What I'm Reading – the Woman in Cabin 10

I’ve always been a little idiosyncratic in what I read. Some YA, of course. A lot of contemporary fiction. Romance novels. Not much nonfiction. Mainly I’m looking for stories that carry me away, ones where reading doesn’t feel like work.

Lately I’ve been enjoying a lot of crime fiction. I think it’s the formula that appeals to me. There’s a crime. Someone tries to solve the crime. Usually, but not always, some form of justice is served. Unlike a lot of “general” fiction, I know what I’m getting into. Like most genre fiction. Crime fiction also has the ability to surprise readers, to go in a variety of directions within the structures.

All of this is to say I’m just starting to figure out what I like to read within the large world of crime fiction. Nothing too freaky, or I’ll never sleep. And I don’t want to read sensationalized violence against women. But crime fiction done well is a treat.

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware, has gotten a lot of buzz, following her previous title, In a Dark, Dark Wood, which I haven’t read. (And full disclosure, I received an ARC of The Woman in Cabin 10 from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but am just now getting around to reviewing it, even though the book was released a few weeks ago.) It’s a classic locked room mystery, taking place on an elegant, refined yacht, which also manages to be confining and claustrophobic.

The woman in cabin 10 has gone overboard. Or has she? Lo Blacklock, travel writer, has to first determine whether or not a crime was actually committed, given the fact that no one’s been reported missing on board after the ship has gone to sea. Was the struggle and splash that Lo heard in the cabin next door real? Or a figment of her imagination? As Lo struggles to determine which of the guests might be friend and which foe, she edges closer to a trap – and a watery prison from which she might not escape.

Recommended – 4 stars.

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin My rating: 3 of 5 stars I've always been an Emily Giffin fan, especially after reading Baby Proof and thinking, hey, that's me! I read The One and Only last year and hated the book so much I did actually throw it across the room. So I had some reservations going into this book. Nothing surprised me about the book, once I started reading it. I could see where it was heading, but that didn't mean I hated the ride.Two sisters, at odds with each other, still dealing with the ramifications of a long-ago tragedy. The alternating chapter structure (where each sister narrates a chapter), worked in emphasizing the complexity of close human relationships – sometimes we just don't understand each other, even when trying our hardest. I had moments where I wanted to shake each sister and say, "Hey, wake up and exercise some authority in your own life," but overall it was an enjoyable summer read.Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. View all my reviews

What I've Been Reading – Risuko

So I’m a little bit addicted to NetGalley, which provides free advanced readers copies of books in exchange for an honest review. I signed up a few months ago and have been just a teensy bit obsessed excited to read all the new books. All of them. I’ve been a little less prompt about writing reviews, but I’ve been determined to write reviews prior to the book’s publication date. I’m catching up a bit now – just in time for your summer reading list. I read a mix of young adult, crime fiction and some mainstream fiction, so here you go.

 Risuko: A Kuniochi Tale by David Kudler, anticipated publication date of June 15, 2016 from Stillpoint Digital Press.

My kids are HUGE Lego Ningajo fans, so I’m pretty sure that makes me an expert in all things ninja. For instance, I know that ninja is both the plural and singular noun. And I know way more than I ever wanted about Jay’s Elemental Dragon (if you have to ask….). But I’m also pretty sure reading the historical young adult novel Risuko taught me much more about, um, actual ninja.

In the novel, Risuko, the title character, is sold to an enigmatic noblewoman in 16th century Japan and journeys through a war-torn countryside to a secure compound to begin training. Much of the novel details Risuko’s life at the bottom of the ladder (she spends a lot of time in the kitchens with the other newbies) but Risuko soon deduces that there’s a larger purpose behind all of the seemingly mundane tasks she and others do.

There’s a bit of a mystery, some secret back stories and the promise of future novels that will chart Risuko’s growth as a warrior. I loved the premise and the settings and was fond of Risuko. The book is marketed as YA but it’s more for younger readers. I suspect I will enjoy the later books in the series more, once Risuko matures, but I’m intrigued enough to keep the series on my to be read list.