Book Reviews · BOTMs, · CrimeThriller · Thriller

Book Review: ‘The Night Swim’ by Megan Goldin (pub 8/4)

Thank you @stmartinspress for my gifted copy of ‘The Night Swim‘ by Megan Goldin! (pub 8/4). (Click HERE to see this post on Instagram & give it a LIKE, Comment or Save!)

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation & set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―& the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.

The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a hs student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season 3 a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing & investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places.

Someone is following her, & she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister 25 yrs ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―& when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past & present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial & the lives of everyone involved.

I flew through this mystery/courtroom drama in mere hrs! It kinda gave me ‘Are You Sleeping‘ (fic) meets ‘Know My Name‘ (non-fic) vibes as it deals w/ the relevant issue of rape culture & a true-crime podcast. Goldin did handle the subject matter w/ care & respect & not exploitatively. I will warn you, there is some disturbing & graphic content that may be triggering or hard to read.

The Night Swim‘ is emotional, thought-provoking, heartbreaking & often cringey & uncomfortable to read, but it’s a great book if you can handle the subject matter. This book is also an August Book of the Month, so if you want to get it at a discount & you’re not a member, click on my referral link HERE & read my last Instagram post HERE for all the great benefits of being a BOTM member. This book publishes on 8/4.

Click HERE to add ‘The Night Swim’ to your Goodreads.
Click HERE to look for this book (or others) at a local indie bookstore using BookStoreLink.
Click HERE to give my Instagram post some LIKE love!

Praise for The Night Swim:

“Goldin’s prose is inviting, at times electrifying, and always sensitive in dealing with hot-button issues…well done.” ―Booklist (starred)

“Outstanding…[Goldin’s thriller] casts a searing light on small-town politics.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Remarkably strong.” ―Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Escape Room:

“The pages turn themselves…a sleek, well-crafted ride to a surprisingly twisty conclusion.” ―New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

“THE ESCAPE ROOM works as the ultimate locked-room mystery…Goldin excels at illustrating the pressures of a Wall Street career.” ―Associated Press

“Addicting.” ―Time Magazine

“High wire tension from the first moment to the last. Four ruthless people locked in a deadly game where victory means survival. Gripping and unforgettable!” ―Harlan Coben

“Fantastic. One of my favorite books of the year.” ―Lee Child

“Amazing…a thriller set in an elevator [that explores] the vast territory of people’s worst natures. A nightmarish look inside ourselves. Simply riveting.” ―Louise Penny

“A shrewd, brilliantly structured thriller doubling as a takedown of corporate culture.” ―Shelf Awareness

“There is clearly no happy ending likely for the four colleagues trapped inside [the escape room]; but fans of JP Delany and Ruth Ware will want to be right in there with them…a nail-biting tale of a corporate team-building exercise gone horribly wrong.” ―Booklist

“Riveting…[a] tale of greed and revenge set on Wall Street…Thriller fans will eagerly turn the pages to see what happens next.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Cancel all your plans and call in sick; once you start reading, you’ll be caught in your own escape room―the only key to freedom is turning the last page!” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Smart and compelling… I devoured this novel!” ―Karen Cleveland, bestselling author of Need to Know

“A sharp, slick, utterly engrossing thriller. This knockout debut hooked me from the first page and didn’t let go.” ―Cristina Alger, USA Today bestselling author of The Banker’s Wife

Megan Goldin is the bestselling author of “The Escape Room”, praised by Lee Child as “one of my favorite books of the year”, as well as “The Girl In Kellers Way”, a critically-acclaimed domestic noir thriller nominated for Australia’s leading crime fiction awards.
Megan worked as a journalist for Reuters, the Australian ABC and Yahoo! News before writing her debut psychological thriller The Girl In Kellers Way.

BOTMs,

June Books of the Month selections are up!!

Click HERE to give my Instagram post some love!

🎉Whoo Hoo!! The June BOTM’s are LIVE! And this girl is HAPPY!😁
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📚Why am I so happy? Because I had my hopes up that the upcoming, new Sager novel, “Home Before Dark“, would be a Book of the Month selection & I’m excited to say, BOTM came through! I think this is the first month in awhile where every one of the 5 BOTM choices are on my TBR list.
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📚I have an arc of “A Burning” by Megha Majumdar & can’t wait to read that one soon! And I loved Brit Bennett’s last book “The Mothers” so much & I’m looking forward to this new one of hers, “The Vanishing Half“. Then, because one can never have too many thrillers, I added “The Last Flight” by Julie Clark to my box along with the romance choice, “One to Watch” by Kate Stayman-London.
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📚What a fantastic group of books & of course, there are still plenty of awesome add-on choices available as well!
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📚Once you have received 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month, & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome!
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📚Many of the books each month are Early Releases (like 3 of this months!) meaning you can get a nice hardback copy of a book sometimes a month or more before the gen public! Full-size, beautiful hardback books for nearly HALF of what you would pay anywhere else, & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per month) & you can skip any month you like. (You can cancel anytime, but trust me, you won’t want to!)
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📚To use my special referral code & get your first BOTM at a discount, click on any of the highlighted BOTM’s in this post. You will so happy you joined! If you are already a member, what book(s) did you choose this month? Or perhaps you skipped? Do tell!

Here are the June selections:

Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely—an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor—has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern Black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her Black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers—and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition—under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men—and herself—for a chance to live happily ever after.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns as bright as his promising political career, and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move, making sure she’s living up to his impossible standards. But what he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish.

A chance meeting in an airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision to switch tickets—Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico goes down, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

***Again, be sure to use my Book of the Month referral link & you will get a big discount on your first month’s BOTM box & be well on your way to earning your BFF status & start getting those awesome benefits I mentioned above.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

About ME · BOTMs,

My May Books-of-the-Month have arrived! Just in time for my BIRTHDAY!

Click HERE to give my IG page some love!

Today is my birthday! 🎂🎈 Yay for me! Except for the fact that I am not feeling well (autoimmune flare-up, not covid). But lucky me, my husband works from home today & my daughter is also here to help me out with everything & force me to sit & chill & just plain relax for the day. I’ve been doing so much lately & I often forget that due to my “invisible” illnesses, I do have limitations & need to take time to just relax each day & not overdo it. Also, here in Ohio many businesses are re-opening today (with provisions, of course, & limitations), but I know I will still be wearing my mask when I go out especially now, since I expect people will be flocking to all of the businesses that have been closed for the last 2 mos or so.😷

Since it’s my birthday month & I am an official Book of the Month B.F.F., I got a FREE add-on book! Once you have received your 12th BOTM box, you become a BFF & receive some great swag! A FREE tote bag, a FREE add-on book during your birthday month, & a your choice of one of the five Book of the Year finalists at the end of the year FREE.

The May book selections were:

Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on women, she engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes secret narratives about neglected and silenced women. When she meets the eighteen-year-old Jesus, each is drawn to and enriched by the other’s spiritual and philosophical ideas. He becomes a floodgate for her intellect, but also the awakener of her heart.

Their marriage unfolds with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, James and Simon, and their mother, Mary. Here, Ana’s pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to the Roman occupation of Israel, partially led by her charismatic adopted brother, Judas. She is sustained by her indomitable aunt Yaltha, who is searching for her long-lost daughter, as well as by other women, including her friend Tabitha, who is sold into slavery after she was raped, and Phasaelis, the shrewd wife of Herod Antipas. Ana’s impetuous streak occasionally invites danger. When one such foray forces her to flee Nazareth for her safety shortly before Jesus’ public ministry begins, she makes her way with Yaltha to Alexandria, where she eventually finds refuge and purpose in unexpected surroundings.

Grounded in meticulous historical research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus’ life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place, and culture devised to silence her.

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Lizzie Kitsakis is working late when she gets the call. Grueling hours are standard at elite law firms like Young & Crane, but they’d be easier to swallow if Lizzie was there voluntarily. Until recently, she’d been a happily underpaid federal prosecutor. That job and her brilliant, devoted husband Sam—she had everything she’d ever wanted. And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.

No. That’s a lie. It wasn’t sudden, was it? Long ago the cracks in Lizzie’s marriage had started to show. She was just good at averting her eyes.

The last thing Lizzie needs right now is a call from an inmate at Rikers asking for help—even if Zach Grayson is an old friend. But Zach is desperate: his wife, Amanda, has been found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their Brooklyn brownstone. And Zach’s the primary suspect.

As Lizzie is drawn into the dark heart of idyllic Park Slope, she learns that Zach and Amanda weren’t what they seemed—and that their friends, a close-knit group of fellow parents at the exclusive Grace Hall private school, might be protecting troubling secrets of their own. In the end, she’s left wondering not only whether her own marriage can be saved, but what it means to have a good marriage in the first place.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah—along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor—have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Bunny Lampert is the princess of North Shore⁠—beautiful, tall, blond, with a rich real-estate-developer father and a swimming pool in her backyard. Michael⁠⁠—with a ponytail down his back and a septum piercing⁠—lives with his aunt in the cramped stucco cottage next door. When Bunny catches Michael smoking in her yard, he discovers that her life is not as perfect as it seems.

At six foot three, Bunny towers over their classmates. Even as she dreams of standing out and competing in the Olympics, she is desperate to fit in, to seem normal, and to get a boyfriend, all while hiding her father’s escalating alcoholism. Michael has secrets of his own. At home and at school Michael pretends to be straight, but at night he tries to understand himself by meeting men online for anonymous encounters that both thrill and scare him.

When Michael falls in love for the first time, a vicious strain of gossip circulates and a terrible, brutal act becomes the defining feature of both his and Bunny’s futures⁠⁠—and of their friendship. With storytelling as intoxicating as it is intelligent, Rufi Thorpe has created a tragic and unflinching portrait of identity, a fascinating examination of our struggles to exist in our bodies, and an excruciatingly beautiful story of two humans aching for connection.

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📚Many of the books each month are Early Releases, meaning you can get a nice hardback copy of a book sometimes a month or more before the gen public! Full-size, beautiful hardback books for nearly HALF of what you would pay anywhere else, & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per month) & you can skip any month you like. (You can cancel anytime, but trust me, you won’t want to!)

If you have been on the fence about joining Book-of-the-Month, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & with some excellent summer releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special introductory price for your first BOTM & then you will be on your way to becoming a BOTM BFF like me! Click HERE to use my special referral code & get a nice discount on your first BOTM selection.

📚Are you already a member? What book(s) did you chose for May? Or did you skip perhaps? What books are you hoping will be in the June batch? Personally, I am hoping for the new Riley Sager book as a June or July selection. (I was set to meet him at an author event in early July, but that is cancelled now. So bummed.) Today is also a pretty great pub day! Tuesday’s are always fun when it comes to IG & seeing what new books released that day. Any particular book(s) come out today that you are excited to read? Oh, & don’t forget I have a new giveaway going on Instagram. Click HERE to go to that post.

Click HERE to go to the giveaway post

Well, folks, hope you all have a wonderful week! Stay safe out there! And don’t forget to wash your hands & stop touching your face! 😊😷🎂

BOTMs,

May Books-of-the-Month are LIVE! (aka: BOTM’s!)

Click HERE to use my AWESOME referral code & get an even AWESOMER deal!

Yayyyyy! The May Books-of-the-Month are LIVE! They are up a couple days early, because just like the popular Justin Timberlake meme says, in a couple days…

And GUESS WHAT?? My birthday is in May! And it’s on a BIG pub day this year, May 12th! Last year my birthday fell ON Mother’s Day (which is always cool when that happens). With Book of the Month, since it’s my birthday month, I get a FREE BOTM add-on as a gift from them for being a BFF.

