Tag Archives: Mystery

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I didn’t really want to do a review on this book, but here I am.

This book takes place on a luxury cruise liner sailing in Europe. The ship is constantly described as being miniature, which I totally get. What I loved best about this detail was the perspective of the MC, Laura aka Lo. She didn’t really care for it, despite being impressed. This hit home for me because in the Spring I went on luxury cruise in the Caribbean and despite how NICE and BEAUTIFUL everything was, I would never do it again.

But what really missed the mark for me, especially in the beginning was the MC’s treatment of her boyfriend, Judah. While their relationship isn’t explored in depth, I loath her for her treatment of Judah. It really turned me off to her, built this wall that I never overcame while I was reading the book. The second barrier I encountered was the opening act. The opening scene where Laura, the MC, is robbed in her house was the reason that Laura acted the way she acted the entire book. It was this solid thing she could point a finger at and say “this is why I am acting this way!” both as an miserable excuse, and a triumphant validation. I thought that I didn’t understand because I had never been in the position but last night something parallel happened to me and now I know that if I had read this today, rather than a few nights ago, I would have just rolled my eyes.

The plot development with something like this had a lot of standard elements you would expect to find, but there were some pleasant twists and turns. I won’t ruin them for you.

So back to characters- there are really only other characters that are developed at all upon the ship. Laura’s ex receives some development, but it is little, but I sort of held onto it because so many of the other characters were cardboard cutouts. Then there was the MYSTERY GIRL. I am so impressed with how MYSTERY GIRL is handled. She is by far my favorite part of the story.

So would I recommend it? Not especially, but I wouldn’t discourage you if you are interested. I keep telling myself, it’s me not the book. I was hoping for Tana French or Gillian Flynn but that’s not what I got and that’s not the author’s fault.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith


Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Here is my partial rantings on Career of Evil. I wasn’t really impressed but continued to be entertained. I still feel like Robin is Emma Watson. Anyway, this isn’t really a review, it is more of airing my frustration. Spoilers are probably below.

  1. Pretty girl (Robin) stumbles and gets catcalls and lewd remarks from construction workers.
    1. Ugh, I am so tired of this stereotype. Construction workers are always painted in a negative light. I am sick of it. Construction workers have manners, they are very respectful of women, they don’t wait around for a pretty woman to walk by so they embarrass themselves and her. Construction workers aren’t not the end all of sexist pigs. I wish writers would stop categorizing groups of people by irrelevant criteria. If you want to show sexism, show characters being sexist, not faceless generalities that promote fear mongering and false pretenses.
  2. The constant comparison of Cormoran Strike’s hair to “pubes”.
    1. Does this need any explanation?
  3. The negative portrayal of Matthew.
    1. Robin doesn’t make much money compared to Matthew. Matthew supposedly uses passive aggressive techniques to compel Robin to do such boring tasks like “go to the food store” just because she makes less money than he does.
      1. Seriously? Uncontrolled, raging feminism. Every household has to have someone go to the food store or pay someone to do it. There is absolutely nothing wrong Robin doing this. Stop making Robin a victim of petty sexual repression to suit your soapbox.
      2. And guess what! A couple should try to contribute equally to a household. Whether it is through getting a spirit crushing job that pays the bills or doing chores. Work together! Man or woman it doesn’t matter.
  • While in the grocery store, she is treated like a sexual object again! A man stares at her breasts. Gosh, all this grocery store represents is woman’s oppression. What a terrible institution.
  1. Oh gosh, the food store drama continues: Matthew did the food shopping and told her about it! Matthew is now upset.
    1. Matthew can’t even hug her without Robin being repulsed.
  2. Also, when does the audience get to actually see any of these fights Robin and Matthew have? We get it all second hand from Robin’s memory.
  3. Matthew is a punching bag, we never see anything good about him. He represents all that is bad in society and poor Robin is stuck with him when all she is trying to do is follow her dreams.
  4. Matthew has been snooping on her! Reading her emails and using her computer.
    1. Robin must change her password in order to keep her privacy. Won’t she have a nice tidy list of reasons to leave Matthew when the time comes?
  5. Matthew insists that their lack of car is her fault for not having a high salary. (According to Robin)
  6. Matthew helps out at his future in-laws more than he does at home for Robin
  7. Matthew become publically dismayed over being given an old car from his inlaws proving that he is self absorbent and ungrateful and Robin should add this to the list of why she is leaving him.
  8. Matthew walks into a room after she literally threw a tantrum, politely offers not to discuss it, brings her tea, and then is regarded as embarrassed for her justified behavior and a terrible person. He just can’t understand.
  9. Matthew, by spending time with her parents that they traveled a long distance to see, is wasting his time by watching TV with them. Robin is going to important work on her computer, and be alone and taciturn.
  1. The antagonist is just another male supremacist. They litter this book.
    1. Says women are disgusting
    2. Refers the woman closest to him as “IT”
      1. This is a successful woman that brings home the money
    3. Purpose in life is expose his dominance.
  2. Other men that pop up randomly are more often than not shown in the negative light, especially with sexual inappropriateness.
    1. When doing their investigating work the men that hire them do it in order to keep tabs on their lovers like possessions. When a woman hires them it is for some noble cause like to keep a dastardly man from stealing his child in the middle of the night away from the mother.
    2. Cormoran’s step-father was sexual repugnant
      1. He walked around naked in front of his step-daughter causing the girl to run away from home.
      2. Step-father was also awful in other ways: insulting Cormoran, discussing murder, lies, abuses animals, and getting stoned.
    3. The police man that comes to collect the severed leg checks out Robin thoroughly despite this being unprofessional and his being married.
    4. Robin’s younger brother is the only unsuccessful sibling: lives with parents, doesn’t go to school, hasn’t joined the army.
    5. Men simply can’t understand the importance of human life. They are constantly glib about the poor dead woman’s leg. So improper and horrible. The list of offenders include: police officer, Cormoran, Martin, the brother.
  3. More sexism angles!!! Everywhere.
    1. “Has his employee been male, he wouldn’t be vulnerable…”.
      1. Seriously. Stop. Too much.
      2. But also as woman has been useful being a typical female: warm, gentle, ect ect. He owes her just for being a woman, to keep her safe.
    2. Robin’s mother brings up that men have a hard time when their women work closely with another man.
      1. Men are insecure and feel threatened by this.
    3. People with strange sexual fetishes on the internet could not be women in Robin’s eyes. They simply could not.


