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review 2015-02-25 02:08
Calm? Who is calm? No one is!
Please Remain Calm - Courtney Summers

This may be a novella, but it carries the emotional punch of a full length story. And just like the first volume, this ends up being brutal.

Maybe I need to "gather my thoughts" a little longer, because despite having finishing it hours ago, I am still a emotional wreck...

...so well done !

And I have absolutely no idea what to say besides: "go read this..even though it is going to break your heart into tiny little pieces."

Here on author Courtney Summers' world, there's no lucky breaks, no second chances, and definitely no happy endings.

"Please Remain Calm" picks up immediately after "This is not a Test" and we follow Rhys and Sloane on the run for survival.
Isa has already mentioned it, Read her review Here! but while the first volume ends up being more of a psychological thriller, this is definitely a zombie book, so get ready for a lot of blood, nail biting suspense....and heartbreak.
There is a lot of heartbreak in this story..in fact, OMG!! -_-
I couldn't even believe it when that happened!
And then the story ended! o_O
And now I need more!:/

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review 2014-12-02 08:30
BOOKSHOTS: 'No Mercy' by Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff
No Mercy: True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality - Eleanor Learmonth,Jenny Tabakoff



No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality


Who wrote it?


Eleanor Learmonth, teacher and freelance journalist and Jenny Tabakoff, senior journalist and author. Both live in Sydney, Australia


Plot in a Box:


An analysis of how we react in survival situations, leading to some interesting conclusions about what to do if you end up stranded with a bunch of disparate and hungry folks.


Invent a new title for this book:


Eating People is Mostly Wrong


Read this if you liked:


Ripping true life yarns along the lines of Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, Touching the Void by Joe Simpson, or Endurance by Alfred Lansing


Meet the book’s lead(s):


Survivors — of shipwrecks mostly, but also of mining disasters, plane crashes and polar expeditions gone horribly wrong — who have found themselves trapped in hostile environments with scarce resources.


Said lead(s) would be portrayed in a movie by:


Tom Hanks reprising his role in Castaway.


Setting: would you want to live there?


Are you kidding me?


What was your favorite sentence?

For any group driven to abandon centuries of social conditioning, starvation can open up a path deep, deep into the woods.

The Verdict:

We all like to play armchair survivalist from time to time, and I’m no stranger to the game of sitting in my comfy house imagining how if I happened to end up in the jungle with nothing but six boiled sweets and a bent spoon in my pocket I’d make it out alive, no problem (and probably with a tame monkey on my shoulder and the map to a fabulous secret kingdom clutched in my hand). We all have a touching faith in our own abilities to react well under pressure, to make the right decisions in difficult situations and, in times of crisis, to provide the calm and effective leadership that will save the day.


And, of course, we all are deluding ourselves about that.


Taking Lord of the Flies as a starting point, backed up with a real life study of what small boys do to each other when adults aren’t around, No Mercy takes a long, cold, hard look at how people really react when the boat goes down and they find themselves on a small raft with the sharks’ fins circling. Do they behave like Leo in Titanic and sacrifice themselves so that Kate may live? There’s a short answer to that question and it begins with an ‘N’. Drawing evidence from many survival situations, ranging in dates from the Numantian siege in 134 BC to the San Jose mine collapse in 2010, No Mercy demonstrates pretty effectively that, when the chips are down, instead of squaring our jaws and Doing the Right Thing, your average human will either kill and eat the person next to them or run around in circles shouting for their mother.


This is riveting stuff and all the better because Learmonth and Tabakoff use the findings of various social science studies to cast a light on what went wrong and what went right. There are lessons to be learned here, and not just about the importance of not eating bear liver and making sure someone keeps the matches in a dry place. In more or less identical situations, some people make it and some people don’t, and the reasons have more to do with group dynamics and communication than strength and fitness. At the end, the authors provide a list of rules you should follow if you want to avoid living like the boys in The Lord of the Flies: painted blue and hunting each other with sharp sticks. Hopefully you will never find yourself in a situation where you need to use them. But if you do, they might just save your life

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review 2014-08-20 03:36
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magicians - Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman 
Published by Penguin on 2009-08-11 
Genres: FictionLiterary 
Pages: 416 

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians, the prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician's Land, is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

I did not read all of Harry Potter, although I know it is a wonderful series and loved by many. Why is that important during this review? I’m glad you asked.

The Magicians had a distinct feel of a crossbreed of Harry Potter and Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but was written with adult situations intermingled. If the book had perhaps stuck with the innocence of children just budding from childhood to adulthood without the added profanity and adult situations it may have been more enjoyable to me.

Unfortunately this read like a bad fan fiction. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with fan fiction, obscenities or adult situations. However, these things just didn’t seem to work in this “mash up.”

