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review 2017-07-21 03:28
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

The premise of high school girls making up a game of lying and hiding a suicide as their last and final lie really held my interest in this book. 

Years after the suicide and after the girls had left school, started living their adult lives, some married with children and some just trying to make it. Three of the girls receive a text from the fourth girl in the pact: "I need you". With this being known very early in the book without any background whatsoever of these girls and their past, I was immediately intrigued. 

The narrator focuses, for the most part, on Isa, who at times becomes the narrator. Her instant response to that text has her grabbing up her six month child, packing some things and catching a train. Leaving her husband dumbfounded and questioning. Another reason for my interest in this story.

Yes, I was hooked at the beginning and never lost interest. A story filled with intrigue, suspense, deception, and secrets that have been hidden for a long time. Definitely unputdownable and entertaining. 

Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-06-30 22:53
Book Review: The Woman in Cabin 10
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

Book: The Woman in Cabin 10

 

Author: Ruth Ware

 

Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

 

Summary: In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie's works, 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. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests arrive jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. 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 hears what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers and crew members 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, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10 - one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned. - Simon & Schuster, 2016.

 

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review 2017-06-29 14:32
Woman in Cabin 10
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware,Imogen Church

 

 

Maybe I've read too many books like this one.  Maybe I'm cranky because I stayed up way too late last night finishing this book (I started it too early to "count" for my library's summer-reading program, and didn't finish it soon enough to get started on another book for my summer reading when it officially began on 6/24!).  Keep in mind that this book did propel me forward to wanting to know what happened.  Also ** = "Fair" for me.

 

Laura "Lo" Blacklock, a British travel journalist, goes through a traumatic event when a burglar breaks into her apartment, steals her purse, and traps her in her own bedroom by disabling the doorknob (after slamming the door into her face).  Despite the trauma, which seems to have left her with PTSD, she accepts a plum assignment on a luxury cruise ship, the Aurora Borealis, which will take its press-junket passengers on a Norwegian cruise.  During her first evening, she knocks on the door of Cabin 10, and the young woman inside gives her a mascara, refusing Lo's offer to return it.  Later that night, Lo hears a suspicious splash from the veranda of that cabin and, running out to her own, notices a smear of blood on that neighboring veranda.  She immediately concludes that the young woman she interacted with has been murdered.  

 

The ship's head of security tells her that Cabin 10 is unoccupied, and sure enough, he is able to show her that it is quite empty and clean.  Although he takes her through the motions of speaking with various staff members to try to identify the young woman, he clearly doubts her credibility.  After all, she suffered a trauma in her own apartment, is on anti-anxiety meds, and admittedly consumed alcohol on the night in question.  When the security officer is clearly done with her, Lo pursues her own investigation, enlisting an ex-boyfriend who is on the cruise, Ben Howard, as well as the ship's owner, Lord Richard Bullmer.

 

So, I won't give away anything about the way the mystery unfolds.  Of course, there are elements of "things are not as they seem."  It felt as though it took a long, long time to get to the unraveling.  The day after the incident felt at least four days long.  Once the unraveling occurred, there was another stall-out for a while.  And I guess I would call the resolution semi-satisfying.  And exhausting.  But this is definitely a YMMV type of situation, and if you haven't read too many of these thrillers where a woman disappears, you might enjoy this more than I did.

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review 2017-05-30 20:52
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

A special thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

After devouring The Woman in Cabin 10, I was excited to get my hands on another Ruth Ware book.  Initially I was enjoying this book, especially the parts that take place at the boarding school, but I didn't fully buy in.  I don't want to make comparisons, and whether this was on purpose or not, but there were echos of The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  Is Donna Tartt not one of the most brilliant literary voices?  This seems like a compliment, right?  But in fact, this comparison does this book a disservice because Ware is a strong enough writer to stand on her own and not have to draw on this inspiration.  Again, this may be me creating the parallel between the two, so I'll move on.  But it's there: the exclusivity, the boarding school, the murder, the circumstances, the lasting effects of the death on the group, and that it is a murder mystery in reverse. 

 

There is an immediate hook—a woman is walking her dog in the quaint coastal village of Salten along the section of river known as the Reach where the tide meets the stream.  Her dog charges into the water to retrieve what is perceived to be a large stick, when in fact it is a human bone.  

 

The next morning, three women—Isa, Fatima, and Thea—get a text from Kate, the fourth in their exclusive group, that simply says "I need you".  Hoping they would never get this request, they drop everything and rush back to Salten.  The girls were a fearless foursome at the Salten House boarding school.  They used to play the Lying Game which involved telling the most outrageous things to people for points.  Only there are rules: tell a lie, stick to your story, don't get caught, never lie to each other, and know when to stop the lie.  For some, the lines become blurred with what are actual facts versus what is fantasy.  Ware reveals bits and pieces of the girl's time at the Salten boarding school, and how extreme the game got—they were all expelled in their final year under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the art teacher, Ambrose, who also happens to be Kate's eccentric father. 

