Archive Monthly Archives: June 2014

Book Review: After Life Lessons

After Life LessonsAfter Life Lessons

Laila Blake & L.C. Spoering

Published April 2014 by Lilt Literary

Book source: Received for free through The Masquerade Crew in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: Three Stars



After Life Lessons is an interesting, dysfunctional kind of love story, and with zombies to boot. Sort of. Despite the zombie-apocalypse setting, the zombies themselves don’t play a particularly large roll. So if you’re looking for a book with a lot of zombie action, then this isn’t the book for you.


What I enjoyed most in this book was the beginning, when Emily was so broken and detached from the world. I should have liked her journey into finding love again, but that part for me just wasn’t as compelling. I think my biggest problem with this book is I’ve had a difficult time separating myself from what it could have been. “No creature is more dangerous than hope,” is what it says on the cover. For me, that brought up images of a character afraid to trust, afraid to feel hope for fear of losing it again. It makes it sound like hope is the true nemesis, rather than the zombies. And so, when Emily began regaining her trust and her hope in life, I kept expecting something to happen that would take that from her. I wanted that to happen, because I wanted to see how she would cope. But it never did, not in any meaningful way.


What this book focuses the most on is the relationship between the two main characters, Emily and Aaron. While the interaction between them was interesting for the most part, the whole thing just felt kind of shallow. I mean, it’s essentially the end of the world. Neither Emily nor Aaron has had much human contact since everything went down. It seems kind of inevitable that they would develop strong feelings for one another. So when they did, it didn’t really feel significant or important. Maybe I’m just not convinced that the characters really did love one another, and instead mistook their own need for each other to survive as love. And that’s OK, really. Honestly, in that situation, I don’t think anyone would be able to tell the difference.


Despite the book being not quite what I expected, and despite some awkward narrative moments (“sorry” was spoken so much that it lost all meaning by the end) it was still an interesting book and fairly easy to read. And even though I kept rooting for someone to die, I still cared about the characters for the most part. They are flawed and sometimes annoying, but that is what makes them real. That, I think, is where the real strength in this book lies.

The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award seems to be a blogging phenomenon that’s been going around since 2010. The “rules” attached to accepting the award seem to have changed over time, as has the picture. But one thing that’s stayed the same is the spirit of appreciating our fellow bloggers, especially the smaller ones, who need all the more love.


So, color me touched and amazed when I received not one, but two nominations. The first was from Michelle Stanely, the second from Lori L. MacLaughlin. I met both of these ladies during the A to Z challenge–Michelle with her wonderfully whimsical fairytale stories, and Lori with her fun, retro fictional favorites posts. Thanks for the love, gals!


So. Liebster Award.



Accepting the Liebster Award comes with a number of guidelines:

1: List 11 random facts about myself.
2: Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me.
3: Nominate 5 – 10 more blogs who have less than 300 followers and let them know they’ve been nominated.
4: Post 11 new questions for those bloggers to answer (if they wish to accept the award — it’s completely optional).


The rules between the two people who nominated me actually varied somewhat, which is why I call them guidelines. So I went with the ones I felt more comfortable with. Anyway, on with the show!


Random Elevensies

  1. I was born in the year of the dragon, which I’m highly pleased about.
  2. I was afraid of dolls as a kid.
  3. In the same vein, I was a tomboy and never wore dresses or skirts between the ages of 5 and 17.
  4. I still don’t wear make-up.
  5. I come from a big family and have 7 siblings and countless cousins.
  6. I drink tea and never coffee. (Jasmine green tea is my favorite.)
  7. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 17 years, though I have recently started eating fish from time to time.
  8. I have a collection of orchids that seem, for some reason, to do well in my care.
  9. I’m getting the hang of baking 100% whole wheat bread.
  10. I love it when it rains. Thunder makes it even better.
  11. My favorite places on earth include forests (redwoods especially), the ocean, and home.


Eleven questions asked of me

1: What is the best place you’ve visited?

Probably Paris so far. Notre Dame was gorgeous, with amazing stained glass windows that I’ll remember forever. And I loved visiting the Louvre and seeing so many paintings and sculptures that I’ve read about.


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2: What’s the most unusual thing you’ve done?

I’d say picking up and moving to Sweden when I was 25. Had never been here before and didn’t know the language (though just about everyone speaks English). Was scary for me, but I did it anyway.


3: What’s your favorite movie?

Right now, Cloud Atlas (I still need to read the book.)


4: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Djurgårds Glace’s mint chocolate.


5: What fictional character do you like best?

Gosh, this is a hard one. Can I say Hobbits? Like, all of them? For a single character though, I’ll say Alfred from the Death Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.


6: What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I was going to say Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and Bloom by Martin Kee, but then I realized I read those last year. So for this year, that would have to be The Towers by Jordan Jeffers.


7: Why should people read and follow your blog?

Because they love me and think I’m awesome. OK, seriously though. To be honest, I’m still kind of finding my feet in the blogging world and so my content can kind of be random. I think it would appeal mostly to other people like me–newbie authors who are still trying to get the hang of everything.


8: Morning person or night owl?

Neither, really. More of a late morning/early afternoon kind of person.


9: What’s at the top of your bucket list?

Visiting the Sistine Chapel.


10: What do you consider your most important personality trait?

I like to think I’m open-minded.


11: Have you ever performed or been the recipient of a random act of kindness and what was it?

This is something I don’t do enough, but I once donated a futon to a family whose house had burned down.


My nominees

Atherton’s Magic Vapour

Jasmine Angell’s Blog

Madness of a Modern Writer

Djinnia and the English Language

Elizabeth Darkley

Leanne Ross Read Faced


Eleven new questions:

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  2. What was your first job?
  3. What’s at the top of your bucket list?
  4. What is one of your favorite memories?
  5. What made you start blogging?
  6. Who is your favorite fictional character?
  7. Any phobias or things you find irrationally creepy?
  8. Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?
  9. What song(s) would you like to have on the soundtrack of your life?
  10. What is the best place you’ve visited?
  11. Lastly, pie or cake?