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review 2020-05-07 03:11
One of my perfect quarantine reads: Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky
Last Girls - Demetra Brodsky



I’ve done a few posts for LAST GIRLS already but it finally hit the shelves this week!

I’ve been looking forward to this release for a LONG time so I hope loads of readers add it to their libraries and TBR lists now that it’s out.


**It’s kind of rough for authors to be releasing books while bookstores are closed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Authors and local bookstores could really do with your support right now so show them your love of books by placing online orders of physical copies of books to be SHIPPED TO YOU!!* 


Demetra Brodsky's Last Girls is a twisting, suspenseful YA thriller about sisterhood, survival, and family secrets set in the world of doomsday prepping.

No one knows how the world will end.
On a secret compound in the Washington wilderness, Honey Juniper and her sisters are training to hunt, homestead, and protect their own.

Prepare for every situation.
But when danger strikes from within, putting her sisters at risk, training becomes real life, and only one thing is certain:

Nowhere is safe.




what makes this a great read…

Honey, Blue, and Birdie haven’t had a choice but to live in The Nest and although they feel like weirds among their peers at school, they are tightly bonded to each other. They have been brought up to follow strict rules and guidelines, to not trust Outsiders, and know how to survive in all kinds of situations (without the constant use of technology, and while also not knowing the full truth about their past).

They are strong despite the trauma they’ve been through. They are connected despite the distance they must maintain from others around them. They are smart beyond their years despite everything that is missing from their lives.

It’s a story that unfolds as thriller, a mystery about a prepper community that gradually appears to be a dangerous group with some dark plans, but this is decidedly a contemporary novel with superb character development. The entire story also wouldn’t be complete without a family secret and the ending encapsulates some of my most positive feelings about ‘Last Girls’; nothing cheesy, just full-on satisfied it ends that way.

Author Demetra really allows the reader to get to know her characters and writes her contemporary ‘worlds’ with the detail of a fantasy novel (I love the way she uses actual survivalist terminology for chapter names); these give the story so much more depth. Getting lost in the woods of the Pacific Northwest is one thing (I don’t think I’d advise it). But getting lost in this book for a weekend is immersive and wonderful.





*some thoughts about the state of the world around us in relation to LAST GIRLS*

Once the COVID-19 outbreak started affecting our communities jut a few short months ago, the concept of doomsday-prepping became something that seemed to be terrifyingly necessary because we suddenly went into ‘lockdown’ mode.

When our minds go into catastrophic thinking mode amid crisis (and the Coronavirus outbreak definitely can be described as a real one, not imagined), we turn to ways of coping that may be extreme, but not always rationally thought through.

Across the country and early on in the outbreak, many people started hoarding supplies such as toilet paper, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, and disposable face masks. They were panic-buying.

*Doomsday-preppers/preppers/survivalists don’t hoard per se; they spend months preparing and saving supplies, and plan to disperse these within their community if there is an emergency.


Because many people bought way more than personally needed or that they needed for their families, many people, including those with less resources and also essential personnel, could not get what they needed. This has been just one of the vey unfortunate issues of the pandemic, but thankfully many people have shown their compassion for others by sharing and caring for their neighbors and strangers in this time. Crisis has the potential to bring out the best in some people but not so much for others.



LAST GIRLS author Demetra Brodsky wrote her sophomore novel about a trio of sisters who live in a prepper community over a year ago, long before the current outbreak of COVID-19 that has swept the United States and much of the world.

I think there’s something quite wonderful about this having been written before the outbreak but most will read it afterwards. I read it during ‘quarantine’ and it colored the way I was feeling at that time; I was barely leaving my house! 

It seems crazy to have written about people preparing for TEOTWAWKI (and people prepare for ‘The End’ all the time) when it kind of felt like it for a while when so much was unknown.

I’m grateful to Demetra and all my books and for the privilege of reading so I can escape my own reality when things are hard. For real.






Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore will be hosting a Virtual Launch Event for LAST GIRLS on Saturday May 9th at 2pm, and you can check out the info at the FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE!

You can order signed copies of the book through Mysterious Galaxy, whether you tune in for the event or not.



HAPPY READING. Stay healthy, everyone :)



*A review copy was provided by the author Demetra Brodsky in exchange of an honest review. THANK YOU!*

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/44651716-last-girls
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review 2020-04-15 07:38
Last Girls - Demetra Brodsky


Hey all! I recently finished this amazing YA novel set here in Washington, a tale about family, survival, and doomsday prepping. The book releases in just 3 weeks on 5.5.20; lots of time to get in a preorder and then get your book for your (quarantine) reading! If you send in your receipt to Demetra, she’s got some great prizes and preorder gifts in store...


The Juniper sisters in LAST GIRLS don't go anywhere without a backpack (what they call an EDC: Every Day Carry) and they take great pride in their artwork. Honey paints, Birdie draws comics, and Blue uses embroidery to fancy up her clothes (when she's not spending time with her beloved falcon, Achilles).

To honor the sisters' talents, author Demetra Brodsky will be sending one lucky winner some artistic inspiration by offering up a fabulous pre-order Grand Prize. But don't worry, everyone who orders will receive a gift with purchase. And, as a bonus, she is including a 2nd prize that holds a special place in her author heart.


ALL PREORDERS WILL RECEIVE: Last Girls 5x7 Glossy Art Print & Signed Bookplate




GRAND PRIZE WINNER: (chosen at random on or before 5/19) will receive a BUILT NY grey & blue camouflage backpack with thermal lunch compartment. Inside you'll find a mini acrylic painting kit (From Honey), a sketchbook & pen (From Birdie), an adorable 10" peregrine falcon plushie and mini sewing kit (from Blue), a flashlight (with batteries), a rosy tinted lip balm, camouflage band-aids, a 3-pack of portable tissues printed with positive messages, and a dehydrated camping meal like the one the sisters eat in the book.

FIRST PRIZE: (chosen at random on or before 5/19) A signed hardcover copy of my debut novel, DIVE SMACK, to round out your collection (Surprise! There's a big Dive Smack Easter Egg hidden in the pages of Last Girls)



TO ENTER: email proof of purchase to demetrabrodskybooks@gmail.com before May 5th. You'll get one entry for each copy of the book you purchase.
Available wherever books are sold.

Whenever possible, please support Indie Bookstores by buying through www.bookshop.org

You can also preorder your copy through these links:



Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego will have signed copies (not bookplates) and offers Free shipping for media mail rate within the U.S. on orders over $35. https://www.mystgalaxy.com/book/9781250256522


VISIT: www.demetrabrodsky.com to learn more!
*Open to U.S.A. Residents Only
*Sweepstakes run and fulfilled by the author
*Share with your friends



Good luck, and get your order in now!




Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/52381097-last-girls?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=XSaJNMEVGq&rank=1
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review 2016-05-17 22:40
Farm Fresh by Posy Roberts
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts

So. This story made me very, VERY uncomfortable, but problably not for the reasons you think.


Let me point out at first that I was looking forward to this book very much. A farmer living in a commune and an environmental engineering student with some sexual hang-ups crushing on each other, finally taking a leap? Yes, please! I loved the unique premises of this story, I loved the beginning. Painfully shy Jude struggling with his past, his body, his sexuality and desires. I liked Hudson too, so protective of his commune, an organic farmer to boot, with a big heart and all his insecurities as results of past relationships. I also loved the idea of an LGBTQ commune where everyone lives and loves freely and openly. So I pretty much enjoyed the story until Jude took his first steps on commune ground. It was only then that I had issues, and I had a lot of them. I guess part of them were my own fault, because if I'd paid attention to the blurb, I might have caught on before getting in too deep.


Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions.


In hindsight, I already felt uncomfortable reading this part of the blurb, just chose to ignore it. Don't ask me why. As it stands, I'm not at all happy with the "uptight virgin" part, because it has a certain ring to it I don't much appreciate. It got worse when I actually learned what Jude's "loosening up" entailed.


Let me be clear: I am not opposed to polyamorous or open relationships. I had one, I enjoyed it, I was freaking happy, I would do it again with the right people at the right time. My first issue was that basically everyone living in an open/poly relationship in this commune had Problems with a capital P, mostly to do with trauma. Which was a little disappointing in the way that not everyone living in "alternative" realtionships does so because they can't have a "normal" (monogamous) relationship, or because they are dealing with (sexual or other) trauma and this is their way of coping. It felt a little too clichéd for my taste, and I'm concerned that parts of this book might manifest certain prejudices people have regarding open and poly relationships instead of resolving them. A lot of potential wasted, IMHO.


What really got me going though, were the rules the members of the commune had to follow.


If I wanted to get technical or really bitchy, I'd point out that asexual people are part of the 'queer' (the Q in LGBTQ, you know?) community, too. In this book however, there would not have been a place at the table for them. Not cool. Which brings me to the big fucking thing that made me uncomfortable and rage-y as hell. In order to be allowed to stay and live with the commune, Jude had to participate in a sexual act in front of the other members in some kind of ritual.


Pause to let that sink in.


I'm sure you can see and interpret that as a positive, life-infirming way of introducing Jude to the commune, and make him feel welcome.


I felt no such thing.


For me the statement "Fuck with us or you can't stay with us - no matter how much you help our farm or love some of our members." is NOT okay. In fact, I'd go as far as saying: This is COERCION, pure and simple. When you blackmail someone into "willingly" participating in a sexual group act? That's not including, welcoming or ROMANTIC. It is wrong. No matter the context or intention. So, so wrong. And if you want to intercept here to tell me that Jude really wanted it in the end, that it was liberating for him and helped him to grow? That he just needed a little push in the right direction, because he didn't know what he really needed? I'd say that maybe, just maybe, you think about the implications of these statements.

"He/She actually really wanted it, they just didn't know it."


"You didn't mean it when you said 'no'. Your eyes and body said 'yes'."


"I know you think you don't want to, I know you might not be ready, but if you don't do it now, you have to leave."


Still see no problem? Because holy crap, I do! I could list my issues alphabetically or according to time of occurence, there are so many of them! So, yeah. I hated that part of the book. I hated it with a vengeance. It made me spit fire and venom all over the place, because NOOOOOO. I do not have enough words to express how bad this was for me.


I did try to move on. Mostly because I liked Jude as a character and wanted to see where his story would go. Unfortunately, things didn't get better. After opening up - the marvellous justification for pushing him way beyond his limits - he would have need an even more nurturing, supportive environment, in addition to some very special attention and care from the one he started to fall for. What did he get instead? An abrasive dickhead of a self-centered jerk who treated him like shit. I know Hudson had his own issues. Some of his thoughts made sense to me, I'll give him that. I even understood parts of him, because I didn't hate him as much as I could have. But the things he did and said pissed me of. Some of them were just unforgiveable and I was pretty much done with him after that. I was also done with the book.


Even though I finished it, I didn't really care anymore. Things got ugly, things got tense, things got emotional, but I remained fairly entouched throughout it all. Maybe a blib here or there for Jude and his brother, nothing more though.

All in all, I was not happy with this book. I had high expectations and even bigger hopes for it, but I was bitterly doisappointed with the execution of the whole thing. The notion that coercion is romantic in any form or fashion will never fly with me, so these scenes combined with Hudson's appalling behaviour at times ruined the book for me. 2 stars, one of them is solely and exclusively for Jude, because I really liked him and felt for him as a character.

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review 2014-01-07 00:00
Commune Of Women
Commune Of Women - Suzan Still The author employed a rather odd method of telling her story. We had seven different women in the commune and we had to read their individual interpretations of the storyline. I found that tedious. Some of the chapters (which were each about a single woman) were so boring that I simply went on to the next "chapter". My personal opinion is that the author wanted to write about her personal analyses and observations of how people interact. Sorry but this was not for me.
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review 2013-10-11 14:10
Contact and Commune
Contact and Commune - L. Neil Smith As it happens, Contact and Commune is an apt title. The novel concerns first contact between humankind and a non-human technological society. And the commune? Well, the expedition is from the American Soviet Socialist Republic and the United World Soviet. A case of the universal lack of ability to foresee the demise of the system? Well, this was written before it disintegrated in 1991. The book was written in 1990--well after the writing had been broken off the Berlin Wall. The premise is that after economic crisis, the world turned back to old style Marxism. In some ways, Smith’ scenario of backsliding into socialism is more credible in the age of Occupy Wall Street than when the book was published. But for Smith there are statists and there are his sort of libertarians and nothing in between. That means he has some blind spots that make it impossible for him to credibly depict an American Marxism. The spacecraft, for instance, are named after Democratic politicians: the Daniel P. Moynihan, the Howard M. Metzenbaum and the James C. Wright. Smith can’t see the difference between middle of the road Democrats and Marxists. (Never mind that mid-21st century anyone would remember any of them, particularly the last two.) The “commune” side of this novel just isn’t credible to me in several respects. Never mind the level of political preachiness this book slides into, heavy handed even by the standard of Smith’s usual novels which I’ve often found overly polemical. (And believe it or not, I consider myself a libertarian, so if I find it annoying... ) And the “contact” side? Well, there are science fiction authors that simply rock at putting across credible aliens with truly different mindsets. Orson Scott Card’s “pequeninos” in Speaker for the Dead or the alien in Robert A. Heinlein’s The Star Beast or those in Ursula LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness come to mind. L. Neil Smith’s aliens feel like... well, how did he himself put it? Ah, yes, a “cross between a paleontology exhibit and a cartoon where the animals wear trousers.” They’re about as believable as Jabba the Hut or Jar Jar Binks. If you are interested in reading Smith's tale of Communist humans versus Anarcho-libertarian aliens, this book probably isn’t the way to do it anyway. Contact and Commune is the first part of two books; the third in the trilogy was never released separately. In 2000, Forge of the Elders was published, comprising the first two novels and the previously unpublished third work. So if you want to read this despite all I’ve said, order that book, not this one. Believe it or not, I have read and enjoyed books by Smith. I liked his Probability Broach. It’s libertarian science fiction too, and perhaps too much insider in-joke for non-libertarians, but it has imagination and a sense of humor. Both The Crystal Empire and Henry Martyn are good adventure stories and neither sport a heavy-handed libertarian message but are enjoyable by general readers. One is an alternate history involving a Sino-Aztec empire and the other is swashbuckling space opera. All three of those novels are something Contact and Commune is not: fun.
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