BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Night Swim – by Megan Goldin #blogtour @StMartinsPress

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Night Swim blog tour! A huge thanks to John Karle for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I had a brilliant time with The Escape Room last year, so of course I couldn’t say no to joining the blog tour for Megan Goldin’s newest… And I think this story might just be even better! Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts…

Title: The Night Swim
Author: Megan Goldin
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: August 4th 2020
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Finished reading: July 26th 2020
Pages: 352

“To tell you the truth, I don’t get how we can almost unanimously agree that murder is wrong, yet when it comes to rape some people still see shades of gray.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I had a brilliant time with The Escape Room last year, and I have been looking forward to read more of Megan Goldin‘s writing ever since. I couldn’t resist joining the blog tour for The Night Swim, as I had a feeling I was going to enjoy my time with this story… And my instincts turned out to be right, as I had a brilliant time the second time around as well. In fact, I might have enjoyed this one even better, although both stories are very different and it’s probably not fair to compare the two. Dark, harrowing as well as powerful: The Night Swim talks about the very difficult topic of rape and helps show just how hard it is for victims to find justice and peace of mind.

First of all, I have to say that I loved the podcast element in The Night Swim. While the whole podcast element has been done before, I really liked how this element was incorporated into the plot here. Our main character Rachel is the crime podcast host and for her third season she decided to cover a rape trial in a small town live. The plot includes transcripts of those podcast episodes called Guilty or Not Guilty, in which Rachel talks about what happens during the trial and gives background about the participants, always trying to be objective of course. This story includes controversial and strong opinions and is used to talk about rape and show just how much a victim struggles and how they are often judged unfairly. On top of that, this story also shows that as a consequence victims often prefer not going to trial to avoid having to relive their trauma over and over again. Especially since it is very hard to get a conviction in the first place as it is the classic ‘he said/she said’ scenario. Even today, there is a lot of stigma around rape and victim blaming; I thought The Night Swim did a great job showing the different issues in play.

The story uses a dual POV structure in between the different podcast episodes. We switch between podcast host and journalist Rachel and Hannah, who is less present but basically key to the cold case investigation part of the plot. Because The Night Swim isn’t just about the upcoming rape trial which will be covered in the third podcast season, but it’s also about what happened to Hannah’s sister 25 years ago. Back then her death was ruled an accidental drowning, but Hannah claims that her sister was actually murdered and Rachel cannot help but feel intrigued. She is determined to try her best to find out more, especially after Hannah’s unusual way of contacting her. This cold case part of the plot is used both to take a break from the harrowing rape case as well as to add suspense and mystery to the plot. It was intriguing to slowly discover more about the past and the story definitely had some surprises in store along the way.

While the pace is slower in points, it didn’t bother me as much as I liked the balance between the present, the podcast episodes and the investigation into the past. The mystery around Hannah and her not wanting to meet Rachel in person to discuss her sister’s death had me fully intrigued. Why not come forward sooner? Was it a cover up, was it really a drowning, what happened exactly and who was involved? What does Hannah know? There were a lot of questions to keep me busy, and I always like it when a plot keeps me on my toes. The characters weren’t all that likeable, but their development was solid and felt realistic. It’s an interesting cast to shoulder both the past and present storyline, and they fit their different roles very well.

The Night Swim is a well written, dark and harrowing read that divides its attention between an upcoming rape trial and a death that happened 25 years ago. Both storylines are equally fascinating, and I ended up having a brilliant time with this story. The rape element can be hard to stomach, but I thought it was well done and the story definitely helps to shine a light on the issues rape victims still encounter while trying to find justice. Without doubt a powerful read!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MEGAN GOLDIN worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. The Escape Room was her debut novel.

SOCIAL LINKS

Author website // Twitter // Facebook // Author Blog // GoodReads

BUY LINKS

Macmillan // Books-A-Million // Barnes & Noble // Amazon


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WWW Wednesdays #279 – July 29th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’ve finally picked up most-anticipated release The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, which I’ve been wanting to read ever since I first heard about it. I’ll also be starting I Am The Night by Ethan Cross, one of my final August ARCs and a serial killer thriller that is being republished. I hope to finish both before the end of the month!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 03/08
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

2. The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/08
I have been craving a good contemporary, and I admit that I have been eyeing The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill for a while now. I love bookish elements in my stories, and this book sounded like a perfect fit… And I definitely ended up having a brilliant time with this story. As I already expected, Nina was easy to like and relate to, and I loved getting to know her better. The writing itself is super engaging and I literally flew through this story.

