Thursday, March 8, 2012

Deal With the Devil by J. Gunnar Grey

Rating: 5 Stars 

Title:  Deal With The Devil 

Author:  J. Gunnar Grey 

Publisher: Astraea Press
      Cover Art: Elaina Lee 

Genre:  Historical Fiction 


Wehrmacht Major Faust has a dangerous secret: he likes England. But it's May 1940 and his Panzers are blasting the British Army off Dunkirk's beach, so he keeps his mouth shut. When the Waffen SS try to murder their English prisoners of war, Faust helps the POWs escape. Now it's treason with his neck on the line.

Then a friend gets him drunk, straps him into a parachute, and throws him out over Oxford during a bombing run. He's quickly caught. Because he helped type the battle plan for the invasion of England, Faust cannot allow himself to be broken in interrogation. Two German armies depend on it. But every time he escapes, someone rapes and murders a woman and the English are looking for someone to hang. He's risking disaster if he stays, someone else's life if he runs, and execution by the Gestapo if he makes it home.

Major Stoner, professor turned British intelligence officer, sees three possibilities. Faust perhaps was joyriding in that bomber, as he claims. Or he's on a reconnaissance mission for the German invasion. Or he's a spy. Stoner must break Faust to learn the truth, no matter how it strains his old heart. He must save England, and his granddaughter.

Their battlefield is confined to a desktop. Only one of them can win. Someone must break. Someone must make a
Deal with the Devil.


A few weeks ago, I posted reviews for Deal With The Devil, parts one and two, by J. Gunnar Grey. Since then, the publisher has decided to combine parts one and two into one book, so I am now combining my reviews into one so that I can re-post it on the various websites that I use. If you read those reviews already, I haven't really added anything to this one. If you have not already read those reviews, please proceed in all haste, because this is one you don't want to miss.

If you were to come into my house and look at my bookshelves, you would find exactly one historical fiction. It's one that I bought as a teenager because it was based on the true life story of a young girl kidnapped by Comanche Indians in the 1800's and adopted into their tribe. Needless to say that historical fiction, even though I love history, doesn't seem to be a genre that I typically read. And the world war two era...even less so. You will find nothing from that era on my bookshelves. If I'm being honest, I was actually dreading reading these books a little. I didn't think they would hold my interest. Boy, was I ever wrong!

Faust, the captured German soldier, must run the gambit between not committing treason and giving the British enough to save his own neck from being stretched during the interrogation sessions he has with Major Stoner. The problem is, he happens to like the British. He likes England, their customs, their refinement and, in particular, he likes his interrogator and his oldest granddaughter. The growing interest between Faust and the granddaughter becomes more and more interesting throughout the book.

He is wounded and not dealing with a completely clear head. He is afraid that he is going to slip up, or maybe that he already has. After convincing himself that he is required to at least attempt escape, he takes his every opportunity to do so. That opens the door to other problems presenting themselves. Each time he attempts escape, he not only re-injures himself, but a young girl is also brutally murdered. Naturally, he is the prime suspect. And the first victim is someone close to the situation, making his predicament that much more precarious. The question of who the murderer is plaques the little village throughout the book as the suspense builds and continues to unfold, culminating in
a fast paced, action packed series of events with twists and turns galore.  

The two detectives, brought in to solve the murders, made me think of the famous duo of Holmes and Watson and made me smile. I was, naturally, trying to solve the mystery before I learned who it was through the book along with our two detectives. Usually, in most books and movies, I can figure out who it is before the big reveal. This one kept me guessing all the way through!  

The amount of research that had to go into this novel astounds me. It's easy to tell just by reading it how well researched it is, even without your own knowledge of the era. The knowledge accumulated, and passed on, is simply amazing. The twists and turns in the plot are well thought out and well executed. The head games the two lead characters play with each other is fun to follow but also enough to make you stop and think. You can never be completely sure if the word play is based on animosity, respect, a means to an end for their country or the fact that they genuinely like each other and are enjoying, just a little bit, being pitted against one another. And usually, you're left trying to keep up and figure things out yourself. The intellect behind the verbal sparring of these two is intriguing and mind boggling, especially if you think about all the consequences and things that need to be considered before they utter a single word to each other. It definitely keeps you guessing. 

For most people, thoughts of World War II engenders thoughts of Nazi's and concentration camps. This is not so with this book. Obviously, these things are going to be mentioned but it's not at all what you might imagine. Part puzzle, part head game, part mystery and part suspense, this book kept me entertained for hours. I love puzzles and I definitely enjoyed my trip back to the world war two era, which surprises me since it's not an era I have ever really been interested in. I love books where I can learn things that I didn't know before and this book certainly accomplished that. It kept me entertained, on the edge of my seat and trying to figure out what was going to happen before it happened.  Definitely an author that is going on my "must read" list.


Now and Forever 1, A Love Story by Jean C. Joachim

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars 

Title:  Now and Forever 1, a Love Story

Author:  Jean C. Joachim

Publisher: Secret Cravings Publishing
      Cover Art: Beth Walker and Jean C. Joachim

Genre:  Contemporary Romance

Length: 227 Pages


Callie Richards was no stranger to heartache. Her parents were killed when she was sixteen. Left with her older sister, she fell into a romance with good-looking, Kyle Maine. They became engaged and Callie’s future was set until he was killed in Iraq. Two years later, she pulls herself together to get her Master’s degree and restart her life on her own.

Working and studying at Kensington State University, Callie meets Mac Caldwell, the handsome dean. Together they fight a deadly campus drug ring with heart-breaking results. This is an emotional story, not a cookie-cutter romance, that will make you laugh and cry as Callie struggles to make a new life, find love and her happy ending. 


At the very beginning, the heart of this book exudes a sort of melancholy feeling. Callie is dealing with the grief from the death of her fiance. We learn a lot about her childhood and the things that she had to go through as she was growing up. Her childhood was not an easy or happy one. Consequently, it seemed and felt to her like Kyle was all she had. When he died, she was devastated. In the midst of the grief, she has decided that it's time to move on with her life, but she still has trouble letting go of Kyle.

Callie is a quiet girl that stays to herself. She is believable in her grief and the way she relives things, not wanting to let them go and afraid she will forget. I enjoyed her as a character, as I did most of the characters from this book. Mac is just trying to deal with his life, not really looking to get involved with anyone. The fact that it is a relationship that is not sought out by either party seems to make the feelings more real. 

The biggest problem I had with this book is only that the author did such a fantastic job of making Kyle such a great guy, to make him worthy of the level of grief Callie was feeling even after such a long time (I'm assuming), that by the time I met Mac I didn't care about him. I wanted Kyle! Even after a few chapters of Callie and Mac, and even rooting for them to get together on one level, I found myself still hoping that the military made a mistake and Kyle would come walking in. I will say that Callie's relationship with Mac was probably healthier. She had grown and matured a little more by the time she got involved with him, so he wasn't her entire life the way Kyle was. She was more her own person by this time, with her own identity.

The different things that are dealt with in this book are portrayed very well and realistically. The levels of grief, trying to move on without forgetting, becoming your own, independent person apart from the grief and the person that you are grieving are all a part of the story, but not overwhelmingly so. I loved the box of Kyle's things that Callie keeps, and Mac's reaction to it when he finds it. I could see myself doing something like that in Callie's place.

A very bittersweet love story that will take you through the whole spectrum of emotions. I found myself proud of Callie by the end, as though she was a friend I knew, rather than a character in a book. This is a great read - another win for Ms. Joachim.

Kindle version: