To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild

I thought that as an avid reader and a lover of history that I knew the basics about World War I.  I'd heard about trench warfare, chlorine gas, mustard gas, and shell shock but I didn't really understand them and I wasn't prepared for what I learned while reading this book.

They called it the Great War.  However, this war was apparently completely unnecessary.  That's right - 8.5 million casualties, 12-13 million civilian deaths  totally unnecessary brought on by a war-hungry monarch and military men who wouldn't accept the changes that the 20th century had brought to the battlefield.

Kaiser Wilhelm wanted to play at war, he always wore a uniform and he wanted to prove his country's superiority.  The excuse used to start the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Joseph and his wife (he abhorred war - how ironic).  The Austro-Hungary empire would have probably controlled the effects with a small military action in Serbia where the assassination had taken place, but as an ally of Austro-Hungary, Kaiser Wilhelm and Germany took it upon themselves to stress escalation.

So we have a war and the British, who had end the Boer wars several years before thought that they were ready to take on the Germans with the same tactics as used then.  However, since the Boer wars the 20th century saw motor vehicles, machine guns, and airplanes come into existence. Gen. Douglas Haig would not accept that cavalry was no longer useful with the new methods available.  Time and time again he would send men to certain death by commanding offensives directly into the German machine gun nests.  Hundreds of thousands of men were killed in weeks and Haig just kept sending them.

On the home front, massive labor strikes and Conscientious Objectors filled the headlines.   The Conscientious Objectors were sent to prison with sentence ordering hard labor (16 hours a day) half rations and no heat.  Women were imprisoned if they argued against the war.

But really bothered me the most about what I learned was the actual cause of shell shock.  Imagine sitting in a deep ditch for weeks on end and then suddenly being bombarded by artillery NON-STOP for days at a time so loud that you couldn't hear the person next to you talking.  I personally can't handle a loud thunderstorm that's off again on again for 20 minutes - how can you handle this acoustic attack?

The Allied Forces were actually losing the battle until the Americans joined the fight.  The Treaty that ended the war was so vindictive that many historians see it as a contributor to World War II.

The book was slow to start, had some areas where it was extremely repetitive concerning the women that were against the war, but highly informative.


GENRE: History
CHARACTERS: John French, Charlotte Despard, Douglas Haig, Alfred Milner 
DATE READ: April 10 - April 26
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Library, Nook Stockpile


Francesca: The Silk Merchant's Daughters by Bertrice Small

Giovanni Pietro D'Angelo, a wealthy silk merchant in Florence has been contacted my Lorenzo di Medici concerning his second daughter Francesca.  Titus Cesare, Duke of Torreno Boscoso, is seeking a wife for his heir and di Medici wants Francesca to be one of the 3 candidates.  After arguing with her father, Francesca reluctantly agrees to travel to Torreno Boscoso to meet the future Duke.
Two other young women are also to be considered and the young heir will choose from the 3 maidens.  

When Francesca is selected she flees into the forest in an attempt to escape her fate but there she undergoes a change - realizing what she may have lost as well as what she may have found. 

Francesca's transformation from a spoiled aristocrat to  the new duchessa is what is needed for she and the new duke to survive the difficulties ahead.

I wasn't fond of the ending but it did have a purpose.


GENRE: Romance
CHARACTERS: Francesca, Rafaello, Titus Cesare, Terza,Alonza, Raoul du Barry
Series/ Progress: Silk Merchant's Daughters  2/4
DATE READ: April 18 - April 22
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook Stockpile


Fire Engine Dead by Sheila Connolly

The Fireman's museum is under renovation when the storage facility where all their collections are housed becomes the victim of an arson fire. The head of the the Fireman's museum contacts Nell to see if her historical museum can be of any assistance.
Searching through the Society's records, Nell discovers issues that she reports to the FBI (her boyfriend). With her assistance the FBI attempt to determine the cause and motive for the arson.

The mystery is well-written and carries the reader effortlessly to conclusion.  Will definitely be reading the next one soon.


GENRE: Cozy Mystery
CHARACTERS: Nell Pratt, James Morrison, Jennifer Phillips, Peter Ingersoll
Series/ Progress: Museum Mystery  4/6
DATE READ: April 16 - April 18
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook Stockpile


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

I overheard my great-nephew's (4 yrs old) Mom start talk about reading this book  so I picked it up from the library to see what it was all about.

How imaginative to have a town named Chewandswallow, where there are no grocery stores but each day your food is delivered by the weather - you could get soup or milk showers,  snow of mashed potatoes or peas, storms of hamburgers!  So much fun but don't read it on an empty stomach!


GENRE: Childrens
Series/ Progress: Chance of Meatballs 1/2
DATE READ: April 15 - April 15
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, 
SOURCE: Library


Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Hannah's partner Lisa had her car in the shop, so when Hannah picks her up on a rainy morning an accident gets Hannah into a pot of trouble.  Arrested for Vehicular homicide,  Hannah works from jail trying to figure out the identity of the victim and what he was doing on a deserted road.

Okay, these aren't rocket science but for me they are loads of fun.  The characters make me laugh and the recipes make my mouth water.


GENRE: Cozy Mystery
CHARACTERS: Hannah Swensen, Winnie Henderson, Delores Swensen, Jennifer Richardson
Series/ Progress: Hannah Swensen Mysteries 17/18
DATE READ: April 14 - April 14
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Library


The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

Kate, Michael, and  Emma have been sent back to the orphanage in Baltimore but Kate realizes that they are still in danger and when the storm comes, Kate is separated from Michael and Emma leaving Michael promising to watch over his little sister until Kate returns.  Kate is thrown back into time by the Atlas until just before the magical world separates itself in 1899 while Michael and Emma connect with Dr. Pym and start out on a search for the second book - the Fire Chronicle.

Michael and Emma are taken on an adventure to the bowels of the earth starting in Antarctica  and ending in an area far beneath the ice mass warmed  by a volcano which guards the Chronicle.  Meanwhile, Kate is without the Atlas and struggles in the past to find a way back to her siblings.

Loved the adventure and the children's resolve when faced with danger.

GENRE: Fantasy
CHARACTERS: Michael, Emma, Kate, Dr Pym, Gabriel, Rafe
Series/ Progress: Books of Beginning 2/3
DATE READ: April 5 - April 9
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook stockpile


Finger Lickin' Dead by Riley Adams

The second of the Memphis BBQ mysteries cen ters around Adam Cawthorn's murder - he had moonlighted as "Eppie Currian" a restaurant reviewer and the nasty reviews that he wrote had many up in arms so when his body was found, there were plenty of suspects.

I thought this mystery was great because at the very instant of the mystery I thought I knew who the murderer was and followed that conviction until the end when I was greatly surprised at being wrong!

Fun series, will look for more.


GENRE: Cozy Mystery
Series/ Progress: Memphis BBQ  mysteries 2/4
DATE READ: April 2 - April 5
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: Nook stockpile


Hanging by a Thread by Monica Ferris

This story very much reminded me of the Sherlock Holmes  Problem on Thor Bridge with a very similar resolution.  I wonder if the author is a fan of Holmes?  The characters didn't seem to grow but remained stagnant to their previous adventure. The mystery itself wasn't very involved but the background was fun.


GENRE: Cozy Mystery
CHARACTERS: Betsy Devonshire, Foster Johns, Angela Schmitt, Paul Schmitt
Series/ Progress: Needlecraft mysteries 6/18
DATE READ: March 30 - April 1
Challenges: 75, Category, TIOLI, AlphaKit
SOURCE: My Shelves