Book Review: The Darkening by Chris Sarantopoulos

The Darkening
Chris Sarantopoulos
Chris Sarantopoulos, October 2018
ISBN 978-618-00-0218-8
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Don’t fear the dark. Fear the light.

The end came when light changed. It decimated humanity, leaving scattered bands of survivors stumbling in the dark.

Faced with saving himself or his family during the apocalypse, John Piscus made the wrong choice, and has been living with the guilt ever since.

When a glowing girl shows up at John’s shelter begging for help, his instincts tell him to kill her. After all, light kills.

But when masked troopers tasked with capturing survivors come after them, it’s up to John to protect himself and the girl. Not only may she hold the key to reversing the lethal effects of light, she could also be the one who can save his soul.

Hard choices have to be made when you’re in the midst of an apocalypse no one could foresee and John Piscus made at least one that he regrets badly. Now, he’s faced with another choice, either kill the girl whose glowing light could kill him or join up with her in an attempt to survive what has happened to their world.

I like that the author ventured into unfamiliar territory to create a premise for this story but I have to admit to being distracted by the knowledge that life can’t continue without light. Once I decided to just ignore that little problem, I began to really get into the story, especially because I found John pretty unappealing, something that’s a little out of the norm. Let’s face it, humanity is most likely not going to be universally sane and/or nice should we ever find ourselves in such a situation but he goes above and beyond in his, well, ickiness. That’s not to say he doesn’t have a lot to be icky about, mind you, but the girl with the glow might turn out to be his reason to survive.

Trouble is, John and the glowing girl are about to learn the real meaning of pain and evil…

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2018.

Book Review: The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes—and a Giveaway!

The One That Got Away
Leigh Himes
Hachette Books, June 2017
ISBN 978-0-316-30570-9
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Meet Abbey Lahey . . .

Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life–and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.

Meet Abbey van Holt . . .

The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she’s only read about in the pages of Town & Country.

The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago.

In the tradition of the romantic comedy Sliding Doors and Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes’s irresistible debut novel tells the funny and touching story of an ordinary woman offered an extraordinary opportunity to reboot her life, explore the road not taken, and ultimately, find her true self–whoever that may be.

I confess, the description of this book reminds me of a Hallmark movie (I’m addicted to those things) that came out a few Christmases ago. I don’t remember the name of it but the mom in the story finds herself in the life she might have had if she’d married the other guy. Come to think of it, Hallmark has used that theme more than once but the point is, I liked the movie and thought I’d like this book, too.

And I did, with reservations.

Abbey is a likeable woman, largely because of how she stumbles her way through this new reality/fantasy. She’s funny and inventive and determined to learn how to live the high life. This is definitely a “the grass is greener on the other side” scenario and, as you might expect, the new experience of being part of the social elite of Philadelphia and married to a politician kind of overwhelms Abbey, not to mention the shock of waking up in this fantasy. On the other hand, Abbey did irritate me with her too easy acceptance of the change and the shallowness that creeps out but I also empathized with her dissatisfaction and frustrations with her old life.

I sound conflicted, don’t I? I guess I am, actually, maybe because I too have that question, the what if syndrome. Not constantly, of course, but it’s there, lingering in the background even though I’m pretty well satisfied with the way my life has gone so far. And since I’m unlikely to ever wake up in a different life, it was fun to watch Abbey go through her rebirth, so to speak. There are a lot of books and movies that tackle this premise and The One That Got Away ranks right up there with the most entertaining.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2017.

************

Purchase Links:

              

************

About the Author

Author Leigh Himes has spent fourteen years working in the public relations field. Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, she now lives just outside of Philadelphia with her husband and their two children. This is her first book.

Website // Twitter // Goodreads

************

Follow the tour here.

************

“An enchanting novel about the choices we make in life and
love–by turns hilarious, poignant, and nostalgic. Himes’s novel
will make you revisit all the “what ifs” you’ve ever contemplated,
from fleeting encounters to almost-weddings . . . a lively debut
that will strike a chord in anyone with a romantic past.”
Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook and See Me

************

To enter the drawing for a print copy
of The One That Got Away, leave a
comment below. The winning name will

be drawn Saturday evening, July 1st.
Open to residents of the US and Canada.

************