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The Soul's Echo book cover

The Soul’s Echo

The Soul’s Echo by Jill Creech Bauer is a collection of 13 short stories Stories about memories, living, and what it means to have a soul. Like the collection’s title, the stories seem to be echos of each other, with similar or repeated themes. Overall, the concepts and ideas of the stories are above average to excellent; however, the execution is lacking.

Some of the stories are very simple and easy to read. Others are more complicated with many characters and shifting points of view. In short fiction, this makes it very hard for the reader to follow the story. Combined with the fact that some of the sequential stories in the collection seemed to be variations on a theme, it was sometimes confusing. There are two in particular, “The forgetting garden” and “Physocepahla Memoriae” which I found to be difficult when placed together in this way.

The author also uses the name Rainbow in many places; within a single story to a purposeful, well-executed effect. However, when it pops up in another story later, it’s unclear if the reader is supposed to draw a connection to the earlier uses or not.

Of all 13 stories, I enjoyed “the blue healers”, “shangri-la”, and “the soul’s echo” the most.

I received a free copy of The Soul’s Echo from Book Sirens in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Road Seven

road seven

Road Seven is an adventurous romp that unfortunately falls flat at the end. This is the first novel I’ve read from Keith Rosson, and I had high hopes at the outset.

Unfortunately, the two main characters are not at all likable. Brian is a hot mess, and Mark is either crazy or an excellent liar. 

First, we meet Brian. An unsuccessful, 30-year-old almost-Ph.D., he is thinking of dropping out. After responding to a bizarre online ad on a monster hunter website, Brian joins Mark Sandoval on an expedition to find a unicorn. With a background in anthropology and the historical significance of mythical creatures, Brian is uniquely suited to be Mark’s research assistant on this project.

Mark is ultra-famous. This is primarily due to his memoir—in which he claims to have been abducted by aliens. Some people believe this is the truth, and Mark has traded on this fame for decades.

The writing holds it all together almost until the end. As we progress to the climax of the novel, there is a theme of truth versus lies. There are a few possibly surprising twists as to what’s true and what’s not.

However, in the end, there is a “big reveal.” This is where Road Seven falls off a cliff. There is a complete lack of motivation and reason behind the reveal, and it’s just very out of place, in my opinion, with the rest of the novel. 

It’s like this man says, “well since you’re here, I have to show you this.” And the reader—me, in this case—is thinking, uh no you don’t. You want to, but it is entirely unclear why. This made me so angry. It was so pointless and very much felt like the author just wanted it to have a crazy ending and he couldn’t come up with a plausible reason, so he forced it. With no character motivation, no purpose.

I wish it had ended some other way. I enjoyed most of the story up to the end, despite not feeling much empathy or concern for our main characters. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Thanks to Book Sirens for a free copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions here are my own.