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Read This: The Woman In Cabin 10

Recently I read a mystery book that I had really been looking forward to. Unfortunately, I was totally let down when I finally got my hands on a copy. So, I was a bit apprehensive when I checked out Ruth Ware’s The Woman In Cabin 10 last week. Though really, I shouldn’t have been because when have Reese Witherspoon’s recommendations led me astray?
So, here we go. The Woman In Cabin 10. Read it, right now, if you haven’t already.

I read this in less than 24 hours. It’s a page turner, it’s exciting, Ware’s writing is great. This was exactly the type of mystery I was looking for. The story begins with Lo in her apartment in England, being awoken by her cat who keeps nudging her. Of course, she tried to sleep it off…until she heard a noise. (If you’re a restless sleeper because of everything that “goes bump in the night,” then this is probably your worst nightmare.) The noise wasn’t just the refrigerator or the air conditioner or some banal house sound, it was an intruder. The physical harm the intruder caused was minimal, but the psychological damage was much more than Lo lets on to her coworkers, boyfriend, neighbors, police, etc. Of course, who could blame her? It was a violation of her privacy, and she was trapped in her own home, and her cell phone was stolen. So! That was a bit of a jarring opener to Lo’s story. Amidst the whole, get all her credit cards sorted, and a new phone, calling locksmiths, and all the other unpleasantries that go along with being robbed – we find out that Lo was prepping for a big gig for her journalism job with a travel magazine that would hopefully open doors for her to climb up the industry ladder. With Lo’s boss in the hospital, she’s supposed to fill in as a guest – taking a cruise on a luxury liner, and reporting back all the details, and hopefully schmoozing some advertising deals with fellow passengers in the process. With Lo’s luck running a bit amuck lately, of course everything doesn’t go quite as planned. Ruth Ware writes intently. It’s easily to imagine Lo’s surroundings, how she’s dressed, whether the person she’s conversing with is a snobby jerk, etc. You’d think maybe with a story that opens with a burglary, that’s where the mystery would be…think again. Ten cabins on this ship, and not everyone is accounted for at the first dinner. Dun, dun, dun.

With recent thrillers like Gone Girl or The Girl On the Train maybe you’re wondering as a reader, is Lo a reliable narrator? Well, that’s up to you to read and find out.

Who’s the woman in cabin 10? Does Lo have reason to be suspicious of her fellow passengers? An ex-flame? Her boyfriend who’s off on a work trip (what’s their status anyway?)

I love that Ruth Ware doesn’t belittle the reader. I hate when we’re clonked over our heads with repeated facts, and the dots are connected so cleanly way before a story is wrapped up, as if not to give readers a chance to speculate their own theories – she does the opposite.

If you’re looking for a book you won’t be able to put down, something original that will keep you guessing, with a great plot and interesting characters – I say give this one a try! I enjoyed this one so much that I immediately texted two friends who’d read it so we could chat. Then of course, I recommended it to a lot of people, and of course had to post here. Now I’m thinking that I’ll need to read Ruth Ware’s other novels as well! Have you read The Woamn in Cabin 10? What did you think, did it meet your expectations? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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Read This: What She Knew

If you’re like me, the weekend isn’t only a time to recharge your batteries for the week, but if you’re lucky it’s a chance to dive into another new book and not have to worry about how late you stay up reading it. A few weeks ago I picked up Gilly Macmillan’s What She Knew. I saw it on a list of suggestions if you enjoyed Gone Girl. Okay, first of all – I really enjoyed the plot twists of Gone Girl. They were shocking, and unexpected. Unfortunately, now I compare any mystery novel with a female narrator to that story. After reading Girl on the Train I thought maybe some of these mysteries were starting to run together in their run of the mill use of plot devices. I’ll admit, I think I ill-judged What She Knew for about the first sixty pages.
In this novel, young mom Rachel is at a park with her 8-year old son Ben and their dog Skittle. Ben begs to run ahead to the rope swing, and Rachel agrees trailing behind him. When she reaches the swing, as it sways in the empty clearing, Rachel doesn’t see Ben – instead of assuming the worst, she thinks maybe he’s playing hide and seek. That is until all the normal go-tos don’t bring  him out of hiding. Of course, Rachel starts to panic. Thus begins a mother’s (and the father who she’s divorced from) worst nightmare – her son has been abducted. I found this story very well written, and hard to put down because I desperately wanted to know what happened next. Rachel’s sister and her journalist friend end up being her main avenues of support in this harrowing ordeal. Unfortunately, Rachel is put in the media spotlight and it does not bode well. Then there’s the blogging world that turns ugly, pointing blame and suspicion on her. The detectives try to research everyone involved in their lives on a daily basis, from friends and parents on the soccer team, to school personnel, to old patients of Ben’s father who’s a pediatric surgeon who may have a vendetta against him.

