Fiction

Life After: A light, heartfelt, honest book review

Have you ever discovered people on this giant earth who God (seemingly) put there just for you? Like perhaps their sole purpose in life is for you? Do you find yourself wondering how this person you’ve never even met could possibly change your life?

I’m specifically talking about authors who seem to get you. Someone who speaks to your deepest unvoiced, unnamed thoughts on life. They just get you {{right here}} at the place you most need to be got.

In my case it’s usually been an instant connection, the first book, or maybe even scene I read the author managed to reach beyond the pages and grab a hold of my heart. At that point it’s a lost cause. All bets are off, they are part of my life for a good long while.

You know what I’m talking about right? When you read a book and suddenly it is your entire life’s mission to read everything that author has ever written ever, or will ever write ever. That’s one of the things I love about words, once they are on the page they have the power to continue inspiring people indefinitely.

A few authors who have made my list over the years are:

Lurlene McDaniel –I can remember going through books like Don’t Die My Love a day or two at a time in high school, reading them for hours in the perfect little nook of my favorite tree, as I walked the halls between classes, and as I rode the bus to and from school.

Danielle Steel –I can’t remember a specific book, but I remember saying, “I want to be the next Daniel Steel, or the female version of Nicholas Sparks!”

Nicholas SparksA Walk to Remember, that’s the book that grabbed me. Hook, line and sinker. The book, not the movie, though it’s good too, just not if you try to compare it to the book. They must be considered as two separate elements entirely.

Jodi Piccoult –Oh how I miss Jodi, after reading My Sister’s Keeper, I spent about 18 months devouring every word she had ever written. Until that one book, which just rocked and stirred me so much that it broke the spell.

Karen Kingsbury –The Baxter Family. Need I say more? If you haven’t heard of this drama, I’m sorry. Truly. Start with the Redemption series and go from there, see you again in six months, I’ll be here waiting.

All of these people (among others) have left a tangible impact on my life. They have written words that stirred my soul, they’ve introduced me to things I wouldn’t have ever known about otherwise, they’ve taught me about love. Romantic love, friend love, love of life, love of story, love of reading, and more.

Katie Ganshert

Especially Katie Ganshert. My first introduction to Katie was through her website/blog, which I found thanks to Pinterest and it was one of those “ahhh I just got lost on this site for 90 minutes” moments. Every post I read, the way she spoke about writing, her recent endeavor into getting published stirred me. I felt like I’d just met a long lost friend. That feeling only deepened when I followed her author page on Facebook. A few weeks later she put out a call on her website for Launch Team Members, she was going to select 50 people to read her book A Broken Kind Of Beautiful (amazing, go buy it!–This just in, the Kindle version is on sale right now for the first time ever!) and so I applied and was accepted.

In preparation for being on her launch team, I bought and breezed through both of her first books, and the connection was complete. With every new work, I’m more thoroughly impressed. These books dig deep, they talk about difficult topics, they enlighten us to new things, they stretch us out of our comfort zones, they remind us of The One who is in control. Every single thing, I have ever looked for in an author or story is found here. Every single thing.

 

When I’ve finished one of Katie Ganshert’s books I feel empowered to be a better human, and inspired to write. 

Which brings me to the reason for today’s post. Her newest book Life After released today, and I’m beyond excited to tell you, it’s amazing! After starting this blog back in January I applied to be a reviewer with her publisher Waterbrook Multnomah, and signed up because one of the elements I really hope to bring to this space is regular book reviews. I’m sure you can imagine my squeal of delight when I got an email specifically inviting me to join this launch team. Yes please! It’s kismet!

This post has been lighthearted and all kinds of gushy, but I want to get serious for a minute, because I really want you to take this to heart. As you can tell I love this person, and I would definitely be on cloud nine if I ever had the chance to meet her in real life, but when I created my pen name I made a promise to be real with you. So I want you to know that I truly would give this book the same rating, and recommend it to anyone I know if I’d been asked to read it without knowing who the author was, as you read on I think you’ll see why.

 

Here is the publishers description:

 

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.

In Life After, Katie Ganshert’s most complex and unforgettable novel yet, the stirring prose and authentic characters pose questions of truth, goodness, and ultimate purpose in this emotionally resonant tale.

Doesn’t that just grip you?

I don’t want to go on and on with a masterfully crafted review, because I truly think the book will speak for itself when you go buy it, and because there are some amazing reviews out there already, that I know I can’t top so I’m not going to take myself too seriously. But before I go, I will share with you a few of my favorite things.

  • First things first. The prologue. It is hands down one of my favorite prologues of all time. I believe it is written in third person omniscient but we are limited to very little information and it’s riveting.
  • I love how much we get to know about the characters who didn’t make it past the prologue, and that many of those characters are not typically cast in faith fiction, because of the way she set the story up we get to meet real people with real stories that are normally glossed over or watered down.
  • The setting and the thorough way she tied Chicago to the story. I haven’t been to Chicago in years, but reading this book has inspired me to try and get there soon.
  • Finally, my favorite thing about this book is the pace, the way the tone determines how much we know about the characters and how as they become more comfortable we get to know them better. Oh and Reese, she’s the character I walk away from the story identifying with the most.

 

I will practice restraint and stop there, so that I don’t spoil it for you, and so that you can read it and create your own list of favorites. Right now.
Like head over to Amazon, or Barns & Nobles, or Waterbrook Multnomah or wherever you go to buy your books and buy it now. Go!

 

Here’s to hoping my review doesn’t get reviewed 😉 and a link to a starred review from Publisher’s Weeklly, and read why it’s one of RT Magazine’s Top Picks here. Also, Read It Forward has an excerpt on their site that you should definitely check out if you’re on the fence, I just noticed it includes that amazing prologue which I mention above so I know you’ll love it.

I would love to know what authors, or people, God created just for the sole purpose of inspiring you….Share your inspirations and or recommendations below!

And Katie, if you’ve found your way here today, thank you from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me in such a real and tangible way, for writing honest stories that reflect Christ’s love, and using your gifts. <3

Linked up to Mommynificent.com for her Booknificent Thursday I encourage you to check it out for more great reviews and bookish thoughts!

 

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About me

Welcome to Writeria Lane, where I write about the things that matter most to me in life; my love for Jesus, my family, and all things fiction. Writing has always been a way for me to process the world and what the Lord is doing within it, when I’m writing I can feel Him whispering to my soul. I hope you will join me on this journey as I hope to seek Him out and share authentically about all the things that inspire me.

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