Sarge made a promise, but he isn’t invested in keeping it. His men do not hesitate to remind him that he once told them that the Seventh Cavalry had made its last mission. Yet, here they are preparing again and listening to the list of orders to which they have all grown accustomed and about to set out on a rescue mission after which they all plan to rest, regroup, and recuperate. Once the group manages to agree on a leader for the mission, the wheels begin to turn and they are off on a path that will lead them again into the unknown.
The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry: Book Two, by Charles Brindley, picks up where Book One of the same name left off. Sarge, the fearless leader of the aptly named Delta Platoon, Alpha Company, Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Division of the Seventh Cavalry, U.S. Army, and his unique group of characters inhabit the lush home of the late Consul Lucius Aemillus Paullus. Their needs are more than met, and they are living their best lives. Duty, however, calls. They are needed immediately on a rescue mission that may take much longer than any of them expect.
As with Book One, Brindley does a brilliant job of making fantasy feel like a part of history. His characters are all stand-outs with well-developed backstories he shares with readers in this installment. Getting to know each one right out of the gate helps readers understand each and every idiosyncrasy and how they relate to the mission at hand. Again, I am in awe of how Brindley manages to make his writing come across as realistic while giving it all the elements of a full-blown epic fantasy.
Humor is a large part of Brindley’s work. As serious as the mission is, the characters never fail to include quips and jabs at one another that make the reading less heavy. Not a scenario passes where the characters don’t insert humor and cutting remarks aimed at keeping the overall mood light and the characters more relatable.
I highly recommend The Last Mission of the Seventh Cavalry: Book Two to any reader who enjoys fantasy adventure as much as they crave well-developed storylines. Fans of strong female main characters will find Brindley’s work especially satisfying–nowhere else will readers find a more diverse and intriguing group of leading females.
Pages: 291 | ASIN: B08STJTJBL
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Janet has a promise ring, and Will is her one true love. Both of them work hard, have plans for a beautiful future, and look forward to the day they are reunited. But Will has a dream. He will do anything to be among the first to board the famed Titanic. When news of the tragic event reaches Janet, she has no reason to believe Will is among the victims–or does she?
A Ring of Promises, by Marie Gage, is a love story like no other. Based on actual historical events, Gage’s story is gripping and encompasses all the horror loved ones must have felt following the sinking of the Titantic. The author manages to portray every emotion while drawing readers into every harrowing second of the characters’ experiences. Janet and Will, both living their separate horrors, are relatable and fascinating. Gage does a wonderful job of capturing the various dialects in her writing along with the tone of both their love and fear.
I have always found the story of the Titanic riveting. Gage’s account of that fateful night told through the relationship between Janet and Will, is no less gripping. There is an intense amount of pain and heartbreak surrounding the tragedy, and Gage’s work captures every aspect of it. Janet and Will have my heart. Their hearts are pure, and their love makes this story truly enchanting.
A Ring of Promises is a romance novel that transcends genres and offers readers much more depth and emotion than your typical love story. Time and distance play an integral role in Gage’s work. The author keeps romance alive with Janet and Will. Not many books maintain the integrity of the characters’ love and dedication like this one. Being able to weave this throughout the story of a tragic historical event like the sinking of the Titanic is a true accomplishment.
I highly recommend A Ring of Promise to any fan of historical romances that are steeped in emotion and focused on true love conquering all. Gage’s work is genuine and serves as an example of what tenderness and courage can accomplish together. A Ring of Promises certainly surpasses my expectations of a historical fiction romance.
Pages: 449 | ASIN: B089DN4GFQ
Tags: a ring of promises, adventure, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical, historical fantasy, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, marie gage, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, true story, writer, writing
Finnegan Found is a fictional account of the true horrors of Chinese POW camps from the Korean War. Why was this an important book for you to write?
When I met and became friends with the men called the North China Marines, men who were captured in China on 7 Dec 1941, I found something very unsettling to me. Their wives and children knew very little about their time as POWs. I came along at a time when they were finally willing to talk to someone willing to listen. My background as a Vietnam veteran and a history teacher, with at least a beginner’s knowledge of the POW experience, meant those men were willing to give me the details. I found it unacceptable so little was known to the public about their experiences. As a result, I created northchinamarines.com for family members to discover details they had missed. I then did some writing for the American EX-POW organization and found the same set of circumstances existed for families of our POWs from Korea and Vietnam. Those details went into the creation of the book, more a document than book, Bean Camp to Briar Patch-Life in the POW Camps of Korea and Vietnam. It is the only single source of information on all the major camps in both of those wars. The Korean POW experience especially bothered me. They came home to find themselves blamed for their own captivity. The media made them out to be weak, not the caliber of our veterans from other wars. When Bean Camp to Briar Patch was ignored, I decided to turn to fiction as a means of getting the Korean War POW story in front of the public. I believe the novel accurately presents the story. Now my job is to get that story recognized. Those men have gone long enough without the recognition they deserve.
I appreciated the candid and accurate nature with which you relayed POW experiences. What were some aspects you felt needed to be accurate and what did you take liberties with?
It was important to me to be highly accurate throughout the story. As a history teacher, the historical part of the novel is the story. The only liberties I took were in some of the actions of Swede. The sinking of the B-29, the burning of the records, the taking of the photographs of radar equipment, and his rescue of Mike Randall were completely fictional. As I explain in an addendum, details throughout the story are based on facts. Some characters in the story were real people, utilized to tell the facts of their story. To be honest, I glossed over some aspects of the treatment the men received. I have found some people will not believe what is sometimes required to survive horrific circumstances. Or they will be so upset by the facts they will put the book down and never pick it up again. So at times I just hinted at what took place.
What were some themes you wanted to focus on in this book?
Most important to me was historical truth, even if that meant portraying an individual or group in a negative light. I have never written a novel before. I really did not sit down and decide on specific themes I thought might give the story more appeal. I simply wanted to tell what I feel is an important story. I also wanted to correct a wrong inflicted on those men by a military and government that did not want to face their own shortcomings.
Paul Larson is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that guided his character development?
I needed a character I could like to help tell this story, a character with a built in strength to carry him through. A character who had been raised by strong characters. “They” say you should write what you know. I know mid-West farm culture. I knew the details of the story from my research on my first book. I needed characters that I “knew” to help in telling the story. Many of the main characters have a combination of traits of people I served with during my time in the military, again both the good and the bad.
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Tags: author, author interview, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, Finnegan Found, goodreads, historical fiction, history, john n powers, kindle, kobo, literature, miliary, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, veteran, war, war fiction, writer, writing
The Korean War was fought between communist North Korea supported by the Chinese and the soviets, and South Korea supported by the United States. Known as “the forgotten war” for its lack of media coverage, The Korean War was incredibly bloody; but the main thing the war is known for is its enormous amount of American prisoners of war and the brutal treatment they received while under communist captivity.
Finnegan Found by John N. Powers is a historical fiction novel that follows the story of Paul Larson, also known as “Swede”. A nineteen year-old boy born and raised on a farm in Minnesota, who joined the Army in order to broaden his limited opportunities and save for university. When he is captured as a POW and sent to the war camps along the Yalu River by the North Koreans, Swede must endure terrible death marches under dangerous weather conditions where many soldiers died, physical torture, and eventually go through forced “mental conditioning” which consisted of lessons where soldiers were taught to hate capitalism. His resolve is tested countless times and the reader really gets to feel the emotional stress that he is under. His perseverance is one of the things that was truly amazing and I appreciated how well his character portrays this trait while still feeling authentic even under some stressful situations. This is a character driven story, and one with impacts that we can see today. This novel does a fantastic job of relaying the harsh realities of a dangerous time in a exotic location.
It’s amazing how author John N. Powers managed to collect so many real testimonies from those who lived the war and morphed them to form a single experience that realistically portrays the brutal treatment of POWs in the Yalu prison camps. While the topic approached throughout the novel could make for a very heavy read, with all the context needed beforehand. The author managed to write beautiful descriptions that make the situation understandable for any reader no matter how limited their knowledge on the Korean War. He captures the essence of life as a prisoner of war as described by the survivors who have opened up about their past.
Finnegan Found has incredible descriptions and a thrilling plot. It is highly recommended for historical fiction fans or really anyone interested in learning more about the Korean War or the long battle between communism and capitalism.
Pages: 445 | ASIN: B08BC2F76C
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A Ring of Promises by Marie Gage is a romantic adventure set between 1912 and 1916. Will and Janet are to be married and Will sets off for Canada to find a place where they can be together. Before he leaves, he gives her a promise ring. Janet remains behind in Scotland, but while she waits to hear from Will with the news that she can set off to join him, she faces her own personal battle. She swears her sister, Mary-Ann, to secrecy. When Janet loses her battle, the author takes us on a journey to find out what will happen to Mary-Ann and Will.
A Ring of Promises is set principally in Canada and Scotland. I loved the Scottish setting, possibly as being Scottish, I was familiar with many of the locations. I didn’t dislike the Canadian setting, but having some familiarity with the Scottish setting meant I favored that over the Canadian setting. The use of Scottish dialect was also done very well–it gave a real sense of authenticity to the setting and to the Scottish characters, although those not familiar with the Scottish dialect might find those parts a little more difficult. The book centers principally around Will, Janet and Mary-Ann. Although she was only in the first few chapters, Janet’s presence was felt throughout the book without feeling contrived. I have to admit I wasn’t sure about Janet’s suggestion about Will and Mary-Ann, but I suspect that reflects present-day values where it’s ‘easy’ to find love thanks to the proliferation of dating apps and the ease of communication. As Mary-Ann developed her relationship, I wanted to feel for Will, but of all the characters, he was the one I felt least connected with. That wasn’t any fault of the author as she has created believable characters, but I just couldn’t connect with him.
The ending was just right and had the author chosen any other ending, I do not think it would have worked. The author’s note about the fact and fiction element of the book was interesting, and I think knowing the background to the book increased my enjoyment. This book is well researched and worth a read for those interested in historical romantic fiction. A Ring of Promises is a thrilling emotional journey that many readers will enjoy.
Pages: 449 | ASIN: B089DN4GFQ
Tags: a ring of promises, author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, historical fantasy, historical fiction, history, kindle, kobo, literature, love story, marie gage, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, story, writer, writing
Imelda’s Secret is a historical fiction novel based on true stories from women during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wrote Imelda’s Secret in the hopes to inspire and empower those who read about the Filipina “comfort women” and their continued struggle to find peace and justice decades after the end of World War II. After learning about the “comfort women,” I embarked on a mission to build awareness of their continued plight.
I did not want to write another war story. In this novel, I focused on the continued struggle by the “comfort women.” To survive, many of these women kept their torturous experience a secret that further exacerbated their situation because the alternative was nothing better. For the women who came forward were ridiculed, shunned, branded and sometimes killed. Those who endure with their secrets slowly devolve as their secrecy slowly destroys their lives and the lives of those around them.
If anything, the goal is to help empower individuals, especially women, to have courage and take their power to control their own chosen path.
I thought the historical accuracy of the novel was excellent. What type of research did you undertake to ensure things were accurate?
These were based on stories told to me by members of my family and friends of their own experiences. The first chapter was based on what my grandfather had to do to hide my mother and her siblings when the Japanese army stormed their next door neighbor’s house and how the river was filled with blood and headless bodies. I had a few eyewitness accounts on how male babies were thrown up in the air and sliced with a samurai sword. My very fair mestiza grandmother described how she had to cut her hair, wear men’s clothing, and roll in the mud to hide from the Japanese soldiers.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your story?
I want to bring awareness to the “comfort women” and the struggle that still continues for them. I truly want my readers to be inspired and empowered to do more. Survival takes sheer will at times. Things may be insurmountable, but change begin with one step.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on another women’s interest book and I plan to have it available next year.
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The Stars That Govern Us by JR Alcyone is a heart wrenching but beautiful read set in 1956 Western Australia. Alec Serafeim is a congenital heart surgeon who suffers from manic depression. His pediatric patients mean the world to him but are often the reason why he’s distressed. Despite being one of the best heart surgeons of his time, Alec struggles with the fact that he can’t save all his patients. We follow Alec and his surgical partner Pete as they cope with the heartbreaking world around them.
Now, let me tell you why JR Alcyone is a future bestseller! There are so many things I can say about Alcyone’s writing, but let’s first discuss her scene-setting abilities! Alcyone can set a scene flawlessly. Her attention to small details, including surroundings and mannerisms, is what sets this novel apart. Most modern novelists skip over these details, considering them to be fluff. But Alcyone was able to apply just the right amount of detail to help immerse her reader into the scenes. There only two gripes I have with Alcyone’s writing, and one of them is monotony. The beginning of the story felt slow-paced. I felt that it could have been remedied with some editing. Her ability to pack in detail is fantastic, but it can often drone on about one topic. My second gripe is with distinguishing voices. It took me almost a third of the way through to distinguish Alec’s and Pete’s voices. It was not until I learned certain character traits about each of them that I was able to tell the difference. Once Alcyone started adding the character traits, her writing began to soar!
I praise Alcyone for how gracefully she handled the subject of mental illness. She showed how even the most productive and praise-worthy individuals can suffer from mental health problems. The discussion of manic depression and anxiety is partly what made this novel for me!
Author J.R. Alcyone has the foundations to become something extraordinary. The Stars That Govern Us is a must-read for all historical fiction lovers. Fans of medical fiction and dramatic story telling will find plenty to love in J.R. Alcyone’s riveting novel.
Pages: 279 | ASIN: B08P5KJ9TZ
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China is one of the world’s most storied nations, filled with rich history, colorful legends, and longstanding traditions, China has seen its rise and fall several times over the last millennium. Yet the China of today remains mired in mystery, hidden behind a curtain. The last fifty years has seen significant increases in China’s standing on the world stage, but what do we really know about the massive country?
Chris Fraser OBE’s Inside China – From the Great Leap Backward to Huawei is an honest and straightforward examination of the good and bad as witnessed during his time in the Hong Kong police force. This colorful memoir is filled with historical value and a deeply explored past. Chris Fraser’s book is much more than a memoir as it captures the unique path that lead to China’s current culture.
Chris Fraser is a seasoned veteran of both police and military service and it is clear that he has a strong working knowledge of what the rest of the modern world will never bear witness to. Chris Fraser’s time in the Hong Kong police force is highlighted with his encounters with various gangs, drugs, and government corruption. All of it delivered in a riveting, but factual, manner. This is a must read for everyone seeking to learn more about the turbulent decades leading up to China resuming control of Hong Kong and the removal of British authority. It is the perfect example of political and economic differences between East and West and sets the stage for understanding Chinese expansion throughout Asia. Inside China – From the Great Leap Backward to Huawei is a captivating cultural memoir that is sometimes humorous, sometimes shocking, but always compelling.
Pages: 126 | ASIN: B08L6TZRKZ
Tags: author, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, china, Chris Fraser Obe, culture, ebook, goodreads, history, Inside China, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing