The Edge of Life

Love and Survival during the Apocalypse (maybe???)

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Pub Date 06 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 30 May 2023

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To cope with everyday life, neurodivergent Kat is a secret binge drinker, and jilted Ryan is a workaholic. Disillusioned, neither does more than go through the motions of living—then comes the asteroid.

Warned that a planet-killing asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, acquaintances Kat and Ryan join forces in an effort to survive. Mere hours before impact, they race toward the safety of Ryan's inherited South Dakota bunker, encountering chaos. A last-ditch effort to nuke the asteroid only manages to fragment it into chunks causing multiple strikes.

Earthquakes, fire, and volcanic ashfall assail Kat and Ryan, who turn to each other for solace. Kat finds someone kind who values her differences and Ryan finds himself falling for Kat's pluck and quick-thinking. Though jaded, they learn to trust and rely on one another.

Attempting to survive the onslaught of their new world, Kat and Ryan must reach the bunker before imminent food shortages and catastrophic climate change cause society to further unravel.

The Edge of Life shows that survival can include falling in love. With steamy romance and non-stop action, this is one thrilling apocalypse road trip you shouldn't miss.

To cope with everyday life, neurodivergent Kat is a secret binge drinker, and jilted Ryan is a workaholic. Disillusioned, neither does more than go through the motions of living—then comes the...

A Note From the Publisher

Lena Gibson is a storyteller as an elementary school teacher and keeper of the family lore. She holds a First-Class Honors degree in Archaeology, with minors in History, Biology, Geography, and Environmental Education from Simon Fraser University.

As a voracious reader from age eight onward, Lena seeks wonderful books in which to escape. Because of her passion for different genres, she combines elements of many in her writing. As an adult newly recognized with autism, she often creates characters that reflect her experience.

When Lena isn't writing, she reads, practices karate, and drinks a ton of tea. She resides in New Westminster, Canada with her family and their fuzzy overlord, Ash, the fluffiest of gray cats.

Lena Gibson is a storyteller as an elementary school teacher and keeper of the family lore. She holds a First-Class Honors degree in Archaeology, with minors in History, Biology, Geography, and...

Advance Praise

"Blending romance and action/adventure, Gibson makes the end of the world the most fun the reader will have all day." -Eileen Cook, author of You Owe Me a Murder

"Blending romance and action/adventure, Gibson makes the end of the world the most fun the reader will have all day." -Eileen Cook, author of You Owe Me a Murder

Available Editions

ISBN 9781685131715
PRICE $5.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
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Average rating from 36 members

Featured Reviews

The Edge of Life: 5 ⭐️
Plot: 4.5 ⭐️
Characters: 5 ⭐️
Character Development: 5 ⭐️
Spicy: 3 🌶️

  Thank you NetGalley, author Lena Gibson and publisher Black Rose Writing for providing this e-ARC.  All opinions are my own.

I can not wait for this to be released! I need a physical copy that I can hug. I want to paint the edges of the book. To say I loved reading this book is an understatement. Romance and apocalyptic in one book and is well written. It deserves recognition and more hype. With that said let’s get into the review.

The focus of the story is the asteroid impact on Earth and how to survive during and after the impact. The main characters are pushed together to survive. In the beginning it felt forced by the writer. In the middle the relationship between the main characters doesn’t feel forced. The writer did an excellent job of making the characters suffer.

In the beginning we meet Kat who is a school teacher and is numb to the world around her. Until Nick comes back into her life, who is a great friend since college. He helps her come out of her grief / depression by getting her out on hikes with his friend Ryan.

Ryan is a lawyer who wants to make partner in the law firm he works for. He’s 100% a thinker rather than feeler in the beginning. Ryan has been through a rough breakup and has built walls around him self.

These are the two main characters. The writer did them justice, Kat and Ryan are whole characters or rounded characters. I have read a lot of books lately that don’t have whole / round characters. I’m happy to see them become well rounded characters.
There is one character that mentioned but we never see and I want a book with that character. The character is Jake, he is Nick’s boyfriend.

It is easy to read, the pages fly by before you know it. Dual point of view from Kat and Ryan executed well, which is hard to do. Another thing the author did well was layering. I am surprised that this is a debut author and not a seasoned author.

Here is a snip it of Lena Gibson’s writing that I loved.

“Though it was late April, patches of snow littered the ground and, in the shade, still piled several feet deep. Ice crystals sparkled where they were caught by the sun, and slushy bits melted into the mud.”

Did I enjoy this book? Yes, it probably will make the top ten books of 2023. I have never read a book that inspired me to paint. Would I recommend it? Yes. Will I read more from this author? Yes!

This can turn into a duology or series. The end wrapped up but there’s some parts that can be expanded on. Hinting that I want more.

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The Edge of Life by Lena Gibson follows both Kat and Ryan as they race against the clock towards a bunker to survive the end of the world, as a gigantic meteorite is coming. Kat is a elementary teacher, who tries to cope with her life by drinking on every free day. She's neurodivergent (autistic) too, and this is an ownvoices book. She has met Ryan a couple of times before because of a mutual friend, but now they're suddenly sort of stuck with each other. With the end of times around the corner, their relationship develops fast.

I was of course very curious about the autism rep, I love reading about people with the same neurodivergence as me! I have to say, the rep I read was well done, but I felt like a lot of the time it was just ignored. I expected at least a few meltdowns or shutdowns as there are some pretty intense situations, but those weren't around, and the sensory issues were there, but it felt like it was not enough for what they went through. Every autistic person is different of course, so I'm not here to judge, this is just how I experienced it. But mostly I loved it, especially how Kat tried to interpret social interactions, and used her social mask in emergency situations to save the day - or ruin it lol.

I love an apocalyptic story and this one absolutely didn't disappoint. I was screaming at times at their choices, which is a good thing lol, I was very invested in their survival. The road trip through hell was gruelling yet entertaining as lots of things happened to move the plot, and the romance is the perfect counterpart to the world falling to pieces. I have to say, I thought the actual first romance was a little sudden, but after that it felt very natural and I was heavily invested in their happiness. They make a perfect match, and it was just really sweet and amazing to watch them grow together and open up. I love that part. I very much dislike all spice, but this book had just enough for me to not grow tired of it, which is quite the feat. We also get POV's from Ryan, the lovable workaholic, and he's very fun to read about. Their back stories and time together is my favorite. Plotwise I felt like there was a perfect balance between the action and epic plot and the oasis in between of getting to know the characters. The writing style was very engaging and beautiful.

All in all, a perfect romantic apocalypse story with great autism rep, and I really hope there's gonna be a part two, even though the ending is a real ending, I can see so many things in their future I really want to read about.

I received a free e-arc through Netgalley, many thanks, but this has not influenced my opinions.

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**this review contains mild spoilers**

The Edge of Life follows new friends, Kat and Ryan, in their journey to safety following an asteroid strike.

I think all of us, since covid, have learnt a little about what it means to survive. Surviving means doing what is necessary to keep yourself safe and sane. This book really explores survival in a realistic and gripping way; watching Kat and Ryan do whatever it takes to make their way to safety really kept me interested throughout, especially when shown in relation to how they were coping before the asteroid hit.

Now, onto the best bit! If you know me, you know I'm a sucker for a good romance book, and that's exactly what this was. Watching Kat and Ryan's relationship evolving from friendship into something more was really special and filled me with so much happiness. Paired with that little bit of spice, this read was a perfect apocalyptic love story.

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The Edge of Life was the most unexpected surprise! How is this a debut?! I see you, Lena Gibson. 👏 I have been utterly brain dazzled since finishing Kat and Ryan’s incredible story of survival — against all odds while finding love along the way!

“Today was the twenty-first of May, a day now burned into his brain. If they lived through this, it would be one of those days. People still asked, “Where were you September eleventh?” He’d been six years old, on the way to school. His teacher had explained what had happened. Everyone who lived through the asteroid and its aftermath would also have a story. He hoped his had a happy ending.”

