First line: It was Miguel who called 911 at 4:07 a.m. on an icy Sunday morning.
Vincent and his financial team from Stanhope and Sons is told to attend
a team building exercise on a Friday night. When they arrive they enter
an elevator that takes them up several floors where it stops and the
clues begin. As the team tries to figure out how to get out of the
escape room they realize that the clues are very specific. However, as
the clock clicks on they are not let out of the room. Tension begins to
mount and the team begins to let their fears and secrets come to the
surface. Will they survive the escape room?
Following a popular trend with thrillers now we have a book split into a
two part narrative. We meet Sara Hall, a young business school graduate
who is looking for a job. She lands the job of her dreams at Stanhope
and Sons in New York City. She works on big accounts and makes tons of
money. But the hours are long, the work is grueling and the people are
not very nice.
The other side is the team in the elevator. It is
a group of very unlikeable people stuck in a very tight space together.
I really enjoyed these scenes as their true personalities came to the
forefront. We find out what secrets they have and how truly terrible
they are. I could honestly say that I did not care for any of them but I
was very interested to see where their story ended.
Even though the ending was rather predictable it was loads of fun! Our staff did an escape room for our Christmas party last year. We had a great time. There are tons of clues and just a short amount of time to put them together. If you have a chance to try one you should but maybe not in an elevator. 😉
FYI: Great for fans of Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena.
First line: You’re having that dream again, the one where you and Tim are in Jaipur for Diwali.
When Abbie wakes up in a hospital bed she has no memory of how she got
there. There is a man who tells her she is his wife and that something
terrible happened to her five years before. And through his
determination and technological advancements he was able to bring her
back. She is the prototype for a new technology called CoBots.
Abbie acclimates to her new life she starts to wonder what happen to
the real Abbie. Using Abbie’s memories, old text messages and the built
in intuition she follows the clues to find out how and why Abbie
My Thoughts: This was a lot of fun. It was
modern day science fiction thriller. At the beginning there is a
separate narrative by an unknown character who gives us a look into the
past and the real Abbie. I was constantly trying to figure out who it
was and I never would have guessed. I like the idea of being able to
“bring back” someone who has died but it is also a little sad. I know
that there is one person I would love to “see” again but this may make
it harder too.
So many different scenarios were flying through
my head while trying to figure out the ending. There were lots of twists
and turns which make it a great psychological thriller.
FYI: Check out Delaney’s other books Believe Me and The Girl Before.
First line: Dear Mr. Wrexham, I know you don’t know me but please, please, please you have to help me
Rowan Caine stumbles upon an advertisement for what appears to be the
perfect nanny job. It is for a family with four children, in a big house
in Scotland, and a yearly salary of fifty five thousand pounds. When
Rowan arrives for her interview she is blown away and a little
intimidated by the house. It is a smart house. Everything is connected
to apps that can be managed from a cell phone.
After her initial
interview she is offered the job which seems like a dream come true.
However, she does not realize that appearances can be deceiving. On her
very first day she is left alone with the three younger children while
the parents are at a weeklong conference. The adjustment for the girls
is not going as smoothly as she had hoped but she is trying her best to
When strange happenings start to disturb her
nights she begins look into the history of the house and what could be
causing these strange noises in the attic. With each new night she gets
less and less sleep as the mysterious sounds gradually increase. Will
she be able to make it through her first week or will she leave in the
middle of the night like the other nannies before her?
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed Ruth Ware’s previous novel, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, but I think this one blew it out of the water. I seriously considered giving this 5 stars because it was very hard to put down. There was the perfect mixture of spookiness and suspense.
I love how the house
appears to be a big old Victorian but inside it is very modern. I love
the idea of a smart house but at the same time it is also a little
scary. I completely understand Rowan’s unease with the cameras and app
enabled features. And the fact that this house is basically out in the
middle of nowhere. Anyone could easily be spooked by any sounds in the
I enjoyed the way that the novel was laid out. It is done
in a series of entries in a letter from Rowan to a solicitor while she
is in prison for the death of a child. She eludes to what happens but we
do not get the full details until the end.
This is full of
twists and turns. When you think you have had the big reveal another one
appears. I loved every minute of reading this. I would highly recommend
this to anyone who is looking for something that they cannot put down.
Trust me. I had to force myself to sleep instead of reading one more
FYI: Warning: a child does die in the book.
First line: Barry Sutton pulls into the fire lane at the main
entrance of the Poe Building, an Art Deco tower glowing white in the
illumination of its exterior sconces.
Sutton is a New York cop who witnesses the tragic effects of False
Memory Syndrome when a woman jumps from the forty first floor of a
Helena Smith is a researcher looking for a way to save and record memories to help Alzheimer patients.
the world around them begins to unravel because of the mysterious FMS,
they must team up to try and learn how to stop the phenomenon from
continuing to plague the world. If they cannot not it can lead to the
possible end of the world.
