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review 2016-08-21 21:25
Review: Hell on Earth: The Wildfire Pandemic by David L. Porter
Hell on Earth: The Wildfire Pandemic - Lee Reeder,David L. Porter

Bottom Line: Decent (if a bit shallow) look at wildfires, but left me feeling "meh" all the way through reading it. It has some very dry writing, very much like this was a book full of journal/newspaper articles that were written to read like creative non-fiction - and then missed the mark completely. The subject of climate change and its affect on wildfires was interesting the first few times it was mentioned, but by the end of the book it was just too repetitive. 2.5 stars.

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review 2014-04-17 18:19
Torn Away - Jennifer Brown

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

“But we’d never—not once—discussed what to do after.”

This book is one tough nut to review, mostly because after finishing it you will not feel like a tough nut, you’ll feel like someone has smashed your insides and you’ll have no idea what to do or read. Or at least that was the case for me.

I’ve had my eyes on Jennifer Brown’s works for some time now, but for some reason, I still hadn’t picked up any of her works. Then Torn Away came. This book changed my world and I am only sorry I didn’t read any of Brown’s works earlier.

Torn Away is a very heartfelt story. It tells a tale of loss and loneliness, but ultimately, this is not a tale of hopelessness. In fact, it deals with finally having faith in yourself and learning to heal.

I’ve always been morbidly fascinated with natural disasters. I have no idea why; perhaps because I’ve never really been in one. I’ve never had to experience that pain, fear, and loss. Through the eyes of our main character though, I got to share with her experience. I was terrified and scared and so, so, completely alone, and for the first time these natural disasters weren’t just something I hear about on the news - I experienced the aftermath of one and I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it was to read this book.

Jersey lost everything. Her house was torn away, her mother and younger sister died. Her world fell apart around her. She had no one left. Her step-father didn’t want her because of his own profound grief, her biological father didn’t give a rat’s ass about her, her ‘step-family’ wanted her gone, and her own paternal grandparents didn’t care. Her friends couldn’t help her and she was all alone in the world. Can you imagine what that must be like? I cannot. I couldn’t, and after reading this, I never want to have to live through that. Jersey doesn’t just magically start healing; it’s a long process. She’s been thrown around and no one wants her anymore. Her family is gone. She never got a chance to say goodbye or to tell them how much she loved them. She never got the chance to fully appreciate what she had until it was gone. How does one start healing from a loss so profound? There were times I had to get up and stop because I really couldn’t continue. I was so overwhelmed with emotions. My heart was breaking and I just wanted to hug Jersey so much. She remained so strong in spite of the situation. She may have thrown tantrums; she may have been overly emotional or just annoying with her need to be saved, but I was NEVER bothered by any of her actions. She held herself together in a situation where others might have had a complete breakdown. Hell, look at her step-father - he couldn’t keep it together long enough to help a young girl who needed him more than anything else.

Jennifer did an amazing job with Jersey’s character, but she also threw in a bunch of other wonderful secondary characters, my favorite being Kolby. I am not sure what it was about him that made me like him so much. Perhaps it was his normality and how for the moments he was present, he lent Jersey his support. He let her comfort herself with lies. He never encouraged them but he gave her that room to hope instead of crushing it.

Her maternal grandparents were such a sweet bunch. Especially compared to her paternal parents. It was touching to see how they tried, in their own way, to give her room, but at the same time they tried to help her heal.

Jennifer Brown is so clearly talented. The scenes she paints, the characters she creates - they are all so beautiful and scary at the same time.

I remember the scenes after the tornado. Everyone was trying to help one another, trying to find the injured people and their relatives, trying to stick together. There was all this confusion. In the end, it was all just truly heartbreaking.

I keep on using the term "heartbreaking" but there seems to be no other adjective that fits this book better. It truly tears out your heart and forces even the heartless (like me) to feel and even tear up a little.

I will definitely not hesitate to buy Jennifer Brown novels in the future because if Torn Away is any indication of what awaits me in her other works, then I definitely want more. I recommend this to EVERY PERSON who wants to take on a darker (in terms of emotions) contemporary novel.

Note that all quotes have been taken from an uncorrected proof and may be subject to change

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review 2014-03-19 12:01
Early Review: Sunrise by Mike Mullin
Sunrise - Mike Mullin

It’s been about 11 months since the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano. Entire swaths of the United States lie in ruin. The devastation is inconceivable. It’s cold outside; there’s very little sunshine. The US government seems to have collapsed. The Midwest is in complete chaos. The roads are impassible and towns wage war on each other for very limited resources.


I’d have to say that reading this book brought about a whole mess of emotions in me. This is such a depressing world – full of anarchy, guns, violence, crazy people with guns, and the like. It literally seems to be a hopeless world. Instead of working together, the majority choose to battle it out. The brutality is alarming. I really had trouble reading this aspect of this world and I did have a moment where I would have flung the physical book across the room had it not been my precious e-reader. You see, I hate gratuitous violence. I’m a pacifist at heart and I believe that I would probably not survive this post-apocalyptic world.


After a short break, I dove back into this book. After all, I had invested a lot of time reading this series and I absolutely HAD to know what would happen next. This series will make you think. It will make you think about your own disaster preparedness plans and what items would be must haves and what items you could do without. It will make you think about hope, cooperation, rebuilding a society, and leadership. Despite all of the darkness and gray surroundings, there was a glimmer of hope. That’s what I hung on to, and that’s what kept me reading.


This hope was to be found in the youth of this series. Young characters like Alex and Darla, who were barely grown up as the book began but were forced to grow up quickly and improvise. Alex and Darla took on leadership roles despite their youth. They saw the need to rebuild an entire society – and this is the theme that stuck with me: the rebuilding and rebirth. &nbsp I was a little surprised by Alex. At the beginning of Ashfall, he was just a petulant teenager. In this book, adults defer to him for leadership. Surprisingly enough, Alex rises to the task. The amount of responsibility placed on Alex is daunting. Again – why would the adults abdicate their responsibilities to a teenager barely old enough to drive a car? (not that there are any around, but you get the picture).


I think that what makes this society work is the incredible teamwork. Alex is surrounded by some very capable people, most of whom are barely older than he is. Ben, who is autistic, made an excellent military tactician which enabled the settlement to be placed in a highly defensible position. Darla, the MacGyver of all things mechanical was able to get some turbines going to power up the settlement. Now that was an amazing accomplishment. Another member of the team assigned work tasks to the newcomers, and so on. Such teamwork enabled this settlement to function very well. &nbsp Of course, this world is far from perfect and our main characters encounter many obstacles. Probably the most annoying was Alex’s mother and how she treated Darla. Outside the settlement, others conspire to steal food and the limited technology on hand.


Sunrise was a satisfying conclusion to the Ashfall series. Even though it wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I’d recommend the series to readers in middle school and up.


Thank you to NetGalley and Tanglewood Books for a review copy of this book. 


Review and blog tour giveaway posted on Badass Book Reviews. Check it out!

Source: badassbookreviews.com/blog-tour-giveaway-and-early-review-sunrise-by-mike-mullin
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review 2013-08-06 00:00
Natural Family Disasters
Natural Family Disasters - Jae I liked the shorts quite a bit. I'd read some of them previously and enjoyed them again. The ones that were new to me were a nice surprise. It's great to see a bit more of Griffin & Jorie. Jae gets captures some wonderful scenes for us - very cute and funny.
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review 2013-08-06 00:00
Natural Family Disasters
Natural Family Disasters - Jae I liked the shorts quite a bit. I'd read some of them previously and enjoyed them again. The ones that were new to me were a nice surprise. It's great to see a bit more of Griffin & Jorie. Jae gets captures some wonderful scenes for us - very cute and funny.
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