Things I like:

  1. Robin and Cormoran’s relationship
    1. This is very genuine
  2. The author makes her words very powerful
    1. Her word choice and diction is superb
  3. The personal side of Cormoran is slowly unraveled. We haven’t go to see much of Cormoran’s back story so far, just enough to be intrigued. This time the plot is personal.
  4. Cormoran’s disability is very reasonable.
    1. He does not find super human strength to overcome his missing leg.
    2. He experiences pain associated with being too active.


After this point. I stopped taking notes. So….enjoy these partial notes! Because it has been awhile since I actually read this……

The Secret Place by Tana French

Image from GoodReads

Let me start by fan girling over here…and over there and every where. I love Tana French. I first picked up Into the Woods in high school and it intrigued me but I had no money to buy it. My dear sweet Rob G bought it for me and it was all over from there. Tana French gripped me and never let go. French was the first author that I was ever mad at but still in awe. All over her books have engrossed me and spit me out feeling feelings unknown to me in complicated way.

This book has a little bit of everything-murder, boarding school, best friends forever, ghosts, Frank Mackey, pop music, boy problems, secret places, and edgy motives for the characters. I liked it, a lot but it wasn’t love.

The beginning of The Secret Place was very underwhelming. The characters are beautiful complex as normal but the plot is just a thin, ragged sheet holding the book together. However, I think it was that way by design. Moran has a lot of hope riding on a wisp of maybe evidence and it makes the audience in tune with him-like it could fall apart any second and we could be back to our old lives. My favorite thing in the beginning is when Detective Moran interviews these girls at a boarding school. He is so adept at reading them that it makes me wonder if he is too good.

After that scene with Moran and the girls the plot thickens and comes together. It becomes real and then suddenly I’m invested. This middle section has a lot of flashbacks and not a whole lot of detecting which is fun but I was hoping for more of a balance. The investigation is what is, for me, driving the plot. Conway and Moran are getting along too well but I don’t expect that to continue.

The meat of the book contains fantastic character development and a slow unveiling of the events led up to the murder. I am not disappointed in the least with the quality of the mystery. I don’t know who did it just because there are so many possibilities on how it could play out. In true French fashion, nothing is cut and dry.

When Frank Mackey arrives on the scene I am blown away. You get this feeling that everything in his career has led up to this moment, and while he might feel guilty for causing it, he is prepared to handle the situation. I seriously have a crush on this guy even though he’s old and not real. Frank is a welcome explosion in this case. So much is tightly wound and he is blaring. The contrast really increases the divide between the girls and the adults. It becomes harder and harder to identify with these boarding school girls the more you learn about how twisted they are. Frank is this crashing force that pushes everything apart.

As the book concludes, the identity of the murder slaps me and I feel stupid. I don’t like it, in a good way. I don’t like how they use the ghost either, in a bad way, but everything is ending much cheerier than other French books. I am still left feeling overwhelmed about what happened despite the almost lovely ending. I have come to really appreciate the whole back story. It’s delightful.

Audiobook: The girl narrator annoyed me and distracted me from the story in the beginning but I either got over it or the story got so good it didn’t matter because 2/3 through I found myself not minding at all.. The guy narrator’s voice of Julia was horrid. Redo?

Overall I give this book 4.5 hoes out of 5.

Death of A Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen

From GoodReads

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is another ARC review. This is a historical mystery with a lot of Downton Abbey vibes. I love that this book was told from multiple perspectives in both narration and class. Clementine Montfort, the lady, and Edith Jackson, the head housekeeper, have such distinct voices it was easy to bounce between them. Arlen’s style of writing was dense but not overly flowery. The tone that she set really helped solidify the setting and her massive vocabulary was refreshing. She used the word vixen to talk about an actual fox, it was marvelous.

