Category Archives: Fiction

Friday WWII Flix: “The Wackiest Ship in the Army”

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(See my other WWII  related posts) – A few weeks back I pulled out this old movie from my collection “The Wackiest Ship in the Army”. It came out in 1960 and the synopsis per IMDB:

During WW2, Lt. Rip Crandall, who was a yachtsman before the war, takes command of the USS Echo, a sailing ship, for a secret mission in waters patrolled by Japanese warships.

This is a little different for a WWII movie in that it is as much a comedy as it is a drama about the war. I have seen this movie a few times and I still like it. On IMDB it has a rating of 6.3/10.


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 320 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 Reviews: “Templar Secrets”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Templar Secrets” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Andreas Economou (https://www.aeconomouauthor.com). This is Mr. Economou’s second publication.

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 across the ages as it tells a story of the Templars and the Masons.

This story is a mixture of facts and fiction. In the present is George Makrides living in Cyprus. He has recently joined the Masons and has been seeking the secrets that he expected to be revealed.

Starting in 966 BCE Hiram is sent by his king to design and build King Soloman’s temple, but there is intrigue between the kings. Later the crusades take the Holy Land and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem. There is a need to protect pilgrims as they travel to Jerusalem from Europe and the Knights Templar are born. Much later the French nobility and church view the Templars as a wealthy threat and they are persecuted. The Templars are eventually officially disbanded.

Foreseeing trouble, the Templar leadership hides their treasure on Cyprus. The head of the order forms the Masonic lodge to maintain and hand down clues to where the order’s treasure has been hidden. The Masonic order evolves over the decades, but the essential clues in their ceremonies remain.

George and his friend and Masonic brother Alex are becoming disillusioned with the Masons, but their interest in the Templars has expanded. They wonder if the fabled Templar treasure exists and if it really is hidden on Cyprus.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 474-page mystery. While the primary plot of the story is the mystery of the Templar treasure which George and Alex pursue, I found the historical fiction of the Templars and the Masonic lodge much more interesting. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.1 (rounded down 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 Atlantis Deception”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Atlantis Deception” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Mark H. Jackson (https://markhjackson.com). This is Mr. Jackson’s first 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 contemporary England, Brazil, and Egypt. The primary character is archaeologist, Dr. John Hunter.

Hunter has been ostracised by the archaeological community for his theories about Atlantis. Because of his interest in Atlantis, he becomes involved with a secret group in the UK. He travels to the Brazilian rain forest then to the desert of Egypt following the trail to Atlantis. He and his friends find themselves in one harrowing situation after another, caught between two different secret groups.

I thought that the 6.5+ hours I spent reading this 288-page thriller were interesting. While the basic plot is fine, I am not a fan of the implementation. The story jumps or skips in places and I am not a big fan of the characters. The cover art is OK, but could be tied more closely to the story. I give this novel a 2.8 (rounded up to a 3) out of 5.

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

Book Review: “Conspiracy of Lies”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Conspiracy of Lies” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Kathryn Gauci (http://www.kathryngauci.com). Ms. Gauci has published four 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 Situations. The story is set in German-occupied France. The primary character is Claire Bouchard, a young French woman who volunteers to return to France as a British agent to work with the French resistance.

Bouchard is still trying to deal with the death of her lover when France is invaded by Germany in 1940. She flees ahead of the German army and makes her way to the UK. She is recruited and trained to be part of the SOE. She is returned to France and becomes a teacher while secretly serving the resistance.

She is faced with many risky situations and becomes romantically involved with both a fellow resistance fighter and with a member of the German Gestapo in her role as a teacher. The story is told by the elderly Bouchard to her daughter in 2001.

I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 300-page WWII novel. The story portrays the typical French refugee recruited and sent back to work for with the resistance. This one is more complicated as the primary character develops romantic ties that put her at even greater risk. This is really a story about a strong and heroic woman. While there was more romance in the story that I usually like, I do think that it is a good read. I like the cover are. 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 two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 310 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Friday WWII Flix: “La Dernière Section”

(See my other WWII and Short Films related posts) – I came across this short 9:24 video set in WWII “La Dernière Section” a while back. It was uploaded to YouTube in February of 2012 by SnakeMajin – WAW Production. While this is a French production, there was little dialog in the video.

I liked the action in the video, though the fact that none of the weapons were really being fired (bolts not moving, no empty cartridges ejected) did diminish the quality of the film.

Book Review: “The Ventriloquists”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Ventriloquists” eBook was published in 2019 (August) and was written by E.R. Ramzipoor (http://www.erramzipoor.com). This is her first publication.

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, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in 1943 Brussels. Belgium has been occupied by the Germans since May 28 of 1940. The primary character is twelve-year-old street orphan Helene, who is living in disguise as a boy.

The Germans are trying to sway public opinion away from the Allies. A German comes up with the idea to publish a fake issue of a resistance newspaper turning it into a Nazi propaganda bomb that will sway the public. They approach journalist Marc Aubrion and force him, and his associates, to create the paper.

