Tag Archives: 2016

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware

2 Mar
woman-in-cabin-ten-ruth-ware

3 of 5 stars

I’m not going to gush over this book, but I’m not going to hate on it either. It was fine. I listened to the audio version, and that made it a little difficult to follow all the characters, but overall it was narrated well and I don’t think it had an impact on my review.

But I didn’t love it. I don’t think it really falls into the “Mystery” genre, it was more in the Thriller category. “Gaslit woman terrorized on tiny cruiseship” is basically the plot. I did not like the intermittent sections of news that told what was happening on land at all. It was so bizarrely off from what was happening on board that I thought maybe this was supposed to be a sci-fi book and the ship had cruised into an alternate dimension. But no, it was just a bunch of stuff thrown in to throw you off, way way way off, so off that you don’t have the slightest clue what’s going on, much less understand the mystery.

Well, I guess that veered into “hate on it” territory. I didn’t hate the book. I enjoyed it while I was waiting for it to start making sense. But the problem is that the last third, once you’ve finally figured out what has actually been happening, really doesn’t make any sense – not any logical, realistic sense. And I just didn’t buy anything that was happening in the last few days of Lo’s time on board.

On the plus side…. I understand what the author was going for, which is a great murder mystery surrounded by the extra-legal situation of international waters. I think she had a great idea, and she does come close to a very Agatha Christie type story. She just doesn’t quite get there.

Well if you want a fairly easy read, with a lot of mystery and excitement, or want a modern-day Agatha Christie but don’t care a whole lot about logic and sense, then you might enjoy this. That sounds sort of sarcastic, but it’s not. Sometimes you need a Mission Impossible or a Bourne Identity, and sometimes you need a Woman in Cabin 10.

Let me give it a GIANT thumbs up for one thing: Titling it The WOMAN in Cabin 10, and not The Girl. Thank you Thank you Thank you for that.

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And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, by Fredrik Backman

27 Feb
and-every-morning-fredrik-backman

FIVE+ of FIVE stars

This book took me months to finish. MONTHS. I started in November and didn’t finish until February. Not because it was horrible, or slow, or a difficult read… but because my heart could barely take it. Any given page in this book had my heart trembling in my throat, drowning with emotion. After any 3-5 pages I would be a sobbing mess, having to set the book down again for a couple weeks while my heart healed. Like all Backman books, this one is happy, sad, beautiful, heartbreaking. But this book is even more of an emotional ride than the others. Perhaps because the main character isn’t as overtly flawed as Backman’s others. Ove had people split down the middle, with people either hating the ornery old man or seeing beyond his outward prickliness. The Grandpa in this story admits he was not the perfect father, but his love for his wife and grandson shine through so magnificently that there is no doubt of the amazing heart within this man.

And because of all the love he contains in his heart, the rest of the story is just too heartbreaking to take. Like all Backman books, the sadness is surrounded by happiness, because Grandpa is surrounded by as much love as he contains in his heart. I mean, it is pointless trying to convey in this review how powerful this book is. Why am I even trying. This book is FIVE STARS. The book is beautiful, it is powerful, it is heartwrenching, it is a must read.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair review. My fair review includes the caveat that I’m sorry it took so long to get a review entered, but the novella is so painfully beautiful that I just couldn’t get all the way through until now.

The Big Sugarbush, by Ana B. Good

9 Jan
big-sugarbush-ana-b-good

4 of 5 stars

This is a light, happy, lesbian romcom, framed by the serious themes of addiction and rehab in a lesbian-only facility.

I fell in love on the first page when we were introduced to Nan, the successful middle-aged lesbian. My favorite couple though was Poppy and Storm, the popstar and war correspondent, respectively.

It does well as a zany lesbian romcom, but I have to admit my imagination couldn’t quite cover some of the very serious situations that were set to comedy and silliness. There were some serious addiction issues in the book, but the recovery was only touched on. There was a seriously dangerous situation that Storm deals with that I really couldn’t wrap my head around as comedy, even though it was obviously supposed to be silly and the antagonists were like cartoon characters. But I can’t put my uncomfortable feelings on the author, I think this is just one of the weaknesses that my very logical, serious brain experiences sometimes when reading books like this.

Overall it was the silly, light, fun little book I had wanted to read. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more, and in these serious times, it is what I needed.

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

7 Jan
born-a-crime-trevor-noah

5 of 5 stars

This is one of those books you read when you think you have it bad and then you read this and decide you’ll just be grateful for what you have.

This book is solely about Trevor Noah’s childhood and young life in South Africa, nothing about his career rise in the US. Trevor Noah has lived ten lifetimes already, and at least that many nightmares. The book is not a comedy, there is absolutely nothing funny about any of his early life. The horrors he experienced daily are beyond what we can imagine, and the book ends on one of the worst real life events I can think of. It’s a dark story about a boy who grew up with unimaginable horrors just an expected part of daily life.

