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review 2017-05-27 18:05
Five Days at Memorial, Sheri Fink
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital - Sheri Fink

It was hard to put down this impressive work of journalism that focuses on events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. As hurricane season approaches it begs the question: are we better prepared to deal with natural disasters in the U.S.? The epilogue to the book, written a few years ago, suggests in some ways we are, but in important ways we are not.

 

Hospitals were exempt from the evacuation order (belatedly) given by the mayor of New Orleans as Katrina approached. Many staff, patients, family members, and even pets sheltered at the hospitals (lesson the first: evacuate before the storm hits), including Memorial. As the title indicates, it would be five days before all were evacuated. After power loss, the generators eventually failed as they were in the basement, where the water levels rose once the levees broke. Though they had food and bottled water, the hospital went without running water, air conditioning, working plumbing, and the power needed to run vital medical equipment.

 

Evacuation aid via helicopters and boats was erratic or turned away by staff at points. Communication at all levels was unreliable; rumors swarmed, including that New Orleans was under martial law and looting and violence were everywhere. The staff went without much sleep as they continued to care for patients. The bad decision was made to leave the sickest patients, including those with DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders, last for evacuation, with the exception of neonates. Healthier patients (though some still critical) left first. Family members were encouraged and even pressured to leave their loved ones, assured the patients would be cared for.

 

Soon after the disaster, there was a reckoning. Or, I should say, an attempt at a reckoning. Troubled reports of irresponsible and ethically questionable decisions being made at hospitals and nursing homes arose, including euthanasia at Memorial. 40-some patients had died there, and about half were later found to have high levels of morphine as well as Versed, a sedative, in their systems. Were they euthanized, and by whom?

 

In addition to covering events at the hospital as reported by those who were there, Fink covers the development of the legal case against a particular doctor and two nurses accused of second degree homicide. Reading about what happened at the hospital, the good and, mostly, the bad, is heartrending and horrifying, impossible to look away from, like a car accident. Learning what does and does not happen afterwards infuriated me; my sympathies were with those who'd lost loved ones, who don't quite have closure. I sympathized also with nurses so traumatized by those five days that they could no longer practice.

 

Fink contextualizes Katrina as well as the ethics of decisions made. She profiles key players, letting their own words speak for them. I don't pretend to read much non-fiction, but it seems to me her work is exceptionally well researched, every effort made to fact-check and communicate with those involved. The book evolved from a piece she did for ProPublica and the New York Times, which won the Pulitzer. Regardless, I'm sure there's been a range of reactions. If you google the topic, you'll find a website by/for the doctor arrested who continues to deny wrongdoing, with a link to another site that proclaims "the truth" of what happened. I didn't bother clicking.

 

Mostly I think about the contrasting example of Charity Hospital, also in New Orleans, who lost fewer patients despite having more, with additional patients delivered to them. I think of proposed (and adopted) legislation or protocols that would shield physicians from legal ramifications of unethical decisions made during a disaster. I think of the following quote, with which I agree:

 

“Rather than thinking about exceptional moral rules for exceptional moral situations,” Harvard’s Dr. Lachlan Forrow, who is also a palliative care specialist, wrote, “we should almost always see exceptional moral situations as opportunities for us to show exceptionally deep commitment to our deepest moral values.”

 

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review 2017-05-27 09:14
Review of Illuminae
Illuminae - Jay Kristoff,Amie Kaufman

This was a really original book. The style and the way it was written was excellent and gave it so much suspense. My criticism, though, was actually the same as what made it great- the style and way it was written through so many different data sources and POvs. I found it lacked in emotional engagement. I really wanted to find out what happened but didn't quite feel it along with the characters. The big moments didn't quite pack the emotional punch as when you read from a close POV. Still, an awesome book and I enjoyed it. 

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url 2017-05-27 04:13
Airwoman
Airwoman: Book 1 - Zara Quentin

Jade Gariq is the daughter of a respected Taraqan leader, and the heiress to Gariq Industries—a large, cross-Portal trading company. Her future appears to be set.

Except for one thing: It’s a life that she doesn’t want.

Jade has always dreamed of joining the Traveller Force—the elite Taraqans who traverse the Betwixt, filled with terrifying beasts, and who protect and patrol the Dragonverse. Despite having been Travellers themselves once, Jade’s parents remain vehemently against risking their only daughter’s life. When Jade’s father dies suddenly, she inherits Gariq Industries, its assets, trade deals and social responsibilities.

