The Escape Room — Book Review

I was so excited to receive a finished copy of The Escape Room by Megan Goldin from St. Martin’s Press. This was a thriller like none I’ve ever read before, and it was a real page-turner!

Four finance hot-shots — Vince, Jules, Sam, and Sylvie — are forced into a team-building escape-room type exercise on a Friday afternoon. The escape room? An elevator at the top of a skyscraper. It quickly becomes clear that this is not an ordinary escape room. And at the center of it all, these four co-workers need to face their past transgressions and answer what happened to their former associate, Sara Hall.

This is a tightly written thriller that alternates between a tense situation inside the elevator and flashbacks to the past. You learn how the finance world works — full of high-priced gifts, drugs, and gender discrimination, at the least.

This was an absolute page turner, with lots of twists. It was not always the most believable thriller, but it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It’s a perfect summer read that will keep you guessing! Pick up your copy today!

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A Stranger On The Beach — Review

Today, A Stranger on the Beach by Michelle Campbell was published by St. Martin’s Press. Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to get an e-ARC of this book and I absolutely loved it!

The cover itself is a perfect setup for the novel — a dark sky over a beach, giving you a sense of the figurative storm that you’re about to endure. This novel centers around Caroline, who has just built a beautiful house on the beach with her husband. Aiden happens to be a bartender at Caroline’s housewarming, where she and her husband have a very loud & public argument. Aiden’s & Caroline’s lives become intertwined in so, so many ways, and it all comes crashing to an exciting ending.

I loved the twists that were layered on twists in this novel. I loved that we got to see parts of the story from both Aiden’s & Caroline’s perspectives, and it is up to the reader to determine where the truth lies. While I was able to predict a few elements of the plot before I read them, I truly enjoyed the build-up to the climax and how I felt like there was always another piece of the puzzle I was missing. This is a perfect book for your beach bag!

4/5 Stars for me — Let me know what you think!

A Stranger on the Beach

The Other Mrs. Miller — Review

I was thrilled to receive The Other Mrs. Miller after I won it in a Goodreads giveway, thanks to Putnam publishing. This book will be out on July 16, 2019 and it’s a whirlwind of a domestic thriller — perfect for the beach bag!

The book is about Phoebe, whose marriage is falling apart after a series of fertility issues and has just lost her wealthy father. She realizes that a car is on her street with increasing frequency — leading her to believe she is being watched. Meanwhile, a new family, the Napiers, moves in across the street and Phoebe becomes friends with Vicki. She becomes increasingly more intertwined with the Napiers, including their college bound son, Jake.

This book was super readable, but not always the most realistic. I really liked how there were constantly mysteries swirling around — what was going on at the Napiers? Who is in the car on the street, and are they watching Phoebe? I finished it in about a day and a half, just because I wanted to know more, more, more about what was happening to these characters! The ending was NOT what I expected at all, and was completely unbelievable, but a really fun read regardless. 3.5/5 stars

The Other Mrs. Miller

With the Fire on High — Review

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo was my birthday BOTM pick and it was SO, SO GOOD. As a former middle school ELA teacher in an urban district, the whole time I was envisioning so many of my former students and how much they would have connected with this book.

Emoni is high school senior in Philadelphia who is super passionate about two things: cooking & her daughter. She has worked so hard to make the best life for Babygirl, despite becoming a mom at 14. She also takes her family’s recipes and puts her own spins on them, often bringing her grandmother to tears with pride. Because it’s her senior year, Emoni has lots of decisions to make for her post high school life.

Her school begins a Culinary Arts class, and Emoni does well — until she realizes she has to follow the rules of the kitchen when it’s not her kitchen. She has some issues with her teacher, but are able to resolve them by the time the class needs to raise money for a trip to Spain.

This novel touched on so many issues my students would relate to — teenage pregnancy, parental loss, being raised by grandparents, poverty, race, sexuality, and more. It was also so refreshing to see a student aspiring to a vocational career, not just college.

This book had real characters, relatable content, and it was compulsively readable. The descriptions of everything Emoni was cooking didn’t hurt either! I found myself salivating often. 5/5 Stars from me for With the Fire on High — hoping schools will see the merits of this novel and consider using it for their ELA curriculums.

Mid-Year Stats by Rating

Let’s nerd out on books, shall we? — Part 1

The Golden Hour – Review

Beatriz Williams is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical fiction authors. I have bragged before about reading The Summer Wives in an entire flight from Providence to Nashville and adding all of her books to my TBR backlist. The Golden Hour, her newest novel out on 7.9.19, didn’t disappoint!

This book followed Lulu in Nassau, the Bahamas, who is assigned to write gossip about the Duke & Duchess of Windsor, Edward VIII & Wallis, in 1941. I’ve read lots of historical fiction from this era, but I definitely had to Google these two a few times while reading. This was a chapter of history I wasn’t aware of. Despite my lack of knowledge on the subject, I was impressed by the lush setting that Williams created & I felt like I was able to immerse myself in the setting .

The book also followed a woman named Elfriede in another timeline, about 40 years before the events of Lulu’s story. While it was a little confusing, it tied all together neatly at the end. It was an interesting timeline to follow since it followed a German family in the lead-up to WWII.

The last female character we meet is Leonora, in 1944. She is integral to tying the whole story together and I LOVED her feisty attitude.

The story ties all up in 1944, and while it seemed woven together a little TOO neatly — I did have to suspend my belief a little in order to appreciate the ending — I loved how the romances played out, and how the author showed me completely different slices of life during the WWII era, and how well Beatriz Williams writes a setting. If this is on your TBR, I’d tell you to do a little reading about Edward & Wallis so you can understand their controversy, and just enjoy the words that surround you!

4/5 stars ❤

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Nolan tried reading this with me on our drive back from NYC — silly goose!

Whisper Network: Review

I cannot put into words how excited I was to win this book in an Instagram giveaway! I follow a group of book reviewers/bloggers/publicists called BookSparks and they do a huge summer reading campaign every year. This book was highlighted on their list, so when I saw their summer reading list in April, I KNEW I needed to have this book!

This book is about a group of women (Ardie, Grace, and Sloane) who work at a sportswear corporation in Dallas. At the beginning, their current CEO has died, and they learn Ames, their boss who has been ‘whispered’ about, is up for a promotion. Ames starts to target a new, younger female employee — and these women have had enough. They can’t let this guy become the new CEO, not after they start to share their secrets with one another and learn more & more about him.

This book is super timely in the #metoo era. I loved the way the author used a first-person plural POV to introduce many of the chapters; it really made it feel like a collective experience. These sections discussed how difficult it is to deal with being both a woman in the workplace and a mom: how Pinterest actually makes us feel worse, how it is impossible to catch up to men at work because of the mental workload women carry, the double standards in body size. Grace is a new mom, and as a new mom myself, I felt like I could have written her inner monologue. Super, super relatable.

I gave this book a 4.5/5 star rating — only because the women happen to work in the legal department of their company, and I was a little confused on some of the legal jargon. However, I LOVED this feminist manifesto of believing women & telling the truth

And if you need MORE of an endorsement — It was just chosen as Reese Witherspoon’s July Book! (And Reese can do NO WRONG!) It’s available in stores on July 2!

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