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review 2018-01-11 20:34
Only the Rain
Only the Rain - Randall Silvis

By:  Randall Silvis

ISBN: 978-1542049948

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer 

Publication Date: 1/1/2018 

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

From the internationally acclaimed author and gifted storyteller, a master of complicated human souls— Randall Silvis bring readers his latest, ONLY THE RAIN —a gripping and emotional story of an ordinary man faced with a split second decision, leading to dire consequences. 

One which could change the course of his life and those near and dear to him. 

A short book (read in one sitting), A remarkable heart-rendering blending of literary, drama, mystery, suspense, and psychological thriller. Most importantly, as with all Randall Silvis’ books, THOUGHT-PROVOKING and INSIGHTFUL. 

The author's lyrical prose is "spellbinding" drawing you into the raw and emotional world of his characters. A given—numerous highlighted, bookmarked, pages and passages. 

Told in the form of email entries written from a man searching for answers to his good friend and Army buddy from Iraq, Spencer. (has been six years since he has seen him), the story unravels. 

“Thing is, there’s just too much I have to tell somebody, and nobody else I can tell it to.”

Back from Iraq, Russell Blystone is an average guy. A former soldier still haunted with dreams and nightmares from the war. The horrific experiences continue to make him feel helpless and guilty. He continues to fight his demons even back home, attempting to live a regular life.

“Personally, I’ve come to believe that theories are of small value when it comes to actually living your life, to making all the hard decisions you have to make and then dealing with the consequences of those decisions.”

Russell now has a family. A wife (Cindy), and two daughters (Dani and Emma). Another baby on the way. He has a secret. He must tell someone. The computer is his only outlet and email communication (even though he may not send).

He is too ashamed to tell his wife and his Pops. Pops and Gee, the grandparents who raised him after his mother died. Gee passed on a year ago, and now Pops is living at Brookside Manor, an independent living facility. They are very close. 

He got himself into this mess, and he has to get out. 

Pops is strong, funny, witty, wise, and caring. (loved his character). He has a smile that lights up a room. Russell cannot tell Pops what he has done. Russell loves his Pops and respects him. (enjoyed the interaction with other residents). 

Pops and Gee would be ashamed of him. However, if he cannot figure a way out of this, he may have no other choice but to tell Pops. Pops, also a veteran from the Vietnam War understands the horrors of war. However, will he be so understanding of his most recent actions?

Cindy, Russell’s wife (a bank teller) has not had a comfortable life. A drug dealing abusive low-life dad (Donnie) and mother, Janice. She managed to escape. However, he continues to try to worm his way back into their lives. They keep their children away from him. 

Here is where the nightmare began: 

Russell and Cindy finally have their home and trying to live a healthy family life. He has just lost his job at the plant which is being shut down. He does not want to tell his wife yet since she worries so much. 

Due to her past and the current pregnancy, he wants to try and find another job before he causes her more stress. He wants her to feel safe and secure. He still has a few weeks to wrap up the situation before the Chinese take over. 

In the blink of an eye, his life would go from secure and hopeful to being one step away from homeless. Without health insurance, the mortgage, utilities, taxes, and a family of four to feed. 

With Cindy's bank job, the income would be of little help without his salary. He is stressed. He cannot let his family down. With minimal jobs in the area, he must keep this a secret until he lands another job. 

It is raining one day, and he is on his motorcycle. Due to the traffic, he takes a different route. He passes a worn down house when he sees a woman dancing naked in the rain with Gregg Allman music playing loudly in the background. 

She seems to have fallen, and a pit bull is chained nearby. Out in the middle of nowhere. He must make a decision. To keep going on the slippery road, or turn around and stop to help the girl. 

At first, he decides to keep going, but then again he thinks she needs help. He turns around. He helps someone who does not want help.

Always spells TROUBLE. 

The girl seems to be strung out on drugs. When he stops and carries her inside, she is wet and muddy and appears to be alone. He tells her she needs to get in the shower. She is in the other room, and when he pulls back the shower curtain, he sees four cardboard boxes with duct tape. He lifts off the lid and sees bundles of cash.

A drugged woman trying to seduce him, and cash. Fear, panic, excitement. Should he leave it, or take it. Most likely the money was from drug dealing. Who would know if he grabbed it? Just one box. The money would help him pay the bills until he found another job. It would save his family. 

This one impulsive decision would haunt him. He was no better than a typical thief. Shame. Grief. Fear. Disgust. The war before and the battle waging within him now. A strong need to feel loved and safe. Thinking about the same decisions he made during the battles in Iraq. 

Why did he take the money and what was he going to do with it? His daughter gets sick, and he has to use the money to pay the hospital bill. Now what?

Then the worst happens. His boot prints. The drug dealers. He needs more than Spence. He needs his Pop. He has to tell him. To help figure a way out. A strategy. Pop's storage unit. 

Now the drug dealers are on his trail, and his low life father in law Donnie is involved. In a race against time, he has placed his family, his Pops, and himself in the middle of impending danger. A race against time. 

What is his exit strategy? He needs to be the kind of husband and father Pops had been. What about plans A, B, and C. The Domino Catastrophe Theory. The dominoes do not stop falling.

An ordinary man struggling, trying to do the right thing during childhood, college, adulthood, the army, marriage, and parenthood. Stealing the money involved his entire family in one way or another. He lost his job and when he saw the money he thought this was the answer.

Secrets and lies always have a way of snowballing. The day of reckoning. The McClain brothers are an extension of Iraq. As if the same war. 

“Is it possible to hate something you did and to hate yourself for doing it, yet still be glad you did it?”

With gut-wrenching intensity, action-packed ONLY THE RAIN draws you into a realistic world of one man’s choices and consequences. Crossing ethical lines in order to save his family. A man, struggling with his inner demons. 

What makes this story so absorbing (in addition to the correspondence to Spence), his friend— is the heartwarming and intricate relationship between Pops and Russell.

Life. “You gain, you lose. You win you fail. You spin, you die." 

“Spin and die, To live a butterfly again.”

 

 

 

A post shared by Judith D Collins (@judithdcollins) on Jan 10, 2018 at 3:26pm PST

 



I adore Randall Silvis’ writing style. In addition to the digital copy, also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Eric G. Dove for an engaging performance. 

I became an instant fan of the author when I first read (Ryan Marcus Mystery Series #1) Two Days Gone. (fabulous). Top Books of 2017! 

Be sure and add to your reading list, Walking the Bones, coming Jan 23, 2018. A second book in the series. Another 5 star! Blog Tour Host, Jan 23. Enter a book giveaway contest starting Jan 15-Feb 1. Working on my review now. Top Books of 2018.

"...[a] deeply satisfying sequel....this solid procedural offers heart-pounding moments of suspense. Silvis smoothly blends moments of exquisite beauty into a sea of darker emotion to create a moving story heavy with the theme of the 'past is never past.'" - Publishers Weekly Starred Review Walking the Bones. 

If you enjoy sophisticated and intelligent thrillers with a literary flair, highly recommend this author. There is another author who is one of my favorites ,T. Greenwood. These two authors have a remarkable talent for storytelling. Both authors have a rare gift of making you fall magically in love with their words. Also, check out her upcoming book (Aug 2018) Rust & Stardust

If you enjoyed ONLY THE RAIN, recommend James Hankins’Shady Cross and Dennis Lehane's Since We Fell. (currently reading/listening) narrated Julia Whelan (one of my favorite narrators). 

JDCMustReadBooks 

If you missed this Kindle First read during Dec, you should grab it now. In e-book, hardcover, and audio formats. Highly Recommend.

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/12/15/Only-the-Rain
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review 2018-01-08 00:00
In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult
In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult - Rebecca Stott Rebecca Stott was a 4th generation member of the Plymouth Brethren, an exclusive Christian sect. They believe every word of the bible as being the Word of God and believe they are commanded to keep themslves pure from the world which they see as under the control of Satan. They "withdraw" from those who fall foul of their rules and discipline them, to the extent that a man or woman could be shut in their bedroom, fed by a tray left outside the door, and denied any contact with family or friends until they are deemed repentent and clean. All the power and leadership lies with men and the women are subservient and silent. Rebecca Stott's grandfather and father were respected leaders and preachers, but following a massive split in the 1970's her family left the sect.

It is the story of how her indoctrination from childhood set her mind into ways of thinking that were hard to shake off and which despite her own university education and questioning mind, still linger many years later. But it is also the story of her volatile yet loving relationship with her father who was highly intelligent and who was able, before a clampdown by the Brethren leadership, to gain a degree from Cambridge and was enthralled by literature, drama and poetry. When at last he freed himself and his family from the cult his main thought was, "How could I have been so stupid".

This is the question that seems obvious yet if your understanding of " the truth" is a matter of life and death, good and evil, fight or surrender, heroism or cowardice, obedience or betrayal, then what choice do you have? Only when the illusion is shattered and the spell is broken do you become free to escape.

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text 2017-12-27 23:01
Top 5 books of 2017
A Conjuring of Light - V E Schwab
City of Miracles - Robert Jackson Bennett
Raven Stratagem - Yoon Ha Lee
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden

I didn't do a book challenge this year, but I still ended up reading about 60 books and graphic novels, as well as starting another 8-9. A bunch of those were re-reads, as I got ready to finish off or continue trilogies, while I also went on a big Earthsea jaunt as I'd never read all the novels in one go before. 

 

Anyway, here are my top 5 books of the year (graphic novels excluded), in no particular order:

 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab - stunning conclusion to a great series, just wish I liked her YA books as much as I liked these!

 

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett - another trilogy-concluder, with each book featuring what I've described as 'grumpy olds doing stuff'.

 

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee - second book in a trilogy this time, but while I enjoyed Ninefox Gambit a lot, I thought this book was far more accessible and I can't wait to see what happens in Revenant Gun next year. 

 

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams - a first book this time, curses! I really enjoyed her Copper Cat series (which starts with The Copper Promise, for anyone who's interested) but this book kicks things up a notch. The next book, The Bitter Twins, is due out in March and I can't wait...

 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - another first book in a series, not to everyone's taste but it more than worked for me! The next book, The Girl in the Tower, is already out and I need to get hold of it when it eventually arrives in paperback. 

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review 2017-12-23 22:21
Rules of Rain
Rules of Rain - Leah Scheier
What can I say about this novel? There were parts that I really loved and enjoyed, and then there were sections that irritated the crap out of me and for the life of me, didn’t make sense. Rules of Rain did have a lot of things happening inside its pages though.
 
The character of Rain annoyed me for the most part. Rain has a twin brother Ethan who is autistic and in Rain’s world, helpless. Rain feels she needs to be his shadow and she feels she knows what is best for him. Don’t get me wrong, she has helped him greatly over the years and he is making great strides but Rain is afraid to let go. At sixteen, Ethan is trying to broaden his world, but even small baby steps are overshadowed and examined before Ethan steps out. It’s not like Rain’s choices in the novel were outstanding and successful so in reality she doesn’t know everything. I really didn’t understand her blog either. I realize she liked food and it was an outlet for her but her responses and topics were, to me, pointless and she might as well have been writing in a diary. I liked Rain’s relationship with Liam. What a great account with its highs and lows as they both were having their first serious relationship but at the end of the novel, I could have reached right through the pages and strangled Rain. Just pulled her through to my world and had it out with her.
 
Liam, her brother was terrific. He was trying, he was visualizing what his future might look like and he was trying to get there. Liam was very smart and he loved human anatomy. I loved it when he would go off on an anatomy topic: the details, his speech, and his focus were so detailed and firm. I liked Rain’s best friend Hope. What can I say about a friend that stands there and is your constant? What can I say about a friend who hears but doesn’t speak? I needed more Hope. We all need more Hope. I liked a lot of the scenes that occurred in this novel. The novel was fun, adventurous, and enjoyable for the most part.
 
I liked this novel for the mistakes that it made and for the healing that it provided. I liked it for the relationships that it provided. I liked all the issues it presented about family and how it dealt with them. After reading this novel, I noticed how much silence there was in it. How individuals just noticed things, how they did things without asking, how they didn’t talk about things or they didn’t tell because of their disability or some other reason. I liked that about this novel. I remember something that Ethan mentioned. Someone asked him if he had told Rain about a specific thing that had occurred and he said that he hadn’t and that she hadn’t ask him either. I thought this was interesting as Rain would probably never ask, she wouldn’t even know such an event had occurred so why would she ask. I wish I would have liked Rain more, but she just got under my skin.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-12-23 12:29
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams
The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams

I really enjoyed this author's previous trilogy (which starts with The Copper Promise) and so was looking forward to seeing what she could do with a completely new setting and set of characters in The Ninth Rain. If anything, I think this book is even better than the previous ones and I can't wait to see what happens in the rest of the story...

 

The Ninth Rain is set in the time after a series of invasions, all of which have been pushed back at great cost. The Eborans, the main adversaries of the invaders, have now been all but destroyed with a terrible disease decimating their population and their tree-god silent. Yes, there is a giant sentient tree involved, bear with me. One of the last of the Eborans is sure that this can be rectified, while meanwhile her brother Tormalin goes out in search of adventure, booze and sex (mostly booze and sex, to be honest).

 

He ends up working for Vintage, a woman who has spent her life studying the invaders and the things they left behind and, along the way, they also pick up an escaped prisoner as part of their ragtag group. Noon is a fell-witch, taking life from the living things around her, who had been imprisoned as part of the Winnowry, all the while claiming it was for everyone's good.

 

There were a couple of places in The Ninth Rain where there's a bit of a revelation and I really don't want to spoil them for anyone who's going to read this. I kind of saw the first one coming, at least partially (on the basis that it was all a little too good to be true) but they both provide excellent twists to the storyline. I look forward immensely to seeing where this goes, with the next book in the series (The Bitter Twins) due out in March 2018.

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