Category Archives: other blogs

Review – “Life As We Knew It”

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Released: October 2006
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 337
Source: Library

From Goodreads:

“Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart-pounding story of Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all–hope–in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.”

My review:

As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy dystopian novels, whether they involve zombies or not.  Another blogger, Brittany, read this book before me and said, “It was dystopian without having to go far into the future and very realistic. It really made me think that things like this could really happen and how scary that would be!”  After reading it, I totally agree.  While the story didn’t have super fantastical elements, such as virus’, walking dead, survival camps, mass evacuations or martial law, the very fact that it is realistic is the scary part!

A large meteor hits the moon, and shifts it’s orbit.  As the moon gets closer to earth, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes decimate thousands of acres, cities and even entire states, hundreds of thousands of people are dead, and the government systems are defunct.  Miranda’s mother immediately tasks the family with filling multiple shopping carts with non-perishable food, hygiene products and first aid supplies.   When Miranda’s oldest brother, Matt, returns from college they begin chopping and stockpiling wood, months prior to winter.

As the season’s progress and food sources run low, the electricity is out, natural gas is gone, the well runs dry and schools close down.  The family’s world gets smaller and smaller as communication ceases, gasoline supply is exhausted, the volcanic ash turns the sky gray and the air polluted, the family is confined to their home.  Diseases spread, the volcanic ash has killed their garden and there is no more food to be had, their strength wanes and lack of privacy wears on their disposition.

Miranda’s father and his new wife, Lisa, are expecting a baby, but are unable to reach the kids since the phone system has been down.  As the rare radio station program reads lists of the dead, the future seems very uncertain, and in fact, improbable.  Miranda doesn’t know if her father is dead or alive, if Lisa has had her baby, or if they are even still alive.  As asthma, infections and the flu spread in Miranda’s hometown, the remaining citizens begin leaving for other places in hopes of finding a utopia in the midst of despair.

The scary part of this book is the fact that it is so realistic.  While a zombie apocalypse probably won’t happen, a major depression, or some natural or nuclear disaster is possible, and the results would probably be much the same as a large meteor displacing the moon.  Lack of electricity, sporadic news or  lack of wide spread communication, rations on gas – all of these things have already happened with lesser cause.  (Consider Hurricane Katrina for example.) While this novel is a work of fiction, it deals with a future that could be very realistic.

Now, excuse me while I empty my truck, and head to Sam’s Club to buy in bulk….

I rated this book a 3.5 out of 5.  I enjoyed it.

Other reviews on this book can be found here:

TeenReads

Books N Tea

And the book trailer:

The second book in the Last Survivor series, The Dead and the Gone, also has a book trailer:

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Wondrous Word Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme from Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  If you want to play along, grab the button, and write a post.

The first word is from Hot Six by Janet Evanovich:

stygian : (adjective) extremely dark, gloomy, or forbidding <the stygian blackness of the cave>

I forgot to write down the sentence from the book showing the use of this word before I returned it to the library.

The second word is from The Shunning by Beverly Lewis:

portentous: (adjective) of the nature of a portent;  momentous; ominously significant or indicative  (The book actually spells the word portentious, with an “i”, but I assume that is a misspelling, as neither Merriam-Webster or dictionary.com recognized the word)

“Katie was aware of a portentous feeling, as though something she had always known deep down was about to be revealed – like the missing piece of a life-sized puzzle, maybe, or an explanation she’d waited her whole lifetime to hear.”

What new words did you discover this week?

Here’s a fun, book-related picture from the Classic Penguin tumblr page: “Bookhenge”

Thanks to Cassie from Books & Bowel Movements for posting about this photo!

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I’ve been nominated!!!

I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Twigs for Pigs!  Check her out – she talks about life, books and photography!  She nominated me a while back, but I’ve been crazy trying to catch up on all my to-do list, and am just now sitting down to read the rules.

After you are nominated, you thank the person who nominated you, (obviously) and link to their blog, then you in turn nominate 15 blogs that you are crazy about, blogs you like to read.  Lastly, you tell the person who nominated you seven things about yourself.  So, here are my seven things for Twiggy (and you can read along).

