The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Doctor’s Daughter by Shari J Ryan

Book Blurb:

Auschwitz, 1941: It was her father’s job to save the lives of the SS. But she chose to risk everything and save the lives of prisoners.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanIn Nazi-occupied Poland, Sofia cannot look her father in the eye. Sofia’s mother, her papa’s cherished wife, is Jewish—how dare he work as a doctor for the SS? She cannot forgive him, even if the bargain was made to spare their lives.

In the middle of the night, Isaac emerges from a packed train with hundreds of others. Beneath Auschwitz’s barbed wire, soldiers surround them, and gunshots pierce the dark sky. The SS decide prisoners’ fates on the spot—and Isaac is chosen to work, rather than to die.

Every day, Isaac and his fellow inmates are sent to a nearby farm. From sunup to sundown, they toil the land with barely a scrap to eat. Every breath feels like it could be Isaac’s last, so when he sees a beautiful auburn-haired girl peering out of the farmhouse window, it feels like a dream…

Sofia refuses to accept what she is seeing. Disobeying her father and evading the guards, she risks her life to sneak a letter to the green-eyed boy outside. She explains that she has hidden them food, and that she’ll do everything in her power to save them.

This secret exchange sparks an escape that should have been impossible—and a love story that is unforgettable. But is love enough in the face of evil? And when Sofia and Isaac are concealed underground, holding their breath as the Nazis hunt them, will they survive?

My Review:

Does a doctor in Poland living under the Nazi occupation really have an option if he’s expected to save the lives of the SS? During the darkest part of the war, life for the Jewish is extremely tenuous. The doctor is not Jewish, but his wife and daughter are and he makes a pact with the devil in exchange for the lives of his family.

The Doctor's Daughter by Shari J RyanSofia, a teen is devastated and feels betrayal for her neighbors in her father’s efforts for the Germans. She has witnessed the prisoners from Auschwitz as they are brought in to work the land for the Germans.

“…watching us is their favorite form of entertainment—the SS officers…”

Sofia and her mother have been insulated by the favor of her father, living on their family’s farm established generations before. But rules and laws begin to turn ugly.

There is the POV of Sophia, Isaac, and Olivia, each as they strive to survive the horror they face daily, the ravishes of hunger, disease, faith.

For Isaac, he believes “every single day feels like ten, but without a future to look forward to.”

Isaac and his sister Olivia have lost both parents and live like sewer rats until they dare to venture out. When they are taken prisoner, Olivia is sent in one direction, Isaac another as a slave laborer on the farm owned by Sophia’s family and it is there they meet and conspire to find a way to better conditions.

The characters are well-formed under the author’s pen and tear at your heart, the atmosphere so dark and foreboding, so frightening. You can see the barbed wire, the soldiers with their guns, smell the decay, the death. It’s an extremely emotional read, the tears are there, the reality of much that happened. It’s almost impossible to fathom, impossible to forget. For these teens, a life borne of cruelty. Sophia noted,

“The war has been ongoing for more than a third of my life, and I can’t remember being free. I can’t recall if I was old enough to understand the perception of peace before it went away.”

The conclusion is a quiet reflection of those who fought, steadfastly refused to quit, sought hope when it seemed forever out of reach. A difficult read but recommended.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: War Fiction, Literary Sagas, Historical Literary Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09RK9ZWKR
Print Length: 345 pages
Publication Date: April 28, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

 

Shari J Ryan - authorThe Author: Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.

Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.

With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon’s Top 100, Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.

Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit: http://www.sharijryan.com

©20222022 V Williams V Williams

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Darkest Fear by Harlan Coben

Book Blurb:

In Darkest Fear, Myron Bolitar faces the most emotionally shattering case of his career. And it all begins when Myron’s ex-girlfriend tells him he is a father – of a dying 13-year-old boy….

Myron’s sports agency is struggling. Now more than ever, Myron needs to keep his eye on the ball, sign up some big-name clients, and turn away from the amateur detective work that is taking precious time away from the agency.  

But life is not going according to plan. Myron’s father, recently recovered from a heart attack, is facing his own mortality – and forcing Myron to face it, too. Then comes another surprise. Emily Downing, Myron’s college sweetheart, reappears in his life with devastating news: Her 13-year-old son, Jeremy, is gravely ill and can be saved only by a bone-marrow transplant – from a donor who has vanished without a trace. And before Myron can absorb this revelation, Emily hits him with an even bigger shocker: Jeremy is Myron’s son, conceived the night before Emily’s wedding to another man.

Staggered by the news, Myron plunges into a search for the missing donor. But for Myron, finding the only person in the world who can save a boy’s life means cracking open a mystery as dark as it is heartbreaking – a mystery that involves a broken family, a brutal kidnapping spree, and a cat-and-mouse game between an ambitious reporter and the FBI. 

Somewhere in the sordid mess is the man who once signed his name to a bone-marrow donor’s registry, then disappeared. And as doubts emerge about Jeremy’s true paternity, a child vanishes, igniting a chain reaction of truth and revelation that will change everyone’s life forever.

At once a riveting mystery and a spellbinding journey into the secrets that haunt families, lovers, and friends, Darkest Fear proves once again that Harlan Coben is a master storyteller like no other – and one of the most original talents in suspense fiction today. 

My Review:

Whoa, another series into Book 7 but my first. Yes, I’ve done it again and this is a series in which growth and change continue so this should probably not be read as a standalone, although it does sneak in some backstory.

Myron Bolitar has a struggling sports agency, so this series usually has a totally different focus.  He does, however, do some amateur detective work but that’s not the reason Emily Downing comes calling.

Darkest Fear by Harlan CobenEmily is a former college sweetheart. She informs him that her thirteen-year-old son is seriously ill and will die unless she can track down the possible donor, already identified, but missing. She’s frantic. Oh, and by the way, Myron is the father.

Apparently falling to pattern but with a much darker vibe than in previous series entries, Myron begins the search that quickly becomes complicated and you know will get more so.

There is a very rich, powerful family and it doesn’t take long before even the FBI is involved. Myron has quite the sarcastic wit and sense of humor, not tempered in the least by sidekick Win. To add to the mix, a new romantic interest in his life, which, of course, you gotta have in any detective series.

The storyline is hampered somewhat by a slow and convoluted start. Depending on how quick or how deep I’m hooked and also my multi-tasking, I’m apt to listen with half an ear if not thoroughly engaged. This one takes quite a while, introducing characters, then twists and turns and can switch from serious to wisecracking in the blink of an eye.

There are a few of the old tropes thrown in for good measure along with quotables:

“His blond locks had been parted with the precision of old ladies dividing up a lunch check.”

Now that’s funny! I must admit to enjoying some witty barbs. If you’re a Coben fan, you’ll no doubt enjoy this dark departure from the usual in the series—or not—but the sense of humor is still there.

I previously listened to Tell No One, not part of this series, and really enjoyed it. A copy of this audiobook was supplied also by my favorite well-stocked local library, this one narrated by Jonathan Marosz. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Mysteries, Suspense, Suspense Thrillers
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B000OYAJBC
Listening Length: 7 hrs 40 mins
Narrator: Jonathan Marosz
Publication Date: April 21, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Darkest Fear [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

 

Harlan Coben - authorThe Author: With over 70 million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times author of thirty one novels including RUN AWAY, FOOL ME ONCE, TELL NO ONE, NO SECOND CHANCE and the renowned Myron Bolitar series. His books are published in 43 languages around the globe.

Harlan is the creator and executive producer for the Netflix television dramas SAFE starring Michael C. Hall, Audrey Fleurot and Amanda Abbington, and THE FIVE starring Tom Cullen and OT Fagbenle. He is currently filming THE STRANGER, based on his novel, for Netflix starring Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders and Stephen Rea. Harlan was also showrunner and executive producer for two French TV mini-series, UNE CHANCE DE TROP (NO SECOND CHANCE) with Alexandra Lamy and JUST UN REGARD (JUST ONE LOOK) with Virginie Ledoyen. KEINE ZWEIT CHANCE, also based on Harlan’s novel, aired in Germany on Sat1.

Harlan’s novel TELL NO ONE (NE LE DIS A PERSONNE) was turned into the renowned French film, directed by Guillaume Canet and starring Francois Cluzet. The movie was the top box office foreign-language film of the year in USA, won the Lumiere (French Golden Globe) for best picture and was nominated for nine Cesars (French Oscar) and won four, including best actor, best director and best music. The movie with subtitles is now available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and DVD/Blu-Ray.

Winner of the Edgar Award, Shamus Award and Anthony Award – the first author to win all three – international bestselling author Harlan Coben’s critically-acclaimed novels have been called “ingenious” (New York Times), “poignant and insightful” (Los Angeles Times), “consistently entertaining” (Houston Chronicle), “superb” (Chicago Tribune) and “must reading” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

[truncated—please see the author page for his full bio]

Harlan was born in Newark, New Jersey. He still lives in New Jersey with his wife, Anne Armstrong-Coben MD, a pediatrician, and their four children.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

 

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

My Review:

Elsa Martinelli got sick when she was a teenager and though she survived, the family kept her at arm’s length and isolated until too late for marriage, she is overwhelmed and succumbs to the attention of the first man to notice her, the son of landowners, a Texas farmer.

Her urban family, wealthy and more worried about appearances than the love of their daughter, dumps her at the porch of the boy’s family. Rafe’s family has no alternative other than to take her in and teach her about the farm where she must learn to (gasp!) work. But they are good people, as we used to say “the salt of the earth.” Rafe does what he must with a shot-gun marriage and gives up his dreams of college.

The Four Winds by Kristin HannahThere is much to learn on the farm and the years pass, now with two children, and a tenuous marriage, but his parents come to embrace Elsa as the daughter they never had and love their grandchildren. When the drought hits and hits hard several years after the Great Depression started, the struggle to make severe changes in an effort to survive wears on all of them.

Rafe’s parents are determined to stay on their land, but Rafe is ready to head west. When their son confronts a devastating lung disease born of the Dust Bowl situation, Rafe has enough and he leaves them all in the dead of night. Elsa makes the difficult decision to head west, alone, with her two children hopefully to save her son.

But the harrowing drive alone to California is just the beginning of more years of extreme poverty, struggle, and the overwhelming competition for manual labor work with the many thousands who’ve also left their own Dust Bowl states to find a better life. It’s not.

My father’s family were among those who left for California (from Missouri) in 1938 and lumped in with the cruel denigration of “Okies” (Oklahoma). The staggering numbers of the destitute overwhelm the state and the farmers quickly take advantage of the infinite labor pool setting outrageously low levels of pay for back-breaking work sun-up to sun-down.

Emigrant camps blossom the length of every fertile valley with crops to tend including cotton, which when ready to pick is cruelly heavy with thorns as well as cotton bolls. The author paints a grim picture of the unsanitary conditions of tent and cardboard camps, lacking any potable water and tied to the “company store” where more money is deducted from paltry wages.

There are themes of love—the love given to each other in extreme situations—family, the love of a mother for her children, hopeless conditions, and those who overcome and who don’t. It’s not that hard to imagine the same can happen to anyone. The haves and have-nots and those who take advantage of the victims.

“Doom and gloom and agony on me” says the little ditty riddled throughout the old “HeeHaw” variety show. But can there be any light at the end of the tunnel?

The author does an amazing job of describing the devastation wreaked by the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, the thousands of migrants that choked California’s economy, services, and infrastructure. The characters are so well fleshed you can smell them, see the cardboard in their shoes, and wonder how much longer they can live on stone soup, their ribs prominent.

In the end, this is not a totally depressive narrative but one of triumph over all the odds and ultimately the indomitable spirit of human nature.

Book Details:

Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B0882VNQKS
Listening Length: 15 hrs 2 mins
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Four Winds [Amazon]
 

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Kristin Hannah - authorThe Author: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore’s bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by the both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star. Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development. Firefly Lane, her novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix show around the world, in the week it came out. The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently being filmed.

www.kristinhannah.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Book hangover

The Trouble With Secrets: The Kilteegan Bridge Story by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean Grainger

Happy Release Day!

#1 New Release in contemporary British & Irish Literature 

Book Blurb:

Kilteegan Bridge, County Cork 1958

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerFor eighteen year old Lena O’Sullivan, life is predictable and dull. A future of hard work, marriage to a local boy, and a family of her own one day is all she has to look forward to. People from her background know not to expect too much, but Lena yearns for something different.

Malachy Berger was different, for him, the world is at his feet. An only child of a wealthy, if peculiar father, a large inheritance, a beautiful house and a fine education are his due.

Nobody is in favour of Lena and Malachy’s friendship, but why not? What harm are they doing? Why is everyone so dead set against it?

Then fate takes a hand, and Lena realises that secrets and lies have bound her and Malachy in an impossible situation. And their future seems determined by events that happened long before they were born.

From rural Ireland to post-war Cardiff, Lena and Malachy’s story winds its way back to wartime Germany and occupied France in a web of deceit that threatens to destroy them both.

My Review:

It’s a given that if Jean Grainger comes out with a new book, I’m going to be reading it—having done so for most of her books, series or standalones. Of course, I have my favorites.

The Trouble with Secrets by Jean GraingerThis one tells the story of Lena O’Sullivan and her family in the Irish countryside of Kilteegan Bridge and is one of the reasons I love the author’s books so much—the authentic atmosphere she brings to her storytelling. It’s palpable. It’s the late 1950’s and apparently as in America during that time, a young lady finding herself in a family way, unmarried, was dealt with in one of several (often severe and) shameful ways.

Lena was luckier than most, however, having a loving father, Paudie, who took good care of his wife who would probably now be diagnosed as bi-polar. She tended to have manic episodes and when Paudie dies in a tragic accident, Lena is left with her fragile mother and siblings.

The baby’s daddy comes from a well-to-do family who has familial problems of their own and resides in Kilteegan House. Malachy Berger’s father carries a vendetta against the O’Sullivan’s and makes sure Malachy won’t be involved further with Lena.

I loved most of the support characters, railed against the Berger father who made a despicable antagonist and loved the character of Doc, Lena’s godfather. Eli made a great character, but almost too good to be true, and it was fun to watch Lena’s maturation process.

The trouble with secrets is that they almost always are exposed (sooner or later). The journey through the process of devising a credible story to satisfy the people of the village is an interesting one—but one I fear hangs like a loose tooth. And I have a feeling we haven’t truly gotten the whole story yet.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary British & Irish Literature, Historical Irish Fiction, British & Irish Literary Fiction
ASIN: B09V5MWCP5
Print Length: 313 pages
Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Source: Author
Title Link: The Trouble with Secrets [Amazon]  

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author: JEAN GRAINGER

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years…

[Truncated. Please read her full bio on her Amazon book pages.]

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman – #BookReview – Historical World War II Fiction

Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanAs captain of a destroyer in the US Navy, Merrill Kendrick plays a crucial and dangerous role in protecting the convoys that are essential to Britain’s survival in the Second World War. Despite pressure from his father to join the family company, a supplier of military radios, Kendrick chose to fight on the front lines of the war, a decision he’s never regretted. But when technical issues with his family’s Gatekeeper radios lead to devastating consequences in combat in the Atlantic, Kendrick needs answers. 

Joe Horiuchi, a second-generation Japanese American, gave up a prestigious future to fight in the merchant marine on behalf of the United States. Though he is faced with harsh discrimination, his brilliance with electronics proves invaluable. When his expertise is most needed, Horiuchi does not flinch in the face of danger—and he suffers the devastating consequences.

Kendrick is a seasoned veteran when it comes to battle—but facing off with U-boats is nothing like facing off with his own father, who may be guilty of treachery. With the help of Horiuchi and his radio communications expertise, Kendrick must uncover the truth of his family business before more lives are lost. 

His Review:

Germany’s U-boats and E-boats were a constant harassment in the North Atlantic Ocean. The German submarines were everywhere in the waters off the eastern coast of the United States all the way to England and France. If a ship is not sunk immediately, an SOS and ship’s position is sent along with the coordinates where the torpedo struck the ship. This would give the rest of the convoy the chance to avoid the area.

Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanJoe Horiuchi is the radioman. His orders are to send the final message in hopes that rescue would come for the stranded sailors. Being a Japanese serving in the merchant marines was extremely difficult at that time. Although a Nissei or second-generation Japanese American, Joe had gone to Tufts University and then Rensselaer Polytechnic in New York getting a degree in electronics.

A major defense contractor was cutting corners on preparing vital radio equipment for the military and many of the communications equipment was poorly manufactured. Joe was busy trying to prepare a satisfactory radio from three “junk radios” purchased prior to the voyage. Captain Birdsall had also attended Rensselaer and had a fondness for his Seaman Radioman. They were able to get the distress signal out before abandoning ship.

Running defense and interference for the merchant marine ships delivering defense weapons to England and the North African coast was always a very dangerous endeavor. Throughout the war, many tons of shipping were sunk in transit in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of operation. In June of 1944 Captain Birdsall and his ship and crew were an integral part of the landing of troops and supplies to the Normandy Coast.

CE WilliamsThis book is an excellent memorial to the many men who fought and died freeing Europe from the Third Reich. The description of weapons used and tactics employed were quite illuminating. Catching companies who were cutting corners and seeking profits while endangering our troops was fascinating. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys history and the saga of WWII. 5 stars – C. E. Williams

Much appreciation to the publisher and NetGalley for the complimentary review copy of this book that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions. 

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Literature & Fiction
Publisher: Covenant Communications
ASIN: B09K38GLWN
Print Length: 170 pages
Publication Date: April 4, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Dark Seas [Amazon]
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Dark Seas by Jerry BorrowmanThe Author: Jerry Borrowman is a best-selling and award-winning author of historical fiction, historical non-fiction, and co-authored biographies.

Compassionate Soldier won the 2018 Indies Gold (First Place) Award from Foreword Reviews in War and Military. Compassionate Soldier and Three Against Hitler (with Rudi Wobbe) are George Washington National Award Winners from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

Jerry has given voice to true heroes — Rudi Wobbe, a German boy who stood up against the Third Reich, Joe Banks in A Distant Prayer who served on 49 combat missions deep into German territory in a B-17 bomber, only to be shot down and taken prisoner of war, and Colonel Bernard Fisher, USAF, a career Air Force pilot who was awarded the Medal of Honor for Valor Above and Beyond the Call of Duty in Vietnam, (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor).

But for those who enjoy historical fiction, his World War I and World War II series provides insight into the great European wars of the 20th Century in a unique and exciting way.

Here’s what Jennie Hansen, reviewer for Meridian magazine has to say: “Borrowman does a superb job of portraying life, including the values and prejudices of the early twentieth century. He brings a realism to that period that is slower and more innocent than teens experience today, yet the reader is led to an awareness of and learns to care about the hopes and dreams of these soon-to-be-men, who live in a time when automobiles are still new and airplanes are little more than toys…”

Jerry’s books are for readers of all ages, men and women. They will inspire you by the great sacrifices made by those who have fought for American freedom.

©2022 – CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint Publishing

Dark Sky (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 21) by C J Box – #Audiobook Review – #crimefiction

Dark Sky by C J Box

Dark Sky by C J Box

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must accompany a Silicon Valley CEO on a hunting trip – but soon learns that he himself may be the hunted – in the thrilling new novel from number-one New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box.

