- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Posted June 5, 2013
High-octane romantic thriller...
Christina OW makes an impressive debut with this high-octane romantic thriller. This Dickensian tale is an often- heartbreaking examination of fatal beauty, emotional and physical spousal abuse, child endangerment, murder, violence, class, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit over extreme circumstances.
Maria Martinez, a beautiful and angelic 22-year-old half-Latina single mother of a four-year-old boy Michael, hates her job as a waitress in a small café. But what’s a young working class woman with no college education to do in the small town of Jacksonville, Mississippi? Forced to wear a revealing uniform, she is tormented by the unwelcome attention from sexist customers, partly because of the basic indignities, but mostly because of her sadistically abusive, and over-jealous live-in boyfriend Ricky, Michael’s father. She endures much from Ricky—bruises all over her body, broken bones, lacerations—but when the abuse extends to her son, she realizes it’s time to escape.
But leaving is not so easy. Ricky’s enthusiastic abuse borders on the lethal. Ultimately, with the help of her mother Edna, Maria makes a last-ditch effort to escape, resulting in a presumed fatal house fire.
In New York City, handsome, wealthy and successful attorney Dave Greer is battling his own domestic war. His baby daughter Izzy (short for Elizabeth) is his world and he is a devoted parent. The same can’t be said for his tramp-of-a-wife Amy, who often leaves the young girl home alone while she entertains sexual partners and a life of social debauchery outside of her marriage and parental responsibilities.
Fed up, Dave finally asks for a divorce. But not ready to abandon the lifestyle Dave’s wealth and position affords her, Amy fights tooth-and nail to hold on to this loveless marriage.
Back in Jacksonville, Maria’s reprieve from Ricky is short lived, and she realizes there’s only one way she can save herself and her son. She moves him to New York City, where they change their names and alter their identity.
Through serendipitous circumstances, Dave and Maria meet. It turns into a cautious friendship, ultimately resulting in Maria becoming Dave’s live-in Nanny, after Dave tumultuous divorce from Amy and his attaining sole custody of Izzy. Baby Izzy and now five-year-old Michael become like brother and sister, and Dave (who has enrolled Michael in a swank private school) and Maria become more like devoted parents to each other’s child, turning this employee-employer situation more into a fairy tale family setting.
In spite of Maria’s hesitation, due to the abuse she suffered during her relationship with Ricky, a tepid romance begins between Dave and Maria. And just as they are about to venture further, evil rears its ugly head, threatening to undo what they have so carefully built.
Star Bright is a very passionate book. It’s fearless in its examination of deep emotion and the bitter struggle for happiness against all odds. There is plenty on edge-of-your-seat action, and there is no shortage of drama in these brisk 332 pages.
Watching Maria evolve from a put-upon, shrinking violet victim of abuse to a survivor who finds her voice and conviction against all odds will have one cheering for this warrior beauty. And much should be said about how Ms. OW admirably explores masculine tenderness and family devotion in the character of Dave.
The only challenges in this book are some minor punctuation and grammatical faux pas. But even these don’t get in the way of a gripping story, thrillingly told by a writer of great promise.
-Reviewed by Stanley
Posted January 20, 2013
Maria has been in a physically abusive relationship with the father of her child, Michael. The abuse has escalated over the years to the point where her life and the life of her son are in immediate danger if they don't leave; however, if they try to leave, that's when they're in the most danger of all. This book puts you in the shoes of Maria--many people don't understand why someone would choose to stay with his or her abuser (for the sake of simplicity, I am going to use feminine pronouns since this story is about an abused woman rather than an abused man; however, I recognize there are also men who are abused by women), especially if she also has a child or children to think about.
I've never been in a relationship like this, so I admit I'm one of those people who don't quite understand. At a previous job, I worked with abused women, all of whom had children, and some of whom, like Maria, had very visible effects of the abuse they suffered at the hands of their abuser. Looking in from the outside, it seems like it should be a no brainer, but this book will cause you to think differently. You will be inside the mind of what an abused woman feels like, thinks about, and fears. Sometimes it will be uncomfortable, but I think it's really important to be able to step into someone else's shoes without harm to yourself in order to learn about other people and their struggles in life.
This book gave me insight into what it would be like to be in an abusive relationship, and I still can't imagine what it would be like. I don't want to be able to imagine what it would be like either. Horrifying and inexcusable are two words that came to mind as I read, and the scenes where Maria is assaulted by her boyfriend had me feeling physically ill and disgusted that someone who says he loves you can treat you that way. He took his anger out on her and her son, and no one should ever take his or her anger out on someone no matter the circumstances.
Dave the second main character, and he is having issues with his wife--an incredibly selfish woman who is also a poor excuse for a mother. They have a young daughter together, but all his wife ever wanted from him was his money--he's a successful lawyer and also comes from a wealthy family. He decides to divorce her and begins the proceedings.
Every other chapter alternates between Maria and Dave's points of view, which I appreciated and felt I was able to get to know them better this way with their thoughts and motivations. The story was absolutely riveting--I had no idea what to expect next. While I was captivated by the story itself, there were many spelling and grammatical errors which normally I can overlook and for the most part I did, but sometimes the grammatical errors caused some confusion in the action. Without the confusion, I would have given this book a higher rating.
The characters were also a bit cartoonish to me--all of them were quick to anger and often made poor decisions, especially the scene when Maria, Dave, and Maria's parents are all arguing in front of the children. That was just painful and awful, and I didn't agree with their actions at all. If they had seemed more natural, with dialogue that wasn't stilted at times, then again, this would have caused me to give the book a higher rating. I also thought it would have been more believable and realistic if Maria's trust in Dave had been built up more slowly along with their entire relationship. It should have taken more time--an abused woman wouldn't just jump into another relationship. I would think she'd be too afraid to find herself in another abusive relationship and have a difficult time trusting someone.
Maria's son, Michael, doesn't speak or act like a four-year-old little boy, but I believe this was done intentionally by the author to make a point--Michael has been through too much, especially for his young age, and he has been forced to grow up faster than other kids due to the abuse he lives with. He became Maria's parent, trying to protect her from his father and make up for the love she wasn't receiving. He took on too much responsibility, and I know that's definitely something children of abused parents are prone to do. They lose the carefree nature of childhood and that is instead replaced with fear, dread, and stress, that which an adult has a hard enough time handling let alone a child.
Overall, the story itself was realistic and definitely worth reading, which kept me turning the pages until the very end. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the Goodreads group, We Love YA Books.
Posted September 19, 2012
The cover, was absolutely stunning! I think for this book my choice was definitely based on it. The title was alright, though I guess it didn't hold some sort of visible connection within the book. But the synopsis was good though and very intriguing. So, it's two out of three in this one.
The book talks about Maria, who escapes an abusive boyfriend who was thought to be dead, going to New York with her son and changing her name as well as trying to blend in. Things change when she encounters an argument between Dave and his soon to be ex-wife Amy. The argument catches her attention due to her assuming every guy with anger issues is like her boyfriend Rickey, that and, the argument was taking place in front of their infant child. When said argument escalates and the couple forget the child in the diner, Maria cares for her until her father remembers long enough that he'd forgotten her and come begging forgiveness for his folly. Dave is very intrigued by the woman refusing to give him his daughter, he also liked the protective way she was holding her, nothing like the child's own mother would treat her. Before long Dave spent most of his time at the diner, and then Maria became his live-in nanny. The children were attached to one another and the unconventional family they seemed to have. Problem is, just like Dave's past seems to keep coming back to bite him in the behind in the form of his ex-wife, so is Maria's past. Not only does a father she's only heard of appear in the picture, but the boyfriend has found her, and he's out for revenge.
As you would see in the review I wrote recently on 'Spring Cleaning', this would be the second book I read on women suffering from an abusive boyfriend or spouse. Spring Cleaning had been an enjoyable read, but it was way less emotional than this book, it was mostly tame in comparison. I honestly cried a few times, and was so strung alone the obvious pain that not only did Maria go through, but also her son! Speaking of which, I think this is what made the stakes higher in this book, it's always more terrifying when a child is involved. I was so worried and on edge that anything would happen to Michael, then Elizabeth, very nerve-wracking!
The characters were all great and very enjoyable, though I would have loved to know more about Miguel's history. Why couldn't he come help out his daughter? What had him away? How come he could finally appear in her life now? Too bad none of those questions were answered. I'd also wanted to know if there was going to be an obvious reconciliation between them, I feel like the book left parts hanging, or maybe my idea of important things hanging?
The writing was quite good, the story was flowing, the pace was well set and the storyline was great. Aside from a few glitches I don't find plausible with Rickey, the story was great! It was also a quick read.
Posted August 31, 2012
Star Bright is full of action, suspense and love
I was really surprised by how much I was drawn into this story once I started reading it! I kept coming back to it and picking it up, needing to find out what would happen next. Star Bright is full of action, suspense, love, hate, and abuse. The characters are believable and there is something about the book that kept me coming back for more; I really loved that about the book! I felt a lot of sympathy for Maria and you could feel her fear and her emotions well throughout the book. Dave was a great character also and I liked how he showed his priorities in his life. I would have given the book five stars but I had to take off for a couple of things. There were many punctuation errors and grammatical errors and it became bothersome after awhile. Also throughout the book the POV would change without cluing the reader in on it. It would take me a paragraph and a half and then I would have to re-read it to figure out that someone else was talking. Also, I felt that for a YA book talking about affairs is more of an adult romance book subject. Obviously this is just my personal opinion. Other than that the story drew me in until I had finished the last page! (For those who want to know this book does contain moderate cussing) Three and a half stars.
Posted April 11, 2012
Romance and Suspense all in one. Loved this book. Had to read it twice in one week it was so good. Kept me glued to my seat until the very end. Easy to follow the emotions of the caracters, feel what is going on. Highly Recommend...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.