Societal collapse and the way individuals cope with extreme events — terrifying. This book made my heart stop multiple times! Sleep with one eye open or just forgo sleep all together. The tension is written masterfully. 🤌 It will leave you hanging on every word with goosies all over. I love how smart and resilient both of the main characters are. The way their relationship evolves. It felt so real. That bond that slowly develops through shared experiences. The emotions of accepting a new reality. I could gush and gush…but all I really want to say is, read this! I will definitely be purchasing and rereading this on April 6th!!!

❥ Once more, she got a funny feeling, one that made her shoulder blades twitch. She turned back, but Ryan was underwater, so it wasn’t his gaze she sensed. It must be her imagination.

❥ It was interesting what mattered when it was life or death as she sorted her belongings.

❥ Let’s go back to sleep. The world will be different in the morning.”

❥ “We didn’t quite break and we aren’t lost forever. Maybe we can find our way back together. We’ll just take it one day at a time.”

♡ Many thanks to NetGalley, Black Rose Writing, and Lena Gibson for the gifted ARC.

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3.;4 stars. I requested this as an ARC because several Goodreads friends absolutely loved it.

I was riveted. But also, this book stressed me out of my mind and made me feel at the verge of tears for most of it.

There is definitely some too true stuff there that made me remember feelings I had at beginning of the pandemic and that wasn’t my favorite feeling.

The two main characters are pretty good. But it kinda felt like they fell in love because there was no way to go through that kind of crap without loving someone who was beside you in that.

Add to this, the ending is fairly abrupt.

I did not feel super great after reading this. So this review is about emotions not writing.

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Dystopian YES! Nuclear warheads blowing apart the asteroid heading to Earth, thereby making it only fall in smaller chunks is a Dystopian fiction winner. Of course this makes perfect sense to a dystopian fiction lover!

End of the world for millions? Pshaw, don’t fret! The reader will hardly feel the pain and agony of loss. So what does the reader feel?

Nervous. The reader feels nervous because anyone who knows anything about dystopian fiction understands the departure cannot be delayed until the last minute because roads are going to be dicey, communities will begin to fail as humanity takes over. And that exactly what happens. Now Kat and Ryan, two people who are mutual friends of a top level scientist, must plan their exit from Seattle because things will be bad.

Despite the fun of the book, I must admit that the book has some uneven pacing and planning, smoothing over details, and unrealistic elements. SPOILERS. I would not have categorized this as a romance novel, despite the two falling in love at the end since much of the sex was more “convenient” and not “romance novel”. I would never have described the main character as neurodivergent - as far as I could tell, noise bothered her and that was about the only characteristic. Noise bothers lots of people. She cold Turkey quit abusing alcohol after being a blackout drunk for two years, with no desire to drink afterwards? Unlikely. A handful of men hold a large swath of Wyoming under their absolute terrorized control? Unlikely. I’d imagine that about every household in Wyoming, just as in other certain 2nd amendment loving states, have lots of guns and could band together against a handful of men over such a large area. The fear and grief of the circumstances seem glossed over. No more movie theaters? No more Chick-Fil-A? Where are all the people in these empty towns they passed, the refugees? Food insecurity? Medicine? Clothing?

Despite its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would read another in the series. There are 300+ empty rooms in the XTerra, surely we can have another book with someone coming to live there and see an update?

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I am the BIGGEST nerd for world ending disaster ANYTHING. When I read the description of this book I knew that I HAD TO HAVE IT. I don't know what it is, but movies, books, TV shows... anything that describes itself as a disaster type of entertainment... I am jumping on that boat.

This story follows two Characters, Ryan and Kat. Two acquaintances who have the same best friend Matt. Kat's husband died and since then she has been on a sort of spiral during her alone time. Ryan's long term girlfriend cheated on him so he buried himself in his work. In the beginning of the story, Matt talks his friends into hiking on Sunday's as a group to try to help get them out of their reclusive states and back to living life. Suddenly after a literal giant discovery, Matt gets pulled away for work and must miss out on the excursions.

The rest... well, I will let you find out yourself as I am not the one who spoils all the fun!

I read this book everywhere and tried as hard as I could to not stop reading it. I loved the flow of the book, it did not seem rushed nor did it seem to drag. There were times when my heart would be pounding out of my chest as if I were going through what the characters were. Everything that happens on the path from start to finish feels very real and I could see each event taking place happening in real life if something like this were to ever happen in our life time.

I would like to thank Netgalley for sending me an ARC for this book.

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This was a delightful read! Plain and simple. The pacing was perfect, the characters were likable even with their semi-addictions (more about that later), and there was suspense and romance. A fun read.

Our characters are broken from the wrenches life has thrown at them, leaving them bruised and burying their hurt in their chosen numbing solution. For Kat, whose husband unexpectedly died, that is alcohol. Ryan works to disappear into work and helps him forget how his girlfriend's betrayal left his apartment and his heart emotionally stripped. A mutual friend brings them together for hikes to break them both from their isolating habits.

Just as they seem to be making some headway, it's discovered a major asteroid is about to crash into their area, so they plan to head to Ryan's grandfather's bunker in South Dakota. There their adventure begins in discovering each other and what each is made of deep down. The story is fun at times, harrowing at times, but entertaining all the way. Definitely not your typical romance---I struggled a bit with whether it was just a contemporary romance or more dystopian---nevertheless a great read, and I hope this author writes more!

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The Edge of Life by Lena Gibson was much more thrilling than I expected beforehand. The tension and action start early in the story when Ryan and Kat have to cross America to flee the effects of meteorite impacts and have a chance to survive. I really enjoyed the story and the realism really scared me at times. Sometimes it felt like reading a cute romance story only to be suddenly catapulted into a thrilling post apocalyptic world where the main characters have to overcome a thousand obstacles to survive. I had so many emotions! The combination of romance and apocalyptic world worked really well for me. Definitely recommended to people who also love this kind of story.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for providing me with a free advanced reader copy of this book. This did nog affect my review in any way.

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The Edge of Life is Lena Gibson's debut novel. WHAT?
If I have to keep this simple, this book is refreshing and a delight! I have never encountered romance entwined with an apocalyptic theme (yes, I have been under a rock when it comes to romance, don't judge me!). The pacing was well executed, and Ryan and Kat are off to a tense start. Through their immeasurably built walls due to family dynamics and relationships, they open the windows to romance, letting in intense passion, revelling in banter and compatibility and working together, navigating challenges that are out of their control. The stakes were well-built throughout the book, and I was rooting for them. The balance between character development and an intense, uphill plot was well executed. The ending was well deserved. I will be keeping my tbr telescope close for Lena's future books.

Thank you, Netgalley & Black Rose Writing, for giving me an ARC. This honest review is left voluntarily.

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Best Read of 2023! You need to read this book!

How is this a debut novel? This book was so good! SO GOOD!
Right from the beginning this book made me feel things, it grabbed me by my cold dead heart and didn’t let go. I’m reeling.
It started off with Kat, a neurodivergent elementary school teacher, mourning her dead husband at the bottom of a gin bottle. She is broken and detached from life, barely surviving each day. Her good friend Nick tries to help by getting her to hang out and go hiking. At the same time our hero Ryan, is a workaholic recovering from a nasty break up with his long term girlfriend. In comes Nick again, to get Ryan away from his desk and out in nature. The three of them begin weekly hikes, all the while Nick, an Astro-scientist of some sort, has discovered a meteorite that may be headed towards earth.
Quickly, this story changes to one of disaster prep and survival as the world prepares for impact.
This book was gripping! I was on the edge of my seat with the twist and turns. As the information about the meteorite clarifies, Nick tells his friends to seek cover and Ryan offers Kat solace in the bunker he inherited from his grandpa.
They begin a long, crazy and harrowing journey from Seattle to Idaho, going from car to bike and then on foot. Meeting helpful people and not helpful people. We quickly see how disaster brings out the best and the worst in everyone.
With all of this craziness happening we also see an incredibly tender and moving friendship and love grow between Ryan and Kat. They support each other, share their the burden and persevere. This book shook me. It moved me. It made me tear up.
It was not fluffy read, so make sure if you tackle this you are in a mindset for deep feels.
But this book has been, by far, my best read of the year. I don’t hand out five stars easily, you have to pull them out of me with pliers, but this one earned it.
Don’t let the cartoon cover fool you, this was The Last of Us sans zombies. Prepare yourself for love during the apocalypse and read this book!

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