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review 2018-11-18 08:31
A Night To Remember by Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan
A Night to Remember - Celeste Bradley,Susan Donovan

In Wedding Knight Katrina Trapp takes her nervous twin sister's place at the altar, only to find out her sister never had any intentions of marrying Alfred Theodious Knight in the first place...


This was a quick, quirky and funny little romp about a woman switching places with her sister, who ends up disappearing and leaves her in the lurch of being married to a supposed tyrant of a man. But as the two newlyweds come to get to know each other, they also rediscover themselves, and dare we hope fall in love?

I liked the two protagonists, although I felt Katrina was a tad too bratty at times, and I loved how they slowly changed for one another as they got to know each other and developed tender feelings of one another. Of course, seeing how everything was based on a switch, the inevitable twist had to come.
I felt it was resolved a little too quickly, but that's scandal for you.

A lovely little budding romance story.



In Have Mercy Winifred Mackland, having failed to deliver a good manuscript, is packed away on a forced writing retreat by her agent...Who turns out to have matchmaking tendencies...


Quick, funky and hot as hell.

Initially, I felt it was all moving a tad too quickly (even for a short story), but as it moved along, and the two got into their easy rhythm beyond jumping naked into the hot tub on the day they met, I came to love them and their little romance.

The progress and the reservations thanks to Mac's profession, was organic and realistic, and they were super cute and super hot together. Besides, the story made me smile, which is always a plus.

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review 2018-11-02 03:25
Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4) by Shana Galen
Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4) - Shana Galen

Unmask Me If You Can (The Survivors #4) - Shana Galen 

 

At one point in her life, Olivia didn’t have more worries than to wear pretty gowns and attend the most fashionable balls. Now? Now she has more pressing, more important things to worry about, mainly her full of life and curious five year old son Richard. Jasper may have looked scary with that mask covering half his face but his considerate and honorable behavior was enough to bring down the walls Olivia had erected around her heart. 

 

I have to say that Jasper was not exactly how I imagined him, he was way better! I loved the way he patiently let Olivia trust him with her body and hers and her child’s life. He knew the ordeals she had gone through and so he painstakingly let her take the lead when it came to the intimate moments. That’s basically what I love the most about Jasper. Even though he was reluctant to let her love him at first, once he understood her needs he was more than willing to accommodate her, and not just because of his desire for her, but because he understood her and wanted to give her what she needed. If that’s not love then I may be reading the wrong books. He truly was the perfect lover for Olivia. 
Olivia, although not the smartest of women in my opinion, was resourceful and level-headed. Perhaps at times she didn’t make the right decisions and trusted the wrong people but she always considered all of her options. It made me really upset how the scheming of others affected Jasper, Olivia, and of course little Richard. That poor child had been so happy for the first five years of his life and all of a sudden his life turned upside down. The villains deserved so much worse than what they got but at least they got some kind of punishment. 


To top it all off, we get a little glimpse at the life of Lieutenant-Colonel Benedict Draven! Just as the men he leads, he may appear as a brooding man but if my hunch is correct, just like the other men in his troop, that is just a façade to keep all the feelings from pouring out. In all honesty, I cannot have enough of these men and I cannot wait to read the rest of their stories. 

*I requested and received this book at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher*
 

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review 2018-10-28 12:00
A must have for scholars, researches, and WWI enthusiasts.
The Great War Illustrated 1918 - William Langford,Jack Holroyd

Thanks to Alex, Rosie and the whole team at Pen & Sword for providing me a Hardback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Despite my interest in the topic, and although I have read some books and watched some movies on WWI, I am not very knowledgeable about it, and I am more familiar with WWII, which feels (and is) much closer. I recently read and reviewed, another one of the books published by Pen & Sword, which explored a historical topic through pictures from the period, and I found it a great way of learning about the era by bringing it to life.

When I saw this book, the last in a collection of five volumes, one per each year of WWI, I was curious. Although I had seen pictures from WWI, they were mostly of soldiers, who had posed in uniform for their families, or political figures, and when I think about war photography, I think of WWII, the Spanish Civil War and later conflicts. This particular volume contains over a thousand photographs, including some in colour, maps, and drawings, of the various campaigns of 1918. The authors explain that some of the images are well-known (I was only familiar with some of the politicians, well-known figures, like T. E. Lawrence and Wilfred Owen, and some of the royals), but they had never been presented as a full collection or in an organised manner. The images are numbered and people interested can obtain copies from the image library in the Taylor Library Archive, and that makes this book a great reference for scholars and other people looking for visual documentation from the period.

The volume is divided into eight chapters: 1) Zeebrugge and Ostend Raids – Naval War, 2) The German Spring Offensives –The Kaiserschlacht, 3) Salonika, Mesopotamia, Palestine, 4) The Italian Front, 5) Battles of the Aisne and the Marne Rivers, 6) Americans at Cantigny, Château-Thierry, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, 7) Battle of Amiens – The Hindenburg Line – Advance to Victory, 8) Some Consequences of this Global War. Although the big protagonists of the book are the photographs, the text guides us through the campaigns, including also the original captions from newspapers, the citations for the medals they received, and some observations that help us understand the sequence and the consequences of the events.

Although I knew that in WWI there had been a lot of destruction (of lives, animals, and buildings) because of the use of weapons unknown until then, the impact of seeing pictures of towns and cities completely destroyed, of mustard gas attacks, tanks, planes, aerial pictures, dead soldiers and civilians, and famine is overwhelming. And the stories… From inspiring bravery to incredible cruelty (or perhaps it was just a strong sense of duty, but what would make a commander launch an attack two minutes before the armistice was due, resulting in thousands of dead men on both sides is beyond my comprehension).  As I read some of the captions of the pictures and the stories behind some of the photographs, I could imagine many books and movies inspired by such events and individuals (and I am sure there are quite a few, but not as many as there should be).

I marked pages containing stories I found particularly touching, inspiring, or almost incredible, too many to mention, but I have randomly chosen a few of them to share as a sample.

The caption to a picture of plenty of smiling men brandishing their knives in page 222 explains that they are Italian soldiers of the elite Arditi Corps ‘the Caimans of the Piave’. ‘They numbered around eighty and were trained to remain in the powerful currents of the Piave for hours. Carrying only a Sardinian knife –the resolza – and two hand grenades, they acted in a communication role between the west and east banks of the Piave.’

There is a picture on page 260 of a worker with the Y.M.C.A. serving drinks to American soldiers on in the front line, and it says that one centre at a railway site served more than 200000 cups of cocoa to soldiers each month.

The book also remembers civilians who died, like those working at the National Shell Filling Factory in Chilwell that was destroyed on the 1st of July 2018, with 134 civilians dead and 250 injured.

There are stories that are the stuff of movies, like that of The Lost Battalion, the 77th Infantry Division, cut off by the Germans for five days, who were eventually relieved, but had by then lost half of the men.

Or the one of Corporal Alvin C. York ‘–later sergeant – at the place where he systematically began picking off twenty of the enemy with rifle and pistol. As an elder in a Tennessee mountain church at the beginning of the war, he was a conscientious objector, but then changed his mind to become the most efficient of killers.’ (405) He took the machine gun nest, four officers, 128 men, and several guns.

There are amazing feats by men of all nations and horrific devastation as well. The last chapter serves as a reminder of the heavy price imposed on the losing side and the consequences derived from it. The peace would be sadly short-lived, as we all know, and some of the issues of sovereignty that seemed to have been solved then would resurface once more a few years later.

In sum, this is a book for people interested in WWI (the whole collection is) at a personal level, invaluable for researchers, as it provides a good reference to a large body of archival images, and it is packed with bite-sized information that will provide inspiration to many writers and scholars. Another great addition to Pen & Sword military catalogue and one that I thoroughly recommend.

 

 

 

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review 2018-10-25 22:32
I guess I expected something different...
Assassins - Mike Bond

Assassins - Mike Bond 

 

So far I can only give it 2 stars since I didn't finish it but as far as I can tell I don't think I'll ever pick it up. 25% in and the story has barely moved forward. I thought it was going to be a thriller but so far it feels more like an attempted lesson of South Asia geography, military artillery, and terrorist groups; not mention it includes a very prejudiced and narrow-minded description of the "Koran." Of course that all may change throughout the book but I guess I'll never find out.

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review 2018-10-25 16:08
The imperial German way of war
Imperial Germany and War, 1871-1918 - Richard L. DiNardo,Daniel J. Hughes

Though Daniel Hughes and Richard DiNardo call their book an "institutional history" of the imperial German army, a more precise description of it would be an examination of the imperial German way of war. In it they detail the evolution of the army's doctrine and strategic planning, from the post-Napoleonic ideas of Carl von Clausewitz and their application by Helmuth von Moltke the Elder to the subjection of their preparations to the test of war in 1914. As they explain, the experience of combat on the Western Front forced the army to abandon their emphasis on mobile warfare and the battle of annihilation in favor of a less costly employment of positional warfare while trying to defeat the Russians in the East. While the army attempted to switch back to mobile warfare in 1918, the units in the west (most now manned primarily by wartime inductees) had to relearn the prewar concepts, only now mobile warfare was reapplied without a clear strategic goal to pursue.

 

While this focus dominates Hughes and DiNardo's book, readers will find much besides this within its pages. Rooted in a vast range of sources in both German and English, its descriptions of the various branches of the German army, its analysis of the army's place within the German constitutional structure, and its assessment of its institutional deficiencies provides readers with an in-depth examination of a feared fighting force. Though missing any description of the combat experience of the soldiers themselves, this is nonetheless the most comprehensive single-volume study of the imperial German army available in English, one that is both a valuable starting point for the novice and a useful reference work for those more knowledgeable about the subject.

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