quick read and for such a subject, no information is lost or left out.

Characters

The characters in the story are fictional though they are based off real people who had survived the Titanic. George and his family meet a young boy and his father. Aunt Daisy takes the young boy since only woman and children are allowed to evacuate first.

George accidentally gets left behind. He and the boy’s father work together. I enjoyed how this played out since it really showed development in all the characters but also genuine human kindness in such a dire situation. The fictional characters are well played.

Writing Style

The writing of this book is perfect for the target age group. All the information about this historical event is there. It’s not thrown in your face or too graphic.

This book is under 100 pages. You learn a lot in a short amount of time. Reading it through a 10-year-old boy’s eyes really makes it easy to read and understand despite the subject matter.

The Sinking Of The Titanic, 1912 By Lauren Tarshis

Rating

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

The plot was well done as we were the characters though it did go a bit fast. However, it’s age-appropriate and there’s no info-dumping. This is worth a read and I look forward to the other books in the series.

4.3

Favorite Quote

“A bellowing sound, like a giant beast was dying a terrible death.”

Lauren Tarshis, The Sinking of The Titanic (I Survived, Book 1)

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Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2) By Yecheilyah Ysrayl [Book Review]

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Book Review: Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl | Historical Fiction | Creative Writing | Books | Reading | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received a free ARC of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

When Nora White is drugged by her friend she is forced to deal with the harsh reality of life in the North. She meets Keisha and the women catch a ride to The Den, a gambling and numbers hole-in-the-wall in Jacobsville New York. Unlike the upper echelon of Harlem, Nora’s new friends are hustlers but down to Earth and feels more like family. They take her to Liberty Hall where she is introduced to Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.).

Meanwhile, Nora has no idea her father has been arrested and back home Molly is hanging on by a thread. When the community discovers the truth of the alleged crime they devise a way to get Gideon out of jail but their actions could mean life or death for everyone involved. Will Nora come to her senses and return home in time to help the family or will her naiveté lead her astray once again?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is beautiful. It’s simple and easy to look at. I find it ironic that when I look at the cover, I see peace, and that’s everything this book is not.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I read the first Nora White book and enjoyed it, so I’ve been looking forward to this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Nora gets herself into an interesting situation, though she meets some fun characters and makes the best out of it, in a way. Meanwhile, her family is unraveling back home because Gideon is in jail and Nora is missing.

There’s a lot going on in this book and there’s a lot of different characters to follow. The plot flowed pretty well through it all though and it was easy to keep up with and to understand.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

There are a lot of characters and they’re all likable (except for a few here and there which I’m sure we’re not really supposed to care too much for). They all have their own agenda going on or their own conflict and everyone is intertwined with each other. It’s well done.

My favorite part about all the characters were their voices. They speak how they would if they were real and it sounds authentic adding a new level to the book.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a fast paced book with fairly short chapters. There’s plenty of dialogue but there’s also a good amount of description to back it up and paint the picture. The story flowed well and there were many moments where I turned the page fast just to see what would happen next.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a great read and held up to the first book’s standards. My only complaint was that I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and moved too quickly. It was a satisfying ending, but I felt as though there could have been a little more in between the last couple of chapters. Still, if you’re into historical fiction and read and enjoyed the first book, definitely pick this one up.

Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Young man. I don’t want any trouble. I am, however, willing to put my foot in someone’s ass, if need be.” –Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Revolution: The Nora White Story (Book 2)

Buy the book:

Amazon

Read my review of Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book 1) by Yecheilyah Ysrayl!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around! Also, check out other Book Reviews I’ve done!

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Kitty Hawk And The Curse Of The Yukon Gold By Iain Reading [Book Review]

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Book Review | Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading | RachelPoli.com

I have received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climatic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I love this book cover. It perfectly sums up some major events of the book – the plane, Kitty climbing the mountain, the whale in the background – and the art style is just great. I love looking at it and it certainly enticed me in.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I was approached by the author’s publicist about this book. I love mysteries and was intrigued by the “historical fiction” part of this story. I’ll admit, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own, but I decided to give it a try.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Kitty Hawk goes on an adventure flying off in her plane to Alaska in order to watch whales, observe, and study them. Then she runs into a group of gold thieves. She overhears their plan and they catch her before she can run away. Her mission is no longer whales, it’s the gold.

