Review: The Night Trilogy





Synopsis:

Night is one of the masterpieces of Holocaust literature. First published in 1958, it is the autobiographical account of an adolescent boy and his father in Auschwitz. Elie Wiesel writes of their battle for survival and of his battle with God for a way to understand the wanton cruelty he witnesses each day. In the short novel Dawn (1960), a young man who has survived World War II and settled in Palestine joins a Jewish underground movement and is commanded to execute a British officer who has been taken hostage. In Day (previously titled The Accident, 1961), Wiesel questions the limits of conscience: Can Holocaust survivors forge a new life despite their memories? Wiesel’s trilogy offers insights on mankind’s attraction to violence and on the temptation of self-destruction.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Night Trilogy by Elle Wiesel is a gruesome account of the suffering he and his family faced during World War II. A time of Death, loss, and torment. This was one of history’s nightmarish memories that will never be forgotten. The Nazis were cruel dictators killing innocent human beings without a hesitation. The page in this book showed it all. 
Young Elle Wiesel experienced what no other teenage boy should have faced. He and his family were just one of countless numbers herded onto cattle cars. Usuhered to their death. The showers of death, the endless starvation, beatings, and cruelty killed so many humans. Humans who didn’t know what lied ahead. 
As I read this book, it brought me back to something I wish I never knew about. Something that should never have happened. But it did. A memory that no being can wash away. The smoke from the screaming dying corpses in the “shower rooms” and the endless fears were terrorfying to revisit. It survivors like the writer who show the world what happened and may happen again. 
The Night Trilogy is memoir that will always be remembered. Survival, loss, death, and much more. Terrible days that never end. Even with so much time having passed. It is a gripping and well-written book. I recommend this Holocaust story to readers worldwide. 

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Review: The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir



Synopsis:

“Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!” 

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives. 

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life. 

In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict. 

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan is one to love. I am always intrigued by stories about World War II. This one was just that…but much more. Jennifer Ryan brings to readers a story about the women on the home front. Women band together during these terrible and emotional times. Husbands and sons away fighting at war. Life is interrupted and everything opens up…the women are able to step in and do much more. A choir group is dismissed and all seems lost. But not yet. One determined woman goes out and reaches the ladies. They form a new choir…The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. From there, I got to meet a bunch of interesting woman whose stories varied as did their personalities. A refreshing piece of literature. Bold, engaging, and intriguing. I was hooked. Secrets, a crime, and love are all wrapped in inside this stunning story. Overall, I recommend The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir to readers worldwide. 

Review: Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou 



Synopsis:

Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou intertwines historic persons, actual events and distant locales of World War II with a fast-moving fictional Nazi plot to disrupt the manufacture of Higgins boats, the remarkable landing craft that won the war for the Allies. Spanning the globe from amphibious landings at Guadalcanal, to the Navajo code talker school, to the exotic environs of New Orleans, to the secret world of Bletchley Park, this tautly written thriller, covering two weeks during the summer of 1942, combines a fully imagined cast of characters with the historically important figures of Andrew Higgins, members of American and British Intelligence, Navajo code talker Chester Nez, Commander Ian Fleming of MI6, along with a Polish intelligence officer, and “Silver Dollar Sam” Carolla, crime boss of New Orleans.

An old German is found dead in a New Orleans whorehouse. Sewn into the lining of the dead man’s vest is a notebook filled with hand-drawn maps and notes about the comings and goings at military installations. German conspirators fret that their local contact (the dead German) is overdue. Mafia crime boss Nico Carolla, is soon drawn into the disposition of the corpse.

We move to the Pacific and meet the grandson of the dead German, PFC Brock, a U.S. Marine being trained for the landings at Guadalcanal. Then we meet Andrew Jackson Higgins at the helm of the single most important landing craft ever built, the Higgins Boat, the steel-ramped landing craft that brought American troops to Pacific islands and to Normandy. In his colorful manner, Higgins is instructing a class of Coast Guard newbies on how to properly drive and operate his nearly indestructible boat. Higgins faces shortages of materials, manpower, and factory space. The Mafia boss controls much of the labor supply. Accommodations must be made to placate the mob family, who also have Old World connections in critical to the upcoming North African landings.

The Waffen-SS officers charged with sabotaging the Higgins Boat plant arrive, only to learn of the loss of the intelligence gathered by the dead German. Now enter the code breakers at Bletchley Park who intercept the commando team’s messages, including one female mathematician through whose eyes we see inside Bletchley Park.

America is almost entirely dependent on Britain’s MI6 for intelligence gathering. We meet Martina Amerada, a Cuban woman with a high-level banking responsibility, including ties to British intelligence, and who is Nico Carolla’s mistress. Martina moves money for the crime family and provides diplomatic cover between the Palermo branch of the family and the planners of Operation Torch. We are also introduced to the Navajo code-talker program essential to securing Marine Corps messages in the Pacific theater.

The German commando team searches for the lost notebook by visiting the whorehouses Brock has been known to frequent, which leads to a murder and later retaliation by the Mafia against the German conspirators. Half the German commando team perishes. US marshals are drawn into the story as bodies are discovered in the nearby bayous. The Mafia is suspected. When the marshals confront Carolla, the marshals are put on the trail of the commandos which leads to the death of the marshals. 

