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The Second Truth

The Second Truth: Korean War by [John Viola HM2]

Everyone has a second truth in their lives. There is always some choice which can be made that will lead to suffering. We often do not know what these choices will lead to until it is too late. There are many people who do not fully understand what is entailed by their choice to protect and serve others, especially the suffering that can easily result from this choice. In the case of the Korean War, many of these sacrifices went forgotten by people back home, with a lack of recognition, this war, and the people who fought it began to fade into obscurity.

The Second Truth written by John Viola is a riveting personal account of his time spent in the military during the Korean War. This intriguing memoir gives incisive and thoughtful insight into what service men and women actually experience during their tours of duty. There is a matter of fact feeling to the book that tells it like it is.

While I enjoyed this memoir immensely, I would’ve like to have had the military terminology explained a little bit more so that readers who have no direct relation to the military could better understand what is being discussed. However, the book had a natural feel to it as well as an integrity to it that I found very satisfying and authentic.

If you are looking for a memoir that provides a candid view of the military during the Korean War then I would highly recommend The Second Truth by John Viola.

Pages: 62 | ASIN: B0794RTL9M

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LOVING TWO WOMEN

LOVING TWO WOMEN: A gripping story of love, duty, sacrifice and determination by [Matthew Lutostanski]

Loving Two Women is a historical romance novel set in post-World War II about a man, Tadeusz, receiving a letter from his ex-fiancé from 40 years before who thought the Tadeusz passed away in the war.

Loving Two Women starts off very strong with the first chapter having the protagonist receive the first letter from his past lover, Ella, which is where the reader understands the basic premise of the novel, that is arguably one of the most intriguing aspects. Matthew Lutostanski, the author, stated that this is based off true facts and it is obvious that he put a lot of research into the setting and time as well which added a lot to the authenticity to the setting. Although I felt like there was one or two chapters where the setting was, albeit necessary for context, felt more like a summary of events and could’ve been written in a more interesting way. Fortunately, that only happened once or twice and the setting in the most of the novel was set up expertly, even down to the small details.

The three main characters, Tadeusz, Ella, and Maria, were expanded on enough for me to understand how they felt or would feel from the actions of others. We delve deep into Tadeusz’s inner conflict between the love of his current wife, Maria, and the love of his ex-fiancé. Lutostanski also successfully describes the emotions of the others characters at the same time. Personally, my favorite character was Maria. We only get a handful of chapters from her perspective but we come to understand her very much through her actions and Tadeusz’s view. We also receive a handful of chapters from Ella’s view and it is obvious from all perspectives that Lutostanski is more than competent in writing strong, female characters.

The plot of Loving Two Women is quite concise, there isn’t a lot of things happening at once, instead it follows one aspect deeply before moving onto the next. Personally, the best aspect of this novel was the prose, specifically, the switch between third-person past and first-person epistolary. Epistolary being the letters that Tadeusz and Ella send to each other was one of the parts that I found myself continuously looking forward to and enjoying. Each of these tended to last a while, and even a chapter long, which was thoroughly enjoyable.

Pages: 127 | ASIN: B08DYCFXJP

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Pompeii: the Peacock Murders

Pompeii: The Peacock Murders’, written by Lorraine Blundell, is set in the interesting and famous city, Pompeii, as young women start disappearing and a series of unique and recognisable murders are occurring throughout the city. It follows characters Cletus Asper, an undercover investigator, and his assistant Felix as they attempt to solve these bizarre murders and delve into the horrors of the past. All the while, the active volcano Vesuvius erupts.

This is a historical mystery thriller set in Pompeii and filled to the brim with interesting and engaging characters. To start off with the best aspect of the novel is the setting, Pompeii.

Lorraine Blundell went through great lengths to accurately portray this renown city and it is evident in all aspects of the story. From the ‘simple tunics’ to the ‘silk-made stolas’, from the ‘volcanic lava paved stones’ to the ‘coloured frescoes of peacocks and theatre masks’, it’s obvious that the setting is packed with historical accuracy. Not only this, but it is consistently told in engaging ways, not once did I find myself skimming any of these parts.

An abundance of characters appear throughout this novel, which can be troublesome, as sometimes a reader does not get the chance to understand, relate, or even like the characters of a novel if there are so many of them. Pompeii: The Peacock Murders evades this well in some areas and not so well in others. A few times, I found myself interested in a character only for them to never appear outside of that page. That being said, those that were explored were done well and Blundell did a good job in showcasing motivation and interests.

Other than the setting, one of the biggest aspects of this novel is the mystery. When this was first introduced, it was very intriguing and a bit heart-breaking. And while it continued to be so, eventually Pompeii: The Peacock Murders turned more to the motivations of characters, which is not harmful. In fact, it’s the opposite because doing so expanded our knowledge and judgement of certain characters. The reveal was satisfying, some readers will definitely guess who the culprit is but even though my prediction was right, it was still satisfying. And that, in my opinion, is the sign of a great mystery.

Ultimately, this is a fantastic historical fiction novel that was an enjoyable read and those who love this genre will have much to dive into.

Pages: 288 | ASIN: B08G4JX8ML

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They Were The Only Humans

Alainna MacPherson
Alainna MacPherson Author Interview

Beneath the Surface explores how prejudices effect a couples relationship when they come from different species. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thought-provoking story?

I honestly, can’t remember what inspired me with the characters, it’s been a blur, but I do remember wanting to do it underground. The slavery aspect was from thoughts on Exodus, it’s one of my favorite ancient stories and I’m not even really religious. It was probably the biggest lesson in history that we still have to fight to learn from, as a people.

I enjoyed Annabeth and Kane’s relationship. What were sources that informed how their relationship played out?

I took a lot of different things to develop Annabeth and Kane’s character. Most of Kane’s was from Prince Harry, though. He is a man born into royalty, but wanted so much more out of life and to live away from the spotlight of his title, who also joined the military.

Annabeth is someone who has accepted that they live in a new world where humans are not top dog and there really isn’t much they can do about it. She’s not exactly one to roll over, but she also knows she can’t fight back without being punished. Humans did not outnumber the guards, their weapons and strength, so an uprising wasn’t something thought upon as of yet. Especially since the M’Nai took away their biggest weapon, communication. As far as the workers in that mine knew, they were the only humans, the only miners around. It wasn’t often that miners were transferred, so news from the outside was rare and inaccurate.

This is book one in the Surface series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book two will hold more answers as to what the M’Nai plans to do and how they came to be on Earth. It was explained from a human’s point of view in the first book, and now there is new information since reading the ending. More politics on why things are the way they are and what Annabeth’s new position might give her at Kane’s side.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Annabeth had no idea her life was about to change forever. As a slave of the aliens who were in power, she had headed down into the tunnels to mine the valuable mantatite, as demanded. But an encounter with the new senai during which she was knocked unconscious set off a chain of events that drew her into the orbit of the hated M’Nai. The senai in question was Kane who had reported for his first day on duty in the tunnels. Subconscious instincts emerged as he laid eyes on the unconscious human he had inadvertently knocked out. His long-held beliefs, values and expectations were about to be turned upside down.
This chance crossing of two lives leads to an intense relationship that they both find difficult to apprehend. Kane has an overwhelming urge to protect Annabeth, despite her status as a human – deemed to be inferior in every respect by the M’Nai race – and risks everything to do so. Annabeth needs his protection as there are those who intend harming her.
This is the story of two young people – one human, one alien: one superior, one inferior – navigating the chasm presented by their different contexts as well as the prejudice, animosity and lack of acceptance from their friends, family and the wider community in their developing relationship. Can Kane withstand the opprobrium from his people? Can Annabeth withstand the prejudice and disdain of Kane’s people?
Who are the M’Nai? How did they come to dominate the earth? Why is Kane so strongly protective of Annabeth? Why is he so aggressively possessive of Annabeth? As the story unfolds Kane and Annabeth find some answers and begin to make sense of their feelings for each other, but will they be able to withstand the powerful forces trying to destroy their relationship?

Keep Forever

KEEP FOREVER by [Alexa Kingaard]

Keep Forever is a book that will sit with you for a long time and bring to light subjects you hadn’t thought of. The book focuses on two men during the Vietnam War. Paul and Sam. Both wounded in the war and sent home; they have to relearn how to be who they are in a society that didn’t believe in the war. While Paul’s scars are internal and Sam’s are in your face, both men realize that moving on from the war isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. The book also focuses on Sam’s sister and the journey she takes from being a young woman to a woman who has grown and matured while trying to help her family.

As a military veteran’s wife, this hit home, and I cried at some parts, wondering what would have happened if my spouse had been alive during the Vietnam War. I could relate to the characters personally as my husband has PTSD and found myself crying for Sam, Paul, and Sam’s sister Elizabeth when reading everything they had to endure. It seemed like they faced so much adversity and struggle, but life is like that, and it reflected what we all go through.

I liked Sam’s character but felt he didn’t get enough time to fully develop. We can assume he lived a peaceful life and had children who had children, but we never hear what happens to him. We stop hearing about Sam about halfway through, and I did find myself wanting to know more about his life and journey. The only other small issue I had was with the ending which didn’t bring the conclusion I wanted… but I suppose this is a good reflection of life in a way. I could guess the ending before it happened, and had braced myself for it, (though I still burst into tears having felt a connection to the characters and their story), but the last two pages were not a good ending for me.

I do think this book is beautifully written and sheds light on a crucial issue and issues that affect the military. I honestly respect anyone who has ever put on a uniform and feel that the author did the book justice, by how it was written. I just wanted a different ending for the characters, but this was because I genuinely fell in love with them.

Pages: 282 | ASIN: B0863F1WCV

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Vincelles

Vincelles is a collection of poems by Alex Chornyj. These fictional poems are words crafted carefully to showcase our emotions and souls as human being. The author has used the poems to portray the importance of aligning one with the universe and also to honor family lineage and all these can be felt in every word used in Vincelles. The author shows the readers the importance of knowing your heritage and lineage and embracing the two close to your heart for it is through them that one discovers their sole purpose in the universe. Every poem in this book expresses power and emotions at the same time.

Alex Chornyj’s 4th great grandfather was one of the significant people in founding the Vincelles village in France. As the reader goes through every single poem in this book, one can feel the importance of Vincelles village and relate it to ones roots. The author shows the importance of family and family history in one’s life and how the two impacts one’s life not only in character definition but also on creating vibrant souls. The most important aspect of this book is our soul energy and how to become one with it.

The author through his words of wisdom makes it possible for the readers to connect with their inner self in a magnificent way; not on the physical realm but on a spiritual and awakened way.

The author encourages readers to do good deeds; not for their own good or to feel good about themselves but for all generations that follow. The author has used simple language that can be understood by readers of different ages from all walks of life. The meaning of the poems are not hidden but transparent and reflects every society. All the poems in this book have one objective, and that is to connect readers with the universe in a spiritual way. The author has highlighted some benefits of doing this like inner peace and growth. I highly recommend this book to all readers who love literature and those who want to connect with their true selves.

Pages: 126 | ISBN-10: 9389690331

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A Bit of a Fluke

Lauren Robinson
Lauren Robinson Author Interview

The Boy Who Saw In Colours chronicles the life of a boy who’s family collapses and he’s sent to Hitler’s elite school. What was the inspiration for the setup to this emotional novel?

Many of the ideas for The Boy Who Saw In Colours came to me as a bit of a fluke. The first piece of inspiration came to me in the form of a photograph that was taken of a young, German boy, crying when he was captured by the Americans. The photograph spoke to me on a very personal level and I found myself doing research into Hitler Youth, where I came across the elite schools. When I watched interviews with some of these boys as men, I was inspired by the acts of kindness I heard about that took place during those very dark times in Europe, when people were finding beauty in the ugliest of circumstances.

Josef is an interesting and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a real child. Often times in media, children are either portrayed as extremely annoying or very bland. I didn’t set out to write a complex character, even though that is the goal for many writers. I just wanted to write a real one. The main thing that stood out the most to me about Josef was his passion for art and the beautiful way n which he views the world. When I was sick and tired of the entire thing, that one story within the others made me think the book was worth publishing. After all, it is the little stories that define us.

I enjoyed the unique perspective you presented of Nazi Germany during WWII.

What were some themes you felt were important to capture?

That is always a difficult question to answer in regards to The Boy Who Saw In Colours because there are many themes, and I could write a ten-page essay on it. One of the main themes is about the dangers of fascist ideologies and hatred, and how they can be accepted by otherwise good people. Josef does not agree with Nazim but feels that he has no choice but to comply.

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

For my next novel, I’ll be staying closer to home. It’s a story that centres around ‘The Troubles’ of Northern Ireland during the ’70s. I don’t yet have a release date set.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What if colours could speak?

The Boy Who Saw In Colours: A raw novel, set amid Nazi uprising, chronicles the life of a boy who dared to dream…

As his family collapses and he and his brother are sent to one of Hitler’s elite schools, Josef learns to express his grief and feelings of growing up in the only way he knows how – painting.

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale by [Ann Shortell]

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is a thrilling murder mystery story that combines true facts with fiction in a compelling historical fantasy novel. The book follows the story of a young housekeeper, Clara Swift, who is sought by Prime Minister John A Macdonald to help find out who assassinated his master, Mr. McGee. Clara’s tenacity and abilities get her embroiled in a plot with national consequences.

Ann Shortell has creatively used a well known historical moment to tell a riveting mystery. Clara is an intriguing character right from the start. She’s smart and quick-witted and was someone that I empathized with along the nail biting journey she’s thrust on. Her perseverance and determination to seek the truth was something that kept me flipping pages. The story takes places in Ottawa Canada during the 1800’s and the time period is captured in striking detail.

Alluring characters in a memorable setting pulled me into the story, but the one thing that I think elevated this story above genre fiction was the theatrical mystery driving this dramatic novel. Ann Shortell is able to give readers just enough to keep them guessing, just enough to root for characters, and contine to feed you those bread crumbs until the finale. I am not familiar with the historical events discussed in the book, but still found the book to be entertaining. I will say that a reader may need a good respect for history and willingness to absorb the history and time period to be able to truly enjoy this novel as Ann Shortell really dives into the era. Like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, it’s still entertaining, but you’ll be engrossed if you know about, or at least enjoy, the history discussed in the book.

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is an enthralling historical fiction novel that places an unassuming but sharp girl at the heart of a spellbinding mystery.

Pages: 332 | ASIN: B07BN2TNQ3

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