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.

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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.

Nothing Less than Fabulous by Allie Pleiter

Nothing Less than Fabulous

by Allie Pleiter

Available everywhere March 14

 

About the Book

If Gretchen wants to keep her great job at Seattle’s largest coffeehouse chain, she’s got to come up with the best marketing idea of her life. When she discovers charming, charismatic barista Nate—otherwise known as “Señor Fabulous”—she knows God’s led her to exactly what she needs. Can Gretchen woo Nate away from his current spot at Higher Grounds Cafe? What if landing the barista her company needs might cost her the man who’s already stolen her heart?

 

 

 

My review

If you’ve read any of Allie Pleiter’s Love Inspired books but not any of her “Sweet City Hearts” series, you’re in for a treat. Nothing Less than Fabulous is a good way to introduce yourself to the series that’s a little different than the Love Inspired formula. The biggest difference? First person POV (point of view). The entire story is told from Gretchen’s perspective

While characters from the previous book in the series make an appearance, this novella stands alone. Even if you start from the back of the series, you’re not going to be lost. In fact, you might enjoy the story so much, you want to read the previous books after this fun novella.

Gretchen finds herself in quite the predicament—save her job or save her relationship. As she gets to know Senor Fabulous (aka Nate), she discovers things about herself as well. A sweet story with lots of coffee, a mountain of whipped cream, humor, and heart.

 

 

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.

 

Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy

Long Time Gone (Cimarron Legacy Series)

Mary Connealy

Available now

About the Book

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they truly uncovered the real plot to take their New Mexico ranch? Rancher Justin Boden is now in charge. He is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn’t help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc’s timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It’s clear now that everything that’s occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine?

 

My Review

The Boden Siblings are back. Readers may remember that Connealy left us hanging a bit at the end of the first Cimarron Legacy book. If you don’t remember what happened at the end of No Way Up, don’t worry, you get a good refresher in the first few chapters of this one.

A couple of those cliffhangers are wrapped up within the first few chapters of Long Time Gone. But some remain because, let’s face it, that’s what keeps us reading to the last page.

Justin Boden and Angie Dupree are a good match. The problem is they don’t want to admit it. Angie’s determination to stand on her own and Justin’s determination to continue with a rancher’s life—a life he’s certain Angie’s both not strong enough and too good for—keep them apart. At first.

Connealy weaves the intricacies of a blooming romance, the nuances of siblings, and a mystery through her tale set on the Cimarron Ranch in the desert of New Mexico. Each thread is given the exact amount of attention it needed to pull me through the story. With a touch of humor in the midst of the chaos the Boden family is facing, Long Time Gone was a fun and fast read that left me itching for a little more.

Good thing there’s one more book coming. And I can’t wait to read about Cole and…. Well, I think I know who that might be, but you’ll have to read the first two books in the series in order to find out for yourself.

 

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 Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron

The Illusionists Apprentice

by Kristy Cambron

(Available everywhere March 7, 2017)

About the Book

Not all illusions happen on the stage.

Wren Lockhart, apprentice to master illusionist Harry Houdini, uses life on a vaudeville stage to escape the pain of her past. She continues her career of illusion after her mentor’s death, intent on burying her true identity.

But when a rival performer’s act goes tragically wrong, the newly formed FBI calls on Wren to speak the truth—and reveal her real name to the world. She transfers her skills for misdirection from the stage to the back halls of vaudeville, as she finds herself the unlikely partner in the FBI’s investigation. All the while Houdini’s words echo in her mind: Whatever occurs, the crowd must believe it’s what you meant to happen. She knows that if anyone digs too deep, secrets long kept hidden may find their way to the surface—and shatter her carefully controlled world.

Set during one of the richest, most vibrant eras in American history, this Jazz Age novel of illusion, suspense, and forgotten pasts is perfect for fans of The Magician’s Lie, challenging all to find the underpinnings of faith on their own life’s stage.

 

My thoughts

One of my favorite things about Kristy Cambron’s books is they make me look at history and historical figures in a way I never have before. Sure I’ve heard the names John Ringling and Harry Houdini but other than a general knowledge of what they did to make a living, I’ve not thought about them too much more.

The Illusionist’s Apprentice made me take notice. In fact, it drove me to look him up online and learn a little more about his life, especially the part Cambron focuses on—his effort to reveal fraudsters.

 

 

But this book was about so much more than Houdini’s life. In fact, while he’s mentioned and has impact on some of the characters, he is not one in the book. This story is really about Wren Lockhart, Houdini’s apprentice and perhaps the only person who knows his secrets. A woman whose life has become an illusion in itself. While she puts on the trousers, stage makeup, demeanor, and confidence of Wren, she has another life she keeps well-hidden from the public.

Yet when FBI agent Elliott Matthews enters her carefully constructed life, he sees beyond the facade and desires to learn more about this intriguing woman. As the two work together to solve a mysterious death that occurred during another entertainer’s planned spectacular.

Cambron paints a vivid picture of the vaudeville life from the costumes to the stage, the acts to the competitiveness to be known as the best, and the convoluted relationships. While there, readers also get a glimpse into the newly formed FBI, the prohibition era, and Boston.

 

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.

 

An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shephard Gray (available now)

 

About the book

 

Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one-year post.

The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two-hundred-acre ranch as best she can.

When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.

Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.

But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

 

 

My thoughts

 

Let me start with the most important information. I loved this book!! I’ve only read a couple books written by Shelley Shephard Gray but after reading An Uncommon Protector, I’m a fan.

 

The development of both Thomas Baker and Laurel Tracey in this book were spot on. The author manages to introduce the reader to a man who has lived a hard life and is currently in prison in such a way that they sympathize with him instead of disliking him. Thomas Baker has a past but he also is a man you can respect. While readers get a glimpse of Laurel’s bravery from the first chapter, as the story continues, the layers of her character are revealed.

 

The attraction between these two is evident from the first time they see each other and only builds throughout the book. But that’s not what the book is really about. Both Thomas and Laurel are struggling to stand on their own two feet, to find their places in life. But maybe standing beside each other is better than standing on their own.

 

 

 

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.