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War of The Sparrows

After the gruesome events that took place in Tobruk, Libya; celebrated war veteran Frank Miller returns to his hometown to get on with his life. He gets a stable job and has a loving daughter. However, as happens with many war survivors, he suffers from PTSD. Frank is unable to emotionally connect with anyone and is haunted by the horrors he was forced to witness and commit. When the ten-year-reunion for Tobruk veterans takes place, Frank fears for his integrity as his darkest secrets resurface in the face of a curious daughter as she closes in on his attic and everything hidden within. So when a new mission in the deserts of northern Africa arises, Frank accepts in the name of redemption. Only this time rather than facing german troops he must find a feared child murderer.

War of The Sparrows is an emotionally-charged historical fiction novel. This stirring book by Matt Strempel narrates events of Tobruk during the second World War in an engaging and emotionally resonant manner. An event not as well known by many people but just as bloody and gruesome as famous dates such as D-Day. Frank Miller, our protagonist, is an emotionally detached Australian war veteran, and his character feels genuine throughout the novel and was someone I could really connect with. He is protective of his secrets and fears their exposure to his daughter. Francesca is Mr. Miller’s daughter, she is loving, curious, and intense at times but always with the intention of taking care of her father. What makes these characters feel real is that they are based off of the author´s actual family members, so he describes them in a way that is familiar and with a hint of his real emotions towards them.

The writing is beautiful, perfectly portraying PTSD and showing flashbacks of the events that caused it. Not only is the book quick-paced and entertaining to read but in a way it’s very educational on the events described. There are not many accounts of what happened during this time as opposed to the same old war stories we see in the media.

Reminiscent of Julia Navarro´s Tell Me Who I Am and perfect for fans of historical fiction and action/suspense. An amazing storyline, educational content, historically accurate events, and real and relatable characters all combine to make War of The Sparrows a story that is dramatic and engrossing.

Pages: 324 | ASIN: B08VKWCX3Y

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Love and Sabotage

Love and Sabotage by [Martha Tolles]

Love and Sabotage follows Marty Gregg, a new graduate beginning her first job. She is a female journalist in what is still a man’s world. To further complicate Marty’s life, her fiancé is away at war, stationed in the pacific during WWII.

This is a story that is easy follow, which is certainly a benefit in a mystery novel as riveting as this one. The novel is narrated by our captivating young protagonist Marty, and we follow the trials and tribulations she faces working in a male dominated industry whilst constantly awaiting word from her fiancé. As she follows a breaking story readers are treated to glimpses of the quaint town she lives in, and the complex relationships she has. There are delightful descriptions of the town, including many descriptions of the houses and buildings, as well as the gardens and trees. Author Martha Tolles cleverly integrates several community features such as the library that makes the setting feel realistic and like a character on its own. Set during World War Two, most of the references to technology, clothing and speech are consistent with this time period, which allows the reader to be immersed in the story.

I enjoyed the main characters in this story and felt that they were well developed. Marty, the young female journalist pinning for her fiancé Eddy who is away at war, feels like a trope but its given much more dimension with Marty’s unique personality. She is clearly dedicated to her job, this is shown by her thoughts, her conversations with others, and actions. However, it is clear that being a young female journalist during the war can be difficult in what is still essentially a man’s industry. We see her hesitation in dealing with her employer’s sexual overtones, as well as other men who are not accustomed to working with women. Understandably, her fiancé Eddy is never far from her mind, however we never really learn much about him. Another complex relationship is the relationship between Marty and her friend Grace. Their relationship encompasses both a personal friendship and a working relationship. We see Grace authentically try to support her friend from her employer’s advances, whilst still maintaining her own professional relationship with him. It’s a relationship that I thought was intriguing and wanted to see more of.

Love and Sabotage is a mystery novel that is easy to read and, because of that, is easy to get wrapped up in. The setting descriptions allow the reader to immerse themselves both in the town of Rye and the circumstances for civilians living in WWII. Fans of historical fiction will find plenty to enjoy in this compelling novel?

Pages: 182 | ASIN: B07MHQXKJT

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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 By Matthew Lutostanski is a captivating story of love passion, and tragedy. Tadeusz thought he had lost his first love Ella during the Holocaust. Having moved on and building a new life with his wife Maria, decades later he finds out Ella is still alive. Will he be able to choose between his past love and his present love?

This alluring story is a perfect blend of romance and historical fiction. The memories that Tasdeusz, Ella, and Maria carry with them are heart wrenching and tragic. The author has written a fascinating story that brings in the drama of Tasdeusz, his two loves and the history of the holocaust. Lutostanski has done his research and it showed in each scene portraying the indescribable suffering people went through during the Holocaust. Beautifully written with vivid imagery and such detail that you feel like you are in the story.

I was invested in each character and their backstory but more so I was anxious to read more about the war. I can see this being made into a movie, the kind which the world needs right now  because of the pure true love and the chance to say all the words you wanted to say that most  people never get the chance too. Loving Two Women a romantic thriller that uses its true story roots to tell a fantastic historical romance story.

Pages: 127 | ASIN: B08DYCFXJP

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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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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.

The Oppenheimer Alternative

The Oppenheimer Alternative by [Robert J. Sawyer]

The Oppenheimer Alternative by Robert J Sawyer is an exciting science novel inspired by true events. The book is sure to keep readers turning pages from the start. The story follows Robert Oppenheimer, the book’s main protagonist who many consider to be the father of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist, is put in charge of America’s project to create the atomic bomb as World War two rages across the globe. In a race against time, the protagonist is forced to work extremely hard as America seeks to outwit its allies and enemies alike in the quest to discover the strongest weapon ever made.

As ideologies collide, Robert is forced to choose between his beliefs and what is right. The story is set across various backgrounds but the main being wartime United States as seen through the eyes of various scientists who were hired by the government to create the greatest weapon known to man. The author expertly uses dialogue to engage his audience in the story creating a truly captivating aura around the book in general. The use of vivid description by the author proved to be a key aspect in promoting the development of the plot and also in engaging the author’s audience. There is good character development in the story as the author describes the protagonist’s emotions and feelings in the most vivid way possible keeping the story interesting from the beginning.

This riveting story tackles various moral issues that face humanity in such a tumultuous time. The author clearly shows the struggles that people in positions of influence and power face in maintaining a picture of perfection and fulfilling expectations placed upon them by society in general. This book really captures the feel of that era, and I enjoyed how emotional this novel is, which I suppose was a surprise to me as I didn’t expect it to be this dramatic.

The story has several bits of foreign language which you may not understand, but certainly lends the book some authenticity. In addition to this, there are several references to poetry which the reader may not know, but is still thought-provoking. Robert J. Sawyer has crafted a master piece of science fiction that presents an alternate history that is absolutely thrilling.

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In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow

In the Realm of Ash and Sorrow was a unique historical fiction novel colored with themes of guilt, sorrow and suffering over all that had been lost. Although this was a very emotional novel, it wasn’t all negative emotions, it also had happiness, romance, and a (possible) love like no other, mixed in with some supernatural elements and fantastical hints of history. The story caught my attention in the first couple of pages, remaining consistently entertaining throughout with only rare moments that seemed to slow a bit due to necessary exposition. The detail throughout the book is absorbing and really pulls you into 1940’s Japan. When it came time for the atomic bomb to drop I could see the horror surrounding Micha as he searched for Kyomi, the burning bodies that he came across and the fear that he would never find her or Ai. I could visualize most every scene, which is something I truly appreciated in a novel that covered such a cataclysmic event that reshaped human history.

While Kyomi’s character was interesting I wanted to see more of her personality. Her character seemed monotone at first, but after awhile her character began to grow on me just as she developed in the novel. I liked Micah from the first page, I’m not sure if that’s because he was the first character introduced to me or because I could empathize with him, perhaps it’s because I felt bad for him after the plane crashed. I liked Ai’s character from the beginning as well, children are always fun characters and Ai was no exception. The three of them together made for a great read with interesting interactions and I liked some of the other spirits that they came across along their travels.

Something that made me enjoy the book even more was how the author used the actual terms used by the Japanese such as calling the military Kempeitai instead of using one of our military terms like Army, Navy, Coast Guard, etc. This happens frequently throughout the book which showed me that the author did thorough research for this book and it also helped me learn a few terms. This is an example of the authors dedication to historical detail in this book. Something that I praise the author for is the way that this novel helps you see different points of view from the American and Japanese sides in World War 2. It is also an exploration of Japanese culture at an interesting time in their history. It covers how the Japanese lived, their culture, their work, routines, the hardships they face and much more. I really loved having bits of history weaved into the pages and the way it gave me a new insight. History and fiction meld seamlessly in this novel to deliver a captivating story.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B083Q4WRPD

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The Boy Who Saw In Colours

The Boy Who Saw In Colours by [Lauren Robinson]

The Boy Who Saw In Colours by Lauren Robinson is a story about a young boy who is coming of age during the time of WWII. There are many stories out there about WWII, but the perspective from a child who turns 13 on the day of the London Blitz introduces a new viewpoint to the devastating war. Josef and his younger brother, Tomas, are the sons of a mother, who is from a well-to-do German family, and a father who is Jewish. Their love story is doomed from the beginning and leads both boys down a heartbreaking path. After being stolen from their parents Josef tells the story of how he and his brother are sent to an elite German Youth school to be groomed into the next brainwashed generation of the Aryan Super Race.

Even though this is a book of fiction, it is based on real historical events. After Josef and Tomas are taken from their parents, they are thrown into the military-like German school where they are literally beaten into following Hitler. But as Josef is of part Jewish descent, he is always picked on and called ‘mischling’, a foul name for someone who comes from mixed blood.

Josef has a gift that gets him through this unthinkable experience though, he is a painter. Not just someone who makes a pretty picture on a canvas, but a creative who sees his entire world in different colors.

I love how Robinson writes; it’s like I am sitting in a room with Josef at an old age and he is telling me about his life as a child while the fire burns and we drink tea. Her style is lyrical in nature and you can tell that each word she writes is put there with great thought and on purpose.

This book was at times very difficult to read because of the way the children were treated to ensure their submissiveness to the Fuhrer, it was nauseating. At the same time, their story needs to be told, we need to learn from our horrible mistakes of the past and this book tells it like a sad love song, heart-breaking, but beautiful.

There are relationships however that do emerge that give glimmers of hope and love and let you have a softer heart for some Germans who knew they had to follow along or be killed. I highly recommend reading this book. I look forward to more books by Robinson and her unique style in the future.

Pages: 371 |ASIN: B088BBXLL7

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