Life After by Katie Ganshert

Life After by Katie Ganshert

Have you ever asked why?  Not like a small child asking why, but why disasters happen.  This is a question that the main character, Autumn Manning, asks herself daily in the book Life After by Katie Ganshert.

Autumn was the sole survivor from a train that blew up.  Twenty-two other people were killed but Autumn survived.  She has wondered why for an entire year.  Autumn feels such guilt that she doesn’t even attend the memorial and dedication of the fountain on the year anniversary of the event.

Also thinking about the crash for a whole year is Reese Elliott.  Her mother succumbed in the crash, and Reese had been writing letters to Autumn for the entire year.  Immediately after  the accident, Autumn had been misidentified as Reese’s mother, Vivian.  Paul, Reese’s father, had rushed to the hospital and corrected the mistake.

Reese and Autumn meet when Reese runs away and they decide to make a video to help everyone deal with their grief, and to heal themselves.  The lessons they learn as they interview survivors are not only for them but can help us as well.

Characters and Setting

Autumn Manning is a believable character.  She faces the guilt she feels with grace.  She approaches each victim’s family members with love.  She expects to find them not liking her but finds that through the stories they share she grows in not only her belief in her self but in her faith.  In the end she fits the comparison she makes of herself as not only a phoenix but of Lazarus.

The members of the Elliott family each have their own secrets.  Paul doesn’t realize that Reese knows many things that she knows about her mother.  Reese has tried to protect not only her father but her younger brother as well.  She has tried to change her own memories of her mother to make her better than she was.

The stories the other victim’s family members share show the love that so many of us what in life.  The stories of healing from the crash and of lives lived to the fullest show Autumn and Reese how to love life and should be an example to all of us.

I particularly enjoyed this book being from Illinois.  I recognized many of the scenes in the story.  I have also traveled on the trains and wondered about the stories of the other passengers.  Most of us do just ride the train without carrying on a conversation with each other.

Life After by Katie Ganshert is a book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  It is a story that has characters that everyone can relate to.  The stories of survivors, family members and those who lost their lives in the wreck have something to teach all of us.

I received this book from Penguin Random House, Waterbrook in exchange for my unbiased review.

Nature’s Song

Nature’s Song

My favorite place here at camp is Barber’s Cliff.  I like to go sit and just listen to the world.  At first I am met by silence as nature is responding to the fact that I have invaded her space.  The animals are guardedly curious about me so they stay silent.  My patience and silence is rewarded after about a minute with sounds.  The wind if if is blowing provides a gentle beat as it moves through the leaves on the trees.  The birds begin to sing again when they realize I am not a threat.  It is amazing to think of all the different types of birds in such a small area.  I know there are many based on the variety of songs I hear.  If I am patient enough, I may hear a small animal scurrying by or even chewing on something near to where I am sitting.  It is great to be invited in to nature’s song.

Irksome–A Freshman English Word

Irksome–A Freshman English Word

Back in the 1980s when I was in high school, we had vocabulary words each week to watch for in print or on television.  Irksome was one of those words.  It was quite possibly the most difficult one to find as well.  I think that most people use the synonyms for this word rather than irksome as it is a difficult word to say.  People with speech impediments would definitely find it not easy.  And I am sure the general population would find it tiresome to read as well.

Irksome is an irksome word indeed.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/irksome/

Cubs win secured, going on to game 7

Cubs win secured, going on to game 7

The World Series is over and many records were tied or shattered by the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs.  In my opinion the clincher for the Cubs winning the World Series was a record which was tied in game six–most RBI’s for a single game.

During game six, it was all Chicago Cubs.  They went through the Cleveland batting order many times keeping them from scoring many points.  The Cubs bats were hot and runs were scored.

Bottom of the sixth inning comes along.  Josh Tomlin loads up the bases, and the Cleveland Manager decides to pull Tomlin and replace him with Dan Otero.  Addison Russell is the batter for the Cubs.  In the first inning, Russell had hit a pop fly to the right center field which fell between two players.  As they worked to recover two runs scored for the Cubs.

Back to the sixth inning,  Otero throws two balls to Russell.  On the third pitch, Russell hits a ball that soars over 400 feet.  With the bases loaded, Russell adds an additional 4 runs to his previous 2 RBI’s given him a record tying 6 RBI’s, and clinching the game.

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

Private Boarding School.  Misfits with computer-like brains.  A girl discovering her own sexuality while helping others find theirs.  Looking for Alaska has all this and so much more.

Miles Halter is tired of not fitting in at his school or home.  He has an obsessive fascination with the last words of people.  He decides to follow in the footsteps of his father, uncle and cousins and attend Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama.  He leaves home to follow this dream.

At the school he first meets his roommate, Chip “The Colonel” Martin, a young man who has skipped several grades in school and can name any country, its location, and capital.  He is at Culber Creek on a scholarship  It quickly becomes obvious that the two are opposites, as The Colonel is a true leader/extrovert who like being out with people while Miles (who The Colonel nicknames Pudge) is shy and would rather be in his room reading biographies.  The two quickly become friends and even allies when it comes to pranks.

Other members of the prank team include, Alaska Young, a sexual young woman who stays away from home because of the ghosts there and Takumi Hikohito, a shy Japanese boy who understands the inner workings of both Alaska and The Colonel.  Alaska quickly senses the attraction that Pudge has for her, but fights it because she has a boyfriend.  She decides to set Pudge up with a Russian student named Lara Buterskaya.  The two experience many firsts together as well as discovering things about themselves.

The kids have to be careful following the rules because of The Eagle.  The Eagle is the dean of students at Culver Creek and lives across the lake from the school.  He  has a soft spot for The Colonel and Alaska and often turns the other direction when they are pulling pranks.

Looking for Alaska by John Green was first published in 2005 by Random House.  It was the winner of the Michael L. Printz award for young adult literature in 2006, as well as appearing on several lists of the best books for young people.  While this is an excellent book, it would be best read by older adolescents or adults due to teenage sexual experiences and drinking described in the book.

Introducing Kooking with Kelley

Introducing Kooking with Kelley

Our budget has been stretched to the limits lately.  I decided to take steps to fix the problem.  I signed up to sell Wildtree products.  For anyone who doesn’t know Wildtree sells all natural products like spices and grapeseed oil. The company was founded by two moms who wanted to provide better food for their families.  Anyway, stay tuned for more information about Kooking with Kelley and Wildtree.