Saturday, 24 December 2016

Travel: Munich and the Christmas Market!

Last Christmas Eve, I posted up a blog post about my trip to the Christmas markets of Cologne, or Köln. So, to continue this tradition, I've narrowed down my favourites from my recent trip to Munich. It helps me get into the holiday spirit, and hopefully helps some of you too! Willkommen in München...

I love how the markets contrast with the city. It feels so cosy even when you're in an absolutely huge city. And the Glühwein mugs change from stall to stall, city to city, year to year. I'm a mug collector so it's my kryptonite.

The main thing being sold in the markets was the nativity. I didn't really notice it that much in Cologne last year but it was everywhere in Munich. Everything from the traditional little baby Jesus in the manger to little campfires for the stable that flickered and smoked. You could spend an absolute fortune putting one together with an unbelievable amount of detail if you wanted to!

Although most of the decorations I bought there were of cats- I do have a soft spot for how these beautiful etched wooden ones look. They don't really match any of my Christmas decor, but we did end up buying one that spins slowly when warm for above the fireplace. High above the fireplace obviously.

In general, Munich was just really lovely to walk around. Germany definitely decorate their cities more than the British, and the Nutella crepes were amazing. But I preferred Cologne for the Christmas atmosphere. Rather than the separate and distinct markets, the Munich one just sprawled through the city (and it didn't have a chocolate museum). I guess it's personal preference! They're both amazing and I can't wait to go back to Germany next December.

Merry Christmas Eve! What do you think of the Christmas Markets?

Friday, 23 December 2016

A Late Lush Christmas Haul!

It's super late on Christmas Eve Eve and while I wait up for my family who are arriving tonight, I thought I'd show y'all the Lush goodies that my mum picked up for me when the was down in London. She's the best, and made sure to get me a great selection including some Oxford Road exclusives...

I'm a big fan of Christmas at Lush, although they definitely used to be more warm and cosy. Does anyone else remember Glögg shower gel and the Gingerbread house bubble bars? They were my jam! But they still make some great exclusives around this time and I love the way my room smells with them all piled up in my lil' Lush basket!

The first thing my mum picked up for me was the Northern Lights bath bomb because for the last four or five years, I've been running her a bubble bath on Christmas Eve with the Christmas Eve bubble bar. Lush discontinued it this year and this is the closest one to the scent. I think I'll be breaking this so we can both have a half tomorrow!

I'd never actually tried the Father Christmas Bath Bomb until this week which is strange because I sold a lot of them when I worked there and it's green inside- my favourite colour. The scent wasn't super impressive in the tub but anytime I can see green, I'm happy.

I'm obsessed with the idea of a bath bomb/ bath melt hybrid. I hope they bring more of these out in the new year because it's always nice to get a little extra hydration. It's a lot more lime-y then the orange scent that I expected but it would make the perfect wake-me-up bath for Christmas morning.

Does anyone else remember when So White was a tiny plain white bath bomb that cost £1.80 and packed a punch when it came to the apple scent? I miss those. Now they're bigger, more expensive although they do have the same kick of apple. Get it together Lush. I love the scent of apple, I'm going to keep this around for a while just to make my room smell amazing.

I used Magic Coloured Bubbles in my bath tonight and while there was a lack of actual bubbles, the deepness of the colour was amazing. I used a third and I couldn't see my hand an inch under the water. The texture of this is like the fun soaps so I'm wondering if there's a special technique to bring out the bubbles, since they're so magical.

And lastly, the Snow Melt bath melt. I would've gone with calling it a snowball but whatever. I love these little bath melts that are basically concentrated goodness for your skin. Perfect for winter and all the dry air that comes with it!

What did you pick up from the Lush Christmas collection?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Books I Took to München!

One of the things that I wanted to do before 2016 ended was to visit München for the Christmas Markets and I'll be putting up my post showing some of the photos I took in a couple days. But first, The books I took. It ended up being very similar to the books I took to Germany last Christmas. Two Deavers: Check! A Christmas story: Check! Something a little fantasy: Check! A murder mystery: Check! Completely unintentional, but obviously says something about my reading habits...

