Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Goodreads Overview:

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.


This book was recommended to me by a former co-worker when I told her I was planning on going on a cruise???  Well, the Aurora isn't a typical cruise ship with hundreds or thousands of passengers. It is a luxury yacht with only ten plush cabins. The ship is getting ready to embark on its maiden voyage with a guest list consisting of media and travel writers, a photographer, potential financial backers, and the yacht's owner and his wife.  

Lo Blacklock has worked for Velocity travel magazine for years, but her boss is the one who usually takes advantage of the more upscale trips that come their way.  When her boss is laid up due to a complicated pregnancy, Lo is offered this once in a lifetime opportunity to sail on the Aurora.  She plans on networking and showing everyone how valuable she really is to the magazine. This may be just the beginning of bigger and better things to come. Unfortunately, she experiences a  rather traumatic event prior to embarking on the trip and isn't in the best frame of mind to schmooze or write.  Sleep deprivation and anxiety get the better of her and she decides to drink a bit too much to help cope.  She witnesses what she believes is a body being thrown overboard and immediately calls the staff to report it.  When all of the passengers are eventually accounted for, her story is dismissed.  Everyone tells her she was either too intoxicated or overly tired and didn't really see what she believes she saw.

Lo is convinced she did not imagine the event and continues to investigate.  The closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous things become for her.  She refuses to let it go and eventually finds herself in the middle of a very twisted tale.  

The pace of the story was excellent and I was constantly on the edge of my seat anticipating what would happen next.  I never would have guessed what ultimately took place and couldn't believe the lengths someone would go through to orchestrate a murder.  The plan would have worked perfectly if only Lo hadn't been awoken by a scream from the cabin next door.  It wasn't even a scream of terror, but more of a scream of shock or surprise.  It was just enough to get her attention and then she heard the splash.

I love murder mysteries and found this book to be very enjoyable.  It was a fast read and really gave you a sense of what it can feel like being trapped on a boat at sea.  We also had no wifi or contact with the outside world when we were on our cruise.  When Lo felt like she was in danger she couldn't contact anyone and had no way off the boat.  She was trapped and at the mercy of the passengers and crew.  She had no idea who she could trust and really needed to play her cards right if she wanted to walk away from the voyage alive.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Review: The Silver Mask by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Goodreads Overview:

A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn't succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt. Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to-and how he lives on. But Call has no idea. It is only when he's broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine's plan is suddenly in his hands . . . and he must decide what to do with his power. In this spellbinding fourth book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take us beyond the realm of the living and into the dangers of the dead. 


It had been a while since I read the previous book in the series, but I did not have any trouble picking up where things left off.  At the start of the book Callum is in a magical prison, not because of something he actually did, but because of the potential he has for wrong doing.  He has never intentionally done anything evil and even keeps a mental checklist of how his actions measure up on the "Evil Overlord" scale. He tries to do what is right, but without his counterweight, Aaron, he doesn't know if he will be able to control his Chaos magic.

When Master Joseph tells Call to bring Aaron back from the dead, he believes it is an impossible task.  He uses Constantine's notes and Jericho's journal to look for anything that might help him uncover what Constantine was missing, but will the benefits of bringing Aaron back really outweigh the risks? Master Joseph believes having the ability to bring people back from the dead will put him in a position of power not even the Assembly will be able to counter.  But will Aaron really be the same as he was before he died or will he become another Chaos ridden puppet that simply obeys his creator's commands?

This series is geared towards middle school children, so the books are relatively short....200 pages.  They are long enough to challenge young readers, but not so long they lose their attention or focus. There was plenty of action to hold my interest, but I sometimes found Call's inner dialogue to be a bit much.  As an adult reading the series, I felt like it slowed down the pace and didn't really propel the plot forward.  The ending, however, wasn't at all what I was expecting.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I hope Call and his friends will be able to achieve some level of normalcy in the next installment.  They didn't spend any time at the Magisterium, which is their school, and were fighting just about everyone to prove Call's innocence for the majority of this book. They have certainly earned some rest and relaxation, but I am certain that is not what Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have in mind for the conclusion of this series.