Scattering the Ashes by Paul Russell Semendinger – Book Review

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Title: Scattering the Ashes

Author: Paul Russell Semendinger

Print Length: 221  Pages

Publisher: Artemesia Publishing LLC

Genre: Romance Literary Fiction, Sports Romance, Romance, Sports Fiction

Series: None

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Synopsis:  Sam Holmes is a young, enthusiastic schoolteacher living an uneventful, albeit pleasant life – even if he won’t admit to himself how lonely he is. Dedicated to teaching, and inspired by the kids passing through his 8th-grade history class, Sam is energized by the end of the school year. Now he has the time to dedicate himself fully to training for the historic New York City Marathon – his first.

But Sam’s simple life is radically changed when his father suddenly passes away and the Last Will and Testament are read to him. Sam learns that his father’s final wishes are unique, and as such special burden has been placed solely on Sam. To earn his inheritance, Sam’s father is sending him on a quest; to travel to the places that had been significant and scatter his father’s ashes at these destinations. Now, instead of a pleasant summer, Sam is thrust into a journey he neither wanted nor asked for.

While fulfilling his father’s wishes Sam meets Rachel Parker, a young woman who brings direction, clarity, and companionship to Sam’s lonely life. As he faces the struggles of a contract dispute at work, a budding romance, and running in his first marathon, Sam Holmes must make the critical decisions that will impact the rest of his life.

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The Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 out of 5 stars

I bought this book as part of review exchange that the author and I arranged.  We’d buy each other’s books and would write a review for each other after we had read them.  This has in no way affected my opinion of the book and all opinions presented in this review are mine.

First, I’m going to admit it took me a really long time to finish this book.  Not because I didn’t like it (I actually did enjoy it quite a bit), but because it is told from the first-person perspective and I have trouble immersing myself in those books because my brain hates me apparently.  (There’s even a clause in my paid review page that I will not review first-person point of view books for money because of this.)  Luckily, “Scattering the Ashes” is a wonderful book. 

I immediately identified with Sam, the main character, as he is a runner.  I like to run also (not well or fast), and his descriptions of running and runners (at least some of us) are pretty spot-on.  The character is fun and quirky and full of spunky ideals.  I liked Sam and he is an easy character to empathize with throughout most of the story.  But since we are in his head, we get to know when he’s being a jerk even if he does not.  Those parts of the story were frustrating and luckily did not last that long.

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This confession will probably make me sound like a flake (Guilty, I’m a flake.  I don’t just sound like one.), but I didn’t read the entire synopsis when I got the book, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a love story.  Like a wholesome, no naughtiness, love story.  Complete with a meet-cute and the insecure and desperately lonely Sam’s internal monologue of how to not mess up this fortuitous event and somehow make a good impression of the woman he has managed to meet.

Sam’s father is alive at the beginning of the book, and he becomes such a vivid character and intrinsic part of the story that by the time he dies, I was heavily invested.  I forgot he was supposed to die and that the story was about scattering his ashes.  It was a sucker punch in the gut and the book actually made me cry.  Heck, telling my mom about the story over the phone made her misty-eyed and a little sniffly.  (And yes, I had to stop reading to call my parents and just enjoy talking to them since this book makes readers think about how little time, we all have.)

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While I adored Rachael, the love interest, as she is described, she was almost not as real as Sam’s father to me.  Overall, it is a good read.  If you love sweet romances and stories that remind you about falling in love and appreciating the joy in your, this is a great book to read.

4 out of 5 stars and DD on the Delighting Delilah Scale because it Delights Delilah.

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