Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review of Promise Me This

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke is a historical fiction book about the voyage of the Titanic and the story of the three lives that were deeply affected due to the tragedy.

Owen Allen is determined to make a new life for himself and his sister in America, away from their controlling and manipulative aunt. With the seeds in hand to plant a new life (literally), Owen embarks on the Titanic, leaving his little sister, Annie, behind. Michael Dunnagan is a young orphan who wants desperately to escape the life of poverty, orphanhood, and abuse he has known so long. One day, he meets a young gardener, Owen, who shows unexpected kindness towards Michael and shows him that there's hope for a better life. Annie Allen is a lonely, petulant girl who is deeply annoyed with her brother's newfound friendship with Michael, and she is quick to tell her brother of her negative opinions, much to his dismay.

When the Titanic sinks and lives are lost, Michael finds himself alone and feels undeserving of Owen's sacrificial gift to him. Yet Owen's gift results in the inexplicable entwining of two lives- Annie's and Michael's. Michael is now determined to fulfill Owen's dreams and bring Annie to safety in America. By corresponding through letters, Michael is able to help Annie heal from the pain and anger of Owen's death, and their letters soon lead to something more. Soon, Owen is able to bring Annie to America with the funds he so painstakingly earned. However, an evil aunt, an ocean, and the beginning of a world war separates any communication, and Annie's letters no longer come. Desperate to find her, Owen risks his life to find the woman he loves.... but at what cost?

Simply stunning. This book is one of my all-time favorites. When I finished the last page and slowly shut the book, I could only say, "Wow." This story is so poignant, so beautifully written to express deep emotions and vivid images of the story as it progresses. I felt as if I were viewing a movie with this book, everything was so vivid. I enjoyed growing up with the characters. We see them develop from childhood to adulthood and overcome their personal issues. The challenge and beauty of a well-written historical novel is that it must be well-written, historically accurate, and enjoyable. This book is all three. I was hooked from page one until the end.

I rate this book five out of five stars. 

Specifics (from
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (January 20, 2012)
Author website:
Publisher website:

Note: Thanks to the publisher for a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day from me to you! I hope you truly enjoy today. Whether it be with your significant other, friends, family, pets, or even by yourself (even though that never happens, right? You've got Him!!!)

Love's a beautiful thing, celebrate it!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review of When the Smoke Clears

When the Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason is the fictional story of a smokejumper who's past is as smoky as what she faces when battling fires. When Alexia Allen's job becomes in jeopardy due to equipment failure, she is forced to  move into her mother's house and attend a high school reunion. Doesn't sound bad, right? But it seems trouble can't stay away from Alexia. Upon her arrival, terrible things begin to happen that put her life and the lives of those she loves at risk. In steps Detective Graham, her childhood crush, to solve the crimes. But when evidence and circumstance begin to point at Alexia, who can she trust?

Even worse, the crimes are forcing Alexia to dig deeper into her past. Will she be able to let her secrets come to life to catch the person responsible for the heinous acts?

This book was so engaging. I am a huge fan of Lynette Eason, so I jumped at the chance to review this book. I was definitely not disappointed. The pacing was brilliant: not too fast to overwhelm, but not to slow to be able to put down either. I really like the character of Alexia. Her past isn't crystal clear: she isn't perfect. That vulnerability makes her very endearing, yet she has the spunk to do things like fight fires and find the criminal responsible for all of the crimes. Speaking of which, I was so guessing who it was until the very end. I was not able to guess who that was, and I was shocked!

A must read. Highly recommended, five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
~Paperback: 352 pages
~Publisher: Revell (February 1, 2012)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes!


Monday, February 6, 2012

Review of The Mysterious Epigenome

The Mysterious Epigenome by Thomas E. Woodward and James P. Gillis is a nonfiction book about information beyond DNA.

The beautiful spiraled structure of DNA has fascinated scientist for years as they have slowly unraveled its secrets about life. Now, the study of epigenetics has become a subject of interest. Epigenetics is the study of DNA expression, such as why traits in the DNA are evident in a person physically (phenotype). In genetics, the "library" of information is stored in the genome and is perfectly identical in different types of cells. However, in epigenetics, there is as much epigenome variance as there are cell variance. The epigenome may be passed down through hereditary means like the genome, but there is a difference. The epigenome can be altered with lifestyle changes. As we delve deeper and deeper into what makes us, humans, us, we begin to question our origins... and even the meaning to our existence.

This book explores this and so much more.

Doesn't that just give you chills of excitement? If not, bear with me.

This book delves into the deeper consequences of the field of epigenetics to health, science, and spirituality. I'll be addressing the scientific content in this review:

I've always been interested in cells and how they work, especially when it comes to genetics. Therefore, most of this information was familiar to me, with the exception of what epigenetics is and how it all works. Yes, the field of genetics is very complex, and to be honest, much of what can ever be explained only skims the surface of what's occurring daily in our bodies. That doesn't mean you have to have a degree in genetics or microbiology in order to understand this book! You will be introduced to many cellular "friends". From the ribosome, to the nucleus, to little cellular "robots", the book beautifully illustrates the anatomy and physiology of the cell using a fictional research lab to give you the opportunity to learn about the cell. It uses engaging examples to draw parallels from the structures to items the reader will be familiar with. It also gives solid references to proven resources that a reader may explore. I'm a very visual person, so I was very appreciative of the illustrations and charts throughout the book. There's even a six page insert with color photographs to help readers further picture items of interest. Overall, this book is very readable with excellent scientific information.

I have never before truly thought about the field of epigenetics. In my study of genetics, it has always been, "this allele (bit of genetic instruction that is generally paired. one half from mom, one half from dad) is dominant, therefore is it expressed", but I've never really considered the deeper why and the deeper how. This book does that excellently and in a manner the reader will be able to understand. It also goes into the controversial debate of evolution vs. intelligent design, a topic which I must admit has intrigued me from a young age.  I believe, intelligent design proponent or evolutionary proponent, it's important to keep an open mind when reading what you believe is right and what you believe is wrong. I'm not going to go into my personal opinion, but I will address the book's. This book is openly pro-intelligent design; the authors outrightly say that unapologetically. They cite many noted and respected scientists in the field to build an argument about intelligent design and its correlation to epigenetics. Intelligent design (ID) is not touted as creationism, in fact, the authors are quick to point out that ID is not creationism. ID is the amassing of scientific information to prove the complexity of life to indicate the presence of a designer, but it does not desire to address who that designer may be. Whether you believe in ID or are opposed to it, I believe this book is very important to read to be able to know the opinions that are out there to be able to either logically and analytically defend or reject it.

All in all, a very engaging read that I recommend to anyone interested in science, learning more about epigenetics, or wanting to know more about the ID vs. evolution debate. I rate this book five out of five stars.

Specifics (from
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (December 1, 2011)

Note: Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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