Review: The Secret History – Donna Tartt

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SYNOPSIS: Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil. – via Goodreads

I absolutely adored The Goldfinch. I was so complete hooked on that when I read it a few years ago. I should give it another read, I would love to. I saw The Secret History recently and decided to give it a go because, years ago, I ended up reading The Goldfinch because a fellow blogger, Joseph, loved this book and we decided to read her latest together, and I said I would get to this someday. Well, that was years ago, but I can finally cross this one off my plate. And honestly, I didn’t love this one, and I had high hopes for it.

That is not to say that The Secret History is a bad read, per se, but I felt that it was way longer than necessary and filled with hateful characters. Also, the first half of the book is filled up wonderfully and keeps you reading, keeps you hooked, but after that fateful fall of Bunny, the story sort of starts falling apart, and the writing doesn’t come across as as genuine as before. Wow, so much”as” in that sentence.

Anyway, Bunny is a truly horrific character, so I almost struggled to feel bad about how it ended. It’s like Tartt tries to bring you around to him a few times, and I just couldn’t. He was cruel and insufferable. Not that the rest of that twisted friends group was really any better, but for real. Ugh. Henry is an odd character, and so is Francis, and eventually you are reading about these people in a confused kind of way, because where, exactly, is this story going? Well, nowhere, really. It is just a story about a crappy thing that happened which led to another crappy thing happening, and the whole affair is cold and calculated but still completely devoid of reeling you in completely.

There is also the issue of “under the influence of their charasmatic professor” – I expected a totally different type of story. I thought Julian would be involved up to his neck in the goings on of this group, and instead he hardly appears in the book at all. Anyway, while The Secret History is not a terrible read, it certainly isn’t The Goldfinch. It’s just a really long read for an okay book, though the first half is really good.

Review: Backtrack (2015)

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SYNOPSIS: Psychologist Peter Bower’s life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers a strange secret about his patients. Risking his own sanity, Peter delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right. But is the reward worth risking more than a single life? – via IMDB

I went in for this for Sam Neill. Unfortunately I did not get nearly enough Sam Neill as I had been hoping for, and instead got a rather generic movie that tried to be so much smarter and darker than it really is, which is unfortunate. It does not mean that it is the worst way to spend your time, but it certainly is not the best thing to chuck on.

First and foremost, the movie is not sure what it wants to be. A mystery? Drama? Thriller? Horror? This messes with the pacing as well as how the story is set out. Initially it hard sells as a horror, then spirals into a totally mysterious, dramatic thriller. The issue with this is that it is not as mysterious as it hopes to be, as there were no plot twists that shocked me. I was also not attached enough to the character and his past to really feel for his melodrama, and the movie is not thrilling enough to hook you.

All of that is a serious pity because the story is actually good, and I mean really good. It is just so messily put together, and it pulls the final product apart at the seams. They should have presented it in a more solid style, and then it would have all the power to resonate, and to stick with you. It is an intense story being told, but the harried fashion it is told in makes it pale and rickety, and so I was not sold on it all.

Ultimately Backtrack is a messy film that is not as unpredictable as it hopes to be, and is rather unforgettable when all is said and done, though Brodie and Neill both deliver quite good performances in a story that could have been so much more. So much wasted potential, because the story really was a solid thing.

Review: Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

6

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago. – via Goodreads

Okay. Uhm, let’s see. Two Nights. Uhm… no. This just wasn’t my thing. It could have been, but it wasn’t, and I should have known better seeing as this is a Reichs novel, and I have never actually enjoyed anything I have read from her. I thought this would be different, as a standalone and not part of her Temperance Brennan series, but boy, I was wrong.

I absolutely could not stand the lead character, Sunnie. Or her stupid freaking name (Sunday Night – I am not even kidding). Or her horrendous sense of humour. She was a gruff character, and not in the good way. She annoyed me, she did not come across and broken or strong or a survivor, but a whiny brat. Also, stupid little details that Reichs insisted on highlighting – such as exactly which shade of OPI Sunnie was wearing on her nails was just grating. I did not like the way the book was written, either. Certain phrases were constantly recycled (the biggest offender was “pro that I am”). So many of the sentences are short and snippy, which makes for staccato reading, nothing smooth. Just jarring.

