ANZAC Day – 13 Historical Fiction I still need to read

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I’m scheduling this post, so it was written well before ANZAC Day, but when this goes up I will be on holidays! It will be really weird not going to the ANZAC Day parade at home, but we will still be attending one nearby where we are staying. So it will be interesting seeing another town’s ANZAC Day parade, as I’ve only ever gone to one here in town.

Anyway, I decided to make a post inspired by ANZAC Day and talk about historical books. For those that do not know, ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and the day is dedicated to remembering those who served and died in any of the wars that Aus & NZ were involved in. It is an extremely important day to a lot of us, especially those who had family that fought. I have also changed my images to poppies. I believe that the Poppy not only symbolises war remembrance for Australia but also all over the world. The poppy is not only for those that were lost but also those that are still in service. In Australia, Poppies are worn, not only on Remembrance Day (11th of November) but also on ANZAC Day (25th April).

They shall grow not old, while we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget

So I have read a fair few historical fictions and mostly enjoyed reading them! I especially love reading World War II books. However, today I will be talking about some of the historical fictions that are still on my TBR! So let’s get into this!

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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Everyone is talking about this one, so of course, I want to read it as it’s had so much praise!!

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In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

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From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York TimesCode Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

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Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

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In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

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Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

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“Tell no one what I’ve given you.”

Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.

But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.

Shadows of War by Michael Ridpath

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This one is actually the sequel to a book I have already read, Traitor’s Game, which was really good. At the time I didn’t realise it had a sequel, so I never picked it up.

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October, 1939: War has been declared, but until the armies massed on either side of the French/German border engage, all is quiet on the Western Front.

But just because its quiet doesn’t mean that it’s not deadly.

There are those who believe the war no one wants to fight should be brought to a swift conclusion, even if it means treachery.

A year ago, Conrad de Lancey came within seconds of assassinating Hitler. Now the British Secret Service want him to go back into Europe and make contact with a group of German officers they believe are plotting a coup.

But this is the Shadow War. And the shadows are multiplying. And it’s not only disaffected Germans who are prepared to betray their country to save it…

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

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In 1919, Ada Navarra—the intrepid daughter of immigrants—and Corinne Wells—a spunky, devil-may-care heiress—make an unlikely pair. But at the Cast Iron nightclub in Boston, anything and everything is possible. At night, on stage together, the two best friends, whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art, weave magic under the employ of Johnny Dervish, the club’s owner and a notorious gangster. By day, Ada and Corinne use these same skills to con the city’s elite in an attempt to keep the club afloat.

When a “job” goes awry and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes they’re on the precipice of danger. Only Corinne—her partner in crime—can break her out of Haversham Asylum. But once Ada is out, they face betrayal at every turn.

The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer

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India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who’ll accept her – an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he’s ill.

Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won’t tell India why any old one won’t do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London’s best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she’s certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she’ll find herself unemployed and homeless again – and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

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The international literary sensation, about a boy’s quest through the secrets and shadows of postwar Barcelona for a mysterious author whose book has proved as dangerous to own as it is impossible to forget.

Barcelona, 1945 – just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax’s work. To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love. And before long he realizes that if he doesn’t find out the truth about Julian Carax, he and those closest to him will suffer horribly.

As with all astounding novels, The Shadow of the Wind sends the mind groping for comparisons—The Crimson Petal and the White? The novels of Arturo Pérez-Reverte? Of Victor Hugo? Love in the Time of Cholera?—but in the end, as with all astounding novels, no comparison can suffice. As one leading Spanish reviewer wrote, “The originality of Ruiz Zafón’s voice is bombproof and displays a diabolical talent. The Shadow of the Wind announces a phenomenon in Spanish literature.” An uncannily absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books, The Shadow of the Wind is a triumph of the storyteller’s art.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

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She Be Damned by M.J. Tjia – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: She Be Damned
Author: 
M.J. Tjia
Genre: Historical Mystery
Publication Date: Aug 1st, 2017
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Publishers: Pantera Press
Rating:
4 star

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London, 1863: prostitutes in Waterloo area are turning up dead, their sexual organs mutilated and removed. When another girl goes missing, fears grow that the killer may have claimed their latest victim. The police are at a loss and so it falls to courtesan and professional detective Heloise Chancey to investigate. With the assistance of her trusty Chinese maid, Amah Li Leen, Heloise inches closer to the truth. But when Amah is implicated in the brutal plot, Heloise must reconsider who she can trust before the killer strikes again.

