Tag Archives: Beach Reads

Larry’s Post-Rapture Pet-Sitting Service, By Ellen King Rice #bookreview #beachread

While I was on vacation, I read Ellen King Rice’s new book, Larry’s Post-Rapture Pet-Sitting Service. What a hoot!  As with her previous books, it’s set in the South Puget Sound area of the Pacific Northwest. This book is a joy.

So, without further yak-yak, here is my review of

Larry’s Post-Rapture Pet-Sitting Service: A loser’s account of surviving the righteous and other afflictions, by Ellen King Rice

  • Publisher:Undergrowth Publishing (August 20, 2020)
  • Publication Date:August 20, 2020

But First, the Blurb:

One man with highly flexible morals and a dodgy past.

His mother, in dire need of beer and pretzels.

A history-mad teenager in search of a job.

And cats. Lots of cats.

As the alleged man of the house, Larry has to make ends meet, one way or another.

Selling post-Rapture pet care insurance seems simple enough.

Until Larry crosses paths with a left-behind televangelist looking to carve a new domain. Out of his hide, if he lets her.

Review: “A large and colorful cast of characters fills the novel, and their experiences and coping mechanisms in the rapture-altered world give the story a welcome variety of perspectives.” – Kirkus Reviews

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My Review:

I’m still smiling about this book. Larry is the most perfectly imperfect man ever. Marjorie is a wonderful person, a little rough around the edges, but possessing a heart of gold. Every cloud has a silver lining, but sometimes you have to hustle to get there first. Marjorie excels at keeping her son hustling.

Larry is accustomed to not flying first-class, so to speak, so he’s not surprised that he was left behind. He loves life and all the pickles he’d have missed had he been raptured or sent the other way.

I loved the notion that all the dogs went to Heaven.

Abigail Ross is a credible villain. The varying degrees of devotion her entourage of now-unenthusiastic minions feels for their employer since the rapture began is well-drawn. The many snake-like ways she tries to thwart Larry’s success kept me turning the page. I had to find out how everything was resolved.

Larry attracts a good posse. Every character in this group and their circumstances are unique, and yet they fit together, becoming stronger by virtue of being not quite saintly enough for the rapture.

I laughed out loud in many places, worried for Larry and his crew, and celebrated when certain animals were rescued.

If you like humor, dark or otherwise, and love thought provoking character-driven novels, this is one you should read.



About Ellen King Rice: Ellen  usually writes mysteries with mycological elements, but recent political events have drawn her out of the woods to admire the resilience of the people of the Pacific Northwest. Call it a Menippean satire for the modern era, or a rollicking tale of imperfect people surviving in uncertain times, this is a story of doggedness and pickles. Winner of a 2020 IPPY Gold medal for Best Regional Fiction for “Lichenwald” (and a 2019 Silver Medal IPPY award for “Undergrowth” and a Wishing Shelf Book Awards finalist for “The EvoAngel”) Ellen King Rice is a former wildlife biologist with passions for epigenetics and fungi. In her younger years she served as a wildlife conservation officer, a big game manager, an endangered species biologist and as a lobbyist for environmental issues.

You can find Ellen and her books at https://www.ellenkingrice.com/

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Myrddin Summer Beach Reads — Join The Party! #Giveaway

Rachel Tsoumbakos talks about the Myrddin Summer Beach Reads Facebook event. All the Edgewise Words Inn contributors will be there, along with many more. You just may find the book you’ve been waiting for!

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Myrddin Summer Beach Reads Party promo image

I know here in Australia, winter is coming. But, in the Northern hemisphere, things are heating up. And so it is time for the Myrddin Summer Beach Reads Party!

So just what is this magnificent event?

According to the official event page, the Myrddin Summer Beach Reads party aims to “introduce readers to the wonderful books by the Myrddin authors (and some of their friends) before summer officially starts.” This will give readers a chance to stock up on some great books across multiple genres before they hit the beach.

