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Reich

Adolf Hitler ruled Europe with an iron fist. With his political promises to desperate people, he spoke of a reign that would last 1,000 years. Under his command humanity entered a new dark age. Tales were told of horrors taking place in the East – of railroad cars, of ovens, and death. There was just one “detail” he kept to himself.

When Hitler survives an assassination attempt on his life, his secret is discovered by those in command. A secret beyond the realms of reality!

A German U-boat Captain is ordered to transport Adolf Hitler to a secret military base in Norway, during the closing days of the Second World War. While on this mission, he discovers that there is more to Germany’s “Führer” than meets the eye. To his horror, the Captain discovers the Third Reich’s darkest secret: Hitler is a vampire!

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The Butcher’s Daughter: A Memoir

The Butcher's Daughter: A Memoir by [Grende, Florence]

Florence Grende’s parents survived the Holocaust and managed to settle in New York City to provide a new life for their children. The horrors of their past, however, never leave them and infiltrate every aspect of their lives in the United States. Florence, their daughter, grows up watching her parents keep their demons at bay as she learns as much about her family’s haunting past as she learns about herself. Grende’s questions about her mother’s outbursts and her father’s deep, dark sadness lead her to answers she is afraid she already knows but is not willing to admit.

The Butcher’s Daughter is Florence Grende’s own recollection of her life in New York City and her struggle to come to terms with her parents’ own battle with the memories of their lives in Germany during the Holocaust. Grende’s memoir is written in a unique and gripping style. Her words flow from page to page in the most poetic fashion with emphasis placed on short, striking bits of text highlighting especially difficult memories.

Grende pulls her memoir together with short chapters, each focusing on specific situations, distinct memories, and her own analyses of events from her childhood and teenage years. I looked for the memoir style to follow a sequential order but, in Grende’s case, the random scattering of memories and the jumps she makes from one time period backwards and then forward again works well. Her own confusion and the turbulence dictating her life as a result of her family’s past is reflected effectively in the style of writing chosen by the author. Short bursts of memories are easy to read, engaging, and incite the reader’s curiosity.

It is not often readers are afforded a look into the author’s own experiences. Grende gives readers a particularly vivid picture of the trauma and the lasting impact the Holocaust had on the ensuing generations. Her father’s behavior and neediness are sad in a way I find it almost impossible to describe. She underscores the way he seems to emotionally cling to her in a markedly poetic chapter in the second of the book’s three sections. Never is her father’s tragic past more clearly defined than in his sadness and desperation at losing her to her new husband.

Closure being the goal for Florence Grende, I felt relief for her as she details her journey for answers and the meeting which brings her face to face with people on all sides of the Holocaust. Her writing experience begins with her trip to Berlin and the diary that starts it all. I felt the tension as I read of Grende’s meetings with fellow survivors and descendants of Nazis. The horror stories flow, and Grende, at last, shares her own with those who can, not only relate, but wish for the same closure as the author herself. Grende writes of these meetings with raw emotion and does more to help readers absorb the truth of history than is ever possible with any textbook.

Florence Grende has bared her soul and shown readers a perspective on history that most of us will never fully grasp. She walks readers eloquently through a minefield of emotions and tackles the savagery of the Holocaust with truth, directness, and poetic prose.

Pages: 148 | ASIN: B01M751TN4

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The “Urban Explorer” Subculture

Gordon MacKinney Author Interview

Gordon MacKinney Author Interview

Follow Me Down is a thrilling novel that follows Lucas as he seeks justice for his family while uncovering corruption in the city’s largest real estate development company. What was your inspiration for this novel and the setup to the story?

The never-used subway beneath Cincinnati is real—built during the Depression but abandoned and sealed up. I lived for years near Cincinnati, both scared and intrigued by ghosts beneath my feet. When I later learned about the “urban explorer” subculture, I HAD to write the story.

One thing I really appreciated in this story was the authenticity of the relationships. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your characters?

Observant readers will notice one consistent theme for the four main characters: the plight of the underdog. Lucas, suppressed by corporate corruption. Alfred Blumenfeld, put down by cruel social mores, and Tricia Blumenfeld too, unwilling to play the part of the “good girl.” And Reuben, victimized for being short and Jewish. These characters deserved a voice and a shot at justice.

Lucas explores Cincinnati’s underground in this novel and the scenes were detailed and well developed. Why did you choose this setting for the novel?

In the story, protagonist Lucas reflects on a childhood experience descending voluntarily into a well on his grandfather’s farm. That scene resembles my own childhood “adventure.” What urban explorers do is just damn cool, risking capture and physical dangers in very cool places. Also, the noblest among these modern-day adventurers respect and revere the places they infiltrate. I admire them.

I find a problem in well-written novels, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?

Thank you! While I’m finished with Lucas for now, two new stories are underway. The first fictionalizes a true 1980’s battle between an auto manufacturer and an underdog labor union. The second, set in small-town USA, explores the plight of another underdog, a young woman unjustly blamed for a deadly accident.

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Follow Me Down by [MacKinney, Gordon]

Urban explorer Lucas Tremaine should buckle down and complete his Masters in Architecture, but the past torments him. Six years earlier, Drax Enterprises’ negligence killed his father and left his mother strung out on Valium. Lucas longs to punish the corrupt behemoth of Cincinnati real estate development, but what can one man do?

“Plenty,” says old Mr. Blumenfeld, Lucas’s boss and a former photojournalist with too many secrets. Evidence to bury Drax exists, he claims, but to find it, Lucas must breach the city’s welded-shut subway system. Lucas takes the plunge, aided by his best friend and moral compass, Reuben Klein.

The deeper the duo infiltrates the dangerous underground, the further back they turn the clock. They learn that Drax’s corruption intertwined with fascism’s rise in Germany. That campfire tales of a subway crypt were true. That no one can be trusted, not even Lucas’s boss.

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The Immortality Trigger

The Immortality Trigger

With a start in Berlin, 1945, The Immortality Trigger launches into present day, hurtling between Europe, South America and Africa with a gripping pace.The author, Douglas Misquita, is moved to write large-scale thrillers, and with the second book in this series, surely achieves that goal. Not only is this book vast and well-written, the story it tells picks angles with many appeals.

The Immortality Trigger clips along as expected being at heart an action-thriller and were it not for the hook at the beginning taking place during the closing years of the Second World War that hinted at monstrous experiments, it may be too stuck in one genre. But for fans of fast-paced modern tales with global reach that dabble in history, this is a perfect storm. Having the hint of science fiction gives the story a cross-genre feel, and the monstrous brutality at once has an otherworldly feel while being rooted in our dark reality. Turning the news on the right channel, and you will see how timely and accurate these atrocities are. All of them. From the experiments that took place in wartime Germany to the extermination happening in countries from east to west alike, the author offers some guide to fact at the end of the book.

From the outset, we follow INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff. Her grandfather has succumbed to cancer and his wish of being stored cryogenically has just been carried out. In his safe lay ties to an ancient society still very active today. Too active, as the bombing incident that killed her parents only a week before may be involved somehow.

Illegal fight rings delight in the superhuman strength of Luc Fortesque and it seems being more than human is something of a problem. He’s not the only one. An experimental and unstable drug he was given may make him a star in the ring, but Luc won’t rest until he’s found the transhumanist faction responsible. He may be an army of one, but there are armed and demented soldiers between him and his goal.

Colombian newspapers have been blaring the face-off between drug-lord El Fantasma and their rival, El Angel, who will stop at nothing to bring down the cartels. After a vicious and heart-stopping fight – in the middle of a bust free-way in daylight – a terrible clue is left bleeding in the leg of El Fantasma; a silver dagger. With no clue how this Nazi war relic came into El Angel’s possession, the threads begin to draw together when everyone involved needs answers.

By the midpoint of the book it seems nearly impossible for these factions with their very different worlds to be pieces of the same puzzle, but readers will delight in how problems new and old have become entangled.

Overuse of jargon, while inevitable in a story that deals with military language, is much more noticeable in the beginning of the book. Nearing the middle, it is either not as glaring or has been quelled. Using the same word four times in one paragraph never sounds right, however, and there are a few points where this is troublesome. Very tightly written otherwise, going from lush landscapes to cities, drug-fuelled frenzies to tense negotiations. For fans of epic thrillers, Douglas Misquita may well be the next binge read. With many previous books, this new series reads like a flashy blockbuster film, so it must be worth it to see where this author has come from. The cast is large, though not entirely dizzying so just enough to feel like a realized world of people but still keep track of all the players. While there is a little tedium in jargon, having a near Lucha Libre feel to the Colombian stand-off, the ghosts of Nazi Germany and pharma-infused soldiers leering from the shadows knocks this all closer to a perfect action novel for fans of bleak, realistic and dark action.

Pages: 386 | ASIN: B077GHCT7X

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Recollections of the War

Heidi Fischer Author Interview

Heidi Fischer Author Interview

Swallow follows a young German woman during WWII as she struggles to follow her dreams and become a pilot. What was the inspiration that made you want to write such a humanizing story?

I was flicking through some old magazines in a medical waiting room a few years ago and came across an article on WW2 ace fighter pilots. It was a fascinating read, so I took to the internet and was blown away by the material on this subject. I found the story of a young German pilot, Hans Phillip, particularly inspiring, though tragic. It was heart-breaking to read about and see the many images of these young men yet to live their lives. Many of the photographs were candid, showing just how very ‘human’ they really were.

Gabi is a fierce, bright woman who stampedes her way onto the runway. What guided you through Gabi’s development?

I like a strong, female protagonist determined to get her way! Much of Gabi’s development is drawn from personal experience. I was once a young business graduate struggling to get on in what was predominately a man’s domain. I jumped at any opportunity to get ahead, as does Gabi. She’s emotional, stubborn and insecure, facing the same challenges that we all face at some time in our lives: life and death; love and loss; hope and despair. Sadly, the harsh reality of war makes this natural transition through life profoundly tragic for Gabi.

This story takes place in Germany during WWII. What research did you do to make sure the history and locations were accurate?

Some of the history/locations came from personal sources. My mother was born in Königsberg, East Prussia and fled to Saxony as a war refugee during WW2. Many of her recollections of the war and this part of the world have been incorporated into the story. As a child, I also visited relatives in East Germany several times and can still remember towns such as Meissen and Dresden quite vividly. But my primary source was Google. There is so much material about WW2 and the Luftwaffe on the internet. Admittedly, not all sources are reliable but with some cross-referencing, you get a good feel for what’s legitimate. My biggest issue was deciding what to include and what to leave out as I didn’t want to bog down the story with superfluous detail!

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on a prequel to SwallowThe Sparrow and The Peacock, covering the early years of Max Richter from his childhood through to his romance with Mary Dehaviland and the birth of Gabi. Like Swallow, it’s set in Germany and covers historically significant periods such as WW1 and the stock market crash of ‘29. I’m aiming to have the book published sometime late 2018 – early 2019.

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SwallowSet against the dramatic backdrop of World War II, Nazi Germany, Swallow is the story of a young woman destined to fly. Gabriele Richter, the daughter of an ambitious German general, connives her way into the Luftwaffe, becoming Germany’s only female fighter pilot and ‘ace’. Flying like a swallow, she defends the Fatherland with the gusto and fearlessness of youth, confronting death on every sortie and living by the Luftwaffe edict “Fly till we die”.

On the cusp of womanhood, Gabi also learns about love. She shares her heart with Heinz, a young, impulsive ‘fledgling’ pilot set on becoming a war hero. She bares her soul to Hans, an ambitious flight commander whose love is troubled with demons of self-doubt. She gives herself to narcissistic Kurt and his scar fetish, comforted by his unwavering loyalty. She confides in RAF Wing Commander Arthur Wilson, living in hope to love again…

But, after discovering her beloved father, General Max Richter, has been implicit in horrific war crimes against humanity, she turns her back on the Fatherland, helping the enemy restore and fly Germany’s latest weapon, the Me-262 fighter jet.

With the end of war imminent, Gabi’s tragic destiny is fulfilled, leaving General Richter to face retribution. 

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Swallow

Swallow

There are many words that can be used to describe the tale of Swallow by Heidi Fischer. Gripping. Moving. Heart-breaking. This fantastic story about a young woman in World War Two era Germany humanizes those who fought in the war in a way that is unexpected. Our story follows Gabi: a fierce, bright woman who stampedes her way onto the runway where she acts as an engineer and pilot. In a time where woman were beginning to make their mark on the world; a time when relations are strained and many outside the Nazi mantra failed to truly understand what was happening in their country. Gabi finds herself in all of this. The bright young woman who had her life altered so horrifically at the tender age of seven. The young woman who wants to do her father, a general, proud. Gabi shows us a Germany that many of us wouldn’t have believed existed. The desire of a young woman to fly.

This book starts off with a bang and just doesn’t stop. Fischer hooks her readers from the first chapter and we become entranced by the story. Gabi survives a horrific event that many young women today struggle to overcome. While it haunts her as she ages, she preservers and moves forward with her dreams. Lying her way into the military where she can work as an engineer and eventually a pilot shows how determined she is to reach her goal. You can’t help but root for Gabi and hope that everything she wants will come true. Alas, we must be reminded that it is not all sunshine and rainbows in this world. Especially not during World War Two. Gabi will achieve, and she will lose. She will love and it will be lost. Even as she struggles with despair she never gives up that which keeps her going: hope.

Not only do we get to see the world from Gabi’s point of view but we also get a few glimpses into the minds of the men in her life. Most notable is her father. A strong, silent and stoic man who gives away few smiles for his daughter. While he disagrees with her choice, there is no doubt that he is proud of everything that she accomplishes. There are three loves that Gabi will have: Heinz, Hans and Kurt. Each one different from the other and each love comes with its own prescription for pain. Gabi pushes on, becoming a role model for all young German men and women who get wrapped up in the war.

While the book doesn’t focus too heavily on the actual war itself, it is difficult to get away from it completely. Gabi is a pilot for Nazi Germany and she does kill those known to her as the ‘enemy’. There is no refuge from guilt, however. It serves as a stark reminder that there were human beings involved in that atrocity. Not all of them agreed with what was happening. Heidi Fischer uses Swallow to tell us a love story wrapped in a piece about humanity. This is an excellent read and picking it up will add emotional depth to any library.

Pages: 255 | ASIN: B06XRRK75N

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Inspired To Change The Direction

Gordon George Smith Author Interview

Gordon George Smith Author Interview

Lady Ruth Bromfield is about a young girl that is rescued from Nazi Germany and grows up to be an engineer on the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric Project. What motivated you to write an inspirational story about this woman’s life?

I wanted to write a story that included some of my feelings that I encountered while in the civil construction sector. However, when I read a newspaper article about the Kinder Transport, I was inspired to change the direction of the story. I researched the background to the Kinder Transport, and I became even more inspired. I am always disturbed by how we as a human race always seem to be wary of people from different backgrounds and beliefs, so I include the three themes into my book.

Ruth was sent to England on the Kinder Transport to be raised by a Church of England priest. What research did you do to get this time in history as accurate as possible?

I read widely on the general conditions in England during the war. I had some understanding of Jewish traditions and teachings and along with my Anglican background, I was able to develop the story around Ruth being a Christian- Jew or was it a Jewish –Christian?. I was able to run the Christian aspects by a retired Anglican Priest. When I was halfway through the book, I heard an interview on the radio that mentioned that sometimes Jewish women bathed naked a religious ceremony. I researched this and found several articles about Mikveh. I was able to include this in the story.

Lady Ruth Bromfield is a sensational view at overcoming religious and ethnic intolerance. Do you think this is a topic that is more prevalent today than it has been in the past?

In some quarters it appears to be more prevalent today (e.g., the western populations being distrusting toward Muslim migrants.) However, in other instances, we have come a long way. As an example when I was growing up Protestant School kids did not mix with those who went to Catholic schools. It also seems that there is nowhere the distrust of “Jews” that was prevalent when I was young. Even then although there was some mistrust, this was tempered with the feeling of disgust in how the Jews were persecuted by the Nazis.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be published?

My next book is in the embryo stage but. I am considering writing a story about three young Australian men who were conscripted to fight in Vietnam in the 60’s. The three of them came from different worlds (a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim) The story would revolve around their time in Vietnam and how their lives developed after the conflict. At this stage I hope to have it published toward the end of 2017.

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Lady Ruth BromfieldSaved from Nazi Holocaust, she grew in spirit to be a world leader. In 1935, Ruth was in born to an unmarried Jewish mother in Germany. Fearing the Nazi persecution, Ruth was sent to England on the “kinder transport“ to be raised by a Church of England priest. He raised in the Christian faith, and with help, he also raised her in the Jewish faith. Her faith guided her life and enabled her to build bridges between different groups, even at an early age. Follow her story as she grows up and becomes an engineer on the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric Project. Her story is guaranteed to raise your hopes and show how to overcome the differences we all share. A sensational view at overcoming religious and ethnic intolerance. 

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Paralian – Not Just Transgender

Paralian - Not just transgender4 StarsThe term “Paralian” comes from ancient Greek origins, and it has taken on the meaning of “people who live by the sea”.  There could be no more apt title for Liam Klenk’s autobiography. In Paralian: Not Just Transgender, He recounts the sweeping and nomadic movements of his life via the lens of the rivers, lakes, and oceans by which he periodically makes a home. Water is the element of change and transition.  It is also the element at the heart of so many human-nature entanglements; the resource that has always defined and guided the movements of our species. Fittingly for a tale of bodies, travels, transitions, and wandering, Klenk uses bodies of water to parse the sections of his life like chapters in a narrative.

The voice and experience of Liam Klenk is tender, vulnerable, and honest. It comes to the reader unassumingly and asks only for a patient ear. As the title would suggest, Paralian: Not Just Transgender tells a tale far wider in scope than Liam’s courageous journey through gender confirmation. If anything, the story is about the contexts that occur before, during, and afterwards. It tells the story of a human being finding his place in this world. It opens near the River Enz in Germany, with a young girl named Stefanie and illustrates how a complex and tumultuous family origin, vexes and feeds her inherent confusion over identity. At the end, the reader closes on a confident, middle-aged man named Liam who views the world through hopeful, optimistic eyes from an airplane above Hong Kong. In the intervening pages a transition obviously happens but—to the author’s point—so does a full life. As Stefanie becomes Liam, the reader is taken abroad from Germany to Seattle, from Zurich to Italy to Macao, and all points in between. What makes Klenk’s tale so necessary is that we get a story about a transgendered individual that articulates that while a singular aspect of his life was important, it by no means is the sole determinant of identity.

Regarding execution and readability, there are some pieces that could give readers trouble. As with many ESL authors, minor line-level similes and metaphors go overboard at times and actually distract the reader from the emotional intensity of scene and moment. The larger issue however is that Paralian: Not Just Transgender isn’t just a fascinating book, as it is several fascinating books mashed together. Because Life has no definitive plot, the best works of biography and creative nonfiction tend to follow an A-side/B-side construction in which real world chronologies and events are echoed and digested alongside another more metaphorical through line. Klenk’s book is framed around the metaphor of nomadic travels and bodies of water, but the device is often glanced over or abandoned entirely for lengthy sections. This leaves the prose, like it’s subject, to wander widely. Luckily for Klenk, his book is entertaining enough that its propensity to lose direction is easily forgiven.

Pages: 456 | ISBN: 1785891200

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We Were Soldiers Too: A Historical Look at Germany During the Cold War From the US Soldiers Who Served There

We Were Soldiers Too: A Historical Look at Germany During the Cold War From the US Soldiers Who Served There3 StarsThis nonfiction piece covering various stages of the Cold War, specifically the bases in Germany, tells the stories of 17 soldiers that served from 1960 to 1989. Each chapter of the text is dedicated to one of the soldiers and tells the story of their service in the context of what was happening in the world around them. Each chapter does a great job of telling how the soldiers came to enlist, what their training was like, and what was going on in their heads while they progressed.

These stories produced some fascinating insight into the details of military life that don’t always make it onto the pages of the history textbooks. For example, one soldier shared how another soldier had swindled him out of some of the water in his canteen. After he had been asked to share some water, he asked the fellow soldier why he had already wasted his own supply, and the fellow soldier replied “he had plenty of water but he was saving it for later.” This book is full of little moments like this that deserve to be heard, and it makes for a great read.

The bulk of the text is about the duties that these soldiers were given during their time of duty. The book has information that covers a wide range of duties, giving each chapter something unique from the one before it. One of the topics that is covered in a couple of the chapters is the “dog and pony show” that the troops would have to go through for whoever was the President of the United States at the time. It is interesting to see how the soldiers respond to the inconvenience that these high ranking individuals caused during their service.

The chapters, however, tell the stories in the third person. Without any personal statements from the soldiers, themselves, the reader is left to wonder exactly who these people were. It makes the stories a little less personal, which is disappointing. However, the writing is strong enough and the stories are potent enough to make up for this point of view choice. Still, I wonder if the stories would have had a larger impact if there were some more direct quotations and conversations included in the text.

Overall, these stories are full of the details that bring humanity to the wars that fill our world. Each chapter brings to life the tiny details that kids don’t learn about in school, and it gives the reader an opportunity to see things from the point of view of one pair of eyes in a scene where hundreds of thousands had been. The author states that there is another book coming, one that focuses on South Korea. I’m looking forward to the details that this volume provides, even if they could be delivered with a bit more personality.

Pages: 213 | ASIN: B01B0YRBB0

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Lady Ruth Bromfield

Lady Ruth Bromfield3 StarsAs the Nazis begin to take over Germany, a young, Jewish mother strives to protect her daughter from the persecution that her people face on a daily basis. After meeting a secret agent from England, the young mother ships her daughter to the English countryside to live with a minister and his wife with the promise that they will raise her in the Jewish faith. A look into the life of a girl raised to be a Christian Jew, Lady Ruth Broomfield showcases the drive and amazing work ethic that its titular character posses which helped her become a powerful player in a world that once persecuted her people.

Gordon Smith’s Lady Ruth Bromfield proves to be an interesting read in the sense that it reads like fiction, but also reads like a true story. While the story keeps the reader on the edge of their seat near the beginning of the novel, there are obvious dips in the interest levels and movement of the story.

The book is very well written in the sense that the author definitely knows how to pace the story when it comes to facts. However, one of the major issues with the storytelling comes through the depiction of Ruth. While it is understood that Ruth is the story’s hero, she is far too perfect in her depiction. Overly smart, ambitious, and predominantly successful from an early age, the writing of ten-year-old Ruth makes her appear to be unusually self-aware. Certainly, the children of World War II grew up faster than most, but her mentality seems to be a mix of a spoiled five year old and a wise twenty year old.

Similarly, her depiction as a three-year-old is unrealistic. Had some of the conversations happened when the child was five instead of three, it would’ve been more believable than the conversation presented. However, when the reader keeps in mind that the main character is a little bit above and beyond the normal person as the story continues, it makes the unnatural maturity seem more plausible, if only by a little bit. While the writing is mostly well done, the repetitive descriptions and retelling of information slows the flow of the book greatly and dampers the overall mood when reading the story.

It’s really the ending of the story that makes up for the roller-coaster of writing and descriptions throughout the book. The promise of hope and the example of overcoming as a woman in a predominately male field is quite the impressive story. Similarly, overcoming her initial adversity at the beginning of the story as a Jewish orphan to becoming a massive player in the world of construction does offer hope to anyone who believes that their small beginnings do not allow them to go on and achieve greater things. Overall, this story provides hope.

Pages: 250 | ASIN: B01JVV1HLE

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