The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware


Ruth Ware’s books have received a lot of attention and readers, so I was looking forward to reading this when it was picked as one of our books to read for our genre study at the library.   Travel magazine journalist, Lo Blacklock, takes medicine for her anxiety which becomes even more pronounced after a break-in and then her relationship with her boyfriend moves to shaky ground. She then is assigned to cover the launch of a new luxury cruise ship cruising from the UK to Norway which she hopes will advance her career.  She’s been enjoying the luxury cruise on this small ship which has only 10 cabins when she awakes one evening after hearing a scream. She gets up and sees a body being thrown overboard and blood on the veranda of Cabin 10, the one next to hers.  When she reports what happened, she is told that everyone is accounted for and the person who books Cabin 10 never arrived, but she had met a lady in that cabin who loaned her some mascara.  She can’t get anyone to listen to her and the staff in charge think it’s a reaction to her break-in and the drugs she’s been taking.  She starts investigating on her own and finds some mysterious happenings, putting her in danger.  This book is another one along the lines of Girl on the Train where drugs and alcohol could be messing with the protagonist’s memory/perception.  I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t find it to be as compelling as I had hoped and am a little surprised by all the fabulous reviews it received.  If you enjoy psychological thrillers you might want to give this one a try.  I do think, however, there are better ones out there.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy for an honest review.






Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker


I have been in a Mystery Book Group for over 10 years now and I used to read a lot of mysteries. In fact, I probably read more mysteries than any other genre at one point.   In the last several years, though, I have somewhat lost my enthusiasm for the mystery genre.  I think it is because so many of the mysteries written today and that our group picks all seem to be very dark and with a protagonist who has many issues – alcoholism, divorce, bad relations with the boss, extremely graphic murders, etc.  This month our group discussed Bruno, Chief of Police, and I really enjoyed reading this one.  It is the first in a series set in a fictional small town called St. Denis in France.  Bruno is a well-liked police chief who enjoys a close relationship with the town and the town’s mayor.  He is a likable ordinary guy who enjoys where he lives, loves to cook, garden, play tennis and rugby, and is happy with his life.  The book gives a strong sense of place with Martin’s descriptive writing style that isn’t over-done.  There is a lot of humor in the book as the town runs a market with products they have been making in their families for hundreds of years.  Now the European Union want to put rules in place that they don’t want to do.  The town has made an elaborate system to evade the regulators who come to town.  The manner of the murder was rather gruesome, but that was just a small part that it did not detract from the story for me.   I will definitely be putting this series on my list to continue.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


I don’t know why, but I was a little surprised at how much I liked this book.  I think it is because I originally thought it might be an all fluff Hollywood type book, but it was more than that.  Evelyn Hugo was a big movie star who now wants to tell her story and seeks out unknown magazine reporter, Monique Grant, to write her biography. When Monique asks why she picked her, Evelyn tells her she liked her style in an article she had written.  As Monique learns her story, she also starts to feel like there is a hidden connection between the two of them.  I pictured Evelyn as an Elizabeth Taylor type (beautiful, glamorous, successful, and an active love life).  As it turned out she was all that, but there was more to Evelyn than I expected.  She was a strong woman who knew what she wanted and went after it, fully aware of her actions and unapologetic for them.  Starting with the beginning of her career in the 1950s until she retires in the 1980s, her story is an interesting one with a few unexpected turns.  In addition to Evelyn’s story, Monique’s quest to finally become a big success in the publishing world was an enjoyable addition to the plot, and the hints there will be a secret to be revealed affecting Monique, also kept me engaged. Even though Evelyn was at times manipulative and calculating I still found that I liked the honesty of her character.  The audiobook I listened to was well-narrated by Alma Cuervo and Julia Whelan.  This was the first book I have read by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but she has been added to my author to read list.


The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen


This book that was just released was such a fun ride trying to guess what was going on!  A lot of books have been called “the next Gone Girl“, but I think this one is the real deal.  I also think people who enjoy psychological thrillers with unreliable narrators will enjoy this one even more.  Because of all the twists and turns it is going to be hard to write about the book without giving away too much either.  Suffice it to say that rich, successful, attractive Richard has been married before and his ex is obsessed with her replacement.  As the story unfolds, the history of the marriage and several past secrets are revealed.  This story is interspersed with what is happening present day as Richard is about to get re-married.  Nothing can be taken for granted because nothing is as it appears, and I couldn’t get through the book fast enough.  I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Julia Whelan who did an excellent job.  I highly recommend this book for those who love psychological thrillers.

I am grateful to Macmillan Audio for providing me with an advanced copy of the audiobook to preview.  This did not, however, impact my independent review.

City of the Lost by Kelly Armstrong


Thereze Plummer narrates this audiobook, and I am discovering that she is definitely one of my favorite narrators.  There is a good reason she has won awards for her narration.  So, I will start my review by saying that I highly recommend that if you have a choice, pick listening to it, but reading it will be good, too.

Casey Duncan is a police detective with a secret – decades ago she killed her boyfriend who is related to a mob boss.  The police never solved the case, but Casey is more concerned with the mob catching up with her.  She has  a best friend, Diane, who knows about her past and now Diane is upset because her abusive ex has found her and is back in town trying to get her to come back to him.  When Casey discovers Diane beaten up by the ex one evening, they decide they need to disappear.  Diane learns of an isolated town called Rockton that takes in people who want to be lost.  They have to apply to get in and Casey almost doesn’t get accepted, but the town is in desperate need for a police officer to help with a murder that has just occurred.  As Casey helps with the investigation, she finds a lot of unusual happenings in the town and a bit of romance develops along the way.

I found the idea of a secret town hiding people fascinating, and the lack of contact with the rest of the world added to the atmosphere. The book has a lot of twists and turns keeping the story interesting and the characters were interesting.  This was a well-done mystery with a unique and original setting.


The Big Free by Martha B. Boone


Late this past summer my mother emailed me to tell me that a book written by her doctor was on its way to my house so I could review it for this blog.  I was not exactly excited about the prospect, especially when I have so many books that I want to read and just can’t find enough time to get to.  Well, I finally picked it up to read, and I’m glad I did.  Dr. Boone has written an entertaining book about  a resident’s life at Charity Hospital, known as”the Big Free”, in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1982.  Charity Hospital’s emergency room is a whirlwind of activity providing lots of lessons for the residents from Louisiana State University and Tulane Medical Schools who intern at the trauma surgery center there.  Each chapter is a story about one of the experiences of protagonist, Dr. Roberts, providing, humor, heartache, and insight into the lives of the medical professionals.  The author, Dr. Boone, was one of the first female urologists in a male dominated field, and Dr. Roberts is also a dedicated female working her way through the male dominated field with its rewards and struggles everyday.  I did think the book could have used some additional editing, and the author overdid some of the points she was presenting.  Overall, though, that was minor concern. Write what you know has certainly paid off in this book, and I think this book would be enjoyed by anyone, especially if you are in the medical field or interested in the subject.  The paperback version is due out January 9, and I’d recommend you buy a copy.



Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict


Clara Kelley left Ireland after the potato famine to come to America to find work to help her desperate, struggling family. When she arrived in America she was mistaken for another Clara Kelley who was coming over to become a ladies maid for Mrs. Carnegie but died on the ship.  She readily assumed the other Clara Kelley’s identity to easily gain employment.  When she arrived at the Carnegie home, Clara was stunned by the opulence of the home.  Although the Carnegies rose to great wealth, they started off as poor immigrants themselves, and Mrs. Carnegie was still struggling to learn the nuances of the wealthy in her new position in society.  Although a relationship developed between Andrew Carnegie and Clara, she had to be careful because she could not lose the job that her family depended on.

When I started this book I hadn’t realized a lot of it is pure fiction and not aiming to be historically correct, so that part did disappoint me a little.  Even though I knew the book would be centered around the maid, I was hoping to learn a little more about Andrew Carnegie along the way.  The book does a good job of portraying the class differences and immigrant experience, and I enjoyed the portrayal of how Andrew managed his business although I have no idea how truthful that was.  I did think aspects of his relying on Clara’s suggestions regarding business and including her in the process a little far-fetched.  Overall, the book was an enjoyable read.  It just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the advanced copy for my honest review.

Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin


Kimmery Martin’s beautifully written debut novel surrounding two friends is a delight. Well-respected doctors Zadie Anson, a pediatric cardiologist, and Emma Colley, a trauma surgeon, have been best friends since medical school and their opposite personalities complement each other.  Both are now married with children and juggling their careers and family.  The book starts with an air of mystery as Emma texts Zadie that she wants to talk about something that happened their third year in medical school.  They have had an unspoken agreement for two decades not to discuss what happened that year.  I could tell that it wasn’t a good thing, but it took a while for the reason to reveal itself. Their stories are told by alternating voice between the two women as well as the time periods between the current and past.  This book has an excellent story-line that explores the strengths and tests of friendship, a realistic portrayal of the challenges working in the medical field, the mistakes and regrets made in life, the challenges of balancing a career and family,  rich characters, and many moments of wit and humor.  The book reminded me a lot of the books I have read and loved written by Liane Moriarty.  As a former resident of Charlotte, NC, I also enjoyed the setting and reading about familiar places.  Kimmery Martin has firmly landed on my must-read author list for future books.

Mark February 13, 2018, on your calendars to get this book when it is released.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book for an honest review.



Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann


I don’t typically read a lot of non-fiction, but this book sounded interesting.  I love to learn about something I don’t know about and also enjoy mysteries, so this book seemed to be a good combination and had received a lot of good reviews. This well-written and researched book read more like fiction.  The historical account began with the fascinating investigation of the murder of an Osage Indian in the early twentieth century, and I learned a lot about the Osage community, the injustices they suffered and the early stages of the FBI.  The Osage had been moved from Kansas to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).  In the negotiation with the government over the sale of the land, the lawyers for the Osage fortuitously preserved mineral rights which eventually brought them great wealth when oil was discovered on their land.  The government got involved, claiming they weren’t smart enough to handle that fortune and appointed guardian trustees to help manage the money.  Unfortunately, many unscrupulous white men were not happy with the Osage’s fortune and took advantage of the situation and swindled them.  There were also many suspicious deaths among the Osage that were not investigated sufficiently during the time period.

This book details the sad and unfortunate (to say the least) time in our history.  The hard to believe this could have happened story is both engaging and infuriating, and I didn’t want to put the book down.





The Dry by Jane Harper



After my husband and I finished the last book posted, we started listening to The Dry by Jane Harper on our return home.  The Dry is an excellent debut mystery series set in a small town called Kiewarra in Australia.  The town is already on edge due to the heat and a two-year drought when a farm family is found dead.  The town easily believes that Luke Hadler snapped due to the heat and drought, causing him to murder his wife and daughter and then commit suicide.  Luke’s childhood friend, Aaron Falk, now a member of the Federal Police, returns after decades of being away to attend his friend’s funeral.  Aaron had previously left town in a cloud of suspicion when his friend Ellie Deacon was found dead in a river and a note to Aaron was found which led people to suspect he might be responsible.  As questions arise surrounding his friend’s death, Aaron uncomfortably sticks around to help the local police investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths.  The past resurfaces in his investigation which is relayed in present day and flashbacks allowing the mystery to unfold in a nice manner.

The setting for this book is well-done, and I felt like I was there along with the characters.  Jane Harper has written engaging characters, and Aaron is a believable and fleshed-out protagonist.  This well-written mystery kept me engaged and guessing the solution until the end of the book.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy.