Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Shorts

The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken
published 1998
214 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

One sunny spring morning, 16-year-old Ethan Shumway walks down his gravel driveway and vanishes without a trace. A gifted athlete and musician, he leaves behind a wake of family and friends who search for understanding in the unbearable presence of loss.

My thoughts:

More than anything I think this is a coming-of-age novel - of a boy, and of a family, who have to learn how to survive and keep going in the wake of a tragedy. Reiken's family rang true to me - each character felt authentic, and their individual reaction to the events seemed appropriate. Watching Phillip travel the bumpy path of grief, loss, and acceptance was difficult at times, but ultimately I found his story moving. I don't know that I will remember this novel's specifics months down the road, but I would certainly give this author a second read.

Finished: 10/6/12
Source: loan from my mom
MPAA rating: R for language and adult situations
My rating: 6/10

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth
published October 2, 2012
272 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

In 1962, Jackie Hart moved to Naples, Florida, from Boston with her husband and children. Wanting something personally fulfilling to do with her time, she starts a reading club and anonymously hosts a radio show, calling herself Miss Dreamsville.

     The racially segregated town falls in love with Miss Dreamsville, but doesn’t know what to make of Jackie, who welcomes everyone into her book club, including a woman who did prison time for allegedly killing her husband, a man of questionable sexual preference, a young divorcee, as well as a black woman.

My thoughts:

This is a very lighthearted novel - really too lighthearted for my taste. Hearth takes on a vast number of social and political issues from the 1960s - race, gender, religion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the KKK - but spends so little time on each that it's hard to take the novel seriously. I would have preferred a few less issues, and a bit more time developing characters. I have a feeling this novel will be pretty popular, but it didn't hit the mark for me.

Finished: 10/14/12
Source: review copy from publisher- thank you!
MPAA rating: PG-13 for discussions of race, gender, sexuality, and violence
My rating: 5/10

The Passage by Justin Cronin
published 2010
audiobook read by Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, and Abby Craden

Synopsis from publisher:

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear — of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey — spanning miles and decades — towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

My thoughts:

I read this novel two years ago for the first time, and loved it (my review here), but hated the fact that I would have to wait for the second installment in the trilogy. I decided to revisit the story this fall because the long-awaited second book was released this month, and I am glad I did. The Passage holds up extremely well to a re-read - knowing the plot twists and turns did not lessen the impact of the story, and sometimes knowing what was coming almost made the experience sweeter. I enjoyed listening to it as an audiobook a lot - the first time through, there were some parts that moved a bit slowly for me, but I didn't feel that drag as much as an audio experience. This is such a good novel, and now I am even more excited to start book #2! If you haven't read it yet, do it! It's a great choice for fall/winter, and now you won't have to live through the horrible cliffhanger!

Finished: 10/29/12
MPAA rating: R for language and violence
My rating: 9/10


bermudaonion said...

I need something lighthearted from time to time. Maybe I'll take Miss Dreamsville to the beach with me.

Zibilee said...

I am reading The Passage right now, and loving it. I had to put it down for a bit so that I could read a tour book, but I am back to it, and can't wait to read it, and the next installment.