Updates and Outlander!

My apologies for being so absent of late, but life is full of All The Things these days. The last month has been lots of travel, a birth, a wedding, and the start of a rigorous group weight loss program. All good things, but all things that have taken an enormous amount of time and energy. I hope to get back on a regular schedule, but things may be a bit spotty over the next few months as I try to focus as much as I can on dropping pounds and getting healthy. 

In the meantime, I’ve had the delightful experience of finishing two more YA series sequels (joining Pandemonium) that I actually preferred to their initial installments (Vanish and Wings of the Wicked), completing an impromptu long-distance group read of Divergent with my sister, and jumping back into the River of Time series by reading one novella and buying another (get Bourne and Tributary now!).

I’ll be sharing more on all of this soon, but for now, please consider joining the Outlander Read-along, which starts today! The first questions are live and you have all week to read 7 quick chapters. Join anytime!

The Outlander Read-a-long hosted by Into the Hall of Books, Gone with the Words, The Reading Housewives, Stalking the Bookshelves, Tangled Up in Blue, and yours truly is finally here and there is still time to join us! Starting today through July 23rd, we’ll be reading and discussing Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER. Each Monday during the read-along, we’re taking turns hosting a discussion of 7 chapters.  You’ll have a week to read the chapters and write up a response to the questions. 

Today Jess at Gone with the Words has released the first set of questions for chapters 1-7. So head over to check them out and crack open those books, or scurry off to buy a copy if you haven’t yet (slackers)!

The full schedule:

June 11th
Questions for chapters 1-7 announced at Gone with the Words

June 18th
Questions for chapters 1-7 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 8-14 at Stalking the Bookshelves

June 25th
Questions for chapters 8-14 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 15-21 on Tangled Up in Blue

July 2nd
Questions for chapters 15-21 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 22-28 on Into the Hall of Books

July 9th
Questions for chapters 22-28 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 29-35 on Logan E. Turner

July 16th
Questions for chapters 29-35 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 36-41 on The Reading Housewives

July 23rd
Questions for chapters 36-41 answered on Gone with the Words. 

To join us:

Please create a post announcing the event to help us spread the word, and then link up that post in the linky tool below! It’s that easy! The linky is the same at each host’s announcement post, so you only need to sign up once. And don’t forget to grab a button!

 

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Logan E. Turner

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Announcing the Outlander Read-A-Long!

I’m so very excited to announce that Into the Hall of Books, Gone with the Words, The Reading Housewives, Stalking the Bookshelves, Tangled Up in Blue, and yours truly are hosting an Outlander read-a-long! From June 11th through July 23rd, we’ll be reading and discussing one of the most beloved historical romance novels of all time (and one of my personal favorite books of all time) – Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER!

The details:

It’s simple, really. The six of us love Outlander, and we want you to love it, too. If you know me at all, you know it holds a special place in my heart. We know you’ve been meaning to read it, but it’s looong. As looong as your TBR list. And you only have so many hours in a day. You’ve got a schedule to keep, what with your stacks of review copies and trips to the library. Who can blame you?

But the six of us love Outlander. Did we mention that? And we think you will, too. So we’re going to help you out. We’re going to walk you through it. We’re going to break it down into manageable chunks. We’re going to ask you questions and get you talking about it. We’re going to invite you into the community of readers who just can’t stop talking about Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall.

Each Monday during the read-a-long, we’re taking turns hosting a discussion of 7 chapters of the book.  You’ll have a week to read the chapters and write up a response to the questions. Then we’ll post a linky on that week’s host blog for participants to link-up their discussion questions so everyone can hop from blog to blog and see other readerâ??s thoughts. We’ll also post the next week’s questions so you can get prepared for the following week. 

The schedule:

June 11th
Questions for chapters 1-7 announced at Gone with the Words

June 18th
Questions for chapters 1-7 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 8-14 at Stalking the Bookshelves

June 25th
Questions for chapters 8-14 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 15-21 on Tangled Up in Blue

July 2nd
Questions for chapters 15-21 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 22-28 on Into the Hall of Books

July 9th
Questions for chapters 22-28 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 29-35 on Logan E. Turner

July 16th
Questions for chapters 29-35 answered &
Questions announced for chapters 36-41 on The Reading Housewives

July 23rd
Questions for chapters 36-41 answered on Gone with the Words. 

The book:

Outlander is widely available, both in print and ebook. We wanted to give you as much advance notice as possible, so you can get it reserved at the library, order a copy from your favorite retailer, or pick it up in your local store. It’s available worldwide. Mass market copies and the ebook are available for $8.99. Or you can pick up the fancier 20th Anniversary Edition. Or even a signed copy from The Poisoned Pen. You can probably find a copy at a used bookstore, or spring for a used copy online. However you choose to read it, we want you to join us!

To join us:

Please create a post announcing the event to help us spread the word, and then link up that post in the linky tool below! It’s that easy! The linky is the same at each host’s announcement post, so you only need to sign up once. And don’t forget to grab a button!

 

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Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Book: Ashfall
Author: Mike Mullin
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Release date: October 11, 2011
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Series: Ashfall #1

Summary from Goodreads: Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

First impressions: With regard to how I came to read this book, the phrase “borrowed from a friend” is not entirely accurate. Let’s call a spade a spade – I was book bullied into reading this. One of my pals in our writing group went on and on about how scary and awesome it was, so she happily pushed it into my hands. I’m so glad she did!

Lasting impressions: This book could actually happen. Which is definitely equal parts scary and awesome (as a reading experience, not as life).

Conflicting impressions: Alex may have needed to know how to kill and skin animals. I didn’t. Too real for me.

Overall impressions: Have you heard of the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone? You haven’t? You should Google it. It’s terrifying. I first learned of it through another fiction writer, James Rollins, and it is not outside the realm of possibility that it could blow in my lifetime. That kind of real, impending natural disaster is ripe for the picking when it comes to good stories.

Mike Mullin does not disappoint. Our young protagonist, Alex, is home alone when the volcano erupts and his neighborhood is quickly decimated by falling ash. Determined to try and escape the deteriorating conditions, Alex heads east across Iowa trying to reach his family across the Mississippi in Illinois. He straps on a pair of cross country skis and heads out.

This version of post-disaster American life is dark, frightening, and full of danger. It quickly becomes dog-eat-dog, and Alex runs into his fair share of unsavory characters out only for themselves. He does all he can to survive, relying on his own skill, luck, and occasionally the kindness of strangers. Just when you think he’s found a bit of peace, something else goes wrong and he’s forced to move on. It’s gut-wrenching.

It would be unfair to give away too much. Will Alex find his family? Will he figure out how to survive in this new and dangerous landscape? What will happen to the U.S. in the aftermath of this horrific eruption? We get a great story full of action and terror, and the promise of more with the reveal at the end. I can’t wait for the next installation in this series!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system