Bletchley Park is busy trying to crack the code imbedded in the Himmler messages, We move back to the Pacific where grandson Brock is involved in the bloody landings ahead of Guadalcanal. Brock is wounded and nearly dies as the remaining commando attempts to demolish the largest Higgins Boat manufacturing facility in New Orleans. With the help of British intelligence, Nico Carolla prevents the plant from being destroyed and thus becomes the hero of the story.

Operation Torch gets underway and the Higgins boats prove their indispensability to the war effort. PFC Brock recovers from his wounds, and Martina takes possession of all intelligence related to the German commandos so the threat never becomes public knowledge.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou by Steven Burgauer is every history buff’s dream book. The scenes immediately come live. Bursting with death, loss, and action. A fast-paced thriller that sends readers back to WWII time era. Germans are striking again…and it’s only a matter of time if they succeed or fail their task. 

The realistic telling of what really goes on in a war time zone was believable. The characters each add a piece to the enchanting tale. It will take time, before the dead German’s team realizes that something is wrong. Secrets, dead bodies, codes and a mystery that is addictive. 

Steven Burgauer is a talented writer. His writing is superb. Having read another of his works, I find his storytelling engaging. It’s like reliving the past. A past that contains consequences for every move made or not made. Like a domino effect. The mafia are tied into this story. I found it entertaining. A large scale operation hanging loosely by a thread…and characters racing to save it…Nazi Saboteurs on the Bayou is a historical fiction novel, many don’t want to miss. All the historical details and action going on…amazed me.  Diplomacy, violence, and enemies on attack…readers will find themselves lost within every page. Just like I did. Overall, I highly recommend this read to all. 

Review: Brothers-In-Arms 

Synopsis:

Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler’s Germany?
Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high. 
With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they’ve always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet’s heritage a secret. Taking his best friend’s safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.
With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can’t be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Brothers-In-Arms by Jack Lewis Baillot is a tale that takes readers immediately back into the dark and haunting time for Jews. Even their German friends were in danger. Imagine trying to help a Jewish member escape from the cruelty of the Hitler’s Nazis…if caught one’s death could be just as bad or much worse than what the Jews received. Sad and troubling times. A moment in history all will never forget. Jack Lewis Baillot has created a fictional world full of suspense, deadly consequences, and an unforgettable friendship unlike any other. A German Nazis best friends with a Jew. 

Inside this novel, readers meet two boys who grew up being friends. Times have changed and with it their lives are at stake. Japhet Buchanan is a Jew. For that reason alone he is tormented by all. As war breaks out, he and his family will be in grave danger. His friend Fran’s Kappel, a German, works with his friend to get out of Germany with their family. Safety. But getting out will prove most difficult. Brothers-In-Arms had me rooting for both characters and crying too. Both went through so many demons to get to the ending moment. The writing brought back the fears, tears, and memories of WWII. I highly recommend it to all. Plus, the writer has gone even further by breaking more boundaries within this masterpiece. Absolutely, stunning. 

Review: Stray Son 


Synopsis:

Stray Son is an adult novel telling the story of a haunted Vietnam vet in the year 2000, reduced to working for a Santa Barbara mortuary, picking up dead bodies. One day he picks up a live one—his elderly father’s young ghost, a WWII Marine who starts following him around town. Then son receives a phone call that his old father just died. At that moment the young Marine knocks on the son’s trailer door. The grieving, confused son can no longer keep this apparition from his wife and kids—and opens the door. The Marine finally declares why he is there: to straighten out his stray son—and bum a ride to see his dying mother in a 1942 Sioux City, Iowa hospital. The son needs to take his family to Sioux City in the year 2000 to attend his father’s funeral. So the young father and the old son take their battles back to World War II on a trip across a wartime America towards death and an elusive reconciliation.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Stray Son by Richard Slota is an interesting piece of literature. Here, readers go one a ride of a lifetime. Traveling between the character’s past and present. Themes like family, love, and redemption are woven into the tale. Stray Son is a novel that leaves readers following Patrick. Patrick defys the norm when it comes to fictional characters in a way. He’s day job is peculiar yet he pays the bills. Bills like the months of rent. His job is to pick up dead bodies. Bodies of people that just died. Then, there’s his life background that made me feel sympathy for him. Soon, he sees a ghost and thinks he’s losing it. Only he can see a Marine. A Marine ghost that doesn’t stop following everywhere. Until, he introduces the ghost to his family once he found out that his father died. Sort of. Now, as a ghost and staying near the son he kicked out…is a lot to swallow. I found this tale stunning, heartbreaking, and realistic. The emotional journey of father and son is one that readers won’t be forgetting. It will stay with me forever. The sadness became my own. The life that the older son, Patrick had to live through because of his mother and father…was crazy. Yet in the end, it was good. Saddening in a good way. Then, somehow, when readers will least expect it, Richard Slota, surprises readers once more. Stray Son, is a great story. So much was packed into it. I felt like I was swallowed into one of those movies that make the watcher cry endlessly. Sad but good tears. Overall, I loved this powerful yet gritty novel. I recommend it to readers everywhere. 

About the Author
My life is about going for the long odds, so of course I’ve written a literary novel, Stray Son. I assisted at autopsies in the army during Vietnam and worked countless hard scrabble jobs since. I earned my Masters in Creative Writing, have BA’s in Theater Arts and Psychology and I am a produced playwright and published poet.

Review: My Nazi Nemesis


Synopsis:

Jack Goodwin is a savvy CIA agent oozing with charisma, yet saddled with baggage. Haunted by a dark past for fifteen years, Jack finally reveals all to his daughter, Eleanor. 

As an OSS agent during the war, Jack’s traumatic past involved a series of near-death experiences, from failed sorties and secret missions, to a horrifying encounter with Auschwitz, to having met and married Eleanor’s mother, Veronika. 
But the flames of passion had died when a prying Waffen SS officer, Alois Richter, entered the fray. With an amorous eye for Jack’s bride and a suspicious plea to join the OSS, Alois had sent Jack’s world into a catastrophic tailspin with tragic results. 

Fueled with revenge, father and daughter join forces to hunt down his long-time nemesis. But when disturbing evidence arises, Eleanor is forced to reevaluate the mission, as intrigue, murder, and suspense abound, leading to a climatic face-off that reaches unexpected and terrifying heights.
Rating: 5 stars

Review:

My Nazis Nemesis by Rich DiSilvio is now, my new favorite historical WWII novel. His book brings my favorite topic to life. The awful Nazis. Deadly, frightening, and real. This thriller brings the time period when the Nazis were active and creates a suspenseful dark tale. The action is everywhere. Just opening the book, the first page catches readers attention. Like it did with mine. Deadly situation that can be the last, yet the main character seems to make it out…and the plot thickens.  Rich DiSilvio has masterfully woven an entertaing war novel. One that both scares and lures me. I feel like a fly landing in the killer plant…only seconds will determine if I fly off to live, or if I’ll die. The same is applied to this novel. Hilarious, romantic, and stunning. My Nazis Nemesis will engage readers from the beginning to end. Rich DiSilvio knows how to draw readers into his book. Captivating. The main characters like Jack are believable. Reading this novel, was like watching the scenes come to life. I would love to see this story made into a big motion picture. Overall, I highly recommend My Nazis Nemesis to readers worldwide. 

Review: Lazlo’s Revenge

Lazlos Revenge by [Hierlmeier, Glen Thomas]

 

Synopsis:

It is the story above all, and Lazlo’s Revenge is an excellent story, inspired by true events in places devastated by war, and those who suffered greatly. Readers develop a personal relationship with the characters, Lazlo, Gertrude, Captain Koz, and others, leaving them wanting more. Max Fischer (Maxine Schoellkopf Fischer, fictional narrator of Lazlo’s Revenge), a writer and Swiss war correspondent whose parents lived the tragedies of the Great World Wars, set out to see the very places, and events her parents survived on their odyssey to escape danger and death.

Lazlo’s Revenge is the story Max unearthed in her travels back through time. She is the fictional daughter of Hank and Roberta Fischer, the main characters in a previous book, Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War. Hank and Roberta are an unlikely couple to fall in love (Hank is an American soldier stationed in Germany after the war, and the German girl, Roberta, is the daughter of a Nazi SS Officer being sought by American and British security forces for war crimes). Max is their daughter, born at the end of the previous novel, and now returning to write their story of love and war.

Fascinated by the characters who influenced the lives of her parents, in Lazlo’s Revenge, Max pursues her quest for understanding. She follows the life-story of Lazlo Floznik, the man who saved her parents’ lives, and helped them escape catastrophe in Europe, seeking safe refuge beyond the reach of security forces that sought to imprison them. The years leading up to World War I, the time between the wars, and the experiences of World War II release their secrets as she explores her family roots, a deeply emotional story bound by the intense love stories of Lazlo, and his father, Miklos, before him.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Lazlo’s Revenge by Glen Thomas Hierlmeier is a fantastic historical read. This novel, brings readers real world historical events combined with fictional characters who lie through the times in the most believable ways. Word War I and World War II are brought to life in every scene. The threat of war… and then the dangers of what Hitler will bring…creates an entertaining yet educational experience unlike many others. I found myself emerged deeply into this world of fiction.

Glen Thomas Hierlmeier made his novel as real as possible. The struggles of the characters were absorbed as quickly as they came. Then there’s plenty of action, intrigue, mystery, and romance for all to enjoy. I love delving deep into the past. Especially, when it relates to history. I was amazed by the talent in this book. The writing is clear, concise, and engaging.

Lazlo’s Revenge is about one woman’s journey to uncover the lives of her parents during the war times. Max goes to the places where they lived and survived. The journey unravels a lot of secrets, family roots, and the danger her parents went through back then. I can definitely see this historical war novel turned into a big screen picture. I was not only lured by the history aspect of this fictional read but by the lure of a woman trying to learn more about her parents during the wars. Adventure, romance, history, and war all wrapped up into one superb read. Overall, I highly recommend this to all readers.

 

Review: The Holocaust (History & Memory)

The Holocaust: History and Memory by [Black, Jeremy M.]

 

Synopsis:

Brilliant and wrenching, The Holocaust: History and Memory tells the story of the brutal mass slaughter of Jews during World War II and how that genocide has been remembered and misremembered ever since. Taking issue with generations of scholars who separate the Holocaust from Germany’s military ambitions, historian Jeremy M. Black demonstrates persuasively that Germany’s war on the Allies was entwined with Hitler’s war on Jews. As more and more territory came under Hitler’s control, the extermination of Jews became a major war aim, particularly in the east, where many died and whole Jewish communities were exterminated in mass shootings carried out by the German army and collaborators long before the extermination camps were built. Rommel’s attack on Egypt was a stepping stone to a larger goal—the annihilation of 400,000 Jews living in Palestine. After Pearl Harbor, Hitler saw America’s initial focus on war with Germany rather than Japan as evidence of influential Jewish interests in American policy, thus justifying and escalating his war with Jewry through the Final Solution. And the German public knew. In chilling detail, Black unveils compelling evidence that many everyday Germans must have been aware of the genocide around them. In the final chapter, he incisively explains the various ways that the Holocaust has been remembered, downplayed, and even dismissed as it slips from horrific experience into collective consciousness and memory. Essential, concise, and highly readable, The Holocaust: History and Memory bears witness to those forever silenced and ensures that we will never forget their horrifying fate.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Holocaust: History & Memory by Jeremy Black is one that I will forever behold. This book contains so much history and memories during one of the most horrifying moments in history. Jeremy Black has brilliantly put together a great study of the Holocaust for readers everywhere to revisit and learn. His writing is direct, concise, and very detalied. I am never giving up this book. There is so much to read. The information contained in this reading material is stunning. I was surprised it wasn’t thicker with all that was inside of it. The journey back in time and across nations and other countries was remarkable. The Holocaust always brings up the dreaded nightmares and terrors that noone wants to remember. All the innocent lives that were taken in mass killings is something that all should never forget. We need to be reminded of the hows and why and to learn that we shouldn’t ever allow something like that to occur ever again. The Holocaust: History & Memory is a strong and superb book. I highly recommend this read to all. Jeremy Black’s work is one to take seriously and read.Educational, informative, and a remembrance of such nightmares…

Review: Fifth Column

Fifth Column (The Blitz detective) by [Hollow, Mike]

 

Synopsis:

The neat row of small, late-Victorian terraced houses was punctuated by a gaping space: homes reduced to rubble in the night raid. Among the debris the body of a young, red-headed woman is found. But she has no connection to the houses or the street, nor can her identity be established. Nor was it the bomb that killed her. When the post-mortem reveals death by strangling, D.I. Jago is called on to investigate. He quickly establishes that the body is that of Mary Watkins, a seemingly respectable employee of a local engineering company. But the company is missing important chemicals, and few seem to really care about the death of Mary – not even her family. Was the young woman all she appeared to be? As Jago digs deeper he starts to uncover a trail of deception, betrayal, and romantic entanglements…

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Mike Hollow’s novel, Fifth Column, is an intriguing mystery with tons of suspense. The story wraps readers into a murder mystery. This highly entertaining yet suspenseful read reminds me of two detective shows of mine that I love. It reminds me of Miss Fisher’s Mysteries and Detective Murdoch. The tale takes readers deep into London during WWII. a frightening and chaotic time for a crime to happen. Here, there will be bombing and then a murder case that detective Jago must solve. Mike Hollow’s writing is engaging. I found myself piqued about the characters and cases at hand. I wondered who and why and how. Fifth Column reads like old crime fiction novels that instantly become ones favorite and never go out of style. The danger, suspense, and the suspects were fun to follow along. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this detective mystery. Detective Jago has officially been added to my favorite detectives. There are a lot of themes combined within this read. A bit of romance, secrets, lies and much more.  Overall, I highly recommend this well-developed tale to readers everywhere.

 

 

Review: Jesse’s Seed

Jesse's Seed by [Pakan, Sam D]

 

Synopsis:

It’s autumn, 1941. The Nazis have fired on the USS Greer; London is ablaze, and the streets of Leningrad are red with blood. Still, David Dremmer is content to work his father’s ranch and dream of his best friend’s wife. When the United States finally enters the war, David escapes his father’s disappointment and a loveless marriage by enlisting in the Air Corps. His choice proves fateful. His B-17 is shot down over Belgium. Now, he is in the hands of the Nazis, and a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues as Second Lieutenant David Dremmer wages a private war with the Luftwaffe, the Wehrmacht, and his own conscience to save the life of a beautiful Resistance operative. It’s then he discovers that the weakness that has kept him from his dreams is, in fact, the key to becoming who he was born to be. An award-winning, lyrical novel, Jesse’s Seed explores the power of choice, finality, love, and redemption.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Jesse’s Seed by Sam D. Pakan is a historical WWII novel that all will want to read. Readers are instantly taken back to 1941. The horrors of Pearl Harbor being bombed and the declaration of war will send back memories and chills down readers spines. Japanese and German soldiers. Americans fighting both. They tried to stay out of the war until it got personal and then all bets were off…attacking one’s country does things to a nation. So many boats destroyed and lives taken that day. Death, loss, war, and love. These walking together on a journey that will keep readers interested for a long time to come. A young man seems to be a disappointment to his father. His weakness is that of a good heart. Imagine flying over enemy territory…the chances of crashing on enemy territory is high. Flying during wartime is the scariest part…threats of being bombed or crashing is real. If the pilot makes it to the ground in one piece…the person could be tortured and die a slow painful death. Then, readers are taken to 1943 when flying is constant and members of a crew have died. Moments like these will create emotions like regret, sadness, and frustration.  So much evil in this world…and the good trying to save the world, seems to die faster than the bad. Soon, the destruction of Jewish businesses and places of worship are destroyed. The Nazis are here and all hell breaks loose. Nazis are the one nightmare that seems to never go away. Then, despite all the war and danger the main character is also stuck in a loveless marriage.

Then, readers are taken to 1943 when flying is constant and members of a crew have died. Moments like these will create emotions like regret, sadness, and frustration.  So much evil in this world…and the good trying to save the world, seems to die faster than the bad. Soon, the destruction of Jewish businesses and places of worship are destroyed. The Nazis are here and all hell breaks loose. Nazis are the one nightmare that seems to never go away. Then, despite all the war and danger the main character is also stuck in a loveless marriage.  Jesse’s Seed has a little of everything to lure readers to its pages. I found the tale suspenseful and well-developed. It was an emotional journey that I won’t ever forget. The characters were believable. I felt like I was there…back in time when and where it all was happening. The scenes rolling on by like an old movie playing images to my eyes. Overall, I highly recommend this stunning war novel to readers everywhere. Sam D. Pakan is a talented writer.

Review: Gods, Empire, & Shifting Trade Routes

 

Synopsis:

In approximately 200 pages, this book seems to describe what 200,000 pages could not come close to adequately holding: the history of the world. Featured in this brief ride through the human condition: why over 40% of the world speaks in tongues descended from an obscure tribe called the Indo-Europeans, how political violence escalated in a three-part ancient republic, the African king whose massive wealth caused inflation when he traveled abroad, the probability that you are personally related to Genghis Khan, how the coming of Islam influenced Java’s shadow theater, how Sub-Saharan Africans were visiting Europe long before Europeans “discovered” Sub-Saharan Africa, the six foot eight giant who collected midgets while also making Russia a great power, Britain’s wars with China over their right to sell illegal drugs, the CIA intervention in order to secure a monopoly for a fruit company, Soviet jokes, and the African World War. Also mentioned is all the stuff you know already: the origins of the major world religions, Ancient Greece and Rome, Charlemagne, the French Revolution, World War One and World War Two, including the part of WWII between China and Japan that had a death toll estimated around 20 million.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Gods, Empire, and Shifting Trade Routes by Matthew Crowe is the book to read. It’s a small nonfiction book that contains history from the beginning to this very time period that we’re in now…Excellent way of condensing all of history into a brief easy to read style. I love the fact that readers can learn more and watch how the four major parts that created the world the way it is, evolve. These four areas are known as religion, politics, economics, and last but not least culture. All of these specific areas are the domination for wat made humans do what they did and still do today. It helped build the social institutions we know. Like our governments. Every part of the world there is some kind of government in existence. Another brilliant part of this book is that it answers the who, what, when and where questions. I love history and this is brilliant. I found words that pop up in my studies since I was in middle school to now in college. The writer, Matthew Crowe, goes on to explains these common terms that are essential to readers’ knowledge of the world and history. Third reason, I am enamoured with this nonfiction piece is that it takes readers deep into the world’s culture and environments. Can you imagine how some of the most magnificent architecture were built and why? Matthew Crowe had a goal in mind and he succeeded in doing just that. I was blown away by all the topics he managed to cover in this brief edition. I hope he creates another edition exploring other parts that were not highlighted within this one so as to cover all parts. Overall, as a history lover, this was one of the best condensed editions of history,that I have run across. Highly recommend Gods, Empire, and Shifting Trade Routes to all.

 

Review: My Darling Dorothy

 

Synopsis:

Based on authentic letters from the era, My Darling Dorothy is a timeless love story that transcends both hard times and the brutal impact of war. The tumult of the Great Depression and World War II provides the background for a novel about three young people; Tommie, Jack and Dorothy and their challenges, struggles, defeats, and triumphs.

Tommie struggles to survive the Bataan Death March in the fall of 1941, clinging to his dream of a gratifying future with Dorothy as his bride. On the front-lines, of the European Theatre, Jack experiences the horrors of endless battle. Dorothy, caught between the two, works to maintain her dream of a life beyond small-town Nebraska. The hopes and hardships they share are reflected in the letters that they exchange. Are they remnants of lost dreams, or the foundation for a joyful future?

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

My Darling Dorothy by Jo Virden is a fascinating fictional journey. One that takes readers back and forth during WWII and  to the present moment. A young woman finds letters within odd things her parents have collected over the years. Something in her gut says there has to be something special hidden in the junk stuff…and her instincts paid off. She finds old letters. A man named Tommie wrote to her mother…why? And what happened to him? The historical novel explores the past lives of Tommie who fell in love with Dorothy. Then there’s another man who has captured Dorothy’s attention. The handsome devilish guy named Jack. Dorothy writes back and forth to both men. The tale takes us through the hardships each young person struggled and lived through during their lives. Intriguing, highly entertaining, and well-written. There is an emotional toll that kept on tugging on my heart as the scenes flew by me. A fast-paced story that somehow wraps itself around me, causing me to fall deeper into the characters’ lives. Beautifully told. My Darling Dorothy is about love, adventure, loss, and war. This was my first novel that I have read by Jo Virden.  She has created a masterfully woven tale that I won’t ever forget. Memorable. Satisfying. Overall, I highly recommend it to readers everywhere.

 

Review: The Bodyguard of Deception

 

Synopsis:

Can the American and British Allies stop a vaunted German spymaster and his U-boat-commander brother from warning Hitler’s High Command about the Allies’ greatest military secret? It is a secret that could win the war for Germany–or, at the very least, delay the outcome for years with an inestimable cost in bloodshed, physical destruction, and suffering. And it is a secret that the two contentious brothers must grapple with within their own Wehrmacht ranks, as they bring U.S. and British intelligence to their knees on America’s doorstep with the clock to D-Day ticking down. From a U-boat on the frigid North Sea to a brutal British interrogation center in the heart of London, to a remote German-POW camp, and the world-famous Broadmoor Hotel overlooking the high plains and snow-dusted mountain peaks of Colorado, Bodyguard of Deception will keep you guessing until the final chapter. The first book of #1 Denver Post Bestselling, Award-Winning Suspense Author Samuel Marquis’s World War II Trilogy.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Bodyguard of Deception by Samuel Marquis is the most realistic World War II novel that I have ever read. The story swept me off my feet and deep into the horrors of the war at hand. The SS officers frightened me. They are are arrogant and violent. It was surprising to hear the German spy brother question how such violent people rose to their positions in Germany. The fight between two brothers is believable. But both have their jobs to do and now, that their paths have crossed, both may be in for danger. Shooting at the enemy lured a fight that the German brothers couldn’t hold up against.  Prisoners of war…Nazis, and the Allied Forces is something that will forever be stuck in my mind. Hitler’s orders…cold, cruel, and devastating to his country. Bodyguard of Deception is truly a remarkable historical tale that readers everywhere will love. I was deeply satisfied with the fast-placed plot. Felt like I was there in the story as the war went on…Danger, enemies, and espionage all brilliantly re-told in this exciting thriller. Samuel Marquis has once again, captivated me from the beginning to end. Overall, I highly recommend this novel.

Review: The Reluctant Soldier

 

Synopsis:

The Reluctant Soldier spotlights the “forgotten war” – Korea, in hundreds of letters written by Neil Mellblom, an Army combat reporter with the Pacific Stars & Stripes and the Third Division’s Public Information Office, the United Nations sanctioned police action comes, to life. Neil received the Bronze Starr for “aggressive reporting” which made the division one of the best known of the Korean war. It may be the definitive book on a soldier’s life in wartime. Funny, yet deeply moving, it records Neil’s growth from a cocky Montanan to a seasoned adult.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Reluctant Soldier by Marnie Mellblom is a fascinating historical read for all. It’s a collection of letters written by one soldier’s letters of is wartime experience and reporting. I found the whole experience new and refreshing when reading something that’s a part of history. I was excited, pumped,  and thrilled to have read this nonfiction book. World War II is a war that will forever be marked on every soul. Whether one was born during that time period or not, we still feel the fear, danger, and emotions that come from having lost friends and family. All soldiers should be honored and respected. Going into war is not anything anyone dares to dream of…yet it’s the real truth of our world. There will always be a war of some kind or another happening and we must not forget the one before it nor the people it has affected. I enjoyed reading the brilliantly well-written and organized way of this book. Readers will be blown away by one soldier’s journey from point A to point B. The letters from father to daughter made this an interesting read. Readers will get to travel all over the world and to go back in time during the time of war and relive old memories. Marine Mellblom has wonderfully captured a beautiful time in history to share with readers everywhere. Overall, I would highly recommend The Reluctant Soldier to readers worldwide.

 

Review: Charlotte (A Novel)

 

Synopsis:

The gorgeous, haunting, and ultimately redemptive bestselling French novel, recounting the tragic life of artistic visionary Charlotte Salomon, who died in Nazi gas chambers at the age of 26

Two artists, two obsessions. Charlotte Salomon―born in pre-World War II Berlin to a Jewish family traumatized by suicide―was obsessed with art, and with living. She attended school in Germany until it was too dangerous to remain, fled to France, and was interned in a bleak work camp from which she narrowly escaped. Newly free, she spent two years in almost total solitude, creating a series of autobiographical pictures―images, words, even musical scores―which together tell her life story. The result is a unique, relentlessly complete artistic expression. In 1943, a pregnant Charlotte was taken to Auschwitz and gassed, but not before she entrusted her life’s work to a friend, who kept it safe until peacetime. Entitled Life? Or Theatre?, it was exhibited in fragments in the 1960s; a 1998 exhibition of the complete work in the London Royal Academy became a sensation and eventually published in book form.

David Foenkinos, himself obsessed with Charlotte, has written his own utterly original tribute to her tragic life and transcendent art. His novel is the result of a long-cherished desire to pay tribute to this young artist. Written with passion, life, humor, and intelligent observation, Charlotte, with rights sold in 12 countries and over 500,000 copies in print in France, is a triumph of creative expression, a monument to genius stilled too soon, and an ode to the will to survive.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Charlotte by David Foenkinos is a historical fiction novel that will take readers deep into the heart of history that still leaves a terrible mark everywhere. It’s World War II and a young woman with a love of art tries to stay alive during a troubled time. A time when all Jews, like herself, were being rounded up, tortured and killed.  Readers are brilliantly taken back in time and get to follow Charlotte Salomon as she goes about her life during the worst moments in World History. A narrow escape from a camp will set readers hearts into a frenzy and will keep them on the edge of their seats as they continue this woman’s journey. For fans of Anne Frank, this is indeed a must-read novel for all.

David Foenkinos has stunningly recaptured the dark time period popularly known as World War II. His words will automatically send readers on a haunted path to fear, danger, and even death. The scenes were so real I felt as though I were indeed there experiencing everything with my own eyes, ears, and heart. I felt the panic and incredible fear as the young woman went about trying to live her life and staying away from death. But as we all known, once we have been marked it stays with us until our fates are met. A sad but realistic tale that is a tribute to the brave woman, Charlotte Salomon. The evils of World War II will forever haunt readers and the shocking but real truth of what went on will keep readers lured in until the last page. David Foenkinos’s novel, Charlotte, is one that I highly recommend to readers worldwide. His words are beautifully told in a way that will captivate his audience for ages to come.

Review: From Ashes Into Light

 

Synopsis:

FROM ASHES INTO LIGHT is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With the war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father, and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion, and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

From Ashes Into Light by Gudrun Mouw is the most fascinating historical fiction piece readers will find. I couldn’t help but to fall in love with the characters and their journeys as the plot unfolds. Three unique characters are brought together…each one with their survival story. I found this tale absolutely compelling. Never have readers seen a book quite like this one. The culutral aspects and the historical time periods make this a number read for everyone.

Gudrun Mouw is a talented writer whose words come off the pages. Anyone who loves history will find it hard to stop reading this novel. From Ashes Into Light is one story that is both highly entertaining and educational. I loved the different point of views from the characters. That’s what really sets this novel different from most in its genre. Overall, I highly recommend this beautifully told story to readers everywhere.

Review: Chakana

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Synopsis:

In 1940, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes mission to track down the lost Incan treasure of King Huascar. Along with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from Ohio, he decodes clues and faces the challenges of the Chakana designed to allow only the most devoted to escape alive.

Among the ancient ruins of Peru, disaster hides around each corner as they battle Incan death traps and an international artifact smuggler who will do anything to acquire the hidden wealth. If James and Kate fail, the Nazi’s Third Reich could win WWII and take over the world. Intrigue, danger, adventure, and even romance abound in this quest to save the free world.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Chakana by W.E. Lawrence is definitely for fans of Indiana Jones. W.E. Lawrence brings readers an intriguing novel that will stimulate of all their senses. From adventure, war, and archealogy, readers will find themselves buried deep in the most exciting novels of all time. Chakana brings readers a British secret agent and a police woman from Ohio. Together these two interesting characters will set readers on an unforgettable journey. Just like Indiana Jones these two will need to work together in order to stay alive.

Chakana has it all. Suspense, travel, and danger…as well as a quest to save the world. W.E. Lawrence captivates his readers from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. Readers will get to travel, explore, and fight their way through dangerous situations as  they follow both James and Kate inside this stunning read. I loved reading this story. The plot was fast-paced and the characters were amazing. Who knew a historical read could be so thrilling? Overall, I highly recommend Chakana to readers worldwide. This is a read, readers won’t want to miss.

Review: Death Steppe: A WWII Novel

 

Synopsis:

Merriam Press Historical Fiction HF11 (First Edition, 2015). This World War II novel takes place in 1944, during Germany’s retreat from the western Soviet Union. The story follows the lives of a Russian war widow, Elena, a dissident, Christian, and black marketeer, as she serves as a medic on the front lines, and a disillusioned German lieutenant, Halder, a former professor and concentration camp officer, as he fights in a losing effort. In time, Elena and others, are forced into service as temporary navigators in an all-female regiment to the Red Army air force. After Elena’s plane crashes, she finds the injured Halder from the squadron she helped bomb. As enemies, the injured Elena and Halder alternate between helping and nearly killing each other. Eventually, the desperate soldiers discover an unexpected bond. Together they embark on a turbulent journey as lovers and disheartened deserters.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Death Steppe (A WWII Novel) by Judy Bruce is brilliant. Her novel takes readers straight into the plot. WWII in 1944 was indeed a scary time…what’s scarier is actually meeting the person whom one has tried to kill…meeting the person considered as your enemy can take a toll on a person. However, Judy Bruce takes an unexpected encounter of two enemies during this war time and force them to meet. Both are surprised but also weary of the other. Thinking of killing the other one or to work together to survive their outcome is a big decision that neither can take too lightly.

Judy Bruce has captured the realistic historical time period down to every specific detail as well as creating characters who will never be forgotten. I love anything featuring history and showing readers how difficult it was like back then and how every decision has a huge impact on one’s life. Just one decision can change your future forever…can Elena and Halder make the right choice? This tale like many others that capture historical moments will make readers cringe atwhat really happened and how cold people can be during this time periods. Haunting, dark, but with some truth and accuracy…readers will be taken back to the front lines of WWII. Readers will feel like they are actually witnessing the events in this novel through their own eyes instead of the characters. Judy Bruce has created a maserpiece when she wrote Death Steppe. I loved reading this book, and I highly recommend it to readers worldwide.

Review: The Girl Called Princess Charlotte

 

Synopsis:

A Priceless Treasure with a Mysterious Past… Boston attorney Theodore Murphy, Teddy to his friends, has been handed a seemingly straightforward case: to recover a valuable painting by Franz Winterhalter, Young Girl Called Princess Charlotte, which was stolen by the Nazis from Jewish art dealer Dr. Markus Steiner. When the charitable organization founded in his will by Steiner learns that Anna Vogler has put the painting up for auction they demand its return. But Teddy Murphy finds that Vogler’s attorneys aren’t prepared to give up without a fight…and as the widow of a World War II veteran, she makes a sympathetic witness.

Teddy learns that she has no proof of purchase, her husband sent the painting home from Europe near the end of the war, and a mystery surrounds where and how he got it. Armed with this information and Markus Steiner’s diary, Teddy sets out to prove that the Steiner Foundation should rightfully own the painting. Joined by his girlfriend Judith Frazer, Teddy learns about Markus from the trenches of World War I to his daring escape from Nazi Germany, as together they watch a remarkable life story unfold in the pages of Markus’ diary, while they pursue every available avenue, to find out the truth about the painting.

This vivid, beautifully researched historical thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat, while introducing you to the suffering of World War I soldiers, the shocking nightlife of Berlin, the intrigues of the international art world, the horror of the rising Third Reich…and the compassionate dedication of those who still work to bring justice to the Jews of Europe.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Girl Called Princess Charlotte is a must read for all. Especially for fans of the movie, Woman in Gold. This historical fiction takes readers back to World War II and leads them on a journey for the truth. Art, history, and intrigue will sweep readers off their feet and back in time.

The Girl Called Princess Charlotte by Gerard Shirar is spectacular. The characters leave readers on edge as the court process begins…readers hold their breath hoping for a good outcome. Similarities from this to the Woman in Gold movie is fascinating. A Jewish painting with a long line of history is now worth millions. World War II in Germany was a terrifying endless moment in history that those in the present day will never forget. Nazi take what once belonged to the Jewish people of Germany. They had their rights stripped, their possessions taken, and countless thousands were killed. Families were torn, fear in every direction…any kind of resistance lured not only the Jewish owner but the owner’s family to death. The Girl Called Princess Charlotte by Gerard Shirar is a startling truth that should be uncovered and read by all. Gerard Shirar’s writing is well-developed and awe-inspiring. It shows readers that even after so much time has gone by that justice can prevail. Overall, I highly recommend this historical novel to readers worldwide.

Review: The Goddess of Fortune

 

 

Synopsis:

What if, by the passing of just two events, Japan and Germany had won World War 2?

The Goddess of Fortune is a work of speculative fiction in which alternate history is explored, and consequences examined.

  • Beautiful Louise, while only 24 years old, uses her intelligence, wiles, and body to dominate the so-called “stronger sex.”
  • Kaito Sasaki of the Bank of Tokyo, inspired by Lenin (“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency”), proves just that with his printing of U.S. 100 dollar bills.
  • The treachery of Hermann “Fatso” Goering is uncovered and his punishment is swift.
  • The duplicity of Roosevelt and his so-called Brains Trust is exposed and the doubts of the urbane gentleman, Henry Morgenthau, are made clear.

As a work of historical fiction, Goddess reveals the private foibles, quirks, and lusts of the famous (and often rich) of the period. How could the end goals of the Axis come to fruition given these events?

Goddess explores just how, and in doing so brings to light in imaginative prose the lives of historical figures we have only known from our history books.

Prepare to reimagine history, get The Goddess of Fortune today.

My Rating: 5 stars

My Review:

The Goddess of Fortune by Andrew Blencowe is definitely a must-read for all, especially those who are history buffs. A plot unike any other before it. Taking historical figures, places, and using his magical pen, Blencowe has created an interesting alternate universe of World War II. Every page will intrigue readers further into his brilliantly well-written world of fiction. The characters are so realistic that they will drag readers deep into the story. A novel that will keep readers turning the pages. I felt myself molded to the book in my hands. The Goddess of Fortune is indeed the most addictive read yet.

Inside of The Goddess of Fortune, Blencowe takes readers deep into exploring an element of fiction that makes this a stunning read. The what-if element that explores what would have happened if Japan and Germany had won World War II. Each of the characters are placed into specific roles and places that would have changed everything. Blencowe’s writing takes readers during the 1940s, leaving them in suspense as they follow the plot further. I would highly recommend this novel to all. History is my favorite to explore, and to combine it with one talented individual’s words, will leave readers with a fascinating read. Whereas anything with history would make for a dull read, the opposite can be said with Blencowe’s novel, The Goddess of Fortune.