Archive | November, 2021

Book Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (4/5)

29 Nov

This was a book I felt like I’d never get to. My sister in law gave it to me for Christmas years ago and I’d never found time to open it. I realized my library had an eaudiobook and I decided to give it a try. I started right before Halloween which seemed like a perfect time. It may have taken me a while to finish it, but the autumn weather was still a great backdrop for a spooky mystery.

Stranger

Cover image via Amazon

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

Summary from Amazon:

When Leah Stevens’ career implodes, a chance meeting with her old friend Emmy Grey offers her the perfect opportunity to start over. Emmy, just out of a bad relationship, convinces Leah to come live with her in rural Pennsylvania, where there are teaching positions available and no one knows Leah’s past.

Or Emmy’s.

When the town sees a spate of vicious crimes and Emmy Grey disappears, Leah begins to realize how very little she knows about her friend and roommate. Unable to find friends, family, a paper trail or a digital footprint, the police question whether Emmy Grey existed at all. And mark Leah as a prime suspect.

Fighting the doubts of the police and her own sanity, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

I was so pleasantly surprised by the twists in this book. I’ve read a few thrillers and I find I’m often underwhelmed by the way the plot is twisted and the shocking moments that seem to fall flat. This one took a big turn about two thirds in and went in a direction completely different from what I expected. It had me speeding through the end of the book and enjoying the ride I was on. 

Leah and Emmy seemed believable to me. They’re about my age and I felt I could understand their struggles and where they were in their lives for the most part. Of course, they had some struggles very different from anything I had ever gone through, but that’s what makes for some good fiction! I liked the small town setting Miranda chose for this book and how it was woven together with Boston to give the story a large scope and also ground it in our reality.

Kyle was a great character. I was very skeptical of him when he was first introduced and was convinced he’d been part of one of the crimes. The way his story unraveled and his motivation started to make him sympathetic and I grew to like him more and more. By the end, I trusted him more than Leah most of the time.

I think there are a lot of people in their early 30s who feel like their careers didn’t start off the way they wanted. That part of Leah’s identity, the way she was starting something new and trying to remake herself, was very relatable. I changed careers once early on and I’m glad I did, but it was a little bit of an identity struggle for me. I sympathized with Leah’s feelings of hiding from something though mine was a lot less literal.

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Megan Miranda Image via Amazon

The twist in the story was my favorite part. I won’t go into too much detail of that here to keep this spoiler free, but as we learn more about Emmy, it seemed like the story was going nowhere fast until a big revelation hit Leah and she realized exactly what was going on. There were still more twists after that, but the reveal hit me like a ton of bricks and I loved it.

I felt the book started off a little slow. Leah’s backstory takes a lot of attention at the beginning of the book and I felt like it ended up not being too big of a deal. It didn’t affect the ending too much, at least. I would have liked to see Miranda jump into the action and spend less time with Leah dwelling on her past.

The audiobook was narrated by Rebekkah Ross. I thought she was a good choice to give a voice to Leah. She expressed surprise, concern, suspicion, and many other emotions well without seeming overdramatic. Her voices for other characters were different enough to be distinguishable without being distracting.

Leah’s story makes you think about who you can trust and how well you know the people in your life. As well as she knew Paige, she couldn’t talk to her about some of the most important things in her life. As little as she knew Emmy, she spilled her guts. I tend to be trusting but I’m not sure I would have trusted Emmy the way Leah did. She was manipulated in a way we all hope never to be and figured out what was happening in a way we all wish we could.

Writer’s Takeaway: Miranda was masterful in how she revealed this story. We start off by learning something central to the plot but while have no idea how important it is. I won’t say more than that as to not give away the ending, but I found myself slapping my forehead when I realized how things had shaken out. This is something you can only do in revisions and I think it’s great how well she hid something in plain sight.

I enjoyed this book and the twists it took. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Related Posts: 
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda | A Court of Crowns and Quills 
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda | Carla Loves to Read 
Review: The Perfect Stranger | literaryelephant 
Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda | Stephanie’s Book Reviews 
Book Review: The Perfect Stranger (Megan Miranda) | Clues and Reviews 

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WWW Wednesday, 24-November-2021

24 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


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Currently reading: Again, nothing with The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson. Ebooks have never been my favorite so it’s no surprise that this format is slow going for me. I’m not too upset about it, really. I’m fine with it lingering.
I knocked out another few pages of True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. My partner has to walk with the Baby before they go to sleep and I use those few minutes to crack open this book. Hopefully they’ll go down more easily soon, but I’m fine with little bits for now.
I’m excited to say I started The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott late last week and I’m enjoying it already. I love well-written nonfiction and this fits squarely into that bucket. Maybe some longer runs can help me make good progress with this one, but I’ll probably slow down running a bit after my Turkey Trot tomorrow.

StrangerRecently finished: I wrapped up The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda while driving home from the nanny’s on Thursday and it felt so good to finish a book! The ending of this was satisfying because I wouldn’t have guessed it and it was well woven into the story. I’ll try to get a review written soon if Baby will let me.

Reading next: It’s way too early for me to be thinking of this! Maybe I’ll look into it next week.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 17-November-2021

17 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Stranger

Currently reading: Nothing new with The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson this week. I really need to figure out a new time that I can set aside for ebooks since I’ve hit such a wall with this one despite enjoying it when I do pick it up.
I got through a few pages of True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. I’m trying to read a little bit while my husband walks with Baby to get them to sleep. It’s slow going, but it’s movement.
I should finish The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda this week. I had a few drives that pushed me much further in it than I would have expected and I’m enjoying it a lot!

Recently finished: Maybe next week? I’m optimistic!

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Reading next: I’m ready to jump into The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott and enjoy some nonfiction! Hopefully next week.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Author event with Amor Towles and Erik Larson

15 Nov

The last book my Reading Buddy and I managed to read together was A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It seemed like fate that my local Indy Bookstore did an event for Towles’ new book release, The Lincoln Highway. Even better, he’d be in conversation with Erik Larson! Two authors I love talking about books? Yes please! My partner helped me figure out a way to keep Baby close and still focus on the event which gave me a great virtual evening.

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Towles revealed he had the idea for this book ten years ago. It came to him quickly, in about ten minutes which he jotted down in a notebook that he takes with him much of the time. Years later, he was able to flush out the details. He’s an outliner and had a plan for the book from the beginning. While there are eight perspectives in the final version, early versions had only two. In revisions, this was expanded and Towles worked to make sure each voice was unique and the readers would get something distinct from each person. After he finishes a first draft, Towles will research the time period of the topic a bit better and work those findings into later drafts. Larson asked him about the time periods he writes in. They are right on the edge of what living people can remember vividly so the majority of Towles’ readers don’t know what life was like in his time periods. This gives him some liberty to make up some things while others are grounded in fact and research.

Towles didn’t think this book would sell as well as A Gentleman in Moscow and has been pleasantly surprised by the success he’s seen so far. He lives in New York and told us that the Lincoln Highway still exists and that you can find the beginnings of it in Time Square.

Towles and Larson are personal friends. They connected over Twitter where they said they admired the others work. While Larson kept the focus on Towles for the majority of the evening, he did speak briefly about himself. While Towles does a lot of historical research once he’s finished writing, Larson will spend years doing research before he can begin a work. I’m a huge fan of both of these men and was glad to find I’m in good company with my well-planned writing style!

An amazing event. Thank you to Literati Bookstore for hosting! It’s always a joy.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 10-November-2021

10 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Kelly

Currently reading: I think I read about a chapter of The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson during the flight. My arms got tired of holding the phone high enough that I could read over Baby’s head. I know that’s a lame excuse. It was easier to play the in-flight chess game.
Nothing new with True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey this week. I don’t know why I’ve slowed down so much with this one and I really wish I could get back to it!
I have moved forward in The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I’m about half way done and enjoying this one because it’s keeping me guessing. I’ve been running during my lunch breaks so I haven’t been as skittish with the spooky feels this one gives me.

Recently finished: Same as last week. Probably nothing new here again for at least a week.

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Reading next: My next audiobook is going to be The Ghosts of Eden Park by Karen Abbott. It’s been a bit since some good non-fiction so I’m looking forward to digging into this one!

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.

WWW Wednesday, 3-November-2021

3 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Ghost

Currently reading: Nothing again with The Girl with Ghost Eyes by M.H. Boroson. We’re traveling this weekend and I’ll read this instead of a physical book if I get a spare second so maybe there will be some movement this week?
I think I read two pages from True History of The Kelly Gang by Peter Carey, so that’s something! Baby is starting to go to bed easier so I might be able to get back to this soon.
I have made good progress on The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. I’m running more consistently which gives me good listening time. Though running in the dark and listening to this does make me jumpy!

Recently finished: Nothing this week. Probably not next week either. Eventually.

Reading next: It will be an audiobook, I can almost guarantee. I’m only a quarter through my current one so I have time to figure it out. I’ll decide next week.

Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. Taking on a World of Words is a participant in affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to products. If you purchase a product or service through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Sam will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.