I felt as though this book was slow to start. I didn’t really get interested in it until Kitty ran into the thieves and that was around 100 pages or so into the story. When that happened, I got really into it. I felt as though the plot was cleverly crafted into the story making the history important, but not bombarding me with a history lesson.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed Kitty’s character. She was a strong protagonist and certainly knew how to take care of herself. However, a good chunk of her dialogue, especially in the beginning, was her talking to her internal self. It got confusion since her thoughts were in normal quotations and I also didn’t think it made any sense. She was having actual conversations with herself. It became annoying and I didn’t think it was needed.

Once I met Charlie, Buck, Will, and Jay, I enjoyed their characters a lot more. The four brothers were certainly a great addition to the cast. Though, I wonder if all four were needed. Their personalities were certainly different from each other.

However, Jay was the silent type. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it was almost as though he wasn’t even there. He didn’t start really speaking until the main part of their journey was halfway over. I had completely forgotten about him to the point that when his name was stated I had no idea who he was.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This story flowed well. As stated earlier, I felt as though the beginning was slow, but it did pick up when the adventure truly began. Once that happened it was smooth sailing. The history lessons were minimum but I learned a lot anyway.

I enjoyed all the description of their adventure, though a lot of the dialogue felt unrealistic to me. A lot of dialogue didn’t contain any contractions making the characters sound almost robotic. It just didn’t seem like something a person would say in real life.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

Overall, this was a great read. Once you get past the beginning it’s an enjoyable read. If you like a casual mystery and have a taste for adventure, give this one a try.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Apparently even in deadly serious situations boys simply can’t resist the urge to play like they are secret agents or something.” –Iain Reading, Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About The Series

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5).

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to Kitty Hawk World

Check out the book trailer: YouTube

About the Author:

Iain Reading | Kitty Hawk and the Yukon Gold | Book Review | YA Mystery | Historical Fiction | RachelPoli.comIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to his Amazon page.

Readers can connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to chat!

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Meet Jon Budd, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Jon Budd to my blog!

Jon Budd, author interview

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a professional archeologist working for the state of Texas. Prior to that I worked in California for the Forest Service. I am also a singer, musician, and songwriter. I have released my own album of original songs entitled, “Musical Ontology”. I have also just released my first historical fiction novel entitled, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. I have a Master of Art’s degree in anthropology specializing in archeology from a California State University. I like to write fiction based upon facts.

How long have you been writing for?

I basically write for a living in my job as an archeologist. I write a lot. However, it took nearly twenty years to write my first and only novel.

What is your writing process like?

I get an idea and work on it and let it grow organically. It’s like building a house. First you create the framework, which is the draft. Then, you refine it by adding the fixtures. Like polishing your draft. I rewrite like crazy. I must have gone through at least a dozen proofs.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

Most days I work, so I come home and spend ninety minutes a day practicing my acoustic guitar and then I write as hard as I can for an hour. I rotate chapters every day, so the book gets created as whole, together. I also like to have friends read what I write to check for typos and nonsense.

What motivates you to write?

I think that everyone has an artist inside them. I can’t draw, paint, or sculpt, so I express my personal artist through music and literature.

I didn’t consciously make any decision to become a writer. I just had an idea for what I thought would be a good, entertaining story, so I began to write it. I do remember though, a long time ago, while looking for a decent movie to rent at the local Blockbuster Video, saying to myself, “I could come up with a better story for a movie then what I see here”!

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

I always felt that my novel would be published, so it wasn’t a big thing.

Are you currently working on anything new?

Artistically, this novel drained me. That’s the way it supposed to be isn’t it? I poured everything I had into it. It’s a little painful to think about what my next literary project may be. I’m sure there will be one and I have some ideas, but that’s what they are now, just ideas, nothing firm. However, I am returning to my musical writing and performing. My next artistic endeavor will be bringing forth more original musical compositions and performances.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I am already a successful archeologist and musician.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest part is coming up with ideas for novels. That comes pretty natural. The hardest part is the hard work it takes, plodding on day after day shaping the details and characters into something that makes sense.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

I naively thought that if you wrote a good book, you would be successful. But, that’s not the case. As often in other fields, you really need to know someone. So, being a successful writer includes networking and schmoozing.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

My genre, Native American Historical Fiction, is what I know. I have a Master’s Degree in Anthropology specializing in Archeology. I have well over twenty-five years working as a professional archeology for the United States Forest Service and the State of Texas where I work now. I have studied Native American Indian culture, religion, and history since I was a boy growing up in New Mexico.

