Personal Wartime Experiences

In this volume of the series Threads of War, Volume II, Jeremy Strozer looks at war as it is played out in ways we don’t generally think of. Each story has two parts. The first is a factually based account of an incident that happened. The account is referenced for those who want to investigate further. The second is a story of humans trying to exist in a hostile environment that is war. The stories are fiction as thoughts and feelings are ascribed to people who did not survive. Those experiences exist in Strozer’s mind and the author brings them to life in a very entertaining way.

I give the novel five Amazon stars in part because of the pleasing structure and way of presentation, in part because of the referencing which accompanies factual accounts, and finally for the interesting fictional presentations which lend human coloring to a dehumanizing experience.

Following are my immediate comments and reactions to each story.

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Fictionalized Facts

At first, it looks like there is a certain arrogance in the title and subtitle of this work. Threads of THE WAR by Jeremy Strozer has the last two words capitalized indicating that this war was truly “the war to end all wars.” While that was the popular sentiment describing WWI, veterans of later wars and different forms of sacrifice might take issue with the presumption made by this title. Just in case the reader misses the message, the subtitle claims this work is a collection of historical short stories that are personal truth-inspired flash fiction of “The” 20th century’s war. Putting those possible claims aside, it is valuable to read the author’s introduction. Strozer has a different definition of “The War,” one that stretches from 1898, powers through WWI and WWII, and concludes with the residual after effects that still flare up around the world today.

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Butterflies Are Not Free

There is a lot to like in The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. I first liked the simplicity yet expressiveness of the cover (at least in the Kindle selection I read.) There is a butterfly, the novel’s name, and the author’s name. There are no blaring font announcements that this is a thrilling psychological thriller (that will leave you gasping). No promises that it is a page-turner. Just a good presentation. But it is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read. There are surprises; it will leave a reader turning pages quickly and it will appeal to fans of a TV series “Lie to Me.”

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Just Bouncing Around

When Dean Koontz appears on my reader radar, I track and follow. The read will always be some degree of amazing. That is true of Ricochet Joe, a short story that manages to pack philosophy, fantasy, weird humor, a fast-moving story, and possibly a sense of despair at the end. The despair component is up to you. Some readers might see it as hope. Everything Koontz writes is up to reader interpretation. The work necessary to perform the interpretation is what captures reader interest.

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What Does Mrs. Charbuque Look Like?

When describing the good points of The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque by Jeffrey Ford, the list is long and begins with the attention-getting cover. On the edition I downloaded from Instafreebie, an attractive woman dressed formally in what might be thought of as Victorian-era clothing leads me to believe this is a historical novel. The subtitle, “The Soul is a Dark Canvas,” makes me think there is a psychological element. A blurb from the Baltimore Sun says there is Art History, cool. It is not my strong interest but I like discovering new information. “Hitchcockian suspense,” the phrase doesn’t roll off the tongue but I am a fan of Hitchcock. “Pynchonesque augury,” seems a bit over the top and I don’t like Pynchon. With four pluses and one negative, I am going to read this. Also, I got it from Instafreebie. It sells for USD 6.99 on Amazon with no caveat for a KU read. The cover here is the Amazon cover.

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A Remarkable Reflection Exercise for Year’s End 2017

I first downloaded Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur as a free sample. The power of the offered sample led me to download the full collection of poetry immediately. The sample was so good I would have paid the USD 4.99 price but I took advantage of KU to read for free. I will look for this in print; it is a book I want to keep around and show like-minded readers. This mesmerizing reading experience began even before I got to the content of the full work. I wanted to know about this writer. Clicking on a convenient hyperlink I learned she is based in Canada and is of Punjabi descent. What an interesting name. Where is she from? I followed her Facebook and Twitter pages. They are so interesting that I spent a lot of time reading snippets of her work as well as the work of writer followers. I almost forgot to come back to the book I had just downloaded. Those sites have beautiful prose, poetry, photos, and pictures. Off to Wikipedia where I was impressed by her background and the recounting of an interesting conflict with Instagram. Milk and Honey is great poetry. I don’t read poetry. I need to get out more.

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Unusual Uses for Confetti

David Six has written a novel, In the Time it Takes to Blink, which will delight readers who focus on the clever use of language to tell an engrossing tale. No pun intended with the use of a word that contains “gross.” There are elements that could be considered gross and NSFW. This abbreviation (not safe for work) is not because of explicit sexual comment, although there is some of that. I use this abbreviation because of the graphic violence, some of which may involve sex. Someone at work peering over your shoulder and noticing the violent content you are reading might wonder about your daily interests. This novel is far out there but I describe it this way not as a criticism but as a way of warning readers this might be a rough ride. After reading this, you will look at confetti in new ways.

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