Review: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and 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 high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.

Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

The Night Swim publishes August 4, 2020.

I found The Night Swim to be a very average read. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. The writing was fine, but the pace was so slow. The plot was timely, but only mildly intriguing. The good and bad parts kind of canceled each other out and leaves you with a moderately entertaining, if ultimately forgettable read.

The story follows famous podcast host Rachel, as she reports on a rape trial. We’re supposed to believe she’s an incredible journalist and investigator, so I was surprised by how thoroughly distracted she let herself get by messages from the mysterious Hannah, who wants Rachel to investigate a murder that happened decades prior. Rachel blows off parts of the trial on multiple occasions to investigate Hannah’s claims. The cases have similarities and and ultimately some of the same players. The clues are given out methodically, but slowly and I found myself pretty bored for most of the book.

I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. We get very little personal information about Rachel and her role seems more as a narrator than anything else. This could have been by design, as she’s supposed to be an impartial host, laying out the facts for her audience. However, it kept me from ever really caring that much about her. She also was far from being impartial. I also found Hannah a frustrating character. She tells her story in fits and starts and I didn’t really understand why it had to be drawn out so long.

The story spends a lot of time on commentary about how rape accusations are handled and trials are conducted. I think a lot of good points are made, but it doesn’t say anything new. Especially with the number of books that center around #MeToo topics these days, this has nothing that makes it stand out among the others.

Overall, The Night Swim was just ok for me. The writing was fine, but I thought it was too slow paced and was much longer than it needed it to be. The mysteries were interesting enough, but the lack of character development really kept me from getting invested. It was a thoroughly average book that I think many people will spend a few days enjoying, before completely forgetting about it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: June 2020

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Varsity Heartbreaker (Varsity #1) by Ginger Scott. Read. May 29-31 (yes, this was from May, but it was after last month’s feature posted). 3.5 Stars

This started out really slow for me, but after about the first 25%, it did pick up. I spent the first half or so of the book shipping June with Tory, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I felt frustrated by how obsessed June was with Lucas when he had treated her so poorly. It is explained why he pushed her away, but I didn’t think it was necessary for him to be such a douche to her. That said, I did end up liking them together and he could be really sweet. There were a couple scenes I thought were a little too graphic for a YA book. I’m really looking forward to getting to know Tory more in the next book.

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Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally. Read May 31-June 11. 2 Stars. 

This was kind of disappointing. I thought Lulu and Alex’s relationship was toxic for half the time and a little too co-dependent the other half. They didn’t treat other people they dated in between very well, either. The execution of the concept was done kind of oddly, too. You expect the story to focus on four separate days, but it felt like it spent more time on flashbacks than on the actual days. All of the characters were also extremely immature and it made me cringe with how much sexual content there was.

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Read June 7-11. 3 Stars. 

This started out really well for me, but I didn’t think it ended very strong. I loved the use of multiple POVs and timelines. I thought they were well done and Foley did a good job of making me suspect multiple people. Some of the twists and connections felt just a little too convenient, though. I also didn’t love the end. I wanted more closure on what happened to the characters afterwards, especially one couple that really needs either massive couples therapy or a divorce. I also thought the pace was a little slow and even though this book wasn’t very long, it felt like it was.

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The House Guest by Mark Edwards. Read June 15-16. 4 Stars. 

This was my first book by Mark Edwards and it definitely won’t be my last. I enjoyed the characters and the mystery. There were several twists I guessed before they were revealed, but there were several others that managed to surprise me. I’m looking forward to checking out some of his other books.

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Faked by Karla Sorensen. Read June 16-18. 4 Stars. 

This was cute. It took a different direction than I thought it would, but it didn’t take me long to get on board. I thought Bauer’s feelings were a little too insta-lovey at first, but I definitely shipped him and Claire together. I thought they worked together really well. This might be my favorite book by this author so far.

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Rich Prick by Tijan. Read June 18-20. 3.5 Stars. 

This was ridiculous, but in that enjoyable Tijan sort of way. It took me awhile to get into, but I eventually became invested in Blaise and Aspen and I liked how they helped each other grow. I thought Aspen was more likable than most Tijan heroines. I liked seeing a different side of Nate in this, too. It made me excited for his forthcoming book, when I was kind of ambivalent about the prospect before.

This is marketed as a standalone, but I would consider it more of a companion novel to the Fallen Crest and Crew series. People who haven’t read those before would miss out on a lot.

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The Player Next Door by K.A. Tucker. Read June 22-25. 3 Stars. 

I enjoyed this for the most part, but did have some issues with it. I didn’t like that Shane wasn’t really apologetic at all about what he did to Scarlet in the past. He kind of just excused himself for being a dumb teenager and didn’t own up to how much he hurt her. I felt like she was justified in not trusting him right away. I also thought there was way too much focus on the physical relationship. It made the relationship seem a little cheap. However, as the story went on, I did start to ship Shane and Scarlet and there were some cute and funny moments.

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Something New by Amanda Abram. Read June 25-27. 3 Stars.

This had some cute moments, but the book was far longer than it needed to be. I was pretty bored with it most of the time, but decided to push through. I did like Dylan and Cassie together, though.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by The Lady Janies. I was so excited when my library hold came in for this, but I found myself really bored after the first couple chapters. I read several other books and just never felt the desire to come back to this before the library hold expired. I would like to try it again some day, though.

*****DNF*****

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Drummer Girl by Ginger Scott. DNF @ 38%. I wasn’t in the right mood to read something so angsty. I also found the characters pretty unlikable. I just don’t see myself caring enough to finish this.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren – 4 Stars

Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell – 4 Stars

The Night Swim by Megan Goldin – 3 Stars

WWW Wednesday: June 24, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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The Patient by Jasper DeWitt. The premise sounded really intriguing and creepy, but I was actually pretty bored with this. Watch out for my review next week.

What are you currently reading?

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The Night Swim by Megan Goldin. I wasn’t blown away by The Escape Room last year, so I was a little hesitant to pick this one up, but I’m liking it so far. It is really slow paced, though.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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 The Player Next Door by K.A. Tucker. I didn’t get to this one before my KU subscription ended, however, I found a deal for another month of free KU, so I’ll be picking this one up soon.

What are you reading?

Review: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

For fans of JP Delaney’s The Girl Before and Ruth Ware’s The Woman in Cabin 10 comes this hair-raising novel of deception and revenge that will blow readers away.

Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are ruthlessly ambitious high-flyers working in the lucrative world of Wall Street finance where deception and intimidation thrive. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to reach the top.

When they are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, dark secrets of their team begin to be laid bare.

The biggest mystery to solve in this lethal game: What happened to Sara Hall? Once a young shining star—now “gone but not forgotten”.

This is no longer a game.
They’re fighting for their lives.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Escape Room will be available August 6, 2019. 

The Escape Room started out well, but seemed to lose steam as the story progressed. While it was still overall an enjoyable read, it didn’t quite live up to it’s potential, or my expectations.

The story is told in alternating chapters between past and present. In the present, we get the third person perspectives of investment bankers Vincent, Jules, Sam, and Sylvie who are stuck in an elevator in what they were led to believe is a team building escape room challenge. The past chapters are from the first person POV of Sara Hall detailing how she came to work at the firm with the others and what it ultimately led to. At first, I had a hard time caring about Sara’s chapters because she felt removed from the more pressing action going on in the elevator. After awhile, though, I became more invested in her.

While I was initially much more interested in what was going on with the group in the elevator, their appeal wore off rather quickly. The clues for the escape room were few and far between and what should have felt suspenseful and nerve-wracking just became a little boring and drawn out. Most of the chapters were made up of character exploration, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, but when each and every one of the characters are so detestable, it’s kind of chore to get through. There was absolutely nothing sympathetic or redeeming about any of them. They were all selfish and shallow and manipulative. It made me not care about the stakes because I didn’t really care what happened to any of these characters. I also wish the atmosphere was a little more claustrophobic and stressful. For the most part there was a lot of repetition about how they bumped into each other in the dark and the heater was on really high and it didn’t really do anything for me.

Overall, I did find The Escape Room enjoyable, but it fell a little flat for me. The character development was really well done. I just wish that any of characters were worth caring about. I figured out what I think was supposed to be a twist pretty early on in the story and I found the ending a little anticlimactic, as well. However, I think there will be a lot of people that find this a fun summer read and I would be interested in seeing what else Megan Goldin does in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: February 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. Read February 1-2. 3 Stars. 

After reading a lot of mixed reviews, I went into this one cautiously and I think that helped. I mostly enjoyed it, but I did have some issues with it. I felt like Thorne tried just a little too hard to make Darcy the complete opposite of nice, people-pleasing Lucy from The Hating Game. She was a little too much sometimes. I did like the general storyline of the romance between childhood friends and Darcy’s relationship with her twin brother. I just felt like so much of the story was overtaken with Darcy’s pervy thoughts about Tom. I thought it really cheapened the love story. Overall, I liked the beginning and the end, but most of the middle I just kind of got through. I have to say, though, my favorite part of the whole thing was that there was bonus content that included an epilogue for The Hating Game. This may not be one I would want to read again, but I’d still be interested in more from Thorne in the future.

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The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey. Read January 31 – February 4. 3 Stars

This one was just ok for me. I thought it was going to be a fake relationship story, but that plot line only lasts about a chapter, which was disappointing to me. I liked the characters and the dog and there were some funny moments, but overall I don’t think this is one that will leave any kind of lasting impression for me.

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Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West. Read February 5-6. 4 Stars. 

Another enjoyable Kasie West book. I liked the movie set atmosphere and the characters and the romance was cute. The movie scenes left a little to be desired for me, though. If you like West’s other books, you’ll like this one, too.

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Text Me Baby One More Time (Text #4) by Teagan Hunter. Read February 10-11. 3.5 Stars. 