I've been meaning to start a new Deaver series for a while now, since I got up to date with his Katherine Dance one over Winter last year and there's no new book in sight. So why not his most famous series, the Lincoln Rhyme series? I tried over Summer too. I didn't actually get around to starting them but with my grandpa sending me home with some of the books missing from my collection, I'm all the more ready to dive in.

This was a book that I had started pre-putting it on my Winter TBR so it's been a 'current read' for a while now. I was hoping to finish it while I was away so I could do a little giveaway with my extra copies but that might have to wait until next year now. I just haven't had the urge to continue reading it.
I just wanted to read...

The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
I finally started my re-read of The Edge Chronicles. Are you amazed? I'm amazed. I wanted to start it in Summer, then Autumn, then Winter. But I finally started it while I was away and it was nice to revisit that world. The Quint Trilogy wasn't one that I re-read over and over as a kid so it was relatively fresh too.

Lastly, another from my Winter TBR and no surprise to anybody. I made it all the way to December without reading this even though I started the Shakespeare series back in October. I'm currently reading this and loving it. So far there's none of the issues I've had with the series so far, like slut-shaming, and the Christmas aspect is added without being shoehorned into every sentence.

What do you think of my choices?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

5 Things that make me DNF a Book!

DNF. The three letters that strike the heart of every reader. Did Not Finish. I know different readers have different rules; some finish every book they start, some give a book 100 pages minus their age, but I just put a book down when I know I'm not getting anything out of it. Here are some examples with the books I paused in 2014 and 2015! And here are 5 things that make that decision for me...

1. Unjustifiable Racism/ Sexism/ Homophobia
None of these things are justifiable in real life. I just want to shut that down right now. However, if I can tell that the racism/ sexism/ homophobia is leading towards a character realising that it's not right- then it's a lesson rather than a bad worldview. If the narration, especially third person is okaying it though, then I'm out.

2. No female characters
I DNF'd a book over the summer that had one female character that spoke. One, who within the 100-ish pages I read, said some really disgusting things about a notable female actress. Aaaaand I'm out. Women exist. They don't have to be the main character but if I'm reading and I'm thinking it's a weird dystopia where the female population has died and it's taboo to talk about- no thank you.

3. Ableism
This is definitely something I pick up on more than I'm older and actively knowledgeable on the subject. Heck, I missed it the first time reading this series. But it's also something that's personal, I have physical and mental health issues so when I'm reading and a book attacks or says something awful about people like me- Nope. I get enough of that from the real world, I don't need that from my escapism.

4. I don't like the writing style
Writing style is personal. I don't like a lot of books that people I love and respect do. It's not like they like books that are bad. So if someone says they don't like the way my favourite author writes, I'm not going to be bothered. But if I'm reading a book and the writing style isn't clicking with me, I'd rather put it down and read something else. As a writer, if someone didn't like my writing style, I would rather they read something else that they clicked with and made them happy.

5. I'm dreaming of other books
Sometimes when I'm reading, I can't get my mind off another book. Normally this happens when I try and push myself out of my comfort zone or I have to read a certain book by a specific time. Sometimes I ignore it and it works out well, I get into the book I'm reading and forget about the other, but sometimes it's a constant niggle. If I can't get another book out of my head, the one I'm reading isn't holding my attention well enough and it might be time to stop.

A few of these are bendable, especially with classics that were written in the past where people were awful without the same morals we have now. It'll bother me, but I'll give it more leeway. And some are solid. Life is too short for books you don't enjoy.

What makes you DNF a book?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Beauty Review: Nip + Fab Dragon's Blood Fix Set.

I bought the Nip + Fab set in my local Tesco over Summer because I kept hearing about Dragon's Blood being amazing for dry skin. It is, fortunately, from a tree and not an actual dragon because not even amazing skin is worth getting near one of those with a needle. Hypothetically, of course because this isn't Harry Potter. But this turned out to be almost as magical.

The set came with the Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Mask which is what I went to originally buy, and the Dragon's Blood Fix Cleansing Pads. My excuse being that the set was only a couple of pounds more expensive and I'm a sucker for trying out anything that might help my skin.

I'm going to start with the eh product before I rave about the mask. These cleansing pads have all sorts of claims, like cleansing out pores and reducing redness, but they've been regulated to when I don't want to use my face wash. I just don't see any stand-out effects from them and the exfoliation aspect can irritate my skin sometimes.

But, I'll use them up for when I don't want to go through the rigmarole of face wash. All I have to do with these is wipe them over my face and rinse a couple times. Maybe I'm using them wrong and that's why they don't work for me but I hate the feeling of not rinsing after using this product, it just feels icky.

The mask on the other hand, hoo boy. I was sceptical when I first saw the clear gel after years of using the thickest emollients I could find, but when I put this on my face, I fell in love. And I just keep falling deeper and deeper. I'm almost out of it now and this is one of those rare times where I will make sure to buy a new tube before I run out because I can't do a day without it.

It has all sorts of great sounding ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration, amino acid for brightening and the dragon's blood for protection from the environment. But what matters to me is that it just works.

I have super dry skin. It's my payment for never having acne I think. So anything that claims to help, I will buy. And even though this claims to be a ten minute mask, I use it as an everyday moisturiser. I did the same with the Origins Drink-Up as well. Give me all the hydration. It's a gel texture that leaves a tacky feel to my skin but doesn't look greasy, and my makeup applies over it amazingly. When I wear it overnight, I wake up with a glow and no dry patches in sight. Actual magic.

In short, this is a dream for anyones Winter skin but I'm going to use it year-round in gallons. I want to bathe in this. The very definition of a holy grail product for me.

Have you ever tried any Nip + Fab products? What should I try next?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Books I Read in November!

I spent the majority of November listening to The Fellowship of the Ring on audiobook so I didn't get much reading-reading done. In fact, I went a whole week without picking up a book as Frodo left the Shire, that story is just addictive and I didn't want to leave Middle Earth for anything. But these are the book-books I read last month.

Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris
I read the first book of this series in October as part of my Autumn TBR, then took a short break to pace myself. And I spent at least half the book trying to figure out if I had forgotten a plot point from the last book, which isn't ideal. I hadn't, it was explained later. Lily- the main character, kept referring to an event that as a reader, I didn't know about, as if I should. This isn't something Harris has done before so I hope the trend doesn't continue in the rest of this series.
Apart from this, it was an enjoyable cosy crime novel. There was some slut-shaming and some questionable racial terms but nothing DNF-worthy. I liked that Harris approached the issue of black people being murdered in small Southern American towns and police involvement. Something we know from the news as realistic.
"-Darcy said in that jocular tone some men reserve for insults they don't want you to take them up on."

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
You can read my full review here!

What did you read in November?

Friday, 2 December 2016

5 Things I Learnt from an Unsuccessful NaNoWriMo!

I lost NaNoWriMo. I think it was pretty clear that was going to happen after Update 1, and definitely after Update 2. I'm still excited about the story, and I'm still going to write it even now that November is over. And I learnt a lot from the experience and that's good enough for me. So here are the 5 Things my unsuccessful NaNo taught me..

5 Things I Learnt from an Unsuccessful NaNoWriMo!

1. Not editing is the key
Editing is built into the way I write and turning that off was a tough lesson. Heck, I edited that last sentence before I finished it. But sometimes it's good to turn that off and just see what happens. It can be good, it can be bad, it can be literal garbage but it's worth it for the few times that something really magical gets written.

2. It might not be for me...
I was a mess trying to balance NaNo with my degree work, classes, and blogging. My health problems, physical and mental, reared their ugly heads. I don't think I'm in a place right now where I can do without the small flexibility that I allow myself of not writing.

3. Co-Writing is hard
Do you know what's harder than organising one persons life to add everyday writing? Doing it with two people. Then add different timezones, personal lives and a busy month. But- it's worth it. I love writing with Ashley and I think we've started something great. It just might take longer, we're shuffling zombie writers rather than 28 Days Later zombie writers.

4. Failure isn't the worst
I have to keep drilling this into my brain because it's hard for me to believe. The way my education worked, failure was the worst possible thing on the planet and if you didn't do well then your entire life would be miserable. But there are worse things. And everyone learns from failure. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

5. People who complete NaNo are warriors
Seriously. 50,000 words is a lot! And people were writing that much and surpassing it. Everyone who took part in NaNo is brilliant, even if you don't win. But 50,000 words... Warriors! And I can't wait to read the books I heard about while they were being written last month.

Did you try NaNo? How did you do?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

My Christmas List!

This morning, I woke up with my Christmassy powers returned. Then I remembered that for the first time in three years, I hadn't written my Christmas list post in advance. It's not that I forgot, just that I have literally no idea what to add. This that definitely been a theme in past years. In 2013 there were 14 things on my list. In 2014, there were 10 on the list. Last year, we were down to 5. And now...

I'm torn between Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. On one hand, Pokémon Sun has a feline legendary. On the other, Pokémon Moon follows the trend of me having the blue toned games, and I'm not a fan of the actual sun. But kitty. I can't decide on which but I do know I want to add this game to my collection.

Is it one of my Christmas lists without a pair of Snooki Slippers? I can only find this pair on US Amazon but I just love the blue leopard print. I just love Snooki really!

And is it Christmas without a boxset? As a kid I remember my older cousin getting Friends DVDs every year and now I just love growing my 90's TV collection. This year it's between Home Improvement and Golden Girls! I only want one because both might be too much TV- even for me. So if you have a preference, please tell me.

And that's it really! My current method of dealing with my hoarding tendencies is to just not bring in more things so yeah. Keeping it low-key.

What's on your Christmas list?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

My Autumn TBR: End of the Season!

Autumn ended up being a two month season because I wanted it to be Winter already.. I think we celebrate Christmas too early. I'm always reminded of that line from Community: "It's the crazy notion that the longest, coldest, darkest nights can be the warmest and brightest." But when Christmas is over there's still like- 3 months of Winter left. Maybe I'm overthinking. Let's talk about books instead...

My Autumn TBR: End of the Season!

I finished Conquest, the first book of The Chronicles of the Invaders by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly that I really wanted to finish this year. I don't think that'll happen but hey! Stranger things have happened. I enjoyed the first book the first time and second time, but I loved the second book the first time I read it so maybe I'll speed through a re-read..

And I read Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth! I was spurned on to read it by watching the TV show and the first book in the series scratched the itch. Since it's non-fiction, I'm not rushing to read the rest. I'm sure when the new series is released on Netflix, I'll pick up the next book.

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell were on my Summer TBR and have now joined my Winter TBR because I haven't even opened the first book yet. It's a real shame. However, in one of the #bookbloggers chats, I found a fellow blogger who loves this series and we'll hopefully be planning a buddy read soon!

On the other hand, I read both The Lily Bard Mysteries: Shakespeare's Landlord and Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris. I saved the third book; Shakespeare's Christmas for- well- Christmas, but I'm sure to speed through the rest of the series once I let myself. 

I started the Lux series by Jennifer L Armentrout series as part of my Summer TBR with Obsidian and I loved it! Unfortunately, when I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, it didn't feel right. I'm a big sucker for the books you read changing with the seasons. And this feels like a Summer series to me. For now, it rejoins the shelf until the sun is out.

And finally, I started the Lord of the Rings series. I took the plunge and got the audiobook for The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. I think everyone can join me in my utter unsurprise that I'm really enjoying it so far. I should, hopefully, finish The Fellowship of the Ring soon. And then onto the next!

And that's four out of six! That's surprisingly good for me. Spring was all together useless, Summer was quite good, but this has been my successful so far. Hopefully the streak continues although my Pre-Christmas Winter TBR was outrageous!

How was your reading in Autumn?

Monday, 28 November 2016

My Winter TBR: Pre-Christmas Edition!

Did you know Winter doesn't officially start until the 21st of December? The seasons are weird. And I'm ignoring it and writing my Winter TBR now because it's already snowed and the nearing the end of November. That says Winter to me. And I split it up into Christmas and non-Christmas because Christmas reads are dominating the list!

My Winter TBR: Pre-Christmas Edition!

Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris is the third Lily Bard mystery and  putting off reading it until closer to the season has been super difficult. We all know how much I love Charlaine Harris's writing and I've been really enjoying this series so far. I also got the audiobook; Wolfsbane and Mistletoe that she co-wrote after I mentioned in my Audiobooks I Want to Buy and Why post. It's downloaded and ready to go!

The one review copy that I have this year to read is The Cat of Yule Cottage by Lili Hayward* and I'm super excited. Cats and Christmas? Those are two of my favourite things! I don't know a huge amount about it but I know the main character is a writer, so my hopes are high.

I got the beautiful Penguin English Library edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens last Christmas from Santa and I haven't read it since I was a kid so I'm looking forward to it. I've seen it in play form and the muppets movie several times so I'm hoping that knowing the story will help with all that Dickensian language I struggle with. And it's pretty short at 94 pages.

My second Dickens is actually an anthology with a bunch of Victorian authors; The Haunted House. The idea is that the narrator invites over friends on the Twelfth Night and they tell spooky tales. I love a good ghost story when it gets nearer to Christmas, but the reviews on this are still pretty- eh. We'll see if I get around to it.

Another short story collection, that I got for Christmas two years ago, is The Mistletoe Bride and Other Haunting Tales by Kate Mosse. Come Christmas Eve, I'm going to be well and truly spooked. And if I like it, I have her The Winter Ghosts book too.

I actually won The Christmas We Met by Kate Lord Brown on Goodreads last October but it didn't show up until February and well- it's a Christmas book so I waited on reading it. I really don't know that much about it apart from that it's set in the seventies and it entered around the main characters mysterious family jewels.

And another Goodreads win is The Proposal by Tasmania Perry which I'm actually currently reading. It's set in New York and so far, the descriptions of the city are making me long to visit. When I won this, through some sort of computer error, I was sent 10 copies and the publisher told me to just keep them so- giveaway?

I am a terrible, terrible sister who borrowed Batman: Noel by Lee Bermejo from her brother over 4 Christmases ago and never read it. I am determined to actually read it this year because it does look amazing. It's Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Batman as Scrooge.

Okay! That's the Christmas books. Onto the others because the self control I had with my Autumn TBR has failed me. Really, I'm just pulling books over from my Autumn TBR. I want to continue the The Chronicles of the Invaders by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and I want to start The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. We'll see, eh?

What are you reading in the run-up to Christmas?

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Three Years of Imogen's Typewriter.

It's my blogs birthday once again! I say it every year, but I can't believe a whole year has gone by since I wrote Two Years of Imogen's Typewriter, two years have gone by since A Year of Imogen's Typewriter, and three years have gone by since this little blog began! It always surprises me, but the great thing about having a blog is easily looking back at your year.

I've learnt a lot from book blogging over the years, much more than these 5 things, and I'm so glad to still be here doing what I love. I went to YALC this year and it just solidified how much reading, and readers, mean to me. Big books or small books, we all have something amazing in common no matter what. And we got to read together when the #Hallowreadathon happened again.

This year I read some great books: If You Go Away by Adele Parks, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir, Tenacity by J.S. LawGreen River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case, and more!

I started writing seasonal TBRs to narrow down the books I wanted to read. With these I wasn't reading only more books, but audiobooks entered my life again this year. And I finally figured out a way to talk about my favourite podcasts, even if I've only written one post so far.

And as a little bonus, on my third year blogging I thought I'd giveaway the trilogy that started it all. Just go here to enter!

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for sticking around.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Book Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

I heard a lot about The Diabolic when I was at YALC. Pins with the butterfly on them were being handed out left and right, and who can blame them? The cover of this book is amazing. So I was intrigued when the opportunity for a review copy came up, and I jumped on it. The book ended up reflecting the cover pretty well though; half one thing, half the other and not quite either.

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

The concept of Diabolics was awesome. I'm a big fan of genetic engineering stories and the idea of these humanoid people who only bond with the one person they're supposed to protect... Interesting! I wanted to know more; the history, the pricing, the way they're made, everything. Unfortunately because the world needed explaining too, with new hierarchies and religion and being out in the galaxy, there just wasn't the time to get the detail in. Set in a Sci-fi universe, trying to work with a medieval political system, it's too far from our contemporary world to not need more detail.

With this book, the story and action was everything. Which sounds like most books, but The Diabolic was the novel equivalent of those Transporter movies. There's backstory, but it's to move the action along rather than add any kind of commentary. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. We all need these kinds of books in our bookish diet. Like chocolate. But if I read nothing but them, I'd stop reading.

Lastly, the romance. Eesh. There was a short minute where I thought the author was going to do some badass ladies loving ladies but my hope was cut short like 90% of the characters lives. The endgame is predictable, although I do like a slow-burn.

The problem in the end was the length. You're looking at 400 pages, but double spaced and with margins the size of Texas, there wasn't enough time to delve deep. On the other hand, if you want fast action and slow-burn romance and maybe you're just looking to get through a fun story; this might be for you!

"Did I injure you in the least?"
"My knuckles ache from punching you."

If you're interested in The Diabolic, you can get it here!

What do you think? Does The Diabolic appeal?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Blog Tour: Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott Thomas

It's rare you see books from the German perspective when it comes to the Second World War and Nazi Germany. I've only read one. So when I got an email about Fifteen Words blog tour, and a guest post by the author about her choice to write from a German perspective? Count me in! Hopefully my readers will find this as fascinating as I do. So, without further ado, Monika Jephcott Thomas...

Fifteen Words by Monika Jephcott Thomas

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 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?

The story I had to tell…

We’ve all sorted through dusty boxes in attics full of photos of our parents in their salad days, letters they sent to each other, memories they shared, perhaps even secrets they kept. For those of us over forty those memories, no doubt, were often coloured by the Second World War. It was whilst doing just that in my own parents’ trove of memories that I discovered stories that were the thrilling, gripping, emotive stuff of novels, which is why I decided to turn them into one.

I think it is safe to say, all writers want their novels to be a critical and commercial success, so writing a novel in English (since I came to live in the UK in 1966) about two young Germans struggling to survive the war in Nazi Germany may seem to be commercial suicide when there has been a tendency in recent years to decry any depiction of the German perspective of the war as revisionist in the pejorative sense.

But my novel doesn’t seek to suggest a moral equivalence between the Axis and the Allies, or to minimize Nazi crimes, or deny the Holocaust. On the contrary. I felt compelled to write this novel now in an age when Europe is once again seeing how war can displace and tear apart the lives of families from so many different countries at the same time, just as it did in World War Two. Then, not only Polish and Russian people became refugees, not only did millions of ordinary British, French, Italians, Africans (the list goes on) lose their lives, but millions of ordinary Germans too. And although it seems almost too obvious to state, it clearly still needs to be stated: not all Germans were Nazis, not all of them supported what Hitler was doing.

German concentration camps are synonymous with the war, but some people will be surprised to find out that the Soviets ran equally barbaric camps for their millions of German prisoners. In my novel Fifteen Words I hope the reader will find the many other truths told there eye-opening.

But I think my aim with this novel was to write a human story first and foremost. A story about two people in love, struggling to reconcile their different opinions, being swayed by all the powerful forces vying for their faith, be that friends, parents, religion or political parties; the kind of things anyone around the word can relate to. And the more stories we read and tell which show how similar we are, beneath all the wonderful and incredible cultural differences we possess, surely the better the world will be for those children sifting through our memories in the dusty attics of the future – or rather the dusty hard drives and digital footprints of the future – where, one can dream, war will play less of a leading role.

Fifteen Words is being released tomorrow and you can get it here!

Have you read any WWII books from a German perspective? What did you think?

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