The Protector


by Dee Henderson

Published 2001

Sorry, I got the last three books of this series from the library in a single-bound volume, so I don’t have very good pictures for them.  Anyway.

In this fourth installment of the O’Malley series, we follow the story of Jack, a firefighter.  And while the other three books have stayed fairly focused on the individual sibling chosen as that book’s hero, this book actually spends a lot of time also following Jack’s sister, Rachel.  Jack is working as a firefighter and is close friends with Cole, who, among other things, does arson investigation.  Cole is interested in dating Rachel, and so all the main characters tie together harmoniously.

A series of arson fires seem to center around Jack and his shift, and Cole cannot figure out why.  As usual, the story pacing is excellent.  In this book, the fact that Jennifer, the youngest sister, is sick with cancer, is much more to the foreground.  That has always been something going on throughout the rest of the series (it is the catalyst for the fact that this entire family is reevaluating its religious perspective), in this book it becomes a more active part of the story as Jack, Rachel, and the rest of the siblings continue to wrestle with the fact that Jennifer may, in fact, die.

Jack, of course, is also not without his own love interest, and Cassie’s story is also an interesting one.  An ex-firefighter, she is still recovering from a major injury caused during a fire the year before.  As a Christian, she is working to keep her life in perspective, and it is good to see both her and Cole, also a Christian, work through some issues from that angle.  (Becoming a Christian does not magically fix all the problems in your life, and I appreciate the way that Henderson deals with that truth.)

All in all, another good story and an excellent addition to the series.  4/5.



by Barrett Tillman

Published 2007

In this biography from the Great Generals Series, we learn about the life of Curtis LeMay.  I was expecting this book to be an incredibly dull account of the general who bombed Japan during WWII, but it was actually a fascinating read about a man who did so much with his life that we were already through WWII within the first third of the book.

I was also gratified to learn that LeMay is an Ohio native.  Always good to find a fellow Ohioan out making history.  :-D

But in all seriousness, this was an interesting book, if nothing else than for LeMay’s opinions on defense and nuclear weapons.  He was a strong and uncompromising man who determined what he believed to be the best course of action and then followed it.  While not everyone may agree with his views, one cannot help but admire his intelligent determination.

Elephants Can Remember


by Agatha Christie

Published 1972

In this Poirot case, our intrepid hero is once again called into action by his friend Mrs. Oliver.  However, this novel follows one of my least-favorite types of Christie’s mysteries–a mystery from the Past.  As Poirot and Mrs. Oliver do their research (mostly by interviewing ‘elephants’–people who were around at the time of suspected murder), the plot becomes to become entangled with loads of extraneous and contradictory information.  As with most of Christie’s novels that focus on a past history, it is difficult to relate to the individuals involved, mostly because most of them are dead, or we hear of them only through hearsay.  Also, Christie spent a lot of this novel complaining about modern society (much as she did in Hallowe’en Party) through the voices of her characters, and that gets rather dull after a while.

All in all, while it was a fine mystery, it is not up to the caliber I expect from Christie.  3/5.

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone


by Shannon Hale

Published 2012

So I discovered this sequel to The Princess Academy at the library, and I was super excited because I really enjoyed the first book.  In this sequel, Miri and her friends are traveling to the capital city to attend the royal wedding.  The girls are to stay the whole winter, and possibly an entire year.  Miri is excited about an opportunity to attend a real school, and Peter is traveling along with the girls in order to apprentice himself to a stonecarver in the city.  When they arrive, though, the girls discover that there is much unrest in the city and the surrounding countryside.

I really enjoyed this book; I think that it had more depth than the first.  Miri befriends some rebels who are full of grand-sounding ideals, and it is interesting to watch her learn that there is no Utopia; change can bring good for some, but will always bring pain and difficulty to others.

Also, I was really scared of the love-triangle aspect of the story, but it really wasn’t that big of a deal.  Actually, it was exactly as big of a deal as it should be, which basically never happens, so that was exciting, too.

This was definitely a 4/5 and a strongly recommended read.