Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: “City of London at War 1939–45”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “City of London at War 1939–45” eBook was published in 2020 (June) and was written by Stephen Wynn (http://www.stephenwynn.co.uk/). Mr. Wynn has published nearly 40 books. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book gives many details of life in London during WWII. 

London was certainly going to be a target for the German Luftwaffe. The book documents the results of the German air raids. Lists of casualties are given for some of the more devastating attacks. There is particular focus to the eight months of Blitz between September 1940 and May 1941. Stories of individuals who survived the bombings are told. 

I enjoyed the 2.5+ hours I spent reading this 224-page history. I did enjoy reading about the trials and tribulations of Londoners. The long lists of casualties was something that I found myself just skimming over. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 3.6 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 350 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Layover”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Layover” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by David Bell (https://davidbellnovels.com). This is Mr. Bell’s ninth novel. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the US. The primary character is Joshua Fields. 

Fields is flying all the time for his job. While waiting for his connection he meets the lovely Morgan. They have a drink together and seem to connect, but then she leaves him to make her flight. Fields is infatuated with the girl and disrupts his plans to follow her. But when he approaches her on the flight, she acts if he is a stranger. 

She at one moment is pushing him away or running from him, while in the next is jumping into bed with him. Her erratic behavior continues as he discovers that Morgan is sought by the police. 

Fields is strongly drawn to her, but her actions leave him wondering about her. The more he learns about her the more he questions how much truth there is in what she has told him. 

I thought the nearly 7 hours I spent reading this 414-page mystery were interesting. I liked the overall plot. The ‘mystery’ felt very weak to me. Almost more about relationships and finding the way in your life. The cover art is OK. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Last Witnesses”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Last Witnesses” eBook was published in 2019 (originally published in 1985) and was written by Svetlana Alexievich (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svetlana_Alexievich). Ms. Alexievich has written at least 6 books and is a Nobel Laureate in Literature. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book is a collection of memories from children (primarily from the Ukraine) who lived through the Eastern Front of WWII. 

I found the 5+ hours I spent reading this 298-page oral history of WWII interesting. Unfortunately, after the first few dozen memories, I found them very repetitive. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Tangle’s Game”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Tangle’s Game” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Stewart Hotston (https://stewarthotston.com/). This is Mr. Hotston’s third novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in a near future. The primary character is Amanda Back. 

Back gets swept up into something she didn’t see coming. A former boyfriend sent her information that many want and are willing to go to any length to obtain. She sets off to find out what the information is. 

I was disappointed with the 2.5 hours I spent reading this 235-page science fiction thriller. It took me only 2.5 hours as I simply called a Rule of 50 at that point and put the novel down. I don’t do that very often, but I just couldn’t get involved with this novel. To me, it seemed chaotic with a lot of political preaching. The cover art is an interesting choice. I give this novel a 2 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Secret Soldiers: How the U.S. Twenty-Third Special Troops Fooled the Nazis” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Paul B. Janeczko (https://www.paulbjaneczko.com). Mr. Janeczko has published 9 books. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book tells the story of the Twenty-Third Headquarters Special Troop unit of the US Army in WWII. 

This group, also known as the Ghost Army, were used in Europe to deceive and mislead the German Army. This was an unusual collection of artists, actors and engineers who used sound, camouflage, radio traffic, and play acting to make the Germans see what wasn’t really there. 

Many in the US Army did not like the idea of using tricks to fool the Germans. However, after the British successfully used subterfuge on the Germans in North Africa and proponents of the idea, including US Navy Lieutenant Douglas Fairbanks Jr (the noted actor) were able to sell the idea to the upper echelons of the Army, the unit was approved. The unit was quickly pulled together, trained, and sailed for England in early 1944. 

The unit took part in more than 20 battlefield deceptions and the unit was kept secret for more than 40 years after WWII ended. The 23rd had three different methods of deception: visual, sonic and radio. Because of their need for the Germans to generally see and or hear them, they operated very close to the front lines and suffered a few casualties. 

I enjoyed the 5.5 hours I spent reading this 305-page history of the WWII era. I had listened a few months ago to a Missed in History Class podcast  episode about the Ghost Army. This book goes into much more detail about those in the unit and their operations. I like the selected cover art. I give this book a 4 out of 5. 

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “War of Shadows”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “War of Shadows” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Leo J. Maloney (http://leojmaloney.com). Mr. Maloney has published more than ten novels. This is the 7th of his “Dan Morgan Thriller” series. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the contemporary US. The primary character is Special Ops veteran and Zeta agent Dan Morgan.

Morgan is approaching his home when it suddenly explodes. He fears that his wife might have been caught in the blast. That begins a cross country journey evading agents that are out to kill him. Unsure of whether there are any other Zeta agents surviving the wide ranging attacks he struggles to survive with his daughter, the only other surviving Zeta agent he is aware of. Making his survival even tougher are the advanced weapons that are being used against him and his daughter. He only sees survival and vengeance on those who took his wife. 

