Books/book review/fiction

War spoils you

Spoils Book Cover Spoils
Brian Van Reet
military, thriller, literary fiction
Jonathan Cape
April 27, 2017

It is the spring of 2003 and coalition forces are advancing on Iraq. Images of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein crashing to the ground in Baghdad are being beamed to news channels around the world. Nineteen-year-old Specialist Cassandra Wigheard, on her first deployment since joining the US army two years earlier, is primed for war. For Abu al-Hool, a jihadist since the days of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, war is wearing thin. Two decades of fighting - and the new wave of super-radicalised fighters joining the ranks in the wake of the September 11 attacks - have left him questioning his commitment to the struggle. When Cassandra is taken prisoner by al-Hool's mujahideen brotherhood, both fighters will find their loyalties tested to the very limits. This fast-paced, hard-hitting account of eight weeks in the lives of a soldier and her captor forces us to reconsider the simplistic narratives of war spun by those in power. With its privileged insight into the reality of armed combat, Spoils shines a light on the uncertainty, fear and idealism that characterised the early days of one of the most important conflicts of our time.

This was a book I couldn’t read at night as I suspected I would have bad dreams. Not because it was gory or anything or with too much horror – I read those types of books all the time. But because this was about a real war – the Iraq war, which I knew too much about and had always been against, and it re-emphasised that it was always the Grunts of whichever side, that really felt the horrors. And I remember all too clearly the be-heading of US servicemen being filmed and distributed on TV – not that I could watch it but…

So this is a book to be read before you join the military. Before you think war is all glory and medals. If you are  not going to be a Captain or  above, you are going to be on the front line – and we all remember all too clearly what happens to the front line – it gets blown up by rockets, it goes across IEDs, it gets shot at by missiles and Uzis and…. all this in the most appalling living conditions you can imagine, for weeks on end.

Too realistic to be a story that you can say that you enjoyed reading, but yet a story that should be read.

Share This:

Books/book review/fiction/Romance/crime fiction

Which is the Right Way?

Wrong Turn, Right Direction Book Cover Wrong Turn, Right Direction
#4  Bourbon Street Boys
Elle Casey
Fiction, military, romance, mystery
Montlake Romance
May 9, 2017

Tamika Cleary takes a wrong turn up a one-way street—and straight into Thibault Delacroix’s leg as he steps into the road. But Mika’s in a hurry, and she certainly doesn’t have time for a guy who can’t even look both ways before crossing, even if he does have a cute face, a body to die for, and the darkest, thickest eyelashes she’s ever seen. Unfortunately for Mika, fate has other ideas. When she’s threatened by her employer, a Russian mafia boss known as “The Thief”, she’s forced to accept Thibault’s help. As the co-owner of the Bourbon Street Boys security firm, he believes he can keep her safe. But Mika has a whole load of trust issues—and the pushier Thibault is about helping, the more stubbornly she tries to resist. Mika may have taken a wrong turn the day they met, but will she finally let someone steer her in the right direction?

Here Elle Casey tackles an even darker storyline with a heroine having a really distressing back story which she gradually relates to Thibault.

The story is told in the 1st person but as it is happening, so we can’t know the resolution of the story until Tamika knows herself.

Tamika starts the story off with a road accident and giving birth – somewhat unexpectedly, as she hadn’t realised she was pregnant –  in a nail salon. Not knowing she was pregnant was really a form of self- denial as we realise as the story progresses.

How she became pregnant was something she does not want to share, even though it is clear that Pavel was the father so the reader can only assume rape. Which would totally fit with her relationship with Pavel, the crime lord.

A story that makes you think and glad you didn’t live Tamika’s life in the ghetto.


Share This:

Books/book review/fiction/crime fiction

No Fire without Smoke

Forged in Smoke Book Cover Forged in Smoke
Red Hot SEALs
Trish McCallan
romance, contemporary, women's fiction, military, mystery, suspense
Montlake Romance
July 19, 2016

Faith Ansell could never be mistaken for an action hero. The scientist is content in her lab, working with her team on life-changing discoveries. But when a mysterious organization captures her colleagues, she s forced to flee for her life with SEAL Team 7. Lieutenant Seth Rawls Rawlings, ST7 s corpsman, hasn t been himself since a near-death experience in the Sierra Nevadas. He s tense and distracted, and the team caught him arguing with himself loudly. Despite his erratic behavior, Rawls is the only one Faith feels comfortable confiding her life-threatening secret in. But Rawls has a secret of his own: his wasn t the only spirit to return to the physical plane when he was resuscitated. At first, Rawls assumed the ghost he saw and heard meant he was having a complete mental breakdown. But the apparition soon becomes convincingly real, and what s more, he may be the key to the conspiracy looming over them. Rawls had better act quickly because ST7 s race to save their reputations and Faith s life is on."

The 3rd book in this series for me. So far no others have been published but there is plenty of potential that is hinted at – and the story has not been competed as this book finishes – in fact a new conspiracy is discovered at the very end which leaves ST7 in a very strange place indeed.

We do find out who is behind the first conspiracy and also some of their justifications – all to do with the special project that the 7 scientists had been working on and its potential uses. It can clearly be used for good but it seems that it has other possible uses, more indeed than is originally thought of.

We learn what has happened to Embray, the person responsible for the project being worked on, and it is worse than originally thought – again, the conspiracy behaves in a way you would not thought possible.

Some new mental and physical abilities are demonstrated and a ghost appears. And a romance is begun.

