Friday, November 27, 2009

The Day the Falls Stood Still Overview:Set against the backdrop of WWI and Niagara Falls, this debut tells the story of young Bess Heath and her struggle to navigate a quickly modernizing world. A child of privilege, Bess sees her fortunes change when her father loses his job. Cast into poverty, her family disgraced, Bess tries to hold things together while her sister slips into depression, her father drinks and her mother withdraws. After another tragedy strikes, Bess finds comfort in the love of Tom Cole, a river man with a mysterious connection to the falls. Overcoming the deep privation of the war and their own limited means, the two begin building a life together and renew their commitment to each other and their family.

I was browsing in Barnes & Noble and came across this book on a table of "New Fiction" books. (Yes...I'm a cheapskate...I don't buy books. I just use the store to get ideas for my reading list.)

The cover is absolutely breathtaking so I definitely feel I judged a book by its cover in this case. I remember reading the front inside cover flap and thinking "this sounds like a sweeping, romantic book. I'll read it." I put a request in at my local library and within a week or two the book came and I was ready to read it.

About a week in my husband asked me what the book was about. I read the inside flap of the cover to him and was embarrassed at how contrived the description sounded when one actually reads it out loud. It sounded so predictable and lame.

Unfortunately, after the first 150 pages, that's how this book seemed to me. Predictable and lame. It did start out good with the star-crossed lovers theme between the main characters of Bess and Tom, but it got really slow once Tom returned from WWI.

The author did a great job describing the beauty of Niagara Falls and the resiliency of the main character of Bess - especially her pre-wed years. However, I think her portrayal of the riverman, Tom Cole, was inconsistent. A man of his raw strength would just not slip in and out of the moodiness that she described throughout the book.

To recap:

Worth reading? No

Worth buying my own copy? Obviously no

Recommend to friends? Nope

Stars: 2 out of 5

A "trailer" for the book...not that great, but thought I'd share.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Dust of 100 Dogs

Back Cover Description:

In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of one hundred dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact. Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.

I wrapped up reading The Dust of 100 Dogs tonight. For as much as I live under a rock, I had read a lot of buzz about this book and was interested in finding out what made it so special. While it didn't blow me away, I did find it an enjoyable read and certainly applaud A.S. King with having a vivid imagination to pair up stories of 17th Century Ireland, piracy and modern teenage life into one story.

I really liked the character of Emer. I thought King did a nice job of developing her and maturing her through the book. Even though she was a feared pirate, she retained some of her Irish girlhood sweetness. I would have liked to have seen more character development of Seanie and their relationship.

The relationship of David and Emer would have been interesting to develop more. There was sort of a "Edward/Jacob" thing going on her (although likely very unintentional I'm sure.) I really wanted to see David fight more for Emer instead of just walking away like he did.

One point I have to say though. The character of Fred Livingstone was revolting. I know...he's suppose to be, but I think, considering this was labeled as YA, he was written a bit too crude and creepy for my taste. We could have used our imaginations more instead of reading about all the perverted things he did in the confines of his beach home.

The ending was really sweet...loved how King tied up the story and kept the magical tale of Emer and Seanie alive.

To Recap:

Worth Reading - Yes

Worth Buying My Own Copy - No

Recommend to Friends - Maybe...only the ones that would appreciate the creativity of it

Stars: 4 out of 5