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review 2020-06-27 15:30
This World We Live In (Last Survivors #3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer
This World We Live In (Last Survivors, #3) - Susan Beth Pfeffer

Title: This World We Live In

Series: Last Survivors #3

Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer

Published Date: April 1, 2010

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Format: Kindle

Page Count: 261 pages

Source: Library via OverDrive

Date Read: May 29-30, 2020




Meh; it wasn't too bad and it was a quick read, but it didn't grab me the way the first two did. So we get a look at how the two families (or what remains of them) from the previous books come together a year after THE EVENT. The story tied up loose ends and gave us a couple of mini-disasters, but it didn't move the story forward. It felt like reading more of a novella with an extended epilogue. I did read the excerpt from the fourth and final book and it left me feeling like I am good ending the series here. The excerpt did answer my questions about how the camps work and that is enough for me. 


As for the romances, I didn't buy one of them. Miranda and Alex seemed to come out of nowhere- I flipped back to the last chapter and re-read the paragraphs trying to find where the spark was that started these two together. Nada. As for Miranda's older brother and his wife - yeah, the less said the better. Honestly, I was hoping the tornado would have taken care of those two. Then there is Carlos, who did nothing for the storyline and died in a fat-shaming way, so again the less said the better.

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text 2020-06-15 21:01
Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival - Anderson Cooper

This book is what got me I retested one news writing. Whenever anyone mentions to me that they would like to write news, I tell them to read this book. It gave me a whole new respect for Cooper and his journey to where he is now. 

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review 2020-04-07 05:40
Review: The Deep by Alma Katsu
The Deep - Alma Katsu

 ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons!***


I loved this book. I really, really loved this book. Anyone can tell you that I am a sucker for a story about the Titanic. I am one of those people that went and saw the movie fifteen times and cried just as much the last time as the first time, who still cries at the thought of the movie. And I have read pretty much every book written on the topic and watched every documentary I can get my hands on. Titanic holds a very dear place to my heart. That is what drew me to this book in the first place and I was not disappointed.


Annie was a very good character. She was charming, humble, smart, if a bit naive. I felt like I was seeing the Titanic from a fresh view, one that hasn’t been explored often. Her character also did a lot of changing and growing over the course of the book. She went from being a naive girl running away from home to a woman set on discovering the truth of her past trauma and confronting it without blinking. That was a wonderful transformation.


The story is told from Annie’s viewpoint in both 1912 and 1916, from both the Titanic and Britannic, in alternating chapters. The two storylines were seamless next to one another. You covered the journey of the two ships almost simultaneously. Annie boards Titanic in one chapter, Britannic in the next. Disaster strikes in one chapter and then again in the next. I liked that method of telling the story. For someone like me who already knows the fate of both ships intimately it left me on the edge of my seat. I knew what was coming, but I also knew the story would be different since we were adding the paranormal aspect.


The horror part of this book was creepy without being too scary. It didn’t really have any traditional jump scares. It was much more psychological. Your brain starts putting the pieces together and you delve deeper into horror and dread. And I loved speculating on what was going on. Was it something in the sea, like mermaids or sirens? Was it a ghost? Was it someone on the ship who was possessed? I enjoyed watching the pieces fall into place with ever greater dread as we went deeper into the mystery.


I am trying really hard to avoid spoilers, so I should probably leave it at this before I sink into a spoiler-laden fangirling over this book. Read it. It’s fabulous!

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review 2019-02-05 03:20
Some Fun YA Popcorn SF
The Disasters - M. K. England

We sit in silence while al-Rihla, the jewel of the colonies, gradually takes over more and more of the viewport. It looks exactly like it did on the pages of my textbooks, only so much more. I let my eyes linger for a moment, taking in green continents outlined in rich red sand and huge, intensely blue oceans that glitter below. I know we’re in a life-or-death situation, but it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the view. I can see why all the antiexploration crap went away once a few humans actually got out here. Who could look at all this and not want it? It’s bizarre--I’ve only seen Earth from space once, and I was busy trying not to die at the time. Now I’m looking down on a completely different planet, in person, in space, while flying a ship I stole.


I'm actually here. This is all I've ever wanted, though I didn't get it in the way I wanted.


And in a few painfully long minutes, I'll find out whether I get to live to see the other seven colony worlds one day, or if I get to die in a dramatic crash and kill all my new friends instead.



Nax Hall is a would-be pilot, would-be space colonizer, and would-be anything but a failure in the eyes of his family. Sadly, after a day at the Ellis Station Academy (the only way to achieve two of those goals, and his best shot at the third), he's been cut from the program. He's not the only one -- three others have been, too. As they wait for the shuttle to take them back to Earth, a terrorist group of some kind attacks the Academy. With a little luck, the expelled students escape in the shuttle that was destined to take them to Earth.


But they quickly realize that space fighters won't allow the ship to land on Earth where they can alert the authorities about what happened at the Academy -- so they have to hyperjump (or whatever it's called in this world -- I already took the book back to the library and can't check) to colonial space. They quickly learn that the terrorists have used their escape as a means to frame them for the atrocities committed at the Academy and they now are on the run from the same authorities they were hoping to help them.


Thankfully, between the four of them, they have an almost perfect crew -- a pilot, a diplomat, a medic and a technician/copilot. They soon find themselves aligned with a computer expert with ties to black-market entities that can help them spread the word about what happened at the Academy and what it might mean for the future of Earth's space colonies. These five plucky teens are all that stands between humanity and widespread destruction.


England has a gift for action scenes -- they were energetic, dynamic and enough to sink your teeth into. Nax's flying, in general or in combat, was the highlight of the book for me. I could've used a little more of it, even though that would have been gratuitous. I'm not above gratuity in the right place. There's a strong sense of fun in the narrative -- despite being up against impossible odds, these kids are living their dream (just not in the way they wanted, as Nax put it in the quotation above). There's a good deal of bonhomie between the makeshift crew, which builds gradually over the book to the point where they're a tight bunch of friends at the end. This sense of fun is grounded by the dangers they face and the costs they're paying, just enough to keep this from being a romp.


The characters aren't that complex, although England makes a couple of attempts at it. Their backstories are interesting, to the degree that she explores them (which isn't much). We get enough of Nax's crewmates' backstories to explain their presence on the ship, but not much more. We get plenty about Nax in bits and pieces -- which is good enough, he's the star of the show (and should be). The bad guys aren't much more than stock villains, mostly a faceless group or two conspiring to do evil things. That's fine with me, this isn't the kind of book that promises complex opponents with compelling reasons for their activities, mustache-twirlers with lots of henchmen are good enough.


Here's my major complaint with the book -- the politics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that politics shouldn't enter into fiction. Particularly Science Fiction. I'd prefer to see more of it -- at least more diversity in political views, too much of the politics in SF is so culturally homogeneous one could easily believe no other opinions existed. But before I get gong on that line, let me get back to The Disasters. The politics and societal struggles of the late 22nd Century are apparently identical to those of 2018. Now, I'm not suggesting that Earth's culture should have worked everything out and the struggles of today will be a distant memory -- but they should've changed somewhat. The way these problems are seen, expressed and argued about should be different. England just comes across lazy in her approach to these ideas. It'd be like someone writing about Irish cops in 2019 Boston the same way people wrote about them in 1850.


Thankfully, while it flavors much of the book, the characters don't spend that much time actively discussing it, so it's easy to forget about. What you're left with is popcorn fun. A bunch of underdog kids, rejects from society (while really being exceptional), find themselves in a place to save the world (more than 8 of them, technically). There's some good action -- again, the flight scenes are great -- a couple of chuckles, and a solid ending. It's a couple of hours of escapist entertainment when it's at its best (which is pretty often).

2019 Library Love Challenge

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review 2019-01-25 00:58
The Disasters by M.K. England
The Disasters - M. K. England

Well now, this was a surprisingly fun ride! It shouldn't surprise me that a book with teenage flight school rejects, put into an impossible situation, was a breezy read. It's pretty hard not to get caught up in their emotional roller coaster as the world that they thought they really knew falls out from under them, and it's straight to flight or fight mode. Or, in this case, I guess it would be fight and flight mode? No spoilers, but yeah. That's pretty accurate.

Kudos where kudos are due, M.K. England did a stellar job of getting these characters to go from complete strangers to a ragtag little band of heroes, in no time flat. Nax and his motley crew probably wouldn't have been all that chummy in other circumstances but, as catastrophic events tend to do, the sheer amount of craziness they go through quickly and believably pushes them into a mini family. I loved watching as they learned to navigate the quirks of one another. I can't count the number of times that I smiled as England gave a nod to anxiety, or a hug to a transgender character, and then carried on as normal because the whole point was that this was a part of them, but not who they were. These character worm their way into your heart really quickly, I'll tell you that. You've been warned.

Plot wise, I thought the book started out fantastically. Although the action definitely gets started early on, and doesn't let up for a minute, there was plenty of time in the first few chapters to really get to settled in to the colonies, and up to speed on the way that life in Nax's time worked. I loved the diversity in the cities, and I can't deny that the attention to detail whenever explanations of new planets were being given made my heart happy. I felt like I was there right along with them. My only complaint in this department was that at about the halfway mark the book takes off at breakneck speed. It felt like the latter half of this book was so quick moving, and so rushed, that it almost completely changed the way that it was written. I'm all for space battles, and watching people work together, but I think some of the interactions that I had loved during the first part really suffered.

What settled this book down to three stars was really that last fact. By the time I reached the last few chapters of the book, the amount of battles and skirmishes had reached a point where there wasn't much else happening. I can't explain too fully without spoiling anything, but suffice it to say that there were some relationships that I so wanted to see more deeply explored that were left to the wayside while bullets were flying and ships were banking. Now, to be fair, this whole plot does center on a particular deadline. So I did understand that things needed to pick up speed. It's my own personal, character driven brain at work here. I can absolutely see how people will be in awe at the sheer amount of madness that poor Nax and his group have to go through before this book ends.

All this rambling is basically to say that I really enjoyed this book. Despite any qualms that I may have had, I think M.K. England did a great job of bringing diversity, humor, friendship, and space battles together into a book that is a lot of fun to read. If you're looking for a lightning fast read that is filled to the brim with characters who will make you smile, that's The Disasters.

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