But throughout the book you can feel Trevor’s strength, which he got from his mother, and his ability to look on the bright side of life, which he also got from his mother.

It’s an extraordinary book about an extraordinary life.

The Food of Love, by Amanda Prowse

17 Nov
amanda-prowse-food-of-love

3 of 5 stars

I honestly don’t think a lot of this book. It’s not terrible, but it’s nowhere near the best book about anorexia that I’ve ever read. It feels like someone did a lot of research on anorexia and then just wrote a story about what they think it’s like to have a suffering family member. I didn’t feel the characters were that fleshed out and there just wasn’t a lot of meat in the story.

I also had a lot of issues with the mother, who was much more interested in being a friend to her daughter than in being a mother. I don’t understand parents who firmly believe their teenagers would never ever lie to them, about anything, or who feel that they know better than any doctor.

The moment I find out my 5’6″ daughter weighs only 87 lbs is the moment that kid is admitted into the hospital. She doesn’t want a feeding tube inserted? Tough sh!t. Save the kid’s life first and then deal with the psychological reasons, but if you don’t get her fed then there won’t be anything to help. This mother is in denial until the girl is a moment away from dying in her arms.

And there’s an hour by hour countdown throughout the book, leading up to something… something really tense and scary…. Oh nevermind, that whole countdown thing is NOTHING. It’s absolutely nothing. It’s a fake-out to get you all worked up and concerned about things, and then PSYCH! It’s nothing.

The epilogue as well annoyed me. The book as a whole is a sort of serious story set as a light and fluffy read. I was never able to care whether the daughter lived or died, and I mostly just wanted to shake the mother. It’s not terrible, it’s just not a very good book.

Safe With Me, by K.L. Slater

3 Nov
safe-with-me-kl-slater

FOUR of Five stars

I loved this book, but let’s get one thing out of the way. I don’t really like the cover. It’s really not your average female-victim thriller, and it’s even a bit humorous at times (or maybe that’s just me). But this cover doesn’t make the book stand out in the way that it should.

The story is told mostly through Anna’s voice, after she views a road accident caused by a woman she believes is also responsible for the death of her brother. But it quickly becomes apparent that Anna is a very unreliable narrator, much in the realm of You‘s Joe Goldberg, and possibly just as bonkers. And just like Joe, Anna is often charming in her delusions of love.

But further into the book you realize Anna isn’t the only one with issues of psychology and/or outright deceit. Every single character in this book is hiding who they are in one way or another. And as all the layers are peeled away and we realize who is really who and what is exactly happening, the book becomes more and more difficult to put down.

The last ten percent however, falls a bit apart. It pains me to say that because I absolutely loved the other 90%, and it’s possible that others don’t have a problem with the ending. But for me the end was a little rushed, some logic was dropped, and some corners and character details were cut. It was not an unsatisfactory ending at all though, I just think the intense web of lies that the author created might have required a bit more time for her to arrange in a neater manner.

This is K.L. Slater’s first book, and while I felt the end lacked just a bit of organization, I 100% LOVED the rest, and absolutely look forward to what she puts out in the future. I am definitely a new fan!

Thanks to NetGalley for providing an early copy in exchange for a fair review.

Evelyn, After, by Victoria Helen Stone

16 Oct
evelyn-after-victory-stone

Five of Five stars

This book is so many things, and I loved them all.

It’s about a woman struggling to come to terms with her husband’s betrayal.

Or it’s about a woman’s descent into madness as she tries to make sense of a no-win situation.

Or it’s Fatal Attraction told from Alex Forrest’s point of view.

It’s a horrific tragedy as a woman loses everything after making endless mistakes in an attempt to fix things.

But no, it’s a story of a woman picking up the pieces of her life and Winning. The last pages of the book turned the whole thing around from a deliciously terrible story about a sort of awful woman, into, honestly, a kind of inspiring story.  I think it’s easy to blame Evelyn for all the terrible choices she makes – and yes, she makes some really awful ones – but let’s not forget what started her on this path, WHO started her on this path. Absolutely none of this would have happened if not for the one truly terrible character in this story. Each character in this story makes their own choices and they all pay for them, Evelyn included. But the really unexpected (to me) situation at the end brings a lot of hope and comfort and… well, hope. Unexpected positivity.

This story could only have been told this well by a female author.  We all have a bit of Evelyn in us. You can disagree with everything Evelyn does in this book, but don’t judge this woman until you’ve walked a mile in her shoes. There truly is a little Evelyn in us all.