The books dawdles and runs in circles the whole time, and there are massive chunks of time dedicated to, well, nothing happening. Just repetitive waiting, waiting, waiting, and I just couldn’t stand it. I think the best thing about this mess was Gus, and he was not featured nearly as much as he could have been. Another thing? The history of Gus and Sunnie had so much more potential than was realised in the book. This really could have been the something to draw us in. Instead the constant hinting but no real payoff really just got under my skin. Yes, it really seems that this whole book got under my skin, and it did.

Two Nights is sloppily written, filled to the brim with hateful characters, and has a rather thin story stretched out to within an inch of its life. It is dull and a total waste of time, and took me forever to slog through. Definitely not a book I enjoyed or could recommend. I am not a fan of Reichs and her work, though many people seem to love her stuff.

Review: Sanctuary – Nora Roberts

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SYNOPSIS: Photographer Jo Ellen Hathaway thought she’d escaped the house called Sanctuary long ago. She’d spent her lonliest years there, after the sudden, unexplained disappearance of her mother. Yet the sprawling resort off the Georgia coast continues to haunt her dreams. And now, even more haunting are the pictures someone is sending to her: strange close-ups and candids, culminating in the most shocking portrait of all–a photo of her mother…naked, beautiful, and dead. Now Jo must return to the island, and to her bitterly estranged family–and, with the help of one man, learn the truth about her tragic past. But Sanctuary may also be the most dangerous place of all… – via Goodreads

GRADE 3Okay, I am not a fan of romance fiction, though every now and then I try, especially if there is a mysterious element to it, a murder mystery, something. And it isn’t too heavy on the romance side. I try Roberts’s work once in a while because I know that it is light, fluffy, quick to read, and doesn’t need you to actually invest in it. I regret now not having asked Natasha about this one first, or for a recommendation, as I always do. I am sure she could have steered me in a much better direction. Let me preface where this is going with WOW! There is so much sex going on in this book! Like, so much. Natasha warned me that there was a lot of it going on (after I told her what I was reading), but seriously? Nookie up the wazoo! This is not something I appreciate a hell of a lot in a book. I have referred to one of her novels as a forest fuck fest before, but this one? Island Orgy! There are so many damn characters, and all of them have some form of a partner, and all of them are avoiding that partner and not wanting that partner and not interested in that partner then they are all worn down by that partner and then incessantly jumping that partner’s bones. I am serious. It was relentless, and it never ended. Plus I was not impressed with three main relationships going down. That means learning about each one of the characters (who were all so shallow and happened to be gorgeous, apparently) and then how they fit together, and then how they enjoy sex. It is unbelievable that all three siblings just so happen to find love at exactly the same time. There was an inkling of what could have actually been a pretty good story in here, but it was overshadowed by a bland story, and all the potential was pissed away when it was ultimately so flat and generic at the end. No guts, no glory. The climax was one of the most disappointing things in the world. Sanctuary also just asks you to suspend reality way too much. The characters are unlikable, and you don’t actually root for anyone. I was also not pleased with how intimately Roberts discussed the rapist and murderer at times. It was creepy – describing his attractive face, the lines, as well as how he felt while raping these women? How he climaxed and all? Way too detailed and intimate man, eeeeeew. Anyway, this is not a Roberts book that I can recommend. It races by quickly, and sadly has more potential than it eventually goes for, and could definitely have been shortened by a third at least to cut out sex and flesh out a story. Don’t waste your time, seriously.

Review: The Murder Game – Catherine McKenzie as Julie Apple

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I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Ten years working as a prosecutor have left Meredith Delay jaded and unsure of what she wants out of life. She’s good at her job, but it haunts her. Her boyfriend wants her to commit, but she keeps him at arm’s length. Then Meredith is assigned to a high-profile prosecution involving the violent murder of a fallen hockey star. At first, it appears to be just another case to work. But when her old friend Julian is accused of the murder, it takes on a whole new dimension.

Meredith, Julian, Jonathan, and Lily were a tight-knit group in law school. But now, Jonathan’s defending Julian, and Lily’s loyalties aren’t clear. And when Julian invokes a rare—and risky—defense, Meredith is forced to confront their past.

Has something they played at as students finally been brought to death?  – via Goodreads

GRADE 5This sounded like something I would enjoy, but I was wrong about that. Not that it sucked, but it was not what I was hoping it would be. For one, I could not stand the lead character. In fact, there were no likable characters at all, which made this a chore to read. What I did enjoy was the legal proceedings, and the depth with which it was handled, because it was interesting, engaging, and solid. Initially the flipping between present and past annoyed me, but eventually it was just how the book was, and stopped bothering me altogether. I really wanted to like this more than I did, because it had a lot of potential, but it did not break any boundaries or suck me in completely. I was underwhelmed, and it grated on me because this could have been so much more, and much less predictable, but instead does not break the mould in the slightest. Not caring about the characters or the outcome did not help at all. The story/plot itself, while it was interesting, stretched the bounds of realism too tightly – there is no ways that this case would have been prosecuted the way that it was, way too much conflict everywhere. But okay.  The pacing was good, and the book was a quick read, but not something I will be revisiting. I see that a lot of people love it, but I was unfortunately one that thought it was okay, but no more.

JB & The Chop Do: Saw III (2006)

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JB AND THE CHOP PRESENT SAW

Peeps! We are back for some more torture porn, set-your-teeth-on-edge gore, nastiness, a flimsy plot, characters becoming consistent that we don’t like, and some weird puppet Billy riding around all over the show. Again. What can I say? People have a darker side that calls out, and Lionsgate responded to the people, called out to their crudeness and the irdisgusting side, the gruesome and the macabre, and the people lapped it up, regardless of how good or bad the said film in the brutal franchise was. What did the Chop and I think? Was it worth all the hype it got back in the day???

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SYNOPSIS: Jigsaw kidnaps a doctor to keep him alive while he watches his new apprentice put an unlucky citizen through a brutal test. – via IMDB

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Saw III, ah, yes. I remember when this made its way to the cinema near me, nobody would let me purchase a ticket because I was too young. However, I was also resourceful and mischievous and on a mission, and no ticket sales jockey was going to deny me seeing this film. Not after the bold claims coming in from overseas about how disgusting this film was, and how it had Americans puking everywhere and all sorts.

Anyway, sneaking into this movie with a bottle (or two) of really cheap, really crap wine, I was ready for whatever they had to bring. Needless to say, I got fucking wasted watching this in the relatively deserted cinema, and didn’t remember anything about this movie. Heck, I saw it years later and only certain things I recalled. Before watching it now? I couldn’t remember jack squat about it o.O

First thoughts? An hour and fifty three minutes?! For what purpose?! Oh, I see why – they want to drag out every possible heinous scene. The movie took like twenty minutes to go somewhere that wasn’t watching the two detectives and their respective torture. No time was wasted in bringing the nasty and the gruesome forth for the viewer. Icky, icky, icky.

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Dual plot-lines running for this story, both just there to fill time. Oh wait… yes, there’s a third one. Are we really supposed to feel sorry for Amanda and Jigsaw? Are you fucking kidding me??? Who in their right minds would pity either? Psychopaths man, really.

Saw III spends immense time on a fucking sick, twisted, brutal head/brain/skull saw surgery part – it went on forever and was so evidently just there for the grossness of it. For reals people.

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The movie tries so hard to make this a complicated story, which is quite embarrassing. Linking back to the first is all good and well, but this whole movie just felt like filler stuff. All of it. It was gruesome filler crap. YUCK. TWO HOURS OF YUCK, NO LESS.

BLOOD. GUTS. GORE. GRUESOME. SICK. NASTY. TWISTED. DISGUSTING.

Alright, all movies have flaws, we know this. Some are too glaring though. A prime example? The old judge? In that sif pig pit? How the fuck is he DRY and CLEAN when he is eventually rescued by Jeff, traipsing around looking for revenge everywhere? Ugh. Also, his inner “turmoil” over whether to save each victim he encountered or not took way too long, and their deaths were so not surprising.

This movie, for some completely insane reason, managed to work in some jealousy plot. When Amanda got all cuckoo about anyone being near Jigsaw? My eyes just went a-rolli’. What the hell was that even all about?!

