Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Saving Amelie


Saving Amelie
Cathy Gohlke

Increasingly wary of her father's genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany--in the summer of 1939--will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he's as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father's files may hold answers about Hitler's plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems "unworthy of life." She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she's never known. Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young--a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally--who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel's every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife's edge, risking their lives--and asking others to do the same--for those they barely know but come to love.

I've quickly discovered that picking up a book by Cathy Gohlke is pretty much a sure way to experience heartbreak. This is the third book I've read by her, and while all three are good, they also twist your emotions into one helpless pile of rubble. Saving Amelie was no exception.

I thought Saving Amelie was interesting because although there are many books about the persecution and murders of the Jewish people during Hitler's control of Germany, there aren't many about the other groups he despised- such as the disabled or the mentally impaired. This book takes a look at not only that, but also the horror of "racial hygiene" and the science experiments that were going on for the purpose of creating the physically and mentally "perfect" human race. Though it does have a happy ending, it's still not a "feel-good" type of book- but that's a good thing. Saving Amelie is a hard look at the depravity mankind is capable of, and a good reminder that we should never forget history's past mistakes, lest we repeat them.

Rating: 8

objectionable content: I would definitely not recommend this for younger readers. The book was powerful, but could also be disturbing.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Wednesday, May 14, 2014



Dee Henderson
Bethany House

When asked what he does for a living, Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: "I'm in the navy."

But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping its crew trained and focused during 90-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and carries it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating in the Pacific Rim, the navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, pretty, and very smart. She's a civilian, but she understands life in the navy. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. But a breakup she didn't see coming has her focusing all her attention on what she does best--ocean science research. She's on the cusp of a breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop's perspective and help. Because what she's told the navy she's figured out is only the beginning. If she's right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter...

I haven't read Dee Henderson in forever. Back when I was first getting into Christian fiction I read (and really enjoyed) her O'Malley series, but it's been years since I've picked up one of her books, and I admit that Undetected made me wonder why I earth I haven't read one in so long.

I guess I really like her romance because this one really wasn't mushy. (Not that I liked everything about it- there was a love triangle and I hate those. Especially because both guys were really nice! And I have to say that once Mark realized he was in love with Gina, he seemed a little pushy and that annoyed me at times, especially  because I liked him so much at the beginning). Still, the romance was a lot different than a lot of contemporary romance I've read, especially because there was a larger-than-usual age gap between the characters. I liked a lot of the bones of the story, it's just that there were some twists and elements that I didn't care for.

Though as I said, I enjoyed this book, there were some things aside from what I mentioned above that curbed my enjoyment. Mainly because despite being labeled as a romantic suspense, there was almost no suspense at all. At least 50% of the book seemed to be about their jobs, and it's certainly not that their jobs weren't interesting...but that's not what I really wanted to read about.

I sort of wish I could combine this book with the last romantic suspense I read- I liked the edge of your seat feel from that one, but I liked the characters and relationships better in this one.

Overall, though Undetected wasn't my favorite, it's gotten me interested in reading (or perhaps re-reading!) more books by this author.

Rating: 7

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fatal Exchange


Fatal Exchange
Lisa Harris

Emily Hunt might come from a family of cops, but she never goes looking for an adrenaline rush. She lives the quiet–well, relatively quiet–life of a teacher and thrives on making a difference in the lives of her students. But she’ll have to draw on a well of strength and savvy she didn’t know she had as student Rafael Cerda takes her class hostage for ransom money to save his brother’s life.
Undercover cop Mason Taylor has been working with Rafael to find his brother and bring the cartel thugs who hold him to justice. Can he talk Rafael down from his impulsive actions? And is there something more sinister at work here than he realizes?

Fatal Exchange draws readers into a complex matrix of intertwining lives and unraveling secrets, where every answer creates more questions. Romantic suspense fans will hardly want to come up for air.

I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book had I known from the beginning it was second in a series (this is the third book or so where I’ve done that…I’m really hoping it doesn’t start to be a habit…) but even so, I enjoyed it. I haven’t read any romantic suspense books in quite some time, so I was looking forward to something exciting!

I ended up really liking the suspense aspect of the book, but didn’t care for the romance, as I didn’t find the relationship very distinctive or interesting; it felt just kind of generic. Of course, most of the book focused more on the suspense plot than the romance anyway, so it wasn’t too bad. I thought the ending of the book after the climax had passed went on a little long- until I got to the last page, which was great and got me interested for the next book. However, even though I thought the ending dragged a bit, the rest of the book was wonderfully fast-paced, which is the reason Fatal Exchange stood out for me. The actual writing was so-so, but so many things were happening so quickly I practically didn't notice! A nice change of pace from the novels I'm normally drawn to, and recommended to anyone who likes suspense. 

Rating: 7 1/2 

Objectionable Content: this book deals with a drug/crime ring and has a lot of shooting/ intense situations, including a hold-up at a school. There's a kiss or two.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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