#BlogTour: Women Of The Post by Joshunda Sanders

For this blog tour, we’re looking at a great work that shows the complex yet all too real lives of some WWII veterans you’ve likely never heard of. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Women Of The Post by Joshunda Sanders.

Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:

Well Told Story Based On Real Unit/ People. This is a story probably unlike most any other you’ve encountered in historical fiction of WWII. Even if you’ve read about mail carrriers (there are a few such books out that I’m aware of, and likely more that I’m not), you likely haven’t read about *these* mail clerks. Even if you’ve read about African American servicemembers during the war, you likely haven’t read about *these* African American servicemembers during the war. Even if you’ve read about LGBT people during the war… you get the idea.

One thing that became interesting to me as I read this was thinking of the grandmother I don’t often think of much, my mom’s mom. But this was the grandmother that was married during WWII, and who bore her first child – my oldest uncle – just months before D-Day. Her husband at the time, my grandfather, I’ve spoken of a fair amount in reviews of WWII books, including his Silver Star and Purple Heart for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge. But here, the connection is with his wife, back home in Georgia alone (presumably with family around) with their infant son. You see, even when I knew her almost 40 years later, during the dawn of the Personal Computer era and as the Net was coming online (she would die a few years after the Dot Com Bust of the mid 2000s, having outlived both of her husbands and sharing this earth for over 23 years with me)… that woman always *loved* writing and receiving letters. Actual, handwritten, long form, letters. As with my grandfathers and their experiences in WWII, I can’t *know* what she went through living through that era – I never once asked her about it. But seeing how letters and morale were stressed so dearly in this tale here, and knowing her own situation at the time, I can maybe make some assumptions about how *I* would feel in similar situations, and it brings another level of depth to both this tale and my memories of her life.

Even if you don’t have a personal connection, however tenuous, to the subject here though, this really is an interesting and clearly at least somewhat well researched tale showing a “based on” level tale of real people who really lived and did and likely experienced these very things during that period, up to and including the Klan burning crosses in their front yards and the active discrimination that was so rampant even after the war, even well after supposed “integration”.

About the only suspect detail here is the idea that lesbians could live more comfortably in post-war Ohio than in South Carolina, but that is perhaps explained away as being able to get to an area where neither person is known by anyone, and thus be able to craft your own identity and reputation away from those who have ever known anything but what you tell and present to them. Which, one could argue (and build a genuinely solid case for) is simply no longer possible in today’s hyper-connected world.

Overall truly a great work that shows the complex yet all too real lives of some WWII veterans you’ve likely never heard of. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: One Last Secret by Adele Parks

Return Of The Queen. This book has a lot going on, and several problems, but ultimately there is nothing technical/ objective-ish to hang a star deduction on. The positive image of a sex worker is great – as is the more real-to-most view of what *actually* happened later in the book. The twists and turns are well executed and extend all the way into the epilogue, which is also good. But there are absolutely points where you’re going to question whether you want to continue – this book gets *dark* and seems like it is going to be getting even darker. But then comes an abrupt and extended shift, before we get back to the meat of our current story, and that saves us from the darkest areas. Still, my own biggest problem with the book is that it has exactly the same problem Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King does (and hence my title of this review). That last 10-15% in particular is pretty dang unnecessary and should have been left on the editing room floor. The epilogue itself is fine, but there is around 10% of the text in between the penultimate twist and the epilogue that seems to exist for no reason other than padding the length of the book… and why bother padding the length of the book? Does your contract or pay as an author or publisher depend on the number of words or pages or some such? It just makes no sense otherwise. Still, the tale itself here is interesting and ultimately satisfying, even if there are various problems therein. Recommended.

This review of One Last Secret by Adele Parks was originally written on December 10, 2022.

#BlogTour: A Secret In The Family by Leah Mercer

For this blog tour we’re looking at a great bit of escapist fiction that starts quite slow but becomes quite explosive in the end. For this blog tour we’re looking at A Secret In The Family by Leah Mercer.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Slow Burn That Becomes Explosive. This is one of those books that starts out quite slow – we don’t even really get a hint of the overall mystery until around the 25 – 33% mark – but then builds out to become quite explosive indeed. And when you think you have it all figured out… well, you might have most of the general idea… but there are still some shocking particulars to come. Overall a decent book of this author’s style, it could potentially be argued that others of her books are stronger, but this one was still completely enjoyable and a great distracting read. A perfect escape for when it seems like political ads or debate are all you see or hear across the media spectrum. Very much recommended.

After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: Between You And Me by Carol Mason

Domestic Drama With A Touch Of Loss Lake. This is an engaging, real, and honestly a bit depressing look at the trials and travails of your first marriage being your partner’s second marriage and coming into a situation where they already had a family with another person while you’re still growing and working to establish yourself outside of the marriage as well. In that vein, Mason was startlingly real, including all of the various messy issues that can come up and even showing how finding a place to find support or even just vent can be crucial. The ties to Lake Union stablemate Amber Cowie’s Loss Lake… well, in the title of my review of that book, I proclaimed “Screw You (In The Best Possible Ways), Amber Cowie” – which I still chuckle at and produced a few good laughs by those in the know. And if you do know why I wrote that, know that you’ll be saying the same thing to Ms. Mason for similar (though to be clear, not identical) reasons. And that’s all I’m saying about that. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I suggest you go read *both* books. ๐Ÿ˜€

Seriously, this tale was excellently done on a topic and with particulars that I’d never seen done quite this way before, and that is always something I seek out and love to find. Mason executed everything beautifully, and you’ll find yourself constantly reading to see what comes next. You just may want something a bit more bubble gum for your *next* read. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of Between You And Me by Carol Mason was originally written on June 13, 2021.

Featured New Release Of The Week: You Let Me Go by Eliza Graham

This week we’re looking at a remarkable and rare blending of the historical fiction and women’s fiction genres. This week we’re looking at You Let Me Go by Eliza Graham.

If you’ve read very many of my reviews on WWII historical fiction books at all, you know it is a subject that has long fascinated me due to my own personal family history there – both grandfathers were at the Battle of the Bulge, one got a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his actions there, the other was in the area (at minimum) when the Americans liberated the first concentration camps on their front of the war. And the dichotomy of what I knew of those two men decades later – one (concentration camp) whose lifespan my own intersected with by 5 weeks, the other who I knew for the last 20 years of his life – has become a long running, simmering thread in my own tale.

And without further ado… the Goodreads review. ๐Ÿ™‚

Long Buried Family Secrets Find Closure. Here, we get an interesting spin on this oft-travelled subject and technique. So many books of this genre want to take place primarily in the past with only the occasional jump to the future (ala Titanic), but here Graham sticks remarkably close to alternating every single chapter past and present. The past storyline is, perhaps, a touch more urgent, as it involves hiding a brother and trying to smuggle him out of France in 1941. But the present storyline has more of the “women’s fiction” elements of a woman trying to find herself after the tragic loss of her grandmother soon after the loss of her significant other and business partner… and stumbling across things about her grandmother that had never been known in the family, which leads to her quest and ultimately the resolution of both timelines. Both timelines worked quite well, and it is indeed rare to see a single book blend elements of the two distinct genres together so effectively – which speaks to just how good Graham is. Very much recommended.

Featured New Release Of The Week: The Spitfire Girls by Soraya M. Lane

This week we’re looking at a tale of three people who come together to face nearly insurmountable odds during World War II. This week, we’re looking at The Spitfire Girls by Soraya M. Lane.

The story here was brilliantly executed… in its first two thirds. In this section, the drama focuses around the race to determine who will be the first female to pilot a four engine bomber beyond training and the race to get Spitfire fighters to the USS Wasp for an emergency trip to Malta to shore up defenses there. Lane brilliantly balances the personal and the professional through this section across all three of her leading ladies, and the book truly shines.

But after the race to get the Spitfires to their staging base, the book switches gears and the balance of the drama stumbles as the primary emphasis is placed on the personal while the professional primarily happens off screen and is more often told of in letter form than shown. While there are still some haymakers thrown here, including one that touched this reader personally with his father having similar struggles, it just isn’t quite as “unputdownable” through this section as the first two thirds of the book were.

But the final chapter of the book is an excellent ending to the mainline story, and while the epilogue is arguably unneeded, it does at a final exclamation – and catharsis – point.

Overall, a strong book that could have been stronger, and I’m looking forward to reading more work from this author.

And as always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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