When the governor of Wyoming gives Joe Pickett the thankless task of taking a tech baron on an elk hunting trip, Joe reluctantly treks into the wilderness with his high-profile charge. But as they venture into the woods, a man-hunter is hot on their heels, driven by a desire for revenge. Finding himself without a weapon, a horse, or a way to communicate, Joe must rely on his wits and his knowledge of the outdoors to protect himself and his companion. 

Meanwhile, Joe’s closest friend, Nate Romanowski, and his own daughter Sheridan learn of the threat to Joe’s life and follow him into the woods. In a stunning final showdown, the three of them come up against the worst that nature – and man – have to offer. 

My Review:

Yes, not my first Joe Pickett. This entry to the series has Pickett accompanying a bigwig Silicon Valley CEO on an elk hunting trip. The man has decided he must do the thing himself, not ever having hiked a trail that wasn’t a flat concrete path through a park, much less the Bitterroots. These mountains are serious; elevation, dense, full of wildlife, and treacherous. It’s beyond me how someone without hunting experience is even allowed a gun, much less something powerful enough to bring down a bull elk.

A social media event, the governor has given Pickett the assignment as “Steve2” is trying to decide on a location for a major extension into Wyoming. The gov wants the deal.

Dark Sky by C J BoxSounding suspiciously familiar, I ventured into the book because I like the series, the characters, and the stunning, majestic, and rustic location. But, yes, I think I’ve read this plot before, maybe at Book 21 there are no new plot ideas.

Still, Steve2 is exactly what you’d expect of a clueless (and fabulously rich) Silicon Valley media baron and the various characters surrounding him on this quest are exactly the clueless people you’d NOT want to be accompanying anyone.

You won’t read a Picket series novel without Nate Romanowski running at least a sub-plot and he does so here, providing his shoot first, ask questions later style of justice.

Predictably, it’s one disaster after the other, dodging the bad guys, confronting dangerously severe early winter weather, and experiencing more than the average savage death of bit players. But Joe is, after all a game warden, and experienced in these here mountains. He does, fortunately, have a budding and forceful Joe Pickett Jr in his youngest daughter and she’s coming fast to help save dead old dad.

The well-plotted and fast-paced narrative races to the conclusion in a flurry of Western blood and guts. But hey, in the meantime, it’s been an engaging and entertaining novel, one that the narrator enhanced in the telling this time. I listened to Long Range last year and could have happily exchanged Chandler for the lady who narrated The Bitterroots (another series also by the same author).

Still, I’ll be looking to listen to Book 22, released in March this year (coincidence? I think not), Shadows Reel. No, you don’t have to worry about starting with Book 1. 

Quote from Walter Kirn

I obtained a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stock library.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.  
ASIN: B08F2SLBZN
Listening Length: 9 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 02, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dark Sky [Amazon] 

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Rosepoint Publishing: Four stars 4 stars

C J Box - authorThe Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-two novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award (twice), the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western. The novels have been translated into 27 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven, Nowhere To Run, and The Highway have been optioned for film and television. Millions of copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and is currently serving on the Wyoming Tourism Board. He lives in Wyoming.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

Souvenirs from Kyiv: Unforgettable stories based on the heartbreaking experiences of Ukrainian families during WW2 by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

‘Russia has been trying to wipe Ukraine off the world map for thousands of years. They haven’t succeeded yet. Now, I’m picking up my stone and throwing it at Goliath. I want people to understand. I want to save this country.’ Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger, March 2022

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerLarissa is a renowned embroiderer, surviving in occupied Ukraine during World War II as a seamstress in her ruin of a workshop. Surrounded by enemies, she expresses her defiance by threading history into her garments. But at what cost?

Mykhailo is a soldier on leave, returning to Ukraine from the front on Christmas Eve. As he travels through his country, he is confronted by the hardship the war has brought to his fellow countrymen. Will what he sees this Christmas change the course of his life forever?

Marusia and her family are woken early one morning by the arrival of the Nazis, who have come to search for her partisan brother. As the soldiers move through their house, her family has just moments to make choices that will determine their survival.

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger’s stories bring to life the true history of her Ukrainian family who fought to survive World War II. Laced with hope,Souvenirs from Kyiv celebrates the endurance and resilience of the human spirit.

Souvenirs from Kyiv was awarded 2nd Place in the 2014 HNS International Short Story Award and the collection won the silver medal in the IPPY Book Awards 2020 for Military and Wartime fiction.

His Review:

As the current attack by the Russians upon Ukraine continues, Souvenirs From Kyiv illuminates the continuing hazard in that part of the world. This country has been in the path of battles and armies since recorded history. The Russians have attempted to draw them into their country for centuries. The citizens of Ukraine have suffered continually.

Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-BergerWorld War II found their male citizens being conscripted into the Nazi war machine. If they were unable to serve, they were kidnapped and forced to work on war materiel including bombs and bullets. The women were helping in the munitions factories as well and also conscripted to sew uniforms and other outfits including snow warfare camouflage gear.

Hiding some of the young men became the work of families. They would go to the forests and be part of the resistance. Families would take them in at very great risk to themselves. Should they be caught harboring these men, the whole family would wind up being shot. The Ukrainians also helped hide and protect large numbers of Jews. Harboring Jews was also a crime punishable by death.

Those members of the resistance saved many American and English pilots forced down in the fighting. The Ukrainians and Yugoslavian citizens helped to rescue the pilots as well as set up an underground system to spirit the pilots back to the west. Avoiding serving and being caught usually resulted in an immediate deployment to the Russian front.

The Ukrainians are not fond of the Russians. They hoped that the American forces would release their villages. The Russian troops had a reputation for gang raping the women and taking everything of value. The maturation of the war found the Ukrainian people praying the Allies would prevail and liberate their communities from the Nazis.

CE WilliamsStarvation was a major weapon of the Third Reich. The cities were blockaded and farmers and foodstuffs were taken by the German soldiers for the Fatherland or to feed the troops in the area. Small barley or wheat soup was the staple diet for the average citizen during the war. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Fiction Short Stories, Historical Russian Fiction
Publisher: Bookouture
ASIN: B09WF1MQ8K
Print Length: 159 pages
Publication Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Souvenirs from Kyiv [Amazon]
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Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger - authorThe Author: IPPY Book Award 2020 silver medal winner for SOUVENIRS FROM KYIV.

Long-listed in the Flash500 Novel Competition 2017 for No Man’s Land/The Breach.

Winner of the Flash500 Short Story Competition with an extract from Bolzano.

Winner of the Coffee Pot Book Club Book Award Box and Box Set of the Year 2019 for the Reschen Valley Box Set.

A Discovered Diamond, shortlisted for Book of the Month July 2019, Reschen Valley Box Set

Reader’s Favorite 5-star reviews for Bolzano, The Smuggler of Reschen Pass, and Magda’s Mark (featured in The Road to Liberation Collection).

HNS International Short Story 2nd Place Winner 2014 for Souvenirs from Kyiv (short story in the Souvenirs from Kyiv collection)

Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger was born in Minnesota in 1969 and grew up in the culture-rich neighborhood of “Nordeast” Minneapolis. She started her writing career with short stories, travel narratives, worked as a journalist and then as a managing editor for a magazine publisher before jumping the editor’s desk and pursuing her dreams of writing and traveling. In 2000, she moved to western Austria and established her own communications training company. She has won several awards for her short stories and novels and now primarily writes historical fiction. During a trip into northern Italy over the Reschen Pass, she stood on the edge of Reschen Lake and desperately wanted to understand how a 15th-century church tower ended up sticking out of the water. What stories were lying beneath? Some eight years later, she launched the “Reschen Valley” series with five books and a novella releasing between 2018 and 2021, in parallel to her WW2 novels and short story collections.

For more on Chrystyna, dive in at inktreks(dot)com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

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