Going Back Cold {Christian Sci-Fi Book Review}

Physicist Dr. Jane Whyse and her husband have just arrived at a remote Antarctic base when they discover an unexpected blessing—Jane is pregnant with their second child. As Project Split Horizon builds the piezoelectric jet she designed, Jane gets closer to achieving faster-than-light travel, with the potential to radically change the course of NASA’s future plans. But after eight months of anticipation, the Whyses are devastated when their daughter is stillborn.

Torn between faith and hopelessness, Jane begins an ugly struggle to understand God’s plan for her life in the midst of a mother’s mourning. The lifeless Antarctic landscape seems only to emphasize the emptiness within her. Despite success in her scientific research and a world-changing technological leap forward, Jane continues to grieve. What healing can faith offer against hopelessness? Does the Author of Creation truly understand the suffering of His children? As she tries to find restoration through years of searching, Jane explores a critical horizon where her scientific breakthrough meets God’s sovereignty over space and time.

Book Review

This gripping, near-future sci-fi kept my attention from beginning to end, plunging me into life at an Antarctic research station and all of the highs and lows that can occur even in the midst of a monotonous landscape. Waller infused each character with their own personality and backstory to create a team of people that felt very real. In fact, by the end they seemed almost like a large family, with a few distant relatives on the fringes who came and went.

Although Dr. Jane Whyse is the protagonist, we also get the perspectives of other characters, and sometimes Jane’s actions are a mystery to her husband and teammates as well as to the reader, keeping us guessing at her thoughts and motives.

Going Back Cold covers some tough topics, and I think Waller handled them well. We may not share the same ideologies 100 percent, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story nonetheless. Additionally, some discussions toed the line of being preachy but instead were well-written. I found myself pleasantly surprised by some of these interactions. However, there were one or two awkward conflicts that left me wondering what happened to escalate things so quickly, what triggered this or that character to blow up over something trivial.

Despite the heartbreaking theme, the story is dotted with pockets of humor, and I often found myself laughing out loud at banter, antics, and references to hobbits in space.

4/5 leaves

About the Author: Kelley Rose Waller

Kelley writes fiction to imagine new life experiences. Her debut novel, The Senator's Youngest Daughter, was released in 2016. Kelley's day job as a marketing strategist offers her the opportunity to write and plan for clients in diverse fields. Kelley and her husband are Pennsylvania foster parents. Kelley lives and writes to uplift and glorify the name of Jesus Christ. Kelley is a ridiculous fan of science fiction and board games. She has a B.A. in English and lives in Lancaster, PA, with her husband, three sons, and their dog.

Going Back Cold will release on October 1, or you can preorder an ebook now!

Thanks to Kelley Rose Waller for providing a free ebook in exchange for an honest review!


Busy Morning {a poem}

As summer comes to a close, let's take a step back to the beginning of the season and fully savor this warm weather before it gives way to autumn.

A wren stands on the stone sidewalk,
legs extended to peck at the seeds of a dandelion
in the yard; white dots fan out around it.

Having bared the once-fuzzy head,
it hops onto the dewy grass - then startles back -
and tilts its head to eye more dandelions
towering just out of reach
before resuming its previous position to glean.

Another small brown bird joins the first,
this one rounder - perhaps they had been
calling to each other - chirping and trilling abounds
this busy morning.

It, too, eyes the taller stalks,
hopping bravely into the wet grass,
an then cleverly springs onto a long stem,
bending the laden head to the ground
where the round wren can easily gather breakfast
while the first, having truly bared its own flower by now,
hops off to investigate the mulched beds nearby.

Two catbirds swoop by in a blur;
a blue jay observes from its perch on a fence post.


Symphony of the Woods

The woods at first seem silent,
but listen:
The trees whisper and chatter
with the prodding of the wind,
and birds in the distance - and then closer - sing,
each with its own thread of song;
a branch creaks, an acorn falls,
the brook down the hill trills a percussive tune.
With eyes closed, observe
the symphony of the woods.


Ecofiction Roundup no. 1: Flight

Hello, friends, it's been a while! While I was living in Peru for six months, I let this dear blog fall by the wayside. Again. I have since started up a new blog, Enough, and the following is cross-posted there. But never fear! I plan to continue publishing bookish things and poetry here.