Another enjoyable book in the Text series. Hunter’s writing is really addictive which makes these pretty fast reads. When the main characters of this book appeared in previous books I didn’t really care for either of them at all, so I was happy that I did like them here. I liked their texting past and the whole hate-to-love thing. This series is a little more full-on Romance Novel then I usually read and I feel like as the series goes on they keep getting more explicit, which I don’t love, but it was still a fun read overall.

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King of the Friend Zone (Power of the Matchmaker) by Sheralyn Pratt. Read February 17-20. 3 Stars. 

This was just ok for me. Esme kind of infuriated me about half the time. I liked Hunter a little more, but he was a bit of a hothead, so I didn’t love him as much I had hoped for. The whole magic cookie lady thing was a bit odd. This book has been on my TBR for quite a while, so I’m glad I read it, but it’s not one I would be interested in reading again.

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Dizzy by Nyrae Dawn and Jolene Perry. Read February 20-23. 3 Stars.

Parts of this were cute, but for the most part a whole lot of nothing happened. I also found the whole plot surrounding the couple getting married odd. They’re in college (sophomores or juniors, I can’t remember) and get engaged and then decide to take a semester off to plan the wedding and get married. And all the parents are just fine with it. And there’s no talk about where they’ll live or how they’ll support themselves – although the guy’s family is super rich, so I guess he has a trust fund to take care of them? It just seemed really irresponsible to me. I think it would have made more sense if they had just graduated college. Anyways, this was another book that’s been on my TBR for a long time and I’m glad to get it off the list. 

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely (A Curse so Dark and Lonely #1) by Brigid Kemmerer. Read February 25-27. 3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this one. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales, so I’m always up for a good re-telling and I thought this did a decent job of that. There were times it felt really reminiscent of A court of Thorns and Roses, but I ultimately thought this one was better written. I liked Rhen and Grey a lot. I completely despised Harper for about the first half of the book, though. I really have a hard time connecting with characters that are so antagonistic and needlessly reckless. She eventually got a little better for me. I did like the romance, though it wasn’t as prevalent as I would have expected. I also didn’t realize this is a series and am kind of disappointed by that. With just a couple of small changes, this could have very easily been a standalone and I would have been happy with it. I’ll read the next book, but it’s not going to make my “most anticipated” list or anything.

*****Re-Reads*****

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills. I could not concentrate on anything, so I decided to re-read something so I could skim through it, but then I got invested and there was no skimming and I basically read this book in one sitting. Loved it just as much as the first time around.

*****DNF*****

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What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. DNF-ed at 47%. Though I have definitely enjoyed both from time to time, I’m not currently much of a fan of Historical Fiction or Fantasy. I have never really cared for time-traveling plots in particular. However, I’m a big fan of Amy Harmon and that’s why I picked up this book. Unfortunately, it was not enough for me to love it. I had a really hard time getting into the story and I decided to set it down for awhile and I read a couple of other books. I finally tried picking this up again and still couldn’t get into it. It was at 47% that I decided to stop reading and then I just kind of skimmed to the end. I didn’t really find the end very satisfying (mostly due to my time-traveling plotline feelings) so I’m glad I decided to call it when I did. However, everyone else I know has loved it and I wish Harmon nothing but the best. I’ll still definitely be picking up more books from her in the future.

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Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner. DNF at 23%. I just couldn’t get into this book at all. I think it will have a very specific audience that will love it, but I am not that audience. I found it kind of depressing and quirky and other than the very pretty cover, I don’t really have anything positive to say about it and I really couldn’t make myself read anymore. I found Sam incredibly off-putting. I found the writing in her chapters especially were just not my style.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne – 3 Stars

Fumbled (Playbook #2) by Alexa Martin – 4 Stars

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin – 3 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday: ARCs on the Top of My TBR

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Goodreads group, is: Top of Your TBR. I’ve adapted it a little bit to ARCs on the Top of my TBR.

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1. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon. After trying to catch up on all of Harmon’s backlist, I’ve discovered a couple of her books are ones that I don’t really care for, so I’m just a little nervous about this since historical fiction isn’t really my thing anymore. But I do have faith that even if it’s not my favorite Harmon book, it will still be good.

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2. Fumbled (Playbook #2) by Alexa Martin. Intercepted was a surprise hit for me, so even though this book has some tropes that are not my favorite, I’m still very excited to read it.

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3. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. This book just very recently got on my radar and it sounds right up my alley. I love stories that involve notes/texts/e-mails.

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4. Passion on Park Avenue (Central Park Pact #1) by Lauren Layne. I am always excited to read a Lauren Layne book and I have high hopes for this one. I actually read a review that was complaining that the love scenes were not as graphic as other Layne books have been, but that’s a really big plus in my book and made me even more interested in it.

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5. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin. I’ve seen a lot of hype for this one and I’m really hoping it lives up to expectations.

What books are on the top of your TBR?