Book Review: “The Sun Down Motel” By Simone St. James

This book was my Book Clubs pick for the month of October and I don’t think we could have picked a better book for the spooky season! I know a lot of my book Club peeps were busy this month so not many of us were able to finish but that is perfectly fine because we are friends first before a Book Club. Over all I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to tell you my thoughts.

“For the odd girls, the nerdy girls, and the murderinos. This one is yours.”

Simone St. James, The Sun Down Motel

About The Book

Author: Simone St. James

Publisher: Berkley

Published Date: February 18th, 2020

Page Count: 327 Pages

Main Genres: Mystery, Horror, Thriller

GoodReads Rating. 4.03

Format: Physical Book

“I think it’s instructive to be awake in the middle of the night every once in a while. To really see what you’re missing while you’re usually sleeping.”

Simone St. James, The Sun Down Motel

Synopsis

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

Synopsis From GoodReads

“I’m the one you didn’t kill,”

Simone St. James, The Sun Down Motel

Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Review

This book started a bit slow to me and took maybe 150 pages to really get into. But by the time I met that 150 page mark I was hooked and did not want to put it down!

At the beginning of this book everything just felt too perfect, like she was out of money and had no where to stay but then she finds a rich roommate, like what? Why was it so perfect? That kind of story telling really gets under my skin. But honestly you forget about how perfect this book started after a little while and just get sucked into the atmosphere of The Sun Down Motel and the story of all the missing girls. You really want to help them figure out the truth!

I did really enjoy all of the characters in this book, and there were many. They all played a pretty important part in this book and really made the story. Carly made some really good friendships which was a really cute part that I enjoyed a lot, I was afraid she wouldn’t know anyone and be doing all this research on her own.

If you are looking for a paranormal book that actually gives you chills, I highly recommend picking up this book.

“The person who could be truly alone, in the company of no one but oneself and one’s own thoughts—that person was stronger than anyone else. More ready. More prepared.”

Simone St. James, The Sun Down Motel

QOTD: What are some good paranormal books?

Book Review: “The Perfect Child” By Lucinda Berry

October has been such a great reading month for me! I have had many four and five star reads and this one was no different! I had heard nothing but good reviews for this book so I went in with High expectations and it really did live up to the hype.

“Parenting a traumatized child is horribly difficult. Most of them suffer from severe attachment issues, and mothers are usually the targets of their rage. It can get pretty awful.”

Lucinda Berry, The Perfect Child

About The Book

Author: Lucinda Berry

Publisher: Thomas and Mercer

Published Date: March 1st, 2019

Page Count: 371 Pages

Main Genres: Thriller, Fiction, Horror

GoodReads Rating: 4.10

Format: Audio

“She crawled up on my lap and whispered in her sweet voice, “I like hurting people. Do you?”

Lucinda Berry, The Perfect Child

Synopsis

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

Synopsis From GoodReads

“What are you talking about? We can’t just give her back—we’re her parents. Her parents, Hannah. Whether you like it or not, that’s what we signed on for.” His body shook as he tried to control his anger. “You can’t just give your kids away when it’s rough.” “You can if your kid is a monster.”

Lucinda Berry, The Perfect Child

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review

If you are going to read this book I highly recommend the audio book! I loved the cast of voices they had and it just made the book really come to life!

Before diving head first into this book like I did, I really recommend checking out the trigger warnings. If things about child abuse, domestic abuse, animal abuse and death happen to be triggers for you then I highly suggest not picking this one up. When reading this book I found myself comparing it to “The Push” by Ashley Audrain which I believe I also gave five stars. So if you liked one of the above maybe try the other!

This book made me cry and a lot of that is due to the specific trigger warnings I mentioned above. The author describes these situations in ways that really get to you which is great writing! This really added to the suspense of the book and overall horror element. This is probably the most unsettling book I have read in quite some time.

“It never crossed anyone’s mind that someone else might be in trouble. I wished it would’ve. Maybe then things would’ve ended differently.”

Lucinda Berry, The Perfect Child

QOTD: Give me a recommendation such as “If you liked this book then you will love this one”.

Book Review: “Hidden Pictures” By Jason Rekulak

This book has been read by everyone under the sun, Ok maybe not really, but it does feel like it. I have seen it everywhere with raving reviews so I was extremely excited to finally get my own copy and devour this book and what better time than the beginning of spooky season?!

“hardest things about recovery is coming to terms with the fact that you can’t trust your brain”

Jason Rekulak, Hidden Pictures

About The Book

Author: Jason Rekulak

Publisher: FlatIron Books

Published Date: May 10th, 2022

Page Count: 373 Pages

Main Genres: Horror, Thriller, Mystery

GoodReads Rating: 4.25

“I’m grateful to the judge who sent me to rehab instead of prison.”

Jason Rekulak, Hidden Pictures

Synopsis

Fresh out of rehab, Mallory Quinn takes a job in the affluent suburb of Spring Brook, New Jersey as a babysitter for Ted and Caroline Maxwell. She is to look after their five-year-old son, Teddy.

Mallory immediately loves this new job. She lives in the Maxwell’s pool house, goes out for nightly runs, and has the stability she craves. And she sincerely bonds with Teddy, a sweet, shy boy who is never without his sketchbook and pencil. His drawings are the usual fare: trees, rabbits, balloons. But one day, he draws something different: a man in a forest, dragging a woman’s lifeless body.

As the days pass, Teddy’s artwork becomes more and more sinister, and his stick figures steadily evolve into more detailed, complex, and lifelike sketches well beyond the ability of any five-year-old. Mallory begins to suspect these are glimpses of an unsolved murder from long ago, perhaps relayed by a supernatural force lingering in the forest behind the Maxwell’s house.

With help from a handsome landscaper and an eccentric neighbor, Mallory sets out to decipher the images and save Teddy—while coming to terms with a tragedy in her own past—before it’s too late. 

“seemed so epic. But I mentioned the challenges to Adrian’s mother and she gave me some good advice. She said I shouldn’t try to write a book, I should just sit down at my laptop and tell the story, one sentence at a time, using the same language I’d use to tell a friend over coffee. She said it was okay not to sound like J. K. Rowling. It was fine if I sounded like Mallory Quinn from Philadelphia.”

Jason Rekulak, Hidden Pictures

Synopsis From GoodReads


Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review

This book was everything I hoped for plus so much more!

I used to be a nanny so while I was reading this book I was imagining this happening to me and how I would have handled the situation, and I don’t think I would have made it out of this house alive.

I really loved that this book had pictures because without them I don’t think it would have been as scary as it was. The pictures just really helped you see that something was really weird with this situation. I think I stared at each picture for a good five minutes a piece just to get a real good look at what was going on.

The one thing I want to shout out is that this wasn’t as predictable as most thrillers I have read and I really appreciated that. I think this book is probably the scariest thing I have read in my whole two years of being on bookstagram and I am so glad I was able to finally read this one! I highly Recommend it!

“I see her every night,” Teddy says. “She sleeps under my bed so I can hear her singing.”

Jason Rekulak, Hidden Pictures

QOTD: What is the scariest book you have read?

Top 5 Tuesday: 5 Books That Scare Me

This weeks top 5 Tuesday is all about 5 books that scare me. I haven’t read any books that really scare me so I am going to take this as 5 books that I think will scare me. Honestly I feel like they are all going to be Stephen King because he is the king of Horror but let’s see what happens. Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan Reads.

5 Books That I Think Will Scare Me

“The Shinning” by Stephen King

I am currently reading this book and I am a little bit short of half way. I haven’t ran into anything too scary yet but I feel like that is because the story is still just starting out. I have ran into some parts that I have noticed my heart rate creeping up and my body feels tense, so I think this book could be the first book to actually scare me!

I watched the movie a little while ago and I wasn’t exactly scared but probably more confused than anything. I am finding that now that I am reading the book I am understanding the story better and I think that will help get me to the point that I will actually be scared.

“IT” by Stephen King

I absolutely hate clowns and the fact that I have see both the old and the new film along with the sequel of this movie astounds me! I first watched this back in 2016 when here in Utah (maybe the whole country… IDK) there were people dressing up as clowns and hurting people, I remember at work we couldn’t walk outside without someone always with us for fear we could die, not great timing, it probably made my fear even worse!

If I ever read this book I don’t know if I could even finish it because I would be way too scared! I have heard it is a good book though, so it is very tempting to try it and just see what happens. Someone talk me into this!

“The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty

Once again this is a movie that really scared me! I can’t even look at this cover without feeling uncomfortable.

I really am not someone who likes to watch horror but I will give it a try around Halloween. I get scared really easily and I just do not think this book and I would get along too well.

