Before I start, I should say that I adore Marian Keyes. I’ve read all of her books; I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve...moreReviewed at JudgingCovers.co.uk
Before I start, I should say that I adore Marian Keyes. I’ve read all of her books; I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve loved almost every word. I could probably go as far to say that I worship the ground she walks on.
So it pains me to say that I struggled with this book.
The story focuses around a small block of flats in Dublin, and a mysterious character that is watching over all of its residents. This supernatural visitor, who acts as a narrator, is able to see into the memories of everyone in the building – and through this, we gradually learn about each of the people living at 66 Star Street.
Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of ‘fantasy’ stories. Magic and mystery just don’t appeal to me as much as realism. The narrator (whose identity is not revealed until the climax of the book) was more of an irritation than a selling point for me, as I didn’t understand who or what was telling the story, and my cynicism kept getting in the way.
Despite the magical storyline, The Brightest Star in the Sky is actually a rather depressing read. None of the characters are happy, and their backstories are all very dreary – cheating, loneliness and mental illness among the mildest issues being dealt with. Which leads me to the most fundamental issue I had with the book: I didn’t really like, or care about any of the characters.
There are a lot of characters in the book. There’s Matt and Maeve, a couple with a terrible secret that’s eating away at their relationship. Katie, the music exec with a rubbish boyfriend. Andrei and Jan, two Polish men who despise their flatmate, Lydia. And (what seems like) hundreds more. With so many different names and personalities to remember, and short chapters that jump between them at a quick pace, there was little time for a character to grow on you. It seemed that every time I got mildly interested in someone, the focus would change to someone else – and I’d find myself thinking, “not her again…”
With some novels, your need to understand everything has you racing towards the end, but the mysteries within this story didn’t really grab me. With each chapter that revealed nothing, I found myself more irritated than intrigued. Aside from the secret of the narrator, the chapters act as a mysterious countdown – from Day 66, to Day 1. We’re supposed to wonder what the book is counting down to, but I just wondered why it was taking so long to get there.
As the story reached its climax, my interest finally peaked… despite things getting even more harrowing and depressing than I’d anticipated. The last few chapters, although unsettling, were much easier to get through than the rest of the book. But it was still a bit of a relief when I finally finished it.
The Brightest Star in the Sky might be a book that divides opinion. If you’re a fan of fantasy and magic, you may engage more with the storyline. If you enjoy reading about everything that could possibly go wrong in the world, then perhaps you’ll like the depressing themes. But don’t read this if you’re looking for a happiness; you won’t find much of it here.
Has a book ever made you blush? You know how it goes: you’re happily reading a great story on the bus, until you reach...moreReviewed at JudgingCovers.co.uk
Has a book ever made you blush? You know how it goes: you’re happily reading a great story on the bus, until you reach a really steamy love scene… and you become immediately conscious that the old lady next to you might peer over your shoulder and catch a glimpse of something graphic.
Loose Girl is like this throughout. Written by Kerry Cohen, it is the true account of her life and battle with sex addiction. Needless to say, there are more than a few saucy pages.
The story begins when Kerry is 11, and she first realises the power of her sexuality – disturbingly, when a middle aged man shows her some attention. We then follow Kerry through her promiscuous teen years, and sex-driven adult life.
As she sleeps with countless men, she gets more desperate to feel the rush of power that she associates with sex. It might sound surprising to hear that this book is really touching, but it’s clear that all she really wants is someone to love her, and I got so invested in her as a character. With every mistake she makes, and every negative feeling the morning after, I became more upset at the thought she might never find real love. After all, this is true story. A happy ending is never guaranteed in real life.
The story is told in such a way that it’s easy to forget that this is based on truth. I got so swept up in the emotions of reading it, that when I did remember that someone actually lived this story – that Kerry is a real person – it added even more to the sympathy that I felt for her. In the introduction, she apologises to her children for sharing her sex life with the world. There’s such a charming quality to her writing, you can’t help but hope that everything works out for her.
If you’re easily embarrassed you might want to stay clear, as there are obviously a lot of sex scenes. Even the front cover features a girl casually pulling at her knickers. But while her conquests are detailed, they are not shockingly explicit. Loose Girl does not come across as smutty or gratuitous, because the focus is on the raw emotions that Kerry describes. It might raise a blush or two, but essentially this is a brilliant confessional about an addiction, and the feelings that come with it.
Just make sure nobody is reading over your shoulder during the steamy parts.(less)
Like many book-to-movie adaptions, the film version of The Bone Collector cannot be compared to the terror Jeffery Deav...moreReviewed at JudgingCovers.co.uk
Like many book-to-movie adaptions, the film version of The Bone Collector cannot be compared to the terror Jeffery Deaver creates in this chilling novel.
The Bone Collector is the first in a series of books about Lincoln Rhyme, a forensic criminalist who had to leave his beloved job in the police force after an accident left him paralysed from the neck down.
Depressed by his life as a quadriplegic, Lincoln is planning his suicide… until his old partner calls him with news of a murder. The killer has a mind for forensics, and he leaves staged clues at the scene of every crime that point to the location of his next victim. Once the best in his field, Lincoln is the only person with a chance of solving the puzzles in time to save their lives.
Unable to leave his bed, Lincoln overcomes the hindrance of his disability by using Amelia Sachs, a street cop, to act as his eyes at each crime scene. She ‘walks the grid’ (that’s police talk for ‘looks for evidence’) and reports back to Lincoln, who has to unravel the mysteries from his home. We learn a lot about these two characters throughout the book – neither are particularly happy people – but their interaction is a fascinating subplot, and the way their relationship develops adds a lot to the story.
This book is incredibly fast-paced once the murders get going, as the team race against the clock to find the next victim before it’s too late. Deaver creates an incredible tension as each grisly death is described in detail. I won’t lie, this is a scary read. The murderer kidnaps his victims using a taxi and drives them to the middle of nowhere, before causing their death in some elaborate and grotesque way… I now have a mild phobia about getting into a taxi alone. Oh, and he likes to cut out a piece of bone as a souvenir. Just in case you were wondering about the title.
If you’ve seen the film, I suggest you disregard it. The movie has less victims, different crime scenes, different characters… even the eventual identity of the killer is not the same as the book. I love crime thrillers, and whilst it’s been years since I first read The Bone Collector, it remains to be my favourite. With plenty of twists and turns throughout, this is a must-read for any fan of the genre.(less)