Catching up on my reading

I admit, I have been having a blast reading the work of some other authors, getting to know them and just catching up on reading.  A good story in book form just can’t be beaten by a movie in most cases. At least, that is my opinion.

Here are a few of the books I have read lately and my reviews. Enjoy.

Note:  I don’t get paid to review books or read them, so these reviews are simply my take on stories by authors I enjoyed reading.  And maybe you’d like them too. The links take you to the book, but are not affiliate links (again, I submit these because I liked them, not for money).

Ain’t No Grave: A Novel (The Penance of Leather, 1) by S.A. Softley

To say that S.A. Softley wrote an apocalyptic tale really does not do this story justice. An homage of sorts to the Johnny Cash song of the same title, Softley introduces you to a flawed main character who genuinely is relatable. Immediately introducing readers to phobic situations, the story thrusts you into an unexpected spiral that flatlines only to pick up a beat in a few short breaths. There were times when I wanted to yell at the “main man” to get out of his head and wake up, but it was through those inner dialogues that I was able to connect with his emotional experience. Imagine a world of loneliness and uncertainty, emotional pain absent of the physical markers you once recognized and a battle with both imagined and real demons. What would you pack for a trip into a world, once familiar, now void of everything familiar and expected? Who would you trust and could you even trust yourself? Can you remain rational in an irrational environment? Softley has placed his characters in the world, but they are no longer of the world as most would define it. Individual achievements are no longer heralded as anything beyond survival. That isn’t to say that all hope is lost. Just the opposite, in fact. With the achievements, we see more clearly the human failings in the characters. Through it all, Softley introduces the idea that once preconceptions and expectations of how one views the world are suddenly turned on their head, one can see a broader picture of the worth of humanity. This is a story of the physical and metaphysical. Beautifully written. “Ain’t No Grave” evoked similar emotions to “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy without diving into a dark, depressive state. And outside of listing a major “spoiler”, the final chapters are worth the journey. Brilliant.

A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane

Mia Germaine has lived a troubled life after an accident took the life of her father and nearly took her own. After reaching a period in her life when things seem to be on track – a decent job, a healthy relationship with her boyfriend, Brad – Mia’s life is turned upside down when she experiences dreamlike visions of a life that is not entirely her own. Fighting inner demons from her own past and haunting revelations, Mia will sacrifice her own happiness to discover not only the truth behind what she is experiencing but to find out the villain who has perpetrated misery upon a community by focusing on young girls the age Mia was at the time of her own near death. In a tangled web of mystery, Crane has written a tale full of emotion that draws you in on a full-scale assault on an evil few can imagine and enlightens the reader about a controversial medical mystery in “organ memory”. Truly original, the characters are both likeable and disturbing at the same time, illustrating flaws in humanity while painting a picture of the good and evil possible in mankind. A Secondhand Life is a great read that will have you staying up late into the night to discover who is the hunter and who is the prey.

Salvation’s Dawn (Eve of Redemption, 1) by Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson has created a spectacular world that combines a bit of science fiction with what may be the next epic fantasy world to garner a ton of fans. With one of the strongest female heroines, Jackson has developed Kari, a demonhunter sworn to obey her Order, as a cross between a woman of true nature and genuine raw emotion and the unyielding warrior most authors peg as men. After being summoned from duties diligently served, Kari must once again enter the darkness to unleash the light. The cast of characters is as rich as a role playing game with dramatic worlds and themes that fantasy fans will love to explore.





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