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The detectives from last movies were brought in here (I literally think it was just to tie up loose ends from the previous movies) and they were rushed through here, which was so silly. CHECK FOR ANOTER TOTALLY SUPERFLUOUS PLOT LINE!

When I think of Saw III, all I can think about is how much time is spent lingering on gore. This movie could have easily been like twenty or even thirty minutes shorter, and I think it would have been infinitely less annoying that way. It was a movie that was way too ambitious, way too flawed, incredibly gross, and an exceptionally hollow experience. It so desperately wants to be smart, but it falls way short of being anything other than two hours of grotesque traps, blood, guts, and gore.

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chop saw

When I was taking notes for this piece (I have to do that now since writing time is so hard to come by) I wrote down things like:

  • who wears hoodies that way
  • how do they get in to so many public places with those pig costumes
  • i don’t get why they killed the copy lady – what was her ‘redemption’?
  • amanda’s hair sure changes a lot
  • Is that the guy from braveheart???

And towards the end of this movie I thought I would just come out here and give a one sentence essay about this:

THIS MOVIE IS FUCKING GROSS

But then I figured JB would hate me and my life would be worth nothing so I kept thinking about how to go about this. Then I saw what JB had started and she wasn’t shying away from some gnarliness so here we go…

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Aside from the fact that I counted THREE storylines going on here (the man, the woman and Amanda), despite the fact that there are probably six dozen too many jump-cuts and flashbacks and despite that it’s way too dark a lot of the times, I was enjoying it until they put that guy in the pit and then obliterated a dozen of rotting, maggoty pigs all over him. BARF. I get it but:

  • was that fucking necessary
  • who has THAT MANY rotting, maggoty pigs hanging around
  • when braveheart guy pulls him  out of the pit, in the next scene his striped shirt is fucking CLEAN?? Give me a break.

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By the way, I just finished watching the U.S. remake of a British TV show called Mad Dogs. In it, this Belizian lady says that her father was strangled with barbed wire but, since she’s Belizian it comes out as “barb-ed” wire. I liked it so much that now I say things like that so when I mentioned his striped shirt, in my head I said “stripe-ed”. But don’t worry, I only talk like that in my head and sometimes to Mrs THE IPC. Back to the movie!

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As it is stated above, shortly after that fucking pig scene, not pig-fucking scene mind you – there is an EXTENSIVE sequence where this doctor drills into Jigsaw’s head. It was also totally fucking disgusting and pointless and didn’t fit anywhere into the “torture porn” that these movies were labeled by the media.

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Then I realized I had another HOUR of this thing to go and wondered publicly why these movies are so fucking long. For real, I went down to the new hippie grocery store and started pestering everyone who was entering or leaving. “Why are the Saw movies so fucking long??” I pleaded. “Who thought two hours of screaming and broken bones were a good idea??” I begged.  “How does my hand on your inner thigh feel??” I probed.

After these two pieces of nastiness and realizing that I was in this for another hour or so, my mood began to sour and I just wanted this to be over. For the record, over the next long and relatively boring 60 minutes of listening to Jigsaw whisper and  Amanda scream, they twisted someone to death and then blew someone’s head to smithereens.

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I’m not sure if they were trying to tell more of a story this time around or what but it was definitely fucking sick. And not “sick” in the way kids today use the word sick. I did really like when they did they ‘intro’ for the big toilet thing which was the first movie but other than that there wasn’t anything too special about this other than it made my stomach sick and made want to retch. This will NOT go down as one of my favorite movies.

Anyway, while I am trying to finish this up and having a cocktail, I drew up this VERY FANCY grid about what I remember regarding the various ripped and shredded body parts. I know this list isn’t totally inclusive so anyone could remind me what I’m missing that would be great. I also wonder if I will keep this up or just get drunk and forget I ever made it.

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Jessica Jones: Season 1 (2015)

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jessica jones season 1

What I liked:

  • The opening credits were pretty cool.
  • Kilgrave. While I feel he has been immensely overhyped, he is the best thing about this show, without a doubt. David Tennant did a great job here, when he was finally allowed to play with the character.

jessica jones tennant

What I didn’t like:

  • Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. I don’t know, she came across as super forced, wasn’t hardcore or scary or cool or anything. If anything, she was annoying, which is a pity.
  • How preachy the show got about race at times. It was unnecessary.
  • The gratuitous sex all over the show. Really, like the third episode featured Jessica banging Luke four times. Four. In one damn episode. And it doesn’t contribute to the plot whatsoever, so it was totally uncalled for and awkward and useless.
  • The build up to actually seeing Kilgrave was way better than the payoff. The whole thing was just meh.
  • The characters. They are flat and uninteresting. I am really not a fan of any of them.
  • How magnificently everything just so happens to line up. Events, coincidences, etc. Not feeling right.
  • Kilgrave’s whole mission? He’s in love with Jessica. Really. After all that, it was some pussyfooting around that the show settled on.

jessica jones asshole

Rating:
GRADE 4
I started this hoping I was going to get another Daredevil. I should have known better. I don’t even know why I got my hopes up – just seeing Krysten Ritter should have been enough for me, but there were rave reviews, and I got hopeful. I mean, private investigator? Dark, gritty, violent? Check. Well, ouch. I really feel that the plot for this show is incredibly messy and all over the show, and introduces absolutely no characters to give a crap about, so it is an exceptionally hollow experience watching continually and not caring. It feels like I was investing my valuable time for no payoff, and that is not a feeling I wish to revisit again. This show is way too overhyped, and so is Kilgrave. While he is, undoubtedly, the best thing about this show, his introduction was sloppy, and his potential was never actually realised. I kept waiting for the really big bad to break out and make an appearance, which never happened. Krysten Ritter, too, is an actress that irrationally annoys the shit out of me (Abbi, you really should copyright that term). She brought nothing to the table, nothing to the character. She always came across as though she was trying too hard and uncomfortable, and not in a sense where you feel that from the character. Heck, she never believably became the character. Another thing I took major issue with is the gratuitous sex all over the show. I really don’t mind sex scenes, I would prefer them to contribute to the story, but we cannot all be so lucky. However, when there is just sex thrown in (four times in one episode!) because you have no plot to work with, things are no longer alright. It was over the top and gross, seriously, I know I sound like a prude but come off it. It contributed nothing. I honestly found Jessica Jones to be a bland affair that was a real chore to get through and brought nothing original to the table. There was potential, but poor casting decisions, storytelling and plot ruined it all completely. I cannot say that I wish to be watching more, and I am really not looking forward to seeing this join up with the vastly superior Daredevil.

jessica jones luke cage fight

Review: Breaking Silence – Linda Castillo

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Kate Burkholder #3

SYNOPSIS: Police Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific tragedy on a peaceful Amish farm.

The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community. – via Goodreads

GRADE 5So here I am. Back reading about this ex-Amish cop and all, and I was frustrated again. I understand she loves the Amish and their way of life and all, but a sick crime is a sick crime, not made worse because they are Amish, or that the case should affect her more because they are Amish, or because they are Amish that they are above other rules of the universe, or exempt from crime and pain and suffering, or that because they are people assholes will leave them alone. That has never applied to anyone. Also, Castillo’s writing style is still not something I enjoy, and I find it jarring, when she flips from writing about something happening with someone else, how it is described and all, and then it flips to Chief Burkholder, then it is first person, present tense. Disconcerting. Not only that, Kate Burkholder can manage to get sloshed on three shots of vodka and a beer. That must be great, imagine the money that could be saved! Anyhow, there were aspects of this book that were overly melodramatic, making it an absolute favourite of mine. Meh, as if I needed more of that. As I complained about for the last novel as well, the Amish community was milked dry for this. It is so annoying. Really. Plus dealing with the relationship with Tomasetti? Fine, but it is getting really old now. I maintain that Kate Burkholder is not a pleasant character, and being unable to identify with any aspect of her just makes this so much more a difficult read, and truly gets in the way of me caring about how she feels and what she is doing. There is also the problem that Painters Mill is a really small town but seems to be inundated with Amish hate crimes and murders. Seriously, how long can she keep this up and still call it a peaceful town? How did it all seem to happen now that she is police chief? I just don’t get it. Her work is really repetitive.

