Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Publisher: Tanglewood Press (September 27, 2011)
Kindle:  345 pages / 476 KB
Source: Netgalley
Rating: of 5 stars

Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the Earth forever.

Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when the supervolcano erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.

Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait–to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.


Ashfall was a good, engrossing read. It worked well to evoke emotional responses from the reader. Mullin provided a raw view of humanity in a post-apocalyptic world caused by natural disaster, i.e. the volcanic eruption. There was many moments that left me feeling disappointed with the state of the world. Looting, pillage, rape and other undoubtably violent acts were shown to the readers. They were things you expect from the middle ages, not the modern time that Mullin set the book. But he packaged it in a way that worked to show, just because times are different doesn’t mean people are.

Occasionally though there are moments of kindness that help to counterbalance the ugly and evil that is shown. Darla and her mother are just one example of that. Though usually small acts of kindness, they are things that stay with the reader and Alex as they travel on.

The relationship between Alex and Darla is just one way that helps to show, even during this disaster and time there is a chance for something beautiful to happen. Their relationship, however, is not a focus. By keeping it a secondary plot device, it gives their relationship a solid, understated quality that makes it that much easier to appreciate.

Mullin takes the ugly of humanity and exposes it to the reader. By clearly showing how much bad there could be, Mullin gives hope even when there doesn’t seem to be any. Things weren’t all fixed for the characters but there’s that hope gives way to this feeling that things would one day be alright. It’s just the first book, and I think it works well to hook the reader and get them anticipating the next one.


Find Mike Mullin:

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“Waiting” on Wednesday: Dark Eden

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

Paperback: 336 pages
Publication date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Add on: Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Will Besting is sent by his doctor to Fort Eden, an institution meant to help patients suffering from crippling phobias. Once there, Will and six other teenagers take turns in mysterious fear chambers and confront their worst nightmares—with the help of the group facilitator, Rainsford, an enigmatic guide. When the patients emerge from the chamber, they feel emboldened by the previous night’s experiences. But each person soon discovers strange, unexplained aches and pains. . . . What is really happening to the seven teens trapped in this dark Eden?

Patrick Carman’s Dark Eden is a provocative exploration of fear, betrayal, memory, and— ultimately—immortality.

Ok, creepy and mysterious much? I think this will be a pretty thrilling read, and can’t for it to come out.


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Everything You Need to Suvive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

Publisher: Simon Pulse (January 3, 2012)
Kindle:  416 pages / 5 KB
Source: Galley Grab
Rating: 3 of 5 stars

 A male perspective on sorting love from loss, faith from fear—brimming with humor and romance.Phillip’s sophomore year is off to a rough start. One of his best friends ditches him. His track coach singles him out for personalized, torturous training sessions. And his dad decides to clean out all of the emergency supplies from the basement, even though the world could end in disaster at any moment…and even though those supplies are all Phillip has left of his dead mom. Not that he wants to talk about that.

But then Phillip meets Rebekah. Not only is she unconventionally hot and smart, but she might like him back. As Phillip gets closer to Rebekah, he tries harder and harder to turn himself into the kind of person he thinks she wants him to be. But the question is, can he become that person? And does he really want to?


Phillip is a strange kid. Or a very normal one. Starting with his meeting Rebekah, Phillip is soon besieged with the drama of life. There’s some fighting with friends, making up, and all this while trying to get Rebekah to like him back.

“Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse” is a slice-of-life told from Phillip’s POV. A flawed character, we get to follow him around as he makes mistakes and, hopefully, learn from a couple of them.

At first just wanting to see Rebekah, Phillip attends Church. However as the book goes on, Phillip’s reasoning transforms with/through faith. Phillip is trying to get a better understanding of the world and his beliefs. His struggles and convictions are spot on. As I was reading, Klauss was able to draw me in and make me feel the confusion. It forced me to struggle alongside Phillip.

The narrative is interspersed with flashbacks. It’s part of Phillip trying to find himself and deal with his mother’s death. It wasn’t recent, but with the flashbacks, it was clear that his mother’s life leading up to her death had an intangible impact on his life.

While this wasn’t my type of book, I can’t deny Klauss did an excellent job when writing this. The voice fit, and the narrative never faltered or dragged. Definitely a good read for anyone in the mood for a slice-of-life involving teenage friendship, romance and struggles with religion.


Find Lucas Klauss:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase the book:

Amazon | Barnes & NobleThe Book Depository 


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Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Publisher: Hyperion (October 4, 2011)
Hardcover:  576 pages
Rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the first pages of this standalone sequel to The Lost Hero, Percy Jackson remembers only his name and the name of Annabeth, a mysterious woman he associates somehow with the city of San Francisco. From those sparse clues, he must somehow complete a mission for the leader of the Roman camp even as he is being pursued by the two sisters of Medusa, who possess an apparently unquenchable thirst for vengeance: Even when killed, they spring back to life. Rick Riordan’s second Heroes of Olympus promises even more excitement than the first.


The long wait is over. Son of Neptune is out and available to any fans of the Percy Jackson/ Heroes of Olympus books.

This time we get to see Percy Jackson in this disoriented, amnesiac state. Due to Juno’s (Hera for those more accustomed to the gods’ Greek counterparts) meddling, Percy has been left without memories and placed in the hands of a “rival” camp, Camp Jupiter. The Roman version of Camp Half-Blood is much more regimented and ordered than Camp Half-Blood. The differences were interesting to read. More intriguing, though, was Percy’s reactions to the differences, especially when he’d been unsure as to the reason behind his discomfort/ niggling sense of displacement when among the Roman demi-gods.

