Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cocktail Hour by Tara McTiernan

2.5 Star

What if your friend - someone admired, envied, and fervently sought after by everyone who knew her - was really a dangerous sociopath?

Spring in glamorous uber-rich Fairfield County, Connecticut is a time of beginnings: a new diet for the approaching summer spent out on the yacht, fresh-faced interns being offered up at the office as the seasonal sacrifice to the gods of money, and corporate takeovers galore. Five women in their thirties have a brand-new friendship, too, one that's fed and watered regularly at local hotspots over cocktails. With all of their personal struggles - Lucie's new catering business is foundering due to vicious gossip, Kate's marriage is troubled due to an inability to conceive, Chelsea's series of misses in the romance department have led to frantic desperation, and Sharon's career problems are spinning out of control - the women look forward to a break and a drink and a chance to let their guards down with their friends. And letting their guards down is the last thing they should do in the kind of company they unknowingly keep with the fifth member of their cocktail-clique: Bianca Rossi, a woman who will stop at nothing to have it all.

Kaley - 2.5 Star

Total honesty time: I almost couldn’t finish Cocktail Hour by Tara McTiernan. It’s quite rare for me to really dislike a book, to struggle through it, and to contemplate not finishing it. Cocktail Hour, unfortunately, was one of those novels that I almost couldn’t finish.

The biggest problem I had with this novel was Bianca. I hated her. She was toxic and she made me feel toxic when the novel focused on her story. At first I just thought she was cold, aloof, and bitchy. Nope. She’s completely twisted and evil. Having to read about her and what she was doing to the other women was so incredibly hard and it really took away whatever enjoyment I could have drawn from this novel.

Some of the other characters rubbed me the wrong way, too. I didn’t particularly care for Chelsea or Kate. They were both too na├»ve and trusting, particularly when it came to Bianca. Sharon and Lucie, on the other hand, were much more enjoyable to read about. They had more spunk and, not surprisingly, were less trusting of Bianca. Those two were also key in the final climax of the story and they played a more active role overall.

The ending also irked me. This was one of those stories where everything should have wrapped up nicely because of the craziness that ensues. I thought that was going to be the case but McTiernan throws in a twist at the end that I really wasn’t happy about, mostly because it seemed unjust.

Overall, I really struggled with Cocktail Hour by Tara McTiernan. There were some moments where I enjoyed the friendship between the women and some of their backstories but, for the most part, I was cringing due to crazypants Bianca and worrying about what she was going to do next. It was just a little too intense for me.

Thank you to Tara McTiernan for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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