Fiction Friday: Blog Tour Excerpt- The Escape Room by Megan Goldin


Synopsis: 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 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?

Author Bio:
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.

Excerpt: PROLOGUE

It was Miguel who called 911 at 4:07 a.m. on an icy Sunday morning. The young security guard spoke in an unsteady voice, fear disguised by cocky nonchalance.
Miguel had been an aspiring bodybuilder until he injured his back lifting boxes in a warehouse job and had to take night- shift work guarding a luxury office tower in the final stages of construction. He had a muscular physique, dark hair, and a cleft in his chin.
He was conducting a cursory inspection when a scream rang out. At first, he didn’t hear a thing.
Hip- hop music blasted through the oversize headphones he wore as he swept his flashlight across the dark recesses of the lobby.
The beam flicked across the classical faces of reproduction Greek busts cast in metal and inset into niches in the walls. They evoked an eerie otherworldliness, which gave the place the aura of a mausoleum.
Miguel paused his music to search for a fresh play list of songs. It was then that he heard the tail end of a muffled scream.
The sound was so unexpected that he instinctively froze. It wasn’t the first time he’d heard strange noises at night, whether it was the screech of tomcats brawling or the whine of construction cranes buffeted by wind. Silence followed. Miguel chided himself for his childish reaction.
He pressed PLAY to listen to a new song and was immediately assaulted by the explosive beat of a tune doing the rounds at the dance clubs where he hung out with friends.
Still, something in the screech he’d heard a moment before rattled him enough for him to be extra diligent.
He bent down to check the lock of the revolving lobby door. It was bolted shut. He swept the flashlight across a pair of still escalators and then, above his head, across the glass- walled mezzanine floor that overlooked the lobby. He checked behind the long reception desk of blond oak slats and noticed that a black chair was at an odd angle, as if someone had left in a hurry. A stepladder was propped against a wall where the lobby café was being set up alongside a water fountain that was not yet functional. Plastic- wrapped café tables and chairs were piled up alongside it.
In the far corner, he shone his flashlight in the direction of an elaborate model of the building complex shown to prospective tenants by Realtors rushing to achieve occupancy targets in time for the building’s opening the following month.

The model detailed an ambitious master plan to turn an abandoned ware house district that had been a magnet for homeless people and addicts into a high- end financial and shopping precinct.
The first tower was almost finished. A second was halfway through construction. When Miguel turned around to face the elevator lobby, he was struck by something so incongruent that he pushed his headphones off his head and onto his shoulders.
The backlit green fluorescent light of an elevator switch flickered in the dark. It suggested that an elevator was in use. That was impossible, because he was the only person there.
In the sobriety of the silent echo that followed, he convinced himself once again that his vague sense of unease was the hallucination of a fatigued mind. There was nobody in the elevator for the simple reason that the only people on- site on weekends were the security
guards. Two per shift. Except to night, Miguel was the only one on duty.
When Stu had been a no- show for his shift, Miguel figured he’d manage alone. The construction site was fenced off with towering barbed- wire fences and a heavy- duty electric gate. Nobody came in or out until the shift ended. In the four months he’d worked there, the only intruders he’d encountered were feral cats and rats scampering across construction equipment in the middle of the night. Nothing ever happened
during the night shift.
That was what he liked about the job. He was able to study and sleep and still get paid. Sometimes he’d sleep for a couple of hours on the soft leather lobby sofa, which he found preferable to the lumpy stretcher in the portable office where the guards took turns resting between patrols. The CCTV cameras hadn’t been hooked up yet, so he could still get away with it.
From the main access road, the complex looked completed. It had a driveway entry lined with young maples in planter boxes. The lobby had been fitted out and furnished to impress prospective tenants who came to view office space.
The second tower, facing the East River, looked unmistakably like a construction site. It was wrapped with scaffolding. Shipping containers storing building materials were arranged like colorful Lego blocks in a muddy field alongside idle bulldozers and a crane.
Miguel removed keys from his belt to open the side entrance to let himself out, when he heard a loud crack. It whipped through the lobby with an intensity that made his ears ring.
Two more cracks followed. They were unmistakably the sound of gunshots. He hit the ground and called 911. He was terrified the shooter was making his way to the lobby but cocky enough to cover his fear with bravado when he spoke.
“Something bad’s going down here.” He gave the 911 dispatcher the address. “You should get cops over here.”

Miguel figured from the skepticism in the dispatcher’s cool voice that his call was being given priority right below the doughnut run.
His heart thumped like a drum as he waited for the cops to arrive. You chicken shit, he berated himself as he took cover behind a sofa. He exhaled into his shirt to muffle the sound of his rapid breathing. He was afraid he would give away his position to the shooter.
A wave of relief washed over him when the lobby finally lit up with a hazy blue strobe as a police car pulled in at the taxi stand. Miguel went outside to meet the cops.
“What’s going on?” An older cop with a thick gut hanging over his belted pants emerged from the front passenger seat.
“Beats me,” said Miguel. “I heard a scream. Inside the building. Then I heard what I’m pretty sure were gunshots.”

“How many shots?” A younger cop came around the car to meet him, snapping a wad of gum in his mouth.
“Two, maybe three shots. Then nothing.”
“Is anyone else around?” The older cop’s expression was hidden under a thick gray mustache.

“They clear out the site on Friday night. No construction workers. No nobody. Except me. I’m the night guard.”
“Then what makes you think there’s a shooter?”
“I heard a loud crack. Sure sounded like a gunshot. Then two more. Came from somewhere up in the tower.”
“Maybe construction equipment fell? That possible?”
A faint thread of red suffused Miguel’s face as he contemplated the possibility that he’d panicked over nothing. They moved into the lobby to check things out, but he was feeling less confident than when he’d called 911. “I’m pretty sure they—” He stopped speaking as they all heard the unmistakable sound of a descending elevator.
“I thought you said there was nobody here,” said the older cop.
“There isn’t.”
“Could have fooled me,” said the second cop. They moved through to the elevator lobby. A light above the elevator doors was flashing to indicate an elevator’s imminent arrival. “Someone’s here.”
“The building opens for business in a few weeks,” said Miguel. “Nobody’s supposed to be here.”
The cops drew their guns from their holsters and stood in front of the elevator doors in a shooting stance— slightly crouched, legs apart. One of the cops gestured furiously for Miguel to move out of the way. Miguel stepped back. He hovered near an abstract metal sculpture set into the wall at the dead end of the elevator lobby.
A bell chimed. The elevator heaved as it arrived.
The doors parted with a slow hiss. Miguel swallowed hard as the gap widened. He strained to see what was going on. The cops were blocking his line of sight and he was at too sharp an angle to see much.
“Police,” shouted both cops in unison. “Put your weapon down.”
Miguel instinctively pressed himself against the wall. He flinched as the first round of bullets was fired. There were too many shots to count. His ears rang so badly, it took him a moment to realize the police had stopped firing. They’d lowered their weapons and were shouting something. He didn’t know what. He couldn’t hear a thing over the ringing in his ears.
Miguel saw the younger cop talk into his radio. The cop’s mouth opened and closed. Miguel couldn’t make out the words. Gradually, his hearing returned and he heard the tail end of a stream of NYPD jargon.
He couldn’t understand most of what was said. Something about “nonresponsive” and needing “a bus,” which he assumed meant an ambulance. Miguel watched a trickle of blood run along the marble floor until it formed a puddle. He edged closer. He glimpsed blood splatter on the wall of the elevator. He took one more step. Finally, he could see inside the elevator. He immediately regretted it. He’d never seen so much blood in all his life.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- The Everafter Wish (City of Wishes #6) by Rachel Morgan

City of Wishes 6: The Everafter Wish

City of Wishes 6: The Everafter Wish by Rachel Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


In this last installment of “City of Wishes”, Elle is finally free of her evil stepmother AND she has magic. I was pretty excited to read this because it looked like things were finally going well for her. Of course that didn’t last long.
Elle wants to share her knowledge with the King as well as stop the Godmother and her army of vampires (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d ever see).
What I really liked about this is that although it wrapped things up (which made me kinda have lower expectations because where could we go from there?) it still packed a punch. There were still things that surprised me and some which left me speechless.
I have been reading Rachel Morgan’s books for a while now so I like to entertain myself in trying to spot her twists and turns beforehand. However this installment still managed to knock my guesses out the park.
Now that this book is complete you have absolutely no reason not to read. Definitely pick it up. I promise you won’t regret it.




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Recommended Reads: Vampires

If you cannot tell by the title above, I was a seriously Twi-hard back in the day. So much so that for most of my teen years, I read nothing but vampire novels. So if you are also a fan of fangs, here are a few of my recommendations for you:

Shadow and Fog

  1. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- An oldie but a goodie.
  2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead- High school drama with a vampire princess and her spunky bodyguard. There is romance, action and lots of witty banter.
  3. Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz- Vampire A-listers in New York. Think Gossip Girl but with vampires. This series has incredible writing and great world-building.
  4. Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith- Not my favourite vampire series as it seemed to go on forever and ever but I loved the original books (stopping at “Shadow Souls” because after that things just got weird).
  5. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey- A gorgeous vampire lands on Jessica’s door claiming to be her fiance. I do not remember much of this book beyond being in love with the main character.
  6. Boys That Bite by Mari Mancusi- This series follows two sisters and their vampire boyfriends as they battle slayers, fae and even Hell at one point.

Are there any vampire books you think I may have missed? Were you a Twi-hard too? I’d love to know below.

I Gave Up Shopping for A Month

So to most people, giving up shopping for a month is not a big deal. But to someone whose social calendar is defined by visiting certain malls at certain times of the month it was a HUGE deal. I gave up shopping for a month and this is what I’ve learnt.

Penny in Jarrs
  1. I have a SERIOUS spending problem- For the first week and a half, it felt like I was going to go crazy. It was like I had an itch that I could not scratch. I needed to shop and I needed to do it NOW! Eventually I got used to not treating myself but it was sobering how much I felt like I NEEDED to spend money.
  2. I found other ways to “treat” myself- Instead of spending money as a treat, I had home spa days or movie nights. I found a way to enjoy myself without involving my wallet.
  3. SO MANY CLOTHES- One of the reasons why I felt like I was going crazy during that first week was because we had family functions to attend and I had nothing to wear. No pretty dress. No pretty bag and nothing in my closet fit! I don’t even remember what I ended up wearing but I do remember that the night was amazing. Also, when I felt frustrated and went shopping in my own cupboard, I found so many great items that I had never worn before. In fact my co-workers thought that I had gone shopping when I had simply just gone through my cupboard.
  4. I found extra cash- I was very surprised when at the end of the month, I found that I still had R300. Well done, Me

Have you ever gone on a shopping ban? Would you ever consider it? Let me know below.

Life Update

Okay I know I haven’t been putting 100% into the blog but I have a really good reason.

I’ve finally completed my Digital Marketing course. So now I have a degree in English and Criminology as well as a Digital Marketing certificate (and I’m still not being hired by either of those fields but okay).

Anyway I was so excited to finally finish my studying. I always thought I would never be able to study on my own without the support of lecturers but I did! It actually feels like I can do anything!

In other bookish news, I’ve stopped buying books (no really I have).

I joined Scribd which is like an online library of ebooks and audiobooks.

They have every book I’ve been interested in so it’s definitely going to be a while before I purchased new reads (my wallet and my falling shelves are both very grateful).

Anyway all of this is to say that I will be back publishing regular content soon.

Fiction Friday: Book Review: The Starlight Quest by Rachel Morgan

The Starlight Quest

The Starlight Quest by Rachel Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


After wishing for her freedom and Dex’s health, Elle is forced to pay the price. This time the Godmother requires her to go into the Never Woods and complete a quest that will change her life.
I was on edge throughout this book just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The Never Woods reminded me of The Hazel Wood. It had the same creepy but compelling atmosphere about it which I enjoyed immensely.
I especially liked how things seemed to be looking up for Elle for once.
This was a really quick, well-written read and I cannot wait to see how things end in the final installment.




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Fiction Friday: Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone (Jane Doe #1)

Jane Doe (Jane Doe #1)

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When Steven first meets Plain Jane, he is instantly attracted to her. She is pretty but ordinary. Meek and trusting. A nice girl he can control. Or so he thinks.
What Steven does not realize is that Jane has flown over all the way from Malaysia and reinvented herself just for him. She plans to ruin his life as revenge for him making her best friend’s life miserable.
Jane knows that she is a sociopath. She has accepted it. The only bright light in her life was her best friend, Meg and Steven took that away from her. He needs to pay. Jane will do whatever it takes to bring Steven down. Even if it is murder.
This was a truly satisfying read that I could not finish fast enough. Steven is a despicable character and I have never hated a fictional character as much as I hated him. I was just as eager as Jane to watch his life fall apart.
This is a well-written book that I strongly suggest to anyone who is looking for a good read.



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Fiction Friday: Book Review- City of Wishes 4: The Eternal Night by Rachel Morgan

City of Wishes 4: The Eternal Night

City of Wishes 4: The Eternal Night by Rachel Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do I even review this without spoiling anything? Let’s see.
Elle wakes up kidnapped by Azriel, the vampire who has some sort of knowledge about her past and her dead mother. Meanwhile both the prince and the fairy godmother are looking for Elle.
I tried to mentally prepare myself for this read but 1) it was a useless attempt and 2) I was still left stunned at the end of this book (Damn you, Rachel Morgan and

*********SPOILER ALERT************ Damn you Fairy Godmother
***** *End spoiler***********
This was a well written, quick read that left me wanting more. If you haven’t started City of Wishes yet, pick it up. The episodes are short, easy to read and soo much fun.

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Fiction Friday: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse, #0.5 & 2.5 & 2.6)

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Like all of Leigh Bardugo’s work, I have heard nothing but great things about “The Language of Thorns”. And like so many other books before this, I refused to give in to the hype and read it. However once I came across the “The Witch of Duva” in an Audible sale, I was hooked. Leigh Bardugo’s tales and fascinating and frightening. They terrify but enthrall. I NEEDED more.
“The Language of Thorns” contains six dark stories that leave you captivated, vaguely unsettled but still wanting more.
Forbidden love, backstabbing and betrayal are family who cannot be trusted are just some of the themes that are explored in this collection.
I especially enjoyed the unique backstory/adaptation provided for Ursula from “The Little Mermaid”.
If you are a fan of fantasy and fairytale, definitely give this a try.
There is no way you can possibly NOT enjoy this.



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7 Books to Read to Get You Out of a Book Slump

There is nothing I detest more than a book slump. It makes most books awful and unappealing. I pick up book after book and nothing is good. Until I find one that is. To help you with your book slump, here are some of the books I recommend to help you get out of a slump.

  1. Harry Potter (or any other book that is an old favourite of yours)- I used to love picking up the Harry Potter books as a cleanser between series when nothing was appealing to me. Unfortunately once I divided my books into read and unread, my Harry Potter books were lost to the wilderness that is my read book collection.
  2. The Creepy Hollow series by Rachel Morgan- I absolutely love Rachel Morgan’s Creepy Hollow series and just like Harry Potter, they are great to get you out of a slump.
  3. The Kiss Thief by L.J Shen- If contemporary is more of your buzz (or you would prefer a contemporary read for your slump), “This Kiss Thief” is a perfect light yet compelling read. I dare you to pick this up and try to stop midway without finishing this book.
  4. Anything by Leigh Bardugo- Leigh Bardugo is amazing and everything she writes is gold. That is all. My all-time favourite series by her is the Six of Crows duology.
  5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer- I credit this book for getting me out of my current book slump. It is a gorgeous retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” that I devoured in a single sitting.
  6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas- Another great “Beauty and the Beast” retelling. Readers either love or hate it but it is worth reading if only to get to the major twists in the sequel.
  7. Caraval by Stephanie Garber- Excellent writing, unusually magical world-building and a mysterious hero/villain who no one ever sees but somehow sees and knows everything. Caraval is one of my all-time favorite books and I definitely recommend it if you are in a book slump.

What do you read when you are in a book slump? Are there any books you think I might have missed?

Let me know below.

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