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So,  I do really like this cover but honestly, I like the cover by Legend Press/Legend Times Group a lot more! I will put a picture below. On goodreads, it says that copy won’t release until July 2018, but you can already purchase it through Book Depository! Links at the bottom of the post.

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I really enjoyed the writing of this book! It sucked me in completely!
I did start this book a while ago but I only got 15% into it and I put it down. I was in a bit of a reading slump and decided to put it down and read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban illustrated edition first in case my slump affected how I felt about this book. But after jumping back into this book yesterday I flew through it!!
** The writing is very detailed and very graphic. I would not recommend this to someone that is uneasy with graphic content but it didn’t worry me. This book talks a lot about sex, violence, horrible stuff happening to people and has a fair bit of negative language directed towards some of the characters. So just be aware of that before going into this book**

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The plot was also amazing! It again drags you in. I wouldn’t exactly say it was action packed but it had an awesome balance of action and information which is perfect for a mystery.
Besides that, I can’t really talk about the plot as it’s a mystery and I don’t want to spoil anything!

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Heloise is an awesome character. She is so intelligent and does not let being a female hold her down. She still gets in and gets shit done and doesn’t wait around for the males to do it.
I didn’t like the short romance of sorts that happened. I didn’t love the guy that was the love interest. He actually kind of annoyed me.
Amah was an awesome character. She was kinda sassy and sarcastic and I loved it.

There were tonnes of other more minor characters but as a lot of them are possible suspects, you automatically kind of don’t like them just in case they are the murderer. So I can’t really say if I actually like them or not because of that!
I hope that makes sense!

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So I did really enjoy a majority of the book but there was one thing that made it a bit difficult to read. That was that I had such a similar feeling to Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I recently read that book and loved it. There were a lot of similarities between the two. We have a female, set in the past and they are battling against being looked down upon due to their sex. The victims of the murders are prostitutes in both books and the way they have been murdered in similar ways too. In SBD they have their sexual organs cut out and in SJTR the victims have different organs removed after they are killed. So as you can see, I felt a strong similarity! Not that that is really bad as I loved SJTR, but it did get slightly confusing at times when thinking about the events in the book.

So yeah, overall I enjoyed the plot, I loved the writing and the MC was awesome!

I don’t know if this book will be part of a series. The book kind of ended off as if there will be a second book, but it doesn’t say so on Goodreads. However, it is called ‘She Be Damned: A Heloise Chancey Mystery’ which makes me think it will be part of a series like the Poirot and Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie.
I hope there will be a second book as I would 100% pick that up!



I was provided with an eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to Pantera Press NetGalley for this opportunCheck out

check out the Pantera Press Website where you can purchase or get details on the book!

**Cover 1 is the first cover shown above and Cover 2 is the 2nd cover shown.**

You can purchase the book here:

Book Depository (Cover 2)

QBD (Cover 1)

Dymocks (Cover 1)

Amazon – Paperback & Kindle (Cover 1)



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

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The Girl From Munich by Tania Blanchard – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Girl From Munich
Author: 
Tania Blanchard
Genre: 
Adult Historical Fiction
Publication Date: Sept 1st, 2017
Pages: 421 (Paperback)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Rating:
4 and a half stars

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Germany, 1943. The choices she makes will change her life forever.

Growing up in Hitler’s Germany, Charlotte von Klein has big dreams for the future. Her mind is full of plans for a sumptuous wedding to her childhood sweetheart Heinrich while working for the Luftwaffe, proudly giving her all for the Fatherland.

But in 1943, the tide of the war is turning against Germany, and Lotte’s life of privilege and comfort begins to collapsing around her. As Hitler’s Reich abandons Germany and the country falls to the Allied forces, Lotte is forced to flee from the unfolding chaos to the country with the darkly attractive Erich Drescher, her Luftwaffe superior.

Amid the danger, pain and heartbreak of a country turning on itself, Lotte must forge a new life for herself. But as the country struggles to find its future, shadows of the past come rushing back and Lotte finds herself questioning everything she has fought for – love, duty and freedom.

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This book review will not follow my usual format.

This book was not what I expected at all. Most of the Historical Fiction books I have read are really heavy on the heartbreaking events that people had to endure during WWII. While this book definitely does hit that through the start of the book, the second half is very centred around a certain romance and the events that happened to that couple in the years after the war. Around the middle of the book, I wasn’t loving it to be honest as I just found it a bit dull as there wasn’t anything too devastating that our actual main character went through. However, I kept going and even though I am not generally a romance reader and generally just don’t give a damn about romances, this one I did enjoy. I also got connected to the characters and multiple times I was tearing up because of events that happened, both sad and happy.

Yes, this review is going to be spoiler free, however, there is a certain event that I think you need to know about before reading this book as it could be a massive trigger to someone that has suffered or been close to someone who has gone through this in their life.
I recommend caution when reading this book to people that might be triggered by losing a child in childbirth. I was hit hard by it and I have never been through that but as my grandmother lost twins this way and I have heard my Mum talk about it often, it did hit me harder than I expected. I’m even tearing up writing this. So, yes, even though that is spoilery, I think it is something people need to know.

Even though this review isn’t following my usual format, I still wanted to talk about the writing and the characters. So, I’ll add that here just without the headings.

The writing was really enjoyable. I really like it when books use a combination of mostly English but then some German. I have gotten used to some of the common German words that are used in most Historical Fictions and there was only 1 word that I had to look up and that was ‘prinzregentenstrasse’ which is simply a street name, but when you see a word that long in a book, it can be a little scary haha! Even though I enjoyed the writing, for the most part, but it was a little confusing at times purely for when they were jumping ahead days or months. There was no indicator that it was about to jump ahead a month or two and some of the time it wasn’t actually said at the start of that new paragraph, it was a page or so later in the middle of a paragraph and I was just thinking ‘wait! did that just jump ahead or has it been like that this whole chapter?!’. It was a little confusing and I wish there were time markers, there is in the epilogue, but not in the rest of the book.

As for the characters, Lotte I enjoyed, but did annoy me sometimes just because of how naive she was at some points even when the facts were sitting there in front of her.
Heinrich irritated me from the start of the book. He always seemed like he was a bit up himself and only cared about what he wanted and his views. He was also possessive and fairly forceful to which I absolutely hate. I know there are people in the real world 10x worse than him in those ways, but I am someone that doesn’t take crap from no one and if he had done that to me, he would have had a fist to the nose & a knee to the privates, quicker than he can say ‘Germany’.
Next, I want to talk about Lotte’s Mother & Step-Father but I don’t remember their names as it was only said once or twice and the rest of the time they were just called Mutti & Vati, so I’ll just use that too.
Mutti was not an enjoyable character. She was controlling at times and stubborn. She wouldn’t accept that her Daughter could have different wishes for herself and her life and when Lotte showed that Mutti just stopped talking to her. I can understand why she acted the way she did for some of it, but some of this was not necessary and all she was doing was pushing Lotte away, not protecting her.
Vati, on the other hand, was lovely. He was always the middle between Lotte & her mother and also tried to find a solution that would hopefully satisfy both sides, even if they weren’t fully happy with it. He was loving, caring and would do whatever he could for his only daughter.
Erich I also really enjoyed. He was loving, kind and patient. He would do whatever he could for the ones he cares about.
There is one last person I want to talk about and that it Tante Susie, which is Aunty Susie. So, for the most part, she was enjoyable except for at the end. It was never explained as to why she suddenly stopped being the loving Aunty but I have a guess. This next part in bold will be extremely spoilery, so only read it if you have read the book.
So, my guess is that when Tante Susie was away in one of the camps she met Inga and found out who she was. Inga mentioned that someone told her that her husband was in that town and had remarried and had children.  I am guessing that the reason Tante Susie started acting extremely cold was that she thought that Lotte deliberately had married a man that she knew was married. However, of course, Lotte & Erich both thought Inga and the children dead. But that would explain why she kicked Lotte & Erich out of the house. 

