Tag Archives: suspense

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway Edition

Helloooo everyone! I recently just finished the fifth book out right now by Ruth Ware called The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. I, for the most part, have had a very positive experience with this author. Though there were a few books like The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark Dark Wood that I wasn’t wild about, I highly enjoyed The Turn Of The Key and The Lying Game. Unfortunately, The Death Of Mrs. Westaway was a big miss for me with the grand reveal so, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

book3

The Death Of Mrs. Westaway revolves around twenty-one year old Harriet AKA Hal, a tarot card reader who runs a small stand on Brighton Pier. She inherited the shop from her mother after she was killed in a car accident and needed to take up shop immediately to try to make ends meet. Young, broke, orphaned (she doesn’t know who her father is), and owing money to a dangerous loan shark Hal is in way over her head when bills pile up, her stand is lacking customers in the winter season, and the threats from the man she owes to turns dangerous.

Hal feels the need to escape and she can do that if she can swing fooling an entire family into believing she’s related to them. When she receives a letter in the mail claiming that she is the recipient of a substantial inheritance from the deceased Mrs. Westaway, it seems almost too good to be true – especially considering that she believed her grandparents to be dead. Despite committing a major act of fraud, Hal has nothing left to lose and everything to gain and heads to the funeral with the claim that she is the daughter of the deceased woman’s daughter, Maud.

At the funeral, Hal encounters the three brothers of her “mother” and, though lots of questions are raised, she is supposedly in with a family that she seemingly has no connection to. Or so she thinks. Because when she discovers her real mother in a photo of the siblings at their elaborate Victorian manor, everything she thinks she knows about herself and her mother becomes flipped. Does this family know who her father is? What is Hal’s mother’s relation to them? Is she a rightful heir to the inheritance after all? Read the book and find out!

I am not sure how to feel about The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. I actually loved it until the grand reveal and, although I saw it coming, I was disappointed with the outcome. I genuinely can’t say anything more than that without giving it completely away. But, what I will say, is that I did enjoy a solid ninety percent of the book. It was well written, suspenseful, downright sinister at times, and I liked almost all of the characters.

I appreciated Hal’s bravery throughout the novel and I liked that she didn’t back down to find the answers that directly pertained to her. She was able to play herself off as the mousy long lost niece and all the while she was making plans and using her intuition to solve the mystery of her own life. She was a heroine that I rooted for the entire time and I wish that the grand reveal did her more justice.

All in all, I’m going to rate this book with a six out of ten. I did not hate it but it was certainly not my favorite Ruth Ware novel by any means. I feel like I ended my reading journey with her on a sour note and am looking forward to a new book by her so that redemption can possibly happen.

What are you reading right now? How did you feel about The Death Of Mrs. Westaway if you read it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Groovy Movies: Joker Edition

Standard
Groovy Movies: Joker Edition

Hello, hello! My dad and I have been looking forward to seeing Joker and spent an afternoon together bearing witness to the amazing spectacle created by Joaquin Phoenix. The buzz on this flick has been strong, especially with talk already of Phoenix bagging Best Actor at the Academy Awards and an eight minute standing ovation at a Venice film festival. Within mere seconds, I understood that the hype was real, because Phoenix’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen in years. Take a look at the trailer and, without giving spoilers away, let’s discuss

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Arthur Fleck, AKA the Joker – a villain that everyone loves to hate and was famously portrayed by the late Heath Ledger was gifted with a two hour film showing just how exactly he came to be. From the lack of care from his delusional mother, severe abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, and a penchant for uncontrollable fits of laughter, no one can say that the Joker had it easy.

And, now, as a middle aged man with a love for vaudeville trying to make his way in the hardened Gotham City as a hired clown and stand up comic, things seem far from hopeful for Arthur Fleck. Mentally unstable, down on his luck, and making the claim that he never felt like he “existed”, Joker explores the transition from man to villain. Showcasing every beating, disappointment, and uncovered truths from the lies he’s been fed his whole life, Fleck begins a dangerous downward spiral into a life of crime amidst a city devoured by darkness and political unrest.

What follows? Pure and total anarchy, just as the newly formed Joker likes it.

