Monday, October 20, 2014

Books that were Just "Meh" for Me....( no plots, just thoughts)

The Secrets of Sloane House by Shelly Gray

I have to admit to being disappointed by a book that seemed to pale in comparison with its premise. Wanting a little more oomph, edge and feeling of suspense to the story, I was disappointed that, instead, it played out in a light and almost saccharine manner.

Secrets of Sloane House does well at capitalizing on a gorgeous part of American history and setting it one of the most intriguing American cities. Further, the Upstairs/Downstairs feel to the story---and the cross-social-barrier love story-- all play into popular tropes of our day. While Gray holds a competent pen and can easily (if someone straightforwardly ) usher us from A to B, I found this read to lack passion, the aforementioned suspense, and the "things that go bump in the night" prickles I wanted from a mystery. Great concept... not so great final product

To add, the evangelical themes are a little heavy-handed with the author relying on italicized prayers and moments of blatant conversation and spiritual understanding.

I encourage this author to take a chance, fling open the door, colour outside the lines. There is a rigidity to the structure of this mystery that is just a little too careful. With more edge and more suspense, it is a great idea.....

(copy provided by the BookLook Program via Zondervan

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

There is no doubt that Graeme Simsion excels at voice and world. He is more than true and faithful to his unique and eccentric construct and he inhabits it with a quirky narrative and sly, shy sense of humour that is at times awkward and beguiling.  Like the greatest fictional puzzles of our day---like Sherlock Holmes and Sheldon Cooper-- I remain excited that I can want to hug Don Tillman and punch him at the same time.

A few missteps in humour and a lot of perambulatory information kept this from flowing as smoothly and conversationally as the first in what I anticipate will be a series.  

A few cute quotes:

"My love for Rosie was so powerful that it had caused my brain to make a grammatical error."

"I had also, at various times, been labelled schizophrenic, bipolar, an OCD sufferer and a typical gemini."

" I was seeing variations of the world's most beautiful woman. It was like listening to a new version of a favourite song."

"Sex was absolutely not allowed to be scheduled, at least not by explicit discussion, but I had become familiar with the sequence of events likely to precipitate it, a blueberry muffin from Blue Sky Bakery, a triple shot of espresso from Otha's, removal of my shirt, and my impersonation of Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird. I had learned not to do all four in the same sequence on every occasion, as my intention would then be obvious."

Why the Sky is Blue by Susan Meissner

Obviously Meissner is a skilled writer and yet I find every time I pick up one of her novels I am expecting more than what I am given.  Perhaps this is because she is long toted and praised and my expectations are just too high  (my fault, not hers).   Why the Sky is Blue does well at asking interesting questions and flashing from familial relationship to dysfunctional familial relationship, but at a cost.  I found the overt-evangelical threads to this novel to be a little heavy-hitting.  Indeed, there were moments where I waded out of transformative fiction to agenda and propaganda.  This is one of Meissner's earlier works and I can whole-heartedly say she has evened out the balance and now paints faith with a more subtle, deft stroke of brush, but it did mar my taste of the story.

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