Aubrion, along with an odd group of resistance fighters and newspapermen, come together to publish a very special issue of Belgium’s most popular newspaper, Le Soir instead. Le Soir has been taken over by the Nazis and is being used to publish their propaganda. The small group, including the young Helene, come up with the wild plan of secretly publishing an issue full of Zwanze [meaning farce or spoof] poking fun at the Germans.

They have only 18 days to pull their plan together, write the articles, then publish and deliver the papers under the noses of the Nazis.

I enjoyed the 18 hours I spent reading this 544-page WWII thriller. This story is based on fact. A spoof issue of Faux Soir was published on November 9, 1943. While I thought the story was interesting, I also thought it was very slow reading. I almost declared a Rule of 50 and abandoned it. I have to say that it did get better towards the end. There were unusual several characters in the story. It was certainly an interesting plot, almost unbelievable, yet it really happened. The chosen cover art is OK, though I think something closer to the story could have been chosen. 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).


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 310 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

Book Review: “The Last Second”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Last Second” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Catherine Coulter (https://www.catherinecoulter.com/) & J. T. Ellison (https://www.jtellison.com). Ms. Coulter has published more than 90 novels, while Ms. Ellison has published more than 30. This is the sixth book in their “A Brit in the FBI” 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, France, and Asia. The primary characters are FBI agents Nicholas Drummond and Michaela Cain.

A close friend is hired as a bodyguard to Jean-Pierre Broussard, owner of the very successful French aerospace company, Galactus. Broussard is in Asian waters on his megayacht, The Griffon, searching for the Holy Grail. Shortly after finding what they believe is the Grail, the yacht comes under attack.

Broussard’s head scientist at Galactus is the former US Astronaut Dr. Nevaeh Patel. Patel is trying to make contact with aliens, the Numen, she swears she met while serving aboard the International Space Station. After Patel was quietly forced to leave NASA due to her claimed ‘first contact’, she took up the helm of Galactus. She helped make the company a success but now she is using Galactus launch capabilities for her own plans. She has put a nuclear weapon in orbit that will generate an EMP. Patel wants to use the EMP to clear the heavens of all satellites and the ISS. This will allow the Numen to come down to Earth.

Drummond and Cain travel to Asia to look for their missing friend and Broussard. Then they become involved in the search for the nuclear weapon. Along the way, they encounter armed terrorists and Patel’s security. Drummond and Cain are in a race to disable the nuclear weapon before the EMP can devastate most of the Earth.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 464-page thriller. I liked the overall plot, but I was not impressed with the characters. In my opinion, too, there were a few holes in the plot details. While the cover art chosen is OK, I think something tied to the plow would have been better, 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: “The Memori Project”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Memori Project” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Martin Ashwell (https://www.martinashwell.com). This is Mr. Ashwell’s first publication and the first in his “Josh Heller 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 ‘G’. The story is set in the contemporary US. The primary character is Josh Heller, a former CIA operative who left under questionable circumstances.

Heller is approached by billionaire Simon Scott to shoot a documentary film on the neuroscience experiments he is funding. Once Heller is on-board, he is approached by his former employer to work undercover for the CIA. As Heller digs into what is going on he discovers what appears to be the disappearance of one of the former researchers. That raises questions as to the safety of the procedure and who the next patient to undergo the procedure will be.

The security chief for Simon Scott seems to be watching Heller. Heller recruits one of the research team to assist in his investigation and she too comes under the scrutiny of the security chief. Heller must try not only to find out what happened earlier to the research participant but also keep himself and his recruit safe.

I enjoyed the 9 hours I spent reading this 334-page thriller. I thought the plot was good, but to me, the ending really didn’t wrap everything up. The selected cover art is OK, but not tied to the story. 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).

Book Reviews: “Night of Camp David”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Night of Camp David” eBook was published in 2018 (the original paper edition was published in 1965) and was written by Fletcher Knebel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fletcher_Knebel). Mr. Knebel published a dozen 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 ‘G’. The story is set in Washington D.C. during the 60s. The primary character is the Junior Senator from Iowa, Jim MacVeagh.

MacVeagh is unexpectedly invited to Camp David one evening by the President. As the President begins talking with MacVeagh, the Senator begins to have misgivings about the sanity of the President. The Senator starts to investigate to prove to himself that the President is at risk.

Soon MacVeagh finds himself being scrutinized for mental problems. With a summit with the Russians looming ahead, MacVeagh and a few others he has allied with must find a way to keep the President from meeting with the Russians.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 352-page thriller. While this novel was written nearly 55 years ago, it still reads well. There are some references to pay phones and other things from the 60s, but the story holds together well. I read many of Knebel’s novels back in the 60s and enjoyed them. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

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

Friday WWII Flix: “REUE”

(See my other WWII and Short Film posts) – I came across this short (18:01) films set in WWII a short time ago. The film was uploaded to YouTube in May of 2014 by James Cawley, the film’s director. The synopsis per IMDB:

REUE is the story of two American soldiers stranded in occupied territory. While trying to relocate their platoon, the soldiers come face to face with a German infantryman. The trio of young soldiers soon learns they are more connected with the will to survive than they could have ever imagined.

This seems to be a pretty well-made film.


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

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 250 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 shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.