  1. I am dyslexic.  It started out only affecting my numbers, then a few years ago, I noticed the consonants migrating on my papers.  I can type an entire word with the consonants completely reversed.  (and not on purpose!)
  2. I love doing genealogy research.  I squint at old handwritten notes with dates and names, trying to figure out where they go, and who they married.  I often call my mother to tell her about an obscure relative I found who overcame incredible obstacles, or traveled half-way around the world to live their dream.
  3. I use humor to shade the harder parts of life.  I’d rather laugh through it than cry, although sometimes both can help.
  4. My dream job would be for someone to pay me to proofread books.
  5. I abhor talking on the phone.  I would rather text or email, or better yet, visit with you in person.  Phone calls are a bane.  I only willingly talk on the phone when its someone too far away to visit in person.
  6. If I could have a super power, it would be to know people’s motives.
  7. If there really is a zombie apocalypse, I plan to live in a large tree house, like one of these.  (I should start building now – it’s not like there is a downside to having a fabulous tree house, even if there is never a zombie apocalypse!)

Now for the fun part – I get to share 15 blogs that I enjoy for this same award!  I hope you check them out, and if you like them, subscribe!  These are listed in no particular order.

  • JustBeingMichael – Michael is an old college friend of mine – he’s still my friend, still fabulous, and still funny.  I miss him!
  • Geninne’s Art Blog – Geninne is a freelance illustrator/designer and an amazing artist.  I look forward to seeing her blog pop up in my inbox every day.  She also has an etsy shop.  I wish I could pay her to come decorate my whole house!  This is one of my favorite pieces of her art – 
  • Books and Bowel Movements – Cassie writes this blog – she’s a reader, a perpetual student, and hilarious!  I love her writing style, and I’m also sure that this is not the first nomination she’s received.  We began being pen-pals during our “Month of Letters” in March of this year.
  • To Love, Honor and Vacuum –  this blog is written by author Sheila Wray Gregoire.  Her subtitle is “Real Marriage.  No Pretensions.”  Sheila isn’t afraid to address those questions that some of us are afraid to ask, or voice to anyone other than our bestie or therapist.
  • Brave Girls Club – This blog is co-written by sisters Kathy and Melody.  It is a worldwide community of women who want to live the best, happiest, most productive and fabulously brave life they can possibly live…and that means something different to every single one of us.  Some days just reading their Daily Truth Email brings tears to my eyes!
  • The Daily Love – I was introduced to this blog by one of my very best friends, and have really enjoyed it.  The Daily Love was started by Mastin Kipp in 2005 during his journey to find his true purpose.  TDL blends wisdom with style, and reminds us that we are not alone.
  • Forgotten Bookmarks – This blog is written by a rare book seller, who shares all the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things found in the used books that come to the shop.  
  • Sunflower Girl – (Because someone was going to have to set a bad example)  Jennifer is a writer and photographer and a mother of four – four boys!  I’m impressed that she survives each day with four boys under 13, much less that she survives to write and take pictures!  :)  Props to you, Jennifer!
  • Filling the Well – written by author Carrie Vaughn.  I love reading her books, and her main series is about a werewolf named Kitty.  (Oh, the irony!)  She also has other stand-alone novels, young adult novels and collections.
  • Thoughts of You – This blog is written by Melissa, who I’m lucky to call both family and friend!  She’s been on hiatus for a while, but I love her thoughtful/thought provoking posts, and am, in my oh-so-subtle-way, hoping to get her back to writing again.  She has stuff in her soul that we need to read!
  • Bermuda Onion’s Weblog – This blog is about books, food and movies.  I am amazed at her consistency and content.  I truly do plan to write/post about 5 times a week, but Kathy is able to write book reviews, coordinate book giveaways, interviews, photographs, etc.  She is also a fellow World Book Night Book Giver!
  • Peeking Between the Pages – Ironically Darlene and I first bonded over the TV Reality Show “The Bachelor”.  We also share a love of books, and she also writes an amazing number of book reviews with tons of great giveaways.

  • People I Want To Punch In The Throat – Jen writes in her “About Me” section that she’s a funny, negative, bitchy type of person, and that her blog is “meant to be funny and satirical.  You don’t have to take me seriously, because I don’t take myself seriously.”  I was turned on to her blog by a fellow elementary school home room mom, who shared Jen’s post about the Elf on the Shelf.  I sat in the car line at school and laughed out loud!  (I wish I could say I laughed my butt off, but it’s still there.)  I enjoy her irreverent style, and love that she just puts out there things that most of us are afraid to say outloud (but still think to ourselves).
  • Mosaic Art Source – This is a beautiful photo blog of different mosaic artists and their work.  It’s the type of beauty that I could not hope to match creatively, and it just makes me smile that so much artistic talent is out there in the world for all of us to enjoy.
  • Bookshelf Porn – This is a photo blog for book lovers.  It showcases bookshelf photos from around the world.  I have to admit that this blog makes me drool and turn green with envy.  I don’t know that I could build a house big enough to hold all the bookshelves this blog makes me want to have.
I hope that you have found a blog or two that you like in this list of nominations!  I would also love to hear of blogs that you have found that you think are fabulous.  If you are one of my nominees, thanks for all that you share with me (and ever so many others), I love your work!

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Penguin Teen | The Kristin Cashore Graceling Realm digital…

Penguin Teen | The Kristin Cashore Graceling Realm digital….

 

For all the Kristin Cashore/Graceling fans out there, check out this Digital Sampler with exclusive content….includes excerpts from Bitterblue and letters between Bitterblue, Katsa, Raffin, Bann and Po.

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busybusybusylife: My Husband’s Bike Almost Killed Me

busybusybusylife: My Husband’s Bike Almost Killed Me.

 

This blog, upallnightreading, is mainly about books, reading and other bookish things.  My other blog – the one I use to vent about normal life, is busybusybusylife – the link above details my exercise this morning.  Feel free to laugh with me!

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Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for April’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Cindy from  Cindy’s Love of Books.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This week my mailbox wasn’t full, but I got several ARC E-books to add to my Kindle!

Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall from Barbour Publishing.

“She thought she could outrun her past. . .

It is 1811, and the prosperous port city of Charleston is bustling with plantation owners, slaves, and immigrants. Immigrants such as the raven-haired Adalia Winston. But Adalia has a secret: her light skin belies that she is part black and a runaway slave from Barbados. Skilled in herbal remedies, Adalia finds employment with a local doctor and settles into a quiet life, thankful for her freedom but still fearful that her owner will find her.

Born into one of Charleston’s prominent families, Morgan Rutledge is handsome, bored—and enamored of the beautiful Adalia, who spurns his advances. Morgan’s persistence, however, finally wins, and Adalia is swept into the glamorous world of Charleston high society.

But her new life comes at a high price—that of denying her heritage and her zeal for God. How far is Adalia willing to go to win the heart of the man she loves? And when her secret is revealed, will that love be enough, or will the truth ruin Morgan and send Adalia back into slavery?”

Making Piece by Beth M. Howard from Harlequin.

“A memoir of love, loss and pie.

“You will find my story is a lot like pie, a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It’s bitter. It’s messy. It’s got some sweetness, too. Sometimes the ingredients get added in the wrong order, but it has substance, it will warm your insides, and even though it isn’t perfect, it still turns out okay in the end.”

When journalist Beth M. Howard’s young husband dies suddenly, she packs up the RV he left behind and hits the American highways. At every stop along the way—whether fi lming a documentary or handing out free slices on the streets of Los Angeles—Beth uses pie as a way to fi nd purpose. Howard eventually returns to her Iowa roots and creates the perfect synergy between two of America’s greatest icons—pie and the American Gothic House, the little farmhouse immortalized in Grant Wood’s famous painting, where she now lives and runs the Pitchfork Pie Stand.

Making Piece powerfully shows how one courageous woman triumphs over tragedy. This beautifully written memoir is, ultimately, about hope. It’s about the journey of healing and recovery, of facing fears, fi nding meaning in life again, and moving forward with purpose and, eventually, joy. It’s about the nourishment of the heart and soul that comes from the simple act of giving to others, like baking a homemade pie and sharing it with someone whose
pain is even greater than your own. And it tells of the role of fate, second chances and the strength found in community.”

The Absolutist by John Boyne (of Boy in the Striped Pajamas) from Other Press.

“It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.

But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan’s visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will–from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain.

The Absolutist is a masterful tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in one of the most gruesome trenches of France during World War I. This novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats until its most extraordinary and unexpected conclusion, and will stay with them long after they’ve turned the last page.”

The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall from Harlequin.

“For nine-year-old Beth Lowe, it should have been a magical summer—sun-kissed days lounging in rickety deck chairs, nights gathered around the fire. But what begins as an innocent vacation to Hungary ends with the devastating separation of her parents. Beth and her father return home alone, leaving her mother, Marika, behind.

Over the next seven summers, Beth walks a tightrope between worlds, fleeing her quiet home and distant father to bask in the intoxicating Hungarian countryside with Marika. It is during these enthralling summers that Beth comes to life and learns to love. But at sixteen, she uncovers a life-shattering secret, bringing her sacred summers with Marika abruptly to an end.

Now, years later, Beth receives a package containing a scrapbook, a haunting record of a time long forgotten.  Suddenly, she is swept back to the world she left behind, forced to confront the betrayal that destroyed her—and to  search her heart for forgiveness.”

 

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan from Random House Children’s Books

“Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met—a boy she’s talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur.

There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned.

Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.”

 

 

22 Brittania Road by Amanda Hodgkinson from Penguin Group

“It has been six years since Silvana has seen her husband, Janusz, when she boards a ship that will take her from Poland to England with their eight-year-old son Aurek. Asked for her occupation, “housekeeper or housewife?,”  Silvana first responds softly, “survivor.”  She and Aurek spent much of the war hiding in the forests of Poland, and when they arrive in England, they will have to learn a new way of living, and face an intense emotional adjustment to the new place they will now have to call home.

Meanwhile, in small-town England, Janusz prepares for his wife and son’s arrival. He rents a little house at 22 Britannia Road and plants a quaint English garden. Determined to be an Englishman now, Janusz wants to forget the war, his memories of both his own bravery and his shameful cowardice. With the sweet albeit awkward reuniting, Janusz, Silvana and Aurek enter their new life. But six years apart have changed all of them.

A lifetime without a father and a wild, almost feral existence in the woods of Poland has made Aurek suspicious of this man who expects him to sleep apart from his mother, and he begins to think of Janusz as “the enemy.” Janusz still has the letters from a love in France whom he cannot forget. Silvana is skittish and struggles to play the role of proper English housewife, but the shattering secret she keeps-an act permissible in the midst of war but unthinkable during peacetime-stands between husband and wife. When the dashing father of Aurek’s only friend shows up and makes Silvana feel like a woman again for the first time since the war began, the charade of contented family on Britannia Road comes crashing down.

22 Britannia Road is an unforgettable story about maternal love, overcoming hardship, and ultimately, acceptance – a tour de force that will pierce your heart.”  

And I visited my library book store and scored Miss Julia Speaks her Mind by Ann B. Ross.

If you aren’t familiar with the Miss Julia series, you are missing some funny stuff!  I bought the first four of the series and sent them to my Mom and Granny, and I’m happy to say that we shared Miss Julia out-loud over Spring Break, and now my Mom is hooked!  :)  Here’s a summary of the book from the publisher, Harper Collins.

“After the unexpected death of her husband of 44 years, Julia Springer is more than just a grieving widow, she’s a rich one. She’s also a woman on the verge of finding herself. Freed at last from her husband’s sheltering, often suffocating gaze, Miss Julia realizes that she must learn to manage her money, to run her own household, and to carry on the substantial reputation that her husband built in their small Southern town.

It’s a tall order, and one she’s excited to take on. But just when she thinks she’s got her new life under control, an unexpected visitor arrives with news that would send anyone, let alone a proper Southern lady, into a tailspin. How Julia copes with the news of her husband’s secret life, and learns to rebuild her own, is the subject of this charming, often zany and always riveting novel.”

What new books came into your home this week?


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Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“‘I love the symphony,’ Meena said in protest.  ‘I happen to be extremely cultured.  I played the clarinet in sixth grade.’

‘Um, badly, if I remember,’ Leisha said.  ‘You were like twentieth chair.  Out of twenty-one.'”

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

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