Articles

Okay, Okay by Fred Krebsbach

 

In November 1968, Fred Krebsbach had just turned twenty-one, he had finished his education with a tech degree in engineering, and was looking forward to a bright future. However the US military had other plans, the war in Vietnam needed soldiers and he was called up for draft.

Before leaving for basic training, his uncle Gene, a WWII veteran advised him to take something which would give him comfort, with him, and he chose his First Communion rosary, something which would sustain him through the months of conflict.

After he had completed his training, he left his homeland for the Tan Son Nhut Republic of South Vietnam. Thus began his tour of duty in that hell hole, where for nearly seven long months he served as an M-60 machine gunner.

The author freely admits that he was changed in irrevocable ways, and reading his story, how can he not have been. Fighting the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnamese Army under terrible conditions, losing many of his ammo bearers to booby traps, and for me, one of the saddest things was that they never said hello, because then they would never have to say goodbye…

The detailed descriptions of army life in Vietnam, and how he survived it, is absorbing reading. I was amazed to discover that captured, and rehabilitated Viet Cong, were used by the army as Tiger Scouts, and sent out in front of the soldiers to find the booby traps, punji pits, daisy chains and explosives set by their ex-comrades.

The author says that hearing WWII veterans say that they wish they had talked to their family more, has been an important factor in his decision to writing this book. I can understand this as my own Granddad was a WWII veteran who was lost, presumed dead. In fact my Grandmother was told he was dead by the British War Office. Then he turned up in Australia a couple of years after the war had ended. Apparently, he had been taken there, having been released, he had been tortured, and it was that long before they could discover his identity. I remember, he never, ever, talked about his experiences.

It must have taken a lot of courage for the author to put these words down on paper, to search is memories, trace people, and diagnose the effect on his life of those months.

Yes he came back alive, and despite sustaining injury, in one piece. However the man who returned was totally different from the ‘boy’ who left his home to fight for his country.

He married Marcia, has had children, and grandchildren, he was one of the lucky ones, thousands did not. Because of this, he wanted to put pen to paper to explain in real terms the true cost of war, both mentally and physically.

Thank you Fred.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

About the Book: Before leaving for Vietnam, twenty-one year old Fred Krebsbach received a piece of advice from his uncle: carry something with you into combat that will give you comfort in a time of need. He figured it was worth a shot and chose his First Communion rosary. This turned out to be a life-changing, maybe even life-saving, decision. Sent into combat as an M-60 machine gunner, for almost seven months Fred faced danger from booby traps, enemy combatants, and the jungle itself. After becoming injured and returning from the hospital he gave up the M-60 to become a squad leader for Special Forces. He endured seven more months of constant change and surprise, but one companion was constant―a voice inside his head that helped him find the right course of action to keep him alive. To this day Fred doesn’t know what it was exactly, but it may have had something to do with that dang rosary! Though he survived Vietnam, Fred was changed in irrevocable ways. He hopes his story helps his grandchildren and other young people understand the cost of combat and the value of thinking it through before engaging in war.

Available from Amazon in Paperback https://www.amazon.com/Okay-Fred-Krebsbach/dp/0989671011/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1484740731&sr=1-1

and Barnes and Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/okay-okay-fred-krebsbach/1117164622?ean=9780989671019

 

Spirit of Lost Angels (The Bone Angel Series) (Volume 1) by Liza Perrat

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Spirit of Lost Angels is a wonderful historical adventure set in eighteenth century France, and is the first book in the author’s L’Auberge des Anges series.

Victoire Charpentier is a peasant girl who, lives in Lucie-sur-Vionne, this book is her story… and also the story of an angel talisman which is handed on through the generations of the Charpentier family.

Set in the eighteenth century, we follow the adventures of this young girl who after the death of both her parents, finds herself working as a domestic servant in Paris, then she becomes a prisoner in La Salpêtrière asylum, the most notorious of mad houses. However, it is there that she finds herself romantically involved with Jeanne de Valois, and the story unfolds even further.

In this fast paced novel we watch as Victoire reinvents herself, and then discover if she will have the bravery to join the revolution and help overthrow the aristocracy.

Throughout this very interesting story, the amount of research which has gone into its writing, and the attention to detail is amazing, making it not only a fantastic story, but also a real insight into life in those times.

About the Author: Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her family for over twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist. Since completing a creative writing course twelve years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France. Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in her French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel series. The second – Wolfsangel – was published in October, 2013, and the third, Blood Rose Angel, was published in November, 2015. She is a founding member of the author collective, Triskele Books and reviews books for BookMuse. Links: Email Newsletter sign-up for FREE short story, Ill-fated Rose, that inspired The Bone Angel series: http://www.lizaperrat.moonfruit.com/sign-up Website: www.lizaperrat.com Blog: http://lizaperrat.blogspot.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Liza-Perrat-232382930192297/ Twitter: @LizaPerrat Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/triskelebooks/

About the Book: Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots. Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy? Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of an angel talisman passed down through generations. Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, this is a story of courage, hope and love.

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/2954168102?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

and Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Lost-Angels-Liza-Perrat-ebook/dp/B0082MI2Y4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Troubadour: Song of the Lark by Clara Pierre

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When Gaucelm left the village of Uzerche in the Limousin for Toulouse in 1195, it was the start of the great adventure which was to be his life.

Less than a week’s ride away, the land was very different, and so it was an excited young man who rode under Toulouse’s portcullis and entered the lively city. A city which was at that time said to outshine even Paris! A chance meeting with Count Raymond, led to an invitation to entertain the court that evening. Success followed, and he became as popular, as he was round. As the court’s troubadour he became a celebrity with his poetry and storytelling spreading the news about life and events, at a time when many people could not read or write.

Here, I have to say that if you close your eyes throughout this book, you can almost feel as if you have been transported back in time, so vividly does the author set the scenes, laying before us detailed descriptions of the buildings, people, places and life at court.

Fortunes change however, and his bold storytelling is seen as too radical. Count Raymond releases him from court, and so travels to Ventadour with Guilhelma, a prostitute, who is to become his lifelong companion.

Once settled at the court of Countess Marie, wife of Ebles de Ventadour, Gaucelm suddenly finds himself loaned to the court of Madame Audiarde de Malemort, Marie’s friend, who has very firm idea’s as to what she wants from a man, and this, and other parts of the book are quite raunchy. The strength of women in these times is an eye opener, when usually you are lead to believe they are very submissive. These royal women are very powerful, and often many years younger than their husbands. Whilst he is away, back at Ventadour, Guilhelma becomes friends with Douce, Marie’s strong minded daughter.

Thus follows a story of knights in shining armour, love, betrayal, fierce battles, honour, and the continual struggle between the Catholic Pope and the Cathars.

When Douce disappears from Ventadour, Gaucelm and Guihelma’s search for her, however the young woman they find at Montdragon is a very different from the love struck girl of the past. Life, people and events have changed her, and this change is about to affect them all.

With the Catholic crusaders becoming more and more zealous against the Cathars, all three decide to travel to the court of Count Raimbaut at Courthezon. Here they are warmly welcomed and Guilhema has their son Ayen. However, the northerners invade Courthezon and Gaucelm finds himself taking sad news back to the Countess Marie at Ventadour and asking a favour…

As he rides back to Guilhema and Ayen at Courthezon, the triumphant, but weary troubadour realises that he has indeed taken on the mantle of the famous Bernard de Ventadour who he met all those years ago at the court of Count Raymond. His storytelling must go on and he must spread the word, and the truth through his poetry and verse.

This book is beautifully written and a wonderful insight into life in the Middle Ages. The main characters are real although some things have been changed. I really loved the detail in it and it makes me want to visit everywhere mentioned, which I am sure one day I will.

I am so glad it was translated into English, and am looking forward to reading its sequel, when it is released.

 

About the book: Twelfth century France is on the verge of war, a high stakes battle for the minds and souls of its people. Territorial disputes with Spain threaten the southern provinces. The excesses of the Catholic hierarchy are giving rise to a growing Cathar religious movement. Into this mounting conflict rides a romantic young rogue whose biggest wish is to write poems and set them to music. Gaucelm finds his way into the powerful courts of Toulouse, Ventadour, and Courthézon, and the tender arms of a prostitute who will follow him wherever he goes. Based on historic events and a real troubadour who chronicled them, Troubadour is a powerfully told story of conflicted loyalties and the ruthless leaders who will do anything to control their subjects.

Available from Amazon in Paperback format: http://www.amazon.com/Troubadour-Song-Lark-Clara-Pierre/dp/0986383805/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=03FBRD3TXNTJN2CWFVH0

Bibi & Babu in Peru (Bibi & Babu Travel Series Book 2) by Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

More amazing adventures from Bibi and Babu and this time they are visiting Peru!

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After Bibi and Babu [Grandma and Grandpa in Swahili] enjoyed their adventures so much in Africa they decided to visit Peru, and I for one am very glad that they did.

What a wonderful book this is. Everyone has heard of the incredible temple of Machu Picchu, the amazing Lake Titicaca, and the enormous geoglyphs which can only be seen via satellite. But how did they come to be there, who made them, and when? Well scientists still have many questions to answer, however, in the meantime Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen, in their unique storytelling way decide to discover as much as they can for themselves. So, in November 2014 they took a plane to Lima and started their adventure.

Their journey of discovery began by visiting the incredible Larco Museum, in Lima, which houses an amazing collection of ceramics, textiles and artefacts, all beautifully displayed. Lucky for us, they took plenty of pictures, because from this visit we are able to see and understand the importance of all the gold and silver body ornaments which were worn by the Inca nobility.

They then visited the former capital of Peru, Cusco and visited its beautiful buildings, and the fortress-temple Saqsaywaman (pronounced Sexy Woman), which was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. There are some amazing photos of visitors standing next to the enormous stones, which beg the unanswered question as to how did the Inca’s all those years ago managed to get them into place, and know to position them in such a way that they have withstood earthquakes? Are the ancient legends correct, what do you think? You will have to read the book to discover what these legends are. Whilst they were there, they even managed to learn the difference between Llamas and Alpacas.

Then, their travels then took them on the luxurious Perurail Vistadome train to the magical site of Machu Picchu, which rises over 6,000 feet above the Urubamba River. Steeped in history and hidden from the outside world for many years, this wonderfully preserved national monument was a sight to behold.

Their last trip was to Lake Titicaca, its incredible floating islands, and Taquile island. It is even possible to discover in this very interesting book, how the floating islands are made, who lives on them, and the incredible properties of the Totora (Reed) both as homes, boats, souvenirs and as a medicine.

Although aimed at a young audience, I have to say that I loved this book. It is so well written and totally absorbing. Not only does it contain plenty of colourful pictures of this amazing couple’s travels, and the wonderful sites they have seen, it opens up the people, history, life and customs of the wonderful country of Peru.

About the authors: Bibi & Babu are Swahili names for Grandma and Grandpa. When journalist Bonnie Toews and her partner, John Christiansen, a naturalist and landscaper, traveled through Central Africa in 2013, their safari guides fondly nick-name them “Bibi” and “Babu.” Their African journey is woven so intimately within Bonnie and John that, when they returned home, they wanted to assemble a memory book to share with their grandchildren. As they worked on it, they came to realize they are not describing another travel guide for tourists but reliving a journey other adults and children can also share and read together. This simple beginning to the BIBI & BABU TRAVEL SERIES also captures their love story. Dedicated caregivers to their spouses, who suffered from long illnesses before they died, Bonnie and John, now in their seventies, discovered they had much to live for as they join hearts in their sunset years.

About the series of books: Reading with your child or grandchild not only entertains them, it can also strengthen the bonds between you. The BIBI & BABU TRAVEL SERIES take you both on armchair adventures to faraway lands with beautiful photographs and stories as Bibi and Babu mingle with the local people, discover the magic of their customs and folklore, and embrace lives very different from ours.

This second volume in the series, BIBI & BABU IN PERU, explores the ancient ruins of the Andes Mountains: 

  • Cusco–the “belly button” of the Inca Empire,
  • the Lost City of the Incas on Machu Picchu Mountain and
  • the man-made floating islands of the Uros people on Lake Titicaca.

How could the Incas fit together massive walls of boulders and stones with no tools and no wheels? Yet, these Inca ruins have withstood devastating earthquakes while modern buildings have crumbled. Even more puzzling are recent satellite images suggesting ancestors of the Peruvian Indians were linked to outer space. With no written records, how do you separate myth from fact? Join Bibi and Babu on their amazing journey through Peru.

These books are not travel guides for tourists. They are designed for adults and children to share and read together. Ten per cent of the series’ royalities are dedicated to the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.
Bibi and Babu in peru is available from:

 

 

 

Boudicca: Britain’s Queen of the Iceni by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Guest Audiobook Review from Dab of Darkness.

Set in the 1st century ancient Britannia, Rome is still attempting to expand their empire. This short, creative non-fiction historical account follows King Prasutagus of the Iceni and runaway Gaulish slave Boudicca.

The author does a good job of making these characters accessible to the reader by showing the story through their eyes. Events do move rather quickly as decades of their lives are covered in a mere 50 minutes. Luckily, I was able to connect with the characters quickly because of the first person point of view.

I found this an interesting, quick overview of Boudicca’s life during Roman conquest. The listener gets the clear idea of the culture clash between Romans and the various Britannic tribes. For instance, most, or perhaps all, of the Brittanic tribes held women as equal to men in most areas of life whereas the Romans felt a woman’s place was in the home or as a slave. The timeline had to move swiftly for most of Boudicca’s life to be covered in such a short amount of story time. I think this book would be of interest to those just getting into the historical fiction genre or for folks wanting a short recounting of Boudicca’s life and deeds. If you are looking for a history (not fiction) or a more in-depth historical fiction, this may not be for you. The author doesn’t steer clear of the harsher side of Boudicca’s life: slavery, battles, rape, etc. are included in this historical fiction, though the author does not go into graphic detail.

The book left me wanting more. Often drama was used, and perhaps over used, to get the poignant parts of Boudicca’s life across to the listener. I think this work would have been a little better if even 2 hours were given in which to tell Boudicca’s tale. For instance, the ending was pretty dramatic (if historically accurate) but I didn’t really understand Boudicca’s choice at the end as she fought her whole life to stay alive and free. Also, I wanted to know how her kinsman, loyal followers, etc. reacted on a personal level to her final choice.

Boudicca: Britain's Queen of the Iceni: The Legendary Women of World History, Book 1 | [Laurel A. Rockefeller]

Available from Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Kids/Boudicca-Britains-Queen-of-the-Iceni-Audiobook/B00NFXO172/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1434456223&sr=1-1

The New Concise History of the Crusades by Thomas F. Madden

 

51phybtbwol-_sl300_Guest Review

This book provides an excellent look at the crusades, putting them in perspective for their time and in relation to current world politics. It is a great overview for the uninitiated and a great review for folks who have studied the crusades.

The book opens by providing a setting just prior to the first crusade, placing us in the mindset of Medieval Europeans. From there, the information is laid out chronologically. The book closes with the authors analysis of how the crusades were held up as examples of chivalry, later to be reviled as early colonialism, and finally how they relate to modern politics. The pacing is good, not getting bogged down in minutiae or in lists of dry ancient reference texts. Occasionally, there were more names being used than I could keep easy track of, simply because I was unfamiliar with the subject matter.

I learned quite a bit from this book and that makes me happy. Before listening to this book, what little I know came from popular movies and books, and, of course, I couldn’t rely on those to be accurate. I really liked how the book was laid out chronologically and I deeply appreciated the author’s constant efforts to have the reader think like a Medieval European.

In addition to this, the author often gave examples of Muslim impressions of the crusades. This in particular was fascinating. For Europeans, and even Americans, the crusades were a big deal, and continue to influence our culture, if mostly through popular media. At the time of the crusades, the Muslim world barely took note of them, seeing them as just yet one more barbarian force to be repelled (and the crusades were often repelled). The crusades had a greater impact on the Byzantine Empire, mostly because places were sacked and sometimes burned.

It was fascinating to see how the crusades evolved over time. Initially, the word ‘crusade’ was not associated with the pilgrims who ventured east for religious enrichment. Old, young, sick, healthy, men, & women traveled on pilgrimage. It was only later that such pilgrimages became armed men crusading to the east, with the blessing of pope and lord, to defend Christian lands.

In short, this book was an excellent read and definitely worth shelf space as a reference work. It is chock full of info on the European leaders, the Byzantine reactions, the few bits directly affection Muslim affairs, and how the crusades were affected by the Mongols. The book does an excellent job of placing the reader in a Europe steeped in a religious culture and how that affected, even directed, the actions of European leaders. It’s even worth a reread.

Narration:  Claton Butcher gave a good performance. He had a clear voice that used a little emotion as needed, so it was not textbook dry. He also went to the effort of pronouncing people and place names with the correct accents. Such touches are so appreciated by this listener!

What I Liked: Educational!; the cover art; clear & easy to follow; perfect for someone new to the subject; the author places the crusades in the context of the times; the book wrapped up with a short analysis of how the crusades were viewed after their time, and by the Muslim world.

What I Disliked:  Occasionally, there were many names in play and I had trouble keeping them all straight, but this is mostly due to my lack of knowledge and I would not hesitate to recommend this book.

 

Reviewed by Susan Voss – http://dabofdarkness.com/2015/05/02/the-new-concise-history-of-the-crusades-by-thomas-f-madden/

 

Authors Website: http://www.thomasmadden.org/

 

Available from Audible in Audiobook format:  http://www.audible.com/pd/History/The-New-Concise-History-of-the-Crusades-Audiobook/B00JF6FNS4/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1431336335&sr=1-1

 

The Juno Letters by L. W. Hewitt

JL_cover_170_70This is such a fascinating story for anyone interested in WWI and WWII, I just could not put it down.

When an unexpected parcel arrives for Lawrence Hewitt from Courseulles-sur-Mer in France, it contains letters, they are addressed to his Grandfather Andy. The letters, which were written during WWII had been discovered hidden in a small cottage in Normandy and are from Andy’s friend Antoine Bouchard, but they were never posted…

A friendship was forged in WWI between his grandfather, Private Andy Anderson and Antoine Bouchard, who although French was living in the Alsace region at the outbreak of the war and was forced to fight for Germany. Then, after WWI Andy returns home and becomes a chaplain and Antoine stays in France.

As Andy’s grandson reads the letters and researches what he finds, we are treated to an amazing insight into real life in France, between the wars and during WWII. The prejudices which existed and the secret underground work of the resistance.

However, love will find a way, and Antoine finds happiness marrying his lovely Marianne and they have a daughter, Ariéle, then their world is shattered as the cruelty of war impacts on their lives and they all find themselves faced with circumstances beyond their control.

Living in France as I do, near to Tours, which is featured in this book, the tributes are all around us to the brave young men of many nations who lost their lives, and, not too far away in Normandy are the Juno landings beaches, and Courseulles-sur-Mer so vital during D Day on the 6th June, 1944.

It is very hard for me, even now to remember that this is a work of fiction, the depth of research and attention to detail bring alive all too horrifically the very real dangers facing collaborators during the wars and the bravery of the resistance and allies working behind enemy lines.

The question is, what happens to Antoine, Marianne and Ariéle? To find out you will have to read the book or listen to the audiobook version.

This story is a tribute to the author, Lawrence Hewitt’s Grandfather Andy. Armed with his grandfather’s personal journals which he wrote as a soldier in the Great War, the author visited Paris in 2012 and followed in his footsteps. The journey he took and his visit to the Normandy landing beaches are the inspiration behind The Juno Letters.

 

Available from Amazon in Paperback format http://www.amazon.com/The-Juno-Letters-Volume-1/dp/1500891916/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1413991889&sr=8-1

in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Juno-Letters-L-W-Hewitt-ebook/dp/B00KDRLJE6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413991889&sr=8-1&keywords=the+juno+letters

and from Audible http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Juno-Letters-Audiobook/B00ITXVHNO/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srImg?qid=1413992099&sr=1-1

When the Drum Major Died by Anjuelle Floyd

when the drum major diedA fascinating story.

When I started reading this book, the first thoughts which came into my mind were that, it’s amazing how ignorant one can be, about events which happened in your own lifetime. Being a British child at the time these events were taking place, somehow they slipped into a hole between the history I was taught at school, from ancient up to and including WWII, and the recent history which I remember as an adult.

The main character in the story Florina, is a young colored woman who has married Dr Richmond Austin, and moved to his home town Poinsettia, in the South of America. Her new in-laws are very welcoming and her new home is to be his grandparent’s house. However, she very quickly discovers that her new neighbour Agnes, who is married to the other colored doctor in the town, Macon, used to go out with Richmond, and Florina fears that the attraction is still there. However, she has her own secret, one not even her parents know… A secret which lies buried in her heart and which she can only hint at in her very poignant poetry.

This incredibly absorbing story is set at a very turbulent time for the colored people of America. The Civil Rights movement was strong, and was led by the Baptist minister and activist Martin Luther King Jr., a man who worked tirelessly for, and who played such a strong part in the ending of the legal segregation of the African-American people.

Also all the time, in the background, and twisted inextricably throughout the plot of this story is the Vietnam War which was taking thousands of lives…

However, another element of this story, which was very interesting to me, is that I never realised that there was such color snobbery within the families of colored folk, causing so much tension, prejudices, terrible rifts, and great sadness. This was so evident in this book, where at one end of the spectrum there was immense color pride and at the other the seemingly desperate need to appear white.

This book is amazing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. For me, it has all the essential ingredients for a good story excitement, intrigue, love triangles, lies, deceit, confessions, betrayal I could go on. However, more importantly for me, it gives a fascinating fly on the wall account of what it was really like as a colored person to live in those times, something I would never be able to experience otherwise.

Available from Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/When-Drum-Major-Anjuelle-Floyd/dp/1938070011/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407946089&sr=8-1

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/When-Drum-Major-Anjuelle-Floyd-ebook/dp/B00I35FT6Y/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1407946089

and Barnes & Noble in Paperback http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-the-drum-major-died-anjuelle-floyd/1118401259?ean=9781938070013

 

About the Author: Anjuelle Floyd is the author of “Keeper of Secrets…Translations of an Incident”, June 15, 2007, a collection of interconnected short stories, and two novels, “The House”, October 15, 2012, and “Seasons in Purdah,” September 9, 2012.
www.anjuellefloyd.com/books/keeper-of-secrets/
www.anjuellefloyd.com/books/the-house/
http://anjuellefloyd.com/

Anjuelle is a wife of thirty years, mother of three, abstract painter and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in mother-daughter relations and dream work.
A graduate of Duke University, she received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, she has attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California.
Anjuelle received a MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has also received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers’ Week and The Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops.

A student of Process Painting from 1998-2006, Anjuelle has participated in The Art of Living Black Exhibitions 2004–2011 held at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California.

Listen to Anjuelle’s interviews of various authors on Book Talk, Creativity and Family Matters @
www.blogtalkradio.com/anjuellefloyd

Read Anjuelle’s blogs and more about her @ http://anjuellefloyd.com/blog/  and http://anjuellefloyd.com/about/

Desolation Row (Austin Starr Mysteries Book 1) by Kay Kendall

This story is set at the 1960’s during the Vietnam War, at the time when Richard Nixon became president and the hippy, ‘peace and love’ scene was in full swing.

Newly married Austin Starr, and her husband David, have fled Texas. David is a draft resistor and they are living, with others who are like minded in Canada.

Settling down in a strange country, so different from her home is hard enough for Austin, however she is determined to be a good wife and supportive of her husband. Then, suddenly her life is turned upside down when she makes a discovery which leads to her husband being accused of murder.

Frustrated, she is determined to discover the truth, in what the police feel is an open and shut case. With a flair for investigating that even the CIA have noticed, Austin decides that she must uncover the truth herself about who murdered fellow draft resistor, Reginald a Senator’s son.

This is a heart-warming tale of one woman’s determination to clear her husband’s name. Passionately determined, the resolutely unflinching Austin delves into dark corners and discovers deeply buried secrets, which open cans of worms, and put her very life in danger.

I found this an engaging story and a brilliant mystery with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing, set in a very controversial period of modern history. 

Author’s website: http://kaykendallauthor.com/

This book is available from Amazon in Paperback, Kindle and Audiobook formats http://www.amazon.com/Desolation-Austin-Starr-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B00BFHHRB2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406547442&sr=8-1&keywords=desolation+row

Chateau de Chenonceau: Simple Guide by Miroslav Kucera

coverThe Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, is truly beautiful. I have visited it on various occasions and live within driving distance of it, so I was interested to read this guide.

I found this book very useful, packed with information, vivid descriptions of the magnificent rooms and practical advice about visiting this wonderful chateau. Once there, as it says in the book there are excellent audio guides in many languages, however I feel this book would work well too, if desired.

An added bonus, for me, is the excellent attention to the history of this amazing place, the realisation that it had been owned by the ‘common people’ as well as royalty was news to me. The only thing which spoilt this book for me was the lack of photo’s, a book about a chateau like this, with such beautifully constructed buildings and gardens deserves, in my opinion, photos.

If you are considering giving this beautiful chateau a visit I highly recommend this book.

 

Available from Amazon in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007JEWUGW/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_0

 

 

 

Lafitte’s Treasure by Joe Corso

6585687_origThis book begins way back in the past, and Governor Claiborne of Louisiana’s refusal to meet with the pirate Jean Lafitte, denouncing him as a “Hellish Banditti,” a decision which was to affect the lives of future generations of both families, and others.

For in 1813, the British had approached Jean Lafitte, asking them to join them in fighting the Americans, they had no idea of what sort of a man he was. He was a pirate, yes, but he was also a mason and lived his life by their codes of honour. Luckily, General Jackson recognised those codes and virtues also, and the rest as they say is history…

The decisions we make in life not only affect us, and the lives of those around us, but their repercussions can be felt, as ripples, far into the future. Eventually though these ripples do start to settle, and so it is, that through chance events and discoveries, the lives of two people, who had previously never met, converge.

The legacies, left to Eddie, and Julianna, bond them as they embark on their exciting and dangerous adventure. Following clues left in the past, they travel to New Orleans on their quest to discover the lost treasure, however, they are not the only ones who know about it, other’s want it too, and will do anything to procure it.

This story, for me, it has all the vital ingredients, action, adventure, murder, mystery, and romance. This author’s attention to detail has meant that he has also added a lot of fascinating history about New Orleans and the famous pirate Jean Lafitte.

Available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lafittes-Treasure-Award-Winning-Author-Corso-ebook/dp/B00LP49BLE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405929254&sr=8-1&keywords=lafittes+treasure

About the Author: I grew up in Queens, New York and I started writing late in life with the intention of helping my grandchildren pay for their college education. I found to my surprise that I could tell a good story which resulted in my completing 15 books and 9 short stories including my popular ‘ENGINE 24 FIRE STORIES’ trilogy. LAFITTE’S TREASURE has just been published and it is receiving great reviews.

‘THE STARLIGHT CLUB 5: REVENGE is completed and is presently being edited. When that book is finished I’m thinking of either writing a sequel to my western ‘THE ADVENTURES OF THE LONE JACK KID” or writing The STARLIGHT CLUB 6.

AWARDS

THE STARLIGHT CLUB won the silver in the 2012 eLit contest in the ‘TRUE CRIME’ category’. In 2013 it won HONORABLE MENTION in the Reader’s Favorite ‘HISTORICAL FICTION’ category’. In 2014 it was an IPPY award FINALIST and it was awarded the Gold Seal as a Eric Hoffer MONTAINGE MEDAL FINALIST. It also won the 2014 (NIEA) National Indie Excellence Awards FINALIST in the CRIME-FICTION CATEGORY.

THE LONE JACK KID won ‘FINALIST’ in the 2013 Readers Favorite in the ‘WESTERN’ category.

My short story ‘FIRE: BOX 598’ won the BRONZE in the 2013 Readers Favorite contest in the ‘HISTORICAL NON FICTION category’.

Go figure. If I would have known that I could write a good story. I would have started writing a half century ago.

Author’s website: http://www.corsobooks.com

 

Another Spring by John Needham

Capture_Another_Spring_blue_palerAbout the Book: An un-named black girl finds awakening of love in her barren life. A young girl samples a first kiss with a young man after having a fright at the seaside in 1924. Two couples go through the hopes and anxieties of child adoption, finding they have something in common. The angst of being an ugly duckling teenage boy in the 1950s comes good, with a surprise twist in the tail. A writer reminisces about the recent years of his past in recollections bitter-sweet.

These are stories that will tug the heart strings and sometimes make you smile. And sometimes too, perhaps, they might provoke another sort of smile: a wry one of remembrance.

 

 

A lovely collection of short stories.

This book is a collection of short stories, each possessing different themes, but all written in the style of writing that lovers of John Needham’s other books will recognise. 

John writes from experience, hindsight and observation. These stories are poignant, reflective, heartrending and celebratory, they will make you laugh, smile, think and reflect.

If you are a fan of fly on the wall stories or memoirs, you will love the way that his pen dips into the past as he captures the essence of life then, and the innocence of bygone days, in the first two of his short stories which are called Awakening and Skeggy Day Out.

Tantalisingly, Baby Blues is a taster for his next novel The One of Us. As two couples explore their thoughts and feelings whilst deciding whether they are going to adopt.

Of course everyone has fallen in love. Dream, Dream, Dream, takes its title from the famous song as one man reflects on life and love in the 50’s.

Whilst in the final story a writer shares a little of himself in Another Spring…

Even though two of the stories are modified extracts from the author’s novels Convergence and Forebears, the others are new, and I am confident in saying that fans of John’s writing will not be disappointed in this new book.

 Available in Kindle format from:

Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Another-Spring-heart-warming-seasonal-tales-ebook/dp/B00LN6AQJA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405089596&sr=8-1&keywords=Another+spring+by+john+needham

Amazon.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Another-Spring-heart-warming-seasonal-tales-ebook/dp/B00LN6AQJA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405090739&sr=8-1&keywords=another+spring+by+john+needham

Autharium http://www.autharium.com/Ebook/wordsfrom%20john/another-spring-story

 

 

 

 

 

Aunt Phil’s Trunk (Volumes 1 & 2 by Laurel Downing Bill

NRCFAUNTPHILSTRUNKSERIESLC book tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the giveaway at the bottom of this blog for a chance to win your very own copy of Aunt Phil’s Trunk by Laurel Downing Bill.Vol 1 & 2.

 

Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume One by Laurel Downing Bill

ThVol_1_Cover_Aunt_Phil book touris talented author’s love of Alaska shines through as she tells the world of its past.

In this, the first book in the series, the author takes her readers right back in time, to when the first Alaska Natives arrived, there after crossing the Bering Sea Land Bridge,  thousands of years ago, and through history until the famous Klondike Gold Rush in the nineteenth century.

She does this wonderfully, bringing the history of this amazing place to life, through short stories, which vary tremendously. Through her brilliant penmanship, she brings alive the lives of these people who made this made this land their own under incredibly harsh conditions’

For me, though, I have to say the wonderful collection of hundreds of pictures were the icing on this most enjoyable cake. Being able to actually SEE the people who were alive in those times past is a joy I will never tire of, and it enhanced even more (if possible) my enjoyment of these wonderful tales.

I have never been to Alaska, however I would love to do so, especially having read this book.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

 

 

Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume Two by Laurel Downing Bill

As this talented autVol_2_Cover_Aunt_Phil book tourhor digs yet again into Aunt Phil’s Trunk, we discover, in this volume, the continuing history of Alaska, in a far shorter period from the end of the nineteenth century to 1912.

True grit, and determination are the words which come to after having read this book. Its short stories tell of the true frontier spirit of these brave souls who came to Alaska from all over to try their fortune in the glorious gold-rush days. From the prospectors, to the vaudeville actors who came to entertain them, from the criminals and the lawmen to a volcanic eruption, the reader cannot fail to be entertained.

Through this very talented author, the true adventures in this harsh landscape is brought vividly to life, not only by the wonderful collection of stories but also by the incredible collection of hundreds of photographs which help to make this book so amazing.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

 

Contact: Laurel Downing Bill

Email: auntphilstrunk@gmail.com

Website: http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/LaurelBillAuthor

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/LaurelBill

Google +: http://www.plus.Google.com/LaurelBill

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmh0wCifvbXYsVg5IkawkyQ

 Alaska History Decoded!

 Aunt Phil’s Trunk, volumes 1 and 2, feature Alaska history stories written by Laurel Downing Bill and her late Alaska historian aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson. The photo-laden books are a delightful journey through Alaska’s rich past.

Released in April 2006, Volume 1 includes stories from early Alaska up to about 1900. Tales include nuns mingling with rough-and-tumble adventurers on the banks of Nome, the last shot of the Civil War booming in the Bering Sea and the scoundrel Soapy Smith serving as an angel of mercy before he became the undisputed king of crime in Skagway. 

From grizzled old prospectors to poke-stealing highwaymen to the magic of Alaska Native shamans, this book is a treasure trove of nonfiction short stories about Alaska’s colorful past and is filled with more than 300 rare historical photographs. This volume ends with the famous Klondike Gold Rush. 

Volume 2, released May 2007, picks up where Volume 1 ends – right around the Klondike Gold Rush – and ends in 1912. It includes stories about Alaska’s early lawmen, and the criminals they pursued, along with pioneering postmen and rugged adventurers who challenged the Great Land’s highest peaks. 

The second collection of stories also shares how towns like Fairbanks, Valdez, Cordova and Seward were born, the Iditarod Trail was blazed and the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.  This volume contains close to 350 historical photographs to complement the lively storytelling. 

This series of books, suitable for ages 9 to 99, is a labor of love from a niece who wanted to keep the legacy of her aunt alive. When Carlson, a well-known Alaska reference librarian at the ZJ Loussac Library in Anchorage, passed away in 1993, Bill inherited her aunt’s research, award-winning historical articles and rare Alaska books. Bill has spent the past several years organizing and editing the historian’s work and writing her own pieces to dovetail with Carlson’s. 

Aunt Phil’s Trunk volumes 1 through 4 are available through http://www.AuntPhilsTrunk.com and Amazon.com.

Volume 1: http://j.mp/SSiIKX

Volume 2: http://j.mp/SSiOT1

Volume 3: http://j.mp/SSjEz2

Volume 4: http://j.mp/SSjR5q

The print versions retail for $19.95. Ebooks sell for $14.95.

 

Biography Laurel Downing Bill 

Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1951, Laurel Downing Bill moved to Juneau in 1959 after her father, Richard Downing,  

became the state’s first commissioner of public works. Eight years later, she began traveling when her father took a job with a company building roads and bridges around the world.

Laurel returned to Alaska in 1970, where she eventually met her husband, Don, in Fairbanks. In 1974, the couple moved to King Salmon, a small village about 360 air miles southwest of Anchorage, where they raised their two children, Kim and Ryan. Don worked as area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commercial Fisheries Division and Laurel worked her way up to assistant general manager for the Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative Inc.

After 24 years, they retired into Anchorage, which is when Laurel received her late historian aunt’s body of work. Phyllis Downing Carlson, who passed in 1993, worked as the Alaska reference librarian for Anchorage’s public library and wrote award-winning stories about the state she loved.

 

Laurel decided to turn her aunt’s work, as well as her own research into Alaska’s colorful past, into articles for new generations. However, she knew she needed to know about researching, writing and publishing to do the job right, so she returned to college to learn everything she could to make her project successful.

At 52, Laurel graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003 with a degree in journalism and a minor in history.

She became one of the main reporters for a weekly newspaper, The Anchorage Chronicle, during her junior year and birthed an Alaska history column titled Aunt Phil’s Trunk. The column continues to be printed today in the monthly newspaper, The Senior Voice.

 After receiving an enthusiastic response to her column of tales from Alaska’s days gone by, she turned her attention to developing the state’s history from thousands of years ago – when the Native people first arrived in the country – up to the present.

Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4 – released in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 – are flying off shelves of both major and independent bookstores, as well as Amazon.com and gift shops and chain stores across Alaska. She’s currently working on Volume 5.

Her award-winning stories have appeared in newspapers across Alaska, as well as the Alaska Magazine, Mushing magazine and First Alaskans magazine.

Sample of reader comments:1. Laurel, I don’t think you realize how many people enjoy this series. Anyone interested in Alaskan history must have these books (I have all four). Every time I’d go into a store (Fred Meyers, Carrs etc,), I go to the book section to see if Volume 5 was out yet. The subjects are short enough to prevent being boring but informative. I can’t wait till No. 5 comes out! – Larry Anderson, BP Exploration Alaska.     2. Hi Laurel! I am still re-reading your books – I met you at a market, maybe Anchorage, a couple of years ago whilst on my dream trip to Alaska. The gold mining days must have been a great adventure, although dangerous. You weave a great story – thank you!  – Rosey Sandford, Townsville, Australia.3. Got your books and can’t get anything done. I sampled one before going back to critical activities, but it’s like sampling a new flavor of a gallon of ice cream. “Even a gallon is a sufficient sample,” you grumble as you try to get your face into the carton to lick the bottom. – Larry Winebrenner, Miami Gardens, Florida.4. These are the first books I’ve read in years and couldn’t put one down once I started! Cindy Yates, Anchorage, Alaska. 5. Hello Laurel, I received the books today!  Thank you and I am enjoying reading the first book, which I took home with me, and it is so interesting, keeps me spellbound!!  Thanks again! – Donna Morgan, Nome, Alaska. 6. I have enjoyed all three immensely — but then I love adventure.  Congrats on such wonderful, mind stimulating reading — just the right mix of pics and words — in short stories. The stories are as big and satisfying as Alaska itself. – Steve Wharton, Indiana

 

Link to sign up https://docs.google.com/forms/d/18qTSCsotDeIDgKdkArp-Pe3YC2mG9pfT8S06glAsZwI/viewform

Review 1 – Aunt Phil s Trunk: Volume One – Review from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner David James, Reviewer – June 17, 2007

Aunt Phil’s Trunk: Volume One, published last year, was an unexpected gem. The book was a compilation of historical essays about early Alaska, ranging from Native life in the pre-contact period through the era of Russian possession, and onward to the purchase of the territory by the United States and the gold rushes that ensued a few decades later.

Most of the book’s stories were compiled by the late Phyllis Downing Carlson, a near-lifelong resident of the state who published many of these tales in numerous publications. When she passed away in 1993 at the age of 84, her countless files fell into the hands of her niece, Laurel Downing Bill.

As luck would have it, Downing Bill also has a flair for writing and a passion for Alaskan history. As a memorial to her aunt and a gift to the rest of us, Downing Bill has been organizing these stories, adding her own details, exhaustively illustrating them with period photos, and publishing them in books which deserve to be snatched up by anyone with an interest in our state’s rich past.

 

Review 2

 

The Anchorage Times – Anchorage Daily News/Voice of the Times – William J. Tobin, senior editor – June 18, 2006

While handing out compliments, let’s give a big pat on the back to Laurel Downing Bill, who has just published what she calls an Alaska historian’s collection of treasured tales. It’s a beautifully printed 344- page soft-cover book, Aunt Phil’s Trunk, illustrated with a hundred or more great old photos that dramatically show what life was all about in Alaska’s early pioneer days. The illustrations alone are worth the $19.95 price, but the narratives from front to back are equally praiseworthy.

 

This book contains a collection of Alaska history stories written by Phyllis Downing Carlson, as well as stories written by Laurel Downing Bill that came from tidbits found among the notes and rare books Bill inherited when Carlson died in 1993. For those who love Alaska history, this easy-to-read collection is highly recommended.

 

Review 3

Amazon.com – Lorrie Farrelly, Reviewer – March 2014

AUNT PHIL’S TRUNK, VOL. 1, by Phyllis Downing Carlson and Laurel Downing Bill, is a wonderfully written, eminently readable, and richly illustrated narrative of Alaska’s history up to 1900. Ensuing volumes – including one expected to be released within the coming year – continue the story through the 20th century.

I especially loved the wealth of vintage photographs in these pages that made frontier Alaska spring to life. So many cultures and so many characters populate this book: native tribes, Russian and American explorers and fortune hunters, trappers, prospectors, merchants, heroes, shamans, and scalawags. They are all here in their wild and woolly glory, pitting themselves against one of the most beautiful and forbidding landscapes in the world. In pre-1900 Alaska, fortune and disaster are never more than a hair’s breadth apart.

AUNT PHIL’S TRUNK is full of well-researched tales both wonderful and tragic. Written in a clear, coherent, and evocative voice, it is a fascinating window to Alaska’s wild past. Highly recommended!

 

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For The Love of a Poet by Marilyn Z. Tomlins

For the love of a poet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Russian love story.

About the book: ‘I have been obsessed with this man for years. My parents say I have a crush on him. I have been telling them it is not a crush. It is reverence. Reverence not only for the man but so too for his talent: his poetry. If anyone asks me whether I have a wish, I will say, if only I can meet the poet Beretzkoy.’ These are the wistful words of Tanya Brodovskaya. Her wish comes true, although the poet is a married man and the father of two sons, and soon a heady, passionate love affair begins. In a small, dilapidated dacha in a village south of Moscow, played out against a grim backcloth of Stalin’s demonic rule of Russia, Tanya and her dissident poet live their love to the full, stealing precious and wonderful time, finding happiness in each other’s arms although he continues to live with his wife and sons. But black clouds gather. The Man of Steel’s policies threaten the couple’s idyll. Their love will survive; they know it will. But will they?

About the author: Marilyn lives and writes in Paris. She writes whatever takes her fancy: spoof news, book reviews, posts for her website, gossip about showbiz stars and royalty, short stories, poetry – and books. She also reports crime. She was born in British Colonial Africa and is a British national. Eight years ago she became interested in the Second World War French serial killer, Dr Marcel Petiot, and she researched him for two years and then over the next two years she wrote her true-crime book DIE IN PARIS. Next, setting murder aside, she wrote the novel BELLA … A FRENCH LIFE, an emotive love story set in Paris and the beautiful Normandy coastal region of France. Russia, a passion of hers, she has planned For the Love of a Poet for at least ten years.

 

Gerald Lombard, is on a mission, he is searching for Tanya Brodovskaya, he knows how to recognise her, and so he goes to Red Square, after all, he’s been told, she is always there ‘on any Wednesday.’ Then he sees her, just as she had been described to him, and she agrees to tell her story, and so the biography begins…
This is the story of the love between an older man, and a naive young girl whom he met, in 1931, when she worked at the offices of Pravda in Moscow.

Tanya Brodovskaya, had been infatuated with the poet Boris Petrovich Beretzkoy, for a long time, however, on that day, when he took her hands in his, their lives were about to change forever.

As they say, love is blind, and when one is in such a state, nothing else matters, barriers such as age and marital status are overcome in the bat of an eyelid. Thus began their love affair, one in which Boris shaped her life, and she accepted the restrictions, making sacrifices, and giving up on dreams, freely, as only a woman who is in love will do.

It is Russia, Lenin has just died, and Stalin has taken over the reins of this enormous, harsh country. It is a country which is in a state of political unrest and turmoil, its people living in fear for their lives never knowing when they are going to be dragged away and interrogated, or deported to Siberia, some never to return…

Life for the Russian people is hard. The country is suffering from terrible famine, and pandemics ravage the country’s population, who are already weak and living in terrible conditions.

As you read this book, you realise that not only are you following the lives of these two lovers, but you are also being given an insight into this turbulent period in Russian history.

The book I believe, is based on two real people, although the names have been changed. Through meticulous research, the author has written a very thought provoking and fascinating story, which lovers of modern history will enjoy.

I am informed by the author that a French translation is available.

Available from Amazon worldwide in Paperback  http://www.amazon.com/For-Love-Poet-Marilyn-Tomlins/dp/0992670071/ref=sr_1_3_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1400746203&sr=8-3&keywords=for+the+love+of+a+poet

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Love-Poet-Marilyn-Z-Tomlins-ebook/dp/B00KC8M0DK/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-3&qid=1400746203

Ten Must-See Sights: Paris by Mark Green

 

Ten Must-See Sights: Paris

About the book: Did you know that someone once flew a plane through the Arc de Triomphe, or that writer Guy de Maupassant dined at the Eiffel Tower’s restaurant every day, as it was the only he could be sure of not seeing the tower while he was eating?

‘Ten Must-See Sights: Paris’ does exactly what it says on the tin, giving you the background and history on the city’s top ten ‘must-see’ attractions, plus essential information on opening times and location. We don’t fill endless pages with hard-to-read maps and difficult-to-download photos; there are ten chapters of text, one on each attraction, all written by our team of experienced travel writers.

***

Living in France, and having visited Paris a few times I couldn’t resist getting this book to see what it has to offer.

I was not disappointed. The author has picked his 10 must see sights in this amazing city, and all the classics are there.

He has provided a wealth of information about each of the places including it’s history and also the admission prices and telephone numbers if you need information. Whether you are visiting for the first time, or returning, this is an excellent choice for a travel guide.

Available in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Ten-Must-See-Sights-Mark-Green-ebook/dp/B00BKN49Z8/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397479234&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=tenmust+see+sights%3A+paris

 

 

Something Old, Something New by James R. Vance

Compelling reading.

surglen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book: Historical fiction novel, set in France depicting the conflict that still exists amongst families since the Nazi occupation of WWII. Two young sisters discover war memorabilia hidden in their grandmother’s trunk in an attic. They set out to trace their family history, an exploit that triggers devastating consequences.

About the Author: Originally from England, I now live in rural south west France. My first novels, ‘Animal Instinct’, ‘Killer Butterfly’ and ‘The Courier’ were published between 2008 and 2010. They formed a trilogy depicting the careers of two detectives. My knowledge of Cheshire and Greater Manchester is apparent in both ‘Animal Instinct’ and ‘Killer Butterfly’. The final novel of the trilogy,’The Courier’, uses my experience of working in France and London as an inspiration for the storyline. My fourth novel ‘Eight’, published in 2011,is a crime fiction novel set mostly in France, a sequel to the trilogy featuring one of the detectives and a former suspect. My knowledge of both countries enabled me to provide a backdrop for the plot. During this same period, I also wrote and published a children’s short story, ‘Goose’.

Having discovered that I live in an area swamped by a rich tapestry of war-time memories, I have since dedicated my time to unearthing stories of resistance activities in this region before the extraordinary tales disappear along with the ageing survivors of that period. My novel, ‘Les Ruines’, was my first foray into the genre of historical fiction. After researching local sites and listening to personal recollections of French Resistance exploits during WWII, I produced a mysterious tale of tragic events involving betrayal, retribution and chaos during the fragmented liberation of France. The novel was exhibited at the London Book Fair 2012 and a version of the novel in French will be available towards the end of 2013.

In April 2013, I published my next historical fiction project, ‘Risk’, about agents of the Special Operations Executive who organised evaders’ escape lines from occupied France during the Second World War. Combining romance and tragedy, the novel will have subtle links to ‘Les Ruines’. To learn more about these wartime exploits, I became a member of E.L.M.S. the Escape Lines Memorial Society, based in the U.K.

Our path through life, right from the beginning is composed of a series of small events. These, sometimes imperceptibly, cause change and each of these seemingly insignificant junctions cause a ripple effect, the results of which shape our lives. Sometimes, these junctions are hidden innocently, impossible for foresee and with no apparent ability to affect our future.

The story, which Elodie Arnaud recounts, starts innocently enough with her sister Monique’s fascination with the quaint English bridal tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Soon to be married to Gerard Thiebaud, the determined Monique convinces her sister Elodie to go with her into the attic and find their grandmother’s trunk. Monique reasoned that surely, there must be something, which she could use; however, nothing could have prepared them for the repercussions that simple action caused. 

Their grandmother, Marie Lafond had lived in Montauban, a large town in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of France during WW2, and during the war, she had been only a teenager, with a teenager’s perspective on life. The decisions she made and events in Oradour-sur-Glane, a village in the department of Haute-Vienne, are the substance of this book.

The Oradour-sur-Glane lived in today, is new, and built on the orders of Charles de Gaulle after WW2. The original village, which Marie would have known, stands as a permanent memorial and museum to the 642 men, women and children, slaughtered by the 2nd Panzer Division of the German SS on the 10th June 1944.

If you live in a rural community anywhere in the world, you accept that they are very close knit, with memories which are carried down through the generations. I live in rural France where the war is still so apparent both in monuments and remembrance days in every village; the horror of their lives through occupation and the work of the resistance, are very plain to see, even now.

This book is a beautifully written chronicle of the life of one family through three generations. The author, through meticulous research has given the reader a wonderful insight into what it would have been like to grow up and live in France under occupation.

Through Elodie and Monique’s discoveries and reflections, we learn how the outlook of modern generations has changed, on the surface, but then memories for some people, run deep.

Lest We Forget…

 Available in Paperback from Amazon

[.com] http://www.amazon.com/Something-Old-New-James-Vance/dp/184961198X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394808625&sr=8-1&keywords=something+old%2C+something+new+by+james+r+vance

[.co.uk] http://www.amazon.co.uk/Something-Old-New-James-Vance/dp/184961198X/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

[.fr] http://www.amazon.fr/Something-Old-New-James-Vance/dp/184961198X/ref=sr_1_4?s=english-books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394808784&sr=1-4&keywords=something+old%2C+something+new

 and Barnes & Noble in Paperback  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/something-old-something-new-james-r-vance/1118715231?ean=9781849611985

Through These Doors – The Manoir at Bout L’Abbé by Diane Condon-Boutier

A fascinating story.

MANOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book: If these old walls could talk, would you listen? When a house has a story to tell, historical events to relate and lives to share, it should be given a voice; especially when the house is French and possesses a certain “je ne sais quoi”.
“Through These Doors: the Manoir at Bout L’Abbé” tells of the German occupation of Normandy during WWII and the scars left on their unwilling French hosts. A fragile coexistence between the factions struggling for control of Normandy is born, while internal conflicts between certain German officers and their Nazi leaders complicate the impossible relationship between a young French girl and the soldier she finds herself drawn to.
It also speaks of Debra, the American woman who convinces her French husband to buy the manor house in the 1980’s. She finds herself listening to whispers of previous occupants and being accused of insanity because of it. Still, the house will not be silent and Debra submits to its dubious support as her stormy relationship unfolds.

About Diane Condon-Boutier: Diane Condon-Boutier was born in Bay City, Michigan, in 1961. Youngest daughter of a junk food factory shipping manager and a librarian, her favorite activity to this day, is reading a book while eating potato chips. Earning a B.A. from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, in French language studies, history and culture left Diane with a penchant for long walks on sunny beaches and crazy rollercoaster rides in theme parks animated by very large mice.Thus, it is not surprising that an internship to France aiming to perfect the art of French slang resulted in an undying love for the country itself and all things French. Diane calls Normandy her home today. She lives in the countryside outside the lovely port city of Dieppe, where she revels in a daily dose of history and the unique culture the French take for granted.She shares a creaky old house with a few too many spiders and two cats, sometimes harboring one or the other of her adult daughters: Rebecca and Abigail. Their home, named “Le Clos du Hérisson” or in English: “Hedgehog Close” is available for rental under a B&B basis. These rooms are mostly spider free.Diane is also the author of a well followed travel website: www.france-vacations-made-easy.com, as well as several short stories, one of which was published in the Goodreads anthology “Ménage à Twenty”.Her début historical novel: “Through These Doors, the Manoir at Bout L’Abbé” tells of lives spent in her part of Normandy, from contemporary times back through the pages of history to the Middle Ages. It is the first in a series.

 

Those of us, who love old houses, will admit to standing in them, and wondering what tales the house could tell – if only it were possible.

This story, unusually, does just that, and the property in question is the Manoir at Bout L’Abbe in Normandy, France. A majestic building like this, set in its own grounds, would have many tales to tell, for such an imposing building, in times gone by, would need regular maintenance, staff to look after its grounds and animals, indeed, such a property would have supported, at one time, many workers.

The story begins in 1987, when young American, Debra, moves into the house with her French husband Phillippe. The house welcomes the happy newlyweds and in time children, however, over the years, things change with unforeseeable consequences…

However, a house of this age can look back a lot further than that, and earlier in the 20th Century, it had been occupied by German troops in WW2. In a fly on the wall way, the house gives the reader a fascinating glimpse into life in wartime France and through the lives of the Fournier family, we have a chance to perhaps understand a little of the emotional strains of war on the French.

The author has brilliantly described the beauty of the French countryside and its wonderful buildings. Through her historical research and attention to detail, she has produced a very interesting and totally absorbing book. Whether you are interested in France, the war, history, or just want to read a good story, I can thoroughly recommend this book.

Available from Amazon.co.uk in Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbbe/dp/1478255560/ref=cm_cr-mr-title

and Kindle format http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbb%C3%A9-ebook/dp/B008ND8742/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392891520&sr=1-1&keywords=Through+these+doors

Amazon.com in Kindle format  http://www.amazon.com/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbb%C3%A9-ebook/dp/B008ND8742/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392827065&sr=1-1&keywords=Through+These+Doors

and Amazon.fr in Paperback http://www.amazon.fr/Through-These-Doors-Manoir-LAbbe/dp/1478255560/ref=sr_1_2?s=english-books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392891656&sr=1-2&keywords=through+these+doors

 

 

 

Best Foot Forward – A 500-Mile Walk Through Hidden France

A wonderful  narration of a 500 mile walk through hidden France by one of my favourite authors, Susie Kelly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Best-Foot-Forward-500-Mile-ebook/dp/B005UHJAK4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352471093&sr=8-1

Available in paperback and Kindle format.

Thoroughly enjoyable!

Living in France, I couldn’t resist this book, and through Susie’s wonderful narration I was transported into her shoes for her epic journey. Laughing and crying with her, whilst enjoying her discoveries and adventures as she walked across France from La Rochelle to Lake Geneva.

Sometimes visiting hidden places few of us will be lucky enough to go and meeting real characters and challenges on the way.

Forebears by John Needham

NEW RELEASE

A fascinating story of discovery spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Forebears_jpeg_4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the book:  When Jay Harding is given his grandmother June’s diary after her death he discovers a vivid picture depicting one Englishwoman’s life from childhood during the dark times of wartime Britain up to the present day. But he’s already learned dark secrets. Prior to her passing his grandmother had told him the story of her forebears beginning in the early optimistic years of the twentieth century, before the world was torn apart by the cataclysm of the first terrible ‘war to end all wars.’ That account gave testimony to shocking abuse, institutional cruelty and tragedy. Now he reads on . . .

As Jay journeys through the rich tapestry of his family history we find that in many ways it’s the reader’s own. For every family has a story to be told. Intertwined threads of earlier lives influence who we become. Jay sees his ancestors’ histories in handwritten pages yellowed with age; in sepia and black-and-white pictures dulled by time; in a poignant remembrance of lost love in a silver frame; has heard it told in his grandmother’s voice, tremulous in her decline. In exploring his forebears’ histories, Jay finds the rich echoes of the past resonating with his love-blessed present, inspiring him to meet the future.

Several themes run in parallel through this rich novel: the repercussions of sexual abuse, the continuum of female sexual reproduction, the woman’s view of fighting wars and running the world and the changing social mores throughout the twentieth century. It is a compelling social and family history; that of so many families of the last one-hundred-and-five years.

