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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Running the Gamut

I've been at the cabin this week where internet is spotty and slow at best.  Nonexistent, at times.  "No longer connected..." is a hateful phrase.  But then, I'm busy with the the garden:  weeding and watering and fighting stinkbugs and grasshoppers and tomato horn-worms.  Trying to keep it organic is a chore!

I need to get a few more reviews marked off the list.

Letters from Skye  by Jessica Brockmole.  It is a shame in many ways that letter-writing is a dying art.  Even before email, the habit of ink to page had declined because of the ease of actually speaking to someone via phone--no waiting involved for a letter to wend its way through the vagaries of the postal system.  

Although completely unable to write a decent letter myself, I've always loved stories told through letters, as well as reading the letters saved from previous generations of my family and those wonderful literary letters written by famous people.

Letters from Skye is a story told through letters, although the voices of the letter-writers didn't feel genuine to me. The love story between Davy and Elspeth and their "knowledge" of one another based on their exchanged something that quite escaped me.  And if their love story seemed a little thin, maybe it was because the characters seemed a little thin, lacking in meat and bone.

Not a bad way to while away the hours, but insubstantial fare.  Great cover, though!

NetGalley/Random House, Ballantine.

Historical? Chic Lit?  2013.  Print version:  304 pages.
  • ISBN-10: 0345542606

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teule (trans. Sue Dyson) posits a world in which global warming and environmental devastation have left the populace so depressed that the Tuvache family feels good about their avocation as the current generation to operate a family business offering methods of suicide for every pocketbook.  

The Tuvaches go about their business satisfied that they are filling a necessary societal niche;  until the arrival of their third child, who upsets the apple cart in a big way.   Described as a quirky black comedy, I had difficulty maintaining interest despite the fact that the book is very, very short.

Gallic Books.
Black Comedy.  2013.  169 pages.
  • ISBN-10: 1906040095

Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo is another post-apocalyptic zombie adventure.  Weak characters in an action-filled plot.  

Biggest problem:  a thirteen-year-old girl with no previous combat experience out-doing adult men with lots of experience in special forces and the marines, carting around 40-60 lbs. of equipment and being the best zombie killer.  EVER.  Hard to swallow that scenario.  

Oh, and the fact that the conclusion of Part I is like an inadvertent farce with adults going to dinner and a concert (and taking Faith (13) and Sophia (15) into a zombie-filled city where people are being killed and eaten with zest.  Yes, New York dining at its best.  Duh.  Go parents and Uncle Tommy!   
Naturally, they escape, make it to their boat and head for the high seas.  Part II all action.  Conclusion...none, to be continued.  Nope.

NetGalley/Baen Books.

Post-apocalyptic.  Sept. 2013.  Print version:  384 pages.
  • ISBN-10: 1451639198


  1. I have The Suicide Shop waiting for me. I'm sorry to hear it wasn't as good as expected. I do like the premise and hopefully I'll enjoy the book.

    Letters from Skye seems to have so much potential. It does have a pretty cover!

  2. Sounds like you had a busy weekend! We were out of town this past weekend. A not so fun trip that had quite a few fun moments--hard not to with a two year old in tow. I didn't get much reading done though.

    I love letter writing and am saddened it has died out. E-mail is faster and less costly, I suppose. I'm guilty of using it over writing a letter more often than not.

    I am not a big fan of books told in letters though. I usually find them disappointing.

    The Suicide Shop is a new one to me but it sounds interesting. It's too bad it wasn't better for you.

    I laughed as I read your thoughts on Under a Graveyard Sky. Suspicion of Disbelief only goes so far, doesn't it?

  3. Iliana - I suspect others will like The Suicide Shop better than I did. It just didn't quite work for me, but because it was so short, I kept reading. There were some amusing situations, but overall the humor seemed...forced? I'll be eager to hear your opinion.

    Wendy - Grinning at the thought of trips with two-year-olds! You need a pack horse for all of the necessary items. :)