Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Storm - Stone Braide Chronicles 3 - by Bonnie S. Calhoun

Cover Art

About the book:

Selah's mind and life are beginning to fracture. Can she complete the Third Protocol before it's too late?
As Selah and her companions mourn the loss of those who died in the Mountain, they are faced with a new threat. Selah must complete the Third Protocol before she fractures and loses herself completely. All clues lead to the West, but what will they find when they get there? The other side of the mountains holds unknown perils--volcanic ash, dangerous storms, and strange new settlements that could hold the keys to Selah's quest . . . or lead to her destruction.

The clock is ticking and Selah's abilities are growing--along with the list of those out for her blood. Selah must find the strength within herself to keep going and complete the mission for which so many have sacrificed so much.

But have she and her companions pinned their hopes on nothing more than a legend?

My review:

This is a very unique book that continues Selah's story from the previous books.  You should definitely read this series in order; I missed book two and I was a bit lost.  I liked Selah for her strength and because she wanted to do the right thing, even if it cost her something.  Her journey was interesting as her group traveled into unknown areas and met with people they didn't know if they could trust.  There was a lot of action and a little bit of romance.  There was always a lot going on, either a fight or Selah learning new information or an unexpected event happening.  It was fascinating to see Selah's abilities change throughout the story.  Bodhi was Selah's love interest and I liked that we had his viewpoint as well as Selah's.  I would recommend this book if you like fantasy stories.

I received this book free from Revell.

 The Author

  1. Bonnie S. Calhoun

    Bonnie S. Calhoun

    Bonnie S. Calhoun is the author of Thunder and Lightning, the first two books in the Stone Braide Chronicles. She loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three Bs: body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Cottage - Secrets of the Shetlands 2 - by Michael Phillips

Cover Art

About the book:

Is the Future of Whales Reef in the Hands of an Outsider?
When Loni Ford is informed that she has inherited property in the Shetland Islands, she laughs. She wants nothing more than to sell it and be done with it. But when she arrives in the North Sea enclave, she is stunned to find that "the Cottage" is not at all what she expected, nor is David Tulloch, the man most of the islanders believe to be the rightful heir.

The locals could hardly be more surprised that the heir is a woman--and an American. Loni, in turn, finds the islanders quaint and a bit behind the times. Expecting David to be as provincial as the rest of his clan, she discovers that there is far more to the man than meets the eye. And there is something about the peaceful atmosphere of the place--and the character of its most prominent citizen--that soon gets under her skin.

Beneath the peaceful surface, however, change is threatening the island of Whales Reef. David's cousin Hardy Tulloch, whose claim to the inheritance now in Loni's hands was backed by oil investors, has not been deterred in his aim to control the island. But his co-conspirators have plans of their own, plans that put Loni's very life in danger. . . .

My review:

I really enjoyed this wonderful story about a woman discovering who she really is and where she came from.  Loni was orphaned at an early age and never knew much about her mom's side of the family, so it was wonderful to see her discover her roots and her family's history.  I enjoy Michael Phillips' books not only for the characters and stories he writes, but also for the history he reveals of the places his stories are set.  I loved learning more about Scotland and its religious and clan history.  I also really liked the sections where Loni read her great-grandmother's journal and we got to see some of her history, too. I liked Loni and enjoyed her spiritual journey as well as David's faith background.  There was also a fascinating story of how their minister came to faith.  She grew up a Quaker and there was some interesting information about that faith practice.  David was a wonderful character, almost too good to be true.  Their interactions were enjoyable and it felt like I was a friend tagging along with them. I liked that the words were written in the Scottish accent and dialect of the Shetlanders.  It felt more authentic and like I was really experiencing the island along with Loni. There was some suspense as Hardy and a Texas oilman threaten Loni and the Whales Reef way of life.  There's also a bit of romance.  I thought this story worked pretty well as a stand-alone for being a continuation of Loni's story.  I haven't read book one, but didn't feel lost.  I highly recommend this fascinating story!

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers.

 The Author

  1. Michael Phillips

    Michael Phillips

    Michael Phillips is a bestselling author who has penned more than seventy books, both fiction and nonfiction. In addition, he has served as editor/redactor of nearly thirty more books. Over the past thirty years, his persistent efforts have helped reawaken...
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Monday, November 7, 2016

Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home - by Hugh Ross

Cover Art

About the book:

Are we really just the result of innumerable coincidences?
Or is there a more reasonable explanation?

Most of us remember the basics from science classes about how Earth came to be the only known planet that sustains complex life. But what most people don't know is that the more thoroughly researchers investigate the history of our planet, the more astonishing the story of our existence becomes.

The number and complexity of the astronomical, geological, chemical, and biological features recognized as essential to human existence have expanded explosively within the past decade. An understanding of what is required to make possible a large human population and advanced civilizations has raised profound questions about life, our purpose, and our destiny.

This fascinating book helps nonscientists understand the countless miracles that undergird the exquisitely fine-tuned planet we call home--as if Someone had us in mind all along.

My review:

I have to confess, I had a hard time getting through this book.  Parts of it were very interesting, but I got bogged down in all of the science lingo.  Hugh Ross believes that the world is billions of years old, but explains in detail how improbable it is that Earth could have just happened with all of the complicated things that needed to come together to allow and sustain life and especially advanced life.  I have to agree after reading about all of the processes that impact us and how if anything was just a little bit off, Earth wouldn't be able to sustain life.  It would be too hot or too cold or too little oxygen, etc., etc., etc.   He names a lot of studies and experiments that have been done to try to figure out how the Earth and other planets became the way they are. However, I don't really believe that the world is billions of years old, though admittedly I haven't done a lot of research into the young Earth, old Earth debate, so I had a bit of a hard time with his timelines.  I just don't really understand what would be the point of God creating the world, then having evolution slowly change things over time when He could just create it the way He wants it right away.  However, I do agree that God created the world and it's awe-inspiring to see how many things have affected the history of Earth and affect us right now.  We are truly living in a blessed age as far as our environment is concerned.  I also really liked his last chapter about why we're here.  Life does have meaning and purpose.  We're to seek and find God and encourage others to do the same.  If you like science and reading about how the world possibly came to be, you might want to check this out.

I received this book free from Baker Books.

The Author

  1. Hugh Ross

    Hugh Ross

    Hugh Ross (PhD, University of Toronto) is founder and president of international and interdenominational Reasons To Believe ( He is the author of many books, including The Creator and the Cosmos, More Than a Theory, and Why...
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