 

Where this book stumbles is with our narrator, Isa.  She is a new mother, and Ware loses the plot because this character is so consumed by this role.  The baby proves to be a distraction for both Isa and the reader which ultimately detracts from the story.  Without the baby, Isa could still be an unreliable narrator—her memories of events are viewed through the lens of a naive young girl who seems enchanted with Ambrose, Kate, and Luc (the step-son/step-brother). More of the girls' time at school needed to be written and the other characters needed more attention.  I found it a stretch that these girls were only friends for such a short time, yet remained so incredibly loyal over the span of 17 years.  There was simply so much more to the story.  Ware took a wrong direction, not in using Isa as our narrator, but with hinging so much of her character on being a mother.  The boarding school, and the girls' past is paramount to the plot, yet none of the characters were really fleshed out.  

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review 2017-02-15 07:07
Fesselnder Thriller für die Ohren
Im dunklen, dunklen Wald - Der Audio Verlag,Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware,Julia Nachtmann

Ein idyllisches Wochenende in einem Haus im Wald? Das könnte es sein, wenn nicht der Junggesellinnen-Abschied von Clare gefeiert werden soll. Nora hat ihre ehemals beste Freundin schon über 10 Jahre lang nicht mehr gesehen. Trotzdem gibt sie sich einen Ruck und nimmt die Einladung zur Feier an. Aber es läuft einiges verkehrt. Richtig verkehrt.

„Im dunklen, dunklen Wald“ ist einer dieser Thriller, die für kurzweiliges Hörvergnügen sorgen, und der mich von Anfang bis Ende sehr gut unterhalten hat.

Nora ist die Hauptperson des Geschehens, obwohl natürlich die zukünftige Braut - Clare - im Mittelpunkt steht. Nora hat vor Jahren mit alten Freunden und Bekannten gebrochen, weil damals etwas vorgefallen ist, was sie bis zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt nicht verkraftet hat. Daher zögert sie lange, ob sie die Einladung zu Clares Junggesellinnen-Abschied überhaupt annehmen soll. Aber manchmal muss man eben über seinen Schatten springen, und so findet sie sich in illustrer Runde in einem Haus im dunklen, dunklen Wald wieder.

Diese Runde besteht aus Clares Freunden, die Nora nur teilweise kennt. Mit Nina ist sie zur Schule gegangen. Aber es gibt noch die durchgeknallte Flo - ja, sie ist wirklich durchgeknallt - , Melanie, ein eher blasser Charakter, der kaum im Gedächtnis bleibt, und Tom, der schwule Hahn im Korb. Obwohl alle Gäste ziemlich unterschiedlich sind, gibt man sich Clare zuliebe der guten Laune hin, bis etwas Grauenvolles passiert.

Gut die Hälfte des Thrillers verbringt man mit Clares Junggesellinnen-Abschied. Dabei weiß man, dass etwas geschehen wird, und auch, dass etwas geschehen ist. Ein Zustand, der dem Thriller die nötige Spannung gibt. Denn welcher Vorfall Nora einst zum Rückzug von ihrem Freundeskreis zwang, bleibt lange ungewiss.

Die Autorin lässt den Leser lang im Dunklen tappen, wirft ihm immer wieder kleine Häppchen hin und heizt damit die Spannung an. Meiner Meinung nach kommt die Atmosphäre sehr gut rüber. Man fühlt, wie sich alle bemühen, um es Flo - der Organisatorin - Recht zu machen, teilweise wird man von der Feierlaune angesteckt, nur um dann mit der sarkastischen Nina genervt die Augen zu verdrehen.

Leider hatte ich den Plot in seinen groben Zügen schnell durchschaut. Gestört hat mich das nicht unbedingt, aber es wäre schön gewesen, wenn es noch Überraschungen gegeben hätte. Zwar hat die Autorin einige Zweifel gestreut, aber es war tatsächlich so, wie ich es erwartet hatte.

Sprecherin Julia Nachtmann hat lebendig gelesen und dabei sehr natürlich gewirkt. Sie hat mir das Gefühl vermittelt, als ob mir Nora persönlich von diesem Wochenende berichtet. Es war als ob man im Kaffeehaus sitzt und einer Freundin oder Bekannten lauscht, die - noch immer unter Schock -  von diesen furchtbaren Ereignissen erzählt.

Alles in allem hat mir Noras Wochenende im dunklen, dunklen Wald sehr großen Spaß gemacht. Es ist ein fesselnder Thriller für die Ohren, der kurzweilig zu hören und spannend zu verfolgen ist. 

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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