Historical Fiction

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Keeping LucyKeeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I fell in love with T. Greenwood last year when I read Rust & Stardust. So I was very excited to read her newest book Keeping Lucy. While I don’t think it was quite as good, I still did enjoy it.

Let’s rewind several decades. Now imagine you give birth to a child with Down Syndrome and your husband sends the baby to an institution for the mentally impaired against your wishes. Now imagine you have an opportunity to reunite with your child but you see that the conditions at the institution are more atrocious than you could imagine. What would you do?

I enjoyed this story and felt like I could relate to the mother. This is a pretty heartbreaking story. But that being said, there were pieces that were perhaps a tad over the top or unbelievable which is why I ended up giving it 4 stars instead of 5. Overall, really enjoyable read.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, T. Greenwood, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Author Q&A

Author Q&A with Megan Goldin (Author of The Escape Room)

So honored to be part of Megan Goldin’s blog tour and have her stop by today for some Q&A!  Check out my review for The Escape Room here!

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Ashley: How did you become inspired to write The Escape Room?

Megan: There were a number of inspirations that led to me writing The Escape Room. First of all, I’d had my third baby and, for the first time since my working life began, I’d taken a year or so out of the workforce to be with him. When I started looking to go back to work, I interviewed for a job for which I should have been a serious candidate as my experience closely matched the job description and I’d done something similar before for a similar company. Instead, the interviewer ate snack food throughout the interview with, let’s just say, very bad table manners. He crunched particularly loudly every time that I spoke. I drew on this experience when I wrote about the job interview from hell that Sara Hall went through in The Escape Room. It made me feel powerless. I told friends about what happened and they shared with me their own horror stories in the workplace. It made me want to explore sexism in the workplace in my next novel. It also inspired the idea of a revenge theme. I liked the idea of someone who is beaten down by the system making a comeback.

Around that time I was also stuck in an elevator. I’d gone shopping with my kids. I had a cart full of food. The elevator stopped and the lights went off. It took a couple of minutes until we were able to get out but it was a dark, cold, and frightening couple of minutes in that elevator. I’d been thinking about a setting for this thriller revenge story that I had in mind. It struck me that the elevator was a perfect setting. I was fired up by the challenge of setting a novel in an elevator. It also served my purpose well. I wanted to put my characters in a pressure-cooker atmosphere where animosity would build as they learned each other’s secrets. An elevator was perfect.

Ashley: What was your research process like when writing about the financial industry in the U.S?

Megan: When I research my books, I apply journalism skills acquired over the years. That means immersing myself in whatever information I can get ahold of. I read books, newspaper articles, elevator manuals, and even journal studies on human psychology. I also followed forums for investment bankers and others working in the financial industry and some of their social media feeds. I spoke with people who worked in the world of finance and also drew on material that I’d collected in the past. For example, there were big name investment banks in my previous office building and I’d often overhear bankers and brokers chatting in the elevator about their personal lives and work, or in my condominium building where many of them lived. I tend to write and research at the same time as I don’t plan my novels other than the story arc. As the story evolves on the pages while I write, I’ll stop writing for a few hours and branch out to research whatever might be relevant for the novel. In the case of The Escape Room, that included issues such as ‘game theory’ and things as mundane as technical manuals about elevator safety mechanisms and issues related to guns and ballistics. The research is one of the fun parts of writing a novel. I get to learn new things and it breaks up the intensity of writing.

Ashley: Are there any authors that you most look up to?

Megan: There is an endless list of authors, from crime and thriller writers, to literary fiction, classics, and non-fiction. Now that I am writing myself, I tend to analyze other books as I read. I look at plot, structure, character, voice, and various other writing techniques. Even as a journalist, I always saw writing as a constant process of learning and refining. I think it’s a lifelong endeavor. Among my favorites is John le Carre. I consider his novels master classes in suspense writing and I often reread them. Yuval Noah Harari’s series, starting with Sapiens, was another inspiration behind The Escape Room, as I’d been reading it and watching Yarari’s lectures on Youtube. It made me look at office culture through a prism of evolutionary biology. Offices are a modern-day human habit and the backbiting office politics is really a case of survival of the fittest.

Ashley: If The Escape Room was to become a movie, which actor or actress would you like to play some of the roles?

Megan: Well, a close friend just suggested Bradley Cooper for Vincent! Or perhaps Colin Farrell, Ryan Gosling or Jesse Eisenberg for Sam and Jules. As for actresses, maybe Jennifer Lawrence for Sylvie, or Anne Hathaway or Margot Robbie for Sara Hall. Lucy could be Emily Blunt.

Ashley: Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on?

Megan: I am working on my next book. It’s also a thriller and it addresses contemporary themes but it’s quite different from The Escape Room. I’m a little hesitant about how much to divulge at this point until it’s done.

Ashley: Anything else you’d like to add?

Megan: I’m extremely touched by all the support and feedback that I’ve been getting from so many bloggers and reviewers who are passionate about The Escape Room and who love the characters. Thank you all so much.

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Mystery, Thriller

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

The Escape RoomThe Escape Room by Megan Goldin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published on July 30th!

I absolutely love playing escape rooms. Usually whenever I have friends in town, I take them to The Escape Game Nashville which has come to be my favorite. So when I had an opportunity to review Megan Goldin’s The Escape Room and participate in her blog tour I was in!

I really enjoyed this book. Although I must admit that I was expecting more in the way of an escape room given the title. While there were some puzzles/clues along the way, the book was more about relationships and dynamics between coworkers in a high powered financial firm. And while I though Megan Goldin did a fantastic job developing the characters (they are all horrible people by the way), I was waiting for more escape room qualities.

Like I said, the characters were all horrible. Don’t get me wrong. They were written wonderfully, but they are not the kind of people that you would want as friends. They’re pretty despicable and it was interesting to see their relationships unravel when put in a high stress environment.

One thing that I probably would have changed is the prologue. Honestly, I think it gave away too much of the fun. I already had an idea in my mind of what was going to happen in the end, and I was pretty darn close. Had the prologue not been there, I think I would have been more surprised by the ending.

Overall, this was a strong thriller and I would recommend it for your summer reading TBR.

I received an advanced copy of this book exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Megan Goldin, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.

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Audiobook Review, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The Possession by Michael Rutger

The Possession (The Anomaly Files #2)The Possession by Michael Rutger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After falling in love with The Anomaly last year (it was definitely in my top 18 of 2018) I almost squealed when I found out author Michael Rutger was publishing a sequel.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same connection with The Possession. It wasn’t bad. It just didn’t give me all the feels the way The Anomaly did. The great thing about The Anomaly is was how Michael Rutger incorporated elements of science and created a paranormal story line that in the realms of my imagination could have been true. The science all made sense and I thought the outcome was pretty genius. Unfortunately in The Possession I felt like he leaned more on the paranormal and less on the scientific which is where is kind of fell apart for me.

There were times in the middle where the story got a little convoluted, confusing, and muddled. I had a hard time picturing some of the paranormal elements in my head. I wasn’t sure what was going on at times.

And although it ended up wrapping up well, I didn’t feel that it was as strong as the first book in the series. But still worth checking out if you enjoyed The Anomaly.

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