I admire JRR Tolkien who wrote, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” because he took me to a faraway place. I also admire Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote, “Two Years before the Mast” because he revealed to me that good history is entertaining. Finally, I really admire Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who wrote, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” because of his earthy and ingenious ways of weaving humor into a story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Take the first step and just begin. Commit, commit, commit. Write as hard as you can for an hour a day. Keep track of the days you write and try to set and break records for consecutive days. Write for an hour about each one of your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? That will help you develop deep, rich, memorable characters. Don’t be afraid of failing. You are only beaten when you give up. Never give up. Network, network, network. You can never have too many friends.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

The title of my novel is, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It’s about Hank and Vince who are friends. They work together for the Forest Service near Lake Tahoe in California. Vince is an archeologist and Hank is a Native American Indian Hank is from a local tribe called, “the Washo”. They have an ancient, sacred, landmark known as “Cave Rock”. This place is located on the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Precious tribal treasures are stored there. When one of Hank’s tribal elders learns that raiders have found their way into Cave Rock, he sends Hank down to San Francisco to retrieve what was stolen. Hank learns that there is a curse on Cave Rock and the strangers who have raided the cave may have set things in motion that could culminate in a terrible earthquake just like the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Hank, Vince, and a War Party of Indians must travel to San Francisco and take back what was stolen from the cave before thousands of people perish or get injured from another devastating earthquake. This is their story.

About Jon

Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jonathanbudd3. Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!

In 2017, Jon released his first historical-fiction novel entitled, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It is an adventure- fiction story about the struggle of the Washo American Indians during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush. It centers on the beautiful, pristine Lake Tahoe and reveals American Indians in a very positive light.  The novel uses ancient Washo mythology to tell a story of how these Indians persevered and eventually prospered during tumultuous Gold Rush era. The story travels in time to the initial gold discovery at Sutter’s Mill, the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and into modern times. The tale features Lake Tahoe, Cave Rock, Washo Cosmology, gold treasure, earthquakes and San Francisco.

Jon graduated with a Master of Art’s degree from California State University, Northridge. He worked for seven years for the United States Forest Service in California as an archeologist. It was while working around Lake Tahoe that he get inspired to write his novel. For the last 17 years, Jon has been working as a professional archeologist for the State of Texas.  He is currently performing as a solo guitarist and working on his next novel and his next music album. You can follow Jon and his art at www.jonbudd.org. You can reach Jon at jonbudd@yahoo.com.

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Buy Jon’s Book

The Legend of the Washo Gold by Jon BuddThe Legend of the Washo Gold portrays Native Americans in a very favorable light. It reveal the way one tribe could have overcome the invasion of their precious homeland by the onslaught of white miners during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush. The Legend of the Washo Gold is a thrilling adventure! Thieves have broken into the Washo Tribe’s sacred cave. Hank, a modern day warrior, is assigned the task of recovering what was stolen before an ancient curse triggers a repeat of the devastaing 1906 Great San Fransico Earthquake. He must overcome hi doubt about his tribe’s ancient religion and lead a war party of his companions to recover a cursed Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

The Legend of the Washo Gold is available on Amazon as Kindle and paper back. It’s an excellent read.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Book Review | Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Title: Renaissance: The Nora White Story
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
Published: 
July 15, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I got the book: I received a free eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

When seventeen-year-old NoraWhite successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.

The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.

Shocked by their daughter’s disappearance, Gideon and Molly White are plagued with visions of the deadly south, like the brutal lynching of Gideon’s sister years ago. As the couple embark on a frightening and gut wrenching search for Nora, they are each stalked by their own traumatic past. Meanwhile, Noralearns that the North is not all it’s cracked up to be and struggles to accept her prestigious family’s dark secrets.

Can Gideon and Molly overcome their disturbing past in time to find their daughter before it’s too late?

My Review:

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I heard about this book through the author’s bio when she contacted me to do a guest post on my blog. I asked for more information and the book sounded intriguing with a little mystery twist to it.

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The story follows Nora as she tries to follow her dreams. The novel takes place in the 1920s, so it’s hard for a young woman to go after what she wants, especially if she’s also black.

