Book Review: The Escape Room, by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room, by Megan Goldin

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Published by St. Martin’s Press  on August 6, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, suspense, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

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For fans of JP Delaney’s The Girl Before and Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 comes this hair-raising novel of deception and revenge that will blow readers away.

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—now “gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game.
They’re fighting for their lives.

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Book Review: The Book Charmer, by Karen Hawkins

the book charmer

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Published by Gallery Books on July 30, 2019 (expected)

Series: Dove Pond, #1

Genre(s): fiction, magical realism

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

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Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

The New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular MacLean Curse series crafts a charming and evocative story about a picturesque Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a magical friendship that will change their lives forever. 

The residents of Dove Pond, North Carolina, know three things: they have the finest bar-b-que this side of Atlanta, their Apple Festival is the best that ever was, and the town has phenomenal good luck whenever the Dove family has seven daughters. Fortunately, that time is now, because Dove Pond desperately needs a miracle.

The seventh daughter, Sarah Dove, believes in all things magical. Books have whispered their secrets to her since she was a child. Now the town librarian, she makes sure every book finds the reader who most needs it. But recently the books have been whispering something different—that change is about to come to Dove Pond. Sarah is soon convinced that the legendary Dove Pond good luck has arrived in the form of new resident, Grace Wheeler.

After the tragic death of her sister, Grace has moved to Dove Pond with her grieving young niece and ailing foster mother hoping to retrench financially and emotionally before returning to her fast-paced city life. But she soon learns that life in a not-so-sleepy town isn’t as quiet as she’d hoped. Despite her best efforts to focus on her family, she can’t avoid the townspeople, especially her next-door neighbors, the quirky and talkative Sarah Dove and cynical veteran Chris Parker. Grace’s situation grows more complicated when she assumes her duties as town clerk and discovers that Dove Pond is on the verge of financial ruin.

Already overburdened by her own cares, Grace tries to stay aloof from the town’s issues, but she’s never been good at resisting a challenge. With Sarah’s encouragement, and inspired by the wise words of a special book, Grace decides to save her new town. And in her quest, she discovers the rich comfort of being a part of a loving community, the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the heartfelt power of finding just the right book.

With Karen Hawkins’s “fast, fun, and sexy” (Christina Dodd) prose, The Book Charmer is a feel-good story with plenty of heart that will appeal to fans of Sarah Addison Allen, Alice Hoffman, Heather Graham, and Jude Deveraux.

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5 Beachy Books To Read This Summer

5 Beachy Books to Read This Summer

It seemed to take forever this year for the weather to warm up to spring temperatures. Combined with higher than usual amounts of rain, I’ve found myself ready to settle in with books that give me strong summer vibes based on their setting. Particularly those set on the beach, ocean, or lakefront, making me think I can already smell the sunscreen and feel the sand in my toes.

So today I’m sharing five books with beachy settings to help you dig into summer! This selection is strong on thrillers with some romance and coming of age mixed in. If you prefer a bit more variety, the 2019 summer reading guides from Modern Mrs. Darcy and Sarah’s Bookshelves have fantastic choices as well!

Ready to see my picks?

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May Reading Wrap Up

May 2019 Reading Wrap UpMay was a full month of fun plans and plenty of reading, and it flew by in the blink of an eye!

This was a great month of books for me. I enjoyed a variety of genres, from suspense and thrillers to science fiction and contemporary to historical fiction. With the exception of one book I decided to DNF for now, I wound up rating everything I read at least a three, and two books a full five out of five! You can’t really get much better than that.

Ready to see what I read and reviewed?

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Book Review: Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse

Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Published by Berkley Books on February 6, 2007 (first published 2005)

Series: Languedoc, #1

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction, mystery

Format & Length: paperback, 515

Source: purchased

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In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth. Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. Now, as crusading armies gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take a tremendous sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe.

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Book Review: One Little Secret, by Cate Holahan

One Little Secret, by Cate Holahan

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan

Published by Crooked Lane Books on July 9, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 320

Source: Netgalley

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Everyone has a secret. For some, it’s worth dying to protect. For others, it’s worth killing.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town – and desperate for some kid-free conversation – she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.

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Book Review: The River at Night, by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night, by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Published by Gallery/Scout Press on January 10, 2017

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, thriller

Format & Length: e-book, 304

Source: purchased

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A “raw, relentless, and heart-poundingly real” (Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author) thriller set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, The River at Night charts the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident.

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare; a freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

With intimately observed characters and visceral prose, The River at Night “will leave you gasping, your heart racing, eyes peering over your shoulder to see what follows from behind” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author). This is a dark exploration of creatures—both friend and foe—that you won’t soon forget.

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Do You DNF?

Do You DNF?Over the past several months, I’ve been trying to focus on quality over quantity with my reading. This doesn’t necessarily mean every book I read needs to be the BEST book ever but that I’d like to be reading books that thoroughly entertain, teach me something new and interesting, or bring something really special to the table. So I’ve been abandoning books more readily than I ever have in the past.

Although I’ve proclaimed to be fine with putting a book down when it’s not working, it’s been a fairly rare occurrence in my reading life. But as I’m getting older and realizing just how many books there are that I’d like to try, it’s getting easier to DNF (did not finish). It’s entirely possible I’m also getting more particular in my preferences and my patience for poor quality is waning as I read more, making it easier to decide to put a book down.

There are a few reasons why I might DNF a book:

1. The timing/format is wrong.

I’ve tried some books that deal with topics or themes that I just couldn’t handle at the time. It might be anything from the death of a loved one to something too creepy when I’m already stressed. And as a reader who enjoys using multiple formats (print copies, e-books, audiobooks), I find that some formats work better for some books than others. When I put these books down, I usually intend to go back to them at some point when the timing is better or in a different format.

2. I couldn’t connect with it.

This tends to be the hardest category for me. These are books that don’t necessarily have anything wrong with them and the timing and format is right, but something just isn’t clicking for me. Although sometimes I’ll realize it fairly quickly, most often I stick with these for the longest amount of time before putting them down. And sometimes I’ll consider going back to these at another time as well.

3. Poor writing and editing.

These are the easiest books for me to DNF. When I come across several spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes within a couple pages, I know it won’t be a book for me. This tends to be an issue more often with independently published (and especially self published) books, which is unfortunate because I like to give them a chance.

So I’m curious! Do you DNF books? If so, what are your reasons?

Book Review: The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party, by Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Published by Henry Holt & Co. on July 9, 2019 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, historical fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 256

Source: Netgalley

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A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.

In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.

A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.

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Book Review: Beyond the World, by T.J. & M.L. Wolf

Beyond the World, by T.J. & M.L. Wolf

Beyond the World by T.J. & M.L. Wolf

Published by Amazon KDP on December 20, 2018

Series: The Survival Trilogy, #3

Genre(s): fiction, mystery, science fiction, suspense

Format & Length: paperback, 308

Source: author

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In 2020, a year after an out-of-this-world encounter in Chinatown, Una Waters ventures into Yosemite National Park with General Ashcroft, on their honeymoon. When a coded distress call pulls him unexpectedly away on duty, Una uncovers a UFO mystery and turns to compadre Jack Howser for help. Joined by friends from Explorers Club, their quest for answers leads to a string of unworldly campsites, ancient caves, living pterosaurs, and a military manhunt–all fueled by an Alien conspiracy that threatens the survival of humanity! Una comes to realize that Fear of the Unknown may be our greatest obstacle, and the fight to overcome it requires Transformation: a willingness to let go of the Lies we hold dear.

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