Lockdown by Maggie Bolitho

When I wrote this post, yesterday, I thought spring had finally sprung. Tuesday, I was reading an ARC copy of Lockdown by Maggie Bolitho with the windows wide open, letting in the balmy plus twelve Celsius air (that’s about 66 degrees Farenheit). This morning, the ground was covered with white stuff. Boo!

Okay, I’m sure you’re sick of me complaining about our awful weather. I suppose it could be worse. We could be in the throes of an earthquake, like the characters in Lockdown. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts about the book:

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The story is a cautionary tale that appeals to the Girl Guider in me. ‘Be prepared’ could be the main motto for this story, but even well laid plans can go awry.

Maggie Bolitho has written a compelling story set in the aftermath of a great earthquake that tears apart the west coast from California to Alaska. Young Rowan Morgan and her older brother struggle to survive the turmoil that follows when The Big One hits Vancouver. Fortunately, they are spending the summer with their survivalist father when it strikes. He has been preparing for just such an apocalyptic event for years and made sure his children were well-trained, but nothing they learned could possibly help them deal with potential looters, crazed citizens with a mob mentality, and hungry neighbours whose homes were destroyed. How do they decide who to help and who to turn away?

Amidst the confusion, their father is injured and hospitalized. They are unable to reach their mother because the phone lines are not operational. They must deal with this dangerous situation on their own. In addition, they are responsible for the care of their neighbour’s teenaged son, who has led a very sheltered life, as well as a cat belonging to their vacationing neighbours. Rowan, worried about her father, decides to risk breaking curfew to visit him at the hospital and runs into more trouble, as a result. They receive some assistance from a stranger, who mysteriously appears at opportune moments, but Rowan and her brother are suspicious of his motives.

Maggie Bolitho’s main character is a typical fifteen year old, who has been trying to break free of her authoritative father’s reign, which has been a source of contention between them. Despite her longing for independence, when she finally has some, she wants to return to the more secure life she had before the earthquake. She is racked with indecision but forces herself to remember her father’s advice and at least pretend to be strong for the sake of those in her care. Some of her decisions prove to be foolish and dangerous for her, but she perseveres, growing in wisdom and strength.

I would give this story a two-thumbs-up and highly recommend it for teens as well as adults. There were a few time that I, as a parent, yelled at the girl to think a little smarter, but overall I enjoyed it and think any teen would like it, too. There’s just the right mix of suspense and action that keeps the reader barreling along at break-neck speed. I was glad I had no major commitments so I could finish it in a day with few interruptions.

The official launch of Lockdown will be May 2nd, so if anyone in the Vancouver area is interested in getting an autographed copy, be at the Lynn Valley Library at 7:30 pm. If that is not an option for you, click on the picture of the book cover above and it will take you to the publisher’s website. It’s also available on Amazon.

 

Book Blurb:

When a great earthquake rocks the Pacific Northwest, fifteen-year-old Rowan Morgan is hiking in a suburban forest. Tremors rip the coast from Oregon to Alaska and turn Rowan’s world upside down. After her father is wounded and taken to the hospital, he orders Rowan and her brother to stay inside his earthquakeproof, survivalist home. While the electrified fences offer some protection, it isn’t long before mobs gather, desperate for some of the food and water rumoured to be held inside.

Rowan knows that if the hungry neighbours had any true idea of the riches in her father’s cellar and water tanks, they wouldn’t be so easily sent away. Early one morning, Rowan leaves the compound and sets off in search of her father. She is turned away from the hospital and so goes to check on nearby friends where she finds a local gang has moved in. She escapes from them only to run into a stranger she met in the forest the day before. Why is he following her and what does he want?

About the author:
MAGGIE BOLITHO is curious by nature and over the years has been a soccer player, a horsewoman, a martial artist, a scuba diver (volunteer diver for the Vancouver Aquarium) and a cyclist. Before making her home in British Columbia, Bolitho lived in Australia. In Sydney her home was in a red-zone, the highest bushfire risk possible and it was there, when she trained as a member of the CFU (Community Fire Unit) as a firefighter, that her interest in disaster scenarios came to life.

 

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Crafty Wednesday

While I was making an anniversary card for Hubby, I thought back a few years to our memorable 25th anniversary and thought I’d share some of those 8-year old memories with you. The pages were some of the first I scrap-booked so they’re not quite as pretty as others I’ve made since I took classes on how to make them more interesting. I’ll start with the card. I apologize if the photo quality is not as good as usual. My Mac doesn’t acknowledge the card reader we have for our  Rebel camera, so I use our old computer to process the pictures with Photoshop, then transfer them to a flash drive and input them to this computer. Well, as luck would have it, our old computer is a little fried. As a result, I used my movie camera which has the capacity to take stills, but they are only 5mp as opposed to 10mp with our other camera. I hope you’ll get the idea anyway.

First the card for our upcoming anniversary: The main part of the card is white card stock. The front was embossed with a Cuttlebug embossing folder (curly frame) Using a heart edging punch I created the top and bottom  of the purple card stock and stuck it onto the card base with double-sided sticky tape. I stamped the lacy pattern with cream-coloured ink and the Recollections clear lace stamp. The trumpet and pen from Stampin’ Up‘s Rue des Fleurs set were stamp embossed with the Versa Mark sticky stamp pad and black embossing powder on white card stock. I cut them out and used pop-up strips to secure them to the card. The sentiment was printed from MS Word and attached with a glue runner.

I used rectangles of woodgrain paper to back the corner photos and a brick-printed paper for the centre one which shows the head table.

For our 25th anniversary, my in-laws planned a great party for us. They knew we had plans to fly to Las Vegas for a few days, so they made sure we had a wonderful send-off. We expected just dinner with a couple of close friends like we do each year. I wasn’t expecting a whole room full of people! Hubby said he suspected something like that, but I was clueless (What else is new? lol) We all had a great dinner. Then there were the speeches, like at a wedding. Some were more like a roast, though! Finally, our niece, who sings in a band, gave us all a personal concert.

There were a few gifts, but mostly we got money in the cards. I kept track of how much we got from each person so when we were at the slots or tables in Vegas we would say, “Ok, this was from so-and-so. If we win big we’ll split it with them!” Unfortunately, we ended up losing it all, but sure had fun while it lasted! We were supposed to board the plane at 7 am. However, the flight we were supposed to take was stuck in Chicago due to a storm and wasn’t going anywhere. We were booked on a later flight, leaving at 2 pm, the time when we should have been arriving. To top it all off, we had a 6-hour lay-over in Denver – not long enough to go explore the city, just the airport. By the time we got into Vegas, got our bags, went through Customs, picked up our rental car and arrived at the hotel, it was midnight! We’d completely missed our whole first day. 😦

Hubby couldn’t sleep, so went down to the casino and played a few hands of Black Jack before coming to bed. Despite that, we were up early, enjoying the hotel’s buffet breakfast. We stayed at Circus Circus. We explored the nearby hotels that first day and went to see La Folies Bergere in the evening. It was a little risque but Hubby was entranced!

 

 

 

 

The next day we went to the main event – the main reason we went to Vegas in the first place – to see Star Trek The Experience. Back then, it was being held at the Hilton Hotel. When we stepped out to the main street, we could see the hotel. It’s only a block, we thought., so we started walking. For those of you who don’t know this, a Las Vegas block is not like an ordinary city block. It’s about 10 times longer! Hubby could barely walk by the time we got there! (He broke both ankles 30 years ago & now has severe osteoarthritis, which is very painful) We had some time before the first show started so played the slot machines for awhile. I did pretty well on just one quarter, but eventually lost.

The Star Trek Experience began with an interesting Museum chronicling the ‘history’ of the Star Trek Universe. There were models overhead of the Enterprise ships, Voyager and Deep Space Nine. Costumes from all the series, technological devices (tri-quarters, communicators, etc) were displayed along the walls. I even got to meet a ‘real live’ Klingon! We had our pictures taken and at the end of it all, we were able to choose which ‘crew’ we wanted to ‘join’.

I chose the crew from Enterprise.

Hubby became a Borg. Can you spot him here?

 

 

We boarded a ‘shuttle craft’ and wound our way through a space battle that felt so real! Later, we were almost assimilated! All-in-all it was loads of fun!

What adventures have YOU had?