Monday, March 9, 2015

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Title/Author: Life as we Knew It (Last Survivors #1) by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Genre: Post Apocalyptic, YA.

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers. 

Source: Purchased.

Synopsis: Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when a meteor knocks the moon closer to the earth.  How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun?  As summer turns to Arctic winter, Mirander, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood burning stove.

Told in journal entries, this is the heart pounding story of Miranda's struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all -- hope -- in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world.

Midnyte Musings:  I have to admit a guilty pleasure of mine is "disaster porn."  All those bad movies with tidal waves and asteroids and polar ice caps melting...there is something very appealing about them to me.  I guess I like seeing how people people behave and how they survive, not to mention all the geological changes that happen. 

In Life as We Knew It, the disaster is when an asteroid crashes into the moon and moves it much closer to earth.  Eeek!  Told by teenager Miranda in a series of journal entries, we learn how the world changes and how she and her family cope. 

I don't know if you'd call it overly exciting, but I found it very interesting and compelling.  Even when they are simply trying to figure out how to do laundry I found it interesting. 

I liked Miranda, but wasn't totally drawn to her.  However, I did enjoy how she wasn't a Mary Sue.  She is, at times, selfish, sullen and jealous - which is in keeping with a teenage girl, but she matures and grows throughout the book.  A lot of the writing seems to be the same, repetitive thoughts, which I guess is what a teenage girl has as well, but this didn't deter from my enjoyment of the story and what she was going through.  What I did admire was her attitude.  She knew there was a good chance she might die and if it were me, I would be freaking out.  Miranda, did sometimes get morose, but she had a good attitude.  She basically just wanted to live as long as she could and that's what she strove for; not only for herself but for her family as well.  The other revolving characters added to the story as well, her mother and her two brothers.  She talks about her relationship with each of them and how they change throughout the book and become stronger. 

Some parts of the book were tragic and heartbreaking and I don't know much about science to understand if everything that could happen, would happen, but this was an easy to read book.  I already looked up the sequels and will be reading them as well. 

An interesting look at the survival of one girl and how she and her family cope with a post-apocalyptic setting that is suddenly thrust upon them. 

Other Editions:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Brood by Chase Novack.

Title/Author: Brood by Chase Novack.

Genre: Horror, Dark Fiction. 

Publisher: Mulholland Books.

Source: Library.

Adam and Alice are reaching the age when some of the children created by the fertility treatment that spawned them begin to turn feral. Will they succomb to the same physiological horror that destroyed their parents? Every change brings on terror--the voice cracking as it changes, the swelling of the breasts, the coarsening of down into actual hair. Their aunt, Cynthia, oversees renovations to the Twisden family's Manhattan residence--torn apart by the children's parents at their most savage--and struggles to give her niece and nephew the unconditional love they never had. Meanwhile, in the world outside, the forces of good and evil collide as a troop of feral offspring threatens to invade the refuge Cynthia is so determined to construct behind the Twisdens' walls.
Midnyte Musings: Brood, is just as strange and entertaining as it's predecessor, Breed.  The story follows Adam and Alice after they are adopted by their aunt Cynthia after the death of their parents.  They return to the home they grew up in, but adjusting to a "normal" life is very difficult.  Unfortunately, the twins are products of their parent's controversial fertility treatments for which they had to go out of the country to obtain.

In the first book we discover that there are hundreds if not thousands of children who are the product of these fertility treatments.  These offspring have also had effects of the treatment (some mild, some extreme) passed onto them.  They find solace by finding their own kind and living on the fringes of society.  I can't help but wonder what's out there, or who's out there in New York City's hidden spots and crevices.

I did appreciate the setting and could easily visualize the areas of Central Park, East Side neighborhoods and the sidewalks of Park Avenue as the characters occupied them. 

The story is told in several different points of view, the twins, Aunt Cynthia, and even some villains who are after these children for their own reasons.  I have to admit, I really only cared about Adam and Alice's and Cynthia's story for the most part.  Either the other characters appeared too briefly or I just didn't connect to them.  I would have liked to have seen more of the pyschology of the twins and what they were really going through and what they thought of what they were going through.  They just seemed to accept it.

Novack does a great job convincing me to believe the strange and sometimes fantastical turn of events in this story.  From runaways, to a mayor's son going missing to a hidden population and their darkest secrets. 

I don't think that a lot was resolved in this story, but I still feel it is an easy book to read and the pages flew by.  That being said, the style was simple and some may say a bit too simple, but it detract from my own enjoyment of the story.

Brood leans toward over the top but I found it imaginative and fun.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Feature & Follow - Save your books! (2/26/2015).

Feature and Follow is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  Click on the links to visit their blogs and find out more about this great meme.

This weeks Question:
Your house is burning down and you have time to select three books you own to take with you. What three books?
Oh sure! Only three?  I have several signed books by Robert McCammon so probably one of those, one of my signed Charles de Lint books and my signed book of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

What 3 books of yours would you save?

Infographic - How to Zombie Proof Your Apartment.

Zombie Proof Your Apartment
Zombie Proof Your Apartment Created by:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Guest Post by Spencer Blohm - More Books Make Their Way to the Silver Screen in 2015!

Book and movie enthusiasts rejoice! A number of tales, classic and recent, are being adapted for the big screen this year. Below are a handful that are must-see, listed in order of their release dates:

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, first written as a play in 1904 and released in novel form in 1911, is still going strong. Over a century after its creation, it’s inspiring yet another film version, this time directed by Joe Wright and due out July 24, 2015.

The original tells of the sprite Peter who whisks children Wendy, John and Michael to the island of Neverland, where they meet a gang of Lost Boys and fight the villainous pirate Captain Hook. Wright gives the story a unique twist, turning Hook into a hero and saving the villainy for Blackbeard, played by the incomparable Hugh Jackman.

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein tells a story of scientific power run amok. The brilliant scientist Victor Frankenstein discovers the key to animating life, only to find the man he has created is more monster than man.

20th Century Fox's horror film based on the classic arrives October 2, 2015. It stars James McAvoy as Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame, as deformed assistant Igor, and will be told from Igor’s point of view. Not part of Shelley's original vision, the hunchbacked character first shows up as Fritz in the iconic 1931 film, and later on was transformed into Ygor, played by the great Bela Lugosi.

Veteran director Ridley Scott helms a sci-fi adventure penned by debut novelist Andy Weir. The Martian, due to open in 3D on November 25, 2015, is based on Weir’s 2012 book. Matt Damon stars as astronaut Mark Watney. Stranded on Mars, he must use his ingenuity to survive and ultimately reconnect with a rescue attempt by fellow astronauts.

Weir’s self-published novel became a smash online before it was traditionally published. Fans of the novel should be glad to hear that Weir has acted as a technical advisor to screenwriter Drew Goddard and also considers the screenplay "amazing."

This Ron Howard directed adventure, set for release on December 11, 2015, is a thrilling tale of 19th century sailors shipwrecked by a sperm whale and fighting for their survival. It’s based on a true story that inspired Melville's classic Moby Dick.

Historian Nathaniel Philbrick recounted the events in his 2000 National Book Award winning book. Howard, known for attention to realistic details, reportedly has his actor/sailors eating light to better portray the starving men of the doomed whaleship Essex.

The Disney studio helms another version of the tale based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 story collection, which contained stories about a boy named Mowgli raised by wolves and befriended by a bear and a panther. This adaptation, directed by Jon Favreau, will combine live action and 3D CGI. It pays homage to its 1967 Disney predecessor (which is finally available on demand - check your local channels), including new songs by original songwriter Richard M. Sherman. Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray will star as Bagheera and Baloo respectively. Originally scheduled for a 2015 release, it’s now set to open in spring 2016.

Whether you love them or hate them, literary adaptations on screen provide opportunity to experience familiar stories in new forms. Readers who like to ponder that transformation have much to look forward to this year, from classic fantasy to sci-fi, horror and historic adventure.

Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.

Thursday, February 5, 2015


I've been very discombobulated lately.  With all the snow, you'd think I'd have more time read, but it just seems I'm shoveling and wiping the ice of my dog's paws.  So with that said, I'll be on vacation for about 2 weeks starting Friday, February 6th and won't be blogging during that time.  I had wanted to at least get another book reviewed before then, but the best laid plans of bloggers and men, yadda yadda yadda.

I had started reading Welcome to the Dark House by Lauire Faria Stolarz.  It had gotten a lot of great reviews, but wow, I couldn't get into it.  I just feel the camp is pushed way too high and there are too many characters to follow and I'm not connecting with any of those characters either.  I do plan to finish it though because I want to see what is going on and who dies (muahaha).

I got Brood by Chase Novak out of the library, which is a sequel to Breed, and I'm really going to try to finish that by the time I leave, but of course - no guarantees.  Especially since there is another storm coming our way and I have no idea if I'll have to switch my flight to try to leave earlier.  It's definitely a "First World Problem," and I'm trying to keep that in perspective, but I just want to be able to take my flight safely to my destination!

If you follow me on Twitter, I'll keep you posted of my shenanigans!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Guest Post by N.P. Grittiths - Editing: A Necessary Evil.

There are very few things guaranteed to darken a writer’s day more than the knowledge that they are about to start editing their work. It’s a necessary evil but one that can be made, if not painless, then certainly less migraine inducing.

Editing should be a law of diminishing returns (Stephen King says that the second draft should be the first draft less 10%) so don’t be surprised to find yourself putting a red line through whole sections of text. This is a good thing (although I can guarantee you it won’t feel that way) because it means that you’re developing a much tighter idea for the stories prose.

From the viewpoint of how long you should leave it between drafts, I always do three months. This allows me to get some distance and perspective on what I’ve written. A month would probably serve the same purpose but I certainly wouldn’t recommend anything less than that.

Once you feel happy with the manuscript, then pass it across to someone to read and critique. I would recommend getting someone professional to do this if you can afford it. Getting a friend to look at it will only end in tears. It’s tempting to want to do this but you need an unbiased opinion. Friends are not unbiased and they are far more likely to be nice than honest. Also, be prepared for the criticism that will come back with the response. Remember it’s not personal (but it’ll hurt nonetheless). Once you’ve read it, put it away, go scream in to a pillow (we’ve all been there), and then leave it for however long you give yourself between drafts. When you go back you’ll be grateful for the honesty, believe me.

After that, it’s all down to you. Is your pride and joy ready for the wide world? If the answer is yes, then you’re good to go. If it’s no then, not a problem, just repeat the process until you are happy.

Like I said, editing is a necessary evil but if you take your time and are willing to be brutally honest with yourself, it will transform your work from a rough draft into a finished article.

Isabella’s Heiress by N.P. Griffiths

Lost in the hollow shade of a phantom London, the reincarnation of an ancient hero fights for survival amidst warring factions of angels vying for dominion over the departed souls of all mankind.
She is here now. She has come. The prophesied one.
British attorney Emma Elliott has no recollection of how she came to be in a
silent, misty maze of cold pavements and towering buildings. More disturbingly, she doesnt know how she came to meet this strange man now leading her swiftly through these darkened streets on an urgent, yet eerily solemn quest for shelter. The truth is brutal: Emma comes to the shocking realization that she has been killed in a freak road traffic accident and is now in the afterlife. Roaming the twilight version of London, Emma discovers her new world is ruled over by two groups of angels, one of which, the Cado Angelus, are disturbed fallen creatures who believe they have a divine right to rule the world. Emma finds herself drawn into an ancient conflict, the outcome of which will determine the
future of every human soul.
Joining forces with Father Eamon, a priest and her guide in this strange new world, and Taryn, her childhood best friend with whom she has been reunited in death, Emma must realize her full potential as a powerful spirit and work on behalf of the benevolent angels who have long kept their dark and tyrannical counterparts at bay. If she can harness her own hidden strength and reach her father, who remains in the living world, for the answers she has been charged to find, Emma may also have a chance of figuring out who she is. Could Emma be the reincarnation of Isabella Calabria, the only person in history to have ever taken a human stand against the divine? Could Emma Elliott be Isabellas heiress?
In this unique and captivating supernatural thriller, N.P. Griffiths conjures a chilling image of London as an ageless purgatory home to the countless souls of mankinds fallen. Isabellas Heiress explores themes of redemption and forgiveness as one woman desperately tries to silence the demons of her past while wrestling with the present. A haunting and intricate tale for all reading ages with a strong and enchanting female protagonist, fans of George R.R. Martin, and Stephen King will lose themselves in N.P. Griffithssingular fusion of escapist fantasy and gritty European history.
About the author: N.P. Griffiths lives in Chafford Hundred, Essex, where he writes steadily and works for a large company specializing in information technology. He is currently writing the next book in the Isabellas Heiress series. Isabellas Heiress by N.P. Griffiths (published by Clink Street Publishing, RRP $14.99 paperback, RRP $6.99ebook) is available online at retailers including and can be ordered from all good bookstores.
For a review copy or interview request please contact:
Diana Rissetto, Marketing and Publicity Executive / 646-664-4272 / 

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