Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Starlet

The Starlet: A NovelThe Starlet: A Novel by Mary McNamara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up this book expecting one thing and found something else. A very enjoyable read, characters that were equally likeable and irritating, and there was depth to the story that I had not expected at all.

The mystery aspect of the story was reactionary, none of the characters really did anything to progress the mystery plot line, but things happened that they reacted to and the mystery played itself out. The story wrapped itself up neatly in the last three chapters, a bit rushed and left open enough that I can see a sequel involving many of the main characters.

The writing style was ok. The dialogue was great and authentic feeling. There were prose-y type scene descriptions at the beginning of each chapter, which I learned to just skip over - they were not good or necessary leadins to the plot action. Occasionally scene descriptions would interrupt the flow of the action and I would have to go back a few paragraphs to pick up on the dialogue flow. I think this writer has a great writing style when she isn't "forcing" a descriptive scene. I think there is a lot to be said about minimalism and letting the reader fill in the blanks.

All said, I will be watching this author and adding her books to my TBR list.

Synopsis: It’s a not-so-well-respected rule in Hollywood that what happens on location stays on location. But when a hot young leading man winds up dead in his Rome hotel room, his costar’s life is about to go off the rails in a very public way—even by celeb standards.

At the tender age of twenty-three, Mercy Talbot has won an Oscar, battled addiction, wrecked more than her share of cars, and burned down her house. Her look-alike mother keeps her on a tight leash (and fueled with an endless supply of OxyContin and cocaine) and her producers demand a grueling schedule. By the time she stumbles across Juliette Greyson, a Hollywood insider on a much-needed vacation, Mercy is surrounded by photographers and about to emerge drunk, high, and naked from a public fountain. Whisking her away to an idyllic Tuscan ‘retreat,’ Juliette is about to discover another rule of Hollywood: wherever the starlet may go, the drama will follow.

Recommended Reading:
And One Last Thing... by Holly Harper
Beautiful People by Wendy Holden
Hidden Wives by Claire Avery
The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder by Holly McQueen
Mortal Friend by Jane Stanton Hitchcock
The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gone Girl

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am probably the only person on the planet who liked the ending - or so my friends tell me! This book was unexpected. The author tells us we're being lied to, neither one of the characters is particularly likeable but yet I connected to them at times throughout the book. A disturbing look at the extremes of relationships. Didn't want it to end.

Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Recommended Reading:
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Where We Belong by Emily Giffin
Defending Jacob by William Landay
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Canada by Richard Ford