Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

4 stars

I have read two other books by Rebecca Crunden so I knew to expect a unique and thought-provoking read when I purchased Dust and Lightning. This sci-fi novella completely lived up to my high expectations.

Dust & Lightning by Rebecca Crunden

Set in the year 4054, when space travel is as common as hopping in an Uber is today, Ames Emerys goes on an intergalactic quest to find out what happened to his brother Callum after receiving word of his death. 

The environmental destruction humans have caused on Earth and beyond is a prominent backdrop for this story about a brother’s commitment to his sibling.

I enjoyed Ames as the main character and was quickly invested in his search. As someone with a brother who is also my best friend, I appreciated that the sibling connection felt genuine and not forced.

Despite the depressing and all-too-possible themes of rampant pollution and political corruption, the book has its light-hearted moments. One of the lines that made me laugh out loud was, “If you don’t want to get fried, don’t turn someone into a human lightning bolt.”

One of the features of Crunden’s writing that continue to impress me is how much world-building and storytelling she packs into so few pages. I wasn’t really a fan of novellas until I started reading hers.

I am looking forward to my next Rebecca Crunden read!

The Man and the Crow by Rebecca Crunden

The Man and the Crow by Rebecca Crunden.

In this short story, what starts off as a seemingly ordinary evening for Jessica, a part-time sales clerk at a hardware store, takes a shocking turn. 

Jessica arrives home to the flat she shares with Clara, the odd roommate she barely tolerates, and makes her way through Clara’s various housepets. Jessica stumbles into a horrific scene. 

Magic was everywhere and secrecy was paramount.

The Man and the Crow by Rebecca Crunden

Following Jessica’s peculiar encounter with the perpetrator, the book quickly pivots to the story of Enlil and Aris, who have a connection to Clara and the events that transpire.

Saying too much more would spoil the plot. Suffice it to say that Crunden makes the most of every word and scene in this 24-page, century-spanning story.

With witches, warlords, wit, and wry references to contemporary topics, I couldn’t ask for anything more as a reader.

I will definitely be reading more works by Crunden. Crunden’s books are available on Amazon.

The Abandoned House by Karen Louise Hollis

4 out of 5 stars

Abandoned house at sunset.
Abandoned housed in my hometown

Every house has a story. That’s one of the reasons I like photographing abandoned houses so much. The broken windows, chipped paint, and overgrown yards always make me wonder what the house was like in its glory days. So, when author Karen Louise Hollis offered me the chance to read her new novella focused on an abandoned house, I could hardly wait to dive in.

In this novella, Rebecca visits an abandoned house with her photographer friend, Max. While Max is photographing artifacts, Rebecca begins exploring the place and unexpectedly uncovers a clue about the former owners. Her encounter puts her and Max on a path to learning more about how the house came to be abandoned. As she finds out more about the former occupants, she makes some discoveries about herself along the way. 

While the storyline isn’t groundbreaking, this is a well-written, engaging, enjoyable read. It is like a great bedtime story or a story told sitting around the campfire — it can be absorbed in short spurts or all in one sitting. Either way, you will not want this tale to end. One of the best parts of the story is seeing how much Rebecca grows.

Thank you to Karen Hollis for providing a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.