Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Quest for Glory: Major General Robert Howe & the American Revolution

Okay, I know this is outside of my norm of fiction reviews, but I had a good reason for reading this book.  I've been working on my and my husband's family ancestry for a little while now.  While working on my hubby's ancestry one night, I came across an ancestor of his by the name of Major General Robert Howe.  I was curious, so I Googled the Major General's name to see what would come up.  This book was one of the results.  I thought how interesting it was to find a book written about an ancestor (even though it wasn't mine) so I purchased the book to see what I could learn about said ancestor.

While the book is a factual account of Major General Robert Howe's military career during the American Revolution, it is written in a way that is almost story-like.  There were a few parts that made my eyes tend to drift downward like I was back in History class, but for the most part ... it was pretty decent.

I was a little disappointed that very little was written about the personal side of his life.  I'm sure that's in a separate book somewhere, seeing as how he was depicted as a great womanizer.  The only chapter that dealt with his personal side was the first chapter as it recounted how the Major General came to be.  And, yes, I do realize that this book was mainly written to focus on his military career, but a little spice sure would've livened up the recipe ... if ya know what I mean ... =)

For those that don't know, Major General Robert Howe was born in North Carolina.  He is the only Major General to have ever come from that state.  The family he was born into was very wealthy and he inherited it all.  Unfortunately, he squandered away his fortune and lived the remainder of his life in poverty and scrounging to pay off debts (in several states).  It was even suggested that "Bob" starved his wife and children to have money for the start up of his political, and ultimately his military, career.

Because of his fondness for the fairer sex, "Bob" and his wife became legally separated.  The children stayed with her.  Divorce was non-existent at the time, so that wasn't an option for either of them.

From what little I've read of the Major General's private life, I'm not too fond of the man.  I mean, seriously ... practically starving your wife and kids just so you can further advance your career?  He sounded like a pompous arrogant jerk to me.

But, then comes the story of his military career ... believe me when I say, this man had it rough.  Nobody listened to his intellegence regarding the British army, he rarely received the supplies he needed for ample support of his troops and he was often passed over and ignored for assignments he requested.  According to the book, most of Robert's superiors thought highly of him, including the infamous General George Washington whom Major General Robert Howe served under for several years.  So the fact that they dismissed his requests for transfers made no sense to me.  Why wouldn't you want to keep your strongest soldier happy?

Regardless of the dismissive attitude and aggravations of his tenure in the military, Major General Robert Howe served eight years as an American Revolutionary soldier with a desire to succeed and an unwillingness to quit.  He had stamina and drive ... and for that, I cannot be upset with him.

He was intelligent, spoke well, commanded well and was very resourceful (he utilitzed British spies during the Revolution).  He had his faults: womanizer, bad financier of his money and his penmanship was horrendous ... but with Major General Robert Howe, his exemplary service in the Revolution absolved him of his faults.

Overall, I've learned a lot about the character of my husband's ancestor.  While I probably won't read the book EVER again, I am glad to have read it at least once.


Happy Reading All! =)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman

When I receive a book the first thing I do is to look at the front cover and then read the back cover.  When I looked at the front cover on this book, the real photo and font of the title and author's name reminded me of the self-help books I've viewed over the years.

I guess, in a way, you could consider this a self-help book, but not in the usual sense.  Humor me on this ...

The book is a fictional story and not a factual, psychological self-help book.  The story begins with a family who has it all and receives an increase in blessings.  Just when they reach the pinnacle of their happiness, it all comes tumbling down.  Granted, the "tumbling down" part takes several years to happen, but it happens none the less.

After all the pieces have tumbled and there's nothing but rubble left, there is one lone girl left in the aftermath.  She has to learn how to deal with all of the emotional trauma that has occurred to her.  When she becomes an adult and is living on her own, she becomes reclusive as a way of protecting herself from getting hurt.  During her reclusive state, her dog Snickers introduces her to the man of her dreams.  Together they heal the woman from her past and gives her Restored Hope for her future.

Any woman, or man for that matter, who has dealt with extensive emotional trauma from mental and physical abuse will be able to relate very well to this book.  I believe reading this book will help people to realize the type of situation they're in and will help them to believe that there is hope after abuse (thus the self-help part).  It helps you realize that it's okay to be happy and it's okay to trust people again.

Speaking of abuse ... Domestic abuse usually comes up in conversation when Brenda Youngerman goes out to speak to large groups.  If you'd like to view her thoughts and feedback about domestic abuse, you can visit her website at http://www.brendayoungerman.com/

There is so much more to this book than the emotional abuse that is inflicted on the main character.  It's all about family and the mistakes that are made within families.  It also shows you that it's okay to make mistakes, admit you made them, make amends and move on.  Nobody's perfect and everyone makes mistakes.  The trick is to not let them have so much control over you that you cannot function as an individual.

To view the written interview with this author, please click on the Author Interviews tab at the top of this page.

Happy Reading! =)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Next in the Lineup

I now have in possession my next book that I will be reading for this blog.  The name of the book is Restored Hope by Brenda Youngerman.  From the back cover, it looks to be about two young adults who have grown up in some not-so-easy home lives.  In their journey of "escape" they find each other and help each other overcome their pasts.

It looks interesting and I should have a review by Sunday or Monday at the latest.

Stay tuned! =)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

No Greater Sacrifice by John C. Stipa

I received a copy of this novel via the author this past Thursday.  I was surprised to see how thick it was being the first self-published work from this author.  I began reading the novel Friday night and have just finished.  If I wouldn't have had to stop reading to clean, cook dinner for the hubs and do other household chores, I would've read this book straight thru.  I cannot remember the last time a novel has drawn me into the story so much that I did not want to put it down.

The story is primarily set in present-day Europe.  The two main characters, Renee and David, are life-like and realistic.  Renee's love of archeology stems from her childhood.  Her parents have passed and she lives mainly off of a monthly allowance provided thru a trust fund from her father.  She has recently received detrimental news concerning her health and travels to Europe to confirm, or disprove, a possible health restoring myth.

David is a former Army man (Special Forces to be exact) who is now a college professor.  A tragic accident during his military days has left him emotionally scarred and skittish, especially with women.

There is so much I want to say about this novel, but I do not want to give away the story to those who have yet to read it.  So, let me say this ... This novel has the adventurous spirit of Indiana Jones, the mystery and suspense involving historical and mythological artifacts as in The DaVinci Code and the sexual tension as reflected in The Jewel of the Nile.  The characters are engaging and extremely realistic.

The plot is so believable that it causes you to wonder if such a thing is possible.  The clues are extremely well executed.  In the spirit of Paul Meehutch, I could go on and on pontificating about this novel all day.  =)

I encourage everyone who loves a good ... no, that's not good enough ... I encourage everyone who loves a stupendously written mystery/suspense novel to purchase this and read it.  You will not be disappointed.  This book is now on my list of favorites and I will read it multiple times over.

Oh, and when this novel gets written into a screen play and becomes a movie ... don't say I didn't try to tell you ahead of time!

Happy Reading! =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Getting Better All The Time

I've just re-read over my blog and have realized that I've not really reviewed the books listed, but rather have summarized them.  I do apologize.  It's easier for me to review the works on my other blog, Top 100 Banned/Challenged: 2000-2009, because I've taken the time to explain why they're banned/challenged.

I do promise that I will continue to improve and get better.  From now on, my posts will be actual reviews and not summations.  Just for clarification purposes though, you really should check out the books below.  Look beyond any flaws and focus on the heart of the story.  They really are good reads.

Oh, and I am currently reading No Greater Sacrifice by author John C. Stipa.  I will post a review when I've finished.

