Code of Valor by Lynette Eason

What Detective Brady St. John really needs is a relaxing vacation. Unfortunately, just as the sun is setting on his second day at a friend’s cabin on Lake Henley, he hears a scream and races to rescue a woman from her would-be killer. When the killer escapes only to return to finish the job, Brady vows to utilize all of his many resources to keep her safe–and catch those who would see her dead.

Financial crimes investigator Emily Chastain doesn’t trust many people. And even though she let the detective who saved her life in on a few pertinent facts about why she was being attacked, there are some things you just don’t share with a stranger. Little does she suspect that the secret she is keeping just might get them both killed. – from author’s website

Lynette Eason has done it again. The suspense grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let up until the conclusion. The plot is complex with many different strands that all come together by the end of the novel. The interactions between the St. John siblings provide some lighter moments among the suspense and if you’ve read the other books in the series you’ve probably already fallen in love with the family and this is a continuation of their stories with Brady St. John as the main protagonist.

Hidden Peril by Irene Hannon

As teenagers, Kristin Dane and her two best friends took a vow to make the world a better place. Twenty years later, she’s fulfilling that pledge through her fair trade shop that features products from around the world. All is well until, one by one, people connected to the shop begin dying. Detective Luke Carter, new to the St. Louis PD, wants to know why. Before he can answer that question, however, the FBI weighs in and Kristin suddenly finds herself in the middle of international intrigue—and in the sights of the ruthless mastermind behind an ingenious and deadly scheme. Can this cold-blooded killer be stopped before more people die…including Kristin? – from author’s website

I often like Irene Hannon’s books and this one was a pretty decent one, although it wouldn’t be my favorite. There was a lot of foreshadowing and I knew almost from the beginning what the real name (or at least the one he was using in his day to day life) of the antagonist was. I like it better when I can’t tell who it is or there are a couple of options that it can be so I don’t know who it is right away and it keeps me guessing. Nevertheless, the suspense kept me in the book and how the author was going to wrap up the plot. I found that the book had more innuendo than is normally found in Christian fiction but still would be considered clean. It is a decent Christian romantic suspense novel for people who enjoy reading in that genre.

The Best of Intentions by Susan Anne Mason

She Swore to Protect Her Nephew at Any Cost.

But What if That Cost is a Chance at Love?

In the aftermath of WWI, Grace Abernathy is determined to reunite her family, crossing an ocean to do so. Yet faced with more tragedy in Canada, what lengths will Grace go to in order to ensure her nephew’s well-being? And when she finds herself falling for the boy’s guardian, will she able to keep her promise without losing her heart? – from author’s website

I enjoyed reading a book that was based in Canada. I read a lot of historical fiction but hardly ever one that takes place in the country I live in. I found it an intriguing plot in that a woman goes undercover with her nephew’s father’s family and it made me think about what I would do if I was in the same situations that Andrew and Grace found themselves in. Would I consider marrying someone I didn’t particularly like simply because my parents wanted me to? Would I deceive everyone around me into thinking I was a nanny when the child was actually my nephew because my brother-in-law’s family had guardianship of him and they were rich and powerful and my sister didn’t have nice things to say about them? I could empathize with the main characters as their made decisions with the best of intentions but didn’t always make the right decisions.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

Caught by Surprise by Jen Turano

Miss Temperance Flowerdew is on her way to work when a stranger suddenly grabs her off the street and sends her on a Chicago-bound train before she can figure out what happened.

When Mr. Gilbert Cavendish is called upon to rescue a missing woman, he follows the trail to Chicago only to discover that the woman is his good friend Temperance. Before they can discover who was behind the abduction, they’re seen alone together by a New York society matron, putting their reputations at risk.

Gilbert is willing to propose marriage–except Temperance will have none of it. She’s finally stepped out of the shadow of her relations and won’t give up her independence. But when it becomes clear the misunderstanding in Chicago has escalated into a threat on her life and followed her to New York, accepting Gilbert’s help in solving the mystery may lead to more than she ever could have dreamed. – from author’s website

I always enjoy Jen Turano’s books because of the character interactions and this one was no different. The interactions between Temperance and Gilbert were enjoyable and I found myself laughing throughout the book. The humor starts off right away as Temperance is kidnapped by two incompetent kidnappers when they had meant to kidnap someone else. The characters are lovable and quirky and people I would enjoy having as friends. Watching the antics of the two childhood friends with one trying to convince the other to marry him was delightful. Overall the book was a light and amusing read.

Cost of Betrayal by Henderson, Pettrey, and Eason

In Dee Henderson’s novella “Betrayal,” Janelle Roberts is freed–thanks to people she doesn’t know–after serving six years of a twenty-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. But a murderer is still at large, and Janelle needs to be somewhere safe with someone she can trust. She may not survive another betrayal.

In Dani Pettrey’s “Deadly Isle,” Tennyson Kent is trapped on the isolated island of her childhood by a storm surge, and she is shocked when the typically idyllic community turns into the hunting grounds of a murderer. Cut off from any help from the mainland, will she and first love Callen Frost be able to identify and stop a killer bent on betrayal before they become the next victims?

In Lynette Eason’s “Code of Ethics,” trauma surgeon Ruthie St. John saves the life of Detective Isaac Martinez. After a betrayal leads to him getting shot and then attacked while in recovery, Isaac is now a key witness determined to testify. But someone is intent on silencing him–and those around him–forever. Together, Ruthie and Isaac go on the run, desperate to escape the killers hunting him. – from Dani Pettrey’s website

Betrayed – Dee Henderson
I found that there was a lot of description and not enough action in this novella. The plot was slow moving and it took a while before there was any suspense.

Deadly Isle – Dani Pettrey
I normally like Pettrey’s books but this novella fell a little flat for me. The POVs were very short and it made it harder to get in the story. I also found Teni forgiving Callen seemed too clean and that there wasn’t much behind it. I also got the impression that God was forced into the story and it didn’t flow as well.

Code of Ethics – Lynette Eason
This was my favorite of the three novellas in this collection. The suspense was there throughout the book and was paced well. However, I found the romance to be lacking. It was never really mentioned or hinted at until the end.

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.

For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.

Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.

For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history. – from author’s website

This book was in first person which I’m not usually a fan of. I found it strange that the prologue was in first person of one character and then the first chapter changed to a different character but still in first person. Also based on the prologue, I thought the rest of the book would be more like a journal but it didn’t sound like one. I also found there was too much description and not enough actually happening. It was like getting a bird’s eye view and never landing on any event for a significant amount of time. I never finished the book because I couldn’t get into it and it wasn’t my style.

Called to Protect by Lynette Eason

For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She’s over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum’s daughter goes missing, he’s ordered to kill the judge he’s protecting and tell no one about his daughter’s disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman? – from author’s website

This is another excellent book by Lynette Eason. There is good action and suspense throughout the book with a fast pace. It brings the human trafficking into the forefront and how it can happen in North America. It was also nice to see cameos from characters from the Elite Guardians series but it is not a continuation of the series. It helps if you’ve read the first book in this series as things that happened in the first book are referenced but it’s not necessary.

Little Women movie

Sisters—and dreams—are unique in their ability to inspire, encourage and change the

For 150 years, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has motivated women of all ages to dream together and celebrate family. Coming to theaters for the first time, a modern retelling of LITTLE WOMEN brings a new generation together with their mothers, sisters and friends.

From girls playing in the attic to women living with purpose, the March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—are committed to always supporting each other. Yet, growing up
sometimes means growing apart.

An aspiring writer, Jo leaves for New York determined to publish a novel. In the wake of rejected draft upon draft, her editor challenges Jo to write about something more interesting—her family.

When tragedy brings the sisters back home, sticking together takes on new meaning. As Jo comforts her sick sister, Beth asks for one thing: a story.

Jo knows the perfect one … by heart.

Starring Lea Thompson as Marmee and featuring a talented cast, including Lucas Grabeel and Ian Bohen, LITTLE WOMEN tells the story of the same beloved sisters to a new generation. Celebrating dreams, family and unconditional love, LITTLE WOMEN opens in theaters this fall. – from movie’s website

I’ve never seen the original movie or read the books on this movie so I can’t comment on how it compares to them. I wasn’t a big fan of all the back and forth between the present and the past but I understood why the story was told that way and at times I found it a little hard to follow as the actresses didn’t look much older in the present as they were in the past, except for Amy’s character who was the only one to change actresses. Jo’s character often annoyed me with how she responded to things that to me felt immature and selfish, although in other ways I could relate to her. It was a decent movie although not my style.

“Film has been provided courtesy of Pure Flix and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”

Hope Your Heart Needs by Holley Gerth

You don’t have to settle for “I’m fine.”

Understanding God’s character and how he loves us changed Holley Gerth’s life in beautiful, powerful ways. She realized that the hope, joy, peace, and purpose we all long for can be found in his heart. Knowing who God is and the ways he cares for us empowers us to overcome the restlessness and stress we all tend to feel in this busy, overwhelming world.

Whether you’re going through a hard time or simply dealing with the everyday challenges of life, you’ll find encouragement, hope, and new strength on these pages. With Holley’s help, you’ll discover that “the God who scattered stars like diamonds across the velvet of the universe, the keeper of every sparrow, the maker of us all is inviting us to draw closer to him. . . . He is what we’ve been searching for all along.” – from publisher’s website

I wasn’t a big fan of this book and didn’t read through all the meditations. They were too abstract and not deep enough for me. The ones I read were very short and I didn’t think they had much substance to them. However, people may like them if they like meditations that are surface level but on the flowery side. Each meditation is focused on one aspect of God and the author relates it to experiences in her life whether by seeing the morning star or in her counseling practice. Some people will relate to them and others won’t. They didn’t connect with me but I know people in my life who these meditations would sooner connect with.

God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness (movie)

A church destroyed. A congregation silenced. A relationship shattered. Yet even in life’s darkest valleys, a small flame can light the way toward healing and hope.

A deadly fire rips through St. James Church, devastating the congregation and Pastor Dave. Adjoining Hadleigh University uses the tragedy to kick the congregation off campus. The escalating controversy creates a dilemma for the small church—can Christians fight for their rights and be the light for Christ at the same time?

Facing a court case and his own struggle to see Christ’s light in heartbreak, Dave asks for help from Pearce, his estranged brother—a big-city lawyer and an atheist—to fight for the church’s right to exist. The family reunion opens old wounds, as the brothers wrestle with the questions that pulled them apart years ago: Is God really good all the time? Where is God when bad things happen? Can Christ really heal the brokenhearted?movie’s website

This is the third installment in the God’s Not Dead franchise and although I have now watched all three, I can’t fully recommend them. I find that they oversimplify Christian faith and the endings are almost too neat and tidy to be realistic. This one was no different. However, saying all of that, I really liked the line towards the end of the movie that went something like, “It’s easy to know what the church is against, but it’s getting harder to know what it stands for.” I think the creators of the movies have good intentions of creating a movie that will mobilize Christians to stand up for their faith even when it differs from society, although the storyline in which they chose to do this won’t resonate with everyone and it could have been done in a better way.

“DVD has been provided courtesy of Pure Flix and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.”