Recently, I discovered the genre of "ecofiction," and I've been wanting to shout the titles I've read from the rooftops, because they are simultaneously terrifying and inspiring. Ecofiction ranges from contemporary fiction to sci-fi but with environmental or nature-oriented themes. Although the name may sound new, the idea is not - if you've read anything by Barbara Kingsolver, you've read ecofiction.

As I began compiling titles for this Ecofiction Roundup, I began to notice a theme: flight. Whether they're attached to bees or dragons, these books all have wings.

Flight Behavior | Barbara Kingsolver

One of Kingsolver's many excellent novels, this book contains themes of relationships, conservation, nature, science, rural communities, and church. Nothing has an easy answer, and no one is perfect - life is complex and messy. Everyone has a story. Everything is connected.

The Crows of Beara | Julie Christine Johnson

This contemporary novel contains beautiful Irish landscapes, refreshingly believable characters, and a poetic story. It is a narrative of both people and place, and I love the relationships, the struggles, and the openness to the voice of the land.

The History of Bees | Maja Lunde

Three very different stories, ranging from historical fiction to dystopia, weave together beautifully by the end in barely more than subtle ways. The suggested possibilities are horrifyingly realistic, and yet hope has a place as well. This is a beautiful tale of bees, family, and humanity.

The Dragon Quartet | Marjorie B. Kellogg

This fantasy/sci-fi crossover is both entertaining and relevant. It has compelling characters, interesting cultures and landscapes, a brilliant weaving together of times and places, and settings eerily parallel to our own. And dragons, of course!

Where to Buy

Interested in reading any (or all!) of these wonderful books? Here are a few suggestions of where to find them:

1. The library
2. A local bookstore
3. A big box bookstore (think Barnes & Noble)

Like this post?
Read more about sustainable and ethical living on my new blog, Enough!


Worlds Beneath {blog tour + giveaway!}

I read K. A. Emmons' first book, The Blood Race, after winning it in a giveaway last year, and it was amazing. So naturally, when asked if I would participate in the blog tour for Worlds Beneath, I enthusiastically signed up! Read on for my thoughts on this powerful sequel, followed by a chance to win your own paperback copy of The Blood Race (believe me, this is a journey you want to take).

I used to think that seeing was believing, but now, as I struggle to stay alive below the ravine, I begin to realize that - good or bad - I will see whatever I believe.

“Who are you, Icarus, that the earth opens its mouth to receive your blood?” Sensei’s words were my last thoughts before I fell into the bottomless ravine, plunging toward my own death, and bringing about Hawk’s at the same time. Or so I thought.

I woke up underwater. I awoke in a strange and unfamiliar world, filled with maze-like forest, shadows, and nightmares seemingly as vivid and dangerous as reality. I had no idea who I was, or how I got there - I couldn’t remember anything, until I remembered her: Hawk. The other half of my soul. 
--from Goodreads

Book Review

In a word: powerful. Worlds Beneath picks up right where the first book left off, and it's at least as good - no "soggy middle syndrome" that many trilogies suffer from! It's a gripping, nail-biting story with beautiful prose. I found it to be rather unpredictable, like a puzzle that slowly, haltingly came together. Themes of faith, hope, and finding courage support a beautiful, subtle allegory that contrasts human nature with the seemingly upside-down love of God.

The plot is brilliantly woven and full of vibrant, real characters with wonderful depth and raw emotion. Amid the tense action, thought-provoking dialogue and text often had me slowing down to savor the book. The characters remain much the same as in the first novel, with Hawk still mysterious and yet familiar, though we are given a more complete backstory for some of them. I love it.

Powerful, gripping, thought-provoking, beautiful.

5/5 leaves

About the Author: K. A. Emmons

When she’s not hermiting away in her colorfully-painted home office writing her next science fiction, passionate story-teller and adventurer Kate Emmons is probably on the road for a surf or hiking trip, listening to vinyls, or going for a power run. Emmons’ debut novel The Blood Race is the first book in her YA science fiction/fantasy thriller series. Get connected with Kate on your favorite social platform, and be sure to check out kaemmons.com!

facebook | goodreads | instagram | twitter

Giveaway Time!

If you haven't yet read book one, The Blood Race, and would like a chance to win a paperback copy, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below! Both books are also available for purchase at the following links: The Blood Race and Worlds Beneath.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Livy for coordinating this awesome blog tour!