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review 2017-12-27 23:06
All the Stars in the Sky by Sarah Lyons Fleming
All the Stars in the Sky: Until the End of the World, Book 3 (Volume 3) - Sarah Lyons Fleming

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was a really good conclusion to the series. When I find a series that I enjoy, I usually try to take a bit of a break between books just to stretch things out a bit. After finishing the previous book in this series, And After, I knew that this would be a situation where I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. It has been quite the adventure with Cassie and the group.

This is the third book in the Until the End of the World series which I do think needs to be read in order. This book picks up immediately after the events of the previous book. I do my best to write spoiler free reviews but there may be some spoilers about events from earlier books. The second book really left the group in a desperate situation which is where we find them as this book opens.

Cassie and the group need to make to a new safe zone. The plan has been to head to Alaska if Kingdom Come was compromised. She is with a small group making their way by vehicle across Canada to reach their goal and hoping to avoid the zombie pods. They have limited supplies in terms of food and fuel but they are resourceful and work well together. During their travels, they encounter some pretty scary situations that had me at the edge of my seat. They run into some really nice people and some people who could be described as anything but nice. I felt like I was right there with the group and wanted to see them reach safety more than anything. 

This was a really exciting book. There seemed to be more instances where they had to deal with life-threatening zombie situations. They spent nearly the entire book in danger. I did think that the book slowed down for me at the end. The last section of the book focused more on relationships than anything else and I thought it was drawn out just a bit. I did like the fact that the characters continued to talk about other characters that have died to keep their memory alive. I thought this felt really authentic and it helped me get over a certain character that was lost at the end of the second book. Can you tell that some of these deaths still bother me? No character is ever safe in the zombie apocalypse.

Julia Whelan does an amazing job with this series. There is a large cast of characters and she did a fabulous job representing them in the same manner in each book of the series. I was constantly pulled into the book through her narration. Exciting scenes, funny scenes, and more heartfelt scenes are all handled equally well. I listened to this book for hours at a time and definitely plan to listen to her work again in the future.

I would recommend this series to others. I think that fans of The Walking Dead would appreciate this story of survival. I liked the series enough that it is one that I hope to listen to it again at some point in a few years. I hope to read more works by Sarah Lyons Fleming in the future.

Initial Thoughts
This was a good conclusion. The group was in a lot of danger for much of the book so there was a lot of excitement. It did fizzle out a bit during the last hour or so of the audio when the focus was almost entirely on romance. Overall, I really enjoyed the whole series.

Book source: Audible purchase

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review 2017-12-23 20:23
And After by Sarah Lyons Fleming
And After: Until the End of the World, Book 2 (Volume 2) - Sarah Lyons Fleming

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am loving this series! I am so thankful that I stumbled upon this series because I am very taken with it. I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead but I don't actively search for zombie books to read (although maybe I should). As I listened to this book, I have found myself comparing it to The Walking Dead but I don't think that is a bad thing since I would expect some similarities. This book was hard to put down and I ended up listening to it for hours at a time and thinking about it at other times. 

I do have to tell you that this book broke my heart. More than once. I didn't expect to care about this group of characters as much as I do but it seems like any time they experience something terrible my heart hurts a little bit. In a world with zombies all over the place, there is a a whole lot of horrible going on. There is also a whole lot of good and I love that this book really shows how great people can be during a crisis.

Cassie and her group of friends are living at Kingdom Come. The community at Kingdom Come works well together. They are growing food, canning, and basically doing whatever is needed to support their population. They have even set up a school for the children. Everyone has their assigned jobs and life is about as good as you can make it during the zombie apocalypse.

But things eventually go wrong and Cassie has to learn how to move forward even when she doesn't want to. This book really put me through the wringer at times and just as I started to feel a bit better about things it would crush my heart all over again. There times that I was nervous for the characters, times that I was happy for them, times that I laughed along with them, and times I wanted to let them cry on my shoulder.

I do really like Cassie and her group of friends. The group that we met in the first book are still together and I really feel like I know them at this point. I think it is great how much they are really able to support each other and it is obvious how much they really care for each member of the group. It is really a more positive approach to their situation since they really work together to get through different events.

Julia Whelan does such a great job narrating this series. This book is from Cassie's point of view and she does a fantastic job of capturing all of Casie's emotions during the story. There is a pretty large cast of characters in the book and she handles them all very well. I think that her reading of the story may have added a bit of impact to some of the more intense sections of the book.

I would highly recommend this series to fans of The Walking Dead or zombie apocalypse stories. This was a highly entertaining story filled with wonderful characters trying to not only survive but flourish. I usually take a break between books in a series to stretch things out a bit but I moved straight into the next book in the series once I finished this one because I couldn't wait to spend more time with Cassie and her group. I will definitely be reading more from Sarah Lyons Fleming in the future.

Initial Thoughts
This book broke my heart several times. Damn. Great characters and lots of zombie fun. The narration is fabulous. I can't get enough of this amazing series.

Book source: Audible purchase

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text 2017-12-23 19:10
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square #12: Festivus
The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming
The Unexpected Guest - Charles Osborne,Agatha Christie
Courts of Babylon - Peter Bodo
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling,John Kerr Tiffany,Jack Thorne
Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles

 Tasks for Festivus: Post your personal list of 3 Festivus Miracles –OR– post a picture of your Festivus pole (NOTHING pornographic, please!), –OR– Perform the Airing of Grievances:  name 5 books you’ve read this year that have disappointed you - tell us in tongue-lashing detail why and how they failed to live up to expectations.

 

2017 has brought a great many books and thankfully most of them were good or entertaining or at least ok. However, there have also been some real stinkers*, and of those the following tomes have taken the proverbial Christmas cookie:

 

(* I have only considered books that I read in full. If I had considered DNF's, this list would be much longer.)

 

 

1. The Spy Who Loved Me - Ian Fleming

 

I thought I had already read the worst that Fleming could dream up when I tried to suppress to throw up all the way through From Russia With Love but this was nothing compared to the sick-fest that was The Spy Who Loved Me. I seriously would have liked to hit Bond and his creator with a shovel, repeatedly, hard, when reading that book. Even thinking about the book still brings up feelings of rage and nausea. 

 

 

2. The Unexpected Guest - Charles Osborne

 

I refuse to cite Agatha Christie as the author of this. She may have written the original play, but Osborne managed to destroy the original work as only Osborne can - with gusto and beyond any hope of repair. Even if Dame Agatha's works are sometimes a bit twisted, Osborne managed to turn this one into a farcical hot mess. Again. Like the other Christie books he turned his hand to.

 

 

3. The Courts of Babylon - Peter Bodo

 

Boy, oh boy, oh boy. This was the book that tried to set a new record of how many dumbass comments one author can cram into a book. I have no motivation to find out whether Bodo really did set a record here, and I am sorely disappointed that not only Bodo represented sports and sports reporting to thousands of viewers, readers, listeners who have over the years been subjected to his self-congratulatory, patronising, imperialist, sexist, and bigoted comments, but also that I actually finished reading this book.

 

 

4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

 

Well, this will be brief: the author's got pretty much all of the HP characters wrong and their plot had some serious holes. This was fan-fiction at best, which is an insult to fan-fiction because this was really bad fan-fiction. No, seriously, just give it a miss and enjoy a re-read of the original HP books. 

 

 

5. Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles

 

I don't even know what this book was. I'm still more puzzled that this book apparently made Jane Bowles into some sort of adored writer. I don't get it. At all. This was one of the most boring, underwhelming, inconsequential books about drama-lama main characters who were so wrapped up in their first-world not-even-close-to-real-problems that ...

Nah, I can't even be bothered to waste energy airing my grievances about this one.

 

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review 2017-12-18 01:37
So Long, Lollipops by Sarah Lyons Fleming
So Long, Lollipops: The Free Until The End of the World Novella - Sarah Lyons Fleming,Julia Whelan

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I really need to warn anyone planning to read the first book in the series, Until the End of the World, to stop reading this review now. I cannot talk about this novella without spoiling the first book. It just cannot be done. This review could ruin one of the best moments in the first novel. You have been warned.

I enjoyed this novella quite a bit. I usually listen to audiobooks at work and only rarely listen to much at home. I decided to start this one on a Saturday while I was walking my dogs and planned to finish during the work week. I listened to the whole thing over the weekend because I couldn't get enough. It is rather short but it answered a lot of questions that I had from the first book in the series.

**Spoilers Ahead**

This novella tells Peter's story. Peter was a character that I wanted to feed to the zombies at the beginning of the series. You know, the one guy that you kind of hope will die quickly and painfully. Peter did what few characters are able to do. He completely redeemed himself in the first book. The same guy I wanted to see die a horrible death became a man that I got a little choked up over once I believed he had actually met that fate. Not to mention the surprise and joy when I realized he had survived at the close of the first book.

Since finishing Until the End of the World, I wondered how Peter could have possibly survived. When the group left him, he was in an impossible situation. This novella details what Peter goes through from the point the group left him until he is reunited and what a story it is. Peter has turned into a genuinely good guy that I would want fighting on my side. He encounters a few new characters and has some great moments with them. He also runs into more than a few zombies and things look dire a time or two. Of course, I knew he would survive and make it back to the group since I saw that in the first book from Cassie's point of view.

I think that Julia Whelan does a great job with this series. I am very happy to see that she narrates all of the books in the series. I think it would have been a huge mistake to switch to a male narrator for this one despite the fact that this story is told from a male point of view. She does a great job with Peter and all of the other characters he encounters. I look forward to listening to this narrator again very soon.

I would recommend this book to others. This is a series that really should be read in order. I think it would be possible to read and enjoy this as a stand alone but I don't think that it could possibly have the same kind of impact. I can't wait to read the rest of this touching zombie series!

Initial Thoughts
So this answers the question in regards to what actually happened to Peter. I am really enjoying this series now that zombies are everywhere. I picked this one up as a freebie on Audible a while back but decided to listen to them in order which I think was a good choice. This could possibly work as a stand alone but so much of the book is directly related to the first that I do think it would be best to read this series in order. I thought that the narration was very well done.

Book source: Audible freebie

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review 2017-11-29 00:44
Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming
Until the End of the World - Sarah Lyons Fleming

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I ended up really liking this book. I stumbled upon this series quite by accident while I was browsing Audible. I am a huge Walking Dead fan so I thought this looked promising and decided to give it a try. This was a story that I liked more and more as I continued to read. I listened to the audiobook for hours at a time and never tired of the story. I am so glad that I took a chance with this book.

This book starts just as the trouble begins. Cassie and her friends live in New York City and there is a virus causing people to get sick. The group quickly figures out that things are a lot worse than they are being told and they make plans to get to Cassie's parents' home. Cassie's parents prepared for disasters and though they have both passed away the home is well stocked.

I found that during the beginning stages of the book the focus was more on the drama between the characters than the zombie outbreak. I really wanted someone to smack a couple of Cassie's "friends" and move on to more zombie stuff. As the book progressed, I started seeing more and more of the zombie action that I had wanted.

There is a rather large cast of characters to keep track of in this book but each of their personalities were well developed so it really wasn't too much of a problem. The characters do grow over the course of the book and the same characters that I wanted to feed to the zombies did end up redeeming themselves. I did end up liking the characters and wanted to see the whole group remain safe.

I thought that Julia Whelan did a great job with this story. She handled a large number of character voices very well. She put a lot of emotion into the reading of the story and made some of the scenes fell even more intense. She had a very pleasant reading voice and I look forward to listening to more of her work soon.

I would recommend this book to others. This may not have been the most original story but it was a lot of fun. I can't wait to see what is in story for Cassie and her friends in the next installment.

Initial Thoughts
I liked this one. At the beginning, I did have a few moments that I wanted more zombies and less drama but as things progressed that changed. I was very invested in the safety of these characters and wanted to see things work out. The narration in the audiobook was very well done and I am looking forward to listening to more of the series very soon.

Book source: Audible purchase

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