Rapid Review: Starry Eyes (2014)

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starry eyes poster

“Ambition: The blackest of human desires. Everyone has it, but how many act on it?”
– The Producer

SYNOPSIS: A hopeful young starlet uncovers the ominous origins of the Hollywood elite and enters into a deadly agreement in exchange for fame and fortune. – via IMDB

starry eyes gross
GRADE 6Alright, let me get this out right now so that we are not misunderstood. I liked this movie okay, but I certainly didn’t love it to death. Sorry Eric and RyanBut I liked it well enough, and I thought that it was shot and put together really well but I had some issues with the pacing throughout the movie. Starry Eyes was far longer than it had any need to be. I must say that the effects and makeup were just great – so disgusting! Ew! Also, the change that Sarah underwent was phenomenal, and the movie got really dark when taking us through that change. Yucky, is all that I can say, and that is where the makeup and effects get their major praise. Fabianne Therese portrayed Erin really well, and I can tell you with sincerity that I absolutely could not stand her. She was a bitch and a worthless “friend”, who was selfish, greedy, nasty and rude and I didn’t like her, not one little bit. Starry Eyes did not really focus much on character development outside of Sarah, which is a pity seeing as a more realistic dynamic between the friends could have done wonders for the film. Alexandra Essoe did give a brilliant performance though, I really liked her. I must comment on the piano-based score for this, which was just exactly what it needed to be, and certainly lent a whimsical feeling to the film. There are things the film did right, and a lot that just didn’t quite work out so well for me, unfortunately, and is forgettable in the long run for a lot of reasons. Starry Eyes felt like it dragged a lot in places (as I said, far longer than it needed to be). There isn’t actually really much more that I can say about this, aside from the fact that it is a decent watch.

Review: Body Double – Tess Gerritsen

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SYNOPSIS: Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city, she has seen more than her share of corpses every day–many of them victims of violent murder. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression “dead ringer” rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner’s table been her own.

Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her shocked eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura’s home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances. Even more chilling is the discovery that they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura’s mysterious doppelgänger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.

Searching for answers, Maura is drawn to a seaside town in Maine where other horrifying surprises await. But perhaps more frightening, an unknown murderer is at large on a cross-country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the mother that she never knew . . . an icy and cunning woman who could be responsible for giving Maura life–and who just may have a plan to take it away. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4This series was going so well, until we got to this book, that is. Ugh, it was so annoying and extremely melodramatic, typically something I was going to love, right? It drove me absolutely crazy the way Maura suddenly lost her identity upon discovering that she had a twin sister and questioned everything. I understand it is a shock to the system and all, but I was so over reading the back and forth between who she thought she was and how her sister was. It got old, fast. Meh. Naturally it would affect you, but hell man, it was so dramatic and ridiculous and I could feel my nerve jumping around my eye just reading the parts. It made her an incredibly weak, insecure character. She actually grated on me, something she has the potential to do from time to time, but never to this level. I also found it to be overly drawn out and exaggerated: the hunt for her sister’s whereabouts etc, knowing who she is through who her sister was… no thank you. Far too melodramatic and long winded, and took it right out of me to read. Okay, I will stop complaining about that now, because I can go on for ages. The sad thing is that there actually was a relatively decent story in here, though it only kicks in just over halfway through the book, and we finally move away from Maura’s constant agonizing and get more involved in the actual case, which has some decent points to it. Ballard’s character would have been fine, though he did feel forced, and there were quite a few loose ends when all was said and done in the book. Some things were just way too far-fetched and there were some wild coincidences all over the show here, I just couldn’t buy in to much of it, which counted against the novel for me. I missed Gabriel in this book, as I had been hoping for more interactions between him and Jane since they got married, and I also expected to have some more of Jane’s family feature seeing as she is pregnant, but no cigar my friend. I would have hoped that this would give some more character development to Jane and Maura, but it wasn’t really the case, either, and it was so much longer than it needed to be. It was a real empty and pointless experience to me, which is a pity because this is actually a decent series and I like Gerritsen’s work. But this was really not a good read, and not something I want to be repeating again anytime soon.