Friday, August 24, 2018

WWI and the Chinese Labourers

Did you know there were Chinese who fought in WWI? Me either! It was mostly a diplomatic move. The Chinese government want a place a the peace table; they wanted the world to know they could play with the big guys.
At first the British government refused the offer but after a huge loss at Somme they realized they needed warm bodies to load trains, build roads and clear battlefields. The British started recruiting in the northeastern portion of China and tens of thousands of poor peasants decided to try their luck in Europe.

 ""I would not even shrink from the word Chinese for the purpose of carrying out the war,” said Winston Churchill, a member of parliament 24 years before he became prime minister. “These are not times when people ought in the least to be afraid of prejudices.”"

The first wave of Chinese (about 40,000) arrived at the Western Front in 1916 and were taken in with the French Army. The second wave (about 95,000) joined the British Army in 1917.
The Chinese Labour corp landed in Flanders Field in July 1917.

 "They were deployed for the loading of ammunition and goods trains in the sorting station, for the building of roads, and in ammunition depots. Their contracts were not terminated when the war came to an end: they would remain active in the Flanders Fields district until 1919, helping to clear the battlefields, to dismantle railway lines, and to dig up and remove bodies."

1834 Chinese lost their lives during WWI.

"On 15 November 1917, thirteen Chinese labourers lost their lives in a direct shell hit on the camp in Busseboom (Poperinge). They were buried near the Roobaertbeek stream; later, their bodies were exhumed and transferred to Bailleul. Research into those thirteen Chinese workers has yielded not only their names, but also contact with the families in China.
On 15 November 2017, a memorial was unveiled at Busseboom to remember the fallen labourers."

I found my information and pictures here:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

WWI History ~ The Tunnelers

There is so much history in WWI that I never learned. I learned when it started, possibly the catalyst that started the War to End All Wars and when America officially entered, but I didn't realize how many countries outside of Europe were affected. I thought Lawerence of Arabia was set WAY before 1900's!

Among the 600,000 killed were tunnelers; specialized soldiers who dug tunnels under the German lines. Most were actual miners from Australia, Canada and Britain. They used the tunnels to pack in explosives to blow the enemy defense.
The Germans figured out what was going on and counterattacked with their own tunnelers. Sometimes fighting went on deep underground.

One of the biggest victories was when Hill 60 was taken in the Battle of Messines (Battle of the Mines or The Mine Battle):


"Hill 60 was captured by the 11th Battalion West Yorkshires on 7 June 1917 during the Battle of Messines, when two huge mines were blown; one on the Hill itself which was a charge of more than 53,000 lbs blown by the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company, whose memorial is on the Hill, who also blew the neighbouring Caterpillar Crater...
 The surprise, the impact and the chaos amongst the Germans were complete. It was the most important Allied military victory of the war up to that point. The Messines-Wijtschate salient was eliminated. Units from Ireland, New Zealand and Australia took part in the battle...
The hill remained behind the British lines, and in early 1918, Australian Engineers built an Observation Bunker on the eastern side, with good views across Battle Wood towards Hollebeke. The Hill fell into German hands again during the Battle of the Lys in April 1918, and was recaptured by British troops, with American units on their flanks, in the Fourth Battle of Ypres in September 1918."

I found this information and pictures here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield — her brother, fighting with the enemy — the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Opening line:
""They're coming.""

I want to add so much more to that opening line because there is so much more!
The book opens with the Aska and the Riki fighting. Why? We don't really know except it's like two tribes battling it out in an age-old war. These clans are raised, both boys and girls, knowing they will train as warriors because they will fight the enemy.
Eelyn is the kick butt heroine of the story; she's strong, smart and loyal to her family and clan. But her character isn't in your face with how awesome she is. She fights because this is all she knows, because she is protecting her family and because this fight, or death, will bring honor.
But something goes wrong in this opening battle--Eelyn thinks she sees her dead brother fighting for the enemy. This starts the path of self-discovery she is at forced first to take, then she discovers many life lessons on her own.
The characters were well written and I cared for them and their families. I LOVED how much family was important in this book--both blood and chosen!
The world was easy to read and understand. Harsh climates, harsh living, trying to stay alive were part of the world building and done well.
The romance was Spot. On. I felt it was very realistic and I loved it. I loved when the dimples finally came out in a smile. SWEET
Overall, this was a great, un-put-downable read. There is a lot of fighting in this book (because that is what they know to do) but I didn't think it was graphic. No swearing. Some kissing. I feel comfortable recommending this book!

Thanks to netgalley and Wednesday Books for the early read!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Today, in history, the worse killing spree happened.

Poor Private Gitchell wasn't feeling good. Thinking he had a cold, he made his way to the infirmary where he was stationed awaiting deployment to Europe to fight in the War to End All Wars. Within a few hours, 107 other men were admitted with bad colds as well. By the end of two weeks, 1,127 med were sick.

This strange "cold" turned out to be influenza or the Spanish flu. Within eighteen months, over 500 million people were affected around the world. Out of that ghastly number, 100 million people died. 100 million people died! 

During WWI over two thousand soldiers died a day on the Western Front. Over 9 million lost their lives fighting there and about 21 million civilians died. But those numbers seem small in comparison due to one little germ spreading it's nasty disease. A second wave hit America at the end of war, killing more; strangley, it killed young people between the ages of 18 and 35. So if the men and women didn't die in combat, they probably died in bed with the flu.

Experts disagree on where the flue started; some say Canadian lakes, others say pigs wallowing near Fort Riley, or maybe the seaport of √Čtaples, France, while others suggest it hit Europe when the 'doughboys' arrived from America. But it didn't stop; it came in three more waves, last one being the worse. The crazy thing is, young people between 18 and 35 were affected the worse and most died.

"On September 28, 200,000 people gathered for a fourth Liberty Loan Drive. Funding the war effort and showing one’s patriotic colors took precedence over concern for public health. Just days after the parade, 635 new cases of influenza were reported. Two days later, the city was forced to admit that epidemic conditions did indeed exist. Churches, schools, and theaters were ordered closed, along with all places of “public amusement.” Members of the press condemned the closings as a violation of common sense and personal freedom. Meanwhile, the ranks of the sick and dying continued to grow. By mid-October, their numbers ran into the hundreds of thousands. Hospitals quickly reached capacity. Church parish houses and state armories doubled as shelters for the sick."

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Happy Women's Day! WWI Style

Women came out in force when the men left for war. They worked in factories, ran phones, worked gardens, drove ambulances, became unlicensed doctors, psychiatrist and nurses. WWI changed the view of the world for everyone, most especially for women. They now knew they really could do anything. It would a little bit of time for the rest of the world to catch up with that thought.
Happy day to all my favorite women out there!
You are an inspiration to me and those around you!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 Reading update!

I read 137 books.
Which equals over 45,000 pages.
My longest read (I actually listened to it) was:

Here are a few of my favorite reads (in particular order) from last year:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Repost of Megan Whalen Turner interview

I've been studying three of my favorite authors to help me push through to writing again. My first, and all time, favorite is Megan Whalen Turner. I love her stories; I love Gen; I love the layers of writing.
As I've read interviews with Megan I remembered I got to do one with her! I MET HER! She was kind and funny and gracious. I loved that she knitted the whole time we sat around her and gawked and plied her with questions.
So, in honor of searching inside myself to become a better write by studying my favorties, here is that interview from 2013:

Welcome Megan today! I want to be her when my author shelf grows up. If you haven't read her THIEF series, now is a good time.

 Now for Megan's interview:

What was the first book that turned you into a reader?

Probably it was the Narnia books by CS Lewis.  I remember foisting them on my third grade teacher and I knew I'd read them many times over by then.

What's your favorite snack?

Er?  How could I pick just one?  Hmmmm, probably Vinegar Potato Chips, although I am sure I should say something healthy like "Carrots!  I love carrots!"

What is your most memorable high school experience?

Passing notes to a friend between classes.  We wrote whole epistolary novels together on pieces of paper torn from our notebooks.

What do you never leave home without?

I can leave anything at home. My keys, my wallet, my cell phone.  I have not ever actually left my head behind, but only because it is securely attached to the rest of me.

Do you have any pets?

No, though I occasionally borrow them from friends.  For several years my neighbor's cat felt it owned my house, too. I used to come home and find it asleep in the sun in my study.

Do have a favorite getaway?

The library.

What was the first book that turned you into a reader?

Wait, wait, I answered that one already!

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring writers?

Watch out for self-indulgence.  It is the bane of writers.  It tells you it's okay to quit for the day when you could keep on writing.  It tells you that it's okay to skimp on the plotting or the characterization in order to get to the "good parts."

What are your goals for 2013?

My goal is to write more quickly.


Friday, October 13, 2017

KID AUTHORS: True Tales of Childhood from Famous Writers by David Stabler & Doogie Horner

The series that includes Kid Presidents, Kid Artists, and Kid Athletes now chronicles the lives of Kid Authors! Here are true tales of famous writers, from long before they were famous--or even old enough to drive. Did you know:
- Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain) loved to skip school and make mischief, with his best friend Tom, of course!
- A young J. R. R. Tolkien was bitten by a huge tarantula--or as he called it, -a spider as big as a dragon.-
- Toddler Zora Neale Hurston took her first steps when a wild hog entered her house and started chasing her!
The diverse and inclusive cast includes Roald Dahl, Beverly Cleary, J. K. Rowling, Langston Hughes, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, Stan Lee, and many more.

 Opening line:
"Everybody loves a good story--and we all know that a well-told story has a beginning, a middle, and an end."

This was a fun and quick book to read. Little interesting insights to a few writers with cute illustrations for each.
Ronald, aka, J.R.R. Tolkein was bit on the foot by a Baboon Tarantula. They are ginormous! Remind you of anything spiders in his stories?
Roald Dahl loved candy. When he was thirteen he was sent to a dismal school BUT it doubled as an undercover testing lab for Cadbury! He us to daydream about the inside of that factory.
Sam, or Samuel Clemens or Mark Twain (his name has something to do with boats...) us to get into all sorts of mischief with his best bud, Tom.
There are more snippets of interesting facts about more kid authors at the end of the book
I think this would be a great addition to any home or classroom.

Monday, October 9, 2017

THE FIRE QUEEN by Emily R. King

In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.

But as Kalinda’s tournament strengths are once again challenged, so too is her relationship with Deven. While Deven fears her powers, Ashwin reveres them—as well as the courageous woman who wields them. Kalinda comes to regard Ashwin as the only man who can repair a warring world and finds herself torn between her allegiance to Deven and a newly found respect for the young prince.

With both the responsibility to protect her people and the fate of those she loves weighing heavily upon her, Kalinda is forced again to compete. She must test the limits of her fire powers and her hard-won wisdom. But will that be enough to unite the empire without sacrificing all she holds dear?

 Opening line:
"Death has a stench, and it is not decaying flesh but the bitter scent of smoke clawing into my pores."

I enjoyed this book just as much as the first one! I was enthralled from the beginning and had a hard time putting the book down (I'm two hours behind in my chores!!).
Kalinda is the same brave woman we watched grow in book 1 but now she feels guilt for making bargains to save her empire and those bargains didn't quite work out.
Deven is still the devoted guard who wants to help and protect everyone.
The two are separated and a new "man" comes on the scene: Prince Ashwin. He is instantly enamored with Kali. Unfortunately for him, he looks just like his daddy who Kali killed: Turek.
There are also new friends added, who I really like, and new relationships. There was tons of palace intrigue that I thought Kali could dismiss because of who she was and how strong she is but that didn't happen. There are reasons...
I was so annoyed and frustrated with certain characters that I didn't mind when they were no longer part of the story. :)
Kali has a decision to make: be set free or defend her people. It's a big decision with lives and love in the balance.
Emily King does a great job developing characters and worlds and pulling readers in from the beginning (and the readers don't get the floors mopped because they. can't. stop. reading!).
I WILL read the third book! I can't wait to see what happens next!

Violence: fighting, whipping, death
Sex: kissing
Language: none

Saturday, September 2, 2017

FINALE! Summer reading challenges complete.

Wow! What a busy summer! 
We visited this whole other country and then visited the country. 
We welcomed home a daughter who was gone for 18 months (and cried), put up a pool and played. 
We got so much rain in the spring that new flowers appeared in the flower beds. The roses are still blooming and smell so good. But the time went too quickly! I'm not ready for the fall! 

I read 27 books in July and August.  
Some I really liked, others I didn't. I got my TBR pile down a teeny, tiny bit. I have a few more I want to finish this weekend as it's a long weekend:

If My Moon was Your Sun
by Andreas Steinhofel, Nele Palmtag (illustration)

 Max lives in a small town, much smaller than yours. His grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. You can imagine how they hurried, Max and his grandpa, followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Why were they in a hurry? Because everyone was after them. Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives.

A touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren,

The Fire Queen 
by Emily King

In the second book in The Hundredth Queen Series, Emily R. King once again follows a young warrior queen’s rise to meet her destiny in a richly imagined world of sorcery and forbidden powers.

Though the tyrant rajah she was forced to marry is dead, Kalinda’s troubles are far from over. A warlord has invaded the imperial city, and now she’s in exile. But she isn’t alone. Kalinda has the allegiance of Captain Deven Naik, her guard and beloved, imprisoned for treason and stripped of command. With the empire at war, their best hope is to find Prince Ashwin, the rajah’s son, who has promised Deven’s freedom on one condition: that Kalinda will fight and defeat three formidable opponents.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy
by Tracy Holczer
After her mother's sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she's never met. She can't imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe it is her mother, showing her the way to her true home.


Ever the Brave
by Erin Summerill
 Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost.

The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart.

This book just might be my favorite read of the summer!

My Lady Jane
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows


What's what this story is all about! It's clever. Funny. Smart. Hilarious at times. Intriguing all the time. The story of Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen, is told from the three different, rich viewpoints, thanks to three great writers. So many awesome quotes. Here's one that made me laugh out loud (I was listening to the audio book which made my laughter even more startling) and caused my children to look askance at me:
"Your mother was a hamster and your father reeked of elder berries!"

I hope to have 30 books read by the end of Labor Day. Then I really, really need to get back to writing.