My Sister’s Mother by Donna Solecka Urbikas

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

My Sister’s Mother by Donna Solecka Urbikas was a fantastic book.  From the first page of this book right through the end, I was in love with this book and this author.  I love that is about real people and what they went through during WWII and the aftermath of it all.  I also liked how she went back and forth between when the author was growing up and when her mother and sister were going through during the war.

There was one sentence that stuck out to me and still sticks out me now.  I am going to share that right here because I think it is something that most people could relate to.  “Just as the last weeks of pregnancy make life so unbearable that a woman rushes joyfully into the pain of labor and delivery, so do the last weeks of life in old age prepare one for death.”  What do you think of this statement?

I love most books that have something to do with WWII, but this book was so different from others that I have read over the years.  I have to say that this book might be my favorite because I felt like I really connected with the characters. The authors writing all spoke to me and I was sad when the book was over because I missed the characters.  If you love WWII books and also like real stories, then I think you will enjoy this book as much as I do.

About The Book

Donna Solecka Urbikas grew up in the Midwest during the golden years of the American century. But her Polish-born mother and half sister had endured dehumanizing conditions during World War II, as slave laborers in Siberia. War and exile created a profound bond between mother and older daughter, one that Donna would struggle to find with either of them.
In 1940, Janina Slarzynska and her five-year-old daughter Mira were taken by Soviet secret police (NKVD) from their small family farm in eastern Poland and sent to Siberia with hundreds of thousands of others. So began their odyssey of hunger, disease, cunning survival, desperate escape across a continent, and new love amidst terrible circumstances.
But in the 1950s, baby boomer Donna yearns for a “normal” American family while Janina and Mira are haunted by the past. In this unforgettable memoir, Donna recounts her family history and her own survivor’s story, finally understanding the damaged mother who had saved her sister.

Finalist, Best Traditional Non-Fiction Book, Chicago Writers Association

About The Author

Donna Solecka Urbikas was born in Coventry, England, and immigrated with her parents and sister to Chicago in 1952. After careers as a high school science teacher and environmental engineer, she is now a writer, realtor, and community volunteer. She lives in Chicago with her husband.

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Of The Grid by Randy Denmon

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Off The Grid by Randy Denmon was such an interesting book.  I loved reading this book because you have no idea what is going to happen next, but you do know that they survived the trip because he wrote the book.  This was a super easy read which I loved because it meant that I didn’t to know a ton about electric cars or things like that.   Some books like this tend to be super annoying, but this book kept me interested throughout the entire thing.  I really enjoyed the authors writing and all of the stories that he included in this book.  Like I said it was an easy read and I was able to read it in a few days.  If you are looking for a fun book to read this summer, I would recommend this book to you.

About The Book

The rollicking tale of a first-of-its-kind adventure—driving a Tesla through Central America.

Only a week after the nation’s newspapers were filled with headlines of the first cross-country trip in an electric car, two Louisianans slip quietly across the Rio Grande in south Texas in an attempt to do the unthinkable—drive a factory electric car across seven Third World countries to the “end of the road,” Panama City, Panama.

Without support and armed only with a toolbox, a bag of electrical adapters, and their wits, author Randy Denmon and his friend Dean trudge on through jungles, deserts, volcanoes, rivers, and crater-sized potholes, all the while trying to avoid the drug cartels and corrupt border guards that could mean a quick end to their adventure . . . and their lives. Through it all, the same enormous problem loomed daily: how to charge the car in such a primitive and desolate setting?

Despite the numerous setbacks, Randy never lost his sense of humor. Off the Grid is as much a spiritual journey as a physical one about two guys who dropped everything for one grand twenty-first-century adventure—traveling back in time in a car that seemed to come from the future.

About The Author

Randy Denmon is a writer and engineer. His novels and nonfiction have won the Western Writers of America Spur Award, the Faulkner-Wisdom Award, and he has been a finalist for the Ben Franklin Award. A lifelong Louisiana resident, he currently resides in Monroe, LA. When not writing, he is a practicing Civil Engineer.

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More Than A Soldier by D.M. Annechino

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Italy Book Reviews in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

More Than A Soldier by D.M. Annechino was a fantastic book.  Anyone who has followed my reviews for just about any length of time knows that I love any book that has to do with WWII and this book was no different.  This book is based on a true story, and I loved it because I love knowing that a real person had lived through the things that happened in this book.  I have read other books by this author, and I really do enjoy his writing.  I can’t say enough good things about this book because I am such a love of books like this one.  I loved that as I was reading this book, I felt like I was there with Angelo and I felt like I was there with him.  I was able to understand how he was feeling because the author did such a great job making you feel like you are with the character.  If you are looking for a new WWII book to read this summer, I think that you will love this book just as much as I do.

About The Book

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen-year-old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody Battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria, and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience, and courage.

About The Author

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Fighter Pilot’s Daughter by Mary Lawlor

 

FTC: I received a free copy of this book from PUYB in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Fighter Pilot’s Daughter by Mary Lawlor was a book I was never able to get into.  I always try and find good things about books that I am reading, and it is rare for me to just not like anything about books.  I can always seem to find something that I enjoyed about the book, but this time I really didn’t enjoy this book.  I found that I was bored throughout most of the book.  I had a really hard time finishing this book because I was so bored with it.  I kept thinking while I was reading it was that it reminded me of a book that I would have read in high school.  That is really all I can say about this book because like I said I didn’t like it.  I am sure there are people who would really enjoy this book I just wasn’t one of them.

About The Book

FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER: GROWING UP IN THE SIXTIES AND THE COLD WAR tells the story of the author as a young woman coming of age in an Irish Catholic, military family during the Cold War.  Her father, an aviator in the Marines and later the Army, was transferred more than a dozen times to posts from Miami to California and Germany as the government’s Cold War policies demanded.  For the pilot’s wife and daughters, each move meant a complete upheaval of ordinary life.  The car was sold, bank accounts closed, and of course one school after another was left behind.  Friends and later boyfriends lined up in memory as a series of temporary attachments.  The book describes the dramas of this traveling household during the middle years of the Cold War.  In the process, FIGHTER PILOT’S DAUGHTER shows how the larger turmoil of American foreign policy and the effects of Cold War politics permeated the domestic universe. The climactic moment of the story takes place in the spring of 1968, when the author’s father was stationed in Vietnam and she was attending college in Paris.  Having left the family’s quarters in Heidelberg, Germany the previous fall, she was still an ingénue; but her strict upbringing had not gone deep enough to keep her anchored to her parents’ world.  When the May riots broke out in the Latin quarter, she attached myself to the student leftists and American draft resisters who were throwing cobblestones at the French police. Getting word of her activities via a Red Cross telegram delivered on the airfield in Da Nang, Vietnam, her father came to Paris to find her. The book narrates their dramatically contentious meeting and return to the American military community of Heidelberg.  The book concludes many years later, as the Cold War came to a close.  After decades of tension that made communication all but impossible, the author and her father reunited.  As the chill subsided in the world at large, so it did in the relationship between the pilot and his daughter. When he died a few years later, the hard edge between them, like the Cold War stand-off, had become a distant memory.

About The Author

Mary Lawlor grew up in an Army family during the Cold War.  Her father was a decorated fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific during World War II, flew missions in Korea, and did two combat tours in Vietnam. His family followed him from base to base and country to country during his years of service. Every two or three years, Mary, her three sisters, and her mother packed up their household and moved. By the time she graduated from high school, she had attended fourteen different schools. These displacements, plus her father?s frequent absences and brief, dramatic returns, were part of the fabric of her childhood, as were the rituals of base life and the adventures of life abroad.

As Mary came of age, tensions between the patriotic, Catholic culture of her upbringing and the values of the sixties counterculture set family life on fire.  While attending the American College in Paris, she became involved in the famous student uprisings of May 1968.  Facing her father, then posted in Vietnam, across a deep political divide, she fought as he had taught her to for a way of life completely different from his and her mother’s.

Years of turbulence followed.  After working in Germany, Spain and Japan, Mary went on to graduate school at NYU, earned a Ph.D. and became a professor of literature and American Studies at Muhlenberg College.  She has published three books, Recalling the Wild (Rutgers UP, 2000), Public Native America (Rutgers UP, 2006), and most recently Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War (Rowman and Littlefield, September 2013).

She and her husband spend part of each year on a small farm in the mountains of southern Spain.

Her latest book is the memoir, Fighter Pilot’s Daughter: Growing Up in the Sixties and the Cold War.

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My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce was an amazing book. When I saw that this book was available for me to review I knew I had to pick it up because I have always wondered about the children that grow up like this. I really enjoyed this book because it was a true story and I love books that really happened. I found it easier for me to get into this book because it was true and I knew that everything really happened. I also loved getting a different view of what it is like to live in the United States. I had a rough childhood but I know I had it better than most people do in this country. I loved everything about this book because it was written well enough that I understood and felt like I was there with the author. If you love memoirs than I know you will love this book as much as I did.

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About The Book

For an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American Dream? Julissa Arce shares her story in a riveting memoir.

When she was 11 years old, Julissa Arce left Mexico and came to the United States on a tourist visa to be reunited with her parents, who dreamed the journey would secure her a better life. When her visa expired at the age of 15, she became an undocumented immigrant. Thus began her underground existence, a decade’s long game of cat and mouse, tremendous family sacrifice, and fear of exposure. After the Texas Dream Act had made a college degree possible, Julissa’s top grades and leadership positions landed her an internship at Goldman Sachs, which led to a full-time position–one of the most coveted jobs on Wall Street. Soon she was a Vice President, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, yet still guarding her “underground” secret. In telling her personal story of separation, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce shifts the immigrant conversation and changes the perception of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant.

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About The Author

Julissa Arce is the author of “My (Underground) American Dream.” She is an emerging and leading voice in the fight for immigrant rights and education equality. She is the chairman and co-founder of the Ascend Educational Fund (AEF). AEF is a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students in New York City, regardless of their ethnicity, national original or immigration status. She made national and international headlines when she revealed that she had achieved the American Dream of wealth and status at Goldman Sachs while undocumented. Julissa will use her inspirational story to change the conversation around immigration in MY (UNDERGROUND) AMERICAN DREAM. The book explores the polarizing question: for an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American dream?

In the heady days of the most astronomical stock-market rise in Wall Street history, Julissa Arce climbed the corporate ladder—a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties. In 2005, against all the odds, she landed one of the most coveted jobs as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of the next six years, even while the financial markets crashed, she continued to climb the corporate ladder—riding a series of promotions to become a Vice President, complete with a high six-figure salary and all of the perks that come with living the Goldman Sachs life. What none of her colleagues knew was that she wasn’t just a young woman who broke through ceilings in a cutthroat male-dominated field: she was also an undocumented American from Mexico.

Arce now uses her success and platform to help shift the conversation around immigration and other social justice issues. Arce often gives talks at events such as TEDx and the Forbes Reinventing America Summit (alongside Nancy Pelosi, Jessica Alba, and Gayle King), and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Al Jazeera America, Telemundo, Bloomberg TV and Univision. Her writing has been published on Huffington Post, Fusion, CNN en Español, The Hill, and Univision. She serves on the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center and CollegeSpring. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014 and will vote in a presidential election for the first time in 2016.

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Scapegoat by Emilio Corsetti III

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Scapegoat by Emilio Corsetti III was such an interesting book. He went into such detail in this book that the thought of my getting on a plane and going someone where isn’t something I want to do now. I loved all the details though because I really felt like I understood what everyone was feeling and why the crew made the choices that they made in the moment. Like I said now that I have read this book I don’t know that I will be able to get on a plane without having a panic attack. I love that the author gives you all the information and then lets you figure out what you think about everything that happened. I love that he doesn’t talk about what he thinks happened. I really loved this book but it did take quite a while to read because it is a really big book and the font isn’t the biggest. If you love books about true stories than I would say check this book out because it was a great book.

Scapegoat

About The Book

“This is the kind of case the Board has never had to deal with-a head-on collision between the credibility of a flight crew versus the airworthiness of the aircraft.” NTSB Investigator-in-Charge Leslie Dean Kampschror

On April 4, 1979, a Boeing 727 with 82 passengers and a crew of 7 rolled over and plummeted from an altitude of 39,000 feet to within seconds of crashing were it not for the crew’s actions to save the plane. The cause of the unexplained dive was the subject of one of the longest NTSB investigations at that time.

While the crew’s efforts to save TWA 841 were initially hailed as heroic, that all changed when safety inspectors found twenty-one minutes of the thirty-minute cockpit voice recorder tape blank. The captain of the flight, Harvey “Hoot” Gibson, subsequently came under suspicion for deliberately erasing the tape in an effort to hide incriminating evidence. The voice recorder was never evaluated for any deficiencies.

From that moment on, the investigation was focused on the crew to the exclusion of all other evidence. It was an investigation based on rumors, innuendos, and speculation. Eventually the NTSB, despite sworn testimony to the contrary, blamed the crew for the incident by having improperly manipulated the controls, leading to the dive.

This is the story of an NTSB investigation gone awry and one pilot’s decades-long battle to clear his name.

Emilio Corsetti III

About The Author

Emilio Corsetti III is a professional pilot and author. Emilio has written for both regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Multimedia Producer, and Professional Pilot magazine. Emilio is the author of the book 35 Miles From Shore: The Ditching and Rescue of ALM Flight 980. The upcoming book Scapegoat: A Flight Crew’s Journey from Heroes to Villains to Redemption tells the true story of an airline crew wrongly blamed for causing a near-fatal accident and the captain’s decades-long battle to clear his name. Emilio is a graduate of St. Louis University. He and his wife Lynn reside in Dallas, TX.

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The Painting and The Piano by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Book Publicity Services  in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

The Painting and The Piano by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo was a hard book to read at times. I say that it was hard to read because of some of the things that the characters went through in this book. I know that this book could be triggering to some people as well because of the topics talked about. With that being said I did enjoy this book and found myself wanting to read it until the end because I wanted to know how it all played out in the end. I liked this book so much because it is a true story and I always find myself loving books that are true stories. There are parts of this book that reminded me of my childhood, so I know also helped me understand what the characters felt at certain points throughout the book. I enjoyed this book even though it was hard at times to read it. I loved that the characters made it through and wrote this book to help other people learn from the things they went through as children. If you love autobiography types books than I know you will love this book just as much as I do. This is one that I am going to be adding to my personal collection of books because I would like to read it again in the future.

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About The Book

The Painting and The Piano, by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo, is an improbable story of survival and love.

Genres: Literary Nonfiction / Romance / Memoir / Addiction and Recovery

Growing up more than a thousand miles apart and worlds away from each other, Johnny and Adrianne seemed to have all that a child could ask for. However, the demons of their respective mothers would tear their young, fragile lives apart.

Eventually, destiny would bring Johnny and Adrianne together, but first they had to endure the painful toll that alcohol, drugs, and a negligent court system would take on them. With parts of Adrianne’s story ripped from national news headlines, their story takes them from the depths of despair and near death, to their first serendipitous introduction and the moment each knew they were finally safe.

Filled with hope, inspiration and humor, The Painting and the Piano is an unforgettable story of pain, loss and the undying human quest for happiness. Told as a tandem narrative, Adrianne and Johnny’s stories are unique, but share parallels that create a taut and emotionally compelling narrative.

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About The Author’s

Johnny and Adrianne reside in South Florida with their Yorkie, Holly.  Both are involved in the AA/Recovery community. Adrianne currently works at a recovery house and Johnny continues speaking, sponsoring and helping others in recovery.

Readers can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To learn more, go to http://www.paintingpiano.com/

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Hunting Hope by Nika Maples

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples was such a great book and one I was glad that I got to review.  When I first saw this book being offered to review, I didn’t sign up for it because I am not always a huge fan of books like this one.  After I got a second email asking to review the book I figured what the hell it won’t hurt me to read it.  In the end, I am so glad that I read the book because it gave me a new way to look at some of the hard things I have dealt with in my life.  This book is a smaller book but right from the first page it made me think and made me want to look at my life differently.  I also liked that this book was an easy read, and the author did a great job of making me understand what she was saying and things like that.  I think this is one book that everyone should read at some point because it can teach everyone something.

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples

About The Book

Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light (April 2016, Worthy Inspired)

Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

Nika Maples became a hope hunter after suffering a massive brainstem stroke that left her quadriplegic in her twenties. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and—if she lived at all—she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes.

Whether you or someone you know is going through a situation that feels hopeless, you will find encouragement in Hunting Hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical trauma, a financial hardship, or a relational crisis, you will find empowerment in Hunting Hope. As you read, you will cling to 20 truths about God’s character and practice 5 daily disciplines that will develop your own character in crisis.

You will become a hope hunter.

Maybe it doesn’t matter what causes suffering in our lives as much as it matters what suffering causes in our lives. Maybe we were all meant to be hope hunters.

Nika Maples

About The Author

Nika Maples is the author of Twelve Clean Pages, the memoir of her survival of lupus and a stroke that left her quadriplegic at age 20. After learning to walk and talk again, she became a public school teacher, winning 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. She holds an MA in English Education from Columbia University and currently is pursuing an MDIV from The King’s University. When she is not traveling to speak, she lives, writes, and laughs as much as possible in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind “Machine Gun” Kelly by Barbara Casey

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from iRead in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind “Machine Gun” Kelly by Barbara Casey was a fascinating book. I enjoyed this book because they focused on the facts and didn’t spend time talking about things that didn’t matter. I how well this book flowed, and they only included events you had to know and left out all the other stuff that other authors include in their books sometime. I also loved that the author would tell you something and if it wasn’t 100% confirmed she would just say that it is what was said, but she couldn’t find out if it were a fact or not. This book was a super easy to read, and I loved that the font in this book was bigger than some others I have read lately. I can’t say enough great things about this book because I love reading books that teach me things and this book is one of those types of books. If you love crime novels or biography’s, then I would tell you to pick up this book and check it out.

Kathryn Kelly

About The Book

Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind “Machine Gun” Kelly is a biography of the woman who made a career of crime. With a lust for danger, she masterminded the crimes that took her and her husband, and others who included her own mother and stepfather, on a spree across Minnesota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. Starting with smaller crimes that included bootlegging, smuggling liquor onto an Oklahoma Indian reservation, and other petty crimes, she encouraged her husband, George Barnes aka George Kelly, toward a life of more serious criminal activity that eventually escalated into bank robberies, kidnapping and extortion.

Many believe that it was Kathryn, after giving him a machine gun, who developed George’s feared persona and the name of Machine Gun Kelly. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was even convinced that the two were somehow connected in the Lindbergh kidnapping. Kathryn and Machine Gun Kelly were eventually captured after kidnapping Charles Urschel, a wealthy Oklahoma City oilman, and collecting a $200,000 ransom the largest ransom ever paid at that time.

Eventually, the two were captured in Memphis, where Kelly had grown up as a boy. During their trial in Oklahoma City, movie cameras were allowed into the courtroom for the first time as curious spectators across the nation watched. Kathryn, while claiming to be an innocent victim in a bad marriage, remained unrepentant, smiling and primping for the cameras, and writing threatening letters to the judge and attorneys assigned to the case as well as her victims.

Convicted in 1933, Kathryn served twenty-five years of her life sentence at FPC Alderson, West Virginia, when in 1958 she was finally released into obscurity. Although much has been written about Machine Gun Kelly, there is very little known about Kathryn.

Through narrative, FBI files, rare quotes from George Kelly’s son and other relatives and associates, extensive research, and several photographs, Kathryn Kelly ¬The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly is the first book ever written about a woman who chose to follow a life of crime during the Prohibition era.

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About The Author

Barbara Casey is a partner in Strategic Media Books, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. She is also a manuscript consultant and the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories.

Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary adult novel received several awards including the prestigious IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction. Her most recent young adult novel, The Cadence of Gypsies, received the Independent Publishers Living Now Award and was reviewed by the Smithsonian for its list of Best Books.

Ms. Casey makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

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Mukhabarat, Baby! My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA by Eric Burkhart

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from iRead in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Mukhabarat, Baby! My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA by Eric Burkhart was an amazing book, and I was sad when it came to an end.  I loved that the author included bits of humor and his personality came through while I was reading the book.  I really can’t say enough great things about this book and this author.  I loved all the stories that he told, and I loved getting a little bit of a behind the scenes view of what working for the CIA is like.  I am finding that I love books like this because the stories are true and I love to read true stories.  I spend a good portion of the time that I was reading this book smiling because I love his sense of humor and his style of writing.  I would recommend this book to everyone because it is an amazing story and one that  I think most people would love.

Mukhabarat Baby!

About The Book

This is the story of a young American who would eventually fulfill his dream of becoming a CIA Case Officer, only to have a promising career cut short after having been purposely poisoned by a contact.

Eric Burkhart was raised in Europe in a bilingual household, and accepted a job in Africa right out of college. Upon his return to the United States, he was hired as an Immigration Agent in Laredo, Texas, working Inspections on one of the busiest port-of-entries connecting the United States and Mexico. This experience is detailed in this humorous, occasionally heartbreaking memoir about choosing to be a survivor.

In 2000, Burkhart accepted a position as a Case Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. The book includes details of both the notoriously arduous hiring process and the rigorous training program, including Burkhart’s eventual successful completion of the Espionage Course taught at the famous “Farm”. Burkhart’s first overseas working experience was in war-torn Kosovo, where he was unwittingly poisoned by an unstable intelligence contact. Burkhart would struggle with the repercussions of this episode for the remainder of his career, and eventually be obliged to accept full medical retirement from the CIA.

However, before retiring, Burkhart completed tours in Iraq and Africa. His time spent in the Green Zone almost immediately following the occupation of Baghdad, constitutes the majority of this enlightening book. Burkhart exposes the reader to the human element within the CIA, and we are introduced to a variety of characters, some who will seem familiar, and some who reveal the eccentricities we expect with this kind of occupation.

Follow Burkhart through the battlefields of Iraq, past the Iraqi Insurgency, and to his next assignment in Africa. Burkhart leaves no emotion unexpressed as he details his medical struggles with the horrific damage caused to his body from Toxic Exposure. Wracked by pain, Burkhart reaches the point where he must consider quality of life issues, and has to accept retirement as a necessary decision. Burkhart has a story to tell, and leaves no stone unturned during this turbulent time both in his life, and in our history.

Eric Burkhart

About The Author

Eric Burkhart was born in North Carolina in 1965, and raised in France by his mother while his father was serving in Vietnam. Eric’s parents retired to San Antonio, Texas in 1978, and Eric has considered himself a Texan since that time.

After completing college, Burkhart relocated to South Africa for a job in community planning and design. After returning to the United States in 1994, Eric started a career in federal service by becoming a Federal Agent. In 1999 he moved over to the CIA, which became his passion and focus in life. After being poisoned by while working in Kosovo in 2001, Burkhart was eventually obliged to medically retire, but not before extending his career to include tours in Iraq and Africa. Mukhabarat, Baby! is Burkhart’s first book.

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