Archive for April, 2019

Cold Lonely Courage

Soren Paul Petrek

A new adventure for Madeleine Toche, alone against the German Army!
Madeleine Toche races to the front only to find her brother mortally wounded during the German Blitzkrieg attack on France at the outset of World War II. His death and her rape at the hands of an SS Stormtrooper cast Madeleine down a path of death and violence when she joins the British Special Operation Executive. Killing the Gestapo is one thing, but when she’s sent after Field Marshall Erwin Rommel the entire German Army stands in her way.
Discover a new thriller with Madeleine Toche, in war against the Germans to protect herself and her brother!

How I Research My Novels

by Soren Paul Petrek

Each novel is different, and the research requirements vary. For Cold Lonely Courage I started with the basics. I knew that my character would be in the French Resistance and ultimately the Special Operations Executive. I knew about the French Resistance from history classes and our friend Madeleine Behren who had been in the Belgian Resistance helping Jewish children escape the Nazis.

I learned about the SOE from reading a novel by Ken Follet. I was intrigued and began to look for books that told the true stories of the women in the Resistance and the SOE. I prefer first-hand accounts written by women who were in the Resistance and the SOE.

There is a wealth of information online both in the form of articles but also databases of interviews with people across the wide spectrum of society, soldiers, sailors, spies, politicians, leaders and the common folk in the street living under the bombs or caught between two armies.

I began to form a picture of the women who were given little credit for their indispensable work fighting the Nazis. Most novels about WWII focus on famous battles and male protagonists. When women are included it is usually in a subordinate role. I wanted to develop a character that borrowed qualities from all of the real-life women I studied. The dangers these common folk faced are incredible especially when people are called upon to act with little or no military training.

I continue to research as I write trying not to retell history but to use key events to frame the storyline. I love to do research as I discover a new plot twist or a historical figure that I can bring into the story.

I expect that some pure historians won’t like the liberties that I take with historical figures and events. I do not write non-fiction. My stories come from my imagination intertwined with the characters and fantastic events that happened during a pivotal time in our history.

Other books call from a mix of historical research and research done regarding places, people and things. When I wrote Angels Don’t Die, I knew little about Israel, important historical and political figures, it’s history and people.

My sister has friends who’ve lived in Israel. I asked them for various tips and descriptions of life there particularly during the time of the Yom Kippur War. I was fortunate that one of them had been there during that dangerous time.

I researched deserts, the Red Sea and many other subjects.

Research is a fountain of ideas for me.

Publisher: Encre Rouge
Publication Date: January 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 364
Genre: Thriller
Age: Adults
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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The Last Leaf

Gwyn Ellis Pritchard
The Last Leaf
“You will have to place a small handful of the maggots under your tongue, and must hold them there for a full two minutes,” Jack instructed Isabella . . . .And boy did they wriggle! She struggled not to wretch!
Two worlds collide when a chance meeting brings together Jack and Isabella. Jack, the son of the Head Gardener of the Oakfield Estate, finds himself a friend in the lovely Isabella, the ‘little lady of Oakfield Hall’.
Set in Victorian times in the Southern Counties of England – with an intermittent welsh presence in the form of the Jones’ travelling gypsy family – much laughter, dance, music and cultural challenges lie before the two friends this summer!
How will the delicate Isabella fair among the unfamiliar countryside with its host of creatures and seasonal demands?
Will the rugged, uneducated Jack rise to the challenge of learning to read and write poetry about his beloved countryside – poaching, skinning rabbits and river fishing?
Every day is an adventure and it seems they are meant to be together, always. Or are they?
Read about their exciting adventures and discover the true meaning of friendship with them as they each discover new worlds and new challenges!

A Wonderfully Moving Story

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that it was one that I wanted to make sure I got a chance to read – and I am incredibly glad that I did. This book is very unique. It’s a lovely tale that I fell into easily and I cannot express how much I loved the friendship between Isabella and Jack. It was such a heart-warming friendship that blossomed throughout the novel. This book is also one that hit me quite emotionally as well, which is always a good thing – in my opinion!

The writing style is quite different but I liked it. It reads as though someone is telling the story to you – sort of like a bedtime story and so I feel that it would work really well when read aloud. Despite that, you were really able to get a good grasp on the characters and their relationship with each other and those around you. If I had one negative to say it would simply be that I wished the book was a little longer and we got a little bit more background information about the two characters – but that’s only because I really enjoyed reading about them!

Overall, this was a quick read but I definitely think it is one that will be loved by a lot of children. I think it’s a wonderful book for not just highlighting how strong and powerful friendships can be, but also how we’re also different but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends with those who are other from us. I honestly really enjoyed this novel and hope that many others will enjoy it as well!