The mystery here settles around Lady Montfort’s murdered nephew, Teddy Mallory. By all accounts, Teddy was a scoundrel so naturally there are plenty of suspects. Thankfully the author included two other mysteries to go along with the main plot-a maid and a young lady, apparently unconnected went missing. With the cunning of Mrs. Jackson, and the determination of Lady Montfort, the mystery plays out in a very entertaining way. I did enjoy the resolution of this mystery much more than Dubiosity.

The historical timeline entwined with this book was very informative and relative. I enjoyed the history lesson and the multiple opinions that were explored. I also loved the dedication of the character to morality and manners. There was just something very noble about characters that actually cared about honor, loyalty, and respect.

Lady Montfort was handled well. The slow unraveling of her character’s developed help hold interest when the narrative became too dense. I enjoyed her wit, not over whelming but present, and her tenacious demeanor. The way she interacted with her husband and son really highlighted her intelligence. Her confrontations with Mr. Barclay and Gertrude were fantastic.

My favorite character was Mrs. Jackson. She was proper and intelligent. She did the legwork of this investigation which turned up many interesting tid bits. I can just picture her put in some sort of put in some sort of life or death circumstances and still managing to keep her principles while making it out in one piece. One of my favorite pieces of her depth was her fascination with the talented gardener she kept at a distance and lack of mention to Mr. Jackson. This mystery about her really balanced out her sometimes severe personality.

Arlen was able to add depth to the story with the other character’s backstories, though not all were developed and I admit to having a small problem keeping all the young bachelors straight at times. While some supporting character’s were developed well like Gertrude, others were not. Lord Haversham, while explored moderately, was not nearly as developed as I hoped.

There were some issues I want to address. The narrative was too rich for my tastes, it made the plot drag a bit even if it was skillfully done. The author showed wonderful bouts of dialogue that were beautiful and pieced together well but that did not permeate the entire book. The side story with Barclay and Mallory was not quite believable, nor did it seem to serve a purpose to the story other than making it politically correct. The chapters told from Lord Montfort’s perspective lacked the distinct voice that the chapters from Lady Montfort’s perspective and Mrs. Jackson’s perspective had.

Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it for fans of Downton Abbey, there were many similarities to this book and that show. A very strong four out of five footmen.

From Google Search

Dubiosity by Christy Barritt

Image from GoodReads

Dubiosity is my first ARC review and boy, it was a good one! This book centers around Savannah Harris and unraveling her town’s mysterious disappearances and how they link to other crimes. It was very easy to slide into because of the author’s charming writing style.

The author takes her time with the Savannah’s character development and despite early signs the MC might develop into a Mary Sue, does a good job connecting with the audience. At first, I thought Savannah’s grief fell a little flat but I changed my mind. Savannah is a rare female lead that can distance herself from her emotions to a certain extent. Savannah is balanced in the sense that she makes important decisions based on both logic and emotions. Savannah was also very candid about her short-comings and lack of moral fiber. This was so refreshing than the normal justification process that so many main characters go through. Savannah goes through a lot of changes in this book, from guilty to free, reclusive to curious, and cold to welcoming. As good as Savannah was developed, there were inconsistencies. I did find it strange that she didn’t freak out more about a strangers being in her house and that a creative journalist would name her cat “Tiger” for such obvious reasons.

Clive, is not handled as skillfully as Savannah. He comes off as an obvious good guy very early in the book. The first obvious clue-he drives a Jeep! It is a well known fact villains are not capable of driving such a fun vehicle. Plus having the bad guy living on the property just would have made it too easy to be bad and not romantic. Clive is suddenly revealed to be a fake name about 80% (or more) of the way through the book and suddenly his name changed to Jack. It was jarring and strange. I don’t think the author should have changed the narration like that so close to the end of the book.

That brings us to the mystery. The mystery element was more complex than usual but I loved it. I really enjoyed the chasing the answers down to each piece. Barritt engaged me and kept me guessing for most of the book. I did not loose interest in plot and the romance/subplots did not over power the main mystery. While I won’t ruin the ending of the mystery, I will say that the conclusion wasn’t dazzling.

The spiritual turning point for Savannah felt sudden and rushed at the end. It sort of hit me out of left field, especially the intensity. There was a little bit of gradual change but it was like walking into the surf and you get about 6 inches in, then suddenly with one step you are blindsided by a drop off and in over your head. Everything else spirituality-wise was wonderful and I could appreciate Savannah’s and Clive’s struggles. The spiritual element balance in this book was also done extremely well. I was very worried at the beginning that either the spirituality in this book would be “cafeteria Christian” style or every single thing would be “over spiritualized” but everything was well balanced. (There was one cheesy moment, but I’ll let it slide.) This was my best experience with Christian literature so far.

I give Dubiosity, four apples of five and would recommend this book those that enjoy tasteful mysteries.