————–

This story starts with Jay, standing in the church at the funeral of his Grandmother, June. After the wake, his Granddad offers him the opportunity to read his Grandmother’s diaries, which she has kept since she was a child.

That night, Jay and his partner Helen snuggle up together and open one of the journals….

As they begin turning the pages, they find themselves drawn back through the years to June’s childhood. But then another, parallel narrative appears: we are taken back two more generations to begin with June’s own grandmother. The story spans 105 years, and follows generations of the same family, down the female line, starting with Juniper, an attractive young woman who becomes a Governess in 1906. Her life, like so many others was moulded by circumstances beyond her control. When World War 1 started, everyone, including her boyfriend was sure it would be over by Christmas, but unfortunately, as we know it was not, and our glimpse into her life gives a wonderful insight into what living before, during and after the First World War was really like.

As the story progresses, I found it fascinating to read about the changes in attitudes, fashions and morals throughout the 20th and into the 21st Century.

At the end there is the opportunity to sample the authors debut novel ‘Convergence’, which is about Martin, one of the characters in this book.

This, in my opinion would make a good book for students of Modern History to read, or anyone interested in family life in the 20th and 21st Century. Within its pages you will find it all, love, life, birth death, the full gamut of emotions. At the very end there is a satisfying, surprise plot twist.

Available at Amazon.com in Kindle format http://www.amazon.com/Forebears-John-Needham-ebook/dp/B00IAZX3Y2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392033154&sr=8-1&keywords=Forebears+by+john+needham

and Amazon.co.uk also in Kindle format http://www.amazon.co.uk/Forebears-John-Needham-ebook/dp/B00IAZX3Y2/ref=cm_cr-mr-img

Forebears by John Needham

A review pre-release of a fascinating story of discovery spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries.

A fascinating story.

Forebears_jpeg_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This story starts with Jay, standing in the church at the funeral of his Grandmother, June. After the wake, his Granddad offers him the opportunity to read his Grandmother’s diaries, which she has kept since she was a child.

That night, Jay and his partner Helen snuggle up together and open one of the journals….

As they begin turning the pages, they find themselves drawn back through the years to June’s childhood.  But then another, parallel narrative appears: we are taken back two more generations to begin with June’s own grandmother.

The story spans 105 years, and follows generations of the same family, down the female line, starting with Juniper, an attractive young woman who becomes a Governess in 1906. Her life, like so many others was moulded by circumstances beyond her control. When World War 1 started, everyone, including her boyfriend was sure it would be over by Christmas, but unfortunately, as we know it was not, and our glimpse into her life gives a wonderful insight into what living before, during and after the First World War was really like.

As the story progresses, I found it fascinating to read about the changes in attitudes, fashions and morals throughout the 20th and into the 21st Century.

At the end there is the opportunity to sample the authors debut novel ‘Convergence’, which is about Martin, one of the characters in this book.

This, in my opinion would make a good book for students of Modern History to read, or anyone interested in family life in the 20th and 21st Century. Within its pages  you will find it all, love, life, birth death, the full gamut of emotions. At the very end there is a satisfying, surprise plot twist.

Engine 24 Fire Stories 2 by Joe Corso

Amazing stories from a retired fire fighter.

Product Details

About the book: Every firefighter has a treasure trove of interesting stories to tell and the stories more often than not are instructional as well as exciting. When I was a firefighter, I kept notes of the fires I responded to. Now that I am retired, I have reflected on my career as a firefighter and have written a second book about the men alongside whom I worked, facing dangerous situations daily.

This book is a compilation of eight short FIRE stories written between 1963 and 1972, from notes I wrote after returning from fires. The first story explores the emotions felt when reporting for duty for the first time. The same emotions felt by all firefighters throughout the world on their first day on the job.

An inexplicable bond forms between men and women who face danger on a daily basis and who have been tested – and have passed the test. From the combat soldier, to the policeman and the firefighter – a bond of love and trust has formed that will last a lifetime.

About Joe Corso: I grew up in Queens, New York and I began writing in an attempt to raise money to pay for my grandchildren’s college education. I’ve written 12 books and 7 short stories. Right now I’m working on the fifth installment of The Starlight Club. When It’s completed I’d like to write a sequel to the Lone Jack Kid which is a finalist in the 2013 Readers Favorite book contest in the Western category. The Starlight Club won the silver in the 2012 eLit TRUE CRIME category, and was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2013 Readers Favorite book contest. My short story FIRE: Box 598 won the bronze in the 2013 Readers Favorite contest, in the historical non-fiction category. Go figure. If I would have known I could write a good story, I would have started writing a half century ago.

Review by Susan Keefe:

In this book, I was intrigued to learn about Joe’s very first days as a fire fighter. I will be the first to openly admit that I love Joe Corso’s stories about his career, and, as he recounts his memories, I felt as if I was transported into the very soul of the young Joe. He describes his very first day and meeting the men he was to worked with, men whose courage and dedication he strove to emulate throughout his career. Experienced fire fighters ,who took the young rookie under their wing, guided and encouraged him, whilst all the time instilling in him the firm codes and values they worked by.

There’s so much in this book. The Prologue, which has been researched by members of the IAFF tells  the history of the Maltese Cross, which is the international symbol of the fire service. I loved reading Joe’s recollections of the alarm calls they went on, the unusual characters he met, and how this close knit brotherhood of men dealt with the odd bad apple or two. I also discovered that there are many types of fires, and whilst all are dangerous, the smoke alone given off of the source materials of some can be deadly. Then the history of the old fire brigade building came to life, as Joe and his friend had to recover the old fire station journals from the roof space, and discover other things, stored there.

At the end, Joe has looked back at the animal hero’s of the service, the brave fire horses and included an interesting and humorous article by Jim Blanchard of the Saugus Fire Department and a fantastic photograph. 

What can I say, this book captivated me, I just could not put it down. I loved reading of the true comradeship, loyalty and brotherhood of these brave men as seen through the eyes of the author as a young man, and the pictures within were just fantastic to see – the icing on the cake as they say.

Available in Paperback from Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/Engine-Fire-Stories-Joe-Corso/dp/1493623362/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1383578075&sr=8-1&keywords=Engine+24%3A+Fire+Stories+2

and in Kindle format here http://www.amazon.com/Engine-24-Fire-Stories-2-ebook/dp/B00GA5EE2E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383578075&sr=8-1&keywords=Engine+24%3A+Fire+Stories+2

The Time Portal 3: The Princess by Joe Corso

 

Time Travel at its best!

The Time Portal 3: The Princess (Time Portal, The)

In the Time Portal books, we follow the adventures of Lucky Campo, who, through a horrific injury, has acquired the ability to travel back in time through Time Portals.  

In this book Lucky and his friend, Mickey, travel back to 12th century England where Princess Krystine is gravely ill. The medicines of the time have failed and the Queen prays for the wizards return. However, will it be enough, can Lucky change the course of history, and if so what will be the consequences?

Throughout history, there have been bloody rulers, with horrific stories attributed to them, like Vlad III Prince of Wallachia. Some believe that these traits can be inherited, surfacing at will. Vlad Koros is such a relative, a manipulator of wealth and power globally, a man used to getting what he wants. However, can he capture Lucky and control his powers and what would he discover if he could?

With the two events running simultaneously in his life, Lucky has to cope with many complications, both physically and emotionally, evolving his powers to survive.

Action packed and exciting, with a captivating storyline, amazing scene settings and descriptions, this book is really un-put-down-able.

It is available at Amazon in Paperback here http://www.amazon.com/Time-Portal-Princess/dp/1490539840/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1373287379&sr=8-1&keywords=the+time+portal+3+by+joe+corso

and in Kindle format here http://www.amazon.com/The-Time-Portal-Princess-ebook/dp/B00DOW5QW8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373287379&sr=8-1&keywords=the+time+portal+3+by+joe+corso

France and history combined.

One of my favourite authors has got to be Susie Kelly.

I fell in love with France on my first visit, a school trip to Paris, aged 14 and the love holds fast to this day.

When Susie Kelly released The Valley Of Heaven And Hell – Cycling In The Shadow Of Marie Antoinette I knew I would enjoy it because I have always been very interested in this period of French history.

 

The Valley of Heaven and Hell - Cycling in the Shadow of Marie-Antoinette

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Valley-Heaven-Hell-Cycling-Antoinette/dp/1447815955/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350826628&sr=1-1

Available in Paperback and Kindle format

Susie and her husband’s adventures on this epic cycle ride had me captivated, from their start at Versailles, the horrors of cycling in Paris to her descriptions of the places she visited and the histories behind them as they followed the final journey of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.

I learnt so much about a part of France I have never visited, the bravery of the French resistance during the wars and the Champagne houses.  I have visited Paris a couple of times since that first school trip but I have an overwhelming urge to go back again and look at some of the places I have missed, armed with more knowledge.

My daughter and I visited the Palace of Versailles this summer and found it absolutely breathtaking, truely spectacular and it was definately the most amazing palace I have ever seen, hopefully soon I will get to Paris again and then perhaps some of those other wonderful places Susie visited.

Yet another great book from one of my favourite authors.

Die in Paris: The true story of France’s most notorious serial killer by Marilyn Z Tomlins

 

Wartime Paris and the life of a serial killer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we think of the war years our focus tends to be with the horrors of wartime battles, and it is easy to forget that for ordinary people in occupied lands other crimes still happened.

In Paris, under occupation, the French people remained strong. Their ability to keep quiet and forget incidents when convenient was very necessary, and the resistance managed to save many thousands of people because of this. However, under this cloak of secrecy, other crimes were committed, but none as horrendous as the mass murders committed by Dr. Marcel Petiot even now France’s most notorious serial killer.

This book is a thoroughly researched and an interesting study into the life of this serial killer. In its pages, we discover the making of the man, his relationships, and how he evolved into the cold, callous monster he became.

The detailed descriptions of life in Paris at this time and the thoughts and lives of its people make it a fascinating read for anyone with a love of wartime history.  

In conclusion, this book makes you yearn to be able to wander down those same streets now, look at the locations and imagine being there then, stepping into the scenes which the author has so clearly laid before you.

 

Available at Amazon in Paperback http://www.amazon.com/Die-Paris-Frances-notorious-serial/dp/1482752808/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366440113&sr=1-1&keywords=die+in+paris

And on Kindle here http://www.amazon.com/Die-Paris-Frances-notorious-ebook/dp/B00BCRUKXW/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366440113&sr=1-1&keywords=die+in+paris

The Consummate Traitor by Bonnie Toews

Full name: Bonnie Toews

Book Title: THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN-10: 1461015383

Genre: Historical Fiction/Spy Thriller

Paperback: 344 pages

Brief bio: As a journalist, Bonnie Toews has covered significant events such as the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Her eyewitness view contributes to the plight of children in war as a recurring theme through her novels. With hundreds of published articles and five business press awards in her portfolio, Bonnie currently advocates for better care and treatment of Canada’s wounded warriors and is a member of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, Military Writers Society of America, American Authors Association and American Christian Fiction Writers. THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR is her first novel in a trilogy about treason.

One woman is betrayed; the other, sacrificed. What happens to them triggers a chain reaction of double crosses that alters the outcome of World War II.

Lee Talbot, an American journalist, is in Guernica, northern Spain with Quinn Bergin on the day Hitler chooses to try his experiment ‘total war’ there. Devastated by the scenes of horror which unfold before her, she sends a graphic eyewitness account to London, where it is broadcast on the radio.

Back in London Sir Winston Churchill meets with his Director of the Secret Intelligence Organisation, Sir Fletcher McAlister and Lord Wynne Henry Radcliffe, as they build their spy network and watch Hitler carefully.

Undercover spies Lee and Quinn are in Vienna surreptitiously minding the lovely pianist Lady Grace, daughter of Lord Radcliffe as she wins the coveted Belvedere Medal; they are still there when Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) changes everything. That night Lee and Grace witness horrors which bond the young women from very different backgrounds together, and a close friendship develops.

England is at war and when tragedy strikes Grace’s life, she decides to work with Lee undercover in the desperate race to stop Hitler from make an atomic bomb, knowing that if he does so first, all is lost. What follows is a tale of love, intrigue and betrayal, as the two women and the people in their lives face unimaginable dangers, and hurdles, in the name of duty.

The secret life of the underground network, and spies, who risked their lives to help others escape the tyranny of Hitler in World War II, comes alive as we learn of the dangers they faced constantly, and the personal sacrifices they had to make.

The knowledge that this author has firsthand experience of wartime journalism comes as no surprise when reading this engrossing book. With her thorough research and attention to historical detail, I felt as if I was taking a peep into hitherto hidden war files, rather than reading a work of fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, full of love, betrayal and intrigue, it has so many twists and turns it keeps the reader guessing right to the end.

Website: http://www.bonnietoews.com/

Available in Paperback here http://www.amazon.com/The-Consummate-Traitor-Bonnie-Toews/dp/1461015383/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364740174&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Consummate+Traitor

And on kindle here http://www.amazon.com/Consummate-Traitor-Trilogy-Treason-ebook/dp/B0056IXE6I/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1364740219&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Consummate+Traitor

Queen Elizabeth 1: A Very Brief History by Mark Black

The compact format of this book is ideal for the reader who wants to learn specifically about Queen Elizabeth I the last Tudor queen.

Product Details

 

This book covers all her life, from her birth on 7th September, 1533. We learn about her childhood, upbringing and the trials she had to endure, her relationship with her siblings, her older sister Mary, better known to many as Mary Queen of Scots and younger brother, King Edward VI.

From reading this, we can easily see how Queen Elizabeth I became such a powerful and strong leader, never marrying but dealing with suitors and foreign relations in her own way. The book finishes with her death on 24th March, 1603 at the grand age of 69.

As an adult interested in learning more about Queen Elizabeth I I found it a very interesting and enjoyable read, but I would imagine it would be invaluable to a child carrying out a history project on this subject.

Available on Kindle  http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Elizabeth-Brief-History-ebook/dp/B00ADTIBRM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363513436&sr=8-1&keywords=Queen+Elizabeth+1%3A+a+very+brief+history

Leaders Involved In The Final Solution by Rahul Patel

A very interesting read.

Product Details

Although a very short read, I found this book about the leaders involved in the final solution very interesting.

Everyone knows Hitler, of course, and the other names in the book are known to anyone interested in WWII, however, in this compact book the author has given us an interesting insight into the main men involved in the final solution, and their lives before, during and after the war.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a slight interest in the subject.

Available on Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Leaders-Involved-Final-Solution-ebook/dp/B00BSF07VS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1363425454&sr=1-1&keywords=Leaders+Involved+In+The+Final+Solution+[Kindle+Edition]

The Magic Of France – Memories Of Life & Travel In l’Hexagone

The title says it all!

Product Details

Available on Kindle  http://www.amazon.com/The-Magic-France-lHexagone-ebook/dp/B00A6RRVYK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360605395&sr=8-1&keywords=The+magic+of+france+by+susie+kelly

I have always been a firm fan of Susie Kelly, who has written many humorous books, about her life, adventures and travels in France. She gives her readers the opportunity to discover what it is really like to live in France and learn about its history.

Her unique ability to portrayal the characters she meets, and the situations she finds herself in, make you either want to laugh or cry.

This is a fantastic opportunity to sample four chapters from some of her books, and discover for yourself this wonderful author.

 

 

 

An Australian Dinosaur Tour by Jan Hawkins

Discover Australia’s Dinosaur Trail  Part of a series called Around the Campfire.

Product Details

Amazon Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Australian-Dinosaur-Around-Campfire-ebook/dp/B007IP0OAG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360062655&sr=8-1&keywords=An+australian+dinosaur+tour

 

Explore Australia’s prehistory with Jan, her husband and pup Tuppie as they travel the 4,800 kilometre Dinosaur Trail in Queensland, Australia.

Their journey  starts just outside Brisbane and takes the reader through vividly described countryside and townships as they meet new friends and discover Australia’s history and heritage.

It would be lovely to have this book with you and follow the Dinosaur Trail in her footsteps, to actually see the sites, museums and dinosaur centres she so vividly describes.

Luckily, there’s a wealth of information and pictures of Australian dinosaurs in this fascinating book, so for those of us who cannot visit in person, we can live the experience through Jan’s eyes.

And as for the Min Min light legend, well you’ll have to read the book to find out about that…

 

Richard the Lionheart by Tracy Kauffman

Richard the Lionheart Man and King.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Available as a paperback at Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Lionheart-Tracy-Kauffman/dp/1627093605/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355291643&sr=8-1&keywords=richard+the+lionheart+by+tracy+Kauffman

and Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/richard-the-lionheart-tracy-kauffman/1113795460?ean=9781627093606

 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this very interesting book, which chronicles in a very readable way, and great detail, the life of King Richard I.

Starting with his birth in Beaumont Place, Oxford, England in 1157, to his childhood, where he was given to the Franks, for slave labour, by his own father, who disliked him, through no fault of his own. We discover how he managed to enter the court of King Phillip II, who came to think of him as a son, and where he was trained as a knight.

Through this book, we learn about Richard boy and man. How he gained the title Richard the Lionheart, his close relationship with his mother who he loved dearly, his family and friends, his military career, and rise to the throne as Richard I, King of England.

There’s so much information contained in this book, how he gained his reputation as a great crusader, his meeting with Robin Hood, his loves, his marriage to Princess Berengaria of Navarre and his children.

It finishes with his untimely death in 1199, his successor, and the fate of his Queen.

Ming Tombs near Beijing by Wander Stories

Loving history and wanting to travel all over the world exploring even if it’s just from my Kindle, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Ming-Tombs-near-Beijing-ebook/dp/B0083FBL8O/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353416759&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=ming+tombes+near+beijing

 

With only basic previous knowledge of China’s history I found the virtual tour given in this book very interesting and indepth.

The thorough knowledge of the writer and their ability to bring these tombs and their contents to life had me thoroughly absorbed. It was lovely as well, whilst travelling through time to learn about the different dynasties and their reigns.  I only have the basic Kindle, however, I found the pictures which accompanied the text were clear and definitely added to the feeling of being there.

I understand that the publishers produce these books only for the e-market, however, I did feel sad that, having finished it, I couldn’t place it on my book shelves, and yes I know you can put it up on the Kindle any time, but I just felt I would have loved it as a real book and better still with tattered pages where I had actually walked round the tombs myself, with my guide.

Whether you are going to China or are just interested in tombs or China’s history I can thoroughly recommend this book.