I have a dark sense of humor and laughed at all the wrong things in this book. So it was not completely a failed attempt at being entertaining. I think the author may have not been sure who he wanted to speak to with the book. It is for that reason that I would be hard pressed to tell others that they should read this book. If I can’t see that a story would fit in with what I’ve been told is interesting to them I can’t in good conscience recommend something that doesn’t fit.

I know this is a harsh review, and this is by far not the worst book I’ve read, but it’s up there. If I could reach out and speak to the author I would sit him down and say “who are you trying to relate to? If you figure that out and stay on course your end product will hit its mark much better.”

I want to be an author and my one hope in succeeding would be that people enjoy my writing and want to share it with others. A million one off buys of a product does generate money, but a million buys that recommend to 10 friends each to buy it too really makes solid financial sense.

Again this book was not a lost cause, but it’s not easily recommended as mainstream material….



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review 2014-08-04 03:07
The Murder Complex - Lindsay Cummings
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings 
Published by HarperCollins on June 10th 2014 
Genres: Action & Adventure,AdolescenceAlternative Family,FamilySocial IssuesSurvival Stories,Young Adult 
Pages: 400 
Format: Paperback 
The Murder Complex is an action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate.Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn't know it—one of the MC's programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or is it part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family? This is a dark and compelling debut novel that will appeal to fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

YA dystopia!


You know why I picked up this book don’t you? I mean just look at that cover! That TITLE! I was so ready for this book. I didn’t read any reviews because I didn’t want any spoilers. However, I feel cheated…I’m so mad at myself for wasting money on a PAPERBACK copy of this when I already have NINE versions of this no my book shelf already.

You’ve heard of The Bermuda Triangle right? Well I’ve come to the conclusion that there is sort of the same going on in dystopian novels.



I get that a “A dystopia is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening.” But the problem is that it’s all been done before!

Any author that tries to jump into this ring either makes their book just like everything else OR it makes no bloody sense AT ALL.  The Murder Complex (such a cool name by the way) was just a mash up of every other dystopian novel I’ve already ready.

The government is corrupt.

The heroine is strong but still just a hurt puppy looking for love in an unjust world.

The Hero has issues with his status in this world but WAIT there is a twist he actually dreams of our leading lady BEFORE he met her.

Blah Blah blah Killing.

Blah Blah blah Running way.

Blah Blah blah we aren’t going to make it everything is against us.

Blah Blah blah were in love.

Blah blah blah oh we made but just my the skin of our teeth! What happens next? Find out in book 2.

The End.



I think it’s time we walk away from this genre for now. Honestly I think we’ve sucked out as much as we possibly can for now. There was nothing worth noting or point out in this book.

The reason why I’m giving it two stars is because one 1. The writing wasn’t bad and two because I don’t think it’s bad enough for one star. The fault of this book is that it’s noting special. Maybe if you’ve NEVER read anything in this genre then this will be an amazing read for you. But if you have skip it there is nothing to see here folks.

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review 2014-04-20 14:11
Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy, #1) - Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse has some great things going for it.  I loved the political plots, the sometimes infuriating slow-burn romance, and the fact that all of the characters are layered and complex.  I am also thankful that the author could have steered the story in the direction of a convoluted love-triangle and chose not to go there (at least not yet).


While I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who loves a solid, well-written fantasy it is not without flaws.  The most ridiculous aspect of the story is that Valorian women have two choices when they come of age: join the military and dedicate their lives to the service of the empire (the implication being a female soldier can never marry and will remain chaste for the rest of her life) or get married.  Of course, male soldiers are held to a different standard and can choose a single life or marriage.  However, someone needs to explain to me how it is socially acceptable for Kestrel to challenge a man who is not her equal in physical strength to engage in a dual that's essentially a fight to the death, yet she cannot walk in the marketplace without an escort because she is a woman?


The gender roles in this world do not make one iota of sense but I still enjoyed the story because it explores complex issues that don't have easy answers.  What do you do when you have to choose between loyalty to your country and father and the life of a friend?  What if you fall in love with someone whose motives completely differ from your own - do you change your plan and try to find common ground?  How should one's oppressor's be treated when a shift in power occurs?  Is the cost of war worth freedom and what are the consequences of survival? 


I have a weakness for morality tales and The Winner's Curse excels in fleshing out these themes and making you fall in love with characters while also being repulsed by their values and decisions at the same time.  This is especially true of Kestrel.  There were moments aplenty in which I wanted to slap some sense into this girl.  Kestrel is not an easy character to like and I certainly don't consider her a heroine.  She is the General's daughter and even after learning about Arin and his history as a slave, she still staunchly defends the empire and makes some unfathomable decisions.  Why?  Because she is Valorian and must side with her people.  It's hard to feel sympathy for a character who sees Arin and Enai as exceptions and aligns herself with a culture that enslaves an entire country and committed mass murder to achieve this purpose.  Kestrel manages to position herself as some sort of victim in the events that unfold and while there might be some truth to this, her perspective remains unsettling and unless something drastically changes I am rooting for her to fail.



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