 

It seems as though her fate has once again been decided.

 

Meanwhile, Axel—her close friend and secret crush—disappears without a trace. Then Jade discovers the circumstances surrounding her father's death are not what they seem— her uncle Zorman suspects foul play. To find the truth and avenge her father's death, Jade travels to an uncharted world, where she will learn more about her family, herself, loyalty, and betrayal than she ever imagined.

 

Reviews for Airwoman:

 

I absolutely loved Airwoman, it was unique and interesting and action packed. The book was fast paced and hard to put down, and the characters were all so different yet just as important as each other. I can’t wait for the release of the second book in this series.--Nicole

 

Zara Quentin’s writing style of Airwoman reminds me of books by Robert Jordan or Kristen Britain, the thought provoking character developments and plot developments kept you inquiring what was on the next and then the next pages. If I had a 9 to 5 job, I would be taking sick days to binge read Airwoman. Airwoman was a real treat to read, a great page turner and with that in mind I can’t wait until the sequel comes out. --Schuyler

 

If you’re looking for a story which hooks you from the start, sweeps you away to another world and temporarily gives you wings, this is the book you’ve been looking for! --Inky Wings

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review 2017-05-12 02:23
The Time Machine
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells

This was better than The War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells kept it short this time, so no overly long descriptions, though he's still allergic to giving his main characters names. The science is ridiculous, of course, but once you get past that this is a fun little story about the future of mankind, but there's not much else here than that. 

 

I did see the Guy Pearce movie (OMG has that been 15 years ago already?!) and yikes, I can see why people who read and loved this novella hated the movie. It's not really anything like the story at all. Let me just express my appreciation that H.G. Wells realized that the ability to time travel is motivation enough for an inventor to build a time machine - no fridging of a girlfriend necessary. Take note, Hollywood: STOP FRIDGING WOMEN!

 

I will leave you will this thought:

 

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review 2017-05-10 13:20
DOMINION BY: J. KOWALLIS
Dominion (The Enertia Trials Book 4) - J. Kowallis
"The future always changes. Like water ripples interrupted by a falling stick, the afterimage can be disrupted, and in the end, only the strongest claim dominion."
 
What just happened to me? I am convinced that Kowallis's goal was to have her readers feeling as completely ravaged as her characters felt. Well mam,
 
mission accomplished boom
 
You broke me.
 
ruined
 
Over and over again. You had me doubting EVERYTHING. I was stuck in this place of unyielding paranoia. I had to question pretty much everyone, even people I would have sworn were unwavering in their cause. Even my FAVORITE characters were not safe. Even if it was just for a brief moment, I doubted their intentions, I wondered if they could possibly be going darkside.
 
paranoid gif 2
 
And I can just picture you sitting there after finishing writing Dominion cackling with your evil author laugh like...
 
 
tears of my readersevil smirk
 
Dominion was an intense, high anxiety adrenaline rush that does not relent until the very end. And I would not give back a moment of it. Thankfully, Kowallis somehow manages to sneak in a few really sweet moments that end up feeling even more precious because they are happening amidst the sheer chaos going on around them. I also think this book especially highlights just how wonderfully complex the characters are in this series. Each one shows such a wide range in Dominion. No one is the same as they were when they started out in this journey, which is what you want to see by the last book. Even when you were seeing the worst of them they still had your heart, even if, as Roy so eloquently put it, they have that "damn stubbornness and piece-of-shit attitudes that make people want to hit you in the face with a hammer.". Just another reason I adore Roy. That man is a ROCK. I never ceased to be amazed by how stead-fast he was through everything, and he stayed true to that through all the insanity he had to endure in this one.
 
well done sir
 
It is really hard to fully gush about this book because there are just so many things that would spoil the full experience of it and I refuse to do that. If you've come this far with the series I promise that Dominion does not disappoint. You'll feel like a war torn mess after reading it, but you will also feel a sense of peace and hopefulness at the end. Which considering everything that went down in this series, is more than you can ask for.
 
do it again
 
Now, if you're one of the unfortunate souls that has not yet started this series...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
 
poor unfortunate souls
 
It is complete now, and if dystopian is something you like than this series is a DO NOT MISS! I truly can't recommend it enough.
 
I am sad to say goodbye to this series, but I am completely fulfilled and content with the way it ended. And I CAN'T WAIT to see what J. Kowallis comes up with next!
 
im ready gif
 
I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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