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Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: March 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 128
Genre: MG Historical
Age: Childrens
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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I Love You Billy Langley

Monika Jephcott Thomas
I Love You Billy Langley
Twenty-year-old Netta can’t wait to leave Germany and teach in Brighton, England. It’s the height of the swinging 60s, but Netta hasn’t bargained for the prejudice she’ll receive in a country full of anti-German sentiment just twenty years after the war. She finds solace in Billy, the school caretaker, with whom she falls in love. But when she takes him back to Germany at Christmas it’s Billy’s turn to be on the receiving end of a frosty welcome.

I Love You Billy Langley Extract

Netta Portner looked around her bedroom as if it were the last time she would ever see it. It wasn’t.
Not just yet. But she felt the need to capture everything in her memory now, before the chaos of leaving ensued and clouded everything. As she scanned the room she caught sight of herself in the mirror on the dressing table. She turned to face her reflection, smoothed down her dress, adjusted her glasses, and raised her chin in the confident manner she prayed she could adopt when she stood in front of a class of comprehensive school students next week in the south of England.
‘Here!’ Her mother came hurrying into the room, dumping three suitcases of various sizes onto the bed.
To Netta the hurrying and dumping seemed completely unnecessary and typically dramatic. For a split second Netta wondered if it was designed to mask a sadness at her imminent departure from the nest, but that notion was soon buried under her general irritation with her mother, which Netta had cultivated throughout her teenage years.
‘These served me well when I moved here from Kunzendorf,’ said her mother.
‘During the war? When you were pregnant with me?’ Netta asked, delighting in her albeit embryonic presence in the story her mother had regaled her with on many occasions – the story of an arduous journey all the way across a devastated Germany on its knees in the final months of the Second World War. Since then Netta had never been much farther from home than the north coast for family holidays.
‘Hm-mm!’ her mother sang her response as nonchalantly as she could. ‘So a little jaunt to England should present no issue for them.’
‘It’s hardly a little jaunt, Mama.’
‘Well it’s hardly a race across a vast nation being bombed mercilessly by the Allies either, is it?’ her mother said.
Netta seethed as she flipped open the lid of each case.
Her mother, hands on hips, looked around the room as if she had never seen it before. ‘At last I can give this room a damn good clean.’
Netta looked daggers at her mother’s back as she ran her finger along the chest of drawers and grimaced at the dust she found there.
‘Oh please, mother! When was the last time you cleaned anything?’
‘Well, I’ll get Emilia to do it. Chuck out all this rubbish too.’
‘Hey! There’s no rubbish in here. And don’t you go telling Emilia to throw anything away. This is my stuff. My room.’
‘You’re moving to England. So how can this be your room anymore?’
‘I might be back… for the holidays.’
‘Oh, Anetta, either you’re going or you’re staying, do make up your mind!’
‘So you don’t want me to come for Christmas?’
‘What I want has nothing to do with it, clearly. You’ll do whatever you want, as usual.’
‘Whatever I want! That’s a laugh.’ Netta muttered the next words only half-wanting them to be heard. ‘I can’t wait to be free.’
‘What was that? Free, you say? You want to be free? And what’s that supposed to mean exactly?’
There was a lifetime of gripes Netta could have listed to answer her mother, but instead she pouted, ‘Nothing.’ Then like the child her mother could always draw out of her just as her mother drew pus from her patients’ cysts, Netta whined, ‘Mama?’
‘Yes?’ her mother said in a tone which suggested she’d forgotten there was another woman in the room and only heard her baby in need.
Netta stared into the open cases as if they were bottomless. ‘What does one pack for a whole new country?’
Her mother tutted. ‘Well, that my dear, is for you to work out. I’m far too busy with the surgery to worry about things like that.’
Netta looked up from the cases when she heard her mother’s voice tremble, but she couldn’t see her face as she was already stomping out of the room.

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Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 228
Genre: Historical
Age: Adults
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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Outremer lll: In The Beginning

D. N. Carter
outremer 3: in the beginning
For Alisha and Paul, their lives settle into a new routine of normality… but the world around them is changing rapidly and that calm routine is violently interrupted. Whilst Paul strives to learn as much as he can about the mysteries in Egypt, new people enter their lives that have direct, immediate and profound affects upon them and the direction they will follow. As confusion grows about their own beliefs so does whom they can trust. As mysteries from the past stretch out calling them, they have to make decisions that not only affect their lives, but the lives of countless thousands both then and now. The decisions they made helped shape the course of history.
Confronted by impossible choices and in making those decisions, they experience at first hand the painful realities and repercussions that threaten to destroy them completely as personal tragedies rip through their lives as a direct consequence. As friends become foes, and foes become friends, nothing will ever be the same again as explosive revelations about mankind’s true past and the Church are divulged that once learned can never be unlearned or forgotten… for truth once whispered, is still truth which only grows louder no matter how hard evil forces try to control and suppress it with fear, hate and war; forces Paul will have to confront head on in order to protect and safeguard a greater secret and legacy destined for all of us in or time.