I like to read my books at night and this would probably give me nightmares and I really can’t be having that right now.

“The Haunting of Hill House” by Shirley Jackson

This was the TV show that actually convinced me that maybe one day I could enjoy watching horror movies. I thought the TV show was very well done. Since I’ve watched the show though I have been tempted to read the book because the books are always better. However, if the book is always better does that mean the book would be scarier?

The TV show scared the crap out of me so if the book is scary I am not sure I can handle it! The monsters my head creates can be scary enough let alone with a little guidance from a book! It would be worth the read though because I am sure it is a great read.

“Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin

I guess there is a movie for this book (shocker) However, I haven’t seen it yet. While I was reading the synopsis of the book though it really did sound like an interesting horror tale.

I have heard a lot of great reviews about this book however, children and babies in horror films I feel like are always the scariest part! I couldn’t imagine reading about it!

Have you read this book? Would you recommend it?

Conclusion

I am not a horror fan. I think I will continue to read my thrillers and mysteries, that is as far as I need to take it! I leave all the horror reading to people who truly enjoy it!

I am currently reading “The Shinning” and I have already read “Pet Semetary” and I am sure I will read more of Stephen Kings novels but maybe only on special occasions. It was funny because as I was looking through scary books online “Pet Semetary” Kept popping up very high on the lists but I really didn’t think that book was scary. I hope one of his books can give me a good scare.

QOTD: What is the scariest book you have read?

Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday is hosted by Meeghan from MeeghanReads. Each week is a new topic and you give your top five from that category. This weeks Topic is horror tropes that you are brave in the face of… or that you find mildly ridiculous to funny.

I am going to be honest with you, I haven’t read many horror books mostly just thrillers that involve human killers. I also wasn’t a horror fan at all growing up and recently started to watch scary movies. So top five horror tropes that don’t scare me might be a bit hard to do, maybe I just do what tropes I don’t think will scare me but still need to try. Let’s see what I can come up with, shall we?

Zombies

As much as I don’t like zombie movies it’s not because I think they are scary but more so the gore. I really don’t like watching blood, guts, and gore in my movies. Especially when it doesn’t seem plausible. Such as, I am good with blood and guts from a medical show but not in violent action movies or unrealistic situations.

I haven’t came across a zombie book before but I also don’t think I would read a zombie book either. Definitely not a trope I would read but I don’t think it would scare me either.

Do you have a zombie book to recommend?

Serial Killers

As a true crime fanatic serial killers don’t scare me. I find these more interesting than anything. I think I would really enjoy a book that covers a serial killer.

These movies tend to be cheesy because the victims are typically very stupid with their choices. I don’t really get scared watching these movies because of the killer but more so because of the jump scares! I am very jumpy at all times even when I know something is going to happen but I enjoy the thrill!

I welcome these types of books with open arms! Send your recommendations my way!

Aliens

The only alien that I approve of is Stitch. I could read about him all day every day. I have an extensive Stitch collection so I am all for that alien.

Aliens just don’t catch my interest, I don’t think aliens are real and I don’t like listening or reading about anything to do with aliens.

Alien movies are boring and offer nothing stimulating to my brain. I just don’t think this would be a scary trope for me.

Technology Take Over

I know this is a movie but I am sure a book exists or could exist with this type of horror trope.

I just don’t get the idea of something taking over technology. I wouldn’t find something like this scary whether it was a movie or a book. I find this more silly than anything.

I’m sure if ghost or demons do exist they could take over technology but I personally have not first handedly had this experience and until then I will believe this idea is completely ridiculous!

Cults

I just recently finished a book involving a cult and I was more intrigued than scared. The book was called “A Deadly Influence” by Mike Omer. This was a really good thriller about a kidnapping that was possibly connected to a cult. Check my review out Here.

Midsommar was an awful movie and I didn’t find it scary just more uncomfortable than anything. I just don’t think a horror book about cults would freak me out.

Thoughts

I really want to find a book that really scares me. However I have heard that it is really hard to find a book that really scares you. I need some book recommendations for the scariest books you have read.

I am currently reading “The Shinning” by Stephen King and although I didn’t find the movie scary I have high hopes for the book. I also have “The Chestnut Man” by Soren Sveistrup and I have seen some very good reviews on this book.

QOTD: What Horror tropes do you find not scary?