All the members of the ST7 will be hitched by the time this series ends of course. It’s just who they will fall for and why.

We learn more of each characters’ family and their lives before they joined up which explains a lot of their behaviour and thought processes. We also learn gradually about their hang-ups and their their strengths.  Centring each book on a particular pair means that we are continually given a new perspective on what is happening.

Share This:

Books/book review/Fantasy/fiction/Romance

Racial discrimination?

Her Forbidden Alpha Book Cover Her Forbidden Alpha
The Colliding Worlds Series
Tabitha Conall
paranormal romance, contemporary, new adult, humour, military
Little Death Books
(13 Aug. 2014)

Can fated love triumph over the threat of war?

Aislinn Cavett lives a sheltered life, raised in a human supremacist compound and kept separate from the wild variety of non-humans teeming outside the compound’s fence.

North American Pack Alpha Darius Bishop believes peace with the Humans First group is the only way to protect his wolves from ongoing, senseless violence.

When Darius arrives at the Humans First compound for peace negotiations, he finds something he didn’t expect—his mate. Fate couldn’t have chosen a more inconvenient mate for him in the General’s daughter, but Darius doesn’t care. Aislinn is perfect.

War could be the result of their mating. When her father advances and his own wolves turn against him, Darius has to make an impossible choice—his love and his sanity, or the lives of his pack.

(From the Year of the Wolf Vol 2 Box Set)

So as we dream and imagine our fantasies become true and manifest – the multiverse becomes one and all our magical imaginations now live alongside us.

With this premise in mind, those who believe that humans are the superior species wage war on the magical creatures – or were werewolves here before humans anyway?  Apartheid anyone? Racial segregation and discrimination are the norm.

So far 3 worlds have collided – those of werewolves, vampires and dragons. Plus other magical species on each of course. But a 4th world is heading towards Earth Prime and a world walker is sought to discover what creature dominates it.

There are 3 more books related to this series in this collection: Her Scottish Alpha; Her Kilted Mate; and Her Vampire Mate.

The 3 worlds’ chief species live in an uneasy truce with each other. Wolves fight wolves for territory; dragons are reputed to be great thieve  and no-one trusts them with the family silver; and as for vampires, well they are just too sneaky.

But in this series mates are found in unexpected places.

The US Alpha wolf  mates a human; a US wolf mates with a Scottish wolf; the UK Alpha wolf  mates a dragon slayer – who is not quite a human -;and as for a US wolf, well there was this vampire…

These are fun books. Shortish and quick reads at one sitting. Enough of a storyline to make you keep on reading but really you need all the 4 combined to make 1 substantial story.

4 for some fun and originality.

Share This:

Books/book review/Fantasy/fiction

A War for the Female Gender?

Silver Stars Book Cover Silver Stars
Front Lines
Michael Grant
YA, military, fantasy, action and adventure
Electric Monkey
February 9, 2017

Sequel to Front Lines, the epic new young adult series by the author of GONE set in an alternate World War II. Summer 1943. The enemy has been bloodied, but Nazi Germany is very far from beaten. Now the American army is moving on to their next target: the Italian island of Sicily. With heavy memories of combat, the three young soldier girls - Rio, Frangie and Rainy - now know what they are willing to do to save themselves, and understand the consequences of those actions. On the front lines, they will again come face to face with the brutality of war until they win or die, while simultaneously fighting their own personal battles. No one will emerge unscathed.


A book that immediately engages your mind and emotions.

As this book begins we read a letter from someone who is in hospital recovering from being shot in the chest.

It is WW2 in an alternate Earth where there are women soldiers fighting on the front line. The letter’s author tells us about the experiences of 3 of the women who each have different roles. There is a white girl from small ‘c’ conservative USA heartlands, who is in the infantry; there is a New York Jewish girl who works for Army intelligence; and there is a coloured girl from Oklahoma working as a medic. They had met before 1943 – which is where this story is set, but this fact only comes to light late in the book, unless you have read the first book in this series. The series has a short novella that follows and a further book not yet published which tells of the war from where this book finishes.

The war, as it is told in this story, is very similar to the one we know from our Earth, with just a few changes, but not enough to notice unless you happen to be an expert.

In this world’s army – if the men did it, then the women did also. From digging trenches and latrines, to shooting to kill, even sharing their accommodation with the men in their unit. Your gender is relevant here – only your army role counts – unless you are coloured in which case you will be I  a special unit and have your own tents and so on. Just as we did in our version of WW2.

So we hear about each girl and how their war unfolds.

The white girl goes through the infantry hell of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. The Jewish girl becomes a spy ina complicated sub-plot which involves the Mafia and the Gestapo. And the coloured girl demonstrates her heroism in the trenches and how she treats those under her charge.

The book is frank about sexism, racism and the brutalities of war and how it hardens the mentions of those who go through it. It tells how human comfort is offered and accepted at unlikely times and how friendships are formed under conditions of duress. Torture is not missed but not in every bloody d3tail but much is told often in remembrances which make it a little less stark which must help the audience at which this series is targeted – the older YA including 6th forms. There is plenty of swearing but whilst there is no bowdlerisation the sear words are change to make them acceptable to libraries etc.

As a reflection for the YA audience on how fighting a war is less than heroism but more about dirt; disease; the randomness of death and injury and sheer bloodiness; trench foot; cold; wet; and awful food,  it gets its message across.



Share This:

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :