My April 2018 Book Haul

Can I read up to book #100 by the end of this spring?

If you’re new to this blog, I’ve set up a Goodreads challenge reading 333 books this year. I’ve read 51 books (including comics & manga) so far.

How many books you’ve read so far this year? How about this April? Here’s my book haul for April 2018.

ADULT FICTION

1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3/5 stars) (review)

Image result for the woman in cabin 10 goodreads

A travel journalist’ cruise assignment goes wrong after she witnesses a murder. A Woman in Cabin 10 is a decent thriller. I wish the journalist would stop drinking though.

For readers into:

  • Cruise murder mysteries
  • Ruth Ware
  • Thrillers

ADULT NON-FICTION

1. How to Write and Sell for Fun and Profit by Robert W. Bly (3.5/5 stars) (review)

Image result for how to write and sell simple information for fun and profit

How to Write for and Sell offers expert advice for freelance writers to produce their writings on various platforms (DVDs, seminars, e-books, etc.) and grow their income out of it.

Another book I read by the same author: The Secrets of a Freelance Writer.

Key points:

  • Freelance writing is not exclusively for magazine, newspaper, and online publications.
  • Always do twice the research expected.
  •  Educate your readers.

For readers into:

  • Freelance Writing
  • Having a full-time writing career
  • Writing

2. The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel (4.5/5 stars)

The Master Key System

Do you know you have an infinite power within you? In The Master Key System, Charles F. Haanel reveals the keys to harnessing the awesome power of your mind and changing your reality. Nothing like The Matrix, but a similar concept.

I also read: Mental Chemistry by Charles F. Haanel (review)

Key points:

  • Thought is the creation of all form.
  • The mind is infinite.
  • Hone your mind with concentration and the universe will lead you to your desires.

For readers into:

  • Mentalism
  • New Thought
  • New Thought writers

3. Mind Mapping for Dummies by Florian Rustler (3/5 stars)

Mind-mapping is an organization tool used to outline your ideas into connecting thought bubbles and branches. This planning method has helped me with a couple of writing projects.  Check out Google for examples.

Key point:

  • Humans take in visual information easier than most forms.

For readers into:

  • “For Dummies” books
  • Mind organization
  • Mind-mapping

COMICS/GRAPHIC NOVELS

1. Brazen by Penelope Bagieu (4/5 stars)

Image result for brazen by penelope bagieu

Penelope Bagieu creates a remarkable graphic novel about historical women barely mentioned in mainstream history. Famous figures include Nelly Bly, Katia Krafft, Betty Davis, and Agnodice.

For readers into:

  • Biographic graphic novels
  • Comics/Graphic novels
  • Women’s History

2. Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll (4/5 stars)

Speak: The Graphic Novel

I remember being furious reading the original novel Speak as a teen. The story’s fantastic, but the narrator’s day-to-day conflict was frustrating. High school can be tough. Remaining silent about sexual assault only adds salt to the wound.

For readers into:

  • Comics/graphic novels
  • YA books
  • YA graphic novels

3. Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag (3/5 stars)

Image result for witch boy

Witch Boy takes a magical spin on gender roles and how ridiculous they can be.

Males are shapeshifters. Females are spellcasters. Aster is supposed to follow the shapeshifter’s path, but he’s more interested in spells healing broken bones and scrying.

When an ancient evil loom rears its ugly head and threatens his family, Aster puts his witchcraft to the test despite his family’s warnings.

For readers into:

  • Comics/graphic novels
  • Fantasy comics
  • Witches in comics

Comment below your April 2018 Book Haul. Feel free to a post a link to your blog post if you’ve made one. 😉

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware

Image result for the woman in cabin 10 goodreads

*WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS*

Travel journalist Laura “Lo” Blacklock takes an opportunity of a lifetime to write a feature story abroad the luxurious Aurora cruise. One night onboard, she witnesses a passenger’s body dumped into the ocean.

Does anybody believe Laura? Not with her history.

Laura’s a frequent drinker and prone to panic attacks.  Shortly before the cruise, she endured a frightening home invasion.

The “I’m Not Crazy” lady trope reminds me of Rachel Watson from The Girl on the Train. Seems like “don’t believe the drunk chick with issues” is a trending theme in thriller/suspense novels now.

I picked up The Woman in Cabin 10 since I was in cruise vacation mode. No immediate plans for a cruise yet, but it’s fun to think about it. Not to say I want to solve a murder mystery while I’m on it.

MURDER, MAYHEM, & NO WI-FI

Author Ruth Ware starts The Woman in Cabin 10 with a promising beginning. You follow Laura through her scary home invasion, boarding the Aurora, and meeting the eccentric super-rich onboard.  The book eventually goes into repeated cycles of Laura’s attempts to solve the murder, drinking, and claustrophobic despair.

You’ll start to wonder if the case will ever be solved or remain trapped in Laura’s dark void of inner conflict.

Finally, the book’s last act picks up, but it leaves you forgetting about 90% of the characters. You aren’t sure if they were truly supportive characters or Ware needed simple pawns to push the story forward.

A major problem I had with the book is the wi-fi issue. Laura had no access to the internet at all on the Aurora.

What year is this? This is not the Titanic!

Apparently, the Aurora owner Richard Bullmer blocked the cruise’s internet access. Shady as all get out, but okay. I wouldn’t be on that cruise.

The big reveal is a definite twist. The murder victim is a prominent guest of the Aurora. How and why it happened will surprise you. I warn you. It’s something out of an overdramatic Lifetime movie.

CONCLUSION

Now, it sounds like didn’t enjoy The Woman in Cabin 10. Truly, I did. It’s a cruise mystery after all. This novel is good as what it is. It isn’t a mystery masterpiece, but it does keep you turning the pages while you’re chilling at the beach or trapped in a long road trip.

Have you read The Woman in Cabin 10? Do you know of any mysteries set on a cruise (I want to read more)?

Related book reviews:

(Book pic source: Goodreads)

(GIF sources: Giphy)

 

BOOK REVIEW: “Fool Me Once” by Harlan Coben

Image result for harlan coben fool me once

A woman witnesses her husband shot and killed.  Now she sees her dead husband playing with their toddler.

Creepy, right?

Harlan Coben’s suspenseful tale Fool Me Once takes the reader through countless surprises. Former special ops pilot Maya Burkett faces many challenges: her husband Joe’s brutal murder, a military scandal, and PTSD.

Maya’s top priority right now is protecting her precious two-year old daughter Lily.

Unfortunately, a new problem emerges. A close friend gives Maya a nanny cam posed as a regular digital picture frame. Maya takes advantage of the camera and uncovers an eerie sight: Joe in the living room with Lily.

After the discovery, Maya interrogates her nanny Isabella on Joe’s whereabouts. Isabella’s response: pepper-spray to the face!

Maya recovers from the incident and finds the nanny cam’s SD card missing.

The deeper Maya searches for answers about her “late” husband, the more she thinks twice about the friends and family she thought she could trust. Even worse, police have revealed to Maya the bullet that killed Joe comes from the same gun that killed her sister Claire years earlier.

Now, Maya must solve how her loved ones’ deaths are connected.

What else could go wrong?

Frustratingly Good Obstacles

 This book can be upsetting in a good way. Every time Maya gets close to retrieving a valuable tip, an irritable character blocks her path.

I literally gritted my teeth when Isabella had the nerve to lie to Maya about Joe. She knew something was up! Maya saw her on camera the same time as Joe appeared. Maya wasn’t delusional.

Secondly, family repeatedly remind Maya of her PTSD. A psychiatrist or two keep showing up as help when they’re only hindering Maya’s progress solving Joe’s whereabouts.

I feel for Maya’s annoyance at the issue. If only Isabella didn’t steal the SD card, people would’ve understand Maya better.

War sucks.

Maya’s horrid past in the battlefield haunts her over the course of this novel. Receiving news of Claire’s death while overseas was more salt added to Maya’s mental wounds. She has recovered much from the past, but occasionally suffers minor stress-related episodes.

Lastly, there’s Detective Kierce assigned to Joe’s murder case. Supposedly helping Maya, he always shows up whenever she takes one misstep on her own mission. Maya doesn’t trust him or his suspicious interrogations. The last thing she wants is to land in the criminal’s hot seat.

The infuriating characters in this book are part of what makes this story great. The best stories are the ones with consistently conflicted characters and forever offending antagonists.

Conclusion

It’s been a while since I’ve read any suspense novels. Fool Me Once was a fresh morning coffee of thrills. It’s not the greatest cup in the world, but it kept me going. The book lacks the action I’ve expected from a suspense novel, but the last-minute twists made up for it.

Books I’ve Read Similar to Fool Me Once

Feel free to comment below if you’ve read this book or have any recommendations! ^_^

BOOK REVIEW: “The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (Amazon) (Goodreads)

Beautiful British model Lula Landry is found dead outside of her flat. The police states she has committed suicide.

P.I. Cormoran Strike, with the help of his (temporary) secretary Robin Ellacott, tracks down the real cause of the famed model’s death after a worrisome client believes she was murdered. This case could really turn Strike’s life around. After losing his leg in the war of Afghanistan, breaking up with his long-time girlfriend, and barely living in his own office, he needs the work.

I almost gave up reading The Cuckoo’s Calling. The book initially started out with a bang with the discovery of Lula’s body then it went downhill to a tortuous series  of repeatable episodes with Strike running around London asking people about Lula’s death with recycled information the reader already knows.

Plus, I felt terrible for Strike. He lived this pitiful life living in his office and people were coming to his door for money he didn’t have. Not that a P.I’s life is supposed to be glamorous but geez!

Everything turned out for the better. I enjoyed the diverse characters and the developing storyline. I suppose I’m so used to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series I was expecting so much more. This is her writing from a new angle.  It’s interesting to see Rowling expanding her writing into new territories.

If you know J.K. Rowling and you’re curious about her works outside the magical realm of Harry Potter, give this book a try. However, I warn you not to chuck the book out of the window when you read the first chapters. Believe me, it gets better. By the ending of this book, I was ready to read book #2: The Silkworm. I’m quite sure it  gets better than this.

Have you read The Cuckoo’s Calling?

Did you want to pull your hair out or did you cuddle with the book on a fur rug by the roaring fireplace? Feel free to share your thoughts.