• books

    Book review: The Escape Room, by Megan Goldin

    The Escape Room, by  Megan GoldinThe Escape Room intrigued me because of the premise: four hotshot investment bankers are lured to an abandoned office complex under the premise of participating in a team-building “escape room” exercise. Instead, they’re locked in an elevator, where clues and hints about their pasts create an atmosphere of suspicion.

    Who among them knows more than they’re letting on? Is it Vincent, alpha male and full of secrets? Sylvie, bitter over the unfair assessment of her worth versus that of her male peers? Or could it be Sam or Jules, both cash-strapped and desperate to outshine the competition in a season of small bonuses and large layoffs?

    And what does their plight have to do with a long-gone colleague named Sara, whose POV is intercut with the elevator scenes?

    The plot and pacing made it hard to put this book down. There were so many secrets, lies and admissions cropping up that it felt much shorter than 400 pages. So, why only three stars?

    Well, I’m knocking off one star because I felt like the book needed a solid edit. The writing was clunky and just felt more like a rough second draft than a finished proof. For example, I lost track of how many times we hear that the four captives are opening the elevator doors to get some air. The lack of polish was a bit of a stumbling block to an otherwise good story.

    The other star gets knocked off because by the end of the book, I realized that I didn’t connect with any of the characters, even the “good” ones. It isn’t just that I didn’t like them; I didn’t feel like they really had enough depth to make me empathize with them. Sara’s POV felt wooden and even as she struggles with her backstabbing colleagues, I found it hard to really feel anything for her situation. The lack of character development left me feeling a little hollow by the last page.

    Overall: a good thriller, though not great. It’s Goldin’s sophomore effort, so hopefully further novels will show a little more polish and move her books from three stars to four.

    The Escape Room, by Megan Goldin (368 pages); suspense, thriller. Three out of five stars. Find it on Goodreads and don’t forget to follow me while you’re there for more book updates and reviews!


    Enjoy thrillers? You may also enjoy The Silent Wife, by A.S.A. Harrison (review here).

  • #30before30

    #30before30: Explore your passions

    Explore your passions! Selfie taken September 2018 on the beach at the Devils Punchbowl, Oregon

    In last week’s #30before30 post I talked a little about the inspiration for this blog series. It was also inspired by one of my favorite quotes, from the writer Douglas Adams:

    “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

    I definitely haven’t ended up where I thought I would at this age, but boy, have I seen some sights along the way! And looking back now, my view of goals, happiness and success have changed drastically. If I could go back in time and hand my younger self a new #30before30 list, it would look remarkably different from the bucket list of items I originally wanted to accomplish. There are a lot of lessons I’ve learned the hard way over the past few years, and I wish I could share that advice with younger me.

  • books,  Christmas,  Top Ten Tuesday,  winter

    Top ten wintry reads

    This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt (from That Artsy Reader Girl) is all about wintry/cozy reads…so here are ten of my wintry reads for your perusal. All take place largely in winter or in cold climates (or involve a theme of winter or Christmas in some way). FYI: these are best enjoyed with a mug of hot cocoa, a fluffy blanket, and a pet to cuddle, if possible!

    Top ten wintry reads

    The Snow Child by Eowyn  Ivey / The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden / The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell / Abandon by Blake Crouch / A Gift From Bob by James Bowen / The Blue Fox by Sjon / Hold The Dark by William Giraldi / House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy / Voices by Arnaldur Indridason / Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

  • Christmas,  gifts,  holidays

    Last minute Christmas gift ideas

    Last minute gifts for everyone on your list

    Behold, the joy of eleventh hour gifting! Whether you put off shopping or got a last minute invite, rushing to find a Christmas gift is no fun…which is where this guide comes in. Here are easy and affordable last minute ideas for friends near and far.

    Still got a few days left to shop? You might also check out my gifts guides for guys, book lovers, and beauty mavens, and my roundup of fave cozy gifts for practically anyone!