Top Five Books I Absolutely Love

by D. N. Carter

All of my Top Five Books are International best sellers in their own rights nowadays, but the first two were not so when I first read them back in the late 1970’s.

1: ‘The Great Pyramid Decoded’ by Peter Lemesurier.
This is undoubtedly my number one book of the Top Five Books I absolutely love. This book set me upon a path of research and discovery that changed the very direction and course of my life. Peter was a Cambridge-trained modern linguist, teacher and professional translator. I first read this book, whilst living in Cyprus. Having visited the Great Pyramid, I had a deep sense that it was not just simply a single tomb for a Pharaoh, so when I saw this book squeezed between two volumes in the New Age section of the library I thought it had been placed there incorrectly; I simply had to take a closer look. Having a great love of castles, ancient ruins and tombs, I liked the drawings I saw inside…I was not so keen on all the mathematics and geometry I saw but decided I would read it, for I felt it possibly held some truths. And indeed it did as this turned out to be the one most significant book I have ever read. It covered everything and hinted at so much more. To my surprise I also discovered that I actually understood it all…my school friends thinking I had lost the plot when I tried to engage them in discussions about it. Peter was a world authority on Nostradamus, which led me to research him also, which in turn sent me in many directions of research. Many years later I became friends with Peter and his guidance and advice proved incalculable. Book II of Outremer is dedicated to him. He sadly passed away in 2016.

2: ‘The Sirius Mystery’ by Robert Temple.
I read this after reading the Great Pyramid Decoded. It had just been published and I liked the look of the cover artwork. It was academically presented and looked incredibly daunting upon my initial perusal having secured it from the library. I had only just turned thirteen years of age and my brother joked that it was far too difficult to read let alone understand. My initial reaction was that he was probably correct. I faltered and put it aside and read Chariots of the Gods instead which had lots of photographs and drawings. That was easy to read and captured my imagination. Upon completion I was drawn back to The Sirius Mystery, but I have to say with a greater sense of determination to read it…not only that, but understand it. This book made me ask many questions about our origins and also to look again at our myths, which I loved, especially ancient Greek ones, in a totally different light. I did not accept everything as absolutely correct in the book, but it made look deeper and further into various subjects I had never contemplated before. They included astronomy, science, physics and chemistry. It was a life changing read in many ways and acted like a bridge between The Great Pyramid Decoded and Chariots of the Gods. It was the start of a very personal journey that ultimately led to many more specialist areas of research ranging from esoteric mysteries, medieval history to quantum physics…which in turn directly influenced the content of Outremer series of books.

3: ‘Chariots of the Gods’ by Eric von Daniken.
I loved this book because it was so easy to read; not at all complicated or full of long words I had no idea what they meant like the two previous books mentioned above. The basic premise of the book was Eric’s absolute belief that aliens came to Earth many thousands of years ago and left evidence proving so. This fascinated me, and was the reason why I often ended up sitting outside in my garden late at night with my father’s binoculars, telescopes and cameras studying the stars above. Cyprus had perfectly clear skies for this. I secretly hoped I’d see a UFO…but didn’t. As said, I loved this book but something did not ring as totally true…that aliens were responsible. I had a deep sense that a lot of what was covered was in fact down to our very own, but highly advanced, ancestors who had reached a higher level of civilisation than we give them credit for. The evidence is certainly there in physical form, but also encoded within myths and religion. In Outremer I reveal but a part of that information which can all be checked and verified.

4: ‘The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail’ by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln.
I read this book from start to finish on a military exercise whilst stuck in an old farmhouse in Germany. A lot of the information presented within it has come under severe scrutiny and generated a lot of controversy since the books release but has also inspired other international best sellers, such as Dan Browns ‘The Da Vinci Code’. The basic outline of Dan Browns book is about the survival of a blood line directly from Jesus himself. His children no less and their subsequent lineage up the present day, but the research behind the story was mainly taken from The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. This book fuelled my deep interest in all matters relating to the Crusades, Holy Grail legends and Knights Templar.

5: ‘Peanuts’ by Charles M Schultz.
What can I say about the iconic Peanuts books with Charlie Brown and Snoopy? I collected nearly all of the books in the series. Still have them at my parent’s home. They gave a genuine and profound insight into real life. Invaluable advice in a humorous format.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Publication Date: April 2019
Format: Paperback
Pages: 746
Genre: Historical
Age: Adults
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Review Copy
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