One thing that confuses me is the MC’s name. In the Synopsis, both from Goodreads & on my Proof copy, they call her Charlotte von Klein but in the book, she is called Charlotte von Betz. So I don’t know if that is some German term that I don’t know about or whether it’s an error, but it really confused me when I started reading the book.

So, overall I enjoyed the book. It was not what I was expecting and had a few elements that I generally don’t enjoy in books buts I still liked it. As all historical fictions do, this one brought out the emotions and you can’t help but be hurt by what these characters went through.



So, originally this was a book that I requested on NetGalley. However, when I got the email that said I was approved, I went on straight away to download it and it had already been archived. So I couldn’t download it. I sent feedback through explaining that it had been archived before I even received the confirmation email and Kirsty from Simon & Schuster emailed me and asked if I would like a physical ARC of the book! So, of course, I said yes!

So thank you to Kirsty from Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

This book is already up for sale and you can find it at:

Simon & Schuster Australia

QBD

Book Depository

Amazon Australia (eBook)

Booktopia (Currently 20% OFF!!)

Dymocks

Boomerang Books (Currently 16% OFF)



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
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The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: 
Mackenzi Lee
Series Name: Guide
Genre: YA Diverse Historical Fiction
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
Pages: 513 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating:
4 and a half Star

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Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

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I received this book in the July OwlCrate box. The book in the OwlCrate box had an exclusive OwlCrate cover. In the edition, I own the text on the cover is orange with everything that is yellow on the cover above is blue.

Trigger Warnings & Issues in this book: Abuse, Homophobia, Racism & Sexism. There is also somewhat of a negative view on Epilepsy, but understand that this book was set in the 1700s and Epilepsy was simply not understood at this time. 

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So I don’t particularly like covers with people on them but this one doesn’t bother me too much. I like all the little drawings on the front and on the spine. And I really enjoy the colouring of the OwlCrate exclusive edition a bit more than the original cover. Overall I really enjoy the cover of this book.

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I really enjoyed the writing of this book. It was easy to read and always flowed really well. The pacing was also really good as well. There is also a map!

I really enjoyed that at the back of the book there were authors notes and the author went into some detail about things like The Grand Tour, Politics, Race Relations in 18th century Europe, Epilepsy & Queer culture. I found the Queer Culture bit really interesting and would never have guessed some of the info that was mentioned.

This is something that is just personal preference.
I didn’t love how long some of the chapters were. I am someone who will only put a book down at the end of a chapter, not half way through and though a lot of the chapters were fairly short there was a couple that were ridiculously long and could have been broken up into 3 chapters or maybe even 4.

Okay, so this isn’t really about the writing it is just something I wanted to discuss. I have been seeing this book labeled as fantasy a fair bit, yet it is not. This book does take our real world a little step further, but it is still not fantasy. Alchemy is obviously something that was studied in the real world with the main focus being the Philosopher’s Stone. In this book there is a lot about Panacea, the word itself means a cure to all problems but in alchemy, it is a sort of medicine. Alchemist sort after a cure-all that would be a connection to the elixir of life. This Panacea would cure any illness and prolong life indefinitely. So, yes it sounds unrealistic, as does the Philosopher’s Stone but there are legends about certain Native America tribes using red sap of the elephant tree as a Panacea. So this is a real thing but like I said at the start of this paragraph this book does stretch reality a bit as I couldn’t find any info on the discovery of Panacea in Europe by the means that were used in this book. But either way, I still don’t think this book should be considered fantasy.

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This plot was definitely action packed! There was always something going on in this book! Even though this book was mostly fun and cute there was also a bit of a more serious side to it when it came to some factors in the book. I did find some parts of the plot a tiny bit predictable but most of the times I only guess the thing two or three pages before it actually happened or was discovered.

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I love that we have such a diverse range of characters in this book. Especially for a book set in the 1700s where a fair few of these things were considered illegal, unnatural or just simply degraded. In this book, we have a female who defies the limits of being a female in the 1700s. Gay character who could have been imprisoned or even killed because they were gay, we have a character with epilepsy that at that time was not understood and was just going to be shipped off to an asylum for it and lastly we have characters of colour, which at that time were used as slaves, treated like scum and weren’t even allowed a lot of places like Inns and such. Oh, and did I mention there are pirates in this book? Well kinda.

So firstly we have Monty (Henry Montague). Monty is an interested character, he has a lot going on and is kinda selfish and has a rather large ego. But throughout the book, he develops a lot! He discovers a lot through all the stuff he has to go through in this book!
Percy was the more sensible character but of course, has his own struggles. I wouldn’t exactly say he developed much in this book as he fairly well had his head screwed on the right way from the beginning but we do see his struggles and how he works through them. He is strong and he never lets the struggles get him down because he knows there is nothing he can do about them.
Felicity is another interesting character. Even though she is always considered less than and is held back from doing what she really wants because she is female she never lets it get to her and fights back in her own way. She is intelligent and badass and always knows what to do in difficult situations. I’m assuming the next book in the duology will be from her POV by looking at the name of it and I can’t wait!

There are other characters but I won’t talk too much about them. Monty’s father is a hypocrite and pathetic excuse for a man. The Duke is a selfish power hungry ass. Scipio is a funny character but I really liked him in the book. Lockwood is a little bit of a pain but he is just doing his job after all so he didn’t bother me too much. Dante is a very indecisive character and never knows whose side he should be on. Helena even though is a bit annoying she is loyal and would do anything for the people she loves.

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I really enjoyed this book! It was funny, cute and adventurous but it also covered some heavy topics. It was also educational as we learn how certain people were treated at that time. I don’t believe I have read a book set that far back before as usually the Historical Fiction books I read are about World War 2 so it was interesting to see all of this in a different era!



Well, that is all for this review! I highly recommend this book and I can’t wait for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy to come out in 2018! It will most likely be about a year till it releases, which sucks but it will give me an excuse to reread this book when the next comes out!

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
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Finding Wonders by Jeannine Atkins – Mini Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science
Author: 
Jeannine Atkins
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Biography (Written in Verse)
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Pages: 208 (Hardcover
Publishers: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Rating:
5 Star

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A novel in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.

More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.

Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet—and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.

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So this review won’t be the same as my usual reviews because this isn’t a normal book. I’m not going to talk about the characters besides saying that they are all awesome women who were brave and made a difference in science. I’m also not going to talk about the plot like usual as I don’t do that for books that are about things that really happened, I’m not going to judge someone’s life, that’s just off to me.

This is the first book that I have ever read that was in Verse and I really enjoyed it. It made it a really quick and easy read. At the end of the book, the author explains that she took the facts of what happened in each girls life and then just filled in the gaps that weren’t recorded in history and I really enjoyed this. I love learning things but at the same time, I’m not going to sit down and read a text book or something like that, so reading it this way was great! I got to learn about some amazing girls and their lives but at the same time, it felt like a fiction novel.

I’m pretty sure this book is counted as middle grade as well so that also added to the ease of reading the book as all the terms that were used were easy to understand. As the girls in the book were around 15 at the time, there were never any scientific terms that I have no idea of the meaning of. So I also enjoyed that as I have read some Sci-Fi books and had no idea what I was reading as I haven’t done any scientific studies higher than High School Biology, so I only know the basics.

I also enjoyed the slight hints that the author added to slightly link the books together in the first story I didn’t notice this, but in the second one there were little hints of moths and then in the third, there were little parts talking about painting moths & fossils. Those little touches were fun.

And just to add something from my normal reviews, I really like the cover! It is gorgeous and I also love the colours of the hardback itself, I love the combination of the bright pale green & dark blue!

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I highly recommend this book! It is a quick easy read and you get to learn something at the same time! It’s beautifully written and about some amazing girls!



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
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ALSO, DON’T FORGET MY GIVEAWAY IS STILL GOING ON! JUST CLICK THE PIC OR HERE TO GET TO THE GIVEAWAY POST TO FIND OUT HOW TO WIN A PAPERBACK OF ONE OF THE PICTURED BOOKS!

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: To Kill A Mockingbird
Author: 
Harper Lee
Series Name: To Kill A Mockingbird
Genre: Historical & Classic
Publication Date: July 11th, 1960
Pages: 307 (Paperback)
Publishers: Vintage Classics (Penguin Random House)
Rating:
4 and a half Star

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‘Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.’ Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel – a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humor. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

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So this is my second time starting this book, but only my first time finishing the whole thing. I had to read this book during school, I don’t remember what grade it was but most of it we read along together, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish it as when it gets to the scene of Aunt Alexandra having the ladies over for tea and cake, I don’t remember it or anything further on. I think we also watched the movie but I honestly remember nothing about it either.

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There is literally hundreds of covers for this book but the one I have is the nicest I think. I love the flowers and the red bird, I also like the font. Also, I don’t know how to explain this as I don’t know if there is an actual name for it but the edition that I have has that second cover kinda. The front cover is a little thinner than the book and there is another cardboard cover underneath that is the same width as the book, so it just peeks through on the side. If that has a name, please let me know! And that cover underneath is gorgeous too and it has the quote ‘Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.’

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Harper Lee writing is easy to follow. Sometimes I didn’t understand words or phrases but they were slang and obviously something that was relevant to the time period, but I just don’t know what they mean. But I could continue on easily without being completely confused! I loved how Lee made it read exactly like a young girl had written it! It was very well done.

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Well I don’t go into much detailed as I’m pretty sure most people know what this book is about… So this book shows Race & Class in the 1930s and I thoroughly enjoyed the plot! It was very well done! It was funny, it was sad, it was intriguing, it was honest and I loved it.

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So we have Jem & Scout who are our main characters. Jem is the older brother to Scout, he is an interesting character and has some deep thoughts for a however old exactly he is. Same with Scout, she is fun and interesting and also very thoughtful! Scout also reminds me of myself, you will never see me in a dress excluding my formal dress haha! Then we have Atticus, Jem and Scouts Father, he is a very well done character and will do what’s right no matter what! Aunt Alexandra is a bit bossy and Scout doesn’t really get along with her because Alexandra is always trying to force Scout to act like a lady. Dill is an interesting character and especially during the hearing it really shows that he is compassionate and has similar views to Jem. Miss Maudie is a cool character too, she is very calculated and never says something unless it has to be said. Arthur Radley is a character no one understands, including myself haha and is a curiosity for the children.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it has amazing characters and a very good message! It shows the honest truth of race and class in the 1930s and I 100% agree that it should be in the school system.


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ANZAC Day – Historical Books On My TBR

ANZAC DayHistorical Bookson my TBR

So as we are celebrating ANZAC Day here in Australia I thought today would be a good day to talk about War related Historical Fiction & Non-Fiction Books that are on my TBR.

So I enjoy reading Historical Fiction but I don’t read it enough! I really want to read more soon, but as I only own 1 other Historical Fiction that I have yet to read and I’m trying not to buy as many books until I get my TBR shelves down, I won’t be getting to these straight away but soon hopefully! I also want to try and get more into Non-Fiction books, especially War Non-Fiction books as war, especially World War II really interests me.

I have read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Traitor’s Gate by Michael Ridpath. Both were really good books! The Book Thief is so emotional and Traitor’s Gate is really interesting and different.

Now onto the books on my TBR.


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All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

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Berlin, 1942 : When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Code Name Verity Duology by Elizabeth Wein

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I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine – and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France – an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

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Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don’t let the ease of reading fool you – Vonnegut’s isn’t a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, “There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.”

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut’s most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author’s experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut’s other works, but the book’s basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy – and humor.

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City of Thieves by David Benioff

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From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival — and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.


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Maus Duology by Art Spiegelman

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A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father’s story and history itself.

This is a graphical novel and I want to try and start reading graphic novels.

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Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

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During the Holocaust at the German concentration camp near Plaszow, thousands of Jews lost their lives at the hands of the Nazis. More than a thousand others would have been counted among the dead if not for a womanizing, heavydrinking, German-Catholic industrialist and Nazi Party member named Oskar Schindler.

One of the most remarkable narratives of the Holocaust, Schindler’s List masterfully recreates the daring exploits of Schindler, who used his enormous fortune to build a factory near the concentration camp and saved the lives of over 1,300 Jews. An absorbing, suspenseful and moving account of Oskar Schindler’s legacy of life, this is an unforgettable audio program.

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The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A history of Nazi Germany

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Hitler boasted that The Third Reich would last a thousand years. It lasted only 12. But those 12 years contained some of the most catastrophic events Western civilization has ever known.

No other powerful empire ever bequeathed such mountains of evidence about its birth and destruction as the Third Reich. When the bitter war was over, and before the Nazis could destroy their files, the Allied demand for unconditional surrender produced an almost hour-by-hour record of the nightmare empire built by Adolph Hitler. This record included the testimony of Nazi leaders and of concentration camp inmates, the diaries of officials, transcripts of secret conferences, army orders, private letters—all the vast paperwork behind Hitler’s drive to conquer the world.

The famed foreign correspondent and historian William L. Shirer, who had watched and reported on the Nazis since 1925, spent five and a half years sifting through this massive documentation. The result is a monumental study that has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of one of the most frightening chapters in the history of mankind.

This worldwide bestseller has been acclaimed as the definitive book on Nazi Germany; it is a classic work.

The accounts of how the United States got involved and how Hitler used Mussolini and Japan are astonishing, and the coverage of the war-from Germany’s early successes to her eventual defeat-is must reading

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The First World War by John Keegan

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The First World War created the modern world. A conflict of unprecedented ferocity, it abruptly ended the relative peace and prosperity of the Victorian era, unleashing such demons of the twentieth century as mechanized warfare and mass death. It also helped to usher in the ideas that have shaped our times–modernism in the arts, new approaches to psychology and medicine, radical thoughts about economics and society–and in so doing shattered the faith in rationalism and liberalism that had prevailed in Europe since the Enlightenment. With The First World War, John Keegan, one of our most eminent military historians, fulfills a lifelong ambition to write the definitive account of the Great War for our generation.

Probing the mystery of how a civilization at the height of its achievement could have propelled itself into such a ruinous conflict, Keegan takes us behind the scenes of the negotiations among Europe’s crowned heads (all of them related to one another by blood) and ministers, and their doomed efforts to defuse the crisis. He reveals how, by an astonishing failure of diplomacy and communication, a bilateral dispute grew to engulf an entire continent.

But the heart of Keegan’s superb narrative is, of course, his analysis of the military conflict. With unequalled authority and insight, he recreates the nightmarish engagements whose names have become legend–Verdun, the Somme and Gallipoli among them–and sheds new light on the strategies and tactics employed, particularly the contributions of geography and technology. No less central to Keegan’s account is the human aspect. He acquaints us with the thoughts of the intriguing personalities who oversaw the tragically unnecessary catastrophe–from heads of state like Russia’s hapless tsar, Nicholas II, to renowned warmakers such as Haig, Hindenburg and Joffre. But Keegan reserves his most affecting personal sympathy for those whose individual efforts history has not recorded–“the anonymous millions, indistinguishably drab, undifferentially deprived of any scrap of the glories that by tradition made the life of the man-at-arms tolerable.”

By the end of the war, three great empires–the Austro-Hungarian, the Russian and the Ottoman–had collapsed. But as Keegan shows, the devastation ex-tended over the entirety of Europe, and still profoundly informs the politics and culture of the continent today. His brilliant, panoramic account of this vast and terrible conflict is destined to take its place among the classics of world history.

With 24 pages of photographs, 2 endpaper maps, and 15 maps in text

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Sniper of the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger Knights Cross by Albrecht Wacker

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Josef “Sepp” Allerberger was the second most successful sniper of the German Wehrmacht and one of the few private soldiers to be honoured with the award of the Knight’s Cross.

An Austrian conscript, after qualifying as a machine gunner he was drafted to the southern sector of the Russian Front in July 1942. Wounded at Voroshilovsk, he experimented with a Russian sniper-rifle while convalescing and so impressed his superiors with his proficiency that he was returned to the front on his regiment’s only sniper specialist.

In this sometimes harrowing memoir, Allerberger provides an excellent introduction to the commitment in fieldcraft, discipline and routine required of the sniper, a man apart. There was no place for chivalry on the Russian Front. Away from the film cameras, no prisoner survived long after surrendering. Russian snipers had used the illegal explosive bullet since 1941, and Hitler eventually authorised its issue in 1944. The result was a battlefield of horror.

Allerberger was a cold-blooded killer, but few will find a place in their hearts for the soldiers of the Red Army against whom he fought.

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Hiroshima by John Hersey

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On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey’s journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic “that stirs the conscience of humanity” (The New York Times).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search of the people whose stories he had told.  His account of what he discovered about them is now the eloquent and moving final chapter of Hiroshima.

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Flyboys: A True Story of Courage by James Bradley

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This book doesn’t have a Synopsis on Goodreads


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Lastly I want to add a couple books that are about Australians in the War seen as it is ANZAC Day so I need some books that include the ANZACs that we are remembering today.

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The Secret Code-Breakers of Central Bureau: How Australia’s Signals-intelligence network helped short the Pacific War

Non-Fiction

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This is a rich historical account of a secret and little-understood side of the war, interwoven with lively personalities and personal stories. It is the story of Australia’s version of Bletchley Park, of talented and dedicated individuals who significantly influenced the course of the Pacific War.

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Line of Fire by Ian Townsend

Non-Fiction

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The little known and intriguing WWII story of an eleven-year-old Australian schoolboy who was shot by the Japanese in Rabaul in 1942 as a suspected spy.

It’s hard to imagine this story as being part of our past, but in 1942, an eleven-year-old Australian boy, Richard Manson, and his parents either side of him, were shot by the Japanese for suspected spying in Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

Acclaimed 4th Estate author and award-winning science journalist Ian Townsend has uncovered a fascinating story of WWII, little known to most Australians. Centring on the hotspot (in every sense) that was Rabaul in WWII, his account is an intriguing narrative, which weaves together Australian history, military conflict and science – with volcanology being the peculiar science which drew the Americans, Japanese and Australians together in conflict in the Pacific in the 1940s – and the story of one ordinary but doomed Australian family.

Like The Hare with Amber Eyes, this is a fascinating work of narrative non-fiction, a story of spies, volcanoes, history, conflict and war, set against the romantic, dramatic and ultimately tragic backdrop of Rabaul in WWII.

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The Fight for Australia by Roland Perry

Non-Fiction

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From Changi and Darwin to Kokoda – The Triumph of Individual Bravery, mateship, and National courage that saved us in World War II


Well that is all for this post. I know it’s long but there were tonnes of books I wanted to share and I knew this was going to be long, so that is why I only put the Goodreads Synopsis and didn’t talk about each book myself as that would be even longer!

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