Tag Archive | military

CATASTROPHES & HEROES of man-made disasters, by Jerry Borrowman (book review)

book cover of Catastrophes & Heroes, by Jerry Borrowman. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Boats and trains,
Dams and bridges,
Engineered to work…or fail.

An overloaded Mississippi River steamboat explodes, killing 1169 Union prisoners heading home from notorious Andersonville Prison, making barely a ripple in the newspapers during the closing weeks of the Civil War.

Flawed designs by self-proclaimed experts caused the horrific 1879 Tay railway bridge collapse and costly 1940 Tacoma Narrows bridge failure.

Ignoring local geological conditions led to terrible loss of life and property as the St. Francis Dam burst in California in 1928, as did Italy’s Vajont Dam in 1963.

A hurricane killed many workers building the railroad to Key West in 1935, then sabotage derailed a new Streamliner train into a desert river in 1939, far from the nearest town.

Each of these harrowing stories includes fateful choices made and their unintended consequences, victims and first responder heroes, and the professional heroes who analyzed the catastrophe and recommended ways to prevent future disasters.

Reaction to these tragedies resulted in stronger safety requirements for the modern marvels of public works and transportation that we now take for granted.

From the author of Compassionate Soldier (recommended here) and Invisible Heroes of World War II (see here) who so ably centers the human factor amid history’s facts and lists.

How can you be more ready to respond to disasters?
**kmm

Book info: Catastrophes and Heroes: True Stories of Man-Made Disasters / Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Secrets abound at A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS! by Kathleen Baldwin (book review)

Book cover of A School for Unusual Girls, by Kathleen Baldwin. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Torture or merely draconian discipline?
Surely her parents won’t make her stay…

High society frowns on girls who prefer chemistry to needlepoint or whose frequent migraines are really visions of disaster – shutting them far, far away from the cotillions and balls of Regency London.

Yet the science experiment that burned down Father’s stable may be a blessing in disguise for Georgiana as the teen finds herself not in a reform school for rebellious girls, but a secret spy school!

Under the direction of Miss Stranje and Madame Cho, several young ladies with highly unusual talents are honing their skills in self-defense and espionage in the fight against Napoleon.

Georgie’s secret ink may give England the upper hand, if she can perfect its formula, if she can keep her heart safe from young Lord Wyatt, if they can keep French agents from stealing it!

Set in an alternate 1814 where Napoleon successfully returns from exile, this first book in the Stranje House series is followed by the equally adventurous and properly romantic Exile for Dreamers (centered on Tess), Refuge for Masterminds (Jane’s story), and Harbor for the Nightingale (Maya’s tale).

Where might your unusual talents take you?
**kmm

Book info: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, book 1) / Kathleen Baldwin. Tor Teen, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Personal purchase; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

More than meets the eye – read with your ears & AudioSYNC!

Thursday equals a pair of related new titles in the AudioSYNC program, both free for you to download before Wednesday night, 13 May 2020.

For each audioSYNC book you choose, be sure to hit ‘Borrow’ on the Sora app (downloaded on your phone or tablet). Then it will be checked out to you for 35,996 days or 100 years – enough time to listen to all 26 selections of summer 2020!

CD cover of Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis, by Paul B. Janeczko, Read by Ron Butler.  Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Secret Soldiers: How the US Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis (info here)

by Paul B. Janeczko | Read by Ron Butler | Published by Brilliance Audio

Sound effects, inflatable war machines, pyrotechnics, and camouflage – the U.S. “Ghost Army” made up of actors, set designers, audio specialists, and painters fooled German forces during World War II.

Their 20 missions made the Nazis see and hear non-existent troop maneuvers from the Normandy invasion to crossing the Rhine, ensuring Allied victory.

CD cover of Picture Us in the Light, by Kelly Loy Gilbert, Read by James Chen.  Published by Dreamscape | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Picture Us in the Light (info here)

by Kelly Loy Gilbert | Read by James Chen | Published by Dreamscape

A year after his close-knit group of friends ruptures, Danny worries about his future as an artist after high school. When the California teen discovers a box of secrets in Dad’s closet, everything his immigrant family has told him comes into question, too.

How do we camouflage our true intentions from others?
**kmm

Intertwined these three, THE MERMAID, THE WITCH AND THE SEA, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (book review)

book cover of The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

To stay alive, to stay together,
to realize that there’s more to life…
to risk everything?

Killing a man ensures their place on the pirate ship, as dark-skinned Alfie’s little sister Flora becomes Florian in the Nameless Captain’s crew of cutthroats who enslave passengers and harvest mermaids in spite of the Pirate Supreme’s decree.

Daughter of Imperials, Evelyn has never pleased her haughty parents, only wishes to stay with her adored young maid, is sent away in arranged marriage to an officer far across the seas. The teen’s possessions are packed into her coffin, for she will never return to the capital.

Aboard the Dove, Florian is set as Evelyn’s guard against the rapacious crew, gradually becoming fond of the rich young lady (whose heart is captured too), hoping that the Captain’s command to imprison all passengers never comes, marveling at her rapport with the new-caught mermaid.

The Sea will punish those who steal her mermaids, the Witch will draw the tales from Florian’s blood, the Pirate Supreme will stop the Nameless Captain – but will Evelyn and Florian be alive to know?

Japanese names, clothing, and traditions strand through this newly-published debut novel of conquests, colonies, love beyond expectations, and undercover history-changers.

When do you know that your ‘you’ is right?
**kmm

Book info: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea / Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Torn in two, reunited – Berlin & its wall in audiobooks

The before and the after of the Berlin Wall speak to you in this week’s free AudiobookSYNC selections!

In one title, a fictional family divided in 1961 by the Wall echoes the plight of thousands of Germans during the Cold War, while a nonfiction examination of the Cold War’s end and the fall of the Wall shows long-awaited reunions.

Choose one, choose both! Just be sure to download before Wednesday 29 May 2019 so you can read with your ears as long as you retain the audio file on your device.

Big thanks to the publishers for making each week’s pair of professionally produced audiobooks available to us – free!

CD cover of A Night Divided,  by Jennifer A. Nielsen | Read by Kate Simses Published by Scholastic Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A Night Divided, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Read by Kate Simses.
Published by Scholastic Audiobooks

Suddenly, her father and brother are on the western side of the new wall dividing Berlin! The guns of East German soldiers threaten Gerta, Fritz, and their mother constantly as hope of reunion dims and even neighbors cannot be trusted. There is just one chance for freedom – Gerta and Fritz must tunnel under the Wall!

CD cover of Tear Down This Wall: A City, A President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War,  by Romesh Ratnesar | Read by Wes Bleed Published by Oasis Audio  by Romesh Ratnesar | Read by Wes Bleed Published by Oasis Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Tear Down This Wall: A City, A President, and the Speech That Ended the Cold War, by Romesh Ratnesar

Read by Wes Bleed. Published by Oasis Audio

President Ronald Reagan’s provocative 1987 speech in West Berlin called on Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia to tear down the Wall, which fell just two years later. This book uses information from Western and Soviet sources to chronicle the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

What literal or figurative walls have you seen change in your lifetime?
**kmm

Asteroid approaching?! Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy (book review)

book cover of Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust ‘on loan’ from Moscow University,
till JPL can divert the asteroid…
is ‘forever’ a reasonable loan length?

Russian physics prodigy Yuri is intent on winning the Nobel Prize, but working with NASA to prevent an asteroid from wiping out the Pacific Rim will keep him busy in California for a few weeks – not his last weeks on earth, he hopes! And then he meets Dovie…

Find this funny and fierce July 2016 hardback release at your local library or pre-order the July 2017 paperback from your favorite independent bookstore (no affiliate links here – indie booksellers deserve all our business).

If the end of our world was approaching, what would you do?
**kmm

Book info: Learning to Swear in America / Katie Kennedy. Bloomsbury USA Childrens,’s Books 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Yuri will just return to Russia to continue his antimatter research after helping NASA prevent an asteroid from obliterating the US West Coast, but when the 17 year old physics prodigy discovers that they might not let him leave California…

Eighteen days to impact – Yuri meets the asteroid team he will work with…and a lovely mysterious girl.

Yes, he will take Dovie to her prom (such a strange American high school custom) and visit her odd hippie family (more strange customs) and find a way to stop the asteroid (if only his team would listen to him).

No, the young PhD won’t let anyone at Moscow University steal his research toward the Nobel Prize or be forced to stay in California against his will!

Counting down the days to impact – the math, the physics, the public doesn’t know true danger… as Yuri falls in love.

Coming of age tales to read with your ears

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC examine growing up and discovering yourself.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Click the link for either or both titles for the quick and free download.

CD cover of audiobook Fat Angie by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo | Read by Angela Dawe Published by Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comFat Angie (download here July 14-20, 2016)
by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Read by Angela Dawe
Published by Brilliance Audio

Mom demands weight loss, school is terrible, as Angie alone believes that her POW sister will come home from Iraq. When ultra-cool girl KC moves to her small Ohio town and sees the true Angie, life gets a lot more real in this not-traditional rom-com. (great book trailer here!)

 
On the Jellicoe Road (download here July 14-20, 2016)CD cover of audiobook On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | Read by Rebecca Macauley Published by Bolinda Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Melina Marchetta
Read by Rebecca Macauley
Published by Bolinda Audio

Can senior Taylor keep order at between her boarding school classmates and the kids from nearby Australian town while she tries to piece together exactly why her mother abandoned her six years ago?

What other coming-of-age titles would you recommend?
**kmm

Girl in the Blue Coat, by Monica Hesse (book review) – find her before the Nazis do?

book cover of Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse, published by Little Brown Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comLast of her family, gone from a locked room,
Nazis seeking her and so many others…
Closed eyes? Despair? Resistance!

Not the same thing at all, Hanneke’s very quiet black-market activity versus being asked to find a Jewish girl in Amsterdam before the German invaders do!

This World War II story invokes the tenacity of hope even as neighbors collaborate with the enemy and long-time friendships falter.

Last year, I walked the Amsterdam streets that Hanneke slipped through like a shadow and that Anne Frank longed to freely walk again…
**kmm

Book info:  Girl in the Blue Coat / Monica Hesse.  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [Q &A with author] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Struggling to support her parents during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, Hanneke quietly acquires rationed goods for clients, but the teen is startled when she’s asked to find a missing Jewish girl amid constant deportations and disappearances.

How can she locate Mirjam without alerting the authorities?
What caused the young woman to leave the safe house, anyway?
Oh, why did Hanneke encourage her boyfriend Bas to join the Dutch Navy, just before it was crushed by the Nazi invasion?

Cautiously introduced to the student resistance by Bas’ brother Ollie, Hanneke now has even more reason to steer clear of the Germans in her beloved city and the local sympathizers who will betray neighbors to stay in the Nazis’ good graces. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

P is brother’s Personal Effects & personal secrets, by Kokie (book review)

book cover of Personal Effects by EM Kokie published by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com Dad is a bully, no secret there.
Brother is a war hero,
his secrets run deep.

His big brother T.J. joined the Army and got killed in Iraq, and Dad still wants Matt to enlist after high school. Surely something in his service footlocker will tell Matt why T.J. told him never to enlist…

This strong debut title won several awards and has been out in paperback for a while, so you should be able to find it at your local library or independent bookstore easily. (I read an advance copy long, long ago, just found it while moving bookshelves… sigh).

How well can you truly know someone?
**kmm

Book info: Personal Effects / E.M. Kokie. Candlewick Books, 2012 (hardcover), 2014 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Matt doesn’t know what to make of the letters he finds in T.J’s footlocker, the one they finally sent home from Iraq, long after the closed-casket funeral.

Since then, it’s been an eternity of being Dad’s punching bag, of hearing that the Army is his only option in life, even after T.J. warned Matt to never, ever enlist.

But he needs answers, what the shrinks call ‘closure’ about his big brother’s death, so the Pennsylvania teen takes a road trip (never mind that he should be studying for junior year finals) to the Ohio return address on all those love letters to T.J. and finds out that he really didn’t know him at all.

Family ties he never imagined could exist, wondering if his best friend Shauna will ever be anything more, imagining the freedom to choose his own future…

C for compassion – in a Valkyrie maiden of death? by Kate O’Hearn (book review)

book cover of Valkyrie by Kate O'Hearn published by Aladdin | BooksYALove.com War! Glory! Valhalla!
Death. Separation. Loss.
Soul-harvest is a tricky business.

After seeing warriors of all eras battle endlessly for fun and glory in Valhalla, the youngest Valkyrie thinks humans are all war-crazed savages.

But her promise to a dead soldier takes Freya and her raven companion to Chicago, and human school with its bullies, and being hunted by Odin’s own Dark Searchers for breaking the law!

Read the first chapter here (courtesy of the author) and meet Freya as she faces a destiny that she longs to change.

Struggling against “the way it’s always been” – yes?
**kmm

Book info: Valkyrie / Kate O’Hearn. Aladdin, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Allowed to visit Earth only when reaping valiant warriors’ souls, young Freya defiantly escapes Valhalla to fulfill a soldier’s last request, but at what cost?

As the youngest Valkyrie battle-maiden, Freya is reluctant to interact with humans as they die during their petty wars. Her first soul-harvest may be her last as she agrees to help Tyrone’s family in Chicago, against Odin’s law.

Trying to camouflage her wings, listening to her raven companion (a little), helping kids stand up to school bullies – so far so good, until she begins interfering with Angels of Death, and Odin discovers that she’s on Earth!

Can she protect Tyrone’s family without giving away her identity?
Is Loki the trickster on her side or not?
How far will Odin go to retrieve this absent Valkyrie?

First in a series that brings Norse legend oh-so close to modern Midgard/Earth. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)