The second book in this series picks up two months after the ending of the first book. Whereas the first book was told entirely from Kelsey’s POV, thiThe second book in this series picks up two months after the ending of the first book. Whereas the first book was told entirely from Kelsey’s POV, this one alternates between Kelsey and her best friend Susan (who played a very solid supporting role in the first book), with the focus more on Susan and the consequences she has to face as a result of her decision to help Kelsey flee the FoSS. So as not to spoil the book for those who haven’t yet read the first one (go read it!), I’m going to be purposefully scarce on the plot details.
While the first book was more plot-driven and had a lot of action, this book seems more character-driven. The action is slower paced (although it does pick up by the end), but in return you get to know Susan much more in-depth than in the first book. Several new characters are also introduced, including a mom you’ll love to hate. More details are exposed about the corruption of the FoSS, and some characters from the first book are revealed to be something other than what they seemed to be. By the time you’re halfway through the book, you don’t know who’s trustworthy and who’s not (although all is revealed by the end).
I highly recommend reading the first book before diving into this one, as I feel like you’ll get much more out of “Second Life” by reading “Life First” beforehand. The author does do a good job of providing the necessary back story so you theoretically *could* read this one without having read the first, but I enjoyed “Life First” so much that I have to mention it again here. And there’s quite a bit of information in the first book that isn’t covered in this one (necessarily, otherwise it would get pretty redundant for those who read the series in order), so “Second Life” will be much more enjoyable when read after “Life First.”
“Second Life” was, like “Life First,” a very fast paced read and well worth picking up. I’m very much looking forward to the third book in this trilogy, as the author RJ Crayton has done an excellent job of making me care about her characters and curious to know what happens to them next.
**I received a complimentary copy of this ebook; however, all opinions expressed are completely my own.** ...more
I’m a mom of four (including an infant, an 8 year old with autism, and two teenagers), so my reading time isThis book cost me an entire night’s sleep!
I’m a mom of four (including an infant, an 8 year old with autism, and two teenagers), so my reading time is both limited and precious. So is my sleeping time. And this book cost me several hour’s worth of sleep, because I just couldn’t stop reading. I literally stayed up all night to finish reading it. That’s pretty much the highest recommendation I can give a book. I adore dystopian literature, both YA and adult – some of my favorite books include Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” and George Orwell’s “1984”. I believe that fans of these books (or more recently, The Hunger Games) would greatly enjoy this book.
Life First is set in the future in the former United States of America. The exact year isn’t specified, but we learn that 80% of the population was wiped out in a pandemic 100 years or so ago. The Federation of Surviving States (FoSS) has a government and laws that are loosely based on those of the US, but with changes that were made due to the drastically reduced population. One of the laws is that every healthy person must be registered in a database; if someone needs something you can provide in order to survive – like your blood, your bone marrow, or one of your kidneys, for example – then you are legally obligated to provide the necessary organ(s) and/or tissues (so long as you have an 80% or greater chance of living through the surgery). This is what the national slogan of “Life First” means.
Kelsey is a woman in her early 20s who has been “marked” to donate one of her kidneys to a stranger who needs one. Given certain experiences in her life, she is not a supporter of the Life First mandate, and makes plans to escape having to make the “donation.” But in the FoSS, there are heavy consequences for fleeing a donation, and if she’s caught she will be punished severely. On the negative side (and I’m grasping here), there are some plot issues that might require a little suspension of disbelief. I can’t go into details on those issues without giving away spoilers, but I will say that those issues are very minor, and well worth suspending disbelief for. There are also a couple of small editing errors (typos/spelling – things like using “it’s” instead of “its” or “gate” instead of “gait”).
This is a very fast-paced, quick read, yet some of the ethical questions it raises about pro-life versus pro-choice and to what lengths society should go to preserve life could be discussed long after the book is finished. I really enjoyed this book, and finished it in one sitting (or as close to “one sitting” as a mom is allowed to have); highly recommended!
**I received a complimentary copy of this ebook; however, all opinions expressed are completely my own.**...more
This isn't the first book I've read by Michael Phillip Cash, but it's the first book he published – and after reading it, I can see why it won so manyThis isn't the first book I've read by Michael Phillip Cash, but it's the first book he published – and after reading it, I can see why it won so many awards! I enjoy apocalyptic fiction, but this book puts a new spin on the genre – it's like a found footage film set to paper, so you get the atmosphere without the nausea-inducing shaky camerawork! I thought that was a pretty clever idea for a book, and a concept I've not run across before.
The story starts at the end, with an EMT who's found a digital camcorder and sits down to watch it with two hospital security guards. The home movie they're watching features a young married couple, Seth and Lara, and starts off with Lara announcing that she's pregnant with their first child. Seth is a happy-go-lucky sort of guy (which is a kind way of saying immature), and is taking neither his currently unemployed status nor the reports of an upcoming cicada invasion seriously. He scoffs at the preppers who are convinced that Doomsday is at hand, and his few concessions to the upcoming event (like buying an extra freezer to store food) are made only to appease Lara.
But the invasion is real, and the news reports weren't overestimating the scope of the problem.
The Great Cicada Invasion begins, and it quickly becomes apparent that Seth and Lara (and their unexpected, unwanted houseguests) are in no way prepared for the scope of the assault. The camera continues to roll and document the events as they progress from bad to worse. You see, the cicadas don't just cause the power to go out and the water to dry up – these gigantic insects are large enough, and legion enough, to attack and kill any animal unfortunate to be caught outside unprotected. Including humans.
With no food, no water, knee-deep cicadas, and a baby on the way, the reader is left guessing as to how Lara and Seth – and their unborn child – will survive the invasion of Brood X. I found this book to be a fascinating read, fast-paced and suspenseful, with enough disgusting bugs for everyone. My only complaint is that I wish it had been longer – I would have loved a more in-depth look at how Seth and Lara (and everyone else) survived day-to-day during the invasion. If you enjoy found footage movies and horror novels, this is definitely the book for you!
I received a copy of this ebook in exchange for my honest review; all opinions are my own....more
You know how they tell you not to judge a book by its cover? Well, with “Humpfree the Humpless Camel,” ignore that advice. The cover, with its portrayYou know how they tell you not to judge a book by its cover? Well, with “Humpfree the Humpless Camel,” ignore that advice. The cover, with its portrayal of a startled-looking flat-backed camel floating over the desert with balloons tied around his midsection promises a humorous tale, and that promise is fully delivered.
Told in rhyme, the story centers around – you guessed it – a humpless camel named Humpfree (it did strike me that his parents weren’t very kind when picking his name – I mean, that’s kind of like naming your baby Bignose or Pigeontoes).
Humpfree is understandably upset that he’s not like the other camels, and spends most of the story trying to find replacement humps. From balloons to boulders, from feathers to sandbags, Humpfree tries out anything vaguely hump-shaped… but sadly, nothing works. Finally, despondent over his humpless state, Humpfree sinks into despair. But never fear – as it turns out, humpless camels are a valuable breed due to their scarcity, as Humpfree discovers. Learning that his unique flat back makes him special, Humpfree is able to embrace his differences and comes to realize that there’s nothing wrong with being different.
A cool feature of Julia’s books is that in addition to the author and illustrator biographies, there’s a section at the end titled “Mrs. Dweck’s Fun Facts” with some neat facts about camels.
My children and I greatly enjoyed this book – it’s amusing with an important lesson built in. Highly recommended!
* I was given a complimentary E-ARC of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.* ...more