Sand – Hugh Howey

41ck5inzmjl-_sx311_bo1204203200_Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: January 4, 2014

From the Jacket:

We live across the thousand dunes with grit in our teeth and sand in our homes. No one will come for us. No one will save us. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. No one is looking down on us. Those constellations in the night sky? Those are the backs of gods we see.

A fun fact about me: I am DEATHLY afraid of not being able to breath normally. I have trouble snorkeling and my single attempt at snuba diving ended in a full on panic attack under the water. My heart starts to race when I even imagine myself scuba diving. I am also incredibly claustrophobic and the thought of being confined in small or deep spaces makes me dizzy, to the point where I can barely handle an elevator ride.

It’s truly a wonder I found someone to marry me.

Fast forward to a week ago when I sat down and eagerly began reading Sand, only to discover that the story centers around sand divers. What are sand divers you ask? Sand divers are exactly the same as scuba divers except that, you guessed it, they dive in the sand instead of the water. I probably should have gleaned this fact from the jacket, but really I just saw another book with Howey’s name on it,  geeked out and added it to my TBR without a second thought.

Howey is a master world builder, and Sand is no exception. It’s a gritty, bleak, dystopian nightmare set in a future Colorado, that I read with a shortness of breath and a pounding heart. There were times when sheer anxiety begged me to put it down, but the characters sucked me in almost immediately, just like in Wool and I found myself unable to comply.

I am not going to say much more because I find it best to go into one of Howey’s creations with as little information as possible. My only complaint is the number of unanswered questions regarding the world building I was left with after finishing. I want to know how the world got to the state it was in, and if it was the whole planet, or just the parts where the characters live. He posted on his blog back in 2015 that he was working on a sequel, but I have not seen any information since then. Just like with Wool, I was satisfied with the conclusion of the story, though I would love to continue to read about these characters. More than anything, I think a prequel would be awesome. Keeping my fingers crossed for more to come.

I recommend this one 100 percent and will continue to read everything he puts out. This is a perfect read for being stuck inside on a rainy or snowy day. You won’t be able to put it down once you start, so prepare snacks and get comfortable.

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Favorite Characters: Vic, Palmer, Graham

Memorable Quotes:

And so it went, sand piling up to the heavens and homes sinking toward hell.

Love was earned and hard-fought and cherished. It was Marco’s face and his rough palm on her cheek. It wasn’t something a family got for being a family.

She would survive, she realized. But it would be a different her. It would be someone else who did the surviving, who would drag memories of a former self along, a tiny echo of a woman somewhere deep in her skull, a small voice of who she used to be.

There were things that could not be contemplated, he realized. There were potential truths too costly to bear. It wasn’t until after the body was scarred by a brush with danger that it learned fear. Conner thought of all the untouched places on his soul yet to teach him something. All the unblemished parts of him waiting for that razor of truth.

December Wrap-Up

I read 6 books this month, bringing my total for the year to 60 books! I know the month isn’t over, and I could probably get one more in, but I like the idea of finishing on an even number. December was a month full of really great books, and even better books were gifted to me for Christmas!

I’ll have a year in review post up within the next few days as well, but here’s what I read in the final month of this truly craptastic year.

Edit: I ended up finishing another book unexpectedly, so it looks like I’ll finish the year with 61 books read in total.

A Darker Shade of Magic – 5 crowns

A Gathering of Shadows – 5 crowns

If I Was Your Girl – 5 crowns

The Circle – 4 crowns

Notorious RBG – 5 crowns

The Underground Railroad – 5 crowns

What Alice Forgot – 5 crowns

Book Event – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

I went to my very first book event today hosted by one of the local independent bookstores where I live. I got to see Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman speak about their writing lives, answer questions, and be generally awesome and hilarious.

Because this was my first event, I had no idea what to expect. My wife was wonderful enough to come with me, and we left over two hours early to ensure prime seating. By the time we got downtown, parked, found something to eat, and made it to our seats, there were still 90 minutes until start time and there were only two other people waiting. I felt a little silly for arriving so early, but only a little, because we totally got front row seats.

It was neat to watch the room fill up and talk to the others around me. Most of them had been to events like this before, and ALL of them were younger than me. Just one of the hazards of being a thirty something with a deep affinity for YA. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Mostly it was just cool to be in a room full of people who are as excited as I am about books. The majority of my real life friends are just not into it, so I felt an incredible sense of community there in that little bookstore today.

The authors spoke for about thirty minutes and told really funny stories about some of the shenanigans they’ve experienced thus far on the tour. They talked about the different books they are working on and then spent another 15 or so minutes answering questions. The audience had some really neat questions, several of which the authors had never been asked before. I chickened out and did NOT ask a question, but of course once I got back to the safety of my own car, I thought of one. If I hadn’t been a total chicken shit, my question would have been: Of all of the books you have written, which is your favorite one?

Someone did ask them who they would cast should these be made into a movie. Consequently, the series IS being made into a movie, but they will have no say in the casting. They did share with us who they pictured while they were writing the characters and I thought it was super neat, so I’m going to share it with you. Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me remember who they said for Katie and Ezra, though Ezra was one of the guys from Gossip Girl. But for the leads in the new books, they pictured a young Kristen Bell (circa Veronica Mars) as Hanna and for Nik, it was Bob Morley who plays Bellamy on the 100.

After they finished answering questions, they held a quick raffle for book two in the series, Gemina. I want one of these more than perhaps I have ever wanted anything in my whole life, but alas, I did not win. I did get to chat with them quickly while they signed my copy of Illuminae, and they were kind enough to pose for a photo with me! Check it out!!

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All in all this was a super great experience, and I cannot wait to go to another! If you get the chance to go to a book event where you live, I highly recommend it!