Book #1: 4 out of 5 stars
"The Hospital: The First Mountain Man Story" by Keith C. Blackmore
The book had a lot of foul language in it, but that was to be expected since this is a zombie story. Even as a Christian, I could see myself cursing like Gus when faced with the same circumstances in a post-apocalyptic world. Other than that, this book also contains pretty graphic violence. Blackmore is great with words and therefore able to paint some gruesome images in your head in this story that are not for the faint of heart.
"The Hospital" is the prequel to the Mountain Man series. As I mentioned, I'm not into zombie novels. But if this was a genre I enjoyed, I would absolutely read more of Blackmore's books.
In my Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019, this book fits the prompt "books that play in one day" since this prequel covers only a few hours of one day in Gus' life. This book also fits a prompt in the Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge: "A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror)." This one fits the horror genre.
First, I read the reviews and they were all over the place from basically calling her a white middle-class privileged girl with First World problems to downright genius. I almost agreed with the negative reviews after reading the first few pages. She did indeed sound like a privileged girl who didn't know what REAL problems are. However, a few more chapters into the book, I realized what she had done...she simply used stories from her own past to explain the concepts she was describing. I have to say that this is what helped me a lot because she uses some 'heavy' words and expressions that made me scratch my head, but the stories gave me this 'Aaaah Moment.'
This is one of the paragraphs that really spoke to me: “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness both in being a part of something and in standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”
Good book to add to a personal development book list! I highlighted a lot of paragraphs in my Kindle edition, for example a quote by Joseph Campbell: "If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path." Honestly, I didn't quote grasp the significance of this statement until recently after 'breaking some spiritual chains' in a "Freedom" class and the "Freedom" conference at my church. This quote sums Christianity up for me as a new Christian...God knows my path. I don't have to see every step of it, I don't even have to understand it, but what I need to do is step out of my comfort zone, 'brave the wilderness' and trust that God has my back.
This book also fits a prompt in my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019: A book by an author whose first and last name start with the same letter.
Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a road of yellow brick—but even that's crumbling.
What happened? Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.
My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight. And I have a mission: Remove the Tin Woodman's heart. Steal the Scarecrow's brain. Take the Lion's courage. And—Dorothy must die.
(description from Amazon.com)
Amy is a loner, nerd, and considered as weird by many of her peers. She struggles with bullying and belonging. Just as in the classic "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," she is taken to Oz by a tornado, but this Oz is not at all like the Oz we know from the Judy Garland movie or the classic children's book. This Oz has lost or is losing its magic. Amy doesn't know who to trust because none of the characters she knows from the book are what they are like in the book: Glinda and Dorothy are like an evil version of the Kardashians, the Lion seems to feed off the fear of his victims, the Scarecrow, oh my, the Scarecrow acts like a mad scientist, and the Tin Woodman, he has a heart but it is only full of love for Dorothy and otherwise stone cold. It felt like an upside-down world to me. In the midst of all this, Amy falls in love, but will he love her back? This book is definitely what Stephen King would call 'unputdownable.'
While this book is classified as a YA book, I believe that adults will enjoy this book/series just as much!
In the Popsugar Reading Challenge, this book fits the prompt "Retelling of a classic." In the Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge, I used the prompt "Two books related to the same topic, genre, or theme" prompt (with this one being book 1 and "The Wicked Will Rise" being book 2).
The storyline is easy to follow and the writing is easy to understand for kids as young as middle school students. While this book is short and sweet, it might take the reader a little longer to read if said reader loves puzzles. Letting the reader solve the puzzles the characters have to solve in the story first before revealing the answer the Winston and his friends came up with is ingenious. The puzzles include number, word, and scavenger hunt-type puzzles. Very interesting take on a book. The puzzles don't interrupt the flow of the book in any way. The reader can jump right back into the story.
This book fits the Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt "A book revolving around a puzzle or a game."