Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Book Review Club (October 2017)

"From ghoulies and ghosties/And long-legged beasties/And things that go bump in the night,/Good Lord, deliver us!" (Scottish prayer) Welcome to the October edition of The Book Review Club! Please be sure to scroll down after my review. There are links to reviews of good books in a variety of genres (more adult fiction than usual this month). Enjoy!

by Ruth Ware (adult, British psychological thriller)

Because I figure you'll hear about them from other sources, I don't often review books that hit the NYT bestseller list (In a Dark, Dark Wood was a NYT, USA Today, LAT bestseller and more. Plus Reese Witherspoon's developing it as a movie.). BUT a psychological thriller makes for a great Halloween month review. AND this book kept me on the elliptical way, way past 30 minutes! WHICH MEANS In a Dark, Dark Wood totally grabbed me.

In a Nutshell: Six twenty-somethings celebrate a bachelorette weekend in a remote house in Northumberland, England. Some of the characters know each other. Some are meeting for the first time. The house is creepy and surrounded by a forest (hence, the title :) and has sketchy cell phone service. Voila! You have all the ingredients for a thriller.

So What?: But what makes this story stand out? Believe me, I don't stay, huffing and puffing, on the elliptical for any old thriller. Two things, I think. Number one is the characters. They are so very multi-dimensional.  For example, the protagonist, Leonora Shaw (who goes by several names, depending on the stage of her life) is a runner. Which is handy in a thriller. A runner can run away from the bad guy. But more than that, Leonora has the loner mentality of a runner. And it's that loner mentality that directs how she reacts, how she makes decisions, how she interprets information. And all these things drive the plot. Number two is the moving parts. There are a lot of them. And they are handled expertly and fit together perfectly. Leonora Shaw is our point-of-view character. The story begins with her receiving an invitation to the bachelorette weekend. Fairly early on, though, Leonora wakes up in a hospital room, trying to remember how she got there. From this point, the author is juggling two time lines (before the murder and after the murder). I can imagine Ms. Ware sitting with a cup of tea, thinking and planning and scheming to make sure there are no loose threads and no clunky plotting. Much appreciated!

I listened to In a Dark, Dark Wood. Imogene Church is a terrific narrator. Also, I enjoyed all the British-isms in this book, such as "hen" party in lieu of "bachelorette." Ruth Ware's most recent publication, also a psychological thriller, is The Lying Game (July 2017). It's certainly on my list!

(Dear FCC: library. And I heartily recommend this book!)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Sarah Laurence: THE RATTLED BONES by S.M. Parker (YA, ghost story)


Ellen Booraem: NORSE MYTHOLOGY by Neil Gaiman (mythology/folklore)

Jody Feldman: THE SHADOW by Todd Moss (thriller)

Linda McLaughlin: SISI: EMPRESS ON HER OWN by Allison Pataki (historical)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving:  LOVE THE WINE YOU'RE WITH by Kim Gruenenfelder

Ray Potthoff: THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE by Jessica Shattuck (historical)

Scott Parker: HEAT STORM by Richard Castle (mystery/thriller)

Stacy Nyikos: THE OTHER EINSTEIN by Marie Benedict (historical)

Tanya Sutton: MISSING, PRESUMED by Susie Steiner (mystery)


Alyssa Goodnight: HALF BAKED HARVEST COOKBOOK by Tieghan Gerard (cookbook)

Margy Lutz: THIS IS ME by Danny Wilks (memoir)

Patti Abbott:  MORNING STAR by Ann Hood

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. I have Ware's second book but haven't gotten to that either. She took off like a rocket!

  2. I love a good thriller. Thanks for the review and recommendation! :)

  3. Patti, I think this author is right up your alley. She'll actually be at Boucheron in Toronto this month. I wish I were going. It's The Woman in Cabin 10 you're going to read? Let me know what you think.

  4. Lucy, you are most welcome! And thank you...I'm going to give Kim Gruenenfelder a whirl based on your review. :)

  5. I have yet to listen to an audio book. I'm not sure it would be a good way for me to "read." I concentrate better when I actually read I think. - Margy

  6. I recently bought this book, but haven't started it yet, so I'm glad to see you enjoyed it.

  7. Margy, I thought the same thing. I really couldn't see myself listening to books. But I've been very pleasantly surprised. And audio books give me a way to read in the car, at the gym, while doing chores. Maybe you could try it just once? I will say that a good narrator can really make the audio book. :)

  8. Stacy, you are in for a treat!

  9. Sounds good! One of those I'll need to read in a full house with the lights on. :)

  10. You're funny review might even be better than the book! I'm always looking for good audiobooks from audible (narrator is SO important). One new phone later and a lost day at the Apple Store later, I'm back online and catching up on the reviews.


Comments are always welcome!