This is one of those stories that makes readers question the information in front of them. If Rachel a reliable narrator? Are we getting the whole story? Are the investigators sidetracked by their own personal grief?

The story digs into the personal lives of these people, and long buried revelations are revealed. I have to say there were some surprising elements to this story, that I was extremely pleased with. The novel wasn’t entirely predictable, which can be hard to do sometimes. The suspense was carried out though the end. I think the story also lent itself to an introspective reading – displaying so many sides to a story and all of the emotions that go with it. If you’re looking for a fresh mystery novel, check this one out.

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Meg Says Read This: “Girl On the Train”

22557272I know, you’re probably wondering what took me so long to read Paula Hawkin’s Girl On the Train, especially after my exaggerated enthusiasm for Gone Girl? I’m not sure either, but I’m so glad I finally did and before I saw the trailer to the upcoming movie! I don’t read too many psychological thriller novels, (mostly because my impatience to know what happens keeps me up all night turning pages, and then awake the following nights because I can’t quiet my mind.) While Gone Girl will probably hold the number one spot for me for years to come, Girl On the Train was full of quite a few twists and surprises of its own. I felt a relatability to our narrator Rachel (or main narrator I should say, as the book shifts between three view points) with her vivid imagination. After losing her job following some day drinking on work days, and a string of inappropriate behavior as a result of the fallout of her divorce and some personal traumas, Rachel moves in with an old college friend. Instead of coming clean about her employment situation, she hops on the train each day and continues about her old work day commute. Just instead of going to her old PR job, she pops into coffee shops to work on her CV, or visits the library, or does an inordinate amount of people watching. This combined with her active imagination brings us to one aspect of this jumbled up tale. Rachel witnesses an encounter of infidelity, though she doesn’t have a personal relationship with the people involved, passing them each day on the train makes her feel like she does. Then days later the woman involved goes missing! This mystery gives Rachel a new purpose in life, other than her hobby of drinking and obsessing over her philandering ex-husband and his new wife as she tries to piece together the random puzzle parts of these strangers lives. Of course this isn’t cut and dry, and her bouts of blackouts from drinking bring some complications to her reliability and memory recall. Such faults just add to the suspense and intrigue, though. Add in a jealous new wife, a troubled missing woman, and some manipulative but unsuspecting men and voila! We’ve got ourselves quite a story. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that jazzed when I finally watched the trailer to the film but I’ll probably give it a chance anyway. In the meantime, if you haven’t dived into this thrill ride of a story yet, I highly recommend it!

For those of you who are enticed to read a book when you see the film adaptation trailer, here you go:

(Image from Goodreads.)

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Meg Says Watch This: Before I Disappear

I’m one of those Netflix viewers who ends up watching several shows or movies because of one actor who is the common link. Most recently, after watching several (and I mean several) episodes of the CW show The Vampire Diaries I was intrigued by Paul Wesley, so when Before I Disappear was a suggested movie, I had to check it out! Now be aware, Wesley plays a small part in this film, but that shouldn’t deter you from watching. Before I Disappear is dark, somewhat suspenseful, but it also had this hint of (don’t think I’m crazy but…) heart-warming appeal. The story begins (well, almost begins – you’ll see) with twenty-something, troubled Richie (Shawn Christensen) alone in his apartment, where his suicide attempt is interrupted with a frantic phone call from his estranged sister, Maggie (Emmy Rossum.) Maggie demands Richie pick up his niece Sophia (Fatima Ptacek) from school because she’s “tied up” with something. Richie is obviously not in the right state for such things, but he agrees. Turns out maybe that’s all Richie needed – forming an unexpected bond with his determined, sweet little 11 year old niece. The film takes place over one night; not void of: hallucinations, a drug overdose, angry drug lords, fight scenes and high drama. I don’t want to ruin anything, so I won’t look for a clip but I will say there’s a scene filmed in the bowling alley (you’ll know which one I mean) and the musical sequence and the innocence captured in those moments is such a beautiful, shining moment of this film. Seriously, I think it’s one of the best 45 seconds or so, I’ve seen in a film in a long time. It nestles in, to inspire some hope for the hopeless – much like Sophia’s character herself. The night is much more than just an adventure in babysitting for Sophie and Richie. While this isn’t one of those films that I’ll end up watching several times over the years, it is worth watching because it was an interesting piece of art. And because you’re able to build an attachment to the characters throughout the story – you’re rooting for them, hoping for a happy ending. Think you wanna check it out? Watch the trailer to see what I’m talking about: