Got A #Kindle? Here Are My 5 Star Reviews This Year

Not sure what to download to your e-reader? Well, here are the books that got a 5 star review from me this year, together with a few I would highly recommend (click on the book cover for link to Amazon) …

My 5 Star Reviews of 2012

Never Coming Home

Never Coming Home

Sophie’s Turn

Sophies_Turn.indd

Devils With Wings, Silk Drop

silkn drop

Devils With Wings, Frozen Sun

frozen sun

Shades of Appley Green

appley green

Highly Recommend

The Silent Touch of Shadows

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Taking Charge

Taking_Charge_Kindle_cover

Night Watcher

night watcher

The Wind Weeps

the wind weeps

Passenger 13 (a novella)

Passenger 13

How Do You Voodoo? (a novella)

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Thank you all for your support of my blog this year – much appreciated

Happy new year everyone and happy reading

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Barbara’s War by Fenella J Miller

Barbara's WarAs war rages over Europe, Barbara Sinclair is desperate to escape from her unhappy home which is a target of the German Luftwaffe. Caught up by the emotion of the moment she agrees to marry John, her childhood friend, who is leaving to join the RAF, but a meeting with Simon Farley, the son of a local industrialist, and an encounter with Alex Everton, a Spitfire pilot, complicate matters. With rationing, bombing and the constant threat of death all around her, Barbara must unravel the complexities of her home life and the difficulties of her emotional relationships in this gripping coming-of-age wartime drama.

My Thoughts

Barbara’s War is a coming of age story about Barbara Sinclair, who we meet as a teenager and leave as a mature young woman.

Fenella Miller’s style of writing flows well and is easy to settle into. I could visualise the settings well and felt I really got to know and understand Barbara. The supporting characters were well written and added to the story.

Set in wartime Britain, I had expected it to be more war orientated but, in fact, the story is of Barbara’s own personal battle, her own war, to discover herself, not just who she is as a person, but also her background and heritage.

On the whole a gentle story, although it is punctuated by some darker moments that I hadn’t expected but felt added bite to the story.

Links for Fenella J Miller

Website : http://www.fenellajmiller.co.uk/

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/fenella.miller?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter : @fenellawriter

Amazon Link for Barbara’s War HERE

fenellajanemiller

Pausing for Thought

Conflicts past and present

“When you walk in peaceful lanes so green – remember us – and think what might have been” 

Frederick Rowland  (Grandad 1908-1982)

Craftsman

REME

Served in North Africa and Italy

Letter home, 21 January 1944, Italy

Thomas Morris (Pops 1914-1970)

Private

Oxon & Bucks Light Infantry

Served in Holland

On a recent trip to London,  I took a detour via Green Park to see the Memorial to the RAF Bomber Command

Very moving to see some personal stories and messages left by families

Devils With Wings, Silk Drop – Harvey Black

This exciting fictionalised retelling of the invasion of Crete is written by an author with extensive experience in army intelligence. It’s the follow up to Devils With Wings, and continues the wartime adventures of Fallschirmjager paratrooper Paul Brand and his Feldwebel Max Grun. On a high after their successful subjugation of Fort Eben Emael, Paul Brand, now in command of his own company, and Feldwebel Max Grun, are parachuted into Greece to help capture the bridge spanning the Corinth Canal. Tough times are ahead when the German High Command decide to invade the Island of Crete. This will be the first ever airborne invasion in military history. The Fallschirmjager, supported by the famous Gebirgsjager mountain troops, are up against 40,000 allied soldiers – who will fight to the bitter end to protect Crete. Operating behind enemy lines, Paul Brand and Max Grun will face challenges that not only tests their fortitude but strains the close bond between them. Silk Drop is a thrilling sequel to Devils With Wings and is based on a factual episode.

My Thoughts

This is the second book in the the Devils With Wings series and my review of the first can be found here.  I really enjoyed the first book so was looking forward to reading Silk Drop – I’m pleased to say it lived up to and beyond my expectations.

From the beginning I felt involved with the story, it was set at a good pace and I had trouble putting it down.  I liked the feeling of being up close to the action, with some very intense scenes depicting personal battles, which had me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed learning more about the strategies involved in preparing for operations and how these translated in battle.   The setting was described extremely well and again I had a real sense of being there – I could picture  the island and villages clearly in my mind.

Silk Drop also showed the contradiction of war. One minute men are injuring and killing each other, the next when the battle is over, they are caring for the wounded and trying to save the lives of their enemies.  The novel showed the human side of war and the effects it can have on individuals which added another dimension to the story.  I felt very connected with the characters and was concerned as to what would happen to them.

An excellent read with all the things I enjoy – action, tension, great scene setting and characters I became very fond of.

Links for Harvey Black

Blog – http://harveyblackauthor.wordpress.com/

Website –  http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/ 

Twitter – @Black_Author  http://twitter.com/#!/Black_Author

Facebook – Harvey Black  http://www.facebook.com/HarveyBlackAuthor

Harvey is also a member of the Author/Reader group

http://loveahappyending.com/

and

 http://famousfiveplus.blogspot.co.uk/

Devils With Wings : The Green Devils Assault of Fort Eben Emael by Harvey Black

The Blurb

A military thriller based around the adventures of two young Fallschirmjager paratroopers during the early part of World War II. It is a fictionalised adventure based on the famous assault on the impregnable Belgian Fortress, Eben Emael. Tall, gangly Paul Brand is supported by his junior sergeant, Unterfeldwebel Max Grun, as he experiences his first action as a platoon commander in Poland, September 1939. The mutual respect between the two comrades grows as they experience the sights and smells of battle at close quarters Following their success in Poland, Paul, Max and the platoon are sent to a clandestine camp in the foothills of the Harz Mountains to train for a secret mission. Confined to camp for six months they undergo intensive training for their next mission – the subjugation of the Eben Emael Fortress. Two German secret weapons will assist them to complete their task; the first is the glider, used for the first time to deposit troops directly onto a target, and the second secret weapon is a new Hollow Charge Weapon, capable of blasting through steel or concrete. On completion of their training, nine gliders containing seventy two Fallschirmjager land on top of the fortress, before the troops move in to the depths of the tunnels to finish the job. Over one thousand Belgian troops fail to stop them. This exciting fictionalised retelling of the assault on Eben Emael is written by an author with experience in army intelligence.

My Thoughts

Although I have tended to review gentler books on here, I do actually enjoy reading a good action/thriller type of novel, so when Devils With Wings came to my attention it was definitely one to go on my ‘to be read’ pile.

The novel starts off right in the thick of the action and introduces you to the main characters, Paul Brand and Max Grun. After reading the first chapter, I knew I was going to enjoy it.

I liked finding out about the characters’ back stories and how they came to become part of the elite Fallschirmjager. Likewise, it was really interesting seeing what they had to endure throughout their training and I enjoyed getting to know Paul and Max more as they embarked on their highly secretive and daring operation.  The bond between the two men really came through.

The assault of Fort Eben Emael followed each glider’s mission and then the final attack on the fortress. The battle scenes were sometimes graphic but in no way gratuitous and only added to the atmosphere of the book.

Prior to reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about the Fallschirmjager paratroopers and now I’m quite fascinated by them.  Afterwards I spent time flicking around the web and YouTube looking at photos and documentaries about the real event.  It was good being able to see exactly what the Fallschirmajager were up against and how it had been translated onto paper by the author.

So in summary – fast paced with action and tension – obviously well researched and backed up by the author’s own personal knowledge.  I shall look forward to reading the next book in this series.

(P.S. I think I have a crush on Paul)

Links for Harvey Black

Blog – http://harveyblackauthor.wordpress.com/

Website –  http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/ 

Twitter – @Black_Author  http://twitter.com/#!/Black_Author

Facebook – Harvey Black  http://www.facebook.com/HarveyBlackAuthor

Harvey is also a member of the Author/Reader group

http://loveahappyending.com/

and

 http://famousfiveplus.blogspot.co.uk/

Mrs Mahoney’s Secret War – Gretel Mahoney & Claudia Strachen

Description : The inspiring story of a courageous young woman who worked to defeat the totalitarian Nazi regime during the Second World War. 

Gretel helped to protect fugitives hunted by the Gestapo, hid her Jewish doctor in her cellar and passed to the resistance secrets learned from her work on the Enigma encryption machine. 

Finally arrested in 1945, she was liberated as the British Army advanced towards Hamburg. After the war, Gretel fell in love with a British officer. When he was transferred back to England, her determination and bravery were tested once more. 

My Thoughts

Mrs Mahoney’s Secret War is based on facts and interviews with Gretel Mahoney by her friend, Claudia Strachan. There is no sensationalism, no Hollywood glamour to it, yet despite its subject, it is written in a way that makes for an easy but thought provoking read. I found Gretel’s story both fascinating and educational. Prior to this I had never really thought about how the German people were affected by the war, how difficult life was for them and the aftermath of the war that they had to deal with for many years.

It also told of Gretel’s personal battles, some which came her way as a direct result of war and others that any young woman, anywhere and at any time has had to face.

I think the thing that struck me most about Gretel was her resilience and inner strength which prevailed for all her 91 years. It’s definitely a story that will stay with me.

About the Authors

Gretel Mahoney (nee Wachtel) was born in Germany in 1915 and was 24 years old when the Second World War broke out.  After the war, she moved to England, where she remained until her death in 2006.

Claudia Strachen was born in Germany and moved to England in 1993.  After meeting Gretel, who shared with her stories about her time in Hamburg during the Second World War, she spent the next nine years researching the historical background of Gretel’s story.

This book has previously been released under the title ‘A Different Kind of Courage : Gretel’s Story