As her parents try to convince Nora that her dreams aren’t good enough, Nora decides to take fate into her own hands and leaves without a word. From there, we go back and forth between Nora and her parents following both as her parents try to find her and as Nora tries to make her dreams a reality.

It’s a great plot idea and the time period makes it all the more interesting.

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While I enjoyed all the characters and they were all unique from one another, I felt as though I didn’t get a good chance to get to know them all.

Judging from the title, this story should be about Nora, but as the novel went on we learned more about her parents and less about Nora.

By the end of the novel, I felt I had a good grasp on Gideon and Molly, but Nora was still somewhat of a mystery to me as was her friend, Lisa.

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I was confused at the beginning of most chapters. Some chapters had headings such as which point of view we were in, but not all of them. Some chapters mentioned the year date, other chapters mentioned a location and one chapter even indicated the time. Some chapter headings didn’t say anything at all and I found this be really confusing. I couldn’t keep track of who I was supposed to be following or where I was.The author’s writing is beautiful. She captivates the dialect of the southern speak wonderfully

However, the author’s writing is beautiful. She captivates the dialect of the southern speak wonderfully and I found the description of each and every action and location to just roll off my tongue as I read.

rp-overall

The novel stands at about 150-pages long. I felt as though much more could have been done with it. By the end of the story, I realized book one seems to be a build-up for book two. Still, I’m interested in reading book two when it comes out.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl gets…
4 stars book review4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“And the arts… could not exist without the continual growth of emerging talent.” –Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Renaissance: The Nora White Story

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl will be available JULY 15, 2017.

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Meet Phyllis Edgerly Ring, Author

It’s my pleasure to welcome Phyllis Edgerly Ring to my blog.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Because I began life as an Army brat, and I’m a Baha’i, I value a world citizen’s perspective about where our human family is going on its shared journey.

My nonfiction books explore how to create balance between the spiritual and material aspects of life. I write fiction because, like so much of art, it can help us discover just what shape this balance is taking within our own lives. More than any other kind of writing, book-length fiction requires an absorption and immersion that will lead to what wants to be known and realized — in a story, and in a life. When a writer goes the distance with this, it allows mysterious unseen threads to weave into what both emotions and spirit can recognize as true and, in that recognizing, encounter what transcends this earthly life.

How long have you been writing for?

Since my teens and, in a focused way — selling and publishing work — since my late 20s. I wrote for magazines and newspapers, which was a great way to build the skills I now value and rely on as I write books.

What is your writing process like?

I allow whatever portion of a work that wants to come to reveal itself and I capture it down. I’ve never started at the beginning, but what the beginning is always becomes clear as I allow the process to reveal things in its own way, which is almost never in chronological order. Once enough pieces come into existence, they begin to show me how they connect and relate to each other, and what further directions to take. This, for me, is one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I’m possessive and protective about the start of my day (which may come even before the sun shows up) because of the quality of its energy. For newly arriving writing, this is the very best time. For revision work, late morning and late afternoon seem best. I don’t necessarily get words onto a page every day, but I am always writing – living with the work, and “noodling” and discovering more about it.

What motivates you to write?

The utter joy of it, immersion in this deeply absorbing and revealing experience. As some writers describe, it can be like living in my own movie. Plus, the research that most of my writing requires is a delight for nerdy me. It never feels like work, just pure delight in discovery, with inevitable surprises.

What was the first thing you did when you found out your book was being published?

Called my sister, who is also a writer, as was our mother. Then I went straight downtown to inform my wonderful local independent bookstore.

Are you currently working on anything new?

My first book for children, Jamila Does Not Want a Bat in Her House, is coming out this year. And my latest novel, The Munich Girl, keeps me busier as I interact with book clubs and other widening circles of readers, and offer presentations about it at libraries and such. I’ve also waded into 2 new projects. One is what I’d term spiritual memoir, based on my experience with writing The Munich Girl and some of the nearly inexplicable synchronicities that it brought. The other is historical fiction set in 19th-century New England.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

Something that incorporates the powerful role of story in human experience, and healing. I worked in the healing field early in my life. I learned that story plays an enormous part in how people heal, because it supports how they come to resolution, understanding, and eventually, find peace as they make meaning about life experience.

What is the easiest part of writing for you? What is the hardest part?

The easiest: that it’s there waiting for me everyday, and I can pursue it anywhere I am in the world. Hardest (sometimes, at least), is that every writing work has its own timetable, directly related to the one connected with my own development, and that it’s wise not to try to force or speed up.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

If I am true to the nature of my own writing self, allow it to be the soul-led experience it is, the process will be enjoyable, full of discovery, even empowering. It will amaze me. And, I believe, it will be a part of what transforms me.

What is your favorite book or genre? Is there a special book that made you realize you wanted to write?

Historical fiction has attracted me from my earliest (grade school) reading days. The first book I read on my own that made a huge impact on me (third grade) was a biography of the medieval life and work of St. Elisabeth.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read, persevere, learn craft — do all of these until you find both your voice and the process that works for you. Then relish the rewriting as much as you do the exciting early drafting that brings with it so much discovery. Also, learn how to be edited, so that you’re able to recognize when someone’s applying this fine skill to your work and it really does improve it, help you past your blind spots, etc.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I love hearing from readers with their thoughts and reflections about my books. They can contact me at info@phyllisring.com. Thanks very much for this opportunity, Rachel. ☺

Author bio:

Phyllis Edgerly Ring lives in New England and returns as often as she can to her childhood home in Germany. She has studied plant sciences and ecology, worked as a nurse, been a magazine writer and editor, taught English to kindergartners in China, and frequently serves as workshop facilitator and coach for others’ writing projects. Her published work includes fiction and inspirational nonfiction.

Connect with Phyllis Edgerly Ring:

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s Books:

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An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo book review by Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads

Title: An Elephant in the Garden
Author: 
Michael Morpurgo
Genre: Young adult historical fiction
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

With Lizzie’s father fighting in World War II, her mother takes on the job of a zoo keeper to provide for her family. Lizzie, her mother, and her eight-year-old brother Karli have become especially attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene. The bombing of Dresden is imminent and soon, so the zoo director explains that as a precautionary measure all the animals must be destroyed so that they’re not running wild through the city. Lizzie’s mother persuades the director to allow Marlene, the elephant, to come stay in the family’s garden.

As predicted, Dresden is bombed, and the family, including Marlene, is forced from the city. Lizzie and her family aren’t alone. Thousands of Dresden residents are fleeing to find somewhere safe to stay. Lizzie’s mother has to find a different route out of the city to keep the elephant and the children safe from harm. Once they reach the abandoned home of their relatives, they come across Peter, a Canadian navigator who, by putting himself at risk of capture to save the family, gains their trust.

My Review:

 

Like all Holocaust stories, this book can be a difficult read. But this story was unlike the other World War II stories I’ve read and in that sense, it can be a refreshing read. It’s bittersweet.

The protagonist, Lizzie, is old and frail living in a nursing home. She befriends a nurse and her son, Karl, who happens to have the same name as Lizzie’s little brother. This prompts her to tell her story on the anniversary it happened so many years ago during World War II.

Lizzie was 16-years-old when her father went off to war, their city was bombed by the Americans and British, and they had to journey through the dark and cold struggling for food and shelter. It was just her, her mother, little brother, and their elephant, Marlene, who was brought home by their mother from the zoo.

Most Holocaust stories are about the Jews in the camps, their experiences, horror stories, and how they survived and stayed strong. Lizzie and her family are Germans who disagreed with Hitler. When you think of the Holocaust you think of two sides: the Jews and the Nazis. You don’t think about the other Germans who were actually good, who didn’t agree with Hitler and wanted peace.

Yet Lizzie and her family were caught up in the war because all of Germany was bombed and attacked in an attempt to free the Jews. They didn’t decide to just attack the Nazis, they attacked Germany as a whole and that resulted in so much more innocent lives lost and destroyed.

The overall story was told nicely as Lizzie narrated her life. Once in a while, the story would bounce back to present day as Lizzie in the hospital with her nurse and the nurse’s son sitting by her bedside intrigued by the story.

The characters were fun to read about. Each one had a purpose and was strong and brave in their own way. They were all imporant and easy to read.

This book is inspired by true events, but I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. Either way, it’s an important read.

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“What we are seeing now is a world gone mad, children, a world full of brutes, all intent on killing one another. And we should not forget that we are all responsible for making it happen, for letting it happen.” –Michael Morpurgo, An Elephant in the Garden

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