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The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

 
Let’s get Logistical

Purchased for $1

340 pages long, First published in 2016

The Skinny

This novel follows a brief period in Lo Blacklock’s life. The book opens with a burglar attacking Lo in her apartment. Directly afterwards Lo is reminded that she is supposed to be on assignment soon, reporting on a luxe cruiser liner that boasts that it contains everything their wealthy patrons could possibly want while they are on water. Rather than taking a break and sorting out the psychological and emotional impact the attack had on her, Lo decides the trip is exactly what she needs to get her life back to normal. While on board the cruise ship she inadvertently meets a girl who mysteriously disappears without anyone else seeming to know that she even existed. Is Lo right? Has she simply become a little crazy due to the trauma and not properly dealing with it? Lo thinks she’s right and sets out to prove that the girl not only existed, but also had something terrible happen to her. There are only about 10 guests and an unnumbered amount of staff on this 10 cabin cruise ship and Lo quickly pulls the attention of everyone as potentially crazy, as well as the attention of the would-be killer.

I give this book a 3 1/2 out of 5. This book was great, Ware keeps you guessing at what’s really happening for the bulk of the plot. Unfortunately it’s due to the stupidity of the main character. I’m sorry but Lo really is an idiot, from page one. I think this is worth reading, but I wouldn’t expect you to be swept off your feet while you are reading it.

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The Weekend was Murder – Joan Lowery Nixon


Let’s get Logistical 

This book was free! I moved back in with my parents’ and found this book left in my room. Maybe once upon a time I bought this book and never got around to reading it. Much more likely this was a gift from my parents, they’ve been hoarding things for me to read.

193 pages, published in 1992

The Skinny

This book follows teenage Mary Elizabeth. Mary Elizabeth is staying at the hotel she works at for the weekend to act as a witness in a Murder Mystery Theater Production. Her role quickly gets elevated as she is observed fleeing the hotel’s haunted room with a terrified scream on her lips and becomes assigned as the hotel worker to find “the body.” The pretend becomes suddenly real when, after “finding” the body, she discovers a real body in the room. The rest of the book follows the 17 year old as she tries to discover the perpetrator.

This book was definitely written for a teenager. The main character is a heroine that teenagers can identify with. She’s awkward, self conscience, suddenly tall, with a nagging mother. The mystery is solid with misleading clues and a juxtaposition of real and fake death. Mary Elizabeth is constantly under suspicion, inadvertently placing herself in compromising situations in search of information. The police are relatively ineffective, although Nixon does portray them in a positive light. *Spoiler* Mary Elizabeth is the only one that can solve the case because the ghost of the haunted hotel room was the only witness to the murder and for some reason Mary Elizabeth can suddenly communicate with him.

I give this book a 3 1/2 out of 5. Solid premise, I liked the ideas behind the plot, but it could have been flushed out a bit more. Then again, I’ve been beyond young adult reading since before I was a teenager so maybe that’s why I was left wanting more. Or, it could be because murder mysteries are so prevalent in pop culture currently that a book like this seems under developed.

Homicide in Hardcover – Kate Carlisle

Hello my loves! I’m sorry for the delay, it’s tough trying to fit your entire existence into one room so I’ve been spending the last two weeks working and getting my life into order. I think I’ve got a routine down now, so expect much more to come!

Book Break Down – all the logistics

Free! I found this one in one of Chicago’s Little Libraries. I left a book behind so I got to pick one out.

289 pages long, published in 2009

Brooklyn Wainwright is a bibliophile, a lover of all things book. Officially she works in the small field of Book Restoration and Conservation. She’s a book doctor, performing surgery on countless books throughout her career. The story starts off with an exhibition put on by her lifelong mentor, Abraham, with the star attraction being a cursed book once owned by Hitler. The curse strikes again at the opening show and Brooklyn finds Abraham shot, with “remember the devil,” the last words he speaks to her.

Throughout the chaos, Brooklyn is hired to finish restoring the cursed book and decides that she is in the best position to figure out why Abraham was killed. Becoming both the prime suspect and the next target, Brooklyn interacts with a cult, book thieves, killers, and the cutthroat world of books.

At First Blush – thoughts after finishing the book

I really enjoyed this book, I give it a 3 out of 5. It’s clearly the author’s first book they’ve had published and Carlisle definitely has room to grow, but it’s a great first novel. It has everything jammed in that you could want in a mystery novel. A cursed object, death, romance, friendship, family, and (of course) a love of books. It was boarder-line too much, but Carlisle was able to pull back enough to keep the novel at it’s quick read length. I was interested enough that I would willingly read the other novels, which I assume there are more since the cover boasts that it is the first in a new series. I would love to see the characters develop more, there were a lot of side characters introduced and I would be interested to see whether they play a larger role in the future of Brooklyn Wainwright.

Labyrinth – Kate Mosse

Hi readers! This is it, my last book review to be written in Chicago. Today is moving day and my help arrives around 1 pm to get the van loaded up for our 6ish hour drive to my new home. I know what you’re thinking, “it’s moving day, what are you doing writing your blog?!” The truth is that I finished this book last night and couldn’t wait to tell you about it. Also, I couldn’t sleep in, too anxious for the move, so I guess you guys get to reap the benefits!

Book Break Down – all the logistics

$4 plus taxes (the closest I’ve gotten to my $5 cap!)

508 pages long, published in 2005

This story centers around two women, Alais and Alice, who lived 800 years apart. In the beginning it isn’t clear how, but as everything progresses Alais’ and Alice’s lives twine together regardless of the time between them.

Alais’ tale begins in France in 1205. She resides in a castle on the eve of the crusades. Her father entrusts Alais with a mysterious ring and book, one of a set of three, and it launches events that the reader doesn’t expect.

Meanwhile, in 2005, Alice is a guest at an archeological dig in France. She stumbles upon a cave with two bodies in it, one clutching a mysterious ring. Alice’s discovery of this cave and its contents changes her life.

Alais’ and Alice’s stories are told side by side, slowly revealing the how and why of Alice’s historical discoveries as it’s happening to Alais 800 years previously. Their tale revolves around the Holy Grail, everlasting life, reincarnation, and the lengths people will go to in order to achieve their goals.

At first blush

I give this book a 4 1/2 out of 5

This book was fantastic, there was so much detail! Mosse did a great job balancing the two main character despite the vast difference in the time period. She portrays both women with a full fledged personality and focuses on their bravery, courage, and dedication. What I really loved, beyond the book itself, was that Mosse actually did her research. Might only that, but she also shared her sources so if the reader is interested in the historical period the narrative surrounds they can look into it as well. 

spooky little girl – Laurie Notaro

Book Break Down – all the logistics

Purchased for $1

Published in 2010 and runs across 293 pages.

Lucy thought she had it all when she went on vacation. A decent job, close friends, and a wedding on the horizon. When she returns from what was supposed to be her last hurrah she is unceremoniously thrown out of her apartment without explanation and fired from her job due to a misunderstanding. In the aftermath of a situation that only spanned across two days Lucy picks up her life and moves across the state to live with her sister and nephew. Settling in with her family is quick and comforting and Lucy quickly tries to find a job to hep her sister and get her life back on track. On her way to her first potential job Lucy is accidentally ran over and killed by a bus. This is when Lucy’s story really begins. The afterlife is nothing like Lucy expects. She is put into ghost school to ready her to be sent back into her world to accomplish an assignment, her “unfinished business.” If she completes this assignment then she can move onto the great beyond. If not then she’s doomed to wander the Earth as a spirit.

At First Blush – thoughts after finishing the book

This book was a light-hearted look at something most would take seriously; death and the afterlife. Ghost Lucy is given another chance to fix the things Living Lucy left messy and undone. She is put back into her old apartment a year after he death and is told to figure out what she needs to do on her own. I really enjoyed this book, I was able to read it in one sitting and it was written well enough that I wanted to read until I was finished. There was a decent amount of mystery and intrigue laced with a mix of reality and the supernatural. It isn’t necessarily the evolving characters that carry the story line, it’s the developing plot and the general relate-ability of the characters. Although it could have been developed more fully it was a decent enough book as it stood.

A good quick read and light enough to be considered summer reading. I give this a 3.5 out of 5

Renegade – Diana Palmer


Book Break Down – all the logistics

Purchased for $1

Renegade was published in 2004 and is 297 pages long. Palmer is a romance author, although this book has elements of a mystery/action novel as well.

This book follows Cash Greir and Tippy Moore. A story of love, passion, kidnapping and reconciliation of two people’s respective pasts. Cash is currently a small town Sheriff in Texas, trying to settle into a life post-wet work. He went from a military life to a merc life to an attempt at a normal life. Tippy Moore is a model turned actress with a dark personal past filled with pain and rape. Somehow these two people find solace in each other and follow a bumpy road to a real relationship.

At First Blush – thoughts after finishing the book

I liked this book a lot. The writer gave just enough background information so that a new reader could keep up and yet the people that have read her previous books wouldn’t get bored. I usually see this with books that have a lot of time between the original and the sequel. After all, most people don’t re-read the older books every time a new novel comes out (cough *me* cough). Palmer doesn’t attempt a lifetime’s worth of growth and character development within this novel, she’s clearly a series author. That’s not a bad thing, it’s refreshing to have an author take that attitude. The book is merely a snapshot into these characters’ lives. Things change, but not too much.

I recommend this book for anyone that’s looking for a quick read.