Kidnap in Crete


Could not be further from Crete right now but
I respect and admire what they did for us,
so that we can enjoy the lives that we do now.
Wow that was a long one…

Rick Stroud
Bloomsbury
Published October 2014

Thank you to the publisher for
providing this book in exchange
for an honest review. This did
not alter my review in any way.

I feel like when I read I am constantly learning something. This is even more true when I read historical non-fiction. I would consider myself pretty learned on World War 2, my dad being pretty much an amateur historian on the subject, but I didn’t know about Crete’s part in the war, how it was used as a German base and how the Cretan people fought back, built a resistance with the help of some dedicated Brits and then kidnapped a Nazi general from practically outside his house.

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An Outback Nurse


An Outback Nurse out the back of my house

Thea Hayes
Allen and Unwin
Published October 2014

Thank you to the publisher for
providing this book in exchange
for an honest review. This did
not alter my review in any way.

Thea Hayes’ An Outback Nurse is a fascinating account of her life as nurse on a cattle station in the Australian outback (title is a little explanatory, I suppose). Thea was a city girl, just home from travels in Europe and the U.S. when she applies for a job in the Northern Territory on a whim. When she accepts the position she couldn’t have known then what her life would have in store for her and she didn’t know a thing about the four million cattle station she would soon be calling home. She found love, life and a home in the middle of nowhere.

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Dark Remedy

Author: Rock Brynner and Trent Stephens
Publisher: Basic Books
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Date Read: September 12th to 16th, 2014
Review:
 I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Brit reads some really strange books”. And yeah, I do, but this one is actually prescribed reading for my breadth subject at uni, Drugs That Shape Society. It’s been an interesting (although completely unrelated to my degree) subject that poses some interesting moral questions regarding the use of legal and nonlegal drugs in society. One of the drugs we study is thalidomide, hence the required reading of Dark Remedy.

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It’s All About Treo

It's All About Treo

Author: Dave Heyhoe
Publisher: Quercus
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: August 4th to 7th, 2014
Review:
It’s All About Treo is the touching true account of the brave war dog, Treo, and his human, Dave Heyhoe and their six month tour in Afghanistan to where they were deployed as a search team for hidden explosives. Alongside the Rangers, they would go out on a patrol and Treo soon became known and feared by the Taliban as ‘the black dog’. Dave and Treo saved countless number of lives during their tour in Afghanistan and came home as heroes.

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A Man Named Dave

Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer Trilogy, Book 3
Publisher: Orion
Star Rating: 1/5
Date Read: June 10th to 13th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
This is possibly one of the most unnecessary books I have ever read. The 1 star review is partly my fault, because I was 95% sure I wouldn’t like this book based on the previous two books of the trilogy. That doesn’t mean, though, that it’s my fault the book is bad.

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The Lost Boy

Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer Trilogy, Book 2
Publisher: Orion
Star Rating: 2.5/5
Date Read: June 1st to 2nd, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
The second book in the Dave Pelzer trilogy is The Lost Boy, chronicling Dave’s life in foster homes from the age of twelve to eighteen. Again I have come to the end and feel immediately like I have to put a few other books in between this and the next and final book, A Man Named Dave. I don’t feel like another book is necessary but have decided to read it for the sake of completeness.

At the start of the book, Dave insists this one is written using the language and perspective he had at that age. He also insisted the same thing in the last book. This is not a completely accurate description as many times I felt the writing to be reflective and also some of it beyond the years of the under-educated teenager he was at the time. We catch up with Dave where we left him in the last book, in the passenger seat of a police car heading outside the city limits, where after medical examinations he meets his social worker and is placed in the first of five foster homes.

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A Child Called ‘It’

Author: Dave Pelzer
Series: Dave Pelzer Trilogy, Book 1
Publisher: Orion
Star Rating: 2/5
Date Read: May 28th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
A Child Called ‘It’ is the story of child abuse survivor, Dave Pelzer. It is a grim and horrific read that makes you sick to visualize what’s occurring. It is not without hope, as we find in the opening chapter how Dave escapes the torment he has suffered for eight years. But it seems to be without credibility.

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The Global Suitcase

Author: Mary J. Dinan
Publisher: New Holland
Star Rating: 2/5
Date Read: April 30th to May 5th, 2014
Review:
Thank you to Goodreads and New Holland publishers for providing me with a copy of this book.

I love to travel and I love to read about travel in all its forms. I love journeys into the unknown and I love exploring my own backyard. You would think this book, a collection of interviews with people who have done exactly that, would suit me perfectly. You would be wrong.

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The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz

Author: Denis Avey
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: September 15th to 18th, 2013
Review:
It is impossible not to be moved by the story of Denis Avey, the man who broke into Auschwitz. A British POW in the second world war, it has taken him 70 years to tell his story. He recognised that it was important for his story to be told and I agree with him.

The title, ‘The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz’, is somewhat misleading but it does not make Avey’s story any less incredible. While a POW, Avey worked alongside the Jewish who were prisoners in Auschwitz III Monowitz. This is not ‘the’ Auschwitz where the mass murders through gassing occurred, although it wasn’t far from there, this is where they housed those fit enough to labour for the German war effort – until of course they were worked to death. On two occasions, Avey swapped places with a Jewish man named Hans, putting his own life at risk so that Hans could have a decent feed and a sleep where he wasn’t in fear of at any moment suddenly being put to death. I think it amazing that Hans would swap back the next day, knowing what it was he had to go back to. The British POWs weren’t treated well, but it was better than the Jewish men were treated.

As well as being the story of Avey’s swap with Hans, this also the story of Avey’s chance meeting with another Jewish man named Ernst, who had a sister relocated through the Kindertransport to England. What followed had me in tears on the train.

I worry that stories like Denis Avey’s, like Hans’ and Ernst’s, will fade as time goes on and we progress further and further from the days of World War II. I think it is so important that we do not forget what happened during the time, lest it happen again.