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review 2015-12-27 02:46
Apocalypse Idaho - Rich Lundeen

First published: January 29th, 2015
2015 Popsugar RC Category: A Book You Own But Have Never Read
My Star Rating: star_png1597star_png1578star_png1578star_png1578star_png1578

*I won this book through goodread's First Reads program*

BLUF: Pass! This would make a good movie, but is not a good book. (A movie would likely take away the unnecessary asides and analogies that are on most of the pages of this book.)

Plot: Apocalypse Idaho follows a misfit of characters in their fight for survival. Three students, one janitor, and one "better-than-you" movie star wake one morning to find their town deserted and isolated by no electricity or cell service. While determining the best route forward, the group encounters a practically invincible vampire, which they don't kill, but somehow manage to flee from after an intense fight. It's not a question of if, but how long can this group survive?

Story: The story itself isn't bad. It's exactly what you would want from an apocalyptic novel. The problem is the characters and the narration.

Characters: The two characters which I most hated are one of the students, Nathan, and the movie star, Derek. Nathan does not shut up. He is awkward. His is annoying. What's more, the author didn't mention that he has albino white hair until the last third of the book. (These things are important for my visualization of the book. )

Derek, on the other hand, is a total a-hole. He thinks he is better than everybody and has no problem acting the part. He is an unapologetic, egotistical self-centered crazy b. Not my thing.

[Spoiler: On top of these two, we have Autumn. Autumn cold-heartedly dumped our janitor for Derek and spends the book hidden safely in Derek's house. After release, she watches the video of her husband about to die and all she thinks is "That’s not even where I was, Johnny".]

Narration: The author tries too hard to be funny/satirical/whatever.

"But the darkness doesn't stop her. Julie can see in the blackness. Her last name is Black"

"During World War II the factory was converted to fight Nazis somehow, where it undoubtedly helped pave the way for an allied victory."

"It looks Really Really Fucking Big. The underlined capital letters in Derek Darius's voice were audible. It’s an inflection point that says, this needs emphasis. One of the vampires is really really fucking big."

"One-Eye creeps forward, past Campbell’s tomato soup and well into Progresso territory."

"Still, on the plus side,” Nathan says, “at least we’re not in Utah..."

and my favorite:

"Nathan, just because we were attacked by something doesn’t mean we’re part of a science fiction story. We’re a group of Idahoans. You’re with real people who care about each other. Yes, we’ve been through something none of us understand, but we won, and we’re still alive. It’s over. And even if it’s not, even if there are more of those things out there, we can get through this together. If we’re strong and we stick together, we can all make it out of this alive.”

Nathan’s eyes are intent. He’s pretty much speechless.

“Johnny, are you fucking retarded? ”"

On top of this, the constant analogies made me want to throw this book against the wall.

"There are parallels to a hostage negotiation scenario, but the distinct difference is that instead of police trying to rescue hostages there are vampires trying to eat them."

"It seems like the vampires are playing with the group. Nathan saw a documentary once where dolphins did something like this with fish they were eating. They would jump and play and even though they’re in the ocean you could almost hear them laughing as they ruthlessly rounded up and massacred the entire school. Fucking evil dolphins."

"It’s opinions like these that separate the optimists from the pessimists “There’s a 99% chance we’re going to die horrible deaths here,” the pessimist might say. “No,” the optimist would disagree. “There’s a 1% chance some of us might live.” It’s the classic glass half empty half full question, but with probabilities of dying."

If that's not enough, you have circular reasoning.

"The omnipresent sense of dread is almost absent from Johnny/ Autumn’s home. Instead it’s replaced with a feeling of familiarity and also of creepiness. In a way, the creepiness is there because of the familiarity."

"“If you die while we’re out,” he says, “you’re going to be dead a long time.”"

"If Derek Darius is the one who randomly does the expected, then Nathan Montgomery is the one who is expected to be random."

The narration made it feel like the author was trying for a cult classic and, I'm sorry, it didn't do it for me.

Side note: I am one of the 4% on goodreads.com who gave this a 1 star. While I am surprised, I feel like I have to disclose this as I am obviously an outlier with this opinion.


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text 2015-03-31 07:12
PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge - March
Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn
The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
First Frost - Sarah Addison Allen
The Escape - Mary Balogh

Only 4 books of my reading in March qualified for this challenge:


  • A book with more than 500 pages:   Deanna Raybourn    – Silent in the Grave
  • A book a friend recommended:        Katherine Addison    – The Goblin Emperor
  • A book set in a different country:     Mary Balogh              – The Escape
  • A book that made you cry:               Sarah Addison Allen  – First Frost


Other books I read and reviewed in March:


  1. Mary Stewart        – Nine Coaches Waiting
  2. Mary Balogh        – The Proposal
  3. Mary Balogh        – The Arrangement
  4. Georgette Heyer  – Faro's Daughter
  5. Ilona Andrews      – Burn for Me


There were a couple of DNFs too, but I already forgot them.

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text 2015-03-02 05:41
PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge - February

Among the books I read in February, the following 7 qualified for this challenge:


  • A book published this year      Lisa Shearin – The Dragon Conspiracy
  • A book by a female author      Elaine Fox – If the Slipper Fits
  • A book with magic                   Frank Tuttle – All the Turns of Light
  • A book with a number in the title    Helene Hanff – 84, Charing Cross Road
  • A mystery or thriller                 Judith Flanders – A Murder of Magpies
  • A classic romance                   Julia Quinn – The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy
  • A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet       Jayne Ann Krentz – Trust No One


I guess I've exhausted the easily filled entries of the challenge. From now on it will be harder.


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text 2015-02-01 02:19
PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge - January update
Wild Card (Raine Benares) - Lisa Shearin
Downpour - Kat Richardson
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories - Rainbow Rowell,Holly Black,Laini Taylor,Myra McEntire,Kiersten White,Stephanie Perkins,Gayle Forman,Matt de la Pena,Jenny Han,Ally Carter,Kelly Link,David Levithan
Demon Hunter - Jenny Schwartz
How Mirka Met a Meteorite - Barry Deutsch
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place - Julie Berry
The Misfortune Cookie - Laura Resnick
The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel - Nina George,Simon Pare

I'm participating in the PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge – halfheartedly. I don't read anything specifically to fit the definitions in the challenge but whenever I read something, I look into their list to see if anything fits. Here is my update for January. Of the 50 books in the list, I filled out 8.


  1. A book with nonhuman characters:  Lisa Shearin – Wild Card
  2. A book with a one-word title:      Kat Richardson – Downpour
  3. A book of short stories:              My True Love Gave to Me: 12 Holiday Stories
  4. A book you can finish in a day:  Jenny Schwartz – Demon Hunter
  5. A graphic novel:      Barry Deutsch – Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
  6. A funny book:         Julie Berry – The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place
  7. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit:  Laura Resnick – The Misfortune Cookie
  8. A book originally written in a different language: Nina George – The Little Paris Bookshop
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text 2015-01-04 09:21
Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge in a googledoc

I have seen lots of mention of the PopSugar 2015 reading challenge, and it looks like a good one.   For those who have missed it, you can find it at Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge.  They offer a downloadable PDF where you can check the boxes.  That is terribly insufficient for a compulsive list maker/life logger like myself, so I put it in a googledoc.  Below is the link to the doc, which is basically the list with column headers for the book and date read.  Feel free to make your own copy and tailor it as you see fit.




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