Friday, April 14, 2017

My Review: Life After, plus giveaway!

"I guess that's what life is, though, isn't it?  A whole bunch of little moments that don't seem significant or life-altering at the time, but when you look back . . . I don't know.  They become the most profoundly beautiful things."  - Anna

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. 

About the Author:

Katie Ganshert is the author of seven novels and several works of short fiction, including the Christy Award-winning A Broken Kind of Beautiful and Carol Award-winner, The Art of Losing Yourself. Katie lives in eastern Iowa with her family. 

My Review: 5 stars
There are some books that touch your heart.  They draw you in and you only put them down in case of fire (or someone yelling your name).  You connect with the characters and maybe their stories break your heart a little bit (or a lot), but you laugh with them, and cry.  They become dear friends and you become their cheerleader, hoping they’ll find a happy ending, sometimes against the odds.  This was definitely one of those stories, for me!  The kind that you turn the last page, then battle the desire to immediately open the first page again, and start the journey anew.  Needless to say, it grabbed my attention at once and didn’t let go, despite the many things begging for my time!  This is undoubtedly a story that I will be reading over and over!

I always adore anything Katie Ganshert writes, though I do keep tissues close at hand, because she usually makes me cry at least once.  There’s something about her writing style that captures my attention and my imagination.  I can so easily picture Autumn, haunted by questions from the accident, and Paul, trying so hard to move on and keep it together for his kids.  I can see Reese, fighting to hold on to memories, and Tate, with his boundless energy and contagious smile.  I can imagine a pick up basketball game in the pouring rain and hurting people trying to make sense of tragedy.  These characters became so real to me, their heartache and pain, their questions and laughter and tears.  Ms. Ganshert drew me in ever deeper with every page, until I honestly had to step back a couple times and remind myself that this was fiction, though there are people living similar stories every day.  Her writing is compelling, at times poetic, and unapologetic.  And I do have to add that I loved the lighthearted moments and the surprise laughter found here and there.  Just little things that added a bit of light and joy to a story revolving around a tragedy.

I loved the honesty found between the covers.  This story is hard.  It deals with grief and survivor’s guilt.  It voices difficult questions that some may prefer to have left unsaid.  It challenges me still, days after finishing it.  But it’s also beautiful.  The very first line is a bit startling, but reminds how fleeting life really is.  I was incredibly curious how the author would choose to handle the questions that are posed throughout the story - questions I myself have asked more than once - and was left with tears in my eyes at her answers.  Of everything else I enjoyed about this book, the faith element was undeniably what has made it a favorite.  Seeing the characters grow and become better versions of themselves, as they figure out “life after.”  All of it combined made this story unforgettable.

I loudly and enthusiastically recommend this book! (and maybe some tissues!)

Thank you so much for stopping by!  If you took the time to read my review, I thank you again.  If you just scrolled down here to learn about the giveaway, that's cool too.  I don't judge (and there's no way I could possibly know, anyway).
A couple things first - as always, there will be purchase links below, but because the official release date isn't until Tuesday, the 18th, there are no reviews available on those sites.  That being the case, if you'd like to read opinions other than my possibly slightly biased one, I'm also including the link for Goodreads, since there are already several reviews available.  :)

And now for the giveaway stuff!  I have to admit, I'm excited!  I can't remember the last giveaway I did and I so loved this book that I just can't resist!  So, I'm giving away a paper or ebook copy (winner's choice) of Life After!  Since ebook is an option this time, that means International friends can enter, too!  That's pretty exciting for me.  :)
The giveaway will be open until midnight EST, April 17th, and the winner will be chosen Tuesday morning (release day!).   The Rafflecopter form should load below and I think that's all there is to it!

Website links:



  1. I have heard nothing but good about this book, and with Katie's previous books, that totally doesn't surprise me. I'm so anxious to get my hands on this book!!

  2. I don't cry easily so it is a testament to the author's ability to make me feel a part of the story if I do cry. I think the most recent book that brought tears to my eyes was Where There's Smoke by Susan May Warren.

    1. I'm the same way, Abbi! I'm not a "crier," so that really stands out to me.
      Oh, I'll have to check that out! I enjoy Susan's books, but I haven't taken the time to read her most recent ones, yet. I'll have to get on that. :)

  3. I think the last book I read that made me cry was "Dear My Knightly" by Katherine Reay. I was reading it while lying on the couch and tears would just roll down my cheeks. Such a good book!

    I've heard so much about this book. I'm always up for another good cry!


  4. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof made me cry. It is such a beautiful portrayal of God's love for us. I don't necessarily think making me cry is the mark of a good book. Some good books make me laugh. I think the key is making me feel something, making me have an emotional involvement in the story.

    1. Oh, I so want to read Joanne's book! I've heard so many great things about it - I really just need to buy it and stop waiting until my TBR pile is smaller. That's probably not going to happen, anyway. Haha!
      I completely agree! I should've worded the question differently, because I completely believe that books that make you laugh are wonderful! If the story draws me in and I connect with the characters, that's what I look for.

  5. Two books that I have read recently come to mind. The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green and to Win Her Favor by Tamera Alexander.

    If I book can truly make me laugh Or cry I considerate very good!

  6. You are new to me as an author but I would love to get to know you theough your novels.

  7. Looking forward to reading this one!

  8. A part in "Vendetta" by Lisa Harris made me cry - God totally used a part of it and touched me with it.
    I also balled at the ending of "The Genesis Tree" by Heather FitzGerald!
    I love good books! :)
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  9. The One True Love of Alice-Ann, by Eva Marie Everson. I don't think that crying is necessarily the mark of a good book, this one was very good though. Look forward to reading Life After whether I win or lose.

  10. I usually don't cry when I read a book but I shed a tear or two when I read Anna's Healing by Vannetta Chapman. It touched my heart to see how the grandmother always prayed for Anna and it reminded me of when my husband sat by my bedside and prayed for me when I was in a coma. Anna received the miracle of healing that could not be explained.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com