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Tag: heather walsh

The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh

I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but look at that! How could I not? It’s a beautiful cover, you have to admit. The Drake Equation by Heather Walsh is a good story. Not wholly life altering perhaps, but for a book with a dreamy cover that promises ‘a contemporary love story’, it’s awesome.

Summary: She’s a Democrat, he’s a Republican. She spends her days
fighting global warming at an environmental non-profit, he makes his living
doing PR for Bell Motors and their fleet of SUVs. But as soon as they meet,
Emily Crossley and Robert Drake realize they have encountered their
intellectual match. You’re never challenged, he tells her. You’ve surrounded
yourself in a cocoon of people who think exactly the same way you do. She hurls
the same accusation back at him, and the fiery debates begin. Despite both of their
attempts to derail it, there is no denying that they are falling in love. But
their relationship is threatened by political differences, Robert’s excessive
work hours, and Emily’s fear of losing her identity as she falls deeper in
love. Can their love survive? The Drake Equation is a tale of modern love and
all its complexities.

My thoughts: When Robert and Emily met, I felt I knew what was going to happen; how the plot was going to play out. Romance novels can be awfully predictable. But The Drake Equation wasn’t all that formulaic. The love story was both gradual and instant. A long time passed before either of them was serious about the relationship; though that didn’t happen many pages into the book. But the initial inevitable attraction, the eventual relationship weren’t too drawn out. I liked that there was so much fun dialogue, and few descriptions of fluttering hearts and insanely attractive knights-in-shining-armours. The conversations, the playful arguments and the serious discussions were precious. Both Emily and Robert started out as stereotypes (they definitely stereotyped each other), but they weren’t picked straight out of a fairytale. They were real and really interesting. They grew with the relationship and ended up in an altogether different place than they’d started. I still wasn’t sure why I so liked the book until I read that very nicely dealt with ending. The Drake Equation is not just another cozy romance, a quick breezy read; though it does a good job convincing you it is. I enjoyed the book immensely because of that: that easy flow it maintained despite all that seemed to be going on; even the often unfocused chaotic plot, managed to be very engaging.

There were other characters that were nice and funny, and some that were perfectly capable of shocking/disgusting me, none of them redundant. There were delightful bits of information about every thing from language to food, fascinating talks about Charlotte Bronte and Carl Sagan, politics and environment. The book did make a point in the end, a big one; and had many small messages strewn over the pages. It had quite a bit of The Pride and Prejudice ‘do-i-know-me’ and ‘am-i-really-sure-i’m-right’ theme. But I don’t want to talk about the things the book made me (re)consider, I don’t wish to spoil the experience for you. You’d want to analyze the story, not to mention, heart-flutter over Robert Drake/Emily Crossley all on your own.

Huh. I guess I only thought I was a cynic, when all this time I’m just a goofy romantic. That’s correct, this is one of those rare times when I recommend a love story on this blog.

If you are still not convinced you’d like this; read Dented Cans, the author’s debut novel which was more of a your-and-my kind of book. You don’t want to miss this author!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.

Dented Cans by Heather Walsh

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: A family secret is revealed
during an ill-fated—yet hilarious—trip to Disney World.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Sampson knows her family is not what you would call
normal. Her father compulsively buys dented cans and has a particular fondness
for cans without labels, which are extremely discounted because their contents
are a mystery. Her mother takes countless pictures of her family and then glues
them down into the pages of her scrapbooks, but does not allow anyone to look
at them. Ryan, Hannah’s mischievous fourteen-year-old brother, is headed
straight for the remedial track at the local community college, if he’s lucky.
Ben, her eight-year-old brother, is a walking sound effects machine, who
prefers to communicate with noises rather than words. While Hannah is focused
on escaping her working-class Connecticut suburb, she also finds herself being
tugged back home as she worries about her brother Ben.

Hannah’s parents inflict one last family vacation on the Sampson children, a
trip that goes comically wrong almost from the get-go. Hannah is forced to
confront her family’s past in Disney World, of all places, when an emotional
argument prompts her parents to disclose a secret they have been keeping from
the children for sixteen years. Ultimately, she must decide whether to leave
her hometown and not look back, or to focus on helping her family.

My thoughts: You know how sometimes a
great book comes along that on putting alongside all the review copies you have
read up to that point, seems, most incredibly, even greater. Last year, it may
have been The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap that did that for me. This year, it
is Dented Cans. It would be rather unfair and would count as cheating to go
back and slightly reduce the ratings of all the books I’ve reviewed (I only
rate review copies, the idea of giving books stars bothers me, but that’s
another issue.) So, instead I’m going to give this book six stars (out of
five… yes, that was a joke.) Dented Cans has left me in complete awe.
I could easily identify with Hannah. For one, she has a habit of going off on tangents and tends to ramble. That may be a problem for some readers, but she seemed quite sensible to me. Hannah seems much older than she is, too thoughtful, always worrying, responsible, while still being quirky and ready, even at the most uncanniest of times, for a laugh! Most writers tend to make kids seem more childish than they ought to be at that age, but Heather hasn’t made that mistake with Hannah. She adds a sort of dry humour, which adds a dash of bright colour to the otherwise darker story.
All the characters in this book might as well be real people with real problems, just trying to find their place in this world. The family that Heather has created is so fleshed out, Ryan and Hannah, Mom and Dad and even the ones that are only referred. The book really made me think and the thoughts revolved around in my mind for a long time. You could say the book is about family secrets, or the fact that there is a lot more to people than you see on the outside. Every person has some story hidden deep under, that makes them into what they are, makes them do the things they do and we may not always be quite able to understand it. But we ought to respect it. 
It seemed like such an odd book, with the strange title and the cover that gives it the appearance of a non-fiction about dented cans. You don’t have any girls in huge gowns with fancy hair and painted faces on the cover, though it seems to be so ‘in’ these days. The book, quite like its cover, is like nothing I’ve already come across. If you’re one of those readers, who steer clear of self-published books, this little novel might just change your mind. Grab your copy right now!