Happy New Year, dear readers! I can't believe another decade is over. And so is another family vacation--we spent the holiday in Galveston, and even though I debated staying home, I actually enjoyed it. My family enjoyed some quality time together, I got five books for $20 from a wonderful used bookstore, and my dad finally caught a nice-sized fish. But I'm glad to be coming home. In fact, I'm writing this in the car right now (I'll post it once I have WiFi). I have about four more hours of sitting in the car, listening to Mom have her own not-quite-private breakout worship session along with the radio. My earbuds are at maximum volume, which I know is terrible for my ears, but I can still hear her singing. It's frustrating.
Anyway, I had some time to read this week, and I got some new books for Christmas, so naturally, I have a book review for you. No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens.
(We're driving through Houston right now. It's foggy, and the tops of the skyscrapers are hidden. It looks like they just materialize out of thin air. It's beautiful and haunting and very ethereal. Back to scheduled programming.)
Nowadays, I don't read many books written by authors who are still alive. No Less Days is an exception, and a beautiful one at that. (I'm getting bounced around back here pretty good. Texas isn't known for its high-quality roads. My hands are jittering on my laptop keys, and my screen is bouncing back and forth. If it gets much worse, I'll have to hold off the blogging until later. Sorry.) Anyway, I'm not sure what genre to place No Less Days into. It's not quite a fantasy, not quite a thriller, but a good book nonetheless. So I'll get right into a description of the plot.
We meet our main character David Galloway, a man who should be dead. Not because he's done something stupid or has miraculously escaped some scary situation, although he has. He's over a hundred and sixty years old, but he's eternally stuck in his thirties. There's actually a decent explanation for his longevity, one that involves microscopic organisms from a backwoods lake getting into his bloodstream and preventing its host from dying. But as far as David's concerned, he's the only immortal out there.
Until he meets a man who, like him, should be dead.
David seeks out Zac Wilson, a daredevil stuntman who fell into the Grand Canyon and miraculously survived. Zac introduces David to three other immortals--grouchy Simon, quiet Colm, and eventually the adventurous Moira. But when one of the group turns out to be a less savory character than anyone's comfortable with, David finds himself faced with decisions he never thought he'd have to make.
No Less Days is a very engrossing book. I had a hard time putting it down. I found myself laughing aloud on a few occasions and sharing memorable moments with my family. It talks about God without getting preachy, and it deals with complex issues. David and his employee Tiana are complex and well-thought-out characters. And--I've been reading too many self-published books, apparently--but there were no grammatical errors, and I'm glad.
(It's raining now. Thank God there aren't many people on the highway. I think. It's still too foggy to see very far.)
Onto the negatives. The first thing I noticed about the book was its formatting. It's a weird thing to complain about, I know. But the average novel has the author's name and book title on the top of the page, right? No Less Days has it on the bottom, along with the page number. And the page margins were really small. It's no big deal for most people, but it sort of irked me for a while.
The supporting characters all sort of ran together for me. Perhaps it was just because I read the book too fast--I wanted to finish it before our return trip so I could put it in a less accessible place and instead bring with one of my new Cadfael Chronicles. But I got Simon and Colm confused at first. (Ooh, a taxidermy shop! I've never seen one of those on a road trip before. And there's the second karate academy I've passed today...) Also, there's a plot point at the end that isn't explained very well. I feel like it was just put in there to help introduce a possible sequel. Simon jumps into a scene with no introduction or warning--he just starts talking, and I didn't even know he was in the state, let alone the room. Unless, of course, I was just reading too fast to catch it.
It's a good book though. I enjoyed it. Almost as much as Mom enjoys singing--I think she's finally stopped after an hour and forty-five minutes. Four more hours to go, I guess...are we still in Houston? Gosh, it's a big city.
If you need help spending a Christmas gift card, hop on over to Amazon and get a copy of Where the Clouds Catch Fire or Where I Stand--or both! And if you were gifted with a subscription of Kindle Unlimited, you can read both those books for absolutely free. (I still get paid though, so don't feel bad.) God bless you, dear readers, and Happy New Year!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.