2019 Summer Reading: Escape into Reality – Nonfiction Adventures

2019 Summer Reading: Escape into Reality With Four Nonfiction Adventures

 

Today I’m featuring a quartet of absolutely wonderful books that will suck you into adventure, mystery, and places you’ve never imagined you’d be. You’ll meet a colorful, dangerous, interesting, lovely, and witty characters. Best of all it is all true.

Good nonfiction is a wonderful thing. I think about some of my favorites that I could read again and again and again. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness is an autobiographical work by Edward Abbey is one book that should be on every book list and every book shelf. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez moved my soul. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson made me think and also made me laugh almost unlike any book I’ve ever read.

Copies of these books, even those now out of print, can be found in libraries, on Amazon, B&N, eBay, your local used book store, and other online outlets. If you’re having trouble finding any of them let me know and I’ll help you look.

 

Attending Marvels – A Patagonian Journal

By George Gaylord Simpson

In 1930 George Taylor Simpson traveled to Argentina, was shot at, had a few exciting adventures, finally made his way to Patagonia, and dug for dinosaur bones.

This is on my list of top ten favorite books ever. Simpson will charm you, enlighten you, and inspire you. Attending Marvels is a marvel of a book. Look it up. Find a copy. Read it. It isn’t a long book so it is perfect for summer reading.

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The Lost City of the Monkey God

By Douglas Preston

Years ago I read a book called Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Then I read Reliquary. THEN I read one of my favorite books by the pair, and favorite books by anyone – The Cabinet of Curiosities. Like many I was hooked on the adventures of Agent Pendergast and the many other characters Preston and Child created. I can’t wait to read their next book which involved the Donner Party.

A few years ago I read The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston. It was about American student Amanda Knox who had been accused of murder in Italy. This was my first test of nonfiction by Douglas Preston.

I was so excited when The Lost City of the Monkey God came out. Unfortunately half way through the book I lost The Lost City of the Monkey God. Fast forward to this year and I found it. I will finish it next week while I’m on a road trip.

But what is this book about?

In 2012 Preston joined a team of scientists to find The Lost City of the Monkey God, The White City, in the Amazon jungle. The story covers stories of explorers, interesting characters, snakes (this will scare the jeebers out of you), rain, rain, rain, amazing discoveries, bugs, and a mysterious illness. Oh, I forgot, TECHNOLOGY. Finding a lost city in a jungle is no small task. Take my word for it. This is a fun book.

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Eldorado – Adventures in the Path of Empire

By Bayard Taylor

I love this book.

In 1849 a young reporter (and poet) named Bayard Taylor left New York, traveled to California by the way of Panama (pre-canal), and wrote about it. He wasn’t looking for gold. Taylor was looking for stories. With brutal honesty, detail, humor, and an eye for detail he covers everything from the journey to California, to life in the mining camps, the new and growing cities of San Francisco and Sacramento, Volcanos, Rain, Society in California, robbers, a trip to Mexico, and more.

This is a brilliant first hand account of the California Gold Rush unlike anything you thought you knew about one of the most amazing events in the history of the world.

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Empire Express – Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

By David Howard Bain

This year is the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Empire Express was recommended by a docent at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, CA. Believe me, that if a docent from the California State Railroad Museum recommends a book it will be good.

Empire Express is over seven hundred pages and covers a lot of territory. I haven’t read it yet, but what I’ve seen (thumbing through it) looks great. I know this book will be as exciting as the big personalities it covers. It is an adventure, a social history, a story about dreams, heartbreak, triumph, and how the United States was forever changed.

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No matter what you’re interested in, or what you like to read, I encourage everyone to try something new, go out of your comfort zones, take a chance, and seek out new adventures through books.

I’ll be back next Monday with more 2019 Summer Reading.

If you have any suggestions for non-fiction books please leave them in the comments. Please share!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

 

 

Vampire Maman’s 2017 Fall Reading List

New mystery series, paranormal romance, old favorites, and great short stories… I’ve got it all in my 2017 Fall Reading List. Scroll down some fun fall (and even Halloween) book suggestions. This list contains best sellers and some hidden gems. This is my off the top of my head short list. Like I said, there is something for everyone. Happy Reading.

Unfortunate Souls (Book 1) (Unfortunate Souls Series)

By Jade M. Phillips

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Unfortunate Souls (Book 1) is the start of a new series for Jade M. Phillips, one of the princesses of paranormal romance with suspense. The author warns us that the book contains mild kissing and cursing — and some mild violence — and is meant for readers fourteen years of age or older.

That said, this is a fun book, carried by first person viewpoints, first Ruby’s, then Guy’s. The tale is told in a modern English; the viewpoint characters are up to carrying the plot. I’m not going to thumbnail this book for you, since it is the start in a series where love may not be mortal, nor hate.

If you enjoy Young Adult or New Adult fiction, and want a quick moving story with all paranormal and suspenseful elements imaginable come in to play, you’ll enjoy this first book the series — and by inference, its sequels.

 

Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed

A WPaD Anthology

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– A desperate father, on the run with his daughter reveals a terrifying truth about his child…
– Who is the bogeyman, really? Hear the real story – directly
from the monster himself…
– A tiny burger joint along a desert highway – it appears to be a refreshing oasis for a traveling family… or is it?
– A psychic investigates an apparition of a little girl and uncovers a shocking tale…
Enjoy these chilling stories and more in
Creepies: Twisted Tales From Beneath the Bed.
This collection of short stories is a fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis, in support of some of our writers who live with MS. For each copy sold, a portion is donated to MS research.

 

Creepies 2: Things That go Bump in the Closet

From the twisted minds of Writers, Poets and Deviants (WPaD)

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Prepare for terror… and a few laughs as well.
– An exterminator meets his match in a family’s attic…
– A cuddly toy with a disturbing origin is all the rage…
– A boy’s survival of a deadly accident turns out to be more curse than miracle…
– A man asks a vampire for a favor and gets more than he wished for…
– A strange device collects and stores the rage from people bent on revenge…
– An exquisite chess set in an old pawn shop is more than it seems to be…
– A WW2 bayonet carries an evil history…
– An ancient vampire struggles with life in modern society…
– Something is alive in the outhouse…

Enjoy these chilling tales and more in volume 2 of WPaD’s popular Creepies series.
But leave the lights on…

 

The Poe Shadow

By Matthew Peal

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I love the writing of Matthew Pearl. It isn’t always easy but it will transport you to another time with his language and story lines. He takes you back in time, not by today’s culture, but really back in time. If you like Poe, and history, and a bit of romance, and a lot of mystery you’ll love this book.

“I present to you . . . the truth about this man’s death and my life.”

Baltimore, 1849. The body of Edgar Allan Poe has been buried in an unmarked grave. The public, the press, and even Poe’s own family and friends accept the conclusion that Poe was a second-rate writer who met a disgraceful end as a drunkard. Everyone, in fact, seems to believe this except a young Baltimore lawyer named Quentin Clark, an ardent admirer who puts his own career and reputation at risk in a passionate crusade to salvage Poe’s.<br><br>As Quentin explores the puzzling circumstances of Poe’s demise, he discovers that the writer’s last days are riddled with unanswered questions the police are possibly willfully ignoring. Just when Poe’s death seems destined to remain a mystery, and forever sealing his ignominy, inspiration strikes Quentin–in the form of Poe’s own stories. The young attorney realizes that he must find the one person who can solve the strange case of Poe’s death: the real-life model for Poe’s brilliant fictional detective character, C. Auguste Dupin, the hero of ingenious tales of crime and detection.<br>In short order, Quentin finds himself enmeshed in sinister machinations involving political agents, a female assassin, the corrupt Baltimore slave trade, and the lost secrets of Poe’s final hours. With his own future hanging in the balance, Quentin Clark must turn master investigator himself to unchain his now imperiled fate from that of Poe’s.

 

Norse Mythology

by Neil Gaiman

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Norse Mythology is Neil Gaiman’s own take on traditional Norse tales. Thor, Odin, and Loki are all there getting into trouble, making mischief, saving their friends, dealing with their families, falling in love, and facing loss. The book is assorted related stories so you can take it in small chunks if you want. I read this while reading other books – a break between if you know what I mean.

 

Two Nights

by Kathy Reichs

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A lot of you might know Kathy Reichs from her Bones Series. I love the books but don’t like the TV show. Anyway, now that you know where you are… Two Nights is a well written start of a new series. I can’t wait for the next book. You won’t be able to put it down.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .
Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help. Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Lost City of the Monkey God

By Douglas Preston

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Yes, this is the Douglas Preston who writes the Pendergast books with Lincoln Child. This is a non-fiction adventure about finding a lost city, treasure, and finding something more dangerous than most fictional villains.

In 2012, author Douglas Preston joined a team of explorers searching for Ciudad Blanca (“The White City”), a legendary ruin hidden in the dense jungle of eastern Honduras. To this point the city – also known as “the Lost City of the Monkey God” – was literally a legend; while various hucksters and hoaxers had claimed to have discovered the abandoned metropolis, no credible evidence had ever been presented, and its very existence remained shrouded in doubt. In addition to the objective hazards of tropical disease, wild boars, and the deadly fer-de-lance viper, locals stoked the mystique, describing various curses awaiting would-be discoverers. Don’t pick the flowers, or you’ll die.