This movie was absolutely haunting to me. Joaquin Phoenix, who lost fifty pounds to play this role, was an emaciated skeleton of a man, which made his screeching high pitched laugh even more unsettling. Blatantly placing his violent behaviors on his mental illnesses was also a disturbing one and it begs the question of if this movie is a “safe” one to be viewed by the general public. Is it a popcorn flick that tells a backstory of one of the most well known villains in history? Or, could it be viewed as a manifesto for the bullied and scared to make a stand – especially in the current political state we are in as we speak.

Regardless of your views on the issue, there is no denying that it was a well made film with a stellar performance by Phoenix. The imagery of streets filled with garbage, rain pelting down, and a man in painted face and a suit is one that I will not be forgetting any time soon.

Joker took its sweet time building up and by the final action packed scenes, the tension was ready to be cut with a knife. This resulted in a simply delicious viewing experience of seeing all of the dominoes that were so carefully placed throughout the film begin to topple to form the big picture. My dad and I left the theater feeling nothing short of shook up. And, honestly, there were some scenes that were genuinely hard to watch. But, I think that was the whole point of Joker and every tense, gut wrenching moment was a testament to that.

Not for the faint of heart but a damn good flick, I’m giving Joker a prestigious ten out of ten stars. Love it or hate it, Joker is going to be talked about, analyzed, and either applauded or frowned upon for years to come. Joaquin Phoenix gave an iconic performance and I’m already ready to watch it again.

What were your thoughts on Joker? Who is your favorite comic book villain? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDB

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Turn Of The Key Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Turn Of The Key Edition

Hello! In today’s edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing another one of Ruth Ware’s novels called The Turn Of The Key. If Ruth Ware’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s because it probably is! I have spent this past summer reading all of her novels and she has been featured in many a Lil Red’s Book Club posts these past few months.

While recovering from the car accident, I was able to dedicate my time to reading The Turn Of The Key in a matter of days and I enjoyed it very much. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

key

The Turn Of The Key revolves around Rowan, the new live in nanny for an extremely wealthy husband and wife architect duo and their four daughters. They live in a remote location in the hills of Scotland in an old house with an eerie combination of extremely modern technology and the original layout of the home from decades ago. The technology is so advanced, in fact, that everything can be controlled by an app called “Happy”. The shower settings, lights, curtains, doorbell, coffee machine, and oh yeah – the video monitoring in the bedrooms.

Rowan gets thrown right into her new position, as Sandra and Bill, the parents travel a lot for work and is almost immediately left alone with the girls Maddie, Ellie, Petra, and Rhiannon. The seemingly “perfect” position with the plush pay and fancy accommodations is anything but, though. Especially considering all four of the previous nannies were driven out by forces that can only be described as supernatural.

These powers that be get to work as soon as Rowan starts her new gig. From creaking in the attic to a freezing cold bedroom and the Happy app working on its own, all of the frustrations of caring for the difficult children and a lack of sleep begin to catch up with her and everyone is a suspect. The maid, handyman, children, – heck, even the parents could have a role in what’s going on because Rowan firmly doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Is what’s going on a prank, the old house just being an old house, or something far more sinister? And is everyone in the home really who they say they are? Read The Turn Of The Key to find out if Rowan can uncover the mystery before someone gets seriously hurt.

The Turn Of The Key has easily become one of my favorite Ruth Ware novels. Wrote in the form of a series of letters, this page turner keeps you guessing until the very last sentence of what really happened in the house during Rowan’s stint as the nanny. So many bombshells were dropped and twists and turns happened that I simply didn’t see coming and, normally, I’m really good at that!

I can’t give too much away in the synopsis of the book without spoiling the surprises but, if you’re in need of a good story to crack into, then definitely give The Turn Of The Key a try. Especially since I’m rating it with an: eight out of ten stars. For a unique story line, interesting characters, and being absolutely un-put-down-able. Bravo!

What book are you reading right now? Have you read any of Ruth Ware’s other novels? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

Howdy! I recently finished another Ruth Ware novel called The Lying Game and have read The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood by her this summer, too. I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed with either of those books but The Lying Game was a great read and I am happy that I chose to give Ware one more try before calling it quits and finding another author to read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

lying

The Lying Game revolves around new mother, Isa, and her three best girlfriends from high school, Kate, Thea (Whose name I’m still not sure how to pronounce!), and Fatima. At their boarding school, the girls reveled in what they called “The Lying Game” and would keep a scoreboard to record the points from the tall tales that they would spin based on the quality and if people actually believed them. The game was supposed to be all in good fun and the rules were simple, including “never lie to your friends” and “know when to stop the lie”.

The girls spent one year at the boarding school together, which came to an abrupt halt when they were asked to leave quietly in the wakes of a possible scandal that directly involved them. And, although it’s a rarity that they talk now as they are all in their thirties, when a friend texts the three words of “I need you” the now women drop their responsibilities immediately and flock to the one in distress.

So, when Kate sends Isa the call to action, she packs up her belongings with her six month old daughter in tow and makes the journey to her, near the old boarding school. The text was indeed an urgent one because once the ladies arrive to Kate’s, it is revealed that a human bone was found in the sea – a result of their “game” being taken too far. With a police investigation nipping at their heals, the once best friends have to come up with a plan and unravel the truth behind their lies before an arrest is made. Were they murderers? Covering something up? Or just plain stupid? Read the book and find out!

I absolutely adored The Lying Game and devoured it in a matter of days. It was so refreshing to read a book with a tangible plot and told from the perspective of someone with a sound mind. Because, let’s be honest, the unstable narrator shtick has been hopelessly drawn out. The Lying Game was filled with twists and turns that actually seemed plausible and I really had no idea what the end result was going to be.

It was interesting to see how a mistake that happened in their teenage years has haunted each woman in the almost two decades since it happened. Each one dealt with the trauma in a different way and it made for fascinating characters with realistic flaws and personalities. The Lying Game was a wild ride and I am now ready to tuck into another Ruth Ware novel ASAFP!

And, now for the star rating…. I award The Lying Game with an eight out of ten. The plot was riveting, the characters were all likeable in their own ways, and I genuinely enjoyed myself while reading it. Highly recommend.

Has anyone read The Lying Game? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

Salutations! In the newest edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing the mystery thriller, The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This author might sound a bit familiar to you, as I just recently reviewed another one of her books, In A Dark, Dark Wood. And, similarly to it, The Woman In Cabin 10 is another one that revolves around an unreliable narrator. Let’s discuss, without giving any spoilers away!

bookk

Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine is your classic “can we trust everything she sees” narrator. Following the usual formula of a heavy drinker while on medication, sleep deprived, as well as recently traumatized by a break in, Lo is… well, at a low point. Ba dum chhhhh. Anyways, very shortly after the break in happened, Lo sets sail aboard a luxury “cruise ship” that’s more like a yacht as a fill in for her boss on maternity leave.

The Aurora is welcoming a select few in the travel industry to board for a week, sailing around Norway, to get the hype built for their launch. The surroundings are swanky and the guests are even more posh – ranging from photographers to heiresses as well as journalists and models. This is a big break for Lo and, while she should be networking her little butt off, she ends up investigating a murder that she only heard, instead.

Enter The Woman In Cabin 10, a cabin that was supposed to be empty.  Lo spoke with the tenant one time after knocking on her door to borrow a tube of mascara and didn’t see her again that night at dinner. A dinner that she ended up getting WASTED at, by the way. So, who’s to say that what she saw was accurate when she claimed she saw a bloody smear on the glass divider on her balcony once she was back in her room? Or heard a huge splash that sounded like a body falling overboard?

The whodoneit begins, as Lo questions all of the staff with the help of the head of security and prying into just what the guests were up to after the dinner party. No one has seen the woman who she saw in the cabin and absolutely no one is ruled out as a suspect. Filled with red herrings and hidden intentions, will the murder get solved or remain a mystery at sea? Read The Woman In Cabin Ten to find out!

I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of In A Dark, Dark Wood and wasn’t expecting much better from The Woman In Cabin 10. But, I ended up enjoying it a fair amount. If I’m being honest, I am SO. Freaking. Sick. of the unreliable narrator angle. However, this murder mystery set at sea was too dishy and fun to not be a total page turner. The grand reveal at the end was also one that I wasn’t expecting at all and, normally, I am very quick to solve it on my own.

While I couldn’t stand any of the characters from In A Dark, Dark Wood, I quite liked the cast of players in this one. They all held my interest because all of their personalities were so different and it made for a fun reading experience to watch and study their interactions with each other. The finger pointing and guessing games between them kept me on my feet till the very end.

I didn’t love The Woman In Cabin 10 by any means but, I finished it in three days so that has to count for something, right? I’m going to give it a six out of ten rating and would recommend it for a quick summer read, if nothing else.

Who else has read The Woman In Cabin 10? What did you think about it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Those People Edition

Standard
Lil Red’s Book Club: Those People Edition

Hello, hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing the whodoneit thriller called Those People, written by Louise Candlish. I have been going through books left and right during my free time, and out of the past handful that I’ve finished, Those People has definitely been my favorite. It leaves you questioning how far you would go to stand up to a bully or, in this case, a neighbor from hell. Without revealing spoilers, let’s discuss:

bookie

Lowland Way is the suburban dream street. Beautiful homes, posh neighbors, and a quiet peacefulness that makes it the ideal neighborhood for the families living there. That is, until Darren and Jodie move in, wreaking havoc on the once “family friendly” street. Loud music, parties, swearing, foul attitudes, a used car business ran from the front yard, and noisy as can be home renovations make the new neighbors on the block less than popular. Especially considering that their business and construction make them a massive eyesore on the picture perfect community.

What’s worse is, the more that Jodie and Darren’s neighbors like Tess, Sissy, Naomi, Em, Ant, and Ralph plea for the noise levels to be kept down, the more intense everything seems to get on their property. And, Darren and Jodie often scoff at any of the uptight neighbors coming to their yard with requests. As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, someone died on Darren and Jodie’s property as the result of an accident on their construction scaffolding.

Once this misfortune happens, the neighbors begin banding together to put an end to Darren and Jodie’s reign of terror. Even if that means committing a murder themselves. However, the scaffolding accident wasn’t so clear cut and while the neighbors are plotting murder, they are being investigated for one as the screws on the structure were tampered with. So, who committed the deed that made the “wrong” person die and can the neighbors work up the nerve to attempt murder again to get it right? Read Those People to find out!

This book was such a quick read for me because it was simply riveting. I loved how the chapters were presented from a different neighbor’s point of view each time and it kept me turning the page because I wanted to see how situations were seen in the other character’s eyes. There were two whodoneit scenarios in the book and I enjoyed piecing together the information from each neighbor to try and figure out what their role was in the crimes committed.

Those People was a nice break from the unstable female narrator books that I have been drawn to lately and it was well worth the read. I don’t think any of you will be able to put it down! I am going to rate it with a 7.5 out of ten and highly recommend it.

Has anyone else read Those People? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Groovy Movies: Crawl Edition

Standard
Groovy Movies: Crawl Edition

Howdy! This past week, I took one of my clients to see a new creature horror movie called Crawl. Normally, I am not big on the flicks with giant animals terrorizing people, but this one was highly entertaining, super suspenseful, short and sweet, and the actors weren’t half bad, either. Take a look at the trailer and then read on to find out my rating for this new release:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video.

Long story short, a hella hurricane is happening in Florida and when swim star, Hayley, has heard nothing from her dad, she ventures to their old home to investigate. He is nowhere to be found inside of the house but the family dog, Sugar, leads her to the crawl space beneath, which she begrudgingly goes into.

After some searching in the claustrophobic bottom layer of the house, Hayley finds her dad severely injured with an alligator bite to the shoulder and leg compliments of the one that entered the premises through a flooded drain pipe. And, to make matters worse, there’s not one but two of them. And, to make matters worse AGAIN, the crawl space is beginning to fill with water thanks to the major hurricane happening. So, their options are to drown or figure a way out despite the massive gators making home there…

And save the dog, of course.

Like I said earlier, these types of movies are normally not my cup of tea. But, I thought that Crawl was an absolute HOOT. It was a really fun watch and the suspense was nonstop thanks to a combination of things like the close quarters of the crawl space, the flood waters steadily rising, and oh yeah – the big ass alligators. I also liked how this movie was relatively short at an hour and a half because it moved quickly and made the anticipation of the flood waters rising feel even more desperate.

Hayley and her dad were also both very likeable and I found myself rooting for them and their safety the entire movie. So, whenever a setback would happen or a plan didn’t work, it definitely felt like a major blow. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie and I would give it a seven out of ten. It was a great summer flick to see in theaters and I would for sure recommend it!

Who else has seen Crawl? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: AMC Theaters