Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review of ASHFALL

I know, I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever do anything besides reviews and giveaways, too. Not that it's bad, yeah? But thou shalt not be a one trick pony...eventually. Truth is, I'm barely even managing reviews at the moment. My family and all their needs are a full time job. Like for real. But in addition to that and to some volunteer obligations, I'm also working on preparation for a medical mission trip I'm taking to Haiti in January, organizing paperwork and meetings and emails and the like, but also starting up a fundraising campaign as well as trying to convince people to donate medication to take with me. It's all good work, worth every minute, but it saps me of energy and my time. What little I've got left I've had to devote to my writing. Or mindless television. Eh, you know how it is. (Remind me to write that post on Terra Nova. Seriously. Gawd.)

So, I'm glad to see you stop by when you do. I've got several non-review blog posts written (in my head). I'll try to get them posted soon. I promise I'll make them as controversial as possible. Or maybe just add naked people. Or something.

Be sure to check out the giveaway below the review and the other Bookanista reviews.

P.S. As always, thank you.

ASHFALL by Mike Mullin
Summary: 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.

I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic-y stories lately, so I went into ASHFALL wondering how it might be different from all the rest. And here's what I concluded: Holy crap. ASHFALL is somehow one part terrifying and one part hope. And really, it's that hope that sets it apart. For starters.

Okay, so for the terrifying--as far as world-altering catastrophes go, this story is totally possible. We're not talking an outbreak of a disease that will eventually run its course after killing off a large sector of the population (or a disease that turns people in crazed, cannibalistic zombies), or cyborgs that take over the world, or some mind-altering drug that heightens the intelligence of apes and turns them against humans. While all these make for super cool stories, there's always the knowledge that these scenarios aren't that possible (or if they are, they're likely not permanent). But a supervolcano eruption? In our lifetime? Totally feasible and totally world changing. It's this knowledge that underscores every page.

There's also the genuine way in which the story is told. Thought it's not present in an in-your-face sort of way, I can imagine serious research went into the writing of ASHFALL. Science and psychology play a large role, from the way in which the eruption affects the landscape to the ingenious McGyver-y methods employed by characters for overcoming hurdles, as well as the human reactions to catastrophe. Alex, the mc, faces some really dark times in this, as you might imagine when food and supplies are scarce. This story is a fresh, realistic depiction of what happens when governments collapse and survival is threatened. Alex faces danger far beyond starvation, and is forced to mature very quickly.

But there's hope, too, and this is what I found particularly refreshing about this story. While some truly horrendous things do happen, we also see some of the best sides of human nature. See, catastrophe doesn't bring out ONLY the worst in people. I'm so happy to see a book illustrate how amazing humans can be in the face of tragedy and despair. And in the midst of it all, there's love, too. A bit of romance, but from a male POV, which is awesome. And he's not some hunky stud of a male either, but a geeky 15-16 year old in the height of adolescent splendor (*cough*). This too is treated genuinely, so, yah, there's some awkwardness and blushing. Great fun, I tell you. ASHFALL is at times quite grim, packed with heart pounding action, but there's humor too and moments of respite. It's a book you won't be able to put down.

Up for grabs today (click on book covers for summary in a new window:

 Signed ARC of ASHFALL
by Mike Mullin

Without Tess
by Marcella Pixley

by Sophie Littlefield

by Mette Ivie Harrison

This giveaway is international and ends Monday, October 3, midnight EST. You must be 13 years old to enter. If you win, you will need to provide an address for shipment. Under 18's must have parent/guardian permission to enter.

Click Here to enter the 4 ARC International Giveaway

Thanks for entering!


Here are the winners:

Mary D.

Julie W.

Kristin L.

Roselyn C.

Congratulations on your win! Please email me an address to which I can ship your book. Huge thank you to all who entered! If you haven't done so yet, be sure to enter to win Signed Jay Asher books (an ARC of THE FUTURE OF US and THIRTEEN REASONS WHY).


Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting:

Elana Johnson interviews Elle Strauss, author of Clockwise
LiLa Roecker discusses S R Johannes' e-book experiment
Christine Fonseca is wowed by The White Assassin - with giveaway
Shannon Whitney Messenger loves Lola & the Boy Next Door – with giveaway
Beth Revis delights in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – with giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells falls for Fracture
Carolina M Valdez adores Ashfall – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby marvels at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Shana Silver steps up to Audition
Corrine Jackson is crazy about Cracked
Stasia Ward Kehoe swoons for Swan and To Dance


  1. I am a new follower, so glad I found this blog!

  2. I heart you. <3 And I really love your giveaways (A) I have actually read Ashfall via netgalley, and I kind of really liked it :) There were a few things I found disturbing, but overall it was a great book ;p I would love to win these 4 ARC's from you :D Thank you. <3
    Love, Carina

  3. I can so relate to being too busy. Don't apologize for reviewing books all the time. You are promoting the authors and their books, a great service.

    I really want to read ASHFALL and I bet my daughter will want to too.

  4. I must read this - love male mcs, love post-apocalyptic...count me in!

    And wow! A medical mission! How awesome! My mom goes on a dental mission to Honduras every year - would love to do one myself one day.

    PS - don't feel bad for being busy and taking care of yourself and your family. Priorities, yo. Besides, I always enjoy your reviews and giveaways!

  5. Wow, you have such epic giveaways!! Thanks for doing them, even though you are so busy. Good luck with your fundraising/preparation plans for Haiti!

  6. You always have amazing giveaways and great reviews. Thank Carolina. =)

  7. Amazing giveaways, and such an admirable job you do! I wish you all the luck with organising, donations and the whole trip! Hugs x
    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  8. These all sound wonderful. I've had my eye on Tis and Izzie too! Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. Ashfall sounds amazing.
    And you are amazing. Wow! Haiti! Your heart is so big, Carol! Good luck with all that you are juggling!

  10. Thanks for the awesome giveaways!:)

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  11. Ashfall sounds great. I love scary-omg-could- really-happen-in-real-life kind of stories.

  12. I just discovered your blog. What a great giveaway - thanks for the opportunity!

  13. Wow! That sounds really good! Thanks for the heads up, C~ :o) <3

  14. Not only does this book sound great, but Mike is a super nice guy! I'm hoping to make it to his release party in a few weeks to support him!

  15. Fantastic giveaway!!! And Ashfall is at the top of my want/wish list - everyone's raving about it and it sounds incredibly good :D

    Mary D

  16. You've always got the best giveaways. Thanks so much!

  17. I know I've said this before, but there are no reviews I'd rather read than yours.

  18. Great review--the book's premise kind of reminds me of Life As We Knew It--in that what befalls earth to destruction seems like something that could happen.

    I'll be on the lookout for Ashfall definitely.

  19. I haven't really read anything from a guy's point of view (solely), this sounds interesting! Thanks for the review and for the giveaway!

  20. I must read Ashfall! I got chills reading the blurb! The others look great too, but that one really drew me.

    Don't worry hon, we know you're busy and understand. :) And bribing us with giveaways doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. ;)

  21. Great review and honestly dont worry! Your family comes first and all the best for the mission.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. They sound very interesting, thanks for the giveaway !

  24. Thank you for the great giveaway. I have heard great things about Ashfall.


    Okay now that's out the way!

    Thanks for the giveaway! Its really nice!


  26. Let me know what I can donate for your mission trip.

    I know, I know, I owe you an know I love love love you and am just super duper busy. You understand, I know.

    Love you,

  27. That is so cool that you are going to Haiti. You really are such an inspiration to me, Carol. I don't know how you do it all. (hugs) It's okay if all you have time to post is reviews and giveaways. No one is complaining. :)

    I adored Ashfall, (as I knew I would after talking to Mike about all the research he did), and even my husband read and loved it. He so rarely reads anything I was happy he enjoyed my recommendation.

    Good luck to everyone who enters!

  28. What a great selection of books in your giveaway.

    I'm looking forward to Ashfall.

    I wish you the best in your goals, writing-, family- and charity-wise.

  29. Sure would like to see another of your fabulous videos. Come on! You've got time ;-)

  30. Ashfall is one of the BEST debuts I've read this year and it's complete torture the fact that we'll have to wait another year to get more of the awesomeness of Mike's writing!
    a blog made an interview with him! fuuny! take a look--->

  31. Ashfall sounds Epic! I love post-apocalypic fiction. The realism is astounding. Plus, I've always wondered what would happen if the super volcano blew.

  32. Great review Love your blog.
    My blog has been having days of Ashfall madness hehe. i was lucky enough to read Ebook of ashfall but i would love a real copy.

    Thanks so much for all the great give aways and amazing reviews :D

    Annmarie ager

  33. Thank you for the giveaway. <3

    Terri M

  34. you have some really good titles here and I would love to read any of those!!!!Thanks a lot for the reviews and the giveawys!

    aliasgirl at libero dot it

  35. Thanks for the review! I have my eye on Ashfall, and I'm waiting for its Kindle release!

  36. I have been dying to get my hands on this book!!! Thanks for the chance :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  37. OMG! Ashfall!! I heard some awesome reviews about this book! Plus the other titles look really really good! Thank you so much for the giveaway!


  38. OMG!!! Thank you for the awesome chance!!! awesome ARCs *drools*

    fallendream03 AT gmail DOT com

  39. Thanks to this awesome Giveaways! 4 ARC's !woot!woot!!!goodluck everyone!
    nylesor85 at yahoo dot com

  40. Ashfall sounds amazing--I'll be looking out for that one!

  41. Oh My Gosh! This is an amazing pile of books. I have been wanting to read all of these.

  42. Wow! Ashfall sounds awesome, can't wait to read it! Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

    Geeks & Books

  43. I cant wait to read Ashfall!! Thanks girl! :)

  44. When I first heard about the volcano at Yellowstone, I had nightmares for a week. Ashfall sounds amazing, but I'm a bit afraid to read it!

  45. Thanks for another generous giveaway. I am really glad you enjoyed Ashfall because it is one I have been wanting to pick up this book for a while now.

  46. This is the first time I read about this book so thank you for the recomendation. Sounds scary but still awesome. I'd love to read it

  47. "See, catastrophe doesn't bring out ONLY the worst in people. I'm so happy to see a book illustrate how amazing humans can be in the face of tragedy and despair."

    I haven't read this one but ditto. Yes, bad things will bring out the worst in people but there are definitely people out there who will do everything in their power to help out. I'd like to think there are more people that will fall into the latter category.

  48. Sweet! I can't wait to read.......well, i can't wait to read all of them. From the review, I kinda don't think i might understand Ashfall with all the science and psychology stuff, but i'll still read it.

  49. Its a great set of books you are offering!

    And thanks, as usual, for opening it to International entries.

    Very much appreciated.

    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  50. I wasn't sure about this book before but after reading your review I have to read it! Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  51. I was curious about Ashfall and now I am chomping at the bit to read it. Thank you for sharing today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.

  52. Fabulous giveaway thank you. A great list of books. ASHFALL I particularly want to read.


  53. Wow, Carol, I admire you for taking a missions trip to Haiti. Not that I'm surprised since you're, like, The Nicest Person on Earth, but still.

  54. This is awesome, keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks for the lovely giveaway.

  55. I have been drawn to a number of post apocalyptic titles in recent months including the likes of The Road, the novelization of The Book Of Eli and I even took another look at the novelization of Mad Max - Beyond Thunderdome which is a surprisingly good read actually. This title certainly appears to tick all the boxes and I'm going to add it to the pile.

    Cee - I am so very thrilled for you undertaking this trip to Haiti and I have to admit to being a little envious. After the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia - they were looking for volunteers to go to the relief zones there and I so wanted to go but things just didn't pan out and I missed the opportunity. I am sure that you will experience something really special on this trip and I hope it is a great success for you.

  56. This is a great giveaway. I enjoyed your review of Ashfall, it greatly increases my desire to read this book.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

  58. Oooh, Ashfall sounds FANTASTIC!! And the book giveaway sounds even better! Lol. I am a new follower and discovered your blog by following a link from another Bookanista's blog.
    Did I mention how great the book givaeaway sounds? I think I definitely plan on reading Ashfall,(when it comes out, I guess), anyway.

    Three(Dot)foot(dot)pencil(at) gmail(dot)com

  59. I'm most excited for Ashfall! Thanks for the giveaway!

  60. Hi Carolina:)

    Thank you once again for another great and superbly awesome giveaway:)

    Sarah Bibi Setar @ Random Thoughts of a Confused Adolescent

  61. Wow Ashfall looks like an amazing book! And thanks for the epic giveaway!

    Kelsey d

  62. I've tweeted:!/SweetNSensible/status/120226205436878848



    Posted under Great Giveaways tab on my blog mentioned above.

    Thanks for the giveaway:)

    Sarah @ Random Thoughts

  63. Glad to see another male POV. There are never enough times I can get inside a guys mind :)

  64. I'm so intrigued by ASHFALL... can't wait to read it. Thanks a great review and another fabulous giveaway!

  65. Thank you so much for the chance to win♥

  66. thank you for the great giveaway!!!

  67. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x


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