My Thoughts: From the very
first page this story is off and running. There is no build up or major
character development in the first twenty pages like most novels. Crouch
puts us immediately into the story. This is by far one of my favorite
parts of his writing. It is very easy to lose interest in a book that
drags its story out too long.
When we meet Barry we also hear
about False Memory Syndrome but it is not really explained. For a while
it was difficult to understand what is happening to those that are
affected. However, once I understood what the disease entailed it became
obvious why it could be terrifying to contract.
There are several time hops which makes it very important to pay attention to the dates at the beginning of each new section.
I love how fast paced his story telling is. I was on the edge of my seat throughout.
I was never very good with science. Give me history or literature any day. Even though Recursion is very much a science fiction thriller it was not bogged down by the technicalities. When I tried reading The Martian by Andy Weir, the science is what killed the book for me. I just did not get it. But Crouch does a great job of having it as part of the story but not making it overwhelming for the everyday reader.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. Just give it a try. It is worth every minute you spend reading it.
FYI: Pick up Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. It is just as thrilling!
First line: Ginny gazed up at the building, her feet planted firmly on the sidewalk but her heart as wide and churning as the sea.
The rules at the Bartholomew are strict. No visitors. You must spend
every night in the apartment. And no disturbing the other residents.
Jules believes that even though the rules a little ridiculous they are
worth the large sum of money she will receive as an apartment sitter.
After losing her job, her boyfriend and her apartment she is desperate
for a new start.
Shortly after she moves into the apartment she
meets a fellow sitter, Ingrid. But when Ingrid mysteriously disappears
in the middle of the night, Jules decides to do some digging into why
and try to discover what is going on at the Bartholomew. In her research
she learns about the dark past of the building and some of its former
residents. With this new knowledge she is determined to get out before
she meets the same fate as Ingrid.
My Thoughts: Riley
Sager has become one of my favorite thriller writers. This is his third
book and it was fantastic. The suspense and mystery are perfectly
blended. I was easily creeped out in the first couple of chapters. I
mean who wouldn’t be tempted by a high paying job as an apartment
sitter? But once strange things start happening? Nope. I’m out.
did find the middle of the story a little slow. It seemed to stretch
out a little too much as Jules looks into the residents and the history
of the building. I assume that Sager was just trying to give us some
more little clues or hinting at the sinister past but it seemed to be
And holy cow! The last few chapters are great!
My heart was beating so fast and I could not read fast enough. As I
finished it I was on an adrenaline high and had to start another book in
order to calm down a bit for bed. Read this. It is worth it.
FYI: Sager’s first two novels, Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied, are just as thrilling.
First line: Maybe the machine could see the words she never spoke.
Summary: Alex and Suzette are the parents of a beautiful seven-year-old girl named Hanna. With her father she is his sweet little girl. For her mother she is complete opposite. After having been expelled from several schools in the last few years Suzette has had to home school Hanna but as the months pass the tension between mother and daughter continues to escalate. Suzette truly does love her child but she also fears her a little bit. Whenever she tells Alex about Hanna’s behavior he thinks she is overreacting. How can his perfect little angel be as bad as Suzette says?
My Thoughts: There is something truly wrong with
this child. I could not decide between a 4 or 5 star rating mainly
because I did not know if I could say I loved a book about such a scary
little girl. I was completely terrified of her. Even though I was
cringing and shocked by the events of the story I could not stop
In alternating chapters we see the perspectives of
Hanna and Suzette. I kept telling Suzette (in my head of course) to
leave. Just leave. How can a person live in a house with a child who
seems to want to kill her mother? Suzette though tries everything she
can think of to try and help her child. I think what makes it even
scarier is that Hanna does not speak. She cannot or will not tell her
parents what is bothering her.
FYI: Not for the faint of heart. I have to say that I had to put this down several times in order to breathe a bit.
First line: “Sophia, let’s go,” I call out from the hall.
Alice’s life is beginning to come back to normal. She has remarried
after the death of her first husband. She has two beautiful daughters
and a successful business. But when her husband, Nathan begins acting
strangely she turns to her best friend, Beth. As they talk about the
situation Alice begins to wonder who she can trust anymore.
My Thoughts: This by no means is anything groundbreaking or new to the genre but it was a lot of fun to read. It went by very fast and kept me interested the whole way. I liked how it was divided into sections for each of the women. We got a look into each of their lives and pasts which helps build up to the conclusion. I had so many theories flying through my head as I read. Each became more twisted with each passing page.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes a fun thriller. It is a perfect summer read!
FYI: Sandie Jones’ first book, The Other Woman, is fantastic as well!
First line: Those months, the months before she disappeared, were the best months.
Fifteen year old Ellie is the golden child. Then one day she disappears
without a trace. Ten years later her mother, Laurel meets a man in a
coffee shop. He is charming and appears to be the perfect man. As her
relationship with Floyd progresses she meets his daughter who bears a
striking resemblance to her missing daughter, Ellie. What happened to
Ellie? After all the years of wondering Laurel is determined to find
My Thoughts: Lisa Jewell is a new discovery for me. I recently read her latest book, Watching You, on the recommendation of Dawn (who writes our Lit Pairings blog posts). I was hooked immediately. Her novels are fast paced filled with lots of twists and turns. I was pretty sure I had everything figured out early on in the novel. However, I was wrong. Things continued to get more twisted as I read.
The book was divided into different parts
with different narrators. As the story progressed we got different looks
at the events of then and now. I was very shocked and little saddened
by the ending. If you read it you may understand. There were lots of
pieces that are very hard to read. But Jewell is an amazing writer. Even
if the story had been less intriguing her writing would have saved it. I
will definitely be on the hold list for any more of her upcoming
FYI: This is perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Shari Lapena.
Do you like true crime novels? We have a really good selection here at the library. I have not personally read many from this genre but they are constantly being checked out. Authors like Ann Rule are the leaders in this area. If you are looking for a true crime book we would be happy to help you find one or browse the 364.1 section of the non-fiction.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
First line: If I believed in omens, this would be a bad one.
Summary: Ellery and Ezra move to live with their grandmother in the small town, Echo Ridge. This idyllic little town has a dark past. The twins’ aunt disappeared here more than 20 years ago. Another girl was murdered at the local theme park. Now there is a stalker bringing back the old memories and threatening the homecoming court. Ellery, a true crime enthusiast, is determined to get some answers. However, there everyone has a secret making it even harder to unravel the mysteries of Echo Ridge.
Highlights: I was really excited to get an advance copy of this book. I really enjoyed the author’s debut novel, One Of Us Is Lying. From the very beginning the mystery and intrigue presented to the reader. I loved how fast paced everything was. I liked all the little twists and turn throughout. I kept considering all different angles and was shocked when the killer is revealed. Great job, Karen! The characters were a lot of fun. I really wish we could have gotten more of Sadie, the twins’ mom. I want to visit Fright Farm, the Halloween theme park. Who doesn’t want to have Halloween all year around?
Lowlights: There are lot of characters and the chapters bounce back and forth between Ellery and Malcolm. I had a hard time keeping track of who was saying what. I think I needed to pay more attention to the chapter titles. So this may be more my fault rather than the books.
FYI: Perfect for fans of Sara Shepard’s, Pretty Little Liars series.
Man, Thanksgiving hit, and all my book-related newsletters and websites have been filled with “Best of 2018” and other types of end-of-year book lists. My first response was “Can you not wait until the end of the year? What if the best book of the year gets released in December?!”
But alas, the lists have not slowed down and there are so many of them I don’t know where to start or how to decide which ones I should choose books from! In other words, all these lists have me a little paralyzed. Kind of. I mean, now that I’ve looked at so many lists of what are supposed to be the best books of the year, I have no idea how to manage my to-read list, because now I want to read everything.
So, to help you build a TBR (to be read) pile for 2019, here is a Top 10 of the lists we’ve found, from the traditional, to the not-so-traditional.
- From The New York Times Book Review, here’s a list of the 10 best fiction and nonfiction titles chosen by the paper’s book editors.
- Here’s a list from Literary Hub billed as the “Ultimate Best Books of 2018 List.” The titles were culled from 52 best-of lists and the titles that appeared most often on those lists show up here.
- Here’s a list from Digg that used a similar tactic to review lots of lists and come up with the Top 10 for 2018.
- This Washington Post Book World Top 10 list includes not just the 10 books that caught the editors’ attention, but lots more lists, including the 10 best graphic novels and the best children’s books.
- Is any Top 10 list complete without a list from a publishing publication? We think not, so here’s a list of Publisher Weekly‘s Top 10 from 2018.
- GQ chose its list of 9 favorites, then each of those authors also chose a favorite, for a list of 17 recommended books for 2018.
- Goodreads (you are on Goodreads now, aren’t you?!) has its users vote for their favorite books in an end-of-year poll, for a crowd-sourced list.
- Another best-of list from Literary Hub is its list of the best-reviewed books from its companion site Book Marks.
- Book Riot has a list that is a little different take, and is guaranteed to have some titles that aren’t included on the lists above. It’s a list of 50 must-read books that you likely missed this past year.
- And the final list I want to share with you is one of my favorites, and it’s not technically a traditional list. NPR’s Book Concierge is a fun way to find new books that appeal to you, as you can sort using filters (and can combine filters). In addition, NPR makes its Book Concierges from 2008-2017 available as well!