If The Light Escapes is a cautionary tale that serves as a wake-up call for a world that has out-sourced survival to technology, convenience, and a dependence on the government. When those methods fail, it’s the Bea Crenshaws of the world who will step up to the challenge.


The Description

Braving the Light: Book 2
Publication Date: August 24, 2021

A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.


The Review

Fans of dystopian fiction are familiar with post-apocalyptic settings, whether it features zombies, war, or some sort of medical twist. Author Brenda Marie Smith sets the stage for her two-part series with the aftermath of a solar pulse that destroys the modern world.

Although each book can be read as a standalone, my recommendation is to read them in sequence. If Darkness Takes Us introduces the characters and sets the tone for the series. If The Light Escapes continues the story with a new set of challenges. To me, it’s like peanut butter and jelly. You need both of them for the ultimate treat.

The series focuses on the Crenshaw family led by Bea Crenshaw. She has her four grandchildren with her when the solar pulse happens. Thrown into survival mode for real, it turns out that Bea’s secret “end times” stockpiling means the difference between life and death. With the collapse of society, Bea finds herself stepping forward to lead her ragtag neighbors as they try to survive.

The author excels in character development, particularly with Bea. She evolves as a force to be reckoned with, but she has her share of flaws. Despite his age, I also like how her grandson, Keno, steps up in the sequel and makes leadership decisions. As the storyline progresses, the dynamic between family members adds a realistic human touch with all of the personal challenges. Not only do the characters have to deal with basic survival, but they face relationship issues, too.

The action itself is quite gritty, which is very much in line with the focus of the story. A fight for survival is not going to feature two warring factions happily walking arm and arm as resources dwindle. The focus has moved from day-to-day survival to sustainability by the second installment, with Mother Nature throwing plenty of curveballs. Based on the ending, I’m hoping there will be a third book.

If The Light Escapes is a cautionary tale that serves as a wake-up call for a world that has out-sourced survival to technology, convenience, and a dependence on the government. When those methods fail, it’s the Bea Crenshaws of the world who will step up to the challenge.

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About The Author

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us, and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.


Blog Tour Schedule

August 23: Author C.A.Milson
August 23: Author Deborah A. Bailey Blog
August 24: Christine Young
August 25: Candrel’s Crafts, Cooks, and Characters
August 25: Don’t Judge, Read
August 26: Literary Gold
August 27: Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
August 27: Novels Alive
August 30: It’s Raining Books
August 31: Fabulous and Brunette
August 31: Viviana MacKade
September 1: Sybrina’s Book Blog
September 2: Hope. Dreams. Life… Love
September 2: Becoming Extraordinary
September 3: Jazzy Book Reviews
September 6: Lamon Reviews
September 6: Let me tell you a story
September 7: All the Ups and Downs
September 8: The Obsessed Reader
September 8: The Salty Nomad
September 9: Westveil Publishing
September 10: The Avid Reader
September 10: Girl with Pen
September 13: Joanne Guidoccio
September 14: Welcome to My World of Dreams
September 14: Sandra’s Book Club
September 15: Novels Alive – review
September 16: Kit ‘N Kabookle
September 16: Travel the Ages – review
September 17: Locks, Hooks and Books


Amy Wilson
My name is Amy W., and I am a book addict. I will never forget the day I came home from junior high school to find my mom waiting for me with one of the Harlequin novels from my stash. As she was gearing up for the "you shouldn't be reading this" lecture, I told her the characters get married in the end. I'm just glad she didn't find the Bertrice Small book hidden in my closet. I have diverse reading tastes, evident by the wide array of genres on my Kindle. As I made the transition to an e-reader, I found myself worrying that something could happen to it. As a result, I am now the proud owner of four Kindles -- all different kinds, but plenty of back-ups! "Fifty Shades of Grey" gets high marks on my favorites list -- not for character development or dialogue (definitely not!), but because it blazed new ground for those of us who believe provocative fiction is more than just an explicit cover. Sylvia Day, Lexie Blake, and Kristin Hannah are some of my favorite authors. Speaking of diverse tastes, I also enjoy Dean Koontz, Iris Johansen, and J.A. Konrath. I’m always ready to discover new-to-me authors, especially when I toss in a palate cleanser that is much different than what I would normally read. Give me something with a well-defined storyline, add some suspense (or spice), and I am a happy reader. Give me a happily ever after, and I am downright giddy.


  1. I would love to read this entire book, thanks for sharing and you have done an awesome job with getting those high reviews!


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