Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
2006, Del Rey


Synopsis: A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for.

The Good: This was an unbelievably realistic portrayal of an post-apocalyptic world. Major and minor details considered and covered in an entertaining and satisfying fashion. The scope of this novel was extremely impressive. Moreso, that this novel was written 65 years ago and is so perfectly relatable to what we could imagine a post-diseased world in our own future.

The Bad: The book drags a little and is heavy on the detail. Some portions are hard to make yourself muddle through.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Alibis and Amethysts by Sharon Pape

Alibis and Amethysts by Sharon Pape
2013, InterMix
Series: Book 1 of Crystal Shop Mystery

Synopsis: Jaye Saylor is living her dream as the proud owner of Crystal Clear, a crystal and gemstone shop in the Red Rock area of Sedona, Arizona—a Mecca for tourists and new-age enthusiasts. And since tourists need sweets, Jaye gets to share her dream with her best friend, Sierra, who owns Cravings, a new local bakery.

But when the two friends discover the stone-cold body of a rival baker in Sierra’s backyard, that dream turns into a petrifying nightmare. With the police eager to pin the murder on the two women, Jaye and Sierra are forced to investigate on their own. Sedona is known as a place of powerful psychic energy, and the friends will have to contend with some unexpected forces to catch a hardened killer and make their innocence crystal clear...

The Good: I loved Jaye's shop. Her expertise in geology. The Native American culture woven into the story. The mystery was unexpected until right before the resolution was revealed. Definitely a cute, cozy mystery.

The Bad: Jaye is oblivious to romantic interest. The not-a-cat (what is that all about?). Most of the "interviews" Jaye did with potential suspects left me wondering why they would talk to her at all. More than anything, the story just dragged a bit. It didn't suck me in and I could have put it down at any time for a long while without jonesing to get back to it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
2011, St. Martin's Press

Synopsis: What if — whoosh, right now, with no explanation — a number of us simply vanished? Would some of us collapse? Would others of us go on, one foot in front of the other, as we did before the world turned upside down? That's what the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, who lost many of their neighbors, friends and lovers in the event known as the Sudden Departure, have to figure out. Because nothing has been the same since it happened — not marriages, not friendships, not even the relationships between parents and children.

Kevin Garvey, Mapleton's new mayor, wants to speed up the healing process, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized community. Kevin's own family has fallen apart in the wake of the disaster: his wife, Laurie, has left to join the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence; his son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a sketchy prophet named Holy Wayne. Only Kevin's teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she's definitely not the sweet "A" student she used to be. Kevin wants to help her, but he's distracted by his growing relationship with Nora Durst, a woman who lost her entire family on October 14th and is still reeling from the tragedy, even as she struggles to move beyond it and make a new start.

The Good: The Leftovers is an impressive novel. It's an addictive read that takes a post-apocalyptic scenario and explores how people deal with it. The different reactions people have. The ways people cope and move on. This is a deep novel that manages to stay entertaining throughout. It deals with topics that are depressing and makes the situations enthralling.

The Bad: Some of the characters felt a little forced. They didn't feel as genuine as the overall novel itself. Beyond that, this seems like a story that only works on paper. The TV show completely failed to suck me in like the novel did.