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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Book Review: Storing Up Trouble (American Heiresses Book #3) By Jen Turano

Storing Up Trouble (American Heiresses, #3)


When Miss Beatrix Waterbury's Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape.

Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract.

But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix's safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

Jen Turano

Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. Readers may find her at 


This is the 3rd book in the American Heiress series. While this is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone. There are so many reasons to love this book. Let's start with the cover. It is beautifully done with such a striking woman in the center. The author is known for quirky, loveable characters. This book is no different. Beatrix might be my most favorite main character as of late.  Beatrix Waterbury has been sent to Chicago to stay with her aunt. On this train ride - it is interrupted with a train heist - and due to this Beatrix meets Norman. Beatrix is outspoken and a strong female. Norman and Beatrix butt heads - but the book follows their journey - with many laughs along the way. Jen always writes such amazing, original stories. This is set in 1886 - in a time where women did not have much of a voice. The author always writes memorable characters and storylines. I received a copy of this book through the author -- all thoughts are my own. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Book Review: Alabama and the Civil War: A history and guide by Robert C. Jones

Alabama and the Civil War: A History & Guide by [Robert C. Jones]


Alabama's role in the Civil War cannot be understated. Union raids into northern Alabama, the huge manufacturing infrastructure in central Alabama and the Battle of Mobile Bay all played significant parts. A number of important Civil War figures also called Alabama home. Major General Joseph Wheeler was one of the most remarkable Confederate cavalry commanders in the west. John "the Gallant" Pelham earned the nickname for his bravery during the Battle of Fredericksburg. John Semmes commanded two of the most famous commerce raiders of the war--the CSS Sumter and the CSS Alabama. Author Robert C. Jones examines the people and places in Alabama that shaped the Civil War.


Robert C. Jones served as President of the Kennesaw Historical Society for 21 years (1994-2015), and also served as a member of the executive board of the Kennesaw Museum Foundation for 17 years (1998-2015).  The Foundation helped fund the 45,000 square foot Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw, GA.
Robert has written 50+ books on various historical topics, including the Civil War, Revolutionary War, World War I & II, the War of 1812 and ghost towns.  They can all be accessed from this Web site.
In 2018, Robert received an award from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution for "Women in American History".
Robert is also available as a guest speaker in Georgia, Alabama, Eastern Kansas, Western Missouri, SE Pennsylvania, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee.  I'm willing to speak in other states as long as travel, lodging and food expenses are provided.

More: HERE

This book is a well researched tool to add to my Civil War Arsenal. I am originally from Ohio - but now call Alabama home. The book opens up with short biographies on the key players. The book features some key players that are not well known. There were a couple that I am trying to back track and find more information on since they were so fascinating. I had not known about Juliet Ann Opie Hopkins. She and her husband started military hospitals that cared specially for Alabama Soldiers. Which I thought was pretty cool. In a time period where most women did not have a voice, it was amazing to see what she was able to accomplish. I also had not heard of John Washington Inzer. The interesting thing about Inzer is that in 1867 he was removed as probate judge by the military authorities. I hope to find out  more about this instance, since he went on to become a Senator. 
The book then moves into the Alabama Civil War Timeline. It breaks Alabama's involvement down chronologically. I like that it tells the story in how Alabama went from part of the Union, to seceedng to Jefferson Davis being elected to the Confederacy to the various battles in and around Alabama. 
The Third chapter is all about the Capital of the Confederacy. I have visited Confederate White House back in 2018. 

If you are ever in Montgomery - this is a stop that is worth it. 

Chapter 4 - is the bread and butter of the book. It was my favorite part - the Battles. I have my Masters in Military History. I thrive in reading about all the battles. The author uses a lot of primary sources in this so he can accurately tell the story. I LOVE primary sources. I love reading biographies, memoirs and journals. The author did a great job in recreating the time line - and giving details that are desired. The author has also included several pictures and posters from this time period. 

Chapter 5 is all about the Manufacturing portion of the war. This is something that you don't get to read about very often. I was very surprised on they heavy manufacturing aspect. I loved all the pictures and timeline that the author has included. 

Chapter 6 and Chapter 7  is all about the Prison Camps and the Forts. They are shorter chapters yet still are informative. 

Overall, this is a book written for any history nerd. I enjoyed reading this book very much. It is well researched and the author has a great deal of knowledge in his chosen subject. I enjoyed reading all about Alabama and it's involvement in the war. 

Special thanks to the publisher, Arcadia Publishing for allowing me to read and review a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own. 

You can purchase the book HERE

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Forgotten People in History -- Happy Birthday 2LT Ruth M. Gardiner

I am hoping to start a segment on my blog of forgotten people in history. 

I am starting to shape some research projects that will include some of these people. 

Today, I want to start by celebrating someone I stumbled across when I was tracking sources. 

Happy 106th birthday to Ruth M. Gardiner. She was born May 20, 1914. 

Why is she a forgotten person in history? 

Ruth Gardiner is important to history. I had never heard about her until I stumbled across women buried in Arlington. (As stated above, I was looking at sources at another book that I was reading and that lead me down a bunch of rabbit holes) 

Ruth was born in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) She and her family had attempted to move to the United States and were denied entry. Ruth was eventually able to gain access in 1917 when she was 3 years old. 

Ruth grew up living with an older sister in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from Sacred Heart High School. After graduation she enrolled in a nurses training program at White Haven Sanitorium located in White Haven, PA. She graduated this program in 1934.

In January, 1942 Ruth joined the United States Army. She trained for air evacuation at Bowman Field, KY. After completing this training program, she was assigned to the 805th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron. This is fascinating since she was only one of six Army nurses that would aid in evacuating wounded soldiers from the Aleutian Islands. She was now a Lieutenant that this time. 

On July 27, 1943, during a medical evacuation the plane she was flying on was not able to clear the top of a ridge and crashed  around Naknek, AK. All 11 people on board were killed. Lt. Gardiner is the first US Army nurse that was killed in the line of duty during WWII.

Lt. Gardnier is currently buried in Arlington National Cemetery

A Military hospital was named in her honor in July 1944. The former Chicago Hotel, that was converted to an Army hospital was named in her honor.
(Photo source: Wikipedia) 

Sources Consulted

Monday, May 11, 2020

Book Review: Echoes from Far Lands: Stories on Cultures, Farming, and Life by Ridley Nelson

Echoes from Far Lands: Stories on Cultures, Farming, and Life by [Ridley Nelson]


This ornately-detailed book guides you through the cultures and farming of five different continents. The author brings you on a rich, sparkling voyage from his birthplace in Australia, to Egypt, to English boarding schools, and to sheep stations in Australia. Walk onto a merchant ship, or into a charming English pub or tranquil village church. Glimpse the lives of African smallholder farmers and the amazing Maasai tribe. Join the author for wildlife tales told around a campfire in Kenya. Hear and absorb the wise words of a progressive women’s group in India. You will discover accounts from a vast array of human life intertwined with heart, humor and warm wit. In this first-hand, wayfaring expedition, watch in horror as an aircraft explodes in the sky, cast a line for trout in elephant and lion country, observe the human side of war through the author’s military ancestors, and, near the conclusion of you journey, take a deep breath and settle into a profound final chapter that contemplates meaning and life.

Join the author on this ride. It will be the journey of a lifetime.


Ridley Nelson has British and Australian citizenships and lives in America. He has lived in England, Australia, Egypt, India, Tanzania, Kenya and America and has visited ninety-five countries. In his youth, he worked as a jackaroo on sheep properties in Australia and took a working passage on a merchant ship. Over his career he worked as an agriculturalist and agricultural economist for several organizations including two commercial companies, the World Bank and a British overseas aid program. Now in semi-retirement he works as a rural development and project evaluation consultant.

He sails a Laser dinghy, is a fly fisher and surf fisher, and continues an amateur interest in elephants and wildlife management. While he has authored published professional reports and papers, Echoes From Far Lands is his first book,
He writes poetry, more for the creative challenge than for publication, but three have been published. He has been a guest lecturer on a cruise ship.
He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Laila, an American citizen originally from Afghanistan.
He is available to give talks about subjects covered in the book, particularly about smallholder farming in Eastern Africa, African pastoralists and the Maasai tribe, and elephants.

I took an Anthropology class in college that I enjoyed very much. I love learning about different cultures. This book gave a great perspective of other ways in the world. The author covers two parts of his life. He writes about how he gained his expertise in agricultural sciences through his studies in the UK. He also writes about his excursions to Australia and the USA during those studies. He then writes about how he used those studies to develop his career. I found this book absolutely fascinating. I loved learning about his life - how he started and how he got to where he is. I loved learning about all his experiences. This is a wonderful read. I received a copy of this book through the publisher, Mascot Books all thoughts are my own. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Book Review: Mirror Mirror Confessions of a Celebrity of a Celebrity Make up Artist By: Trista Jordan


Mirror, Mirror: Confessions of a Celebrity Makeup Artist is the story of a single mom in Hollywood leading up to—and during—the #MeToo movement. Trista uses humor, grit, and her makeup brush to rise to the top…and deal with the high-pressure demands that whipsaw her between drama, deadlines, and disasters while working with some of the most colorful characters on the planet


Trista Jordan

Trista Jordan has worked with thousands of celebrities and contributed her expertise to over 50 feature films, staged events, live shows, television series, national commercials, and music videos, most notably the Macklemore hit "Downtown," watched over 144 million times on YouTube. Her clients include: NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX and every imaginable production entity. She has worked with Academy Award winners Vera Farmiga and Jared Leto; Golden Globe-winner Christian Slater; Golden Globe-nominated Ray Liotta and Christina Ricci; as well as the winner of several awards, Jessica Biel.

Trista began a diary of her crazy life at an early age and continued journaling her wild career moments behind the scenes of her Hollywood movie escapades. When she was interviewed by ESPN during a World Series of Poker event they told her she should write a book. So she did!


I love reading books that tell stories of how people get where they are. Memoirs and Biographies are some of my favorite things to read. This book made me laugh. I had no idea how many hats a make up artist has to fill. They can be counselers, therapists, make up artists, and so much more. She sheds a light on how Hollywood can be. She gives the good, the bad and the ugly. I love the stories she tells. I would love to sit and have a drink with her. 
Thank you to Mascot Books for allowing me to read this book. all thoughts are my own. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Book Review - Chronicles of an Olympic Defector by András Tör Courtesy of Mascot Books

Chronicles of an Olympic Defector

About the Book

As the iron curtain descended on his home in Budapest, Hungary, András Tör turned to one of the few opportunities permitted by the communist government the sport of canoeing. Selected to represent Hungary in the 1960 and 1964 Olympic Games, he made a life-changing decision. With no money, no belongings, no marketable skills, and no comprehension of the English language, András Tör decided to defect.

About the Author
András Törő is an Olympic medalist and retired naval architect. He was inspired by his family and many friends to share the story of his unique odyssey from communist Hungary to the free world by way of the Olympic Games. In his spare time, András continues to enjoy his sport by coaching or practicing. Woodworking and spending time with his grandchildren are his other passions in life. He currently resides in El Cerrito, California, with his wife, Jane. Chronicles of an Olympic Defector is András Törő’s second book.

Purchase: Here

My Thoughts

This book was a very informative and great read. This is a personal memoir. I was not familiar with this time period - and I learned a lot while reading. defines defector as 


a person who defects from a cause, country, alliance, etc. 

This definition is significant since Communist Hungary had "lessened" the reigns and partook in the Olympic games. The author mentions in the book that "my native country, Hungary, was under Soviet occupation and was oppresed, particular after the uprising of 1956. Traveling abroad was only for the privileged class, which included Communist party functionaries, scientists and international sportsmen." (pg. 3) The author tells his story in biography form - He starts off with his beginnings, his introduction to sports, his journey to the Olympics, to his journey to the United States and his plight for asylum. 

One of my favorite things about this book - is the pictures. I love reading memoirs, I love reading about where people came from and how they got to be where they are. The whole book is the author's journey. It's filled with determination, heartache, censorship and the relief when he defects. 
I love how he discussed the coverage in the different newspapers around the world. Most were talking about how he defected, how he had placed 4th and made the decision to leave, and his own country did not cover it. He stated that the way people found out was through word of mouth. 
I commend the author on how brave he is to leave his home country to start from scratch. This is a wonderful read. 
I received a copy of this book through the publisher, Mascot Books. All thoughts are my own