Book Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life (Marian Keyes)

TWWSML

Plot: Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year – touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side – she’s back to normality with a bang. And she’s got writer’s block.

Stella wants a clean break as she didn’t exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

Rating: 6.5/10

It took me ages to read TWWSML. I read the first half really quickly, but it was super easy to get bored with the story. I did like that it ran in two different time zones – the present and the past events that lead up to the main character’s current situation. As usual the book contained truly Marian Keyes quirks, but for the most part it was a lot more normal than the previous book of Marian Keyes that I read. The Brightest Star in the Sky was odd to say the least, and this is a return to more moderate work from Keyes, which I enjoyed. It is more in the format of just a normal Irish tale, and I was fine with it.

Including a fascinating autoimmune disease was a great idea. GuillaineBarregot me reading up about the disease, and I patted myself on the back not only for understanding what went down but also learning a bit more about my field of work.

The book was really a big read, and the end was really rushed. It was a bit disconcerting to slosh through five hundred pages to have the ending run away like that. As for characters, I really hated her ex-husband. He was absolutely awful, and I’m not surprised that they ended up being divorced. I could in a way understand her child’s attitude – he’s young and his parents weren’t giving him a stable environment, but a grown ass man acting like that? Inexcusable.

TWWSML really wasn’t bad – it was just way too long. Have you read it? How did you feel about it?

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Watched, Read, Loved: October 2016

october

October was by far the slowest month in my year in entertainment. I’m really hopeful that this is the last semester where I will ever have to write a BSc Theoretical exam, so I’ve spent every moment that I wasn’t at work in front of a book. I really hope it will pay off – my heart won’t be able to handle the trauma of failing a subject. So it has been quiet on the entertainment front and even the blog front, but I’ve managed to include see and read some things here and there though, so here is a quick rundown J

Watched:

bourne-supremacy

Bourne Supremacy

I really hope I wrote a proper review on this, because I can barely recall the film now. I know it was fast paced and good and very Bourne, and I guess that is what counts.

10cl

10 Cloverfield Lane

I LOVED this. The review should be up some time this week, and I am totally with the crowd on this one. It was a phenomenal performance from all three main characters, and they were able to create maddening suspense throughout.

nye-movie

New Year’s Eve (2011)

I was quite obsessed with this film (to get to see it), and it was so meh. It was probably one of the last films Gary Marshall ever produced, and I hoped it would be something similar to Valentine’s Day. In all essence it was but lacked the heart.

you-again

You Again (2010)

I enjoyed this on the most basic level. It had a pretty good message that bullying stays with you forever and it was nice to watch such a light movie where romance wasn’t the core of the plot.

the-choice

The Choice (2016)

I have this game with Nicholas Sparks movies where I HAVE to watch it despite knowing it will probably end up being super crap. But The Choice is one of the better ones, certainly better than the awful Best of Me, and I has a somewhat of a decent time with it.

Read:

TWWSML

The Woman Who Stole My Life (Marian Keyes)

I finally finished TWWSTM. It was gigantic, and maybe 50 pages too long and then ended up with a rough ending, but this is the least bizarre book I’ve read from Keyes in a while.

sookie-stackhouse

Definitely Dead / All Together Dead / From Dead to Worse

Exam brain wants me back on books where I need no brain power, and I’ve been reading some of the Southern Vampire Mysteries again. I’ve actually been having a really good time with this non-Pulitzer material.

new-moon

New Moon (Stephanie Meyer)

I’m slowly making my way through these books. Bella is a joy to behold in this particular novel, let me tell you. I always have fun with this – part enjoyment; part scoffing, and it has been the perfect read throughout exam time.

i_am_number_four_cover

I am Number Four (Pittacus Lore)

This book is SO good. It is obviously a book that was written at the beginning of the dystopic craze; because the ideas are original and GOOD, and things are named intelligently (the naming conventions in other dystopian novels are quite ridiculous). I need to finish this still, but it is going well.

On a Life front, those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I got myself a new car. It really wasn’t an option as I was in a car accident that wrote my little Suzuki Alto off. To say I was upset was an understatement, and it was pretty stressful sorting it out. I have to say my insurers were absolutely fantastic, and I will (and have) recommended them to anybody. However, it was the first car I’d ever owned, and I was so heart sore about the entire process.

It feels like a lot of things have happened the last month. I’ve had a dear friend in hospital, I’ve been in an accident, there was a break-in at my sister’s boyfriend’s house and another friend of mine got attacked and robbed at gunpoint.  So it’s been quite hectic. I’m in need of a Bilbo Baggins holiday to say the LEAST. Oh, I also went to a bachelorettes that was quite wild, and let me tell you, I was shocked at some of the actions there. I’ve been to a significant amount of wild parties in my young life, so when I am shocked, I am S.H.O.C.K.E.D. It feels like I need a peaceful December without any drama. I am on leave for two weeks at the end of December (hear me sobbing in gratitude), and I am so happy that I will get to a place where I don’t need to start functioning at 4:30 am. It will be great.

Anyway, what’s news on your side?

PS: Let’s not even talk about my Blindspot progress. It’s worse than the state of the American election right now.

PPS: I can’t wait until Hillary wins JUST so that Donald can shut TF up.

August 2016: Watched, Read, Loved

watched read loved

Watched:

At home:

Bring it on Again. I was in a mood where I felt I could handle cheerleaders, and decided to go down the dark dark road and watch some Bring it On. It really wasn’t bad at all, and I thought this second one was actually way better than the one with Kristen Dunst in.

Bring it on: All or Nothing

Hayden Panateirre and Solange Knowles do the whole face off then friends routine in this Bring it On sequel. This one is the best of the lot, and there is a lot of sneaky humor in if you know where to look.

zodiac

Zodiac

I am still so impressed with this movie. It is a great cast and an excellent story, and I wish I’d thought to put it on my Blindspot list this year! (if only because I already had it available!)

ES1

Blindspot: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This is my Blindspot for JULY, mind you. I have decided that I can’t commit to this exercise next year – it is truly a great concept but I am rather undisciplined and it takes some time and effort sourcing these movies. My plan is to Blindspot you all for a couple of weeks to catch up and end this project properly at the end for the year. Zoe gave me a great idea to do, which I will develop, and tell you all about it when the time comes J As for the movie, I really really loved this film.

In cinemas:

Poster

I haven’t been able to get to the movies as much as I’ve wanted to the past few months. I managed to watch Suicide Squad. I liked it, and it seems that a lot of people really hated it. There are some flaws, but it wasn’t as bad as everyone is making. I actually think I will get the DVD when this is released, just to give you an idea of how much I enjoyed it.

Series:

I finished the highly entertaining Vampire Diaries season 4. I’m not sure whether I can start with Season 5 before my exams, which is probably not the best idea for anyone’s marks at this point. You can read my reviews of Season 1 and Season 2 in the links. Season 4 felt a very slight dip in quality. I felt however that it actioned a lot of items on its’ plate, and that it followed a natural progression for all the characters. And OMFG the males in this show is so ridiculously attractive ❤

jessica-jones

Jessica Jones. WTF? This show went from okay at the beginning and just went downhill as the season went on. So many things went wrong, so many bad writing choices. I am really the Marvel fan, but this was a bad job and no one is convincing me otherwise.

Read:

I’m actually reading a lot of books again, and playing around with reviewing them again as I haven’t done them in ages and they were reviewed at the beginning of this blog. I reread Twilight (don’t ask) with the intention of reviewing all four books, but I am struggling with New Moon – it is definitely the most tiresome of the series. I ordered Marian Keys’ latest novel (The Woman Who Stole My Life). I am really excited about that. As usual I have about ten million reads to get through. I made a list here and haven’t really touched that list yet, so I should likely also focus on that. I think when I have my degree it won’t even be the success of completion that will satisfy me the most, it will be the freedom I have to do what the hell I want.

Favorite links:

Zoe sent me this Thor clip to watch. It is so funny! Mjolnir even has his own bed!

What’s been happening in your life?

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.

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?

#100HappyDays: Days 43 – 48

I can’t believe this challenge is going so quickly! Not going to lie, my penchant for self sabotage sometimes peeks out and … motivates me to only post two posts on one day rather than on separate days. However, this is my challenge, so it makes me quite happy 😀

43

Day 43:

Spent Valentine’s day with my sisters and my mom, had a fantastic breakfast at Life in Mall of the South and finally found a copy of the long searched for Kill Bill Volume 1.

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Day 44:

The caption on my Instagram post says it all: These books attacked me and forced me to buy them. I had no say whatsoever.

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Day 45:

Winning the war on sugar is not easy, but the days where I evict the victor is truly marvelous and very frequent lately.

46

DAy 46:

Had a GALentines day and went to watch How To Be Single. So much fun!

47

Day 47:

Woohoo! Finished Season 2. It is better than Season 1 at least.

48

Day 48:

I was so impressed with Takealot. I firstly got my Unisa textbook on a 50% sale, and chose two cheesy Afrikaans DVDs to be delivered with it. Much to my surprise it was delivered the following afternoon.

What is making you happy as of late?

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?

HAPPY MIDDLE OF THE YEAR – MID YEAR IN REVIEW

Doggie

Hello everyone! Today is the 2nd of July, a.k.a. the EXACT MIDDLE OF THE YEAR. In exactly 183 days we will be partying in 2016. It also means that we only have another 183 days left where things can go totally wrong for us. Not bad, eh?!

To celebrate this joyous occasion, I have compiled a list of things that I’ve done in this year that seems noteworthy… or not. It at least proves the amount of time I spend on movies, books and series! Enjoy!!

2015 Movies watched so far:

The movie year didn’t start off so well for me. I mean, I watched Seventh Son. I gave it a 6/10, and I still think that is a very fair assessment. It is really not great and it could have been much more with the cast they had available.

The next was Best of Me, a movie adaption from Nicholas Sparks. It was unoriginal and cheesy, typical Sparks. I gave it a 6/10 as well, and counted my losses, and looked with hope to the next movie.

Ballade vir n enkeling poster

The next movie is still one of my favorites of the year, Ballade vir ‘n enkeling. It is a South-African film and I thought it would be okay at best. It was so well done. I was and am so proud of the quality they produced here and super chuffed that it is a local film, that I got to see it in cinema and that one of the lead actors, Armand Aucamp, was nice enough to read the post, comment on it and favorite it on Twitter #hellyeah #famousness. I gave it a well-deserved 8/10.

I went to see Disney’s latest live adaption, Cinderella, in cinema. It wasn’t close to the entertainment that Maleficent brought us last year. The story was exactly as it has been since Cinderella the animation was released a million years ago, the characters were perfectly cast (but was that even necessary?). I think that if Disney wants to keep on doing these and make them a success they need to make it unique or at least change perspectives of the film. I gave it a 6.5/10, because it was quite enchanting even though it wasn’t excellent.

Kingsman-movie

I chose watching Kingsman: A Secret Service, instead of Fifty Shades in Cinema, and let me tell you, it was an excellent decision. The movie is

Avengers: Age of Ultron has easily been my most anticipated movie of 2015. I am a massive fan of the first Avengers, and think Marvel excelled there. This time around everything was bigger – the villain, the explosions, the fights, the character development. It worked really well although I don’t see the point of the love story. But anyway. It was good, and I rated it an 8/10

#cannotBeUnseen
#cannotBeUnseen

Fifty Shades of Grey.LOLS. I know so many people who were really looking forward to this. I wasn’t, and even refused to go watch it in cinema because that would mean helping it edge closer to the billion dollar mark at the cinema (which it didn’t, and I’m very sure it is because I stood my ground!). It is bad. Like really, really bad. The source material is nothing to work from, because it is sex, sex and more sex and then more sex on top of that. You can’t put all that sexy time into a movie in the graphic detail the readers seems to have wanted into a film and show it to large audiences. The acting was awful – the best was Dakota Johnson, and she’s not any Meryl Streep if you know what I mean. The chemistry lacked, the lines were painfully cheesy and the sexy time wasn’t sexy. Just go read my review and see what I said haha. I gave it a 6/10, received some flak for it, but I stand firm – it wasn’t THAT bad and Johnson worked really hard at this.

Pitch Perfect  2 was my most apprehensive venture into cinema yet this year. I hated the first one (disclaimer:  I need to watch it again because I was hanging when I saw the first one and it might not be that bad). The second one was really a lot of fun and had elements of girl power, and you all know I cheer madly when that happens. I love Fat Amy, she’s hilar, and I think the execution of the movie was really well done. I gave it an 8/10 again.

I just watched Jurassic World and thought it was great fun and a very good sequel. I don’t really know if I support more movies coming into this franchise, but after the massive box office hit I am sure they won’t let this in peace. Chris Pratt the adventurer is also a lovely thing to behold 😉

Books

Eleanor and park book

I’ve read an astonishingly small amount of new books this year, instead rereading all my favorite ones. The best book I’ve read for the first time this year is definitely Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I campaigned to everyone I knew to read that book and still do – it is such a cute book man.

I recently read the first four books in the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot. It is not such an amazing achievement though, as the books are never more than a 150 pages long each. They are really fun though, and excellent entertainment when your brain needs some easy fun.

The Liar by Nora Roberts proved to be a very nice read. The quality of her last couple of books hasn’t been excellent, so naturally I was relieved when this book had some entertainment value.

The Brightest Star in the Sky has been the oddest book I’ve ever read from Marian Keyes, and she is well known for her odd books. The book is way too long and often a bit drawn out, but I had a good time.

I am currently busy reading Atonement by Ian McEwan. I’ve been interested in this book after seeing the heart wrenching movie, and although I am only a few pages in I find that the book is really well written.

Further on I would like to get to The Woman who Stole my Life (Marian Keyes), Looking for Alaska (John Green), Indelible (Karin Slaughter) and Ruby Circle (Richelle Mead).

Series

downton poster

The Dawn of Downton Abbey

Have you guessed I would talk about this series on here? Because I’ve reviewed Seasons 1, 2 and 3 already, and guess what? Season four is scheduled for scheduled for tomorrow 😀 :D. I blew through all the seasons of this. It is simply impossible to stop watching something so well done. It is very likely my favorite series of all time.  Season three made me rather angry – some deaths were SO uncalled for. Season four was good but not up to the standards of the previous three and season five was as good as the first three. Have I mentioned that I can’t wait for the sixth season?

Game of Thrones

Meh. I hoped season five would be like the glorious first two seasons. But we can’t always have what we want, right? I reviewed the first four episodes and still need to get to the rest, but really, I am so disinterested in Westeros at the moment. The story is badly developed at the moment and I think they are incapable of dealing with the expanding territories at the moment.

gilmore-girls-concert-interruptus

Gilmore Girls

I spent a lot of time running through this series this year. It is the best throwback EVER. I still need to finish Season 7, but as we know it is not the best ever. There are increasing talks to get a movie out, but we will still see, won’t we?

I am currently busy with Pretty Little Liars Season 5. It is okay, but I think I’ve seen so many other series that are really good at this point that I am slightly bored with this right now. It makes for senseless viewing, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I would like to get into Vikings – I saw the first few minutes of the first episode and it hasn’t gripped me yet. Daredevil and Agent Carter are the two Marvel series I am looking forward at watching as well. YAY for Superheroes!!

How has your year been so far?

5 Things Friday: 5 Books I plan to read in the next few months

Happy Friday everyone!

I am totally getting my book reading vibe back. I’ve been reading some Nora Roberts and John Green, as well as finishing the Davinci Code. Here’s a list of the next few books I’m planning to read. Let me know if you’ve read them and what your opinions have been about it 🙂

1. Looking for Alaska: John Green

Looking-for-Alaska-UK

Since this book is busy getting organised into a movie, I really want to read the book beforehand to be able to properly compare. I really enjoy John Green’s writing as well – he is such a brilliant author!

2. The Woman Who Stole my Life: Marian Keyes

marian

I’m always really excited when one of my favorite authors brings out a new book. YAY!

3. The Ruby Circle: Richelle Mead

The_Ruby_Cirle

I just really want to finish the series and see what happens to Sydney and Adrian!

4. Angels and Demons: Dan Brown

books.03

I really didn’t like The DaVinci code. However, I’ve heard that Angels in Demons is actually much better, so I am willing to give it a try.

5. Atonement: Ian McEwan

atoenment

The movie is just the saddest watching experience ever, and I just really want to see how everything unfolds in the book, even if I know the end.

What books are you planning to read?

Book Review: The Brightest Star in The Sky (Marian Keyes)

the_brightest_star_

Plot: Welcome to 66 Star Street . . . In the top-floor flat lives music exec Katie. She spends her days fighting off has-been rock stars and wondering how much cheesecake you’d need to eat yourself to death. Below her, a pair of muscular Poles share with a streetwise cabbie named Lydia, who has a sharp tongue, an even sharper brain but some unexpected soft spots. On the first floor is Fionn – a gardener who prefers the company of parsnips to people. But he looks like a fairy-tale prince and when he’s offered his own television show, he’s suddenly thrust into the limelight. And at the bottom of the house live Matt and Maeve, who are Very Much In Love and who stave off despair by doing random acts of kindness. But a mysterious visitor has just landed at 66 Star Street, bringing love, friendship and heartbreak, and a new-found optimism. Old secrets are working their way to the surface and all their lives are about to change in the most unexpected of ways . . . (via Goodreads)

Rating: 7/10

There is something about Marian Keyes’ writing style that I find so reassuring. She writes like a madman and no story she produces is the same. When I picture her writing it feels like she’s similar to one of the writers who are tormented by the story until it’s been told.

The Brightest Star in the Sky is a mammoth undertaking and clocks in at about 600 pages. It took me a while to read, because hey, I can finish a 200 page book in a night but 600 is a whole other level. It is also not the easiest book to read. The paragraphs are short and quick to follow but the jumping between the comings and goings of all the residents in 66 Start Street can be overwhelming at times.

Classifying Marian Keyes as an author of chicklit is uninformed and silly. I am sure her audience is largely female but her topics are heavy and there is very little froth in her books. She taps into a range of emotions: Fear, angst, hilarity, sadness, power, it is all there in her books. Keyes deals with a variety of topics in this book (once again) and though I won’t mention it here because it is a spoiler, I was seriously angry at life in general at the end for some characters, and story is unfortunately the truth in modern society.

I found the narrator so strange. I couldn’t place what it is exactly and even by the wildest theories did I get near to the truth. The eventual identity of the narrator is slightly preposterous and quite silly.

The Brightest Star in the Sky was a good enough book to read, but the strength of the story is not equal to the size of the book and could be conceived as drawn out. I am glad I read it though; I really enjoy the author’s work and think she is amazingly talented. Not my favorite of her, but a fine book all the same.