Happy Reading all! =)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Across the Oregon Trail by Lana Stapleton-Morris

Do you sit and reminisce of days gone by?  Do you wonder what it might have been like back in the days before railroads?  Did you envy the life depicted on the series Little House on the Prairie?  If you've answered 'yes' to any of these questions then you would enjoy Lana's debut book, Across the Oregon Trail.

The story begins with Charles Daniels, a wagon train master who has decided the upcoming journey from Kentucky to Oregon will be his last.  He is tired of the single life and is ready to settle down.  His best friend, sidekick and right-hand man, Blake has decided this would be his last wagon train as well.

As you read about the various families on the wagon train and their journey from Kentucky to Oregon, you will find yourself noticing that the characters are very familiar to you.  Some will have you crying, while others will make you angry.

By the time you reach the end of the book, you will find yourself wanting to know ... What happens next?

Happy Reading! =)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

From Ashes To Beauty by Robin L. Scott

A portion of the back cover blurb: "Can a physician do more than heal the body?  Can he allow a patient to reach the emotions buried deep within?  Can he take the ashes of a beaten, broken woman and restore beauty to her life?  He calls out her name and she smiles... a smile of goodbye."

This book is made for all you love-story enthusiasts out there.  It portrays an underlying theme of "love conquers all."  From a divorced overworked doctor and an orphaned beaten widow to a patient cop and a bitter angry waitress ... this book tells the love story of several couples and how they found their way to each other.

Again, this book is a love story with a depiction of a faith in God.  If you think a love story written with a Christian viewpoint cannot be a good read, then you don't know what you're missing.

Happy Reading! =)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rhyming With Reason

This book is a collection of poems written by my aunt, Robin Scott.  The poems are separated by various categories based on every day life events: Christmas, motherhood, death, etc.  All poems, no matter the category, are based in the author's faith in God and in His never ending love for us.

Even though the poems are based on the author's own life experiences, reading the poems will make the reader reminisce about their days gone by.

Happy Reading! =)

The Strength Of Love

The Strength of Love is, obviously, a love story.  It is the first self-published book by my aunt, Robin Scott.  The first printing of her debut book was done by Publish America in 2006.

The story is based around Chloe, a widowed young mother, and Jacob, a young attorney.  It is a Christian love story, so there isn't any smut or lewd references.  It is a story that will draw you in and will keep you reading until the book is finished.

So, if you enjoy a good ole-fashioned love story, you will enjoy reading my aunt's book.

Happy Reading! =)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Looking Through This Reflection

Looking Through This Reflection is my mom's first book.  It is a self-published book thru Publish America.  It is a book of poetry written by Lana during various times throughout her life.

According to Lana, "My poetry allows me to express my pain, sorrow, loss and joy.  Through it all, God has been my anchor.  God has blessed me with family, friends and loved ones who have helped me in this journey of life.  Their impact is echoed in my poetry and how I found myself through it all..."

Even though I may be slightly biased being the author's daughter, I feel that there are many poems in this book that other people will be able to relate to and gather inner strength from.

Happy Reading all! =)

A Slight Change...

Instead of just reviewing books that I receive from the internet company, I am also going to use this blog to review those works of literature I read just for the heck of it.  =)  Some reviews will be of books that my mother and aunt have written... Yes, my love of books is genetic.  Could you think of a better genetic trait to have?  I can't.  =)

In the interim of getting this blog up and running at full speed, you are more than welcome to check out my other blog at http://bannedbookreader.blogspot.com  I will be maintaining both blogs at the same time.

Thank you for tuning in and I will be posting reviews of books in the near future.

Ciao! =)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Introduction ... or Preface =)

This is actually my second blog dedicated to my love of literature.  The first being my blog on the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 (currently in progress). 

This blog is being dedicated to my work as a reviewer of books for an internet company.

Why Literary R&R as a blog name?  Well, because when I read literature it is my relaxation while reading.  Also, when I was trying to come up with a somewhat catchy name for this blog, I thought of Literary Reader and Reviewer.  Thus, Literary R&R was born! =)

Stay Tuned!
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