Book review – The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Caidyn's review (1)

The Escape Room

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

4/5

CW: sexual assault, toxic work environments, and corporate greed


This book was crazy! I mean, I was on the edge of my seat trying to find out what happened right away, then it kept developing.

Vincent, Sam, Jules, and Sylvie got an email from HR about a dumb teambuilding exercise that they had to do. Escape from a locked elevator and that’s it. They think that even if they fail, they’ll get let out in an hour and that’ll be that. Except that the clues to let them out are oddly specific. And about Sara Hall, a dead girl.

Sara Hall studied business and thought she would be set for life. Her father is ill all the time and her mother struggles with bills. Sara figured that she would get a business job and, well, help them out. Along with get herself out of debt and pay off her student loans.

Yet, she’s not getting hired. And the longer she goes without being hired, the less marketable she’ll be and the less likely she’ll actually get hired. After a failed interview, she meets a man in an elevator who says he’ll get her a job. And he does. Then things go wrong.

What stands out most about this book is the combination of a toxic work environment and corporate greed. It was so painful to read it. It killed me reading it because it’s totally not what I want in a job, even if I would make hella money. Drugs, makeup, injections, sex, exercise. It’s insanity and anyone who goes into it is someone I’d like to steer clear of. It deludes people with privilege.

The book was very twisty and I didn’t see things coming, although it became more apparent as the time went on. And when it came to the final bit, I knew what to expect and it was just… chilling. All of it was so coldblooded. I loved the journey to get to the actual reveals and the real story. Everything else was just setting the stage, even though I was constantly interested by the chapters switching from Sara’s perspective in the past to the people in the elevator.

Definitely a thriller author that I’ll come back to again!


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Book review – Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Caidyn's review (1)

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)

I received this ARC from Netgalley for an honest review!

3/5

CW: sexism, slavery, and attempted rape


I’m so conflicted about this book.

On one hand, I really liked this and thought it was a solid book with an interesting plot and fun characters. On the other hand, I thought it lacked pacing and the story got very lost.

To make this a bit more clear, I’m splitting this book in half and I’m going to review each half of the book. There was such a stark difference between the first half and the second half that it really needs to be done that way.

The first half, I would giveΒ 4 stars. Maia had three older brothers. Two died and the other just came back from war very injured. Her father is a tailor but is really struggling to make ends meet and she has to step in. So, when someone from the palace comes, demanding that her father come to compete in a tailoring competition, Maia decides to pretend to be her older brother who is back from war and go in his place.

I really loved the family dynamics. I found them so interesting and I genuinely would have liked a little bit more of Maia with her family.

Once she got to the palace, I really loved the challenges that Maia had to go through with the competition and the conversation about gender restrictions that happened periodically with another character.

That character is Edan. He’s the emperor’s enchanter. No one really likes him, but he takes a real interest in Maia. Now, I liked him. I thought he was cool and the banter he and Maia had was so nice. I really loved their friendship. I need more friendships in books rather than straight to romance.

The only thing I didn’t love was the pacing. It was very slow. Granted, it worked. The slower pace gave time to set up the relationships that would go into the second half of the book and the challenges really shone. Still, I would have like a bit of a quicker pace.

Then, we got to the second half. I’m giving thatΒ 2 stars. My entire mood throughout the second half of the book is encapsulated by this gif.

It was just such a pain to get through and I wound up skimming.

Instead of Maia staying at the palace, she goes on some journey/quest/adventure. With Edan. I didn’t mind that change of events — although I found the palace intrigues more interesting in hindsight — but it was a surprise.

What came as no surprise to me was that the friendship Edan and Maia had turned into a romance. I have no interest in it. There were so many cheesy quotes, though. So many cringe-y YA romance quotes. Like this gem: (And remember that quotes are liable to change in the final, published copy!)

I knew that we were like two pieces of cloth, sewn together for life. Our stitches couldn’t be undone.
I wouldn’t let them.

Gag.

Not only that, but the romance took place of the quest. It would have been hella cool, but the pacing was so off. The romance was slow and there was a lot of time focused on the romance that the actual quest/journey got forgotten. Each little challenge was quickly written to get back to the romance.

Now, I’m very sure that I’ll be the one with the unpopular opinion about the romance. I just had no interest in it and didn’t think that the story needed it. As I said, I want more books with friendships in them rather than it always having to be a relationship.

All of that being said, I don’t think this book needs to be a series. If the story was tweaked just a little bit, it would have been a great stand-alone book and I might have some nicer things to say about it. Yes, I enjoyed it, but there was such a stark difference between the halves of the book that it left a bad taste in my mouth. Will I continue with the series? I don’t know. What I do know is that I didn’t like where the story went.


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Have you read this? What did you think?
What books have had unnecessary romances in them for you?