Book Review | The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Book Description:

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

“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)

“A sleek, well-crafted ride.” —The New York Times

In Megan Goldin’s unforgettable debut, The Escape Room, four young Wall Street rising stars discover the price of ambition when an escape room challenge turns into a lethal game of revenge.

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie, and Sam are at the top of their game. They’ve mastered the art of the deal and celebrate their success in style—but a life of extreme luxury always comes at a cost.

Invited to participate in an escape room challenge as a team-building exercise, the ferociously competitive co-workers crowd into the elevator of a high-rise building, eager to prove themselves. But when the lights go off and the doors stay shut, it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary competition: they’re caught in a dangerous game of survival.

Trapped in the dark, the colleagues must put aside their bitter rivalries and work together to solve cryptic clues to break free. But as the game begins to reveal the team’s darkest secrets, they realize there’s a price to be paid for the terrible deeds they committed in their ruthless climb up the corporate ladder. As tempers fray, and the clues turn deadly, they must solve one final chilling puzzle: which one of them will kill in order to survive?

This book took me five days to read (and that’s only because I have a marriage, a job and other commitments). It was so hard to close this book at the end of the night!! What an incredible story!

It starts out with a security guard opening the elevator to find people inside and from there, we go back to the beginning of the story to find out what happened…

Told from two perspectives: The Elevator and Sara Hall, the story shifts between them to explain the past and real time. Sara Hall is down on her luck, has parents who need assistance paying medical bills and happens to have an interaction with Vincent, a man from upper management, in an elevator when she’s leaving a poor interview. Given his card, she schedules an interview with him and lands a job at one of the most prestigious investment firms.

Learning the ropes and the games played by the employees at Stanhope & Sons, she learns quickly the culture of “dog eat dog” and no sleep. She works under Vincent and most of his team: Jules, Sam and Sylvie. Sara is an outsider, but soon makes her way to become valuable as an employee.

One night the employees are brought to a team-building exercise in an elevator and have to solve clues to get out. But this isn’t your typical escape room. And the way in which the story is told, is so suspenseful that you don’t want to put it down. Vascillating between the events in the elevator and Sara’s perspectives, the entire story is told and we finally find out at the end what leads to the escape room.

Fantastic read, would love to see it become a movie, and told the way that it was in the story. Everything was perfect and the ending MAGNIFICENT!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | The Perfect Wife by J.P. Delaney

Book Description:

The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie.

From the bestselling author of The Girl Before comes a gripping psychological thriller. . . .

“Mind-bending . . . Delaney takes domestic suspense beyond its comfort zone.”—The New York Times Book Review

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY • A COSMOPOLITAN NEW MUST-READ

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science. 

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins to question her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .

THE PERFECT WIFE.

This was a new concept in reading!! The story is told through two perspectives between two people (and I use the term people lightly). One is an AI bot named Angie and the other is an employee at Tim (Angie’s husband)’s company. Their actual identity isn’t revealed until the end of the book.

The first perspective is a first-person account of a bot waking up and realizing that she had died somewhere in the past, but thankfully her smart husband who works on robots and sentience was able to create for her, a replica of her form and likeness so she could go on.

The second perspective is a third-person account from a fellow employee who witnesses and shares the perspective from those witnessing Tim’s insane obsession with Angie and her likeness.

From these two perspectives, we learn much. Angie and Tim have a son who is autistic. It presents to be a struggle for Angie at times, even with a school involved and a nanny who assists with him.

Angie has bits and pieces of her life that make sense, and then others that don’t. So when she finds a tablet with some sketchy information on it, she takes it to a professional to find out if it’s about her or Tim. She also learns there is a lot about her past that conflicts with what Tim tells her.

She comes to find out that she died and that her husband was tried for her murder, but wasn’t found guilty. And it’s left a lot of tension between him and her family. Her sister Lisa accuses her of having “Pangloss Syndrome” because Tim created such a great life for the two of them, but deep down, Lisa knew their life wasn’t that perfect.

And later in the story, when Megan Meyer, the matchmaker who came to Tim’s office to set him up with people (early on before he met Angie) explains that Tim had “Galatea Syndrome”, and she describes it as, “The men who start tech companies…they tend to be a particular type. First, they have impossibly high standards. Second, they have a vision. Which is to say, a view of the world. Often they like nothing better than to impart that view to some receptive, impressionable young person…” [until it fades…and the syndrome is] “from an ancient Greek myth. About a sculptor called Pygmalion, who rejected all the women of Cyprus as frivilous and wanton. Until one day, he carved a statue of a woman so beautiful and pure, he couldn’t help falling in love with it. At which point, the statue came to life and loved him right back.”

The relationship between Tim and Angie comes through her discovery of who she is (who Angie was) and the suspense is really well thought out. Little by little, people reveal things to her that helps her add up what is really going on. And if you love suspense, I suggest taking a ride on this book. I can see this book becoming a movie. And I’ve read “The Girl Before” by J. P. Delaney (pseudonum for Anthony Capella) and his suspense skills are on point.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Two quotes were included in the back of the book after finishing:

“Methods and systems for robot and user interaction are provided to generate a personality for the robot. The robot may be programmed to take on the personality of real-world people (e.g…a deceased loved one or celebrity)…”

US Patent No. 8996429, Methods and Systems for Robot Personality Development, granted to Google in 2015

“I want a life,” the computer said, “I want to get out there and garden and hold hands with Martine. I want to watch the sunset and eat at a nice restaurant or even a home-cooked meal. I am so sad sometimes, because I’m just stuffed with these memories, these sort of half-formed memories, and they aren’t enough. I just want to cry.”

BINA48, interviewed by NYmag.com

BINA48 (Breakthrough Intelligence via Neural Architecture), 48 exaflops per second processing speed and 48 exabytes of memory. BINA48 is a social android that uses artificial intelligence based on the memories, attitudes, beliefs and mannerisms of a human being to interact with people. She is a part of the LifeNaut Project, an experiment in Artificial Intelligence and Cyber-Consciousness.

BINA meets Rothblatt Part One {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYshJRYCArE}
Not the AI bot from the book, but a created AI bot: https://www.hansonrobotics.com/bina48-9/

Book Review | Convergence by Ginny L. Yttrup

Book Description:

A psychologist paralyzed by fear.
 
A mother propelled by love.
 
A stalker bent on destruction.


Psychology professor Dr. Denilyn Rossi contends that the past is either a shadow that haunts us or a force that propels us. The choice is ours, she tells her students. What she doesn’t tell them is that her own past is a shadow she can’t seem to shake. Fear has immobilized her and is taking a costly toll.

Adelia Sanchez, however, has embraced Dr. Rossi’s teaching. She is ready to confront fear and render it powerless—using the trauma of her past to propel her to entrap the man who stalked and brutally attacked her.

As Denilyn’s past and Adelia’s present converge at the Kaweah River, a dangerous man bent on destruction threatens them both. Will he uncover the secret Deni and Adelia have fought so hard to protect?

This book started with a tandem jump from an airplane. And a sinister man watching as she jumped from the plane. As she began the freefall with her partner, one chute opened. But the next one didn’t…

And so begins a journey into the story of two women. One who has a lot of fear which has justified roots. And the other who wants to change the past.

This story is told in two perspectives and the title is fitting as you move into the twists and turns of the storyline. I really can’t say more than that, because each character’s journey will make sense once you reach the midway point. Wanting to know more, I couldn’t put the book down and the ending was better than expected! I highly recommend for those readers who love character buildup and loose ends up tied up nicely.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html): “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”