Friday, March 31, 2017

Book review: "The Woman in Cabin 10" by Ruth Ware

I've read 2 super-hyped thrillers in a week, and they are both very different, and interesting for their diverse settings. Woman in Cabin 10 was one of them.

Here's the Goodreads synopsis:

In this tightly wound story, 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. 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 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 and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another intense read.

Honestly I don't know if I would have picked up this book if it was in a different setting. A lot of the action takes place on an itty bitty luxury yacht, which made me think back fondly on mine and Quinn's time on our European River Cruise. That was a small boat, but it held 92 people as oppose to the book's boat - 20 people.

Here's the few things that made me like this book a little bit less:
-Felt like the ending was really rushed. Sloooooow beginning, good middle, super rushed end.

-Plot holes: there were some things that felt like significant events that just got brushed away with little or no information and I think that might also tie into the rushed end. 

-Unreliable Narrator: This is strictly a person preference but I am always wary of unreliable narrators. Our main character maaay have a drinking problem, and is on some medication to address some depression so when she tells people that she's witnessed something terrifying they don't quite believe her as much as when she told the story before they new about the booze and the pills.
Here's what I liked:
-The setting: as I said before, the boat intrigued me

-It had some epistolary moments which I always think add some texture to a book.

If you like mysteries and need a good vacation read you could certainly do worse than this one!



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book review: "How to Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip" by Hitha Palepu

If you have hung around the blog for any amount of time, you probably have figured out that I love to travel! Though I am always worried that I have never packed enough of the right thing, or too much of the wrong thing. So I'm always on the lookout for books that might help me with that paranoia of mine!


First of all this is a book with a totally fitting and adorable cover.

Secondly, I like that she gives packing tips for different types of personalities. Like, do you just throw in everything willy nilly and not know what you don't have until you have to find a Walgreens in Edinburgh to get some toothpaste. She suggests the packing list.

Thirdly, this sounds like a silly piece of advice maybe, but I think it's brilliant. "Pack for who you really are". If you have thought about getting back into running after a decade absence, you are not going to start on vacation. Do not pack your running shoes.

Lastly, more simple sounding advice, only pack the things you feel good in. If you don't like how you feel in it when you are at home you aren't going to like it when you are on vacation!

Not so good:

Firstly, I was laughing when she was talking about packing your suitcase to go home and how it should be just as methodical as when you pack to go on vacation. Uh, when I'm coming home from vacation my only goal is to make sure my valuables don't break and that the damn thing zips. End of list.

Lastly, the book is a smallish book and for the packing lists in the back to be useful you'd have to have beautiful tiny penmanship that never messes up or you'd have to copy it and blow it up by about 40%.

Overall a good book, it's always worth a refresher on how to be a good packer. Except now the travel itch has never goes all the way away.....

I was given this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair review

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book review: "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History" by Bill Schutt

I think sometimes I scare my coworkers. When they stop me when they see me going to find a quiet place for lunch to read, they ask me "so what's your book about?" Usually my answer doesn't elicit to many reactions, but when I said I was reading a book about cannibalism it was "Why?! And while you're eating?!"

By now, you guys know my love for very specific, weird, nonfiction. And that's how I ended up reading a book about cannibalism while munching on my lunch.

Each chapter highlights a different type of kind of cannibalism, or question about cannibalism. Here are just a few sneaky peeekies:

- There is a chapter on the Donner Party, naturally. Did you know that the married men out survived the bachelors in the group? The author has reasoning for this that I think is totally wrong, but I'm just some ahole so he's probably right and I'm wrong.

- Do you know how long it takes some snails to mate? 6 seconds! You know why? Post-coitus cannibalism!

- If someone invites you to a Thyestian feast you SHOULD NOT GO

- There's a type of cannibalism that is motivated by filial piety. Looking at you certain Asian countries....

- Want to learn some slang from the 1920s and 30s? If you were an "older homosexual tramp who traveled with a young boy you could be called a cannibal". 

In full disclosure, there was a chapter in the book about whether or not the act of Holy Communion practiced in Christian churches is considered cannibalism. Reader, I skipped that chapter. I did not want to become angry.

This boo was full of interesting tidbits (HAHAHA) and I learned a lot. The only time when I was queasy about this book while eating was the chapter about human mothers who eat their placenta......just...don'

3.8 out of 5 stars!



Friday, March 10, 2017

Book review: "Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch

This was a book club pick for my work friend book club and though I had heard vague good things about it I had no idea what it was about. Looking back this is probably by design because there is very little that I can say about this book without giving away major plot points, so this review is not much help but here it goes.

So Jason is a really smart scientist, but he's not really living up to his full potential because he knocked up his girlfriend who was an aspiring artist and now they are both very happy with their now teenage son but both of them are acutely aware that they aren't really living up to their whole poteintal. Then, one night after a crappy encounter with a friend whose life took the super successful science trajectory that Jason's could have, he finds himself naked in a warehouse at gunpoint by a guy in a creepy mask. And it all unfolds from there.....I'm going to be honest. It was a bit of a slow start, but it did pick up. It I felt like it just had a long build to get to the action.

If I had put together that the same dude who wrote this book also wrote the Wayward Pines trilogy I probably would have been able to guess where this was going to go. But I didn't. And I was surprised. Which is fine.

Slightly spoilery- When Jason and Amanda are in that corrido and that random torn up horrified dude just walks past them and screams, that is the most freaked out I've been by a paragraph of a book in a long time. So, good on you book. You made me go "Eeeeeeeeek!"

So if you like twists and turns and big thoughts about destiny and life and all that stuff, this is the thriller for you.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Book review: "Mexico:Stories" by Josh Barkan

I read this book over a month ago and hadn't gotten around to reviewing it, which maaaaybe says something about the book. (And maybe a little about me...I'm going to say 75% book, 25% me)

It's a short story collection, and each of the stories are centered around people who are not involved in the incredibly scary drug cartels but somehow get pulled into that world.

-There's a Romeo and Juliet story between two kids from different drug cartels families which is by far the least creative or original story in the bunch.

-There's a strange story that involves a mime and a circus and a little person...

The story that I thought was most interesting was about a man who was a kind of mid line plastic surgeon in Mexico. Suddenly a famous narco bursts into his office and demands a makeover. Not just a nip and a tuck but a "I'm going on the lam and I need to be unrecognizable" kind of makeover. The doctor protests ("yeah, usually there's a consultation or two and usually I don't do surgery at gun point soooo can we talk?") Things go south and the doctor fears for his life...

I keep trying to think of things to say about this book and I just keep shrugging my shoulders and thinking "I dunno, it's fine." If you've got a hankering for a REALLY GOOD book about people being dragged into the cartel's sphere I'd much more highly recommend "Prayers for the Stolen". That's a good book. And the cover is great. This cover is ok. It's fine. Everything about this book is just fine. It's like....if Train were a book. Not special, just fine.

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair review from Blogging for Books