On offer during the event are the following prizes and giveaways:

  • $50 Amazon Gift Card grand prize
  • 2 “box-set” digital copies of the complete Tower of Bones series by Connie J Jasperson
  • 2 digital copies of Huw the Bard by Connie J Jasperson
  • 1 copy of Dorianna and 1 copy of Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine
  • A copy…

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My #beachreads: Tenth of December & The Husband’s Secret

For my vacation reading this year I had a bit of a split personality book-wise. I had packed George Saunders’ book of short-stories, Tenth of December, and while we were in Cannon Beach, my oldest daughter, Leah, and I went to the local book stores. She found a book by an Australian writer, Liane Moriarty, called The Husband’s Secret.

She liked it so much I had to make a Kindle purchase.

The two books are radically different. Tenth of December is literary science fiction. The Husband’s Secret is contemporary fiction. Both books are about the human condition, and both books are character driven.

Although they are widely different, they are windows into the human soul, and both authors had me thinking about their work long after I finished them. These reviews are now up on Goodreads ,  so my work there is done.

the husbands secretFirst up is The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty. Released in 2013 by Berkley, and Penguin in the US, this book is currently a #1 bestseller at Amazon, and Moriarty is listed in the top 100 authors there.

First the Blurb:

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died. . .

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

My review: This book is about loss and grief in Sydney, Australia–but it could easily have been set in Seattle or London and it would still feel true. These women are people you feel you know, and while they are not always likable, they are always true to who they are.

Several characters in the book have secrets they hold on to that they eventually reveal. The concepts of guilt and betrayal loom large in this tale, driving it to the shocking conclusion. Ethics and morality shift and bend under the stress, and three good women do things they consider heinous, and each finds herself justifying her actions.

The Berlin Wall is referred to throughout the novel as Cecelia’s daughter, Esther, works on her school project. And in fact, we learn that Cecilia met John-Paul on the day the Wall finally came down. The Wall is symbolic of many things in this tale, as Tess also has a connection to it.

Rachel is pinched and afraid to love anyone but her grandson. Her son is devastated by the loss of his sister and hurt by his mother’s distance. No matter how he tries, he can’t get close to her.

These are complicated women, faced with an unbearable situation. Their actions and the final resolution is completely true to their characters. This is a slow-moving tale action-wise, but it literally tears through the emotional gamut. I give The Husband’s Secret four and half stars.

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Tenth_of_DecemberNow we come to Tenth of December, by George Saunders, a book of short-stories, also first published as a book in 2013. I reviewed this book as an Audible book before, so you may have a feeling of déjà vu here!

First, the blurb:

In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.

Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.”

My Review:

Wow! For once, a book that has a blurb that really tells the truth. Saunders has the ability to get inside each of his characters’ heads, showing them sharply as unique individuals. They aren’t always nice, and certainly not always moral as I see morality, but Saunders portrays them with such vivid strokes that you feel as if you understand their reasoning.

For me, the most powerful tale in this collection of stunning tales was “Escape from Spiderhead.” This sci-fi tale has an almost Vonnegut-like flavor. It is a stark journey into the depths to which we humans are capable of sinking in the pursuit of knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Where does punishment end and inhumanity begin? This story lays bare concepts regarding our view of crime and punishment that are difficult, but which are important to consider. The scenario is exaggerated, as it is set in a future world, but it exposes the callous view society has in regard to criminals and what punishment they might deserve.

This was not my first trip through this book–the first time was as an Audible book, narrated by Saunders himself. He reads his work with passion and life–I loved hearing him read these tales. But reading them for myself was also a treat–I savored the written word the way he laid it down. I love authors who bend and twist words and phrases into works of art and that is what Saunders does.

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While I was on vacation, I enjoyed two wonderful books written by authors who couldn’t be more different in their approaches to writing. They both write in ways far different from my own approach. Both authors have given me ideas for my own work, in the way they approached certain technical aspects of the craft.

Yes, I was on vacation, but I can’t just leave writing behind–you know me better than that. In between grandkids and the family, I managed short bursts of work on two short-stories and continued revisions on the third book in the Tower of Bones series. Bless my hubby–he tolerates and encourages my obsession with this writing life.

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