I enjoyed the 6.5 hours I spent reading this 269-page thriller. This is a very action packed novel. Morgan and his daughter seem to slip from one life threatening situation to another. Is some respects it reminds be of the ‘James Bond’ movies with Roger More.  This is the third Maloney novel I have read and I have found all of them enjoyable. While this novel would be better if you had read the previous books in the series, it is a good stand alone read. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The True Story of the Great Escape: Stalag Luft III, March 1944” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jonathan F. Vance (http://www.jonathanvance.com/). Mr. Vance has published ten books. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The book tells the ‘true’ story of the “Great Escape”.

Contrary to the popular movie “The Great Escape” almost all of those involved in the actual escape were British or Commonwealth air crew. This book gives the background of each of the major figures that were involved in the escape. It also details the efforts to dig the tunnels used in the escape. Those that escaped are followed and their journey documented. 

I enjoyed the 13.5 hours I spent reading this 392-page history from WWII. I found this book interesting, but it was a bit dry. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “The Pilot”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Pilot” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Michael Cole. Mr. Cole has published nine novels. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the near future. The primary character is former US Navy SEAL Victor Seymour. 

Seymour leads a team of elite mercenaries on a mission for the CIA. He has been told that hostages are being held on a remote island by the North Koreans. Seymour and his team are dropped off and make their way onto the island. What they find is far from what they expect. Korean forces on the island seem to have already come under attack and are trying hard to leave the island. 

As Seymour and his team investigate, they find strange growth in the jungle around the island. They have stumbled upon a foe that they are not prepared for. An alien, the pilot, has been released on the island and it is killing and infecting all living creatures on the island. Not only must Seymour and his team struggle to stay alive, they must find a way to prevent the alien from leaving the island and infecting the rest of planet Earth. 

I enjoyed the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 221-page science fiction thriller. I liked the basic plot, but, as so often with thrillers, actions stretch beyond the believable. While nominally a science fiction story, there is an edge of horror in it as well. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 3.8 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Book Review: “The Sky Above Us”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Sky Above” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Sarah Sundin (https://www.sarahsundin.com). Ms. Sundin has published a dozen Drama/Romance novels with the stories taking place during WWII. This is the second of her “Sunrise at Normandy” series. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set primarily in England in 1944. The primary characters are Red Cross volunteer Violet Lindstrom and US Army fighter pilot Lt. Adler Paxton. 

Paxton has fled from home because of a dispute with his family. Eventually he enlists in the Army. Lindstrom wants to be a Missionary and serve in Africa like her aunt. She goes to England with the Red Cross expecting to help children, but is posted to a US Air base. Neither wants to find a relationship, but they are drawn together. 

Paxton flies many dangerous missions, engaging German aircraft and loosing close friends. Lindstrom is in charge of the Red Cross Aeroclub at the airfield where the 357th, Paxton’s unit, is based. She faces not only the ongoing relationship with Paxton, but the responsibility of running the Aeroclub.

I enjoyed the 7.5+ hours I spent reading this 383-page christian romance. This book is pretty far outside my normal reading scope. I added it to my reading list because I follow Ms. Sundin on Twitter. She  Tweets nearly daily about WWII and I wanted to give her novel a chance. It was well written with bits about WWII history injected here and there in the novel. I doubt I will read any further of her novels as Romance is not my genre, but if you do like romance, then I would certainly recommend her writing. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 340 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.
  • The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.
  • The About WWII page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Star Marque Rising”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Star Marque Rising” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Shami Stovall (https://sastovallauthor.com). Ms. Stovall has published five novels. 

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in a far future. The primary character is Clevon Demarco. 

Demarco is a genetically modified human who has been involved in many activities on the dark side of the law. He lives and works around the shady space station, Capital Station. This all changes when he crosses paths with Endellion Voight, the captain of the starship Star Marque. 

Though Voight arrests Demarco, she gives him a choice. He can be taken to a prison planet or he can join her crew. He doesn’t take long to choose her crew. It unsettles him some that the Star Marque is working for the superhumans that run the human expanse of space. The Star Marque acts as a mercenary police unit enforcing the superhuman’s laws. 

Voight and Demarco grow close as the Star Marque pursues its missions. They eventually become lovers. Voight has a goal of becoming the first human planet governor and she will let nothing get in the way of that goal. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 455-page science fiction thriller. Demarco is a dark hero. He has had a ruthless past, but as he serves on the Star Marque, he gradually becomes part of the crew and the Star Marque becomes a home he has never had. I liked the plot of this novel and see great opportunities for further books in this series. I also like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.6 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/. 

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).