Death in the Shadows

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by Rhiannon Frater
Kindle EditionRead March 21, 2014

Original Release Date: March 21, 2013

Length: 61 pages

Official Description: This is episode #2 of the In Darkness We Must Abide series

Episode 2

Death has claimed a Socoli, but the family curse will not allow him to stay dead. Vanora and Alisha must battle the creature that stole their brother’s life while fearing the possible resurrection of Roman. 

In Darkness We Must Abide is the epic saga of one young woman caught in the dangerous world of the creatures of the night.
Already living in the shadows due to her albinism, Vanora is just a little girl when her older brother inadvertently unleashes a terrible evil from the family crypt that changes their lives forever. 
As she grows up in a world where beautiful deadly beings hunt by night, one captures her eye and her heart. Yet, can she trust the mysterious Armando? For there is a powerful entity plotting to claim her when she reaches adulthood in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and her enemy has enveloped her in a web of deceit, casting doubt on all she believes to be true. Soon, she will have to fight not only to save those she loves, but also for her very soul.

My Take:

*Note: This is a serial series, which means that there are a bunch of short stories (referred above as episodes) released every few weeks as the book is being written. There is actually a compilation of the whole first season if you don’t want to buy every book in the series separately.

This is episode 2 in the Darkness Must Abide series which starts right after the first book. The book opens up with an older Vanora remembering her past, which is the majority of  the book. We see how Vanora and Alisha deal with the death of their brother and things just go crazy really quickly. Somethings feel a little bit silly, but with such short stories to tell a story everything kind of gets pushed along rather quickly. Things that would take chapters are done in paragraphs, so this whole series is an interesting concept. Also, again, it’s short so you can read it all rather quickly and move on to whatever else you may need to do. This is a great format for those with little time, who don’t like stopping midway through a book.

Overall, the story is alright so far, the characters don’t stick with me as much as a regular length novel, but I’m only on the second book in this serial, so we’ll see how things go.

Other Books By Rhiannon Frater:



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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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by Douglas Adams, Narrated by Martin Freeman

Audio EditionRead April 3, 2014

Original Release Date: January 1, 1980

Length: 204 pages

Official Description:

Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbability, and desperately in search of a place to eat.

Among Arthur’s motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who’s gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.

Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker’s Guide deleted the term “Future Perfect” from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!

My Take:

In this audio version of “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” we have gained a new narrator, where the previous book was narrated by Stephen Fry who did a fantastic job, this one is by Martin Freeman. I assume everyone knows who Freeman is by now, but if not some of his more recent jobs including playing Bilbo Baggins on the big screen version of the Hobbit series and John Watson of the BBC series Sherlock Holmes. Plus he played Arthur Dent in the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie. So, I was leery of the whole narrating change, mostly because the start of the story seemed kind of bland. The story telling felt a little…one dimensional, but then the characters came in and surprised me. Freeman did a fantastic job in bringing each character to life. Though I have to admit Fry did a better Marvin, it’s just hard to perfect that character.

I did enjoy this book, I preferred reading this one but my son always asked to “listen to the book” when he got in the car. Which is always fantastic to hear, instead of singing along to his favorite band he wanted to listen to this book and wanted to wait until the end of the chapter to get out of the car. Love it, child like wonder should speak for itself when it comes to books.

Quote:

“I am so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat in me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis.

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Lego Space: Building the Future

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by Peter Reid, Tim Goddard
Digital Edition – Read April 4, 2014

Original Release: October 22, 2013

Length: 216 pages

Official Description:

Come explore an incredible LEGO® universe in LEGO Space: Building the Future. Spaceships, orbital outposts, and new worlds come to life in this unique vision of the future, built completely from LEGO bricks.

A selection of 10 step-by-step building instructions will have you constructing your own cosmic creations to play with at home. Marvel at interstellar battlecruisers, space pirates, charming robots, and other stunning builds from an amazing future!

My Take:

I have a child that is in love with three things: 1) Lego’s 2) Space/Astronomy/Science 3) Video Games. This book has nothing to do with #3 in that list of loves but it has 2/3 of the things he is obsessed with. So of course I had to try this book out. The story starts out as real events, the whole Russian/US race for space, this involves Sputnik to Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. From there the story goes to an imagined future where we have entered space and have gone more than exploring, there are bases, etc. So we have a narrative story going on that reads like it’s spouting truth, it’s kind of boring sometimes, and some of the wording can be confusing to some children. My child gobbled it up like it was the best thing in the world. The second cool thing is all of the pictures, there are pictures for pretty much everything, we have whole scenes on Mars, ships, space stations, space worms, everything has a story. The reason that some of you may want this is for the models, and there aren’t many only 10 in the whole book, this has disappointed some folks who wanted this to be an entire book with building models, so just a warning this is a story with some models attached.

Overall I found the book to be quite good, especially if you’re an old Lego fan (they have some classic models in here) or a new Lego fan, this book has something for all you Lego folks.

*I did receive this book for free for an honest review.

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Insurgent

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by Veronica Roth Kindle Edition
Read April 3, 2014

Original Release Date: May 1, 2012

Length: 544 pages

Official Description: This is book #2 of the Divergent Trilogy

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Take:

I remember loving Divergent, but it has been a few months since I mildly obsessed over that book, but I finally got to this book, the second it this trilogy. It took me a few chapters to get back into the story, because it started right where it took off and it took me a minute to remember what was going on. So, I was thinking, “Who’s Tobias? Where’s Four….oh yeah!” So, the start of the story is pretty much the end of book 1, we have all of these folks on the run after stopping the whole mass murder by drones plot that the Erudite leader concocted. In this book we actually get a closer look at the other factions, Amity and Candor which show an interesting aspect of the whole dynamic of this civilization. We find out a lot in this book, a lot more about the Divergent, a lot more about the society as a whole and we get a glimpse of the factionless and their surprising leader. We also see a lot of politics, well, a lot more politics that are involved in trying to keep this society as a whole. Oh my goodness, that ending, that twist just gets you, there are tiny, baby hints scattered throughout the story, but man it feels like a gut punch, in a good way of course. This book was pretty fun, it is very different in tone than Divergent, it’s darker, it’s got a lot of trust vs mistrust going on, a lot of duplicity and it’s just so very exciting once we get going. I love Tris, I love that she is a free thinking young lady who goes with her instincts even if it will lose her everything that she loves, just because she feels like it’s the right thing to do. Anyway, if you loved Divergent, of course you’ll love this book, it’s a great addition to the story, and it went in different places than I thought it would. We have a larger view of the whole and I am planning on adding the next book to my reading lineup.

Quote:

“Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind.”

Other Books by Veronica Roth:

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World War Z

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by Max Brooks
Kindle Edition/Audio Edition - Read March 20, 2014

Original Release Date: September 12, 2006

Length: 352 pages

Official Description:

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. “World War Z” is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.
Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”
Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission. Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war
“I found ‘Patient Zero’ behind the locked door of an abandoned apartment across town. . . . His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. Although he’d rubbed off the skin around his bonds, there was no blood. There was also no blood on his other wounds. . . . He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls. At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was ‘cursed.’ I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy’s skin was . . . cold and gray . . . I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse.” –Dr. Kwang Jingshu, Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China

“‘Shock and Awe’? Perfect name. . . . But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!” –Todd Wainio, former U.S. Army infantryman and veteran of the Battle of Yonkers

“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” –General Travis D’Ambrosia, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe

My Take:

I love zombies, LOVE THEM! I love zombie video games, zombie movies and tv shows, Hello “Walking Dead” obsession. So this book has been on my list FOREVER! Ok since it came out back in 2006. I just never got around to it. So lo and behold I start commuting and looking for audio books, I get tired of those same 5 songs on the radio all day. I came across this one, and YES, SCORE! I was thrilled. Until I realized the book was abridged, so I also got the kindle version that way I could read the passages that were left out. Frankly I didn’t re-read the stories that were on the recording because I didn’t want to, but there were several stories that got the cut. So, what I liked about the audio version is that Max  Brooks, the author, is the narrator of the ‘story’ and each character telling their account has a different reader, we have voices such as Simon Pegg, Bruce Boxleitner, Common, Kal Penn, Alfred Molina, Nathan Fillion, Martin Scorsese, Rene Aberjonois, and many more, and it’s fantastic to have a different voice to different stories.

So, what you may expect if you were a straggler like me and came into the book after the movie, is a story, but it’s not. This is not a story with a plot or characters to attach yourself to. This is a fictional account of the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Each character tells their story and what they went through. It’s boring for some, I’m not going to lie, there were stories that weren’t as awesome as others, then we get to the unknowing cannibalism that children went through to survive. This is a mini documentary that feels like it could be real. We have patient zero, stories from all over the world and how different governments reacted to this crisis. It is so incredibly crazy how concise this story appears to be. So just don’t go into the book expecting the Brad Pitt movie version of this book, this is what it is. Enjoy the accounting of human reactions of this ‘zombie apocalypse’.

 

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