Category Archives: NetGalley

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: “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jonathan Fennell. This is Mr. Fennell’s second published book.

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 covers the British and Commonwealth Armies in both theaters during the course of World War II.

Considerable time is spent with the British, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian forces. While the book is full of numbers and facts, it is very readable, though long. I was surprised to see repeated references to the sick numbers and censor reports. The censors made monthly reports of the general feelings and attitudes of the soldiers in their letters to friends and loved ones back home. These reports were able to provide the higher echelons of the army with feedback on the morale of their troops.

I had not known about the manpower resource problems, that is a reluctance to volunteer for overseas duty, that plagued the Commonwealth military. Nor had I been aware of the growing shortage of replacements for the British in Europe following the D-Day invasion. I can see why the story of WWII told D-Day forward is mostly an American story.

I found the 25.5 hours I spent reading this 966-page history very interesting. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 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 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 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.

Book Review: “The Oppressed”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “The Oppressed” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Matt Thomas. This is Mr. Thomas’ second publication. This is the first in his “Wroth Worlds” 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 and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future. The primary character is Bryan Howe leader of Free Human Special Forces Detachment 8222.

Earth had been invaded and conquered by the Hetarek. Much of the human population on Earth has been exterminated. The remainder has become Hetarek slaves. A few from Earth escaped the Hetarek and, with the help of the Ahai, have fled to the stars. The Free Human forces have begun to fight back against the Hetarek. They have already taken a few systems, now they have set their sights on Earth.

Howe and his team are inserted on Earth to start building a guerrilla army to rise up and assist in an invasion of Earth. But Howe and his team have a difficult job. Not only do the Hetarek keep a close and ruthless watch on the remaining humans, but the humans consider Howe and his colleagues “Runners’. They are looked down upon because the humans that have survived on Earth feel that they were abandoned. With a generation having passed, it is difficult to recruit survivors to risk everything to support the ‘Runners’.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 375-page science fiction novel. I liked the plot of a conquered Earth being retaken. There is a lot of action and not all of the characters you start out with survive. This is just the beginning of the story of a much longer struggle. The cover art is OK, but I would have preferred something closer to the storyline. I give this novel 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 Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942”

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(See all of my Book Reviews as well as my other WWII related posts) – “The Darkest Year: The American Home Front 1941-1942” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Willaim K. Klingaman. Mr. Klingaman has published more than 10 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 is the story of Americans on the home front in the year following the attack on Perl Harbor. While some of the military engagements are mentioned, the book focuses on what was going on at home.

How did we deal with shortages and rationing? How was the shift from a peacetime economy to full war material production handled? How did these early days of the war affect life in the US?

I enjoyed the 11.5+ hours I spent reading this 371-page non-fiction account of life in 1942 America. While non-fiction, this book was easy to read. It brought out several things I had not been aware of. So many mistakes were made by the military and the administration. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 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 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: “Darkness”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Darkness” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Lain Richmond (https://www.iainrichmond.com). This is Mr. Richmond’s first published novel. It is the first of his planned “Oortian Wars” 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 and Mature Language. The story is set in the not too distant future. The primary character is Captain Jack Falco of the United Nations Navy.

Falco is a hero of a war with North Korea, though it has left him a widower. Now he has reluctantly taken a commission as Captain of the Cyclone Class deep space scout ship Anam Cara. Falco, and the Anam Cara, will be on a 15-year mission to the Oort Cloud. They are there to investigate anomalies around Station Pluto.

To the surprise of everyone, Falco and his crew discover that the dark cloud in that part of space is home to an alien race that has been disturbed by the human presence. The alien civilization is far older than Earth and they have a history of violence. Before long that violence is turned on the human presence and Earth is soon at war.

I generally enjoyed the 11.5 hours I spent reading this 462-page science fiction novel. I liked the overall story and the characters, though I had some problems with the story when it switched to the alien’s point of view. Their thought process was hard to follow and it almost made me want to call a Rule of 50 on the book and drop it. The cover art is OK, but I would have preferred something more in line with the story. 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 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: “Hitler’s Last Plot”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Hitler’s Last Plot” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Ian Sayer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Sayer) & Jeremy Dronfield (http://jeremydronfield.com/).  Mr. Sayer has published six books. Mr. Dronfield has published 10 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 story is set in Europe beginning in April of 1945. This is a dramatized account of what actually transpired.

Europe had been invaded in June of 1944. The Allied forces were closing in on Germany. The US and British from the west and South, Russians from the east. Hitler initiated a last-ditch plan. There were several high profile people in German concentration camps. He ordered the SS to take those 139 prisoners from the camps. The plan is to use them as hostages and execute them if the Reich falls.

This book tells the story of those prisoners and their journey through Germany, Austria, and Italy. They were constantly under threat of Allied air attack and were at risk from the SS troops that had them in custody. Their fate was in the hands of the fanatic SS on one hand and more rational Germans on the other. The prisoners were also helped along by partisans and finally rescued by US forces in the days after the official surrender.

I enjoyed the 8 hours I spent reading this 327-page account from WWII. I had not heard about this incident before, so it was an interesting read. I was amazed by how much a few Germans assisted the prisoners, and at how lenient their SS captors were towards them.  I like the 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 two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a collection of more than 300 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.