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  • An heartwarming post-apocalyptic story

    Vanishing Hour, from author Lisa King, is a post apocalyptic novel, but far from what we usually expect from such of those. Matthew Werner is a seventy years old grumpy man. He has some mental issues. Which mental issues ? No one has even been able to diagnose them. He’s not sociable. He’s the opposite of sociable. He doesn’t like people. They’re LOUD and unpredictable. He doesn’t like the modern world, computers and mobile phones. He doesn’t like young people, the entitled « me, mine, me, mine » generation, their heads always into their little computers. He’s the kind of old guy whose each sentence would begin with « In my days... » and end up with « ...get off my lawn ! » He doesn’t have social anxiety. He has world anxiety, Hence, he seldom leaves his apartment, except on tuesdays, for a very difficult trip to the convenience store. He likes order, routine, predictability. In spite of his condition, he has been married. But, after decades of bliss, his wife, afflicted with Alzheimer, went out and has never been found again. She’s presumed dead by the police, but he still waits for her come back. Matthew is so recluse, that he barely notices the day the world crumbles down around him. Most people have just been wiped from the planet, in the span of a few hours, by a dormant virus. Ruby is a sick twelve year old girl. On apocalypse day, her mother hid her in a shelf, asking her to wait for her return. She waited for a week then ventured out to an empty world, and on the porch of Matthew’s house. Matthew doesn’t care for young people. He doesn’t know how to deal with people, lest alone young ones. He doesn’t understand feelings. However, Ruby manages to stir some of those into him. A bond, however unorthodox, has begun to form. Ruby is Matthew’s opposite. In spite of her condition, she’s an extreme optimist. If there is once chance over a hundred that her father and Matthew’s wife might still be alive, she wants to believe in it and go search for them. After some convincing, she embarks Matthew on a quest to do exactly that. Vanishing Hour isn’t a standard apocalypse novel. Its strengths stem from the evolving relationship between Matthew and Ruby. The weaknesses of the one fueling the strengths of the other. It speaks about mental disease, and the unwarranted stigma affixed to them. This is a book full of hope and optimism. And, it is uplifting. A trait rarely seen in apocalypse stories these days. It’s not perfect, exactly. On the way, the author couldn’t help but to introduce a standard apocalypse novel trope the book surely could have done without. There was a message in it but, in spite of not being an author, I think the point could have been made another way. Just after that less interesting chapter, though, the story goes back to its original and lovable premise. And, the epilogue proves more than satisfying. It’s an unusual entry into the genre. Highly recommended. Especially if you need some mental relief between two seasons of The Walking Dead and its monsters (the humans, not the zombies). Humanity. This novel is full of it. Thanks The Story Plant and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for this unbiased review.

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  • Up but in the Apocalypse

    Vanishing Hour by Lisa King is honestly one of my fave reads of 2020. This book is excellent! It has the coolest mix of thrills and fun all in one. It's got hints of Up since we have an older gentleman named Matthew and a young twelve year old named Ruby. These two get stuck together during the end of the world: Everyone without some sort of brain illness or injury doesn't get sick, but all the healthy people suddenly die. They chase after Matthew's wife (who had Alzheimer's) who walked off one day and are trying to figure out where the Horizon is, because Ruby's Dad might be there. It's quite the ride and I was thoroughly addicted to this book. Lisa's writing style is simple, easy and fast paced and kept me hooked the whole time. There was never a dull moment and I didn't expect some of the exciting parts of this plot that came about. I didn't expect there to be people trying to colonize (and maybe not doing a good job) and then that ending... Ugh. So sweet, so good, so cute! But massive cliffhanger! Break my heart Lisa! I love that this is Lisa King's first novel, because that means (more than likely) she's only going to get better. This was a stellar start and I can totally see people loving this book! It needs to find it's audience ASAP because it is just lovely. Add to the bonuses: Canadian author, actual medical terminology, and lots of character development! I wish apocalyptic horror was more like this. I'd enjoy the genre way more! I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who likes: fun thrillers, apocalyptic horror, a fast paced story or something to spice up their TBR. Five out of five stars.

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