If The Light Escapes Tour Banner

Brenda Marie Smith gives readers a ride of a lifetime in her novel, If The Light Escapes. This book is the second one in the Braving the Light series, and it’s a doozy. There is so much action and adrenaline in this story that my heart was in my throat throughout.

  • Title: If The Light Escapes, Braving The Light 2
  • Author: Brenda Marie Smith
  • Publisher: Southern Fried Karma on August 24, 2021
  • Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopia
  • Pages: 257
  • Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
  • Rating: 5/5

Trigger Warnings: Graphic Violence, Gun Violence, Pedophilia

Many thanks to Brenda Marie Smith for providing me with a digital copy of If The Light Escapes with a request for an honest review. Also thanks to Goddess Fish Promotions for having me on this tour and providing the materials to build this post.

About If The Light Escapes

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid. Now northern lights are in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with 18-year-old Keno Simms. All that’s left for him and his broken family is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat.

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, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. 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.

Blurb Provided By Goddess Fish Promotions for Tour Use

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Order If The Light Escapes NowAmazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | BookPeople

My Review

Keno Simms is a slight 18-year-old kid who finds himself married and a baby on the way in the weird Austin, Texas environment brought on by a solar storm. Keno’s grandmother suffered a stroke, leaving him with the weight of the world on his shoulders. The entire community counts on him for their survival. But, when the bad guys start showing up, Keno makes a decision that will change his life and the community’s lives forever. Will everyone survive the fallout?

Keno and Alma make the sweetest couple ever. They may be young, but their love is more mature than most marriages. Jack and Nanna put a smile on my face as big as Texas because they were so adorable. I loved every member of the neighborhood. They were bright spots in a dark story. Unfortunately, Keno’s grandfather and Aunt Jeri are complete jerks. I wanted to kill them myself. But, all in all, I fell in love with these characters.

The setting wasn’t pleasant, but somehow Smith made it almost romantic. There is nothing but sun-fried crap around, but Brenda made the area homey. The talk of the crops and the bunnies made the setting more realistic. I could see the baby wheat in the field. In a dystopian world, things were still beautiful.

This novel is the second in a series, but the author does a great job of making it stand alone. There were plenty of details to keep you in the loop, but I found after reading this one that there is more that I want to know. I want to know the whys and hows of the first novel, If Darkness Takes Us, though it isn’t necessary to enjoy book two.

I award If The Light Escapes a full 5 out of 5 stars. This book will entertain and delight you all the way through. If you love a futuristic dystopia, this book is for you. I recommend it to all of my sci-fi friends out there. 

5 Star Read

If The Light Escapes Excerpt


“These northern lights bug the crap out of me,” I tell Alma. “What are they doing here? They’re supposed to be tied to magnetic poles. I saw this show a couple years ago that said the north pole was drifting north, not south. So how did they end up here? The poles can’t drift around randomly. That’s impossible.”

“I don’t know, baby. They worry me, too, but we need to be quiet.”

“They make me feel like something bad is gonna happen. What do you call that? Fore-something.”


“That’s it. I’ll be quiet, now, and just stew in my foreboding.”

“Silly.” Alma reaches up and ruffles my hair.

When we patrol and we can’t cuddle on account of guns, Alma and I could talk all night. It’s not a good idea for us to talk much when we’re patrolling, though. We get all involved and forget to listen for anyone who might be sneaking around, hunting for food or water, or worse: getting ready to kill us for it.

We walk along with our rifles in the night. It’s cool out here, but not cold…

Alma stops and raises her gun.

“Hear that?” she whispers.

“No, what?” I’ve got my gun up, too, and I’m pivoting around, searching. I want to hide Alma, but she would never let me. 

“Over there.” She points at the corner by the park. And I hear a jangly noise, like car keys. No one drives cars now, though…

Brenda Marie Smith

About the Author – Brenda Marie Smith

Brenda Marie Smith Author Image - If The Light Escapes
2018-10-18_Brenda Marie Smith

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 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.

Author’s Contact Links: Website | Blog | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Author Giveaway!

Brenda Marie Smith will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

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  1. Brenda, If the Light Escapes sounds like an excellent read for me and the cover is very pretty! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a great week!

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