Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

28187230The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Published June 30th 2016

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.

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This is my third book from Ruth Ware and to be totally honest, it’s my least favorite. I was actually expecting this to be the best Ruth’s books because I’ve such hype around it, especially in bookstores.
The synopsis (like all of Ruth’s books) sounds amazing and I expected The Woman in Cabin 10 to be an insane psychological thriller that I would read in one sitting. And even though I did read it fairly quickly, it wasn’t as captivating as I hoped it would be.
I loved the concept but I really didn’t like the characters. With the characters always being drunk or constantly drinking, it was annoying and that alone made me want to quit reading the book.
Some of the things through out this book didn’t really make sense to me and I think it could have been edited better.
The pace was a slow burn, which I’m okay with, but when the plot kicked into gear, I really started to enjoy the book so much more.
Overall, The Woman in Cabin 10 was hit and miss with me. For everything I liked, there was two things I didn’t like. I think this book had a lot of potential but it missed the mark with me.

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What did Steph read while she was M.I.A.?!

Ok so, this is going to be QUITE the hefty post. Because I’ve neglected you all in the past months, and have finally got the chance to come back to this wonderful community and all you lovely people. I want to make sure I let you all know what I’ve been reading while I was planning my wedding and such. I love talking to you all so this is going to be a brief write-up on everything I read but it still counts, does it not?

Here’s the list of everything I’ve read while I’ve been M.I.A. and Star Values, as well as a small write up also, please excuse me if I mix up plot points etc. :

The Winners Curse by Marie Rotkoski2.5 Stars – Really wished for some more action and HATED the love triangle.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley — 5 Stars – Absolutely loved the main character, and the plot kept me hooked. Pick it up if you get the chance
Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson — 5 Stars – I will always love the Reckoner’s series, and this was a good conclusion, I wish it never ended.
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis 4 Stars – SUCH GOOD WRITING. I just couldn’t get any sort of connection with any of the characters, so I didn’t really get emotionally dragged into it.
Walk on Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson 5 Stars – This was such a good book, constant action and running plot that it kept me intrigued and I loved the main character
A Court of Wings and Ruins ( A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas  5 Stars – Did I really need to put down 5 stars? Uh duh, this was SO DAMN GOOD. Oh man, I can’t even…
The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag (Flavia De Luce #2) by Alan Bradley 5 Stars – Flavia is great, the story line was great as well just like the first book!
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas 5 Stars – Well….rip my heart out why don’t you SJ.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler 5 Stars – LOVED LOVED LOVED this book, it was so wonderful and hilarious. I highly suggest listening to it on Audiobook because Amy narrates it and it’s 20x better that way.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 4.75 Stars – This book was hard to get into but once the plot started moving it was PHENOMENAL. Not my standard YA read but great all the same.
Gemina ( The Illuminae Chronicles #2) by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff  — 4 Stars – Loved this book just like I loved Gemina, I think I liked Gemina better tough
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi — 5 Stars – Oh man, what a beautiful book, I absolutely loved the characters, the plot, the writing. Everything!
Death Masks ( The Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher — 4 Stars – Gotta love a good Dresden book, pick up this series if you haven’t yet.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber  — 5 Stars – Didn’t really love the characters, but the setting OMG. The atmosphere was great and so was the plot. Loved guessing and thinking what I thought was right and being wrong
Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes  — 5 stars – My second time around reading this, still love it as much as before.  I seriously CANNOT wait for the next book. I need it ASAP.
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson — 3.75 Stars – I guess I really like Rae Carson. This book was great. Strong female lead, and good plot.
You by Caroline Kepnes — 3.25 – I thought the perspective writing was cool, and I thought it was really creepy. It’s not for everyone, I didn’t really feel like I liked the graphic scenes in this book, but it was hella creepy and I was super hooked while reading it.

WELL FOLKS. That’s everything I read while I was MIA. I’m still 8 books behind for me goodreads goal so hopefully I get that fixed soon (probably while I’m in Iceland August 13-23) Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

Also any recommendations based on these reads would be AWESOME since I liked the bulk of them.

Review: There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

15797848There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Expected publication: September 26th 2017

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

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ARC was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Review is from advance partial reading copy

I was very curious to read There’s Someone Inside Your House. I’ve read a couple of Stephanie Perkins’ other books and this sounded nothing like her normal fluffy, cute romances and I’m 100% down for authors trying new, unexpected genres.

There’s Someone Inside Your House starts off with bang. The first chapter has the first murder and it’s fairly fast paced. My advance partial reading copy was 151 pages and if I remember correctly, it took place in a week’s time or close to a week.
The murders are very gory and horrific but of the ones I read about, they weren’t overly detailed. They are described bluntly but not with a ton of graphic details. It would also be easy to skip over the gore if you really didn’t want to read that.
I liked the main character, Makani. I thought it was very cool that she was a PoC and there was diversity in this book. She talks about being African American/ Native Hawaiian several times through out the book and addresses a few of her experiences as a PoC.

I’m not easily scared when it comes to reading horror books but a couple of the murders had me a little paranoid at night. I was surprised how scary this book actually was.
I loved the setting of this book. It’s set in a small town in Nebraska and as someone from a nowhere town that’s 20 minutes from Nebraska, I could relate to a lot of the things going on in this book.

This has nothing to do with the book or the author but I’m really annoyed that the publisher sent out advance partial reading copies. I was sent There’s Someone Inside Your House in an elaborate PR box along with four other ARCs of their biggest fall releases and I was very disappointed to see that only 151 pages of the book was included. None of the other reviews I’ve read mention that their review is from a partial ARC so either they decided not to mention it or they all had complete copies. It doesn’t make sense to me to have both complete ARCs and partial ARCs and it’s unfair that some reviewers would have an advantage with complete copies. As it is, I can’t give a real review because I only have 151 pages. Granted, I did really enjoy those 151 pages but I can’t fully review a book I can’t finish.

I do have a theory of who the killer is. There was a pretty big hint with one of the murders. Honestly, it was such a big hint towards a character that it took away a lot of the mystery. I can also see that its a fake hint. It points to a character so directly that it could be there just to try to throw off the reader.

I’ll update my review and give a rating when I buy a finished copy on release day. From the 151 pages, I’d give There’s Someone Inside Your House four stars.

 

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Blog Tour: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana + Giveaway

32766747The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Expected publication: July 18th 2017

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

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Review

The plot and concept of this book slayed my life. I loved the plot (and cover) of this book so much! The Library of Fates has such a stunning concept and I fell so in love with it. I also really loved the Indian culture that was incorporated into this book. It was really beautiful and I thought it added so much to the story.

I liked the main character, Amrita, well enough. I adored her friendship with Thala. It was so great to see an awesome fictional friendship between two girls.

I really liked the writing style for the most part but there was a few places that felt like it could have been a bit better. Some spots in this book weren’t as developed as others but to be honest, the plot was so amazing, I didn’t mind at all.

 

Giveaway

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana (ARV: $18.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 10th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on July 31, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

 

About the author

Aditi KhoranaAditi Khorana spent parts of her childhood in India, Denmark, and New England. She has a BA in international relations from Brown University and an MA in global media and communications from the Annenberg School for Communication. She has worked as a journalist at ABC News, CNN, and PBS, and most recently as a marketing executive consulting for various Hollywood studios including Fox, Paramount, and Sony. She is also the author of Mirror in the Sky. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA’s eclectic and wonderful architecture. For more information, visit aditikhorana.com.

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I Read YA Week – Sunday Challenge

It’s Sunday! And today’s challenge is :  Acknowledge a YA book you believe should be taught in high schools

I think I’d have to suggest The Ocean at The End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

I think this really needs to be taught in English classes. The writing is so beautiful and it’s just a great story about what makes us human and the darkness within all of us. I really appreciated this book when I read it, and I would LOVE to see this book taught in schools.

I Read YA Week – Saturday Challenge

Hello all! It’s Saturday! Here’s today’s challenge : Choose a YA book and share 3 important life lessons you took away from reading it.

This is such a hard challenge because there’s so many things I’ve learned from books! I guess it’s hard to pin all the three important life lessons to ONE book. And I don’t want to use anything I have before in this week. I think I’m going to go with a recent read… Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Three important life lessons I got from this book are as follows :

1. Cherish your family/Love your siblings
Although none of the characters dislike their siblings, there’s a strong sibling bond between some characters in this book. And it’s great and it reminded me to cherish my three siblings and make sure I always let them know I’d do anything for them

2. Push yourself /Stand up for yourself if you deserve more
This one is pretty self explanatory, but making sure you push yourself for a better result and or standing up for yourself because you deserve more is something that comes up a few times in this book and it was a nice life reminder

3. Adventure is out there, go chase it
I find myself sitting on the couch at weeks at a time, and totally forget that there’s a whole world outside with awesome things to do. Take advantage of it and really let your imagination run while you’re on these adventures.

I Read YA – Thursday Challenge

Hello! Today’s Thursday challenge is the following : Swap a YA book about the positive power of friendship with your bestie

So I had a hard time figuring this one out because I don’t tend to read a lot of books that really focus on the power of friendship, I usually read fantasy where there can be these elements in the book but they’re not always prominent like they are in contemporary writing. So, There’s four books that I would suggest/swap for to my bestie gal Taylor.

Seeing as I can’t physically swap them…I’ll just write about them here!

I would swap The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer with her. A great series about usually a heroine and hero who meet, tend to have a romance feature but in the end of the series they’re a massive group of friends and work together to help Cinder, and each other.

I Read YA Week – Tuesday Challenge

Today’s Challenge is : Tell us about the YA book that helped you find your voice

I’m not sure if this counts as YA but I’ve seen a lot of YA readers enjoy this book, so the book I’m choosing for this is :

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is the book I chose for this challenge. It’s an AMAZING book with a strong female lead and just kind of makes you think about appreciating the world/life you have and kind of humanity as a whole as well as quality of life/equality.

I think it helped me find my voice in a way that I hope to use my skills and knowledge to make the world a better place someday. As a graphic designer I don’t have many opportunities to do things that make an impact which is why I constantly try to take on freelance projects for non-profit organizations that try and help make the world a better place. And for some reason that ambition paired with this book really well in the manifestation of Paige Mahoney. I highly recommend this book to any and everyone, it’s most definitely one of my favorite series. Here’s a synopsis from Goodreads :

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

I Read YA Week – Monday Challenge

Hey everyone!
This week if you’ve been seeing our twitter and instagram you’ve noticed that we’ve been participating in I Read YA Week with Scholastic.  And today we’ll start the daily challenges, and today’s challenge is to talk about what we believe #YAStandsFor means to us, and that’s what I’ll be talking about today.

I never thought I’d get sucked back into the world of reading, I absolutely hated reading through middle school and high school, but as I hit college I realized I was more lonely, and my friends went from many to few. I turned to books to fill my time and help me get away from my problems. And the first book I picked up was The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I very much enjoyed this book and with that, I began reading more and more. Eventually I met Taylor through instagram and asked her if she’d like to start a blog with me, where our first Book of the Month was by Victoria Schwab ( also known as V.E. Schwab, another YA Author)

With these few tid btis of memories, I guess I’ll dive into what #YAStandsFor to me. All in all it stands for friendship, support, diversity, escape, love and new beginnings for me. I would never have the friendship of Taylor, the support of this community, the wonderful diversity in books and characters and the escape of getting to visit a new world, story, character with every page I read.

#YAStandsFor me.

Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

25752041Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Expected publication: June 6th 2017

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey…

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Royal Bastards was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I was super excited to start it but it took me forever and a half to finish it. This book is such a roller coaster. I liked it and then I didn’t think I could finish it, it was such a back and forth battle. But even though I have my problems with this book, it got me emotionally invested in the plot and the characters.
My biggest problem with this book is the characters. Two of the main characters, Tilla and Miles, annoyed me so much. Miles was such a boring character to me and Tilla was just really mean at times. She was so unsympathetic a few times toward Lyriana and it really bothered me. I’m not going to go into detail because I won’t give out spoilers but she was kind of mean with her thoughts. She caught herself and changed her thinking, which I appreciated, but I still thought it was really mean of her.
I did like Lyriana, Jax, and Zell though. I also really appreciated how Lyriana was so explicitly described of being a POC. There’s not a lot of POC in YA fantasy and Lyriana is much needed. (I don’t remember for sure if any of the other characters are described as POC but it’s likely that they’re described and I just don’t remember because I already pictured everyone as POC and skipped over their description)
I did like the writing style but the dialogue was oddly modern at times and it threw me off. Maybe I’m just being overly critical but it was just the little things in this book that bothered me.
I loved the concept and plot so much. If I didn’t find Tilla and Miles to be so annoying, I would have had a blast reading this book.
One thing that really surprised me was how unexpectedly violent this book was. I don’t really have a problem with it but if you’re sensitive bloody fight scenes, you might want to pass on this book or just skip through those parts.
Overall, even though I’m not head over heels for this book like I thought I was going to be, I loved the concept, plot, and three of the characters. This book did keep me engaged and I was emotionally invested. If you’re a critical reader like me, this book might not be for you, especially if you expect a lot from fantasy books. I do think it’s worth the chance though. Just don’t have super high expectations like I did.

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