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review 2017-05-19 00:13
The Ghosts We Leave Behind by Al Barrera









Author: Al Barrera

Title: The Ghosts We Leave Behind


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Some call them killers--hard men from the other side of the planet sent to collect the heads of their enemies and make peace with a gun.

Freedom follows, along with all of its problems. Choice, and a lack of it. A world without the easy answers that come from being in a uniform.

And the space where the two worlds collide. Where a man tries to reconcile the person he’s become with the one he was. A new kind of battlefield, where the ghosts of his past change everything he’s ever known.





It breaks my heart to think that little by little every single day there is another person who has forgotten or is forgetting about the war in Iraq. Some forget that its even still going on as we speak, or that there are soldiers - real living beings going over there to fight in it.

I think that's the thing that shocks me most is the fact that I believe a lot of people don't take into account that these are real people who go where they are told to fight those battles. Society doesn't always take into account how young they were, how they were a part of our society one day then thrown into war the next.

Some soldiers were recruited, some volunteered but you can't look at the men and women who fought and say that they asked for what they got. The realities of war and the consequences that follow after experiencing it are something that no one should have to go through.

Sadly for many that have they are left forever changed by it.

You won't always be able to strip their sleeves and see their scars because not all wounds are on the outside but on the inside. Even when their time to return home comes due their fights aren't always over. The battle continues in the echoes of the mind and in the heart, in the memories forever seared into their very souls.

I think its hard for a lot of people to understand that because there are just too many people who would rather turn their heads and pretend the war in Iraq never took place. From your neighbor next door to the people who run this country.

We are a country who have failed its soldiers, failed to do right by them, failed to properly care of those who will be forever changed by what happened to them.

They don't want pity or sympathy, they want normalcy that they'll never be able to reclaim because so much of what they went through didn't even touch the realm of what used to be considered normal.

Its interesting to see the honest inside look and the internal debate from a soldiers perspective the questions of what is justified and what isn't and the questions that always seem to cause an influx of yet more questions even years afterward that aren't so easily answered. 

Worse yet is the fact that the death and dying doesn't end when our soldiers return home. Suicide which is also topic in this book has been at an all time high for veterans who have returned home from Iraq. The thousands who have died by suicide, the dozens who take their own lives every day..

The honest view of what its like to be in your early twenties, to do the things they have, see the things they have and have to come home dealing with the things they have just to fall between the emotional cracks of pride, shame, confusion, betrayal, anger, and sadness aren't always easily said and done. You aren't who you used to be, you don't fit into the world the way you used to and nothing quite feels the same anymore.

Things aren't all fine in the neighborhood. We need to do right by our soldiers who have been left behind, and society needs to remember that.

The Ghosts We Leave Behind is a punch to the gut inspiring honest look at the internal battle our soldiers face from day one to what they continue to battle today. This book should be on the best sellers list, everyone should read it. I couldn't put it down.





Until next time book lovers...



Krissys Bookshelf Reviews received a digital copy in exchange for an honest review from the author via Netgalley. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!

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review 2016-11-01 08:00
All That Remains
All That Remains - Al Barrera,Jenn Loring

All that remains had a lot going for i. The amazing cover was the first thing that caught my eye, but the post-apocalyptic premise was another, although I recently had a lot of mwah encounters with the genre, while I can really enjoy myself some post-apocalyptic novel. All That Remains, unfortunately, was one of the former.

It follows the travels of a small group of survivors, 13 years after the big apocalyptic thing happened. What this was is never explained, but they are constantly on the run from zombies on the one hand and more sinister hunter-monsters on the other. They need to rub themselves in vinegar to hide their scents (where they get vinegar after 13 years is anyone's guess). Seriously, with the number of attacks they endure just in the span of the novel, it is a miracle anyone survived this long.

But there is more. Sara, the only female in the group has a special power which allows her to communicate with the monsters, but this also makes her more vulnerable to them. When they stumble onto a small girl, the sole survivor of a group of scientist, they learn there might be salvation after all. But first, of course, said girl plus her information needs to be brought somewhere, so to give the characters a purpose.

There is not a dull moment in the book, as it is very action packed and the characters are in constant (mortal) danger. However, still I felt something was missing. I didn't really care for any of the characters and I found that the world building was not very great because many things remain unexplained while I think they should be. Nevertheless, it was a fast read and I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy myself, but I'd expected more from it and the story was rather forgettable.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2015-01-21 00:00
Darker Shadows Lie Below
Darker Shadows Lie Below - Al Barrera I received a copy of Darker Shadows Lie Below by Al Barrera published by Al Barrera from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. I gave it five stars.

This is one of the most frightening horror stories I've read. It's a story of a young doctor moving to Tennessee to start a new job at Umber Gardens, a prestigious hospital for the mentally ill.

"The oldest & strongest emotion of mankind is fear, & the oldest & strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."-H.P. Lovecraft

Ben Kent, the doctor has trouble sleeping. "Anxiety wormed its way through his guts at the thought of putting his head on the pillow."

"Sleep avoidance behavior was the clinical term for it. The irrational fear of sleep. Usually a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder or similar forms of anxiety."

His fiance, Julia is nine months pregnant, due at any moment. The stress of being a pending father, the stress from the unusual circumstances & events at the new job are all taking a toll on his mental well being. In addition, his mother had committed suicide & he was guilt ridden because of it. When a patient who is strapped to the bed tells Ben of this event when no one had known, he runs out of the room with fear.

He called his lifelong friend, Eddy to confide in him & ask for information about the area where he lived & about the hospital where he was working. He mentioned some of his irrational fears & shared that he felt the need for prayer was a source of help. Eddy replied: "Prayer is the last bastion of the weak & the desperate." Ben felt desperate & hopelessly alone.

"Existence was one long attempt to hold onto things that always fell away, doomed to failure before it began."

I worked at a mental institution built in the early 1930's. There were times on the night shift when I could relate to some of the fears that Ben faced. There's something about being surrounded by the mentally ill in a creepy old building that can make you doubt your own sanity as it does with Ben.

For a book that will keep the pages turning into the wee hours & then keep you frighteningly awake for days after, this is the book for you. I recommend it for horror story fans.

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Darker-Shadows-Lie-Below-Barrera/dp/0990943216/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422530517&sr=8-1-fkmr1&keywords=Darker+Shadows+lie+Beneath
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review 2014-03-02 00:00
Snake - Jeff Stone,Kiki Barrera Snake - Jeff Stone,Kiki Barrera A great young adults martial arts tale
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review 2013-07-01 00:00
Hugo Chavez: The Definitive Biography of Venezuela's Controversial President
Hugo Chavez - Cristina Marcano Political biography, current to 2004, with hasty postscript regarding 2006 election.

Writers work for one of the opposition newspapers, but the text is not a demonology. It does try to strike a faux balance in Fox News sense, such as when they suggest that both sides have a point when opposition accuses Chavez of “encouraging class conflict” and Chavez says “the nation had previously been living under the false illusion of harmony” (260). It’s hard to sympathize with authors and the opposition when they suggest that lying about harmony is a good thing and commenting on existing class conflict is a bad thing.

Volume does have its uses, such as a succinct background on Chavez, the 1992 coup, the 1998 election, the numerous elections thereafter (which authors do not assert to be fraudulent, and note an opposition accusation of electoral fraud on only one occasion), the April 2002 coup & countercoup.

Some chapters are ineffective. E.g., the introduction sets the tone with “in the long run his economic policies will surely hurt the material well being of most Venezuelans, and his authoritarian behavior is clearly eroding the basic political freedoms that the country enjoyed for decades” (xix)--gotta love naked dogmatism at the outset. Late chapters on Chavez’s sex life and family troubles are simply salacious gossip, and I am surprised that the authors included it, because now I think that they’re fit to write for fashion magazines and scandal rags, rather than serious work. Another late chapter is about Chavez’s use of the media, which is half gossip, half analytical, but of little importance. Because authors are part of the media, they overemphasize the importance of their industry.

Chavez’s ideology is hard to pin down. By 2006 he was talking about “Bolivarian socialism” and “twenty-first century socialism” (293). No idea what the content of that might be. Though he enacted land reform upon first being elected, which is one thing that pissed off the rightwing initially(145), he otherwise governed to “use protectionist capitalism to generate social balance” (149). He apparently lost leftwingers because “despite his invective against savage capitalism and globalization, Chavez opened the telecommunications, gas, and utilities sectors to foreign investors and continued to follow the guidelines recommended by the IMF” (148-49). Some accused “you haven’t touched a single hair on the ass of anyone in the economic sector” (id). So, yeah, not really seeing the far left content.

Authors don’t know what to make of any of that, nor do they present controversial statutes for analysis, merely mentioning that a statute on oil or censorship or whatever was passed, and that many people did not like it. Well, no shit that the ox doesn’t like getting gored. The question on each gored ox is whose, how, and why, which this volume passes over. Authors main concern is that Chavez wants power, “more power,” “always power,” and so on. It’s a wearisome refrain, as though pursuit of nebulously defined “power” is something that they bother to mention regarding anyone else.

Volume also, unforgivably, passes over in near silence the US involvement in the 2002 coup, mentioning only that Chavez accused the US of involvement.

Probably a decent introduction to Chavez, overall.
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