Sunday, 30 August 2020

Cover and Book of the Month - August

designer Cathy Helms of www.avalongraphics.org
with fellow designer Tamian Wood of www.beyonddesigninternational.com
select their chosen Cover of the Month
with all winners going forward for 
Cover of the Year in December 2020
(honourable mentions for the Runner-up)
* * * 
Cover of the Month
WINNER AUGUST

Read our review
(designer unknown)
RUNNER UP DESIGNS

Read our review
(cover design by Stephen Mulchahey)
Read our review
(Designer Unknown)
* * *
A personal choice made by me, Helen Hollick,
(founder of Discovering Diamonds)
from books I have shortlisted for my personal reading 
Book of the Month
AUGUST 2020
I enjoyed both of these WWII-related stories
my choice was a close-run decision
but My Runner-Up is:
Read our Review
And my WINNER
Book Of The Month is
Read Our Review
scroll down for previous Book Of The Month Selections

* * * * * * * * * *
Cover of the month
PREVIOUSLY:
* * * * * *
Cover of the Month
WINNER - JULY 

Cover by Design for Writers

Honourable Mentions

Design by Next Chapter
Read Our Review             


Design by JD Smith Design
Read Our Review

*

Cover of the Month
WINNER June 2020

Read our Review
Cover by The Cover Collection
www.thecovercollection.com

Honourable Mention

Read our Review
*
Cover of the Month
WINNER  MAY 2020

Read our Review
Cover designed by Rachel Lopez
  www.r2cdesign.com

Honourable Mention

Cover of the Month
WINNER  APRIL 2020
cover design by Caroline Young for Headline Publishing Group
Honourable mentions

36146468. sy475
Read our review
designer unknown

UK Cover
(no designer known)

*
Cover of the Month
WINNER MARCH 2020


Designer unknown
Read our review here
Honourable Mentions
Designer unknown
Read our review here

Designer unknown
Read our review here
Designed by Cathy Helms - not eligible for award
Read our review here
*
Cover of the Month
WINNER FEBRUARY 2020
designer unknown - mainstream
read our review
Honourable Mentions
44299861. sy475
cover design by Melody Simmons
read our review
31568110
mainstream designer unknown
read our review
*
Cover of the Month
WINNER JANUARY 2020


Designer Unknown
Read Our Review
Honourable Mentions
Cover design by Design for Writers
Read Our Review
39963616. sy475
Designed by Tara Mayberry
www.teaberrycreative.com
Read Our Review
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Previously:
BOOK of the MONTH
Selections
* * * * * * * * * *
A personal choice made by me, Helen Hollick,
(founder of Discovering Diamonds)
from books I have shortlisted for my personal reading 
My criteria for a 'winner' is:
* Did I thoroughly enjoy the story?
* Would I read it again?
* Is it a 'keeper'
* * * * * * * *
Book of the Month
AUGUST 2020
I enjoyed both of these WWII-related stories
my choice was a close-run decision
but

My Runner-Up is:
Read our Review
And my WINNER
Book Of The Month is
Read Our Review
*
Book of the Month
 JULY 2020
runners up
I couldn't decide between these two novellas
so have chosen both of them


winner
thoroughly enjoyed this one!
Special Mention
I don't usually select non-fiction
but this one was a darn good read
and a 'must' for anyone researching this topic!


*
Book of the Month
June 2020
My chosen Runner-Up 
I very much enjoyed this one - and I would have made it my Book of the Month but it's a little awkward as I am most definitely biased... that's my house on the cover! Even so - a super read!

read our review
so my Book of the Month Winner
is, coincidentally, the same as our Cover of the Month!


read our review

Book of the Month
MAY 2020
just the one this month:

April 2020 
My chosen JOINT winner
(because I enjoyed them both)

and 

Book of the Month
MARCH 2020
Runner-Up 
read our review here

WINNER

Book of the Month
February 2020
Runner-Ups 
read our review
 Not a fast-paced action 'who-dun-it' , but  sophisticated measured read with some wonderful descriptive writing

read our review
I can't resist a Melissa Addey - again wonderful descriptive writing

WINNER
It might seem odd to select a novel that made me cry. This one did because it is based on real life - so many died, so horribly. I truly think that this book should be compulsory reading in all schools - no, for everyone - so that we never, never, forget what happened to the Jewish people during WWII

Book of the Month
January 2020

Runner-Ups  
two because I have enjoyed
the entire series of both these novels

Read our review
Read our review
WINNER

Book and Cover of the Year
will be announced on 31st December 2020

Friday, 28 August 2020

A Discovering Diamonds Review of The Other Side of Ordinary by Ines Roe



Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Goodreads

fictional drama
1940s WWII
Germany / France


 “I want to live an extraordinary life.” Fiercely independent, Inge Krumm-Heller has known since childhood that she wanted to be different. Leaving her home and family in East Prussia (then part of Hitler’s Third Reich) at the beginning of the 1940s, she made her way to Berlin to work as a trainee photographer. We follow her through her first love affair, confrontation with the German class system and her wry observations on landladies and her daring foray into (then illegal) swing music evenings. 

Inge describes an air raid in graphic detail and gradually, as her interest in 'politics' wanes, she experiences shortages and realises Germany has lost the war. Scenes of encounters with occupying Americans and British, and other Germans who managed to survive reasonably well follow. Eventually, news comes of her missing parents lost in the post-war chaos and Inge sets off to look for them. Later, Inge’s ‘itchy feet’ drive her onwards with her life adventure as she arrives in Paris.

There are many scenes written as flashbacks; childhood memories and labour service with the Reichsarbeitsdienst (German Labour Service) stand out. Other characters narrate events such as her mother recounting her flight from the east as the Red Army approached.

The Other Side of Ordinary isn’t a novel, but a memoir of a period of upheaval. For English speakers from the Allies’ countries, it’s probably an eye-opener of life on ‘the other side’. 

Reconciling this period for many people of German extraction or older Germans and their children is a complex question. From the triumphs and optimism of the early 1940s to disillusionment, starvation and humiliation by 1945 and the uncovering of unspeakable abuse and ethnic cleansing has scarred at least one generation for life. 

Inge’s character does not touch on these areas, but focuses on her personal story which, despite personal traumas, tends to make the novel lighter in tone. One of the big questions asked continuously in the aftermath of the 1939-45 war was, and continues to be, ‘Didn’t the general German population know about the appalling things being done in their name?’

Inge herself comes across as hard-working and optimistic but with a low boredom threshold. But she is not proud and her willingness to undertake low-status work in order to keep her family fed and housed illustrates her determination to get on with her life.

There is too much ‘telling’ the reader about events and personalities instead of showing us with dialogue and actions, and this pushes the reader away. For this reviewer, there are too many flashbacks which make the story disjointed. A better approach to this complex story would have been to make a linear narrative. Some minor language and typo errors e.g. Unkle, Onkle for German Onkel (uncle) are irritating rather than serious.

However, this is a fascinating story with many personal anecdotes and period touches. It clearly shows how a spirited girl becomes a woman who can cope with everything that such disrupted times throw at her and may well be a revelation for readers of the Second World War period. 

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Jessica Brown
 e-version reviewed



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