Sunday, January 29, 2012

Book Review: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

Hi everyone!

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend! Yesterday was definitely a lazy day for me, but today I've got my butt in gear and my to-do list ready. Part of the reason I was so lazy yesterday was that I was wrapped up in a wonderful book!

I'm sure you've all seen trailers for Janet Evanovich's One for the Money? If not, here it is:

For years now, Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series has been on my to-read list. I've gotten so far behind, as Evanovich comes out with a new Plum novel every year and started the series when I was only 6 years old. Anyway, when I saw this trailer, I knew I had to get my butt in gear and finally start the series. I love Katherine Heigl and have had this series recommended to me so many times before. And, of course, I cannot watch a movie before reading the book if I'm at all remotely interested in reading the novel. So, I ordered a previously-loved copy through Paperback Swap and nestled in to read it.

Although the movie trailer follows the book's storyline relatively closely, here's a summary of the novel, courtesy of Goodreads:

Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash--fast--but times are tough, and soon she's forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.

Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie's bail bonding company. She's got no experience. But that doesn't matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants to the time Steph hit him with her father's Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water--wanted for murder.

Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn't. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she'll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight--and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man.

I devoured this novel in just three days, that's how great it was. It's a masterful cross between chick-lit and an action-thriller novel. Stephanie Plum is an overly-confident, clumsy, hilarious main character. She's struggling financially and desperate for any job that will allow her to keep her apartment and some food in her stomach. There are some more graphic scenes in the novel, but nothing so terribly grotesque to deter a reader from continuing. It was a little predictable, but in the fun, chick-lit way where you will continue reading for the adventure of it, not necessarily to find out the end. I highly recommend this for any readers who want a fun, relate-able character with an adventurous spirit. I will definitely be continuing to read this series. In fact, I've already got my order in on Paperback Swap for the second in the series, Two for the Dough.

Here are my stats for this book:
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 316
2012 Reading Goal: 2,716/15,000

You may have noticed (or not) that this is my 8th book so far in January. In fact, I'm already 1/5 of the way through with my reading goal for the year! I'm pretty excited about that, but worried I'll be falling behind any day now.

In other news, my first Grad School course is going really well. I've definitely missed devouring all information available on business and communication :) This week, I'm hoping to complete a paper for my class and file my taxes, all before I leave for Bismarck on Sunday. We won't even get into my organizational/cleaning goals. Fingers crossed I can keep my balance!

Have a great week and happy readings, everyone! :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Review: Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Hello again, readers! I told you I'd be I am! :)

Today I finished another wonderful novel (that's my 7th novel this month!) and wanted to share my review with you before I get too busy or forget.

I received a copy of Ashes to Dust from the publisher through Goodreads First Reads program, in exchange for an honest review. I was ecstatic. The summary made it sound incredible. Here it is, courtesy of Goodreads:

In 1973, a volcanic eruption buried an entire Icelandic village in lava and ash. Now this macabre tourist attraction proves deadly once again—when the discovery of fresh bodies casts a shadow of suspicion onto Markús Magnússon, a man accused of killing his childhood sweetheart. His attorney Thóra Guðmundsdóttir finds that her client has a most inventive story to tell. But the locals seem oddly reluctant to back him up...

On the front cover of my copy is a declaration that this book is "Iceland's answer to Steig Larsson" made by The Telegraph (UK). This made it even harder for me to put in my TBR pile and wait patiently for its turn to be read. When the time did come for this to be the next in line, I snatched it up and cruised through the first third of it before even coming up for air. It's that good, and that addicting. 

I've never read any story that takes place in Iceland, let alone a work translated from Icelandic. Surprisingly, this was an easy read. As it's been compared to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, I often hear criticism from others who have read Steig Larsson's works that the names and locations can be a challenge. I think Sigurdardottir has kept everything reasonably simplistic and easy for Americans to understand. The characters were interesting, but the story line is what really got readers interested. I must admit that throughout the story I flip-flopped several times on "who-dun-it". The ending had an incredible surprise twist, right up to the very last page (literally).

This is actually the third novel in a series, by the way. I'm confident I'll be reading the other books in the series. Hopefully soon.

I highly recommend this read for anyone who loves a good thriller, particularly international works. Unfortunately, this book doesn't go on sale until March 27, 2012. Amazon has a pretty decent preorder price, at $17.63 for the hardcover edition.

Here are my stats for the book:

Ashes to Dust by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Rating: 4/5
Pages: 360
2012 Reading Goal: 2,400/15,000

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay

Happy Sunday, readers!

It's been a crazy busy week for me, so I'm excited to announce that I've been able to squish some reading time in here and there. One of the books I read on my Kindle was Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay.

As you may recall, I'm working to declutter my apartment, as per my Project Declutter 2012. In doing so, I'm looking for inspiration to rid myself of unnecessary items. I purchased this e-book on Amazon for just $0.99. Here's my following conversation with Matt:

Leah: Hey, you remember that decluttering project? I just bought a couple of books to inspire me.
Matt: You're trying to declutter? So you bought more books?
Leah: It's ok, they're e-books. It doesn't count.
Matt: e-books just lead to e-clutter. Remember that.
Leah: --confused--

Anyway, here's the description of the book, courtesy of Goodreads:

Would you like to live a beautiful life with less stuff?

This delightful collection of articles by Francine Jay, author of “The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide,” provides great inspiration to pare down your possessions. Jay breezes from practical topics, like “What’s in a Minimalist Kitchen” and “How Many Shoes are Enough,” to more philosophical musings, like what the Japanese or ancient Greeks can teach us about simple living.

Along with valuable tips and advice, the author shares her personal stories about decluttering and living with less. Her warmth, humor, and encouraging tone make you feel like you’re chatting with a good friend over a cup of coffee—a friend you’d love to invite over to clean out your closets!

These essays are a wonderful introduction to minimalist living, written by someone with a genuine passion for the topic. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your clutter, or disenchanted with consumerism, you’ll find a kindred soul (and a wealth of advice) in Miss Minimalist. Best of all: you’ll likely empty a drawer or two by the time you’ve finished reading!

I was pretty excited to dive into this short (98-page) inspirational novel comprised of essays. I've read a few books before on the subject of simplifying your life or decluttering your home. Usually they at least charge my batteries for a few weeks, enough to get a couple of projects done. Was I inspired by Miss Minimalist? Not so much. I found the book to be terribly self-absorbed and illogical. I respond best to the author's analysis of why we, as a society, clutter the way we do. Instead, I felt Jay attacked readers and forced her tales of how awesome her lifestyle is on them. For example, Jay addresses shoes. Instead of pointing out how silly it is that we in society feel it necessary to own 80 pairs of shoes, she simply talks about herself: how she owns six pairs, what they're used for, and how wonderful her lifestyle is because of it.

Essentially, I did not feel inspired. I felt criticized for not already being a minimalist. This is not a book I would recommend anyone read unless they are currently a minimalist and appreciate the gloating of others.

My stats:
Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay
Rating: 2/5
Pages: 98
2012 Reading Goal: 2,040/15,000

I also completed another novel this weekend, so hopefully I'll blog again soon! Happy readings!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett

Hello again, readers!

This is me, swinging into reading...
except that I'm blonde. And a girl.
I know that it looks like I've gone a little manic with my blogging so far this year. This will be my 6th entry of 2012, meaning I'm posting every 3-4 days on average. Throughout the year I average less than one per week, so don't fret. I'll calm down soon, I promise. Once this grad school class starts kicking my butt, that is...

I have been reading a lot. Very much above my average rate. January is usually a really good time for me to swing into reading, but it always fizzles out come February. I guess I'll keep swinging until I fall off!

Anyway, I completed another novel over the weekend. It was a super quick, light read that sucked me in right from the get-go. I won a copy of  Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett through the Goodreads Firstreads program from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. What is it about, you ask? Well, here is the summary from Goodreads:

A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family
He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants to meet his father who abandoned his beloved mother before Colm was born.
But the quest to find the dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven.
A magnificent debut novel, Mary Curran Hackett’s Proof of Heaven is a beautiful and unforgettable exploration of the power of love and the monumental questions of life, death, and the afterlife.

The description caught my eye immediately, and I knew this was a novel I would have to read, whether I received a free copy or not. I was pleasantly surprised. It's somewhat of a cross between a Jodi Picoult novel and The Shack by William Paul Young. It exposed the sometimes flawed, yet unbreakable relationship between parent and child, in spite of all obstacles. It also examines death, and the unfortunate reality some children must face recognizing how fragile life is. Cathleen is a young, single mom abandoned by a boyfriend months before her baby was born. Colm is a mature, wise seven-year-old struggling with disappointing his mother. Cathleen's brother, Sean, also plays a large role in Colm's life and perception of the world, God, and the afterlife. These characters blend together to make a wonderfully realistic, tragic, and triumphant story. I look forward to future novels by Hackett.

Here are my stats:
Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 336
2012 Reading Goal: 1,942/15,000

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

And now, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I thought I'd share my top 3 favorite MLK quotes with everyone:

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?'"

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"
and, not surprisingly, as a higher education fanatic:

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character--THAT is the goal of true education"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Project Declutter 2012

I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions, aside from my annual page goals. I find that I set too many goals, get overwhelmed by them, and forget about them a few months later. Nothing really gets accomplished, so there's no point in me setting them.


This year, aside from my page goal, I do have a project in mind. I've declared it "Project Declutter 2012". I have a small two-bedroom apartment and a lot of stuff. Although I live with someone else, I will admit that most of this "stuff" is mine. I'm one of those "what if" people... you know the type. I'm always thinking But what if I need that... or, more commonly, but what if I want to read that again or loan it to a friend? As a result, my apartment is more cluttered than I would like for it to be. Matt and I also have a lot of items lying around that we really don't need or use frequently enough to warrant holding onto them.

So, I am working to get rid of some of our stuff, bit by bit. My first step? Books.

When Matt left college, he packed everything into boxes and moved out East. With everything, including boxes and boxes of college textbooks. Since April, I've been asking him what he plans to do with the textbooks. He told me just to donate them, because he doesn't want to spend the time or energy to sell them. I've always sold my used textbooks online the semester after I used them (except for the rare few I've decided to keep). I sell my books on, an ebay company. This way, I at least get back some of my investment. Let's face it: when we donate textbooks to Goodwill and other thrift shops, how often are they purchased and read? I feel it's a better idea to pass it on to someone who will use it, and get back some of your investment in the process.

Project Declutter 2012 started at the end of December (the end of the semester/quarter for most students) with me posting Matt's textbooks to The result? We have made hundreds of dollars. No joke. Since Matt didn't want to invest the time or effort to post the books for sale and make several trips to the post office per week, we agreed all sales from our textbooks go towards our wedding. Fair enough. So, after a month of wrapping textbooks and shipping them out, we have a solid savings for our wedding, just by getting rid of some of this "stuff". Totally worth it.

But, as I mentioned earlier, most of this "stuff" isn't Matt's. It's mine. I'm probably one of the worst book hoarders you'll ever meet. I'm always so hesitant to let go of books, so they just keep piling up. I have, to date, over 159 unread books in my possession--audiobooks, kindle books, and beautifully-bound print books. To put how high that number is into perspective, keep in mind that last year I only read 38 bound books. I did listen to about 14 audiobooks. So, with the assumption that I go through approximately 52 books a year, it will take me at least 3 years to go through all the books in my possession! Crazy, right? And, that's under the assumption that I wouldn't purchase any more books throughout those 3 years. Yeah, right!

Here's how I mentally defend keeping the books on my bookshelves:
  • This was a favorite book. I wouldn't rule out the idea that I won't read it again.
  • I started this book and couldn't get through it. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood. I'll pick it up again...someday.
  • I read this book and it was ok, but certainly not a favorite. Maybe I should hold onto it, though, in case I think someone else would really like it.
  • It's part of a series. I can't break the series apart. If I liked one book in the series, I must keep all the books in the series.
  • I paid full price for this book. Regardless of whether I liked it or not, I'm going to keep it.
  • A friend gave this book to me. Sentimental value. Awww....
That's how it starts. And to be honest, I've had some of these books on my shelf for 5 years for these reasons. The worst one is the "I started this book and couldn't get through it....". I have tons of books on my shelf that I think deserve a second chance. Whenever I've granted them a second chance, not one of them has been worthy of it. I need to move on. My fifth grade teacher always told us not to give up on a book before the third chapter. What I need to learn is that it's ok to give up on a book if you've read the first three chapters and didn't like them.

Ok, are you all ready to see something embarrassing? No judgements, ok? Here it is...

 This is what I call my "book nook". It's my little book corner nestled between my reading loveseat and my desk in our second bedroom. I have 7.5 shelves stuffed with books! As you can see, I've got a box of additional unread books sitting on the floor in front of my shelves. This is terrible! I also have pockets of books scattered around the apartment (like the stack of eight books for review that sit on my desk).

I have a problem.

So, this is where Project Declutter 2012 comes in: PaperBackSwap. This site allows you to pass your books on to other book addicts. The way the site works is like this: you post books on your shelves you would like to pass along to other members of the site. A member requests a book from you. You pay postage and pass it along. You can also request books from other readers. For each book you pass along, you receive one credit. Each book requested from another reader costs you one credit. So, it's like a Pay it Forward idea--you pay postage to pass along your book, and can request books free from other members after you do.

Now, because I'm sure some of you have figured out the issue: for every one book I get off of my shelves, I put another back on. You clever readers, you. You're right. Here's how I plan to start decluttering: audiobooks. I listen to so many audiobooks that I subscribe to I can order audiobooks on PaperBackSwap for two credits. This way, I can get rid of my Audible account (saving me $14.95 each month), pass along my lovely books to readers who will appreciate them, and start slowly making room for books I really do want to keep on my shelves.

So far, I would declare Project Declutter 2012 a success. I'm hoping to continue to remove my clutter and pass it on to those who want/need these items. I hope you all are inspired to start decluttering your place, too!

Book Review: Scent of Double Deception

Hi readers!

I'm sorry to be a little behind on my reviewing. This week definitely kicked my butt. I was sick last week and this week, have started my grad school class, and have been busy at work. Yuck. But, alas, I have some time on this lovely, snowy Saturday afternoon to curl up with a coffee and book blog and do some reflecting.

Last weekend I finished A Scent of Double Deception by Jeannie Faulkner Barber and Ann Alan. I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads Firstreads program, and it's even autographed by Jeannie Faulkner Barber!

I'll bet you're excited for the summary! Here it is, courtesy of Goodreads:

Two women, two identities, one lie.

An innocent charade catapults Clair Matthews and Kelley Malone into mystery and deception.

Rugged cattleman Joe Paul Farrell falls victim to Kelley's elusive charms. Russell Gibson, loyal private investigator, enters a dangerous liaison. Bodyguard Spencer Walker desires the woman he cannot possess.

An ocean away, ruthless Linford Thurlow sets in motion a decades-old plan.

Six peoples' lives interlace through conflict and romance, but whom, if any, will succumb to a murderous plot of betrayal?

This was a fun, light-hearted, quick read.  The characters are likeable enough and the storyline had great twists. However, I do have some minor complaints. I didn't feel as though character development was where it should have been. I wanted to really understand and relate to the two main characters, and didn't get enough of that. I also got confused, frequently. The transitions were a little rough at times. The story is also introduced with two women pretending to be two other women, so it was extremely challenging to figure out what was going on within the first chapter.

Overall, it was good, and I may pick up a novel from these two authors in the future. Those of you who like Sandra Brown may enjoy it. As for me? I give it a 3/5.

Here are my stats:
Scent of Double Deception by Jeannie Faulkner Barber & Ann Alan
Rating: 3/5

Pages: 259
2012 Reading Goal: 1,606/15,000

Have a happy Saturday, everyone! :)

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review: State of Fear by Michael Crichton

Hello again, readers!

I should begin by telling you that I don't like science. Not one bit. I'm bad at it, it doesn't make sense to me, and I've never had a teacher who really made it a subject I could understand. If given the choice, I avoid anything that may have to do with science. When I was in college, we had to take a few science classes (damn these Liberal Arts schools...who wants to be "well-rounded" anyways?). I took a geology class and was shocked to find that I loved it. Much of our studies revolved around dinosaurs, which are definitely a favorite subject of mine. So, it was fitting that our instructor would assign us reading Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. I loved it as much, if not more than the movie. I devoured it in one day, and fell in love with Crichton's talent.

That's how you know an author is good: when their writing makes a subject you hate into a novel you love.

So, for my second Michael Crichton novel (and certainly not my last), I read State of Fear. Here's the summary from Goodreads:

In Paris, a physicist dies after performing a laboratory experiment for a beautiful visitor.

In the jungles of Malaysia, a mysterious buyer purchases deadly cavitation technology, built to his specifications.

In Vancouver, a small research submarine is leased for use in the waters off New Guinea.

And in Tokyo, an intelligence agent tries to understand what it all means.

The description is pretty light on details, for being a rather thick book. Essentially, the novel is about global warming. Whether you believe in global warming or not (I'm not going to go all Al Gore here), this is a novel that should be high up on your reading list. It's got adventure, excitement, deceit, and, with any good novel, a hint of sexual tension among a few characters. I found it so hard to put down. If you like "technological thrillers", this is definitely a novel for you. Even if you liked Dan Brown--pick up some Crichton. You won't regret it, I promise.

Now that I've finished this novel (it took under one week), I have a small emptiness inside of me. Hopefully I can find another good novel to fill it with soon!

Here are my stats for this book:
State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 640 (that I read--this does not include the Bibliography)
2012 Reading Goal: 1,347/15,000

I hope you all have a wonderful book waiting for you today. Have a wonderful Saturday, readers! :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: Single in the City by Michele Gorman

I'm already a little behind on my posts for reviews. *sigh* so much for a new year, right? Anyway, on Sunday (Jan 1st) I finished another book, in addition to The Leftovers. It was a very different genre from The Leftovers, and one I really enjoyed reading: Single in the City by Michele Gorman.

I had entered to win this novel in a giveaway through Goodreads' FirstReads program. I did not "win" a copy of the novel. A few days later, I was contacted by the author who asked if I would mind reading and reviewing the book anyway. I agreed, and she purchased the Kindle edition for me as a "gift" through Amazon.

Although it's a lesser-known novel, I would rank it right up there with the well-known Sophie Kinsella/Madeline Wickham, Jane Green, or Jennifer Weiner. Here's the book's description, courtesy of Goodreads:

Take one twenty six year old American, add to one two thousand year old city, add a big dose of culture clash and stir.

To think Hannah ever believed that Americans differed from Brits mainly in pronunciation, sophistication and dentistry. That’s been the understatement of a lifetime.

She lands upon England’s gentle shores with no job, no friends and no idea how she’s supposed to build the life she’s dreaming of.

Armed with little more than her enthusiasm, she charges headlong into London, baffling the locals in her pursuit of a new life, new love and sense of herself. 

Hannah is a very likeable character. I related to her in the personal aspect. Unlike Hannah, I have never spread my wings and moved to another country spontaneously. I've never even visited Great Britain, so I often couldn't relate to the little quirky cultural differences. What I appreciated was that Hannah was like the rest of us women, but acted on her ideas. At some point (often in our twenties, as with Hannah), we feel the need to run from everything that could possibly be holding us behind. However, we tend to stay where we are, in hopes things will get better. Hannah leaves all that may be holding her behind, even though it means leaving behind some things she'd rather not abandon (like her best friend, Stacy). For this, I envied her. Because of this, I soaked up every experience she had in London--from flings to romances to fall-over-laughing anecdotes. I highly recommend this novel for any woman who has ever wondered "what if..."

Here are my stats for the book:

Single in the City  by Michele Gorman

Rating: 4/5
Pages: 352
2012 Reading Goal: 707/15,000

For the record, this was my first e-book. Ever. It wasn't so bad. Maybe I can be a Kindle convert after all...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book Review: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

I hope everyone has had a great new year so far! I'm excited for 2012, as seems to be the general consensus. While most people spent the first day of the new year at the gym working toward their weight loss resolution, I spent my day curled up on the couch, working on mine. I'm sure you're all aware of just how nervous I am about meeting my 15,000 page goal this year, since I'm taking on a large load. Therefore, I'm trying to crank out pages right away in the new year. My 15,000 page goal demands that I read a minimum of 1,250 pages a month. I know that's not always going to be attainable, so I'll try to make up for it on my breaks. I have tomorrow off from work (hello, cleaning and reading) for the new year. I begin classes on Monday, January 9th. That gives me a short amount of time to crank out some pages, but I'll do what I can ;)

My first book of the year? Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers. I won an autographed copy of this book through Shelf Awareness, which was a complete surprise because I didn't even know they do giveaways! Anyway, I was super excited because I've seen reviews of this book, all ranked pretty highly. I was also nervous to actually pick it up because I don't believe in the Rapture. Period. I tried reading the Left Behind series on recommendations of religiously zealous friends, and could not bring myself to believe them. They were as real to me as Star Wars.

For those of you unaware of The Leftovers, here's the Goodreads summary:

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.

With heart, intelligence and a rare ability to illuminate the struggles inherent in ordinary lives, Tom Perrotta has written a startling, thought-provoking novel about love, connection and loss.

I was pretty impressed. This isn't a story as much about the Rapture as it is about the aftermath. Perrotta is not shoving religious beliefs upon anyone; rather, he is detailing an observance of a small community after the departure of their loved ones. The characters themselves aren't extremely likeable, but a reader finds them relate-able because of the grief the characters are facing. I found myself wanting more. The ending, in my mind, was insufficient. I sincerely hope Perrotta follows up on the community he's exposed us to.

Those of you who enjoy thinking about "what might be" and apocalyptic scenarios (maybe without the religious ties) need to check out this book.

My stats:
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Rating: 4/5
Pages: 355
2012 Reading Goal: 355/12,500

*Wishing you all Happy Readings in 2012*