3. Playing Nice by JP Delaney (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I’ve been meaning to try JP Delaney‘s writing for a long time now, and even bought a physical copy of The Girl Before last year so I would finally do so… But somehow his titles have always slipped through the cracks so far. I was delighted when my request for his newest title Playing Nice was approved, because it ment that I now had the guarantee I would finally do so as I’m a sucker for sticking to deadlines… And I most definitely enjoyed my first experience with his writing. Well written, suspenseful, intense, shocking… Playing Nice is a more than solid psychological thriller.

4. The Switch by Beth O’Leary (AUDIO& REREAD) (4/5 stars) REVIEW 09/08
I had actually read The Switch already in June, but as I really enjoyed my time with both Eileens the first time around and I kept hearing how wonderful the audiobook was, I just couldn’t resist trying this format too. I must say that I think I liked my experience with this story even more the second time around! The audiobook version is indeed marvelous and fits the story very well.

5. The Night Swim by Megan Goldin (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 18/08
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

6. Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 12/08
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really need to get those final five 20 Books Of Summer titles in as I won’t be having that much time to read in August… We have almost reached the painting/cleaning stage of our home improvement project (next Monday if all goes well), and I will hardly be having spare time to read during probably at least the first two-three weeks of August with the move after and all. First up is Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now. Then it’s back to the final two August ARCs and blog tours: When I Was You by Amber Garza and The Last To Know by Jo Furniss. My newest TBR jar pick Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will probably have to wait until at least mid August, as I really don’t have time for it right now (and I also have a bunch of other reads I want to read first 😉 ).


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WWW Wednesdays #278 – July 22nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m still trying to get those August ARCs read before we reach the painting/cleaning stage of our home improvement project (probably in two weeks if all goes well)… Currently I’m making my way through Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks for the upcoming blog tour in August. I’m also planning to start Playing Nice by JP Delaney straight after as it’s due soon.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Shadows by Alex North (AUDIO) (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/07
While I have to say that I’m an audiobook newbie, I think I picked the right book to give them another chance. This dark and atmospheric story managed to grab me from the start, and that sense of foreboding and danger kept me interested the whole time.What a delightfully creepy and engaging read! Fans of well written thrillers with that psychological horror vibe will be in for a treat.

2. Lobizona by Romina Garber (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/08
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

3. The Silence by Luca Veste (4/5 stars) REVIEW
This was my first time reading one of Luca Veste‘s books, and it definitely won’t be my last as The Silence made me an instant fan of his writing. Engaging, suspenseful and intense: this story had me in its claws and I wasn’t released until I reached that final page. This was without doubt a highly successful serial killer thriller and I will be looking forward to read more of his work in the future.

4. His & Hers by Alice Feeney (AUDIO) (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been meaning to try one of Alice Feeney‘s books for a while now, and I thought that listening to the audiobook with the new Netgalley Shelf App feature would be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. The fact that the blurb of His & Hers intrigued me immediately and I’ve seen positive reviews popping up everywhere only made this decision easier to make… And I’m definitely glad I did choose the audiobook option, because I ended up having a fantastic time with this story and I think the audio only enhanced the experience for me. What a read!

5. Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/08
Okay… I’m still not sure what happened here, as I thought this story would be a perfect fit and the blurb sounded fantastic. I have a special interest in stories set in Latin America, and even more so if they are related to the (war on) drugs world… I still think the premise itself is fantastic, but somehow I felt such aversion towards the writing style that I seriously struggled to finish this story.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll probably take a little break from thrillers and ARCs next with The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. I’ve been looking forward to this one! Afterwards, it’s back to my August ARCs with two blog tour reads: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin and  Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland. My newest TBR jar pick Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will probably have to wait until at least mid August, as I really don’t have time for it right now (and I also have a bunch of other reads I want to read first 😉 ).


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Escape Room – by Megan Goldin #blogtour #TheEscapeRoom @stmartinspress

Hello and welcome to my little stop of the The Escape Room blog tour! A huge thanks to Kelly Klein (St. Martin’s Press) for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. There was just something about this story that caught my eye immediately and as soon as I saw the positive reviews popping up I knew I had made the right decision to read this title.  And it was without doubt a thrilling ride… Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: The Escape Room
Author: Megan Goldin
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 30th 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Finished reading: July 20th 2019
Pages: 352

“If we all knew the truth, it would bring out our worst, most primitive instincts. We’d turn into feral animals. We’d consume one another.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb. I mean, we are dealing with a Wall Street angle combined with a potentially lethal escape room setting here; how am I supposed to resist that?! You guessed right, I didn’t, and it turned out to be a very interesting ride. There are a lot of good things I can mention about The Escape Room, and also a few minor issues, but overall it is without doubt a story I can recommend to fans of the genre.

The first thing that stands out in The Escape Room is of course the setting in the financial world. This story mostly takes place in New York, with a focus on Wall Street and just how brutal the financial sector is. Ambition is an understatement and people will crush their competitors and crawl over their dead bodies if that means they could add more money to their already generous paycheck that way. Addiction comes in many forms, and this story shows us that there is definitely such thing as money (and power) addiction. This insight in the Wall Street lifestyle of the elite is without doubt one of the most fascinating aspects of this story. The work that goes behind the multi million deals, the possible consequences for those involved, the competition, the discrimination and sexism still involved in the financial world, the physical and emotional toll the sheer pressure of the job has on those involved… All these elements and more are incorporated into the plot of The Escape Room.

We mainly learn more about the financial world through the chapters told from Sarah Hall’s POV. While we are not sure in the beginning exactly what role this character plays in the whole escape room situation, Sarah’s POV is essential to understand more about the background and events leading up to the escape room. Sarah’s chapters are altered with those set inside the elevator where the escape room is situated. These chapters have a more acute feel as there seems to be an underlying feeling of danger present at all times… And since you already know some basic facts about how things will end, because it’s right there in the very beginning of The Escape Room, you will find yourself wondering how things could have escalated to that point. I personally didn’t mind already knowing the ending before the story had even started, because it was intriguing to slowly try to discover why those specific characters ended up in the elevator and how Sarah’s character fitted in. The actual suspense is more subtle that way, in the sense that we don’t have a pile of crazy plot twists to recover from, but I could personally really appreciate how the plot itself was constructed.

Next up one of my issues with The Escape Room, and it has all to do with the main characters. I’ve never met a bunch of main characters that were each and every single one completely and utterly unlikeable and frustratingly irritating. Ok, I’m lying, I did mostly like Lucy as a character, but she wasn’t as present as the other five (Sarah, Vincent, Sylvie, Jules and Sam) so technically she doesn’t count right? There is a lot of complaining going on by all five characters before you reach the final page. Complaining about money: wanting more money, not having enough money, wanting to make more than their colleagues…Complaining about their situation in the elevator: they have better things to do than being stuck in an elevator, why them?, it’s not fair! etc. etc… Complaining about the job: the pressure, not receiving the recognition they deserve, blaming the job for their addictions… And I could go on and on. Each of the five of what I call the principal characters have a whole lot of negative personality traits and negative behavior we are forced to deal with and it makes it a lot harder to make yourself care about both what is happening in the elevator and about Sarah’s story as a whole.

I also had some issues with the credibility of it all, as some aspects of the plot are extremely farfetched and will make your eyebrows work overtime if you are looking for a credible and realistic thriller. On the other hand, if you are looking for an fast and crazy pageturner that will keep you entertained all the way, you will find yourself more than satisfied by what you find. It’s true that I would have liked to have more focus on the escape room itself, with less bitching and complaining of course and more secrets and clues to solve (some of the existing ones were really easy to guess), but there is just something about The Escape Room that made me enjoy the ride anyway despite the fact I saw the end coming quite early.

In short, if you don’t mind your stories on the insane side and think you can stomach the unlikeable characters, you will find yourself having a great time reading about what you can call a conspiracy plot mixed with an intense escape room situation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Goldin worked as a correspondent for Reuters and other media outlets where she covered war, peace, international terrorism and financial meltdowns in the Middle East and Asia. She is now based in Melbourne, Australia where she raises three sons and is a foster mum to Labrador puppies learning to be guide dogs. The Escape Room is her debut novel.

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WWW Wednesdays #232 – July 24th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m so excited to be finally reading Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this series in general and I’ll be looking forward to catch up and join the blog tour for the third book in September. ❤ I’m also very excited to be meeting Josie Quinn again in Her Silent CryLisa Regan sure knows how to write a fast and suspenseful ride, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Josie and her team this time around. And I’ll be reading the Frankenstein retelling The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been looking forward to read it, and I definitely didn’t realize just how twisted things were going to get during this story. Oh yes, Pretty Girls is without doubt a breathtakingly disturbing read that will chill you to be bone… Just when you think it can’t get more disturbing and twisted, Karin Slaughter let’s you know another nugget of the full truth and disturbing is taken to a whole another level. And again. And again. My main issue with Pretty Girls is simply the credibility of it all. The writing itself was of course excellent and twistedness of the story without doubt made my blood curl. I just think that less would have been more in this case.

2. Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/07
I admit I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of Along The Broken Bay, as you don’t often see a WWII fiction setting in the Philippines and Gina’s story of working in the resistance sounded absolutely fascinating. I was looking forward to fully emerge myself in what I thought would be a new favorite story, but sadly fate had a different reaction for me in store. Because while I still think that the premise of this story is fascinating, unfortunately I can’t say I enjoyed the execution all that much. More in my review on Friday.

3. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 05/08
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour on August 5th!

4. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/08
This story has once again proven to me that Amy Harmon is a truly brilliant writer and can tackle completely different genres with utter and total success. This is the first time reading one of her fantasy stories (I’ve been meaning to try The Bird And The Sword for ages though), and I was blown away by it. The worldbuilding, the Norse mythology influences, the characters and their development, the plot, the writing… Oh yes, there were plenty of reasons that made me give The First Girl Child the full five stars it deserves.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m looking forward to a little break from ARCs and finally start reading those titles I’ve been meaning to read for ages… First up is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which I’m a bit afraid to pick up to be honest because it’s so SO hyped; fingers crossed the hype won’t affect me this time around. I’ve also be meaning to finish another duology by reading The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, which is also one of the last pending titles I need for my BTB Bingo challenge. And I think it’s about time I read Malala Yousafzai’s memoir I Am Malala as well.  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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WWW Wednesdays #231 – July 17th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I picked up Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter on a whim as I’ve been meaning to read another of her titles for ages… I was planning to finally meet Will Trent, but I opted for one of the stand-alones instead. I’m enjoying it so far! I’m also starting a pending WWII fiction ARC: Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon. I’ve heard mixed things so fingers crossed I’ll end up enjoying it.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Closer I Get by Paul Burstonby (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/07
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour next Monday!

2. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
This is such a hyped book and I’ve lost count of the times it has been recommended to me since it was published last year. I definitely understand the love for the story, and while it wasn’t a 5 star read for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. The pace might be slow in the beginning, but the character descriptions and setting are extremely detailed and wonderful done. I think my favorite part of this story were the many descriptions and references to the marsh and its wildlife… I also liked how past and present chapters were mixed and slowly helped you understand more about Kya, her past and the events leading to the present. I admit I guessed the ending, but I still think the twist was very well handled.

3. The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
Another title that has been recommended to me multiple times… So I was very happy the Instagram @criminallygoodbookclub picked it as their July read. I have found myself a new favorite character duo in Washtington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw! These characters are probably one of the main reasons I had no option but to give The Puppet Show the full five stars, because Poe and Tilly are absolutely brilliant together. Apart from that, we have brilliant written, a fascinating plot, wonderful descriptions of the Cumbria setting, a chilling serial killer and a dark dark secret and scandal of the past. What’s not to love?

4. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I picked up this Peter Pan retelling on a whim, looking for something a little different to read… It served that purpose just fine, but I ended up having mixed thoughts about the story itself. While I liked how the story was told from Tink’s POV and Tiger Lily was an interesting character, I felt that the so-called “spark” was missing and certain characters really started to get on my nerves. I wasn’t a fan of the romance either; it felt forced and the love triangle (should I say rectangle?) was quite frustrating as well. Can’t say I was happy with how the abuse and Tik Tok not being like the rest of the men of the tribe was handled either.

5. Small Places by Katherine Arden (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
An entertaining middle grade horror read that would have been perfect for the Halloween month. More in my review on Friday.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get those blog tour and ARC reviews in so I can take a proper blogging break in August, so I’ll probably read The Escape Room by Megan Golding and Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan next… And since it’s a blogging and not a reading slump I’m facing, I’ve decided to pick up the second Outlander book Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon in between ARCs, which will take probably me a little while to finish with its 900+ pages and I won’t have to worry about writing reviews in the meantime. 😉  My newest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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