Once you have received 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month, & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome!

Historical Fiction

This months Historical Fiction selection is ‘The Book of Longings’ by Sue Monk Kidd. Click HERE for more info.

Contemporary Fiction

This months Contemporary Fiction selection is ‘Happy & You Know It’ by Laura Hankin. Click HERE for more info.

Thriller

This months Thriller selection is “A Good Marriage’ by Kimberly McCreight. Click HERE for more info.

Romance

This months Romance selection is ‘The Boyfriend Project’ by Farrah Rochon. Click HERE for more info.

Literary Fiction

This months Literary Fiction is ‘The Knockout Queen’ by Rufi Thorpe. Click HERE for more info. (*This selection does have some trigger warnings: violence, bullying, & discrimination.)

Many of the books each month are Early Releases, meaning you can get a nice hardback copy of a book sometimes a month or more before the gen public! Full-size, beautiful hardback books for nearly HALF of what you would pay anywhere else, & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per month) & you can skip any month you like. (You can cancel anytime, but trust me, you won’t want to!)

If you have been on the fence about joining Book-of-the-Month, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & with some excellent summer releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special introductory price for your first BOTM & then you will be on your way to becoming a BOTM BFF like me!

To use my special referral code, click HERE. You won’t be sorry.

Book Reviews · BOTMs,

The April Book-of-the-Month selections are up!

Click HERE to get started

The April BOTM’s are up! (And I wasn’t even sure there would BE BOTM’s for April, so what a pleasant surprise!)
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📚For those of you asking “What the heck are BOTM’s?”, let me introduce you! Book of the Month is an online book subscription club that has 5 selections each month, you can choose (1) as your monthly pick for only $14.99 & then up to (2) more for only $9.99 each (plus tax, but shipping is always FREE!)

📚They are hardbacks & for less than half of what you would pay elsewhere! Most of the selections are early release editions, meaning you can get a copy before everyone else! Not only that, after you have received (12) BOTM boxes, you become a BFF!

Click HERE to get started

📚As a BFF you get a FREE tote bag, a FREE add-on book during your birthday month, & every winter when they announce the (5) BOTM Book-of-the-Year finalists, you choose one of them for FREE, too! (I will get to choose my birthday add-on at the end of April when the May selections come out! Yay!!)

📚I have been a BOTM member for 3 yrs now & I love it! You can skip any months you choose to, cancel at anytime, & the BOTM customer service folks are the BEST!
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📚If I haven’t convinced you yet how great BOTM is, how about getting your first book for $5? Use my link www.mybotm.com/yf47ifq4oq88h0k9?show_box=true (or click HERE) Or email me at mom.loves.reading.01@gmail.com & I will send you my referral link that way so you can get the deal!

Here are this months selections & if you click on the title, it will take you to the Book of the Month page that has the description of the book & why the judges chose that book:

“The Paris Hours” by Alex George (Historical Fiction & Early Release! Pub date is 5/5 from Flatiron Publishing.)

“Beach Read” by Emily Henry (Romance & Early Release! Pub date is 5/19 from Berkley Publishing.)

“The Guest List” by Lucy Foley (Thriller & Early Release! Pub date is 5/5 from William Morrow Books.)

“The Library of Legends” by Janie Chang (Historical Fantasy & Early Release! Pub date is 5/12 from William Morrow.)

“Valentine” by Elizabeth Wetmore (Literary Fiction & Debut author! Pub date 3/31 from Harper.)

Click HERE to get started

📚I am choosing Lucy Foley’s “The Guest List” (I already have an arc of “Beach Read”) & I may grab another book as an add-on (not sure yet). I’m not expecting to see the book(s) I choose anytime soon anyhow due to CoVid shipping delays.
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💁🏼‍♀️What are you choosing? Are you skipping this month? Are you a member? And if not, what are you waiting for? It’s such an inexpensive way to get early releases & best seller hardback books! Give it a try! Click HERE to get started!