Tag Archives: War

Rise of a Champion (Legend of the Cid Book 1) by Stuart Rudge – Review

Today I’m reviewing Rise of a Champion by Stuart Rudge, Book 1 in the Legend of the Cid series.

I stumbled upon Stuart Rudge by chance while on Twitter, promoting his 1st book. I had a lot on my TBR list but I liked the sound of the plot so I thought what the hell.. I’ll buy a copy. Now I’m the first to admit word of mouth tempts me in…and I started to notice others tweeting about this book..every day, 2 or 3 mentions…then when I heard book 2 was just about to be released I thought it high time I find out what the fuss is about.

Here is the blurb –

Antonio Perez is the son of a knight and a returning war hero, yet he loathes the idea of following in his father’s footsteps. But when his father is executed for alleged treason against Fernando, King of Leon-Castile, he launches a desperate bid to save his life and clear his name. Antonio soon learns that the world is much crueller and darker than he ever could have imagined.

Bereft of hope and condemned to slavery for his sins, he finds himself in the household of a young knight named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a man destined for greatness. Together, they must face their demons and put an end to the man responsible for the downfall of the fathers; known as Azarola, renowned for his fox like cunning and malice, and one of the most powerful lords of Leon.

Rise of a Champion is the epic beginning to the Legend of the Cid.


Antonio is book smart.. he’s not like his father, a war hero, and he’s got very little common with his brother too. Little does he know his life is soon to change and his strengths and weaknesses will be put to the test.

For Antonio life is simple.. he loves to learn and only has eyes for 2 things.. books and Jimena, the daughter of a local count.

Things are not meant to be easy for Antonio and he is to be separated from the girl he yearns for.. he’s going to learn to be a fighter one way or another if his dad has anything to say about it!

Things don’t quite go to plan.

Tragedy soon strikes a heavy blow when Antonio’s father is executed for treason! A crime he did not commit.. but what can Antonio do about it? He’s got to save his own neck first as the men charged with the execution want him too!

From there his life hits a downward spiral. He survives with this brother and cousin at his side but they are very much chalk and cheese.. Inigo his brother is mean and controlling and they are soon involved in events Antonio will live to regret.

I’m not going to spoil what happens but as the synopsis suggests Antonio soon ends in the household of Rodrigo, a fair but harsh man when needed. This relationship sees Antonio grow from a boy into a man.. a man Antonio never thought he would be.. A man his father would be proud to see.

War is brewing and with this comes the chance to exact revenge on the person Antonio believes is responsible for his fathers death.. Azarola.. it’s not going to be easy though.

What I really enjoyed with this tale more than anything was the mix of detail and plot.. the fight scenes were immense and heart stoppingly gripping..not only did you get an overall picture of events of the period the tale is set but you get to see it from Antonio’s eyes, blinkered at times.. with sight only for Azarola.. but can that hatred and lust be tamed? It’s a great balance of history and the authors creative skills allowing him to stamp his mark on the world.

I also really enjoyed that we get to meet Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, who will become known as El Cid, through the eyes of Antonio. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve heard the name.. and heard of the movie from the 60s but that’s as far as my knowledge goes. I love when an author can help introduce me to real history while writing their tale..Not only do a get a wonderful book to read but afterwards I find myself doing my own research.. reading more..and now I can’t wait to get to grips with book 2 in the series!

I love history but largely my knowledge is what I learned at school… so very little since there’s so much out there to learn.. teachers can’t possibly share it all. I really do believe tales this this have a big part to play in keeping history alive. Loved it!

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Blog Tour – Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott Thomas- Review

Title – Fifteen Words
Author – Monika Jephcott Thomas
Genre – Historical Fiction/War & Military
Publication – 22nd November 2016
Pages – 293
My Rating – 5/5 Stars


Two young doctors form a profound and loving bond in Nazi Germany; a bond that will stretch them to the very limits of human endurance. Catholic Max – whose religious and moral beliefs are in conflict, has been been conscripted to  join the war effort as a medic, despite his hatred of Hitler’s regime. His beloved Erika, a privileged young woman, is herself a product of the Hitler Youth. In spite of their stark differences, Max and Erika defy convention and marry. But when Max is stationed at the fortress city of Breslau, their worst nightmares are realised; his hospital is bombed, he is captured by the Soviet Army and taken to a POW camp in Siberia. Max experiences untold horrors, his one comfort the letters he is allowed to send home: messages that can only contain Fifteen Words. Back in Germany, Erika is struggling to survive and protect their young daughter, finding comfort in the arms of a local carpenter. Worlds apart and with only sparse words for comfort, will they ever find their way back to one another, and will Germany ever find peace?
Fifteen Words is a vivid and intimate portrayal of human love and perseverance, one which illuminates the German experience of the war, which has often been overshadowed by history.


The last bit of the synopsis of this book is what really hooked me in. –

“Fifteen Words is a vivid and intimate portrayal of human love and perseverance, one which illuminates the German experience of the war, which has often been overshadowed by history.”

I think like many when I think of war I always associate Germany is being the bad guys.. that’s how we are taught in school. You just get clean cut facts but you don’t see the real people involved.

What I really liked about this book was how easy it makes you remember not all Germans wanted the wars.. some were forced into service that they really didn’t have the heart to do. Just because they were German doesn’t mean they were a Nazi.

The story focuses around Max and Erika, both doctors but with different views on the leadership of Germany. Max signs up for service..not because he wants to fight but because he wants to save lives.

When he’s captured and held as a POW he looks back at the events that led him to where he is.. These thoughts of his wife keeping him going when he could just as easily give up.

At the same time we see Erika dealing with similar emotional struggles as her husband.. he’s been away so long.. is he even alive.

The love they have for each other is strong but temptation comes to both and you can understand why in such a stressful situation.

It really did make me think about what it must have been like, not only for the men/women serving but also those left behind, neither having the full picture but being forced to live their lives.

It’s a real emotional ride for both.. I won’t spoil it for you as a reader but its got ups and downs, twists and turns that really do make your mind work as you see things from different perspectives.

Fifteen words is mentioned a few times and it was amazing to see how much can be conveyed in such a short amount of words.

I must say the twists the author added towards the end really did bring something extra to the tale. Unexpected to say the least but it gave it a wow factor.

These are the type of books I really enjoy, character driven, wonderfully descriptive and written, emotional and thought-provoking. Wonderful.

The book is out today! to find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to Athoright for the chance to read/review this book, it was my pleasure. 

About Monika Jephcott Thomas.


Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002.


Nursing Fox by Jim Ditchfield – Review

Title –  Nursing Fox
Author – Jim Ditchfield
Genre –  Historical Fiction
Length –    291 Pages
My Rating – 5/5 Stars


At the outbreak of World War I, Lucy Paignton-Fox enlists in the Australian Army Nursing Service and leaves her family’s cattle station in the Northern Territory to join the war effort. During the Gallipoli campaign she serves in hospitals in Egypt, but when the Anzacs are posted to France she moves with them. A talented and spirited nurse, with dreams of one day becoming a doctor, Lucy finds more opportunities than she ever imagined: working alongside doctors and surgeons, sharing the soldiers’ dangers, helping them through their pain, and making lifelong friends.

But with war comes suffering. Lucy sees it all around: sorrow, disease and death. How long can she stay separated from it all?

Adam Hayward joins the British Army after a devastating attack on his family. Accepted into the air force, Adam tests his luck in the cockpit fighting for those he loves. But with aircraft technology booming, can Adam continue to stay ahead of the game?

John Mitchell’s determination leads him slowly up the ranks. With more responsibility than ever, he becomes disillusioned with the horrors of war, but he can’t help admiring the brave nurses who do so much to help the wounded men.

Nursing Fox details the experiences of Australian nurses during the Great War. It honours their journeys and shows the impact that the nurses had on the soldiers with whom they crossed paths.


This has without a doubt been one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, A beautiful and emotive tale that had me engrossed from the start.

The story is told from 3 different points of view, Lucy, Adam and John. Set within World War I they are thrust into the war effort and each play a part in each other’s lives. The tale starts slowly but then you get carried away and I just couldn’t put it down

At times the tale was heart-warming..at others gut wrenching. It really made me feel glad for the freedom I’m lucky to have.

For me I feel the book did a good job and developing the characters, they felt real and I loved all 3..each strong but with their own issues they have to overcome.

One of the best things about this book for me is it really showed you well how nursing was conducted during the war. We all know fighting men died but have you ever thought of those close to enemy lines who were there to help the wounded? I know it’s something I’ve never really considered.

The story mainly follows Lucy and her part within the war effort, she has a lot to deal with.. not only are people around her dying but she also has to deal with superior’s looking down on her for wanting to better herself. Lucy seemed so strong but at times you can tell the struggles the character must have been going through

This story isn’t the kind of book to make you laugh, at times you might smile and at other times you might shed a tear..there’s this sense right from the beginning that not everything will end well.

Another thing that I really liked about the book was the pacing of the story. Never too much, never to boring with the perfect amount of detail and story to keep me reading well into the early hours of the morning.. and the ending!! I’m never one for spoilers but I felt the last few chapters suited the story perfectly.. I can’t imagine the author finishing the book any other way

In conclusion, this book was a real treat. It picks up on the courage and effort both woman and men (and horses J ) put into the war effort and does it in such a way that by the end of it you feel you’ve had a history lesson rather than simply reading a story.

Well worth reading in my opinion

My thanks go to Odyssey Books for the chance to read/review the book

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

The Night I Danced with Rommel by Elisabeth Marrion – Review

Title – The Night I Danced with Rommel
Author – Elisabeth Marrion
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length –   200 Pages
Publication – June 2013
My Rating – 5/5 Stars


‘May I have this dance, Hilde?’ asked Field Marshal

Rommel, opening the Grande Ball held in his honour.

Did this dance save the life of Hilde’s Polish friends?

Hilde had come a long way since her dream of becoming a singer was shattered when her father made arrangements for her to work as a housekeeper in Berlin at the tender age of fourteen.

Until then, although poor, Hilde led a happy and protected life with her family on their small-holding in East Prussia.

Hilde’s life is thrown into turmoil in Berlin during the late 1920’s, early 1930’s. Having Polish friends meant it was becoming increasingly unsafe for her to stay there and she finds a new life in the Harz Mountains. This taking her still further away from her home and her beloved younger sister, Erika.

In Goslar, Hilde meets her husband, Karl, a young officer in the German Army.

When he joins the 7th Panzer Brigade led by General Erwin Rommel at the beginning of WW II, Hilde is left to bring up their children in war-torn Germany.

After Rommel’s promotion to Field Marshal, Karl follows him to Africa, later Italy and ultimately Karl is posted to the Russian front. Hilde’s story is based on facts and is told by her youngest daughter, Elisabeth


By the end of this book I was quite emotional to say the least. It’s a wonderful and interesting story to read. I was a bit conflicted with my feelings, finding the story so enjoyable when it’s based not such a horrible point in time for many…It show you the effects of war from a different perspective and leaves you contemplating what it must have been like for those innocents caught up in the war not to mention all those soldiers some of whom I’m sure felt forced into serving.. it must have been very hard on so many people.

The story follows Hilde, a very likable character and her life.. growing up, making friends, finding love..in the end I felt so much love for Hilde.

We all know what happened, we’ve all heard of Hitler or Anne Frank but there must be so many other tales out there.. untold. It’s really interesting and educational to have a story told the way this one is, reminds you that these things happened to real people.

The story was very well written, in short sharp bursts which made the book fast following and very easy to read. There were also great insights into German propaganda which I didn’t really know about until I read the book. It must have been so hard for the people not knowing who or what to believe.

Most people, including myself have a very 1 dimensional view of WWII. Germany bad.. plain and simple.. but it’s not that simple is it? The author has managed to make me think about what it must have been like not only for Jews but also German soldiers and citizens caught up in the war.

I couldn’t fault this book with anything.. all I know is I didn’t expect the emotional response it had with me as I read the last few pages. It really made me think how lucky I am to have my family to go home to every night.

This is a very emotional and thought provoking story which I highly recommend you read

My thanks go to the author for allowing me the chance to read/review her work. I have two more books from Elisabeth on the TBR list.. keep a look out for reviews on my blog in the near future!

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com