Like how Jason got Leo and Piper to aid him, Percy’s friends in Camp Jupiter are Hazel and Frank. Hazel is a bit of a mystery at first. Sister to Nico di Angelo, Hazel’s abilities were kept quiet in the beginning, only alluding to the fact that her power was dangerous. Then with her blackouts, the reader finds out little-by-little more about her. Though potentially dangerous, Hazel comes across as a rather soft-spoken follower. But as the book goes on, the reader gets to see her pull her weight and tackle her “fate” head-on.

Frank is the one who changed the most throughout the course of the book. When we first met him, he came off as ditzy. He was sweet, clearly enamored with Hazel, but not as cool as Percy. However as the story progressed, it was becoming clearer that while Frank suffered from low self-esteem in his abilities, he was far from just uselessly tagging along with Hazel and Percy. Frank plays his part, and doesn’t let the reader down.

There’s just so much I want to talk about, but can’t for fear of spoilers. Instead, I’ll just say that this is most definitely a recommended read. If you like the Percy Jacson/ Heroes of Olympus series, this book is one you wouldn’t want to miss. If you haven’t read any of Rick Riordan’s books, then go start with “The Lightning Thief”. You won’t be disappointed.


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“Waiting” on Wednesday: The Next Always

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

Paperback: 352 pages
Publication date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Trade

The historic hotel in BoonsBoro, Maryland, has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect of the family, Beckett’s social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen…

The newest of Nora Roberts trilogies comes out in November! I read them, because I always read her romance. They’re usually a nice break from all the angst, heartbreak and drama that I keep coming across in YA books. I’m not too interested in this one, but I will undoubtably read it anyway.


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The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

Publisher: Harlequin Teen (September 27, 2011)
Kindle:  272 pages / 396  KB
Source: Netgalley
Rating: of 5 stars

I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn’t get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren’t any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I’d cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William’s younger brother.

Good thing he’s sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play…and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he’s from the past. Waypast. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there’s something about him that’s making my eyes go star-crossed….


Truthfully, I was on the fence on whether or not I’d like this book. Of all the things to wish for, Miranda wants to be Juliet. But as I read on and her reasoning behind the wish was explained, I warmed up to the story and started to root for her.

The entrance of Edmund was hilarious and his reactions were believable. A lot of modern ideas and terminology was thrown at him, but he adapts well at a surprisingly quick pace.

Miranda’s mother is also another surprise.Despite the overall unbelievability of the situation, she just accepts Edmund’s appearance in their life and home. Same with Drew. Intuitive and kind, Drew was a character I liked having around.

The writing is easy to read, while the story moves at a quick pace. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen Rees throws a curveball. A fun read for any YA romance fan.


Find Douglas Rees:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble The Book Depository 


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We’re Moving!

Thanks to the awesome, but few people who follow this blog. Ali and I have made an executive decision to switch over to our own domain. We’ve now relocated at the new and improved Book Munchies home. We hope that you’ll all join us over there, and continue to enjoy our reviews and excitement over the wonderful world of books.

Feature & Follow Friday

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read and allows book bloggers to connect.

Q. What book that hasn’t been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?

This is a tough question. Mostly because I really, really don’t like books turned movie. I suppose if I had to pick one, I’d like to see James Rollins’  Sigma Force books turned into movies. When I was first recommended these books, I was told they’re kind of like Indiana Jones in book format. And that’s true. We follow this secret government group, Sigma force, as they “investigate and secure sensitive information that could be a threat to the United States”. However, it isn’t just straight forward espionage and all that. There’s also this element of mysticism. Sometimes things happen that they try to explain via science but really can’t. It’s that element that turns it into something Indiana Jones-esque. You have a fun adventure and a bit of the unexplainable. I think that these books would be great for a nice action, adventure movie.

As for cast … I don’t have a preference really. Just make sure that whoever’s playing Painter is a really cool, hot guy. Since I started off with “Sandstorm” and Painter as my main protagonist, I’ve always had a huge soft spot for him even when he became a secondary character in the later novels.

“Waiting” on Wednesday: How to Save a Life

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are excited for.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publication date: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she’s been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends–everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she’s somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it’s like to grow up unwanted–to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she’s sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It’s harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy–or as difficult–as it seems.

I feel like every WoW pick I have is always something I’d never pick up normally when just perusing the book story. I think these are always the books I’d love to read if I had time.

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Misty and the Single Dad by Marion Lennox

Publisher: Harlequin (June 7, 2011)
Kindle:  192 pages / 347  KB
Rating: of 5 stars

Teacher Misty Lawrence has lived her whole life in Banksia Bay, cherishing a secret list of faraway dreams. Just as she’s finally about to take flight, Nicholas Holt—tall, dark and deliciously bronzed—turns up in her classroom with his little son Bailey and an injured stray spaniel in tow.

We start off with the elementary school teacher, Misty Lawrence, who has a list of dreams she plans on going through once her responsibilities in Banksia Bay ends. However, Misty can’t help but be a good, dependable person despite her wishes to get away and live life.

Enter Nicholas Holt. He moved to Banksia Bay with his son, Bailey, to get away from excessive excitement, adventures and dangers. He wants to put down roots and make a safe haven for Bailey. Maggie is attracted to Nicholas and it seems inevitable they end up in a relationship, especially with the not-so-subtle meddling of the town veterinarian.

For a short Harlequin novel, Lennox certainly delivers. Misty is captured perfectly. While characterized as a dependable person, Lennox is able to accurately convey Misty’s feelings of unease and dissatisfaction. She grapples with trying to settle with her life without leaving any regrets of forgoing her dreams to pursue a happy relationship with Nicholas.

Nicholas likes Misty. But in his zealous efforts to secure a safe home for Bailey, he misses Misty’s unease in her attempts to stifle her dreams. The way Lennox plays out their relationship is fast paced but not overwhelmingly so. It is easy to follow. This is a good read for anyone looking for a short, sweet romance.