But this team had an advantage that previous searchers had lacked: LIDAR, an advanced laser-imaging technology able to penetrate the dense jungle canopy – just enough – and return detailed elevation profiles from which subtle, man-made anomalies could be identified. Almost immediately, two major sites emerged, their scale and architecture indicating a civilization to rival another local, more famous power, the Maya.

The announcement had consequences. The fledgling Honduran government, having gained power through a military coup, sought to use the discovery to bolster its status with the population, while the academic community ripped the expedition with accusations of Indiana Jones-style exploitation and shoddy scientific methods, cries which could be uncharitably interpreted as sour grapes. Encroaching deforestation and the prospect of looters created urgency to conduct a ground survey, and the team ventured into the wilderness and all the hazards that awaited, including an unexpected and insidious danger that cursed the team well beyond their return home.

The author of over 30 books, including number of bestselling thrillers co-written with Lincoln Child, Preston knows pace, and he packs several narratives into a taut 300 pages. Indiana Jones criticism aside, the story of the discovery and exploration of the ruin is solid adventure writing, and he walks a fine line in dealing with the archaeology community’s response, reporting on the bases for their criticism where they chose to provide it. And by invoking Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel, Preston speculates on the mysterious, sudden demise of the White City and its inhabitants, drawing ominous parallels between their fate and possibly our own. Lost City is a tale that manages to be both fun and harrowing, a vicarious thrill worthy of a place on the shelf next to David Grann’s The Lost City of Z. –Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

 

More scary reading:

The Feeder

by Mandy White

The Feeder gives brutality a new meaning…

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Victims horribly mutilated, with parts missing and inserted in their mouths…

An aspiring actress-turned-prostitute falls victim to the killer, leaving behind a grieving twin obsessed with revenge.

Warning:
Graphic violence and scenes of mutilation. Some readers may find the content of this book offensive. Read at your own discretion.

Biography

Mandy White is a Canadian author who resides on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she is living her dream of being one of those weird, reclusive writer types. She primarily writes fiction in the horror genre, often featuring Canadian characters and locations. She is founder of the WPaD group (Writers, Poets and Deviants), best known for their charity anthologies.

Published works include:

The Jealousy Game
Non-fiction – A guide to dysfunctional relationships where excessive jealousy is present.

Avenging Annabelle
Fiction – A thriller about a distraught father who seeks revenge on his daughter’s abductor.

Dysfictional: Short Stories for Twisted Minds
Fiction – A collection of Mandy White’s short stories, including the novelettes, A Feast Not So Fancy and The Immigrant.

The Feeder (April, 2013 release)
Fiction – A thriller told from the point of view of an individual whose twin sister is brutally murdered, sparking a gruesome and bloody vendetta.

Creepies: Twisted Tales from Beneath the Bed by WPaD
Fiction – A horror anthology featuring two of Mandy White’s stories along with a collection of chilling tales from the talented writers of WPaD.

Passion’s Prisms: Tales of Love and Romance by WPaD
Fiction – A romance anthology featuring two of Mandy White’s stories along with a collection of romantic tales from the talented writers of WPaD

The Immigrant
Fiction – A Sci-fi/comedy novelette about an alien with extremely poor hygiene who comes to Earth to genetically engineer a new food source. (Featured in Dysfictional)

A Feast Not So Fancy
Fiction – A horror novelette about a loner who finds himself paralyzed and at the mercy of his hungry house cats. (Featured in Dysfictional)

Zombie Cuisine
Fiction – A short story told from the point of view of a zombie who encounters a lost love in her search for sustenance. (Featured in Dysfictional and Creepies)

The Creators by M.W. Sharpe and Mandy White
Fiction – An alternative origin of the species story based on various metaphysical theories.

WPaD Publications

WPaD Publications featuring stories from Juliette

The Crystal Cave

by Mary Stewart

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The story of Merlin of the Arthurian legend. This is followed by The Hollow Hills and The Last Enchantment. Well written and magical the story brings Merlin to life in a way no other book has done. I read this so many times my paperback copy fell apart.

 

And for a fun light romance…

The Girl Who Knew Too Much

By Amanda Quick

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When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…

The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

reading

This should keep you busy for a while. There is something for everyone on this list. Check my past blogs for other book recommendations. I have a big pile of books I’m working on now.

Morning at the Vineyard

Of course you could always read my short story collection “Morning at the Vineyard.” Also keep reading my blog – start from the beginning. I have posted hundreds of witty, mindful, and interesting blog posts and short stories to keep you amused, amazed, and enlightened.

Happy Reading,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman