#BookReview by @RonovanWrites of Freedom Soldiers part of @SamMarquisBooks WWII Series

Soldiers of Freedom4.68 Gold Star Image

 

Soldiers of Freedom

by Samuel Marquis

Fiction: WWII Historical Fiction/German Historical Fiction/Military Historical Fiction/Biographies of World War II. 646 Pages Print. Mount Sopris Publishing (March 31, 2020)

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY:

The ninth great-grandson of legendary privateer Captain William Kidd, Samuel Marquis is the bestselling, award-winning author of a WWII Series, the Nick Lassiter-Skyler International Espionage Series, The Joe Higheagle Environmental Sleuth Series, and a historical fiction novel centered on the infamous pirate, Blackbeard. His novels have been #1 Denver Post bestsellers, received multiple national book awards (Foreword INDIES, American Book Fest’s Best Book Awards, Beverly Hills Book Awards, IPPY, Next Generation Indie Awards, Colorado Book Awards), and garnered glowing reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus, and Foreword Reviews. Book reviewers have compared Marquis’s WWII thrillers “Bodyguard of Deception,” “Altar of Resistance,” and “Spies of the Midnight Sun” to the epic historical novels of Tom Clancy, John le Carré, Ken Follett, Herman Wouk, Daniel Silva, Len Deighton, and Alan Furst. (Emphasis by Ronovan.)

In addition Sam has been the Kirkus Reviews Book of the Year Winner. Kirkus Reviews, founded in 1933 it has been considered one of the big two along with Publishers Weekly. To be selected for review is a sense of worth for an author. To be selected as a book of the year? I can’t imagine but can dream. (Kirkus Reviews is owned by Nielsen Holdings, 2010.)

REVIEW:

In Soldiers of Freedom: The true story WWII Story of Patton’s Panthers and the Edelweiss Pirates, Samuel Marquis mixes his ability to capture authentic dialogue with his massive amounts of research to give societal issues and the human condition during the time not only by the obvious racial aspect but by nation and society ruled by a dictator and his self-important official and citizen followers. Marquis gives the experiences of the soldier as a person with thoughts and feelings beyond being in a war simply to be following orders and killing the enemy, but the rest of his life the experiences of war touches. This carries over to the military command level as well as citizens in the home nation of the Nazi regime.

With a book set in WWII Europe and involving the 761st Tank Battalion, there must be sensory loaded descriptions of battles; the roar of guns, the smoke, the smells, the confinement, but more than that, I am given the emotional mindset of a tank gunner, and his comrades-in-arms as they fight against the Nazi regime. Marquis does not stop there, he gives a taste of what it’s like to be a Black man in the 1940s and how that translates to being a soldier at war, while at the same time often outranking white soldiers who show disrespect, disregard, and disdain for them.

Getting flipped on its head, I then read about the physical and emotional state of a teenage German girl, who is resistance fighter with the Gestapo dogging her every step, a situation more treacherous than any man would face. She shows me not every German in WWII is either a Nazi, a Nazi supporter, or innocent of having blood on their hands.

The dialogue and action of the military and resistance fighters draw you in and give you a sense of being a part of a war environment, not just the battlefield of soldiers, but the battlefield of citizens fighting their own government. Marquis uses his research materials of government documents, biographies, interviews, and personal letters to great dramatic effect.

Soldiers of Freedom is told through the voices of three people; SARGENT WILLIAM H. BURNEY, a Black man from Harlem on Manhattan Island, New York who is a part of the 761st, GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON Jr, commander of the US THIRD ARMY, and 16/17-year-old ANGELA LANGE, daughter of a German Colonel, and member of the EDELWEISS PIRATES, a real German resistance group in Cologne, Germany.

Jackie Robinson military photo
Jackie Robinson

While reading I can’t help but feel the frustration of the young Black soldiers not just during the war, but from the moment of sitting down with a recruiter and being told that you aren’t allowed to so much as try for what you dreamed of doing in the military and for your country, that you would have to take another route. I am surprised by the honesty of the recruiter considering the times. Frustrations continue wherever McBurney goes, from one camp to another, all in the name of training. The use of the JACKIE ROBINSON’s court-martial hearing is perfect to put an exclamation point on the 761st time in the US.

761st Tank Battalion photo
761st Tanker Division the first all Black tanker group.

Samuel Marquis gives facts of history not taught to me even in my higher-level History courses at university, and that was as a History Education major. For example, the existence of the 761st TANK BATTALION, the reason for their formation, how they end up in Europe, and the impact they make on the war, which is huge. They are a large part of important moments. There are times in McBurney’s journey I want to punch so many people, run over them with my tank, or shot them with my big 76mm gun, preferably with a round of HE. I get to see the reaction of the German soldiers, and German citizens as well, misrepresented in every level from middle school through university. I learned what a HE was, as well as what a 76mm was and what it could do.

“But it struck him as ironic that he and his fellow Negro tankers were about to cross the same ocean their African ancestors had crossed in chains; and that, in taking part in the struggle against Nazism, they were about to fight a war in the name of freedoms neither the men of the 761st nor their forbearers had ever enjoyed.”—Sergeant William H. McBurney, Tank Main Gunner, U.S 761st “Black Panthers”

What I enjoy a lot is the sharing of the experience the tankers both in battle and in the everyday life of a soldier. The difficulty the drivers and gunners have using these machines is incredible. How although the tanks can be lions, they can also quickly turn into lambs. I haven’t come across another book, of any kind, describing with such honesty what a soldier goes through in the confines of a war machine, regardless of the genre. I don’t know how they did it. I’d still be shaking, rattling, and my eyes would be bopping all around to this day. Then there is what McBurney reveals about German towns and the citizens they come upon. I have never given much thought to that part of the story, at least not down to that level. One reason for not knowing is, history books don’t teach about the Black soldiers of WWI and what they did in Germany. You must read to believe.

General George S. Patton Jr.

“Lord help us,” [Patton] said, pulling out a fresh cigar. “And Lord help me when this war is over.”

“Why’s that, sir? I would think you would celebrate.”

“No, Codman. With nothing to do, I’m going to be a [***]damn wreck and an absolute nuisance to my wife.” – Major Charles Codman and General George S. Patton Jr, Freedom Soldiers

That sampling of dialogue is just a little taste to help you get in the spirit of General George S. Patton Jr.

Patton is as flamboyant and audacious as I thought. Using diaries and letters, Marquis gives me the colorful language and stories Patton liked to tell, but more importantly, his feelings about soldiers under his command, as well as the Generals and commanders he must work with. Those feelings are quite surprising, not only for the tough-as-nails Patton but from a field general at all. I laughed, yes laughed, reading old Blood and Guts Patton’s

Eisenhower and Montgomery photo
General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery

exchanges with GENERAL DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, as well as other generals, and his thoughts on the BRITSH FIELD MARSHAL BERNARD MONTGOMERY. And the honest opinions of Eisenhower, at least through research are eye-opening. What is revealed about the politics, perceptions, and egos of war and how they play out on the battlefield is not necessarily surprising, but are brutal when laid in front of you and you can’t help but see it and think about the outcomes.

The resulting command structure and atmosphere of the European Theater following Patton’s removal for slapping two shell-shocked soldiers in Sicily are painful to watch with Patton demoted then later given command of the US Third Army. How the war would have been different if not for his believing the soldiers were just trying to avoid fighting. No one had heard of PTSD in the 1940s. The press had a field day, but Patton had a powerful fan and ally waiting in the wings to help get him back in the war.

For the ugly truth was that every German was ultimately guilty for allowing Hitler and the Nazis to rise to power and hiding their head in the sand and turning their backs when the regime began singling out Communists, Jews, clergymen, and other racial, political, and social enemies of the Reich. – Angela Lange, Freedom Soldiers

Jackie Robinson military photo
Gertrud Koch, Edelweiss Pirate/Navajo. Inspiration for Angela Lange

Angela Lange is loosely based on real-life Edelweiss Pirate of Cologne, GERTRUD KOCH, but with elements drawn from events experienced by her comrades. I learn through Angela’s authentic filled voice and view, just how naïve and young these Edelweiss Pirates, who called themselves Navajos out of admiration for the Native American tribe, are in the beginning, but also how fast they grow up. Their main target is the Hitler Youth that patrols the town and enacts harsh punishment on those they deem conducting criminal or disloyal acts. The demented CRIMINAL COMMISSIONER FERDINAND KÜTTER of the Cologne Gestapo along with his interrogators are nothing but sadistic, rabid dogs who enjoy nothing more than torturing Germans and enemies alike until they get confessions, information, or death. Marquis settles into a groove with Angela’s story as the book continues. I witness the innocence, naivete, love, pain, tragedy, hope, despair, spirit, and determination throughout this young woman’s story and all while battling with the Gestapo. And not just any Gestapo, but some of the most factually brutal in the Nazi Regime, that were historical figures in Cologne.

As important as Patton’s story is, the 761st story is bigger and as big as their story is Angela’s story is the one that delivers a reality punch. We don’t think much about resistance within Germany unless we think of the Jews who hid from death and helped others escape it. Here we see German citizens fighting against the Nazis, not to help the Allies, but to take back the Germany they once knew.

WHAT I LIKED:
  • facts about unheard of people
  • a sensory experience from each view of the war
  • the action of the tank soldiers
  • how the 761st put aside bigotry for country
  • revealing details of the German citizens’ attitudes and the towns the 761st encounter
  • Patton’s loyalty and love for his men
  • the camaraderie among the US Generals in Europe
  • learning of and about the Edelweiss Pirates
  • continuing to learn about the types of Nazis through Marquis’ books (They aren’t cookie-cutter and all fall-in-line Nazis.)
  • the afterword information and further details of what happened next for these people
WHAT I LIKED LESS:
  • There are a few moments in Angela Lange’s story that don’t ring as emotionally engaging or authentic as they should be. I don’t mean the events don’t occur historically. What I mean is the telling of certain scenes are not as detailed or as emotional as they should be. Those parts that don’t capture the emotion of the scene do not take away from Angela’s experience, they lessen the impact in those specific scenes. It might be the nature of situations that gives hesitation to going deeper.
  • The book isn’t quite as smooth as I am accustomed to with Sam’s books, (I’ve read all the WWII series books, amazing series.) I put this down to the massive amount of action that takes place during this important period covered. Transitions within the three views sometimes take a moment to become clear as to who is speaking. I know the setting because that is clear at the beginning of each chapter. I just at times don’t know the individual speaking or spoken to. That could be me.
  • There are one or two, what I will rudely call minor, battles that I could do without the description of the battle, just given the information that the 761st wins and why it is important. This happens with several battles after the war turns heavily into the Allies’ favor. I always want the wins, losses, and strategic information. There are simply a few scenes where I feel like I’m reading the same scene from earlier, with minimal differences. Tanks do what tanks do, and similar battles occur, but at times there is a battle, though important, as every battle in WWII is, that can be told with just the telling of its victory and its strategic importance. Sam gives a few hugely important battles brief mentions, but we see their importance. In these cases, if Marquis went into detail, we would have more books to read.
COMPARABLE TO:

Others have compared Samuel Marquis’ writing style to New York Times #1 Bestselling author, Ken Follett who has seen some of his books turned into movies and TV series. Also, another name mentioned is Adam Makos, another New York Times Best Sellers list author.

As for me, there is an author who wrote many historical fiction novels, the late British author John Gardner, an ex-Royal Marine commando, and Anglican Priest before losing his faith. I’ve read over 20 of his books, perhaps that is one reason I enjoy Sam’s books so much. Gardner’s historical fiction work includes the five-book Herbie Kruger Series of action encompassing WWII, the Cold War as well as subsequent events inspired by the two, and there is also the three-book Railton Family Series, which has ties to the Kruger books. If you are a James Bond fan, he wrote 15 novels, beginning in 1981 with License Renewed and ending in 1996 with Cold/Cold Fall. All of us know him for the 007 book GoldenEye, in who’s film adaptation Pierce Brosnan made his Bond debut. I’ve read most of them.

As one review states:

“Marquis is a student of history, always creative, [and] never boring…A good comparison might be Tom Clancy.”Military.com

RECOMMEND TO:
  • Obviously for fans of the authors mentioned above.
  • Those who enjoy digging into the personal details of historical figures.
  • Those who are interested in untold stories of African American History.
  • People who want to understand a little more about the imagery of war in ways not normally described in books or shown on film.
  • For those who like to understand the citizens of war, their struggles, fears, tragedies, and sometimes why they participate in a war.

Review by: Ronovan Hester

THIS IS A 4.68 STARS REVIEW:

Character Development 5
World Building 5
Editing 4.5
Believability 5
Enjoyment 5
Clarity 4.25
Flow 4
4.68
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© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

@RonovanWrites #BookReview of @ElleBoca’s An American Weeia in Paris.

An American Weeia in Paris cover image

Title: An American Weeia in Paris

Author: Elle Boca

Publication Date: April 1, 2020

Copyright: 2020

Genre/s: Urban Superhero Fiction (With a lot of mystery.)

Price: Kindle ($5.99)  Paperback ($12.99)

In Elle Boca’s latest stand-alone book An American Weeia in Paris , the fourth entry in her The Weeia Marshals series, I was treated to a tale of mystery, suspense, surprise, intrigue, friendship, science fiction and urban fantasy all rolled into one so smoothly that I didn’t realize all of that until I started writing this review. There are at least five subplots going and all are clear, and I still didn’t think about there being that many until now. An American Weeia in Paris is simply put, a great read I got caught up in and read in one day. I could not put it down.

The Story

Marshal Danielle ‘Danni’ Metreaux, now the acting Head of the Paris branch of the Weeia Marshals, is tasked with  the job of watching over a Texas Weeia Elder and his family. The book starts at the Eiffel Tower where the group is having dinner in one of the famed Eiffel Tower restaurants when a terrorist attack occurs. That’s when the mysteries begin. While I watch some suspenseful and thrilling moments in the tower above, a Weeia takes action against the terrorist on the ground, with the scene captured on social media threatening to reveal the existence of Weeia to Humans, who are not aware they have a gifted race living among them. Who is this good Samaritan the media dubs MGV? But that’s not the only mystery. Stalkers? Mystery Weeia? And there is a life changing shock I never saw coming.

My Thoughts

I am enjoying seeing the continued development of the main protagonist in the series, Marshal Danni Metreaux. She is no longer the unsure, self-conscious girl, who grew up on her aunt and uncles farm. Now she is comfortable enough in her position as acting head of the Paris branch of Marshals, to face off against elitist members of the Marshals. She traverses the streets of Paris, both the good and bad more and more like a native, which is a wonder considering the maze that is Paris. Her personal skills with others improves to a surprising degree, but she’s still the same plain speaking Danni.

There is more of Danni’s oldest friends from her Marshals Academy in Portland, Maine, with tech gifted Ernie Satuan and best friend Marla than in the recent books. Both have surprises in store for her. And then there is Danni’s friend Ceri…the Poodle, a match that could only be made in Paris.

I learn about Paris through Danni’s adventures as Elle Boca gives life to Paris by giving us Danni’s thoughts as she negotiates through the streets of Paris, following the street names and historic landmarks she sees. Bits of history only the Parisians know is shared. For this former History teacher and Historical Fiction author, through the words of Elle and the eyes of Danni, I can see vividly what it must have been like centuries ago and learn how the early intentional forward progress of Parisian society was formed. This is not done in a scholarly or boring fashion.

The supporting cast and fringe figures are well developed and as the series moves from one book to the next, I know the feelings each one brings to Danni. Plus, I remember the characters, as opposed to looking back to previous books to find out who they are. Great job!

Elle Boca has created a world where Weeia and Humans can co-exist, with the help of Marshal Danni Metreaux and her friends. Weeia, who Humans don’t know exist, are people gifted with abilities and can cloak or mask themselves to the eyes of others, make people ‘like’ you or seem charming, or even teleport across an entire continent and ocean with a friend in tow. Some might say Weeia have superpowers, but don’t think costumes, superhero names, or robot armor. Think more like Charles Xavier, who appears as normal as anyone else but just happens to have an incredible ability he uses when among Humans only when necessary.

What I liked about this book:

  • I enjoyed the overall easy flow of the book, making reading enjoyable.
  • There is a good balance of surprises with new characters and moments with recurring cast members that keep the protagonist grounded and happy.
  • I really liked the parts with the Poodle, Ceri, though simple for the most part, they showed some emotional development in Danni.
  • I think the handling of the supporting cast is well done, especially how they fit into the everyday life of Danni.
  • There are things/words used in the Weeia world that I had no problem with understanding. The author does well with her choices when it comes to language. Anyone can read this book and the previous three in the series with relative ease.

What I liked a little less bout this book:

  • There are a few scenes and a minor subplot that I stumbled over a bit and took me out of the story, but I can see how the author would have thought it helped show consistency in how a certain element in the Weeia world view her.
  • Staying with the scenes above, the editing during those particular areas broke up the flow.
  • An American Weeia In Paris review image

What book/author would I compare this book to:

I liken this book to a less dark urban fantasy than say a Jim Butcher Dresden Files offering. I love Jim Butcher, but his books can be a tad intense at times. With Elle Boca’s The Weeia Marshals series does have the occasional dark moment, and twisted character, they are used in just the right amounts, so as not to desensitize the reader to dark themes, then you are truly disturbed by the rare moments and thus concerned for those involved.

You could also say with the secretive nature of the Weeia in the series, that J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter shares some similarities, but not in the YA manner or in that magic sort of way. This series can be read by most any age.

Recommend:

I recommend this book to those who love Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, and a bit of Travel. And of course those who love learning more about Paris than you might have known was out there. For those expecting a superhero book in the vein of the Avengers or Watchmen, that’s not happening.

This is a 4.25 Stars Review.

Character Development 5
World Building 4
Editing 4.25
Believability 4
Enjoyment 4.5
Clarity 4
Flow 4
4.25

Purchase An American Weeia in Paris at one of the options below, or check your favorite book choice:

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© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Nina’s Memento Mori’ by Mathias B Freese

This quote from Gabor Maté comes to mind as I read Nina’s Memento Mori by Mathias B Freese.

“I needed to write, to express myself through written language not only so that others might hear me but so that I could hear myself.”

 

Title:      Nina’s Memento Mori
Author:  Mathias B Freese
Publishers: Wheatmark
Format: Paperback (2019)
Pages:   136
Genre: Non-fiction, Literary, Memoir

 

 

What’s it about?

This is retired psychoanalytic therapist, Mathias B Freese’ memoir of his 2-year marriage to Nina.

I have not read Mathias Freese before and is taken by his unashamed revelation of himself, and in the process, who his beloved Nina was. And this without fear (she is dead and he is old), and without favour (he has no need of this). This book is one man’s expression of love as he bears witness, through memory, to her life. It is a collection of short reflective essays, existentialist in nature and psychoanalytic in process.

I mean no disrespect, when I refer to 78-year old Freese as “old’ as I am aware that “old” is relative and subjective. He himself freely refers to his mortality and what is to come in the memoir.

Freese lays bare his regret and sadness in not loving Nina enough due to his self-perceived inability to express love and to love as well as he should – his “emotional deficits” as he calls them. It is his hope that this memoir would honor his memory of their time together and of the woman that Nina was to him. 

The poignancy and sadness of his story are evident. While there is much exposition, references to feelings and emotions are somewhat lacking in the “I am … “ emotional-kind. It is indeed intriguing to read the workings of a psychoanalyst’s mind. Reading this book is like a game of “hide-and-seek”.

Through the essays, Freese professes his need for “mother”, one who would nurture and guide, and love unconditionally. This he had missed out in his early years and consequently, he claimed this role of child in relation to Nina in desiring and seeking safety and hope. These, she was able to provide in her quiet unassuming manner.

She had understood the trauma of his childhood, as she had been in worse. This was followed by two abusive relationships prior to meeting Freese. The commonality of unloving parents, growing up without proper guidance or care (as expected of parents) nor kindness and love perhaps bound Freese and Nina. (Freud did mention something about neurotic complement in marriage? I stand to be corrected 🙂 ) The manner of how each coped was contrary, Freese in his refusal to conform and is outspoken, while Nina adopted the roles required of her and was quiet.

Though he felt inadequate and not “good enough” as a husband, Freese acknowledged “I was Nina’s final grasp at tranquility, of personal realization after decades of torment. I served a good purpose as the human I am.” Perhaps he did love her and in the way she needed to be loved – not as he thought she would want to.

Is it enough to know that one is needed and served a purpose? It would seem not, as Freese’ narrative is replete with regret, of not giving more to the woman who had provided him with space to be and caring in a manner suited to him. His biggest regret for not bringing her from the hospice to their new home to live out her final days. I found the self-flagellation at times difficult to bear.

Did he see her during their marriage? “When we are in a marriage or a relationship, we fabricate images of the other and live accordingly,” he wrote. I will let you decipher this from Nina’s Memento Mori.

While Freese generously gives in thought and intellect, he characterizes himself as restraint in emotional expression or acts of affection. Yet his affection and love for Nina is undeniable. She is portrayed as an industrious woman who  cared for two children while working as a seamstress while in abusive relationships. He loved her gracious giving of herself, in receiving his love as he chose to provide it, her quiet stillness, her unimposing presence.

What strikes me is despite the frank self-disclosures, there seems to be much that was not said. “At some levels we choose not to recall.” So what has Freese chosen not to recall? Perhaps that his love is received and is enough. Nina felt the love he had for her – he was “on her side” after all.

And tangentially, I wonder if Freese as psychotherapist and writer with a love for words, has found his manner of coping with his stated inadequacy to express his emotions. I will let you decide for yourself, or not.

This book is both an eulogy and an elegy of Nina, to say and express what he did not when they were together. It is Freese seeking absolution.

As a reader, I thank him for his courage and candour.

I hope Freese experience the redemptive power of writing this memoir. As he said, “I know I must change”.

Would I recommend it?

Yes. Heart-wrenching, thought-provoking.

My rating:                4 /5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2019 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘The Binding’ by Bridget Collins

 

Title:      The Binding
Author:  Bridget Colllins
Publishers: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd
Format: Hardback (2019)
Pages:   448
Genre: Fiction, Thriller

 

 

What’s it about?

This fictitious tale by Bridget Collins mesmerizes from the start… and I *hated* every moment when I couldn’t get back to it, even as the rest of life called.

It is a tale of two characters whose lives intersect even though they come from different worlds, even when others conspire to keep them apart. It is heart-wrenching and sweet, and surprising. The depth and richness of each of the characters add to this magnificent story of redemption and the inevitability of destiny.

As writers, we write what we are capable of feeling – every sorrow, every gladness, fear and doubt. What if what we write is in fact another’s true story? What if they are stories given to us because they are unwanted and discarded? What if we are in fact binding negative feelings – grief, fear, shame – others choose to forget into a book which we are then entrusted to protect and keep safe? What if unscrupulous binders betray this trust and make it available to others’ reading pleasure or worse?

If you could tell and forsake your deepest and darkest secrets and feelings, so you can forever forget them, would you?

What if you could tell your story, have it bound within a book and never look at it again… thereby relinquishing them forever, would you?

What if you are the binder destined to keep these memories safe? What if the binding is used to serve the powerful and less than noble?

Isn’t it better to remember your whole life? Or only your “good” life?

This is the premise upon which this tale is told. And it allows us to imagine the magic of books and their binding.

Would I recommend it?

A resounding yes. Well-paced and a relatively easy read, “The Binding” kept me turning pages wanting more.

Most importantly, “The Binding” reminds us of the simplicity and that certain innocence of love even in the most difficult of times.

My rating:                4 /5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2019 LitWorldInterviews

Love That Moves the Sun by @LindaCardillo a Review.

LTMTS Book Coverfive gold stars imageLove That Moves the Sun: Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo Buonarroti

Linda Cardillo

Synopsis

He was the genius of his age; revered sculptor, painter, architect and poet; fiercely devoted friend; beleaguered artist to the popes; and a pilgrim in search of an elusive redemption.

She was a celebrated poet; dutiful daughter; adoring yet betrayed wife; powerful political voice; spiritual seeker; suspected heretic; and the only woman Michelangelo ever loved.

Review

LOVE THAT MOVES THE SUN is not a simple Historical Romance, or love story. Yes, you have a telling of the friendship that the poet and what I would call a religious/social activist, Vittoria Colonna and the great artist Michelangelo shared, albeit it in a somewhat different manner, but who is to say what is what.

This is a book for every person that wants to learn about strong and influential women in Europe in the 1500s. The well described settings, character development and emotional atmosphere of the day envelope you in perfection and you forget to come up for air until the hour is so late your eyes drop or your stomach growls in protest of your neglect.

Most people see Michelangelo as one thing, an artist, perhaps too some he is the greatest. But you see with the turning pages and through Colonna’s voice that he had other depths, another purpose.

If you are not a normal fan of the Romance genre, with LOVE THAT MOVES THE SUN you receive a thoroughly researched and well-presented historical lesson that is wrapped in the velvet glove of Romance, just to trick those Romance fans into becoming History fans.

I recommend to the aforementioned genre lovers Linda Cardillo’s latest offering, as well as to those who are wanting to test the waters of Historical Romance for the first time.

This is where I would tell you a little about the author, Linda Cardillo, The problem is, there is no way I can do a cliff notes version of her life. Visit her website http://lindacardillo.com/ to see how a love of writing and Harvard Business School produce an award-winning author.

You can purchase her book  at the following: (Indie Bound is the third logo in case some are not familiar with it.)

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#BookReview Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes by @Sammarquisbooks

Spies of the midnight sun book cover image.

five gold stars imageSPIES OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN: A TRUE STORY OF WWII HEROES

SAMUEL MARQUIS

 

You might ask me why I have read just about every one of Sam Marquis’ books, but don’t bother. I’m going to give you reasons why as I go along. As a former history teacher and continued historian and lover of history, perhaps those last two are one and the same, and having been known as a World, read European, History specialist, you would think I would know the finer details of something with such significance to the world as WWII. But, unfortunately all the nice money I paid for a top of the line college education failed me yet again. And I know this only because of that evil man writer known as Samuel Marquis.

Of all the books Marquis has written, his WWII trilogy is by far my favorite, only because of my love of history. I am biased that way. I love his other books too but again, I am biased. What sets his books apart from other historical fiction efforts is his deep research and attention to detail. He doesn’t just use information that is easy to find, he uses information that has been declassified by governments. That means he dredges through file after file and reads obscure books with information in it that would bore a bookaholic, all in the effort to find three characters little known by anyone outside of their families and immediate hierarchy during WWII.

Eddie Chapman Agent Zigzag
Eddie Chapman-Agent Zigzag

Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes is about real people. We have the colorful British safecracker, Eddie Chapman, who is the double agent known as Agent Zigzag. Then there are two amazing female Norwegian Resistance fighters, the 20-year-old model Dagmar Lahlum, who is Chapman’s lover, and Annemarie Breien. Of course, if there are heroes and good guys then there are the evil bad guy and of course Nazis cover that role well, and in this case, it is the Gestapo’s investigator Siegfried Fehmer.

Dagmar Lahlum
Dagmar Lahlum

Several reviewers have commented that this book should be a film and I agree. You have it all. Spies, the Resistance, Nazis, surprises, twists and turns, and moments of complete shock. And you can’t forget the must of great characters.

So why do I like Marquis’ books and recommend them to everyone? He isn’t just writing fluff about a favorite subject, which he could and get away with it because his writing is that good, he loves his subject deeply and it shows in the quality you get with each chapter. With Spies of the Midnight Sun, the final in his WWII trilogy, he chooses to spotlight the women who made victory possible. I don’t believe that fact has been shouted enough. He is bringing to light how important women were, the chances they took, the willingness to die, or perhaps experience worse, for their country’s freedom.

Annemarie Breien
Annemarie Breien

I only hope Sam Marquis has more historical fiction left in him. How he has put out this much in-depth content so rapidly and not slackened in his quality or even quantity of words for that matter, is beyond me. I’ve written historical fiction and afterwards I was so burnt out that I needed a serious break, but Marquis seems to have an IV of Red Bull permanently inserted in his veins.

Get this book! You don’t need to have read the other books in the trilogy. They are standalones. Once you read this one, you will WANT those others, especially Altar of Resistance, which includes declassified information about the Vatican and Pope’s roles during WWII. You will be surprised. Go to Amazon NOW before you forget to later!

Click any words in blue or any image to go to Amazon to order the book.

@FTThum #BookReview ‘everybody lies: What the internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are’ by Seth Stephen-Davidowitz

I am intrigued by the impact of internet on human lives. This book is about an aspect of it.

Title:      everybody lies: What the internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
Author:  Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Publishers: Bloomsbury Publishing, UK (2018)
Format: Paperback
Pages:   338
Genre: Non-fiction, Science, Technology, Psychology, Sociology

 

 

What’s it about?

As Steven Pinker(cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author) states in the foreword, “this is a book about a whole new way of studying the mind” and, I would add, human behaviour.

This book is less about big data science than about the new innovative ways of thinking, of designing, and of approaching the questions we ask of our life.

Stephens-Davidowitz makes his points by regaling the reader with early Big Data collected through Google searches and clicks, predominantly. Facebook also features as with other Silicon Valley data companies.  “everybody lies” gives new and interesting insights into matters such as the effect of assassination of leader on a country’s economy, or going to a great university equates to a better career or larger paycheck.

Stephens-Davidowitz provides a definition of “data” which is no longer limited to numbers or words. For a data scientist such as he, Big Data has four virtues. First, Big Data as “digital truth serum” as people are most honest without an apparent audience leading to honest data on say, sexual preferences or racial discrimination. It provide honest data.  Second, it offers a way to run large-scale randomized controlled experiment through the click of the mouse. Third, Big Data allows us, through the large scale sample, to zoom in on subsets of people and with greater accuracy. Fourth, Big Data provides new types of data.

What’s logical and rational before is no longer enough nor are the experiment results accurate enough. The scope of our sample size has significantly increased withe the internet, so why think small?

That is not to say, as Stephens-Davidowitz points out, that Big Data is the answer but it is a valuable resource which we are ill-advised to ignore. Information is king or queen, and this is truer than before. Social science is becoming real science, Stephens-Davidowitz says. Why? Read the book.

Stephens-Davidowitz encourages us to approach this field with curiosity and creativity when contemplating how we use and manage data. Data however is neither good or evil; it is powerful.  In “everybody lies”, he cautions against what Big Data cannot do and what we shouldn’t do with Big Data.

Would I recommend it?

Reading this book is a pleasurable journey. Highly recommended.

My rating:                 4/5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews

#Book #Review of The Typist by Caroline Taylor.

The Typist book coverThe Typist by Caroline Taylor available on AMAZON by clicking HERE.

The Typist by Caroline Taylor? Let me start out by saying that at 250 pages you’ll be able to read this one in one sitting if you choose to but actually because you can’t help it.

Set in 1960s Washington, D.C. the atmosphere is perfect. If you lived there during that time you would swear you were right back there again as you turn the pages. Taylor nailed it.

Judah Lundquist moves to DC to make a better life for herself after growing up having been used in schemes by her father and conflicting being bible thumped by her mother. That had to be confusing, but she finds the courage to move on and she ends up right in the middle of the deep end of secrets at an insurance company. Yes, an insurance company. Think about the 1960s and how easy it would be to do things less than the straight and narrow.

But the intelligent young woman doesn’t back down as the stories moves on although she is a bit naïve about certain things, it still doesn’t stop her.

You get twists and surprises by the end. The only thing I can say against the book is that it that is a bit slow to begin with, which I have found to be common in books lately. I think we as a society are just used to things being crammed into an hour or two hour filmed piece that we forget that books just like this one are behind what we see on screen, just cut up and pieced together. So keep reading and you’ll get in to a groove and finish before you know it.

Who is Caroline Taylor?

Formerly from Washington, D.C., Caroline Taylor is an award-winning writer and editor living in North Carolina. She has written two mysteries—What Are Friends For? (Five Star-Cengage, 2011) and Jewelry from a Grave (Five Star-Cengage, 2013)—and is the author of Publishing the Nonprofit Annual Report: Tips, Traps, and Tricks of the Trade (Jossey-Bass, 2001). Her short stories and essays have appeared in several online and print magazines. She is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America. Visit her at http://www.carolinestories.com

The Typist book cover

Guest Post by Samuel Marquis: British Spymaster Tar Robertson and Double Cross were Instrumental in Winning D-Day

British Spymaster Tar Robertson and Double Cross were Instrumental in Winning D-Day

By Samuel Marquis

In Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes, Book 3 of his WWII Series, Historical Fiction Author Samuel Marquis brings to life legendary British MI5 Spymaster Tar Robertson and the Double Cross Spy System, which played a pivotal role in the Allied deception at Normandy on D-Day and other operations in Hitler’s Festung Europa.

It has become an annual ritual for Americans and British to celebrate the hoodwinking of Hitler and the triumph of democracy over tyranny represented by D-Day. We all know how important it was, the tremendous stakes involved, and the glamorous Allied players in the daring assault upon Hitler’s Festung Europa recreated in countless books and movies. We all know that June 6-9, 1944, comprised the most epic battle of WWII. The only problem is it’s not true. The D-Day deception operation and subsequent acquisition of the beaches of Normandy was, in the words of Ben Macintyre in his book Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, “an undisputed, unalloyed, world-changing triumph”—but it was not the greatest battle of WWII. That distinction belongs to Stalingrad or Kursk. But the bloodbath of the Eastern Front—with war crimes committed by Hitler’s Germans and Stalin’s Russians in equal measure—doesn’t resonate with the historical poignancy of D-Day. And D-Day is still the greatest amphibious operation in the history of warfare.

With that in mind, the key to the success of that longest day was the Double Cross Spy System and Operation Fortitude, the latter of which was designed to persuade the Germans that the invasion of France would not take place in Normandy but in Pas de Calais. The Double Cross Spy System, or XX System, was a counterespionage and deception operation of the British Security Service, a civilian organization usually referred to by its cover title MI5. The system is described in detail in Books 1 and 3 of my World War Two Series, my countdown-to-D-Day thriller Bodyguard of Deception and the newly released Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes that takes place mostly in Occupied Norway. Under Double Cross, German agents in Britain – real and false – were captured, turned themselves in or simply announced themselves, and were then used by the British to broadcast mainly disinformation to their Nazi controllers. The deception operations were overseen by the Twenty Committee under the leadership of Thomas Argyll “Tar” Robertson and John Cecil Masterman; the name of the committee comes from the number 20 in Roman numerals: “XX” (i.e. a double cross).

Tar Robertson was the brains behind Double Cross. He wore a Glengarry cap and McKenzie tartan trews of the Seaforth Highlanders, and was universally well-liked by those who knew and worked with him. He played a pivotal role not only in the main Normandy deception, Operation Fortitude, but in Operation Mincemeat, a deception intended to cover the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily by fooling the Germans into thinking that an invasion of Greece was imminent. His deft handling of a widely disparate collection of Double Cross agents—among them socialites, sex-addicts, criminals, and drunks—brought several spectacular military advantages to the Allied cause between 1942 and 1945.

Robertson—working with his multifaceted team of double agents and his MI5 colleague Masterman, the somewhat priggish, cricket-obsessed Oxford don— was the driving force in the various Double Cross deception operations that played an important role in the ultimate Allied victory (though not as much as the Big Red Army pounding away along the Eastern Front, remember). The most important by far was Operation Fortitude, which had the overall effect of immobilizing the Wehrmacht tank reserves and limiting the effectiveness of German counter attacks all along the Normandy coastline.

While the incessant rivalries among and within the Wehrmacht, Abwehr, SS, the Führer’s headquarters, and the various other bureaucracies clogging German decision-making played a huge role in the German failure and Allied triumph, the Fortitude deception drove the Reich to an even higher state of confusion at a critical time—with disastrous results for a vacillating Hitler and Nazi Germany. And it was all brought about by a thirty-one-year-old Scotsman named Thomas Argyll Robertson, who early on in the war decided to enlist captured Nazi operatives as double agents rather than hanging them from the gallows.

It was a brilliant and uplifting idea for a country under siege in the air by Nazi Germany during the Battle for Britain, and there is no doubt that Robertson was the right man for the job. By all accounts, he was affable, determined, discreet, and doggedly loyal—but he could also be ruthless in his handling of those who threatened Double Cross. With a fondness and appreciation for a good practical joke, he also liked to pick the names of his turned double agents and tended to give them colorful monikers that he and his staff would not fail to remember. Two of his favorite and most successful doubles were the convicted safecracker Eddie Chapman (code-named Agent Zigzag by Robertson because of his unpredictability) and the Yugoslavian playboy Dusko Popov (code-named Tricycle Robertson because he enjoyed ménage à trois sex).

Tar Robertson was widely recognized by many of his contemporaries as one of MI5’s greatest assets, but is little known today. So, this June 6—during the 74rd anniversary of D-Day—is a good time to pay homage to a legendary British spymaster who helped the Allies win the war. He was truly a great one—and he had a sense of humor to boot.

Get Spies of the Midnight Sun: A True Story of WWII Heroes at Amazon.com by clicking HERE.

Spies of the midnight sun book cover image.

Biography

The ninth great-grandson of legendary privateer Captain William Kidd, Samuel Marquis is the bestselling, award-winning author of a World War Two Series, the Nick Lassiter-Skyler International Espionage Series, and historical pirate fiction. His novels have been #1 Denver Post bestsellers, received multiple national book awards (Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, American Book Fest Best Book, USA Best Book, Beverly Hills, Next Generation Indie, Colorado Book Awards), and garnered glowing reviews from #1 bestseller James Patterson, Kirkus, and Foreword Reviews (5 Stars). Book reviewers have compared Marquis’s WWII thrillers Bodyguard of Deception and Altar of Resistance to the epic historical novels of Tom Clancy, John le Carré, Ken Follett, Herman Wouk, Daniel Silva, and Alan Furst. Mr. Marquis’s newest historical novel, Spies of the Midnight Sun, is the true story of legendary British safecracker and spy Eddie Chapman, the British Double Cross Spy System, and courageous Norwegian female Resistance operatives Dagmar Lahlum and Annemarie Breien. His website is samuelmarquisbooks.com and for publicity inquiries, please contact JKSCommunications at info@jkscommunications.com.

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton. #Book #Review

Mourning Dove Cover Image

five gold stars image

Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton, author of the wonderful Dancing to an Irish Reel.

The book has been compared has reminded readers of the works of Pat Conroy, and if you know anything about Southern novels then you know that is the highest praise. You won’t be disappointed.

Mourning Dove isn’t just a book about family in the South. It’s about the reality of a family in the South. There are many dramatizations of what people believe life is like here in the Southern part of the US, but unless you lived it, you don’t know it. Claire Fullerton lived it. The author and I have had exchanges in the past about commonalities in our lives to the point that I know she is the real deal. She grew up a Memphis girl while I lived just 2 hours away in Tupelo, MS.

One thing about Southern life is there are layers. Depending on who you are socializing with will determine which layer you allow to show. That’s for your own protection. You learn this quickly to survive, not only in Southern society but in your own family. If you aren’t like your blood then you in more trouble than you would be at any other point in time. This is just an observation I’m throwing in here.

Mourning Dove finds Posey, moving back to Memphis, the city of her birth with her two children. The story is told through the voice of Millie, the youngest child. She’s the quiet one who looks up to her charismatic brother, Finley. The children are thrown into a world totally alien to their Minnesota home when they set foot in Memphis, a city where old society still looks to generational lines to help determine societal prestige.

Posey, sets out to find a new husband and ends up catching the Colonel, a totally inappropriate match for a husband only because of his place in society in the hopes it will continue to help her and assure her children will not fall from grace. The problem is, this leaves her children without true parents. Posey mothers occasionally but it doesn’t really help her children.

The star of the show is Finley, the big brother that has been given almost god like qualities by Millie in his perfection. His talent, his intellect, his abilities to move people. The things she cannot do. But just as a god, he is just out of reach in his kinetic life of always pushing higher and higher to next level of his creativity. His time in Charlottesville to attend university and expanding his music lies perfectly with the music scene of the day for a certain element that continued in university towns on into the 80s.

But without Finley, Millie has to fend for herself in the aristocratic society of her mother’s upbringing. He was her navigator of Memphis, her protector of sorts.

If you want to know the real South of the 1970s, read Mourning Dove. Much like Claire Fullerton’s masterpiece, Dancing to an Irish Reel, you get atmosphere, emotions, characters, not only the main but a wonderful supporting cast, which very much matches what you find in the South. You also find yourself pulled in to the landscape and forget you exist in a present. You are present in the past.

Preorder Mourning Dove on Amazon by clicking HERE before June 29,

@FTThum #BookReview ‘First Person’ by Richard Flanagan

Because I liked the premise of this book by the 2014 Man Booker Price winner, I thought I’ll give it a try.

Title:      First Person
Author:  Richard Flanagan
Publishers: Penguin Random House Australia
Format: Hardback
Pages:   392
Genre: Fiction, Thriller

 

 

What’s it about?

“First Person” is a quiet yet violent  thriller which begins with the protagonist Kif Kehlmann being offered a commission to ghost-write the memoir of Siegfried Heidl.

Heidl is a notorious con-man and corporate criminal awaiting trial. And Kif is a writer desperate for a well-paying job. How hard could it be anyway?

Little does Kif realise he would put his integrity on the line, even his morality and at times, sanity it seems.

The reader is taken on the journey of a man facing a moral crisis, culminating in an act which even Kif could not have foreseen.

Despite the interesting premise of this book, it was difficulty for me to move forth with it. The narrative seems “stuck” and so is the plot. Heidl feels one-dimensional, as I looked for depth and change in the character. Interestingly, Heidl is based on a real-life con artist John Freidrich whom the author interviewed early in his career as a journalist. Perhaps this explains the more intimate and relaxed feel of the book in parts where Kif is present.

The interactions between Kif and Heidl, and between Kif and Ray,  Kif’s friend and Heidl’s gopher, are worthy reading even if they feel surreal at times. Kif ultimately becomes a witness to Heidl’s destruction.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, if you are prepared to see beyond the structural difficulties.

My rating:                 3.5 /5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘The Amorous Heart’ by Marilyn Yalom

The title was enticing… so I picked up the book.

Title:      The Amorous Heart: An Unconventional History of Love
Author:  Marilyn Yalom
Publishers: Basic Books, Hachette
Format: Hardback
Pages:   277
Genre: Non-fiction, History

 

 

What’s it about?

As the title suggests, this is a book about the history of love, and so much more.

Ever wonder how the heart icon ❤ came to symbolize love? And why is the heart organ linked to love? It wasn’t always so. Of course, this begs the question – what is the meaning of love across the ages?

The earliest depiction of the heart icon is found in 6th century BCE in what is now Libya. Then it was not associated with love but rather a representation of a seed, a sign for contraception. By 6th century AD Persia, it was symbolic of grapes, vines and wine – abundance. It was in the 13th and 14th century that the heart icon came to signify love. How?

This book traces this evolution in Western culture from ancient times – Plato’s metaphysical idealism of “love” to “Ovidian love…embedded in the flesh, with the “heart” a lofty euphemism for the genitals“.

It traces the narratives of love associated with Eros and Cupid. Does carnality and passion undermine love? Is love pure?

Is heart the locus of love?

Yalom’s research took her from medieval times through Catholic and Protestant traditions (where literature, royalty and religion enmeshed) to literary figures in the likes of Shakespeare and Austen to scientific writings as she laid out the trajectory of love and heart.

“The Amorous Heart” tracks amor (sensual love) and caritas (noble love) across the centuries and tells the story of the origin of the word “romance” to the tales of “true love” where “everything is permitted for those who love” taking it beyond the questions of morals and religion.

It gives an interesting account of the age-old discourse between the religious heart versus the amorous heart when Christianity separated sex and sensual love thus delineating the act for procreation and the passion which gave rise to it.

What does history say of the heart’s ability to love one or more persons? Can it? Ought it? How are heart and love tied to marriage and the place of woman? For it wasn’t always that love is  a desired prerequisite to marriage.

It is interesting for me to discover for example, present narratives of “one’s true love as one who brings out the best in us” and the notion of “unconditional love” are not modern concepts. They can be traced to the songs of the troubadours of 12th and 13th century France, Spain and Germany who professed the same.

This impressive book provides a story of the social evolution of the iconography of the heart, of the sexes in relation to our capacity to love; it serves to demonstrate our natural instinct for love and erotic expression.

Would I recommend it?

A fascinating read of a phenomenon we take for granted and for which we believe we are entitled – love.

Highly recommended for curious minds.

My rating:                 4/5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews

#BookReview of Three Strikes, You’re Dead by @Elena_Hartwell

Three Strikes, You're Dead Cover ImageGet Three Strikes, You’re Dead by author Elena Hartwell at Amazon by clicking HERE.

Three Strikes, You’re Dead by Elena Hartwell is the third book in the Eddie Shoes Mystery series. Each book is stand alone. First, the story was good with an ending you probably won’t see coming unless you really pick up on the clues.

Secondly, I had a challenging time getting past the first couple or three chapters, the reason being this isn’t my usual type of book. The Eddie (Edwina) Shoes series is on the border of Cozy Mystery and Mystery. I normally read things with lots of danger and political or secret spy type intrigue, but I received this book free for an honest review. Thus, I pushed on. And I’m happy I did.

Eddie is a private investigator that is accustomed to being on her own and doing her own thing, until recent events brought her parents into her life. Chava, her mother, is a character all her own, a bit crazy at times, but a nice touch of comedy when needed. Then there is Eduardo, the mob connected father that is very protective of his daughter and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. He’s my favorite character in the book.

The story begins as Chava is driving herself, Eddie, and Eddie’s dog Polar to the Cascade mountains for a short vacation at a spa. A free trip Eddie can’t pass up. But with Eddie it doesn’t take long for trouble to find her. I guess this time she finds it. She goes for a short hike her first day and ends up making a promise to a dying man in the forest that she will find his missing daughter. Then she’s running for her life from a forest fire.

And so, begins the mystery. Who was the man? Where is his daughter? With only a silver crucifix and photo of the daughter shoved in her hand by the dying man to go on how will Eddie solve the case? With the help of her parents, of course.

Don’t get tricked into thinking you know how the story ends by the obvious, that’s why I say this is a border line Cozy Mystery and Mystery book. It’s a comfortable read and a nice growth for characters in a series like this but it adds a bit more challenge than the usual fare.

With this third book it seems you get a better sense of what made up Eddie’s DNA, her ingrained character. She has as touch of the light of her mother with the seriousness of the father, even though only Chava was present in her life as a 16-year-old mother who didn’t know how to raise a daughter.

I give Three Strikes, You’re Dead 4 STARS because of what I saw as a slow intro. I didn’t take away from the rating based on this not being my normal reading genre, I read it for the genre it is. I’ve read all the Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun. That’s the only Cozy I’ve ever been into. but I still get how the genre reads.

Remember to click HERE to visit Amazon and get the book.

And why is Elena such a great writer? Because she received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, my Alma Mater, so she was destined to be great.

Visit ElenaHartwell.com to discover more about her, her other books, and all THOSE ANIMALS!

#BookReview of Blackbeard: The Birth of America by @Sammarquisbooks

Blackbeard cover imagefive gold stars imageGet Blackbeard: The Birth of America by best selling author Samuel Marquis at Amazon by clicking here.

You ever watch a historical movie and wonder about those conversations between historical figures? We’ve heard of the events but there really isn’t much about what people say to each other, but without those creative licenses the screenwriters take it would be a lot like being back in high school history class. Blackbeard: The Birth of America by Samuel Marquis is one of those historical adventures that teaches us by linking events with realistic dialogue and everyday events in between.

Ever since Blackbeard became a “pirate” there have been stories about him and most of them quite gruesome but in Marquis’ latest novel we get the truth. Being the direct descendent of a pirate, Marquis has the interest in the history and research savvy to get to the core of the real story.

I’ve done my own research into Blackbeard, having used him as a minor character in a pirate novel myself and Marquis goes way beyond anything I ever ventured into. Each chapter tells you when and where events are taking place all the way up to the murder of Edward Thache, or Blackbeard as we know him. Thache was an American hero in comparison to the men who went after his head at the end. Thache cared about America and the future of the Western Hemisphere while his adversary only cared about himself and England.

Engrossing, eye opening, and engaging, Blackbeard: The Birth of America is a must for adventure lovers, history lovers, and um lovers of tall dark haired men?

5 STARS, but from the award winning author Samuel Marquis what else do you expect?

Visit SamuelMarquisBooks.com for book availability through other vendors. And MAKE SURE to read the very ENTERTAINING About Samuel page. Here I thought I knew everything but “The Spider”? Who knew?

Daughters of Bad Men by @LauraOles. A strong female PI without the love story.

Daughters of Bad Men cover image.What do you get when you combine an ex con-artist, a big man in Hawaiian shirts and a fried food loving bulldog? A dang good story.

Daughters of Bad Men is what I am hoping is the first in an ongoing series with a strong female lead Private Investigator, and get this, there is no man having to bail her out of situations or being all lovey dovey to her. Jamie Rush is legit PI with some great supporting characters, a comic relief but protective best friend (Cookie) and the best possible breed of dog you could ever have, the English Bulldog named Deuce. (My alma mater is the Bulldogs.)

In this novel Jamie is asked by her estranged con-artist half brother to find his daughter, who has gone missing. Jamie hesitates because there is a huge trust issue but since it involves the niece she once loved like her own she caves and starts the search. Her investigation leads her to shady side of Port Arlene, TX, a nice little Gulf Coast winter haven for the snowbirds of the north based on Port Aransas, TX, which is across the Corpus Christi Bay from the city of Corpus Christi.

We meet Erin, the high class but young bookie who likes to treat her silver and blue haired snow bird clients well and like family and Marissa the daughter of the local crime boss. I hope to see a lot of both in books to come. Erin has something to prove by going her own way and making her business venture work and Marissa is already a force to be reckoned with. I seriously want to see Cookie and Marissa together, which would be an interesting development considering the history between the families. Read the book to find out what I mean.

This book succeeds in what I believe it intended to, a great story AND giving a comprehensive background of all the major players in the Port Arlene universe. You close the back cover knowing exactly who Jamie is, the role Cookie plays and who the various elements to watch out for in town. Deuce, the bulldog, is as great and needed addition to the family by giving comic relief and showing another side of Jamie instead of the tougher PI side.

I give this a 4.5 out of 5 only because it took me a couple of chapters or so to get into the story. So you guys keep reading and you will really enjoy the world building Laura creates.

I definitely want to review future Jamie Rush stories.

Get DAUGHTERS OF BAD MEN at Amazon by clicking the “BUY ON AMAZON” link in the Amazon Book Cover Image below.

 

Make sure to connect with Laura Oles through her website https://lauraoles.com/ and on Twitter at @lauraoles

Laura Oles PhotoABOUT​ ​THE​ ​AUTHOR​ ​–​ Laura Oles is a photo industry journalist who spent twenty years covering tech and trends before turning to crime fiction.
She has published over 200 articles in retail and consumer magazines and
has served as a columnist for Digital Camera Magazine, Memory Makers Magazine, Picture Business, PhotoInduced, Cafe Mom) and others. Her book, “Digital Photography for Busy Women,” was named a photography category finalist in USA Book News.com’s ‘Best Books’ awards.
Laura’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including
Murder​ ​on​ ​Wheels,​ which won the Silver Falchion Award in 2016. Her debut mystery, Daughters​ ​of​ ​Bad​ ​Men​, was a Claymore Award Finalist. She is also a Writers’ League of Texas Award Finalist. Laura is a member of Austin Mystery Writers, Sisters in Crime and Writers’ League of Texas.
Laura lives on the edge of the Texas Hill Country with her husband, daughter and twin sons. When she isn’t writing or working, you’ll find her serving as the family Uber driver or at her kids’ sporting events.
After several years of watching soccer, she still can’t tell when a player is off sides. She spends too much money in bookstores. Visit her online at https://lauraoles.com.

@FTThum #BookReview ‘The Soul’s Expression’ by Amy Alston

Historical romance is a guilty pleasure of mine… so when I was offered this book for an honest review, how could I refuse…? And in time for Valentine’s Day 🙂

Title:      The Soul’s Expression
Author:  Amy Alston
Publishers: Kindle Unlimited
Format: ebook
Pages:   NA
Genre: Fiction, Historical Romance

 

What’s it about?

The Soul’s Expression is set in the late Victorian era.

Katherine Forrester was coerced into a marriage by her parents, and due to her fears, her marriage has not been consummated.

Her patient husband, after nearly a year of marriage is not so patient anymore.  Her mother-in-law pressures her into seeing a psychiatrist for her “troubles” and Katherine suspects she will be diagnosed with hysteria and locked up.

In a bid to protect herself, she  decides to cooperate fully with her psychiatrist, and unwittingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery and sexual awakening.

Then she encounters a situation that she has not ever anticipated. With her life in danger, who will she turn to?

How will this end for a woman with no financial means, nor power or legal status to defend herself?

Will love indeed conquer all?

Would I recommend it?

Yes, for historical romance readers and those sufficiently curios to venture to this genre. It is a quick and pleasant read.

My rating:                 3 /5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World’ by Tasha Eurich

I have a particular interest in self-awareness, so reading this book is for pleasure and professional purpose.

Title:      Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World
Author: Tasha Eurich
Publishers: Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pages:   357
Genre: Non-fiction, Psychology, Self-help

 

What’s it about?

Author, Tasha Eurich, begins with a lament on  the self-delusion of today’s people, identifying blindspots to how well we know ourselves.

An organizational psychologist by profession, Eurich claims self-awareness is THE meta-skill of the 21st century for success. In a world of operating in the shallows and privileging opinions of the external world, self-awareness separates the achievers and mediocrity.  She referred to studies which showed self-awareness to be lacking despite claims by many leaders to the contrary. The “cult of self”, Eurich states, prevents us from approaching with humility and self-acceptance to truly seeing ourselves.

Insight expounds what insight is, referring to internal self-awareness and external self-awareness, and strategies to survive in a unaware world. Eurich differentiates insight from introspection, stating that introspection does not a self-aware person make. “Thinking isn’t knowing” as a heading to one chapter says.

Being self-aware, or having insight of ourselves, helps us make better decisions in aspects of our lives.

Insight puts forth that no one will ever be entirely self-aware. It is an ongoing process and one which  requires us to let go of the search for absolute truths.

This book feels like a self-help book and yet at times, disguising itself as a theoretical text, or vice-versa. On occasions, the flow is interrupted by anecdotes from Eurich’s professional life.

Would I recommend it?

Yes. It is an interesting read on how we delude ourselves, in our personal and professional lives.

For those who want to better engage and relate with others say, within their organizations, this is a worthwhile read.

 

My rating:                 3.5 /5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews

Review of ‘Wise Before Their Time’ by Ann Richardson & Dietmar Bolle

‘Wise Before Their Time’ by Ann Richardson and Dietmar Bolle was first published in 1992 and focuses on the everyday lives of people suffering with HIV/AIDS.  Victims talk about how they found out about their disease, their thoughts and feelings at the time of diagnosis, and the effect the HIV diagnosis had on their immediate families.   You can check it out by clicking the worldwide link here:  http://bookShow.me/B0762QGY83  

Reading it over 25 years later it’s plain to see how ignorant the public were at that time regarding not only HIV/AIDS, but also how victims of the disease were treated.  There are heartbreaking stories of people losing their livelihoods once they admit they are HIV positive.  However, the book is not all doom and gloom – there are many inspirational stories here from sufferers who feel very well and enjoy living life to the full.

Of course these days, treatment options have increased the lifespan for the majority of HIV sufferers, and being HIV positive is not necessarily the death sentence it once was.  AIDS victims were always in the news back in 1992, but a quarter of a century later it’s hardly mentioned at all. 

Recommended for those who would like to delve a little bit into the early days of HIV/AIDS. 

Ann Richardson writes about different subjects that interest her.  You can check out the rest of Ann’s books by clicking the link below to her Amazon author page:

 https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Richardson/e/B001KCPSC2/

Contemporary poetry I commend to you

I have been reading poetry lately, not the Whitman, Cummings or Oliver but of contemporary poets, many of whom shared their creations first on social media before making it to traditional publication.

Who hasn’t heard of New York Times bestselling author, Rupi Kaur with Milk and Honey (2014),  her debut collection of poetry and prose collection of poems, and the recent The Sun and Her Flowers (2017).  Both books address the ebb and flow of life – triumph and loss, joy and hurt, trauma and healing – in essence tracing the universality of the human condition.

Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey

Then there is the works of Lang Laev, born to Cambodian parents in a refugee camp in Thailand and raised in Sydney. She is the author of 5 collections of poems and prose, the most successful being Lullabies (2014) and Love and Misadventure (2013).  Her other collections include Memories (2015), The Universe of Us (2016) with Sea of Strangers due 9 Jan 2018.  As you may guessed from the titles of her books, Lang Laev‘s poems traced her journey in family, love and loving again. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing – her quirky sense and approach to everyday happenings.

Lang Laev, Memories

Incidentally, Lang Laev now lives in New Zealand with her partner, Michael Faudet, also a poet. I discovered Michael’s work Bitter Sweet Love (2016) separate from Lang and it was a fascinating realisation that they are partners-in-crime 🙂  Michael Faudet‘s poems and prose are confronting and verge on the sensual and erotic.  After all he does have a curated erotic Tumblr. On the personal front, Michael Faudet is a mystery in that while he is everywhere on social media, little is known of this Kiwi poet and artist. His other works include Dirty Pretty Things (2014) and Smoke and Mirrors (2017) which is on my wishlist.

Michael Faudet, Bitter Sweet Love

Michel Faber is another poet which I stumbled across in a Sydney book store, his book Undying: A Love Story (2016) that is. Award winning author of 9 other books, this is Michel Faber’s first poem collection written while accompanying his wife through her journey from diagnosis to her passing from cancer. Heart wrenching and entirely beautiful, they chronicle love and despair, anger and sorrow.

Michel Faber, Undying: A Love Story

Finally, an insightful gift Neon Soul (2017) by Alexandra Elle.  The author writes with a rebel spirit, her poems speaking of healing  and positive affirmations, instead of pain which fueled much of contemporary poems.

Alexandra Elle, Neon Soul

There you are, five poets worth checking out. especially  if you are looking for something different and/or accessible.

Enjoy!

~ FlorenceT

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews

@FTThum #BookReview ‘Awaken A New Myth’ by Karen La Puma

I was provided a complimentary copy of this soon-to-be published book in exchange for an honest review.

Title:          Awaken A New Myth: Goddess Warrior on the Hero’s Journey
Author:        Karen La Puma
To be published:     Soul Source (10 Jan 2018)
Format:          Paperback
Pages:             204
Genre:           Non-Fiction – Spiritual

 

 

What’s it about?

“Awaken a New Myth” is the first of 10 spiritual books (A Toolkit of Awakening Series) Karen La Puma has written after nearly 3 decades as an astrologer, hypnotherapist, reiki master and spiritual counsellor.

Weaving the work of Carl Jung, particularly of the Collective Unconscious and archetypes, and Joseph Campbell, in his mythological exploration of the hero’s journey, Karen La Puma proposes a new way of being.

“Awaken a New Myth” entreats readers to discover our light, to have courage to take this journey of discovery. It is premised on our belonging together as a greater Whole. The book is divided into 4 parts (Overviewing the Journey, Answering the Call, Appreciating the Positive and Discovering Purposeful Living) which mirrors the 12 stages of Joseph Campbell’s mythic structure of the Hero’s journey, the journey though taken embodied as the Warrior Goddess.

The abstract language La Puma used can be inaccessible to readers new to the spiritual path, predominantly undefined terms except for the Glossary towards the end.

The use of italicized words and capitalized abstract nouns (eg. Archetypes, Source, Essence, True Nature, Love, Divine, Being) are distracting and confusing, as I attempted to fully grasp their meaning as La Puma intended them. Perhaps it is La Puma’s intention to leave her message abstract and open to her readers’ subjective interpretation?

Awaken a New Myth is a book of ideas, rather than a theoretical exposition. It is a book with heart, and to engage the mind, greater depth is required. Nevertheless, La Puma puts forth her model of the “Goddess Warrior Magnetically Creating the Hero’s Journey” as the “answer for these quickening times, because we now have the ability, the map, and the keys to awaken and co-create a better world”.

Despite the language perhaps more suited to those already on spiritual and mythical paths, the message is a call to live authentically with a willingness to step up to our best self.

As a self-help book, Awaken a New Myth poses many reflective questions to guide readers on the Warrior Goddess’ Hero Journey which readers dedicated to the practice will find insightful answers, and for whom this resonates, a new way of being.

 

My rating:                  2.5/5

~ FlorenceT

@FTThum
MeaningsAndMusings

© 2018 LitWorldInterviews