ARC Review | The Enigma Affair – by Charlie Lovett

Ex-military Patton Harcourt lives a quiet life as a librarian in small town North Carolina. When a sniper upsets her morning pastry making, she’s forced to team up with professional assassin Nemo to foil an elaborate neo-Nazi plot to discover Heinrich Himmler’s lost recipe for Alchemy. If Patton and Nemo do not get to it first, the Third Reich have all it needs to return to power and perpetuate their horror on the world once again.

I’m a bit of WWII History nerd, so this one piqued my interest immediately, especially when the title says Enigma and Bletchley Park was mentioned on the back cover. I went on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day tour with EF Tours in 2019 and visited many of the places these characters go in Enigma Affair. Bletchley Park was one of them and was absolutely incredible.

While on that tour, we also visited several Holocaust memorials and learned in depth history and details about some of atrocities that took place, which are also deeply threaded into this book. I was engrossed in Lovett’s characters and in tune to their purpose throughout the book.

Lovett did a phenomenal job with his research in regard to Bletchley Park and its contribution to the Allied victory, WWII artifacts and timelines, Nazis, the Holocaust, and neo-Nazis too. His blend of factual Nazi propaganda strategies and modern-day outreach methods enhanced by technological advances was brilliant and thorough. I can totally see people (literally and figuratively) with sinister motives preying on the good graces of everyday people to further their evil intentions without a second thought.

Charlie Lovett’s character voices were distinct, and their personalities intriguingly flawed, which I enjoyed. Each main character had something from their past that haunted them and directly influenced their interactions and beliefs about the world and wove nicely into the plot of the story. Even the villain was well developed, and her plans to return Nazism to global prominence were closer to possible than I was comfortable with, so the stakes were extremely high for me.

That said, I felt the beginning was a bit slow. When Patton and Nemo teamed up, I didn’t get a good sense of the anxiety of the situation that I feel two strangers being shot at would have, but after a few chapters this smoothed out really nicely.

There were also a couple things that I felt were edging on Deus ex Machina. It seemed like the one person in the world with the expertise they needed to solve a clue either showed up at the right time or they knew them personally. Despite feeling a bit convenient at times, I still enjoyed the story immensely.

The Enigma Affair is filled with suspense, betrayal, intrigue, and haunting facts from humanity’s darkest years that, if forgotten, have the potential to be repeated again. The Enigma Affair is not only a thrilling work of fiction, but it’s a reminder that the evils of yesteryear could easily creep into our future if we are not vigilant.

The Enigma Affair is being published by Blackstone Publishing on 6 September and is currently available for pre-order.

Happy Writing!
~MJ

ARC Review | From Heartbreak to Hopeful – by Shelby Catalano

A journey of healing and its grief, frustration, anger, sadness, and acceptance, and all of the emotions and trauma in between. From Heartbreak to Hopeful is a powerful collection of poems that reaches into the soul of humanity’s most difficult challenge: overcoming heartbreak.

I was given a copy of this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From Heartbreak to Hopeful‘s 51 poems explore Shelby’s climb out of the depths of heartbreak, delving into the lingering trauma of her experiences and the painful process of healing.

As someone who has experienced heartbreak and trauma from a manipulative relationship like Shelby’s, I connected with her story, identified with her self-doubt, her anger, at times desperation, oppressive hopelessness, and loss of confidence in herself and life in general.

Shelby’s journey continues through to hope: recovery, acceptance, closure, and the freedom that comes from learning to love oneself again.

For anyone who is going through heartbreak now, this is a beautiful collection to inspire hope for the future and share the collective energy of healing and self-love between survivors. For those of us who have gone through it before, it’s a gentle reminder of what we overcame and how we are better and stronger for our experiences.

What is so unique about From Heartbreak to Hopeful is that the poems are arranged in such a way that they can be read in order from back to front as well, showcasing just how feelings of love can spiral into heartbreak. Reading it this way was surprisingly insightful in pinpointing the behaviors and warning signs of a relationship turning sour; a vivid reminder of how subtle toxicity can be in a relationship and how it can worm its way into the seemingly happiest of places. It was creative and eye-opening, and I give major props to Shelby for arranging her poems so carefully to be read both ways.

In addition to the poems and arrangement, she has also included several of her own illustrations throughout which are absolutely beautiful and enhance the emotional connection to the poems.

This is an awesome and powerful poetry collection to add to your library; a beautiful reminder that while heartbreak reaches deep, it isn’t permanent.

You can purchase From Heartbreak to Hopeful on Amazon through this link.

Happy Writing!
~MJ

Petey says hello!

%d bloggers like this: