Book Review: Life After by Katie Ganshert

Life After

Katie Ganshert

Available 4/18/17

 

My review

This story. Wow! There is so much I want to say about this book, so many things I want you to know but at the same time, I want readers to experience it for themselves. Katie Ganshert has outdone herself with this one.

After the tragedy on the tracks, life for many Chicagoans is now defined as before and after. As Autumn Manning, the sole survivor grapples with the why of her life, she is haunted by twenty-two ghosts. Ghosts of those who she believes should have lived instead of her.

And then there’s Paul, Reese, and Tate Elliott. A family who lost one member during the attack. But the before is not the same for all of them. Tate doesn’t have many memories of his mom, Reese wants to change hers, and Paul wrestles with the truth behind his marriage.

When Autumn and the Elliotts’ paths cross, there are moments. Moments of laughter, moments of hope, moments when they forget the tragedy and focus on life. As these four try to make sense of the tragedy, to put the before behind them, there is a small glimpse into the future. One that, while loss and grief are a part of life for many, it doesn’t have to be something that defines them.

Another beautiful, poignant story from Katie Ganshert that had me wanting to stay with Autumn and the Elliott family long after the last page, to follow them into what I hope is happiness and joy despite the pain they all have suffered.

My Rating:

 

More about the book

Loop train riding above a street in Chicago

 

It could have been me.

Snow whirls around an elevated train platform in Chicago. A distracted woman boards the train, takes her seat, and moments later a fiery explosion rips through the frigid air, tearing the car apart in a horrific attack on the city’s transit system. One life is spared. Twenty-two are lost.

A year later, Autumn Manning can’t remember the day of the bombing and she is tormented by grief—by guilt. Twelve months of the question constantly echoing. Why? Why? Why? Searching for answers, she haunts the lives of the victims, unable to rest.

Paul Elliott lost his wife in the train bombing and wants to let the dead rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to cause more pain for his loved ones. He wants normalcy for his twelve-year-old daughter and young son, to see them move beyond the heartbreak. But when the Elliotts and Autumn are unexpectedly forced together, he fears she’ll bring more wreckage in her wake.

Order Life After

Disclosure statement:

I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Returning by Rachelle Dekker

About The Returning by Rachelle Dekker

Twenty years have passed since Carrington and Remko Brant’s baby, Elise, was kidnapped and they were forced to leave her captive in the Authority City. Though they fled with the Seers far from Authority reach, they’ve never given up hope of rescuing their daughter from the man who betrayed them. Now Authority President, he’s ushered the city into a new era of “peace”–one where the Scientist Roth Reynard’s Genesis Serum has eradicated all memory of emotion or rebellion.

But the mysterious Aaron and his Seers are once again on the move, threatening the illusion the Authority has worked so hard to build. As the Seers send seven chosen warriors to rescue Elise and bring restoration to the Authority City, the lines are drawn for a final battle between light and darkness. The key to ultimate victory may rest within the strangely powerful girl who has felt forgotten but was never abandoned–a truth she’ll need to wage war against the powerful forces of evil.

 

 

My thoughts

First, I loved that the third and final Seer novel begins with Carrington and Remko Brandt. Too often books just jump into new characters and I feel like I need a refresher from what happened in the last book that I read over a year ago. This wasn’t at all the case with The Returning. In fact, the first chapter is both a reminder of what happened in The Calling but also an introduction to the story that is about to play out.

Shame. Fear. Doubt. Emotions that draw us away from God, away from the light. In the finale of Rachelle Dekker’s Seer trilogy, readers are reminded of this fact over and over again. As each character in the books goes through their own journey, much as each of us does, they are reminded that the light has always been with them. That they are not alone. That the light within is greater than anything that comes against them.

A story that clearly draws the lines between good and evil, God’s love and Satan’s lies, the light and the dark, and the choice that each person must make. Fast paced with scenes built in to let the reader breathe, The Returning is the perfect conclusion to a trilogy that started with a young woman who was not chosen with a future of servitude in front of her and ends with more than she could have ever imagined. God not only changes lives, he changes futures and gives us identity and purpose.

 

 

About the Author

 

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her at www.rachelledekker.com

 

 

 

More about the book (in the words of Rachelle Dekker)

 

The Returning focuses on Carrington and Remko’s daughter Elise. Tell us more about Elise’s character and her growth throughout the book.

Elise starts the book in a pretty dark place. She grew up without parents, believing she was abandoned, only to discover there’s an entire world that has been kept from her. Her journey can be divided into two parts, in my opinion: first, learning who she really is; and second, learning how to live that out. It’s the same journey we all take, and I believe that makes her pretty relatable.

The theme of identity is explored in all three Seer books. How does forgiveness relate to identity?

For me, forgiveness is more about the one who feels wronged than the one who committed the wrong. What if, for a moment, you believed that nothing could harm you? That you, as a believer, are seated at the Father’s table and standing with him? Can anything harm the Father? If you believe no, then can anything harm you—the true you, the true spirited self? So then, forgiveness becomes more about letting go of false belief and stepping into the true identity that the Father gave to you. I know it’s radical, but belief like that could change the world, don’t you think?

How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers?

I hope, as with both of the other books, that the reader sees themselves in the characters and that the story causes them to look inward. To ask hard questions like, Who am I? What am I capable of? Do I see myself the way the Father does? Can I? I hope it challenges their idea of identity and then gives them hope to see themselves and others more clearly. Because that’s how these stories have impacted me, and we are all really just the same.

 

 


Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Happy Book Birthday to The Sound of Silver!! Giveaway included.

 

Welcome to The Sound of Silver birthday blog tour!  Rachelle Rea Cobb’s second installment in the Steadfast Love series, an inspirational historical romance set during the 16th century! Keep reading to find out how to enter to win this fabulous prize from the author.

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Rachelle is also the author of The Sound of Diamonds, the first book in the series, and a newlywed! This summer, she married a man with the same first name as the hero of the series! I’m joining in this blog tour to tell you a little more about Silver and spread the news about the rocking giveaway Rachelle is hosting—make sure you enter using the Rafflecopter form to win the lovely necklace pictured and your choice of any of the Steadfast Love titles!

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ABOUT The Steadfast Love SERIES

 

In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago–her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She’s a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South.

AUTHOR LINKS

Websitehttp://RachelleReaCobb.com/

Facebookhttp://facebook.com/RachelleReaCobb

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/RachelleReaCobb

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/RachelleReaCobb/

Instagram: @RachelleReaCobb

Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-Rea/e/B00RZHIL1Q

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8144149.Rachelle_Rea_Cobb

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ABOUT The Sound of Silver

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One fights for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

Find The Sound of Silver here:

Amazon Paperback: http://is.gd/1HwJoi

Kindle: http://is.gd/EZ7DJ1

Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/qhoCTc

Books a Million: http://is.gd/M2y5P2

Goodreads: http://is.gd/iBE2lJ

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>> And if you want to learn more ABOUT BOOK ONE, The Sound of Diamonds

Her only chance of getting home is trusting the man she hates.

With the protestant Elizabeth on the throne of England and her family in shambles, Catholic maiden Gwyneth seeks refuge in the Low Countries of Holland, hoping to soothe her aching soul. But when the Iconoclastic Fury descends and bloodshed overtakes her haven, she has no choice but to trust the rogue who arrives, promising to see her safely home to her uncle’s castle. She doesn’t dare to trust him…and yet doesn’t dare to refuse her one chance to preserve her own life and those of the nuns she rescues from the burning convent.

Dirk Godfrey is determined to restore his honor at whatever cost. Running from a tortured past, Dirk knows he has only one chance at redemption, and it lies with the lovely Gwyneth, who hates him for the crimes she thinks he committed. He must see her to safety, prove to the world that he is innocent, prove that her poor eyesight is not the only thing that has blinded her, but what is he to do when those goals clash?

The home Gwyneth knew is not what she once thought. When a dark secret and a twisted plot for power collide in a castle masquerading as a haven, the saint and the sinner must either dare to hold to hope…or be overcome.

Find The Sound of Diamonds here:

Amazon: http://is.gd/7z9vls

Kindle: http://is.gd/EZ7DJ1

Barnes & Noble: http://is.gd/qhoCTc

Books a Million: http://is.gd/M2y5P2

Goodreads: http://is.gd/F7HILk

The Cautious Maiden Review and Giveaways

Before we get into the review (and giveaways) for The Cautious Maiden, let me say this: If you have not yet read The Everstone Chronicles by Dawn Crandall, you are missing out! This series is amazing and the fourth and final book is a true treat.

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Vance Everstone is the black sheep of the Everstone Family, the offspring who has lived life to please himself and now lives to regret his choices. He is striving to change his spots, to become a man after God’s heart but the shadow of his past hangs heavy over everything in his present.
On the other end of the spectrum, Violet Hawthorne has lived her life above reproach. Despite her brother turning her family home into a brothel, Violet has managed to stay away from that life and everything associated with it. But her brother is more devious and desperate than she could imagine.
When he puts her in a compromising position that will ruin her reputation and leave her with no place to turn, Violet is forced into an engagement with Vance Everstone, who promises to protect her. Violet longs for a real marriage—one full of love—but Vance has already told her he hadn’t planned on marrying anytime soon. Will she learn to navigate Vance’s high-society world? And how will she ever protect her heart from the man she is coming to love?

This story!! What a beautiful tale of redemption, of how love can change a person. How seeking God’s heart changes your own enough for someone who wants to know you to see the person God intended you to be.

And while it’s not usually my favorite point of view for romance, Crandall makes the first person narrative work. In every one of her books. Readers fall in love with the hero right along with the heroine. All I could ask for is more of these characters—maybe a reunion piece?

****Whitaker House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write either a positive or negative review. All opinions expressed are my own.***

For the next 10 days (both end Nov 4, 2016), there are two giveaways for you to enter. First, Dawn Crandall’s publisher is generously giving away a copy of The Cautious Maiden to one of my blog visitors. All you have to do is answer the following question in the comments:

Question: Who is the most memorable character in the books you’ve read?

And if you don’t win the book here, you have another chance. Dawn Crandall is also giving away a couple copies of her books along with some other treats:

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Enter to win one of these two fabulous prizes here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where Do You Find Your Identity: The Calling by Rachelle Dekker

Some writers’ imaginations amaze me. To create a future world and all the details that go into it is a gift. Rachelle Dekker’s future world which began in her first book of her Seer Trilogy, The Choosing, is expanded in The Calling. While the first book focused mostly on Carrington Hale and her desire to be wanted, the second is about another character readers met in book one, Remko Brant. Yet, both stories are about identity, find who each of these characters is and who God wants them to become.

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A year and a half after the first book ends, Remko is now married to Carrington and a father, and the risks he takes to sneak into the Authority city and rescue other seers comes with a higher price. With his background as a CityWatch guard, he is the best choice to lead these missions but as they become more dangerous and the group experiences a couple of failures, Remko’s doubts and fear begin to take their toll.

When other seers in the camp question his leadership, Remko is left to wonder why he continues to lead the group for a cause he doesn’t believe in. If he left, would his wife follow him as he had her?

Dekker portrays Remko as both a reluctant leader (one who doubts his abilities much like Moses did) and an egotistical leader (much like King Saul). The combination is powerful and emphasizes Remko’s internal struggle of trying to be everything to everyone while being unsure of where his true identity lies. Is he the rebel leader? A husband and father? A man who wants to save his friends and family?

The story moves along at a quick clip, pulling the reader along with Remko through the highs and lows (expect some nail-biting close calls and some heart-wrenching losses) as the seers strain to make a life of freedom outside of the city. This book is part fiction, part dystopian, part YA, part speculative and entirely engaging.

In case you recognize that last name, here’s a little info about the author as well as some Q&As about her latest book. But I have to say, if Rachelle keeps writing books like these, people may be asking her dad if he’s related to her.

rachelle dekker

The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full time. Rachelle lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat Blair. Visit her online at www.rachelledekker.com.

 

 

Q: Remko struggles with his anger often throughout the book. Is this expression of anger connected to his fears? If so, how?

RD: Anger is just a natural reaction to the circumstances Remko faces. Sometimes being afraid can stir up anger because it makes us feel weak or out of control. This is definitely true for Remko in The Calling.

 

Q: Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith?

RD: Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever-present, even in the darkness.

 

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the story?

RD: I hope they take a moment to see themselves as children of the Father. I hope they see that true freedom and fearlessness rest in surrendering, and that when they stand with the Father than nothing can stand against them. There is incredible peace in that truth, and I hope, like I am beginning the experience, that readers feel that same peace.

 

Q: What can readers expect in the final book of the series?

RD: Characters they know and some new ones I hope they’ll love! More questions of identity, and fear, but the characters will also be looking at forgiveness and letting go. I’m really happy with the way the final book played out, and I’m hoping readers will be as well.

 

I, for one, am looking forward to reading how this series is concluded.

 

The Calling is available everywhere (and if you haven’t picked it up yet, The Choosing is also available).

****Tyndale Fiction and Tyndale Blogger Network provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.