Category Archives: NetGalley

Book Review – Hitler’s Armed SS

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Military historian Anthony Tucker-Jones http://atuckerjones.com is the author of more than 50 books. Hitler’s Armed SS: The Waffen-SS at War, 1939–1945 was recently published in August of 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this book/novel as ‘G.

The book traces the origins and development of the armed or Waffen SS. It began as an elite personal protection unit for Hitler, and grew into Himmler’s 38-division strong army. The SS was not comprised of the regular Wehrmacht soldiers. Members of the Waffen SS were fanatic Nazis. They were not trained in combat as thoroughly as the regular Wehrmacht troops, nor were they as disciplined.

Units fought on all the fronts on which the Germans were engaged. Many were deployed on the Eastern Front, where they committed numerous atrocities. Several SS units also took part in battles in the West. What they lacked in tactical ability was made up for by their fanatic adherence to the Nazi cause.

I enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 354-page WWII history. This is the fourth book by Tucker-Jones that I have read. The others have been Radio Operator on the Eastern Front: An Illustrated Memoir, 1940–1949Churchill, Master and Commander: Winston Churchill at War 1895–1945, and Life and Death on the Eastern Front: Rare Colour Photographs From World War II. They all have been interesting. The book is full of details about the Waffen SS units. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a rating of 3.4 (rounded down to 3) out of 5.

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

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

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 590 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. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.

Book Review – Alias Emma

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Ava Glass is the author of Alias Emma which was published in 2022. This is her first publication.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature language, I categorize this novel as R.

Emma Makepeace has just completed her training as a British secret agent, but that name is only her working alias. Her first assignment seems easy enough. She simply has to escort the son of a Russian dissident across London. And she has 12 hours to do it.

But that is before the Russians hack into London’s extensive CCTV surveillance system. Buses, subways, cars, and trains, the normal means of transportation, are all being watched. Nor can they use a cell phone or a credit card without signaling their location. Emma and her charge must find their way across London without disclosing themselves to the Russian assassins pursuing them.

I enjoyed the 7+ hours I spent reading this 273-page thriller. The novel has action, intrigue, and romance woven into the plot. While I understand the chosen cover artwork, a London city map, I do not think it is very engaging. I give this novel a rating of 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).

Book Review – Ten Seconds to Dead

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – L.A. Clayton https://www.authorlaclayton.com is the author of four novels. Ten Seconds to Dead was published in 2020 and is the first book of her Ten Second series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is Katherine ‘Kate’ Edison.

Edison has just finished law school and passed the bar on her first try. Her father would have been proud of her, but he is gone. He died in front of her. Now she is ready to follow in his footsteps. He was a CIA man.

Since her father’s death, she has been preparing to be a CIA agent. She secures an interview, and it is going well. As she leaves, she is covertly contacted by the AGI, the Alternate Government Initiative. AGI is an ultra-secret US government agency. They want her as an agent, just like her father was before her.

Edison accepts the AGI offer and undergoes rigorous training. Even before she has finished her training, she is catapulted into the field. She faces danger in both the training and missions. She begins to sense that something is wrong. She soon begins to fear that she has been deceived. That she is not really working for a government agency. Can she discover the truth and survive?

I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 389-page thriller and mystery. The story is filled with action, suspense, and intrigue. I like the chosen cover art, and I give this novel a rating of 5 out of 5.

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

Book Review – Reading Hitler’s Mind

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Norman Ridley is the author of five books. Reading Hitler’s Mind: The Intelligence Failure that led to WW2 was published in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. categorize this book as G.

The book covers the period from the 1930s forward. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was preparing to deal with Hitler. The British leadership and military were stuck in their older thinking. There was also a concern as to the economic impact of beginning rearmament. What intelligence they had on the growth of Germany was often not believed.

Germany had been very successful in hiding its military growth. The UK also had significant financial ties to Germany. The British leaders were unwilling to confront Germany over events that were not directly affecting the UK. Many simply did not want to hear about things that challenged their point of view.

I enjoyed the 8.5 hours I spent reading this 179-page WWII history. This book was a challenge to read. The writing is very dry with many long rambling sentences. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 3.5 (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 have an interest in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 590 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. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.

Book Review – Three Miles Down

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Harry Turtledove https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Turtledove is the author of more than 100 novels. Three Miles Down was published in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as G.

The novel is set in the early 1970s. The primary character is Jerry Stieglitz, a marine biology graduate student at UCLA and part-time science fiction author. He is approached by the CIA to take part in a secret mission. A Soviet submarine had been lost and then discovered by the US. He is told that he will be part of a marine biology cover story for a ship attempting to recover the sub. He jumps at the chance for a well-paying summer stipend and the opportunity to gather research data.

He finds out that the real mission is the retrieval of what appears to be an alien spacecraft. A specially built ocean research ship travels to the North Pacific to find the spacecraft. The crew struggles to retrieve the vessel and find themselves faced with a first-contact situation.

Their ship is surveilled on and off by a Russian vessel, causing tensions to rise. Stieglitz is not always comfortable with the secrecy around the project or the longer-term goals of the CIA.

I enjoyed the 10+ hours I spent reading this 279-page alternate history novel. I have been a fan of books by Mr. Turtledove for many years. Among his recent novels that I have read are The House of DanielBombs AwayFallout, and Through Darkest Europe. This story is a bit slow but very engaging. I hope to see a sequel in the near future. The chosen covert is very eye-catching. I give this novel a rating of 4.5 (rounded to 5) out of 5.

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

Book Review – A Touch of Light

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(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Thiago Abdalla https://www.tabdalla.com is the author of two novels. A Touch of Light was published in 2022 and is the first in his Ashes of Avarin series.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R.

The story is set in the world of Avarin. There are two dominant groups, each with a radically different view on death. In the Domain in the north lives are long and death is seen as the ultimate sin. The bodies of those who die can be preserved, then brought back by the Seraph when she returns to Avarin. In the South are the clans. They embrace death to prevent the return of Zara the goddess of death.

A madness is spreading throughout the land without regard to religious views. There are three primary characters. In the North are Lynn and Adrian. Lynn is a rogue Sentinel warrior who is in hiding. She can call upon special powers when engaged in combat. Adrian is a Domain Prince who is leading an army. Nasha lives in the South. She is a cursed hunter and lifelong outcast. The story revolves around these three.

Adrian uses his army to confront the crazed who are attacking everyone. Lynn believes she may have the answer to combating the madness. Nasha is just trying to fit in with her people.

I enjoyed the 14.5+ hours I spent reading this 456-page fantasy. The book seems to be three relatively unconnected stories. There is plenty of action, intrigue, and political maneuvering. I give this novel a rating of 3.5 (rounded up to 4) out of 5.

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

Book Review – The Pope at War

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – David I. Kertzer https://davidikertzer.com is the author of more than a dozen books. The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler was published in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. I categorize this book/novel as G.

On 2 March 1939, Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli was elected Pope. He took the name Pius XII. His election came at a dark and tumultuous time in World History. With Vatican City nestled in Rome, the church was influenced by Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. After the German Wehrmacht took over Italy in 1943, they also exerted a great deal of pressure on the Pope.

Because Pacelli spoke fluent German and had served as Apostolic Nuncio to Germany from 1920 to 1930, he was believed to be favorable toward the Third Reich. His predecessor Pius XI had been an outspoken critic of Fascism and oppression. Cardinal Pacelli had attempted to exert a moderating influence on Pius XI.

Most consider Pius XII to have been a weak leader. He certainly was in a precarious position in Vatican City. Secret negotiations were conducted with Germany’s Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Pius XII condemned the Jews but never spoke out against Germany for their policies.

I enjoyed the 16+ hours I spent reading this 641-page WWII-era history. While this was full of facts, the book was very readable. The book covered an aspect of WWII that I had not heard much about. The Vatican sealed the war period papers of Pius XII when he died in 1958. They were only opened in 2020. Many facts contained in this book only came to light then. I do like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5

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

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

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 590 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. Included are links to many fiction and non-fiction books on WWII that I have read and reviewed. There are also links to WWII oriented podcasts.

Book Review – The Albion Initiative

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – George Mann https://www.georgemann.net is the author of more than 30 novels. The Albion Initiative was published in 2022 and is the 6th and the final book in the Newbury & Hobbes series.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this book/novel as R. The series is set in a steampunk Elizabethan alternative universe.

Newbury & Hobbes, along with their fellow Secret Service agents, find themselves set upon by Queen Victoria’s men. They come to the realization that the Queen is no longer in her right mind. To save the Empire they must enact the ‘Albion Initiative’ to break Prince Edward out of Bedlam.

Their investigation reveals the depths of madness to which the Queen has fallen. Will they be able to put things right? Will the Empire survive?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 244-page steampunk thriller. The novel can be read stand-alone, but it would be best to have read the prior works. I was fortunate to read book 5 of the series The Revenant Express in the summer of 2019. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

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

Book Review – Uranus

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Ben Bova is the author of nearly 100 novels. Uranus was published in 2020 and is the first book in his Outer Planets trilogy.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence and mature situations, I categorize this novel as R.

With the financial backing of billionaire Evan Waxman, Reverend Kyle Umber has built Haven, a habitat orbiting the planet Uranus. To Haven Umber has invited “the tired, the sick, the poor“ of Earth. Many have responded, and the population has grown to around 4000. A second habitat is under construction to accommodate the growth.

Chilean astronomer Tómas Gomez was awarded a grant to conduct research on Uranus. With his arrival at Haven and the initial results of his work comes a great deal of unwanted attention. Attention that interferes with the production of drugs and other activities that would be illegal on Earth or the inner planet outposts.

Beautiful Raven Marchesi is one of those who have fled to Haven. She was orphaned at an early age and had grown up in the slums of Naples, Italy. She became a prostitute working the streets and was arrested when she was 20. While she was being held in prison, she was offered the chance to move to Haven and restart her life. Like many, she jumped at the opportunity.

Marchesi is assigned to help Gomez when he arrives. A relationship develops, but they soon both become aware of the sinister side of Haven. Knowledge that could get them both killed.

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 368-page science fiction novel. This is not the first novel by Mr. Boa that I have read. In 2016 I read and enjoyed Millennium. I look forward to reading the following books in the series. I give this novel a rating of 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).

Book Review – The Barbarossa Secret

(See all my Book Reviews and Author Interviews) – Christopher Kerr https://christopher-kerr.co.uk is the author of three novels. The Barbarossa Secret was published in 2022.

I received an ARC of this book through https://www.netgalley.com with the expectation of delivering a fair and honest review. Due to scenes of violence, I categorize this novel as R. The primary character is journalist Hans Schirach.

In 2020 Schirach is approached. He begins to learn the truth about what happened. The true Nazi legacy from WWII. The Third Reich may have fallen in May of 1945, but a new Reich was now in power. It is hidden behind the scenes, but wields far more power than Hitler.

There are secrets many do not want to be revealed. The revelation of these secrets could cause governments to fall. Efforts are made to keep the information contained. People die.

I enjoyed the 13.5+ hours I spent reading this 468-page thriller. The novel covers from 1932 up to 2020. It is a mix of historical fiction and alternative history. The fictional plot weaves around many historical facts, popular myths, and conspiracy theories. I like the eye-catching cover art. I give this novel a rating of 4.4 (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).


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

  • The “World War II Resources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 590 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.