Her eyes underwater

Her Eyes Underwater assumed published, copyright and written by Romona Simon.

Julia Straus is a thoroughly spoiled daughter of wealthy parents who finally have informed her that it was time to stop her “wasteful, immature, goalless life” and do something with it. She enrolls in Law School, is thoroughly bored but must continue at least for a while to satisfy her parents. One evening she stops at a local coffee shop and sees the most attractive man she ever has encountered. She approaches and attempts to attract him and succeeds in being invited by him to visit a friend who lives some distance away. She accepts. The trip is unusual and contains a rather scary encounter, but ends with her safe return somehow with his discovery that they are in the same law class. She discovers that his name is Alex Bowman and that they previously had not met because he has missed a considerable number of classes. She still does not meet him in school for several more days until he finally appears as a fabulously popular, socially polished individual who attracts all manner of fellow students of both sexes as well as those at the professorial level. In spite of constantly attempting to spend time and actually obtain a legitimate ‘date’ with him he manages largely to ignore the attempts. Julia is an extremely attractive young woman who always has been the object of choice, even over other attractive women. Her attitude, “You doesn’t need men. Men need you. You are a modern woman, not your mother.”  Chagrined by his constant refusal she persists with intermittent successes leading to various somewhat unusual sexual encounters interspersed with other activities shared with each other as well as with other acquaintances. The activity continues in this fashion until the concluding chapters which somewhat strangely are largely repetitious of the early one but from a slightly different perspective.

Discussion: This is an usual book following a period in the amazingly totally free-living existence of a thoroughly spoiled young daughter of wealthy parents living with equally wealthy friends following a similarly wasteful and goalless path. Their principal activities appear to consist of shopping, heavy drinking and partying plus acquiring any number of available men, seemingly for ‘bragging rights’. The newly acquired activity is totally new for Julia and she muddles onward in an often almost unbelievably socially immature manner. The story is stated as being the first attempt by the author at serious storytelling and as such, shows considerable promise. Her descriptive powers are excellent and her tale is so unusual as to provide continuing interest as to ‘where it possibly could finally lead’. Unfortunately, a good editing could greatly enhance the format. Another regrettable feature, for this reviewer at least, is the fact that not a single character was able to elicit any level of positive empathy. As a result the reader is supplied with a somewhat bizarre tale of misplaced love and socially disturbed individuals in often well-described settings of these rather dysfunctional individuals interacting with a psychotic sociopath who’s ‘other’ activities provide a bit of horror to the account. If a reader’s interest tends toward such stories, it is well enough written to be within your realm of interest. A rating of a significant level for others is difficult.

3* ranging downward depending on reader interest as discussed.

 

The Trail of Tears

The Trail of Tears published, copyright and written by the History Titans.

Sub-titled The 19th Century Forced Migration of Native Americans, this book is not to be confused with other books with the same title that were published over a considerable number of years. This volume is a relatively complete listing of substantiated facts and features of the removal of a large number of Indian Nations featuring particularly the well-developed civilization of those inhabiting the East Coast of the budding United States; viz. Choctaws, Seminoles, Cherokee, Creeks (also referred to a Muskogee), Chiricawas, and Chickasaws. Others are included in part from other areas as pertinent. The material is provided with a disclaimer, an Introduction, 6 Chapters and a Conclusion. The first chapter is informative with respect to Native American Lifestyle and Culture and the influence of Colonization first by Spanish Settlers followed by that of the English. The second discusses issues with Native Americans as complicated with the changes taking place as a result of British vs. the developing independent new government of the United States. The third discusses the early influence of some American Leaders; Chapter 4, The Indian Removal Act with emphasis on John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson; the fifth describes The Trail of Tears with tribal emphasis; the sixth, Repercussions and Current Scenario; a Conclusion provides an overview of the tremendous loss of individual nations culture and way of life and the burgeoning problems facing what is left of these once proud and well-developed nations.

Discussion: This is a book that provides exactly what has been intended. It presents history as it exists. Pertinent documents that fill some of the areas that previously appeared to be empty with respect to this distasteful action set in motion to satisfy the greed of the inhabitants of a newly formed government. One that provided a death sentence not only for several thousand members of these smaller nations that were willing, initially for the most part, to make attempts to find a solution to communal living, but an action that additionally sentenced the survivors and their descendants to poverty, disease and stress on all levels. This relatively well-set-forth listing of historical facts include probable reasons for Jackson’s finally agreeing to proceed with removal of the Creek Nation in spite of his interesting wartime relationship with the Muscogee Chief and the statements made to him – an action difficult for nostalgic followers of American Indian History to understand. And incidentally, a simple phrase or expression coined during the period still occasionally is heard today, although usually in an amusingly misunderstood connotation. “God willin’ an’ the Creek don’t rise” refers to a Creek Indian uprising, rather than a usually assumed intervening stream of water.

4* Historically presented disgraceful actions by the newly formed United States.

When Life Doesn’t turn out the Way We’d Hoped It Would

When Life doesn’t turn out the Way we Hoped it Would Volume I ISBN: 9781974032822 Create Space, copyright and written by Tom Wick.

This autobiography is written by an individual who had been born into a family whose roots he had been able to trace to a particular tribe of some of the most “unrestrained and pitiless pagans and savages of all Vikings”. Thus, his particular family were a mixture of Scots, Pics, Irish and Manx who had ultimately occupied a small section of northern Scotland. Further extension of genealogical facts detail the intermixing of the family strains as they move into more recent history. Here it would seem, some of these early ‘unrestrained’ genes carried over to the future generations with occasional episodes providing vicious physical harm. Specific sordid details of the remarkably dysfunctional family’s interrelationships as well as their activity with others are presented along with lengthy descriptions of his personal activity. The protagonist enumerates the fact that by the age of six years he had witnessed people being killed, men beating women as well as other men. He relates seeing and participating in indiscriminate sex. He smoked tobacco and marijuana incessantly, drank liquor heavily, sniffed, inhaled, ingested and injected drugs. However, until later in life, he thought this just was the ‘normal way of life”. His mother had been diagnosed with “agoraphobia, paranoia, multiple personality disorders, and other mental and emotional ailments.” His father had been beaten mercilessly and repetitively by his grandfather. The author had been molested constantly by his older brother, participated in exploratory sexual activity with playmates and had sex with a ‘girlfriend’ at four years of age.

Discussion: The material covered in this first book in the series presents, in quite explicit detail, quite lengthy descriptions of the repetitiously indulgent activities of the author, his family, friends and acquaintances as he moves among several locations. However, there is an overlying tone of a man somehow repentant of much of his activity and, as a result of some unnamed factor, ultimately realizing the ‘error of his ways and being ‘born again’ as a Christian. Although the causative factor is not mentioned per se, when he failed 1st grade a psychiatrist diagnosed him as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). This long-standing dysfunction, in combination with being brutally beaten, raped and suffering a degree of PTSD could have left him totally repentant for the meaningless sex, constant drug and alcohol abuse and the rest that caused him intense feelings of alienation, isolation, and loneliness.

Summary: A seemingly most honestly and completely told tale detailing the extent of dysfunctional behavior existent in the author, as well as sections of the general population, is set forth along with a series of factors that influenced change to a direction for resolution for the author. If the extent of explicit description of immorality can be accepted, the level of reader interest for members of the Evangelic religious faith should be high. That for general readership difficult even to suggest.

3* High interest level for some readers; difficult to determine for others.

The Time Before the Moon

The TIME before the MOON ISBN: 9781718974470 published, copyright and written by Kameron Williams.

In a time of the early beginning of man, the reader is introduced to Omi, a young man living in a small group of hunter/gatherers. The enclave is ruled by an elderly Seer who has contact with the gods and dictates all activities purportedly as they direct. He lives in a somewhat elevated area of the gathered dwellings in a sacred temple. The building, seemingly from an even more ancient period is supported by large stone columns decorated with ancient hieroglyphics. The building also serves as the home of the most beautiful young women of the village, selected by the Seer as the vestal virgins. The rules of living within the group are numerous and strict. Among them are a dictate where each resident must report periodically to the Seer at a set time; marriages are arranged by the Seer and announced only after he has made the partner selection but they are not notified of being selected until the day before, nor do they know who their partner will be until they are revealed to the couple themselves as well as their families and the community at a nighttime firelight ceremony. Even flint for the weapons they needed to survive were obtained from flint forays where the contestants needed to wait to be called to participate in attempting to find the better pieces that could be properly knapped into suitable weapons. The forays including not only finding the flint but then successfully retaining it against the onslaught of other foragers. Then they were expected to give their first real find as a gift to the Seer. The story develops as Omi finds a particularly valuable piece of Flint while unexpectedly discovering a number of unusual aspects of the Seer’s rules and their interpretation that lead him into striking out by himself in an attempt to establish an entirely new way of life. The story of his trip, its trials, effects on family, friends and enemies is the substance of the book and further description would be a disservice to the prospective reader.

Discussion: The author has provided characters with whom the reader can equate in a nicely paced tale that follows the often provided good versus evil plot, this time placed in a simple fantasy situation. It is an unsophisticated tale that offers a pleasurable ‘feel good’ sensation seemingly seldom encountered in these days of constant stress and activity. A time of almost chaotic political- health-social-financial crises that appear to be dictating every aspect of today’s individual thought patterns and parenthetically even seem contributory to the large number of books being published that dwell on depressing thoughts and matters.

5* Unsophisticated tale, seemingly pleasurable beyond modern thought patterns.

A Kite at the Edge of the World

A Kite at the Edge of the World ISBN: 9781733080613 Yearning Press, copyright and written by Katy Grant.

The story opens with an eighty-plus-year-old man reminiscing on the same beach where he met his first childhood friend in a vacation resort town they visited every summer. He was five or six years old, rather reticent as the result of a rather overprotective mother and a strict nurse heavily occupied with his newly-born sister. Thus, he did not take to the other children because they were ‘too noisy’ but had noticed a young boy several times walking with his mother or an older woman. The boy appealed to him because he too seemed to walk quietly and seemed somewhat ‘reserved’. A few days later he saw him alone on the beach and they began talking. The boy, Ilio, was a little older and this was a first visit with a mother and father who wanted him to learn as much as possible. The reason for the visit, as he informed his new friend because he was dying. He explains that whatever it was it was incurable and he didn’t have very much time left. The plot follows the simple pleasures discovered by the two young boys as it advances during the summer through Ilio’s gradual decline and eventual death.

Discussion: In the closing pages, the author presents a summation by the old man telling the story “True Ilio’s life was short. There were many things he never experienced…Never looked back on a long life and wondered, bewildered, what he possibly had to show for it. Time was his enemy. Yet time has been my enemy too. I was once told years ago that nothing lasts. Not mountains, nor planets, nor stars. And yet, I have also been told that these three things abide – faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. And now, all of the people I have loved in my life, more of them are dead than are living. Do they know we still love them? I am told that they still do. Perhaps that is the power of love. It endures.” And he continues his ruminations about the first young friend he had ever made. Obviously, the author has attempted to weave a poignant tale extolling the importance and everlasting effect of love and sets forth the story in a well-written manner amply providing thoughts, verbalization and actions of children of the age portrayed. Many readers may thoroughly embrace this story. Regrettably and apologetically to the author however from the perspective of this reviewer, a caveat is required. A story of ruminations by an old man about the death of a childhood friend, although such occurrence is readily acknowledged by all as simply a necessary part of living, is not a more usually preferred subject for selection.

3* 5* Well-written tale extolling the importance of love; -2 caveat as explained.

Soldiers of Freedom

   Soldiers of Freedom ISBN: 9781943593279 Mount Sopris Publishing copyright and written by Samuel Marquis.

  This is Volume five of the WW II series and a novel subtitled “Patton’s Panthers and the Edelweiss Pirates” and is dedicated to “The officers and enlisted men of the 761st Tank Battalion who triumphed on WW II battlefields, and to the German youth of the Edelweiss Pirates who fought against Nazi tyranny.” However, it is more than a story of these two entities in that it reaches beyond and within them. The 761st, also referred to as The, or Patton’s, Black Panthers and was the first Negro battalion, and specifically selected by Patton, for duty with his 3rd Army as they slugged their way across Europe to be the first unit to cross into Germany concluding that country’s final struggles. Their story is provided through the eyes of William McBurney, one of the first enlistees who, along with the others, distinguished themselves individually as well as that of a proud and closely knit unit who actually were compelled to fight on two fronts. They not only fought some remnants of Hitler’s finest units in the desperate Battle of the Bulge and beyond to the very end, but coincidentally were required to battle against their own white soldiers and their constant denigrating words and actions. The tale of the Edelweiss Pirates is based upon two members of the subversive group, Gertrude Koch and Jean Jülich, who were heavily and actively involved against the sadistic remnants of the Gestapo in the final days of the city of Cologne. A third feature of the book is the fictional but heavily researched discussions and planning sessions among Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, Montgomery and the others that could have accompanied the concluding period on the War in Europe. Interesting reference even is made to episodes going back to the dessert fighting against Rommel and even bits from Eisenhower’s and Patton’s relationship going back to WW I.

Discussion: This is a most unusual book in numerous ways. Most prominently perhaps in its presentation in accurate detail the abominable treatment not only of black citizens, but even worse of those who had volunteered to risk their lives in fighting for a country who refused even to recognize these soldiers as human beings. It also presents in graphic detail the utterly inhuman activity presented by the gestapo, their members and underlings. But even worse, the thoughtlessness and/or disregard of the German people who allowed such depraved activity to begin, say nothing of allowing it to escalate to the despicable level finally reached. An action that should deeply be considered today by sections of the population of this country who are approaching an entrée level; e.g. refusal to believe the existence of the Holocaust? Racism? The Author then provides another fascinating thrust for the reader – the verbal intercourse and characterizations of the prominent WW II Generals presented in a manner quite succinctly explained in the final pages of his book. “Like Michael Shaara, (author of The Killer Angels Battle of Gettysburg) “”I have “not changed any fact” nor have I “knowingly violated any action.” Most scenes in the book are based on known events with specific historical figures present, but a minority are based on incidents that are generally accepted to have taken place but have unfortunately not been documented by history, or I believe happened under similar circumstances to those described in the book but for which there is no historical record. In these cases, the interpretations of character and motivation are mine alone. Thus, the book’s characters are ultimately a part of my overall imaginative landscape and are, therefore, the fictitious creations of the author, reflecting my personal research interests and biases.”

Summary: A tremendously well researched book with, from this reader’s perspective, totally credible author interpretations where required. There is a certain amount of redundancy, but acceptable and generally speaking, this is a tale most appreciated by history and war devotees, but an overall presentation that would provide a large amount of thought producing elements from which all readers could benefit, especially when considering the unconstitutional and unlawful attitudes and actions so abundantly extant today.

5* Thought-jolting historical tale highly recommended for ALL today’s readers.