Book Review: Last Chance Saloon (Marian Keyes)

Last chance saloon

Plot:

Ever since legwarmers were cool, best friends Tara, Katherine, and Fintan have survived small-town ennui, big-city heartbreak, and endless giddy nights out on the town. But now that they’ve graduated to their slightly more serious thirties, only Fintan has what can honestly be called a “love life.” With Tara struggling daily with her eternal diet—and her dreadful, penny-pinching boyfriend—and Katherine keeping her single existence as organized as her drawer full of matching bra and panty sets, it seems they’ll never locate the exit door out of the “last chance saloon.”

But it’s always when you are least ready for change that fate insists on one. And when catastrophe inevitably follows crisis, the lives of three best friends are sure to change in unexpected ways … and not necessarily for the worse.

Rating: 7/10

One of the biggest things that deter people I know from finishing a Marian Keyes novel is that she differs so wildly in writing styles, plots and execution throughout her novels. It is actually something I enjoy but I do agree that it makes her unpredictable.

It was sometimes a frustrating read and slow at certain places, I wanted to murder some of the characters at a few points in time and I wished viciously, as I often do in life, that they could just eat some cement and harden the hell up.

The main theme around Last Chance Salloon is death. One of the main characters is diagnosed with cancer, and requests that his two oldest friends, Katherine and Tara, take chances – Katherine should get a boyfriend and Tara should dump her stupid, cruel and deadbeat boyfriend.

Let’s start with Tara here – I hated her. There are a few people in life that I can’t can’t can’t tolerate, and she managed to be all of them: Obsessed with what she’s eating, constantly, her weight, all her insecurities badly managed and her desperate obsession with ALWAYS being in a relationship (I could write for decades about how that particular character trait irritates me in people). I’m glad she finds her way in the end, but she will never be my favourite character.

I think my hate for Tara was probably fuelled by my tolerance for Katherine. I appreciated her stance that she didn’t need a relationship, and I loved how her relationship developed with Joe – he was the alpha male that Keyes pens very well, and we all want a boyfriend like that. Despite being the alpha male, he was way more sweet and tolerant of Katherine’s bullshit than she deserved.

Fintan, the other main protagonist, doesn’t get his own sections of the book, and that was fine with me. It is always risky jumping between characters when telling it from a first person perspective, and yet another layer wouldn’t have worked. He was the catalyst in the book, forcing Tara and Katherine to face their own bullshit. His decent into cancer was accurate enough to tell me that Keyes has probably seen someone in her life suffer from cancer – it was way too accurate to not be real.

It took me ages to actively commit to reading this book, but when I finally did it was rewarding. It is typically Marian Keyes – she doesn’t skirt around the most basic human emotions and deal with them head on. I really enjoyed it, probably won’t read it again, but it was fun and entertaining.

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March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

march to may

I was all over the place with this post , claiming that I would do some monthly rundowns. I was planning to, I really was, but as you know life is a busy little bastard and all you can do sometimes is hold on for dear life and hope not to fall off the wagon.

In Cinema:

I’ve been to cinema quite a lot the last couple of months. There were a few films I wanted to watch before the internet spoiled everything, and for the most part I walked out relatively pleased.

  1. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The biggest problem with Batman vs. Superman? It lacked heart. Not all films should be lighthearted, but BvS had no comic relief and no passion – you need either of the two. I didn’t hate it though, but I do think that DC should have worked a little harder if they really plan to have a fighting chance in an environment so dominated by their biggest rivals.

  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

I will definitely watch this again – it is easy, comfortable watching, not necessarily great but it was quite fun. It also contains my husband, and that can’t be ignored!

  1. The Jungle Book

Beautiful and charming, it impressed me with its gorgeous CGI and traditional storyline. Not my favorite Disney live action film, but it was good nonetheless. I am still the most excited for Beauty and the Beast next year. I CAN’T WAIT.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Woohoo!! This was so great! It probably deserves a higher score from me, because on reflection I had a blast with it.

At Home:

Blindspot:

March: Love Actually – it was OKAY. Not really my favourite romantic comedy and I won’t be watching it again.

April: Home Alone – not gonna lie, I hated this. I am way too old for this shit

May: Warrior Sooo good, but not something I’d recommend as a pick me up.

Other films:

Begin Again (2013) – I really enjoyed it! It is surprising and not really as close to a romcom as it might sound, and I especially enjoyed the track.

The Fast and The Furious (2001) – This way Throw Back was the best and entertaining. I had the best time even though it is as ridiculous, gawdy, a murky story line and terrible acting. It’s all about investing in the future films, you see.

Wild Child (2008) – Wild Child is a favorite movie of 2008 for me. It has everything – the teenage drama, the love story, the gorgeous hero, friendship, everything! I had to force myself not watching it again right after!

Damon-Salvatore

Series:

I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries at the moment and having a complete and utter blast.  I stopped half way into Season two to focus on exams, but I am so onboard getting my ass to season 7 eventually! Can we just say #teamDamon all the way?!

Reading:

Last Chance Salloon (Marian Keyes) – hmmm, not my favorite Marian Keyes. It was good in some places but it took me ages to get through it – long, laborious reading.

Me-Before-You

Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) – surprising and good, well thought out, not overly sloppy.

The Welcoming (Nora Roberts) – for the life of me I can’t write a review on this for some reason. It is very bland, definitely some of Nora’s most basic work. It isn’t bad or offensive, just pretty tame and nearly put me to sleep in some places.

I finally finished Big Magic after months of searching for it! I’d love to read it again, with a highlighter and a note pad.

Currently also reading:

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. – this book is a real drag, to be honest. I don’t get why the author is compared to the likes of Marian Keyes – Binchy writes books that make me fall fast asleep. I thought perhaps this book was different from the other one I read by her, but it is shockingly the same – the exact same format and story if you take away all the frills.

Collaboration:

I reviewed over on T9M’s site The Help (2011) – such an awesome flick!

I also reviewed for Kim and Drew‘s 80’s blogathon – When Harry Met Sally – what a great film, definitely worthy of a classic status.

What have you been up to?

Reading Challenge for 2016 and what I’m currently reading

Everyone has challenges in the new year. Lose weight, find love of life, clean your room regularly, etc. While I completely share these dedications, I would also like to declare my dedications to my reading addiction this year. Below is a challenge I am going to take, and following that is the books I currently have that I want to finish. Comment, please!

readin list 2016

  1. A book published this year: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
  2. A book you can finish in a day: (still looking for one)
  3. A Book you’ve been meaning to read: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
  4. A book recommended by a local librarian or bookseller: Brida by Paulo Coelho
  5. A book chosen by your BFF: BFF, tell me!
  6. A book published before you were born: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. A book that was banned at some point: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossini
  8. A book you previously abandoned: Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes
  9. A Book you own but have never read: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
  10. A book that intimidates you: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  11. A book you’ve read at least once: Emma by Jane Austen

Currently on my bookshelf waiting to be read:

  1. Currently reading: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have so much love for this writer and the book at this point. Really having a fantastic time. I can’t read too much at a time, because the book simply has such big ideas.
  2. Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding. I really do love the original Bridget Jones, so quite interested to see what this is about.
  3. Brida by Paulo Coelho. Coelho is such an obscure, strange author. I’m never really sure what to make of his work.
  4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. Oh, because I need cheese in my life.
  5. Live in Dreams by Josephine Cox. Started it and put it down again, but I will finish it just to be scathing.
  6. Indelible by Karin Slaughter. To continue the series.
  7. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. Because it was a mad hunt to get a copy and I want to be able to say that I’m done with the series.

What are your reading plans for the year?