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: “Every Heart a Doorway” By Seanan McGuire

I have had this book on my radar for probably 6 months and I can’t believe it took me that long to finally pick it up! It is such a short book that I devoured it in one sitting and spoiler alert, I loved every moment of it!

“Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn’t broken.”

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway

About The Book

Author: Seanan McGuire

Publisher: Tor

Published Date: April 5th, 2016

Page Count: 173 Pages

Main Genres: Fantasy, YA, Fiction

GoodReads Rating: 3.82

“She was a story, not an epilogue.”

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway

Synopsis

No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Synopsis From GoodReads

“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review

Like most books, I really didn’t know much of anything about it before I started to read it. I had no clue that it was as short as it was or that it had a bit of a mystery tied into it. All I knew is that a few booktubers said it would be a nice cozy read about kids who found doors to other worlds but couldn’t go back, But it was about so much more than just that.

This book had some really good themes about acceptance and honestly some of the conversations were tough to listen to but much needed. I truly loved this cozy YA Fantasy with a mix of mystery. If you are looking for those in a book make sure to check this one out!

“You’re nobody’s doorway but your own, and the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”

Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway

QOTD: What is a good Cozy Mystery?

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?

Book Review: “Truly Devious” By Maureen Johnson

This month I started a small Book Club with some of my closest friends on Bookstagram. Our first book was “Truly Devious”. I finished this book in two days! Our book club is supposed to only read one book throughout the course of the whole month but I couldn’t put this book down or slow down my reading at all to make it last the whole month.

“You have to take things as they are, not how you hear they’re supposed to be.”

Direct Quote

About The Book

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published Date: January 16th, 2018

Page Count: 416 pages

Main Genres: Mystery, Young Adult, Contemporary

Average GoodReads Rating: 4.00

“Where her books were, she was. Get the books right and the rest will follow. Now she could address the rest of the room.”

Direct Quote

Synopsis

Stevie is a teenager obsessed with the Ellingham murders that took place in the 1930’s. She somehow got the chance to attend Ellingham Academy for her Junior year of high school and now she hopes she can crack the unsolved murder case. What she wasn’t expecting was for one of her own classmates to be murdered right under her nose. Will Stevie be able to solve the mysterious murders or will she herself be taken as a victim?

“Anything is better than doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Direct Quote

Rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Review

I honestly can’t remember why I wanted to start reading this book or where I even heard about this series. What I do know is that I bought the three books in a box set and immediately fell in love with the covers.

This was such a good YA mystery! I haven’t read a lot of YA and I think I am slowly finding my YA grove. I really loved all of the characters, especially Stevie. Stevie reminds me a lot of myself, I too love true crime but I think she is a lot more brave than I am. I thought the friendships made in this book could have been a bit more defined but I think those will grow in the next few books.

I am happy I get to read this with my Book Club and I am so excited to talk to them about this book in more details. I found this book had a lot of twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and I think this will make for a really interesting discussion. I will be honest there were parts that frustrated me or even just didn’t fully make sense, but like I said, I think it will all come together in the rest of the series.

“There is something about early mornings that changes your perceptions subtly. The light is new; no one has put on the defences of the day. All is reset and not quite real yet.”

Direct Quote

QOTD: Have you read this series? What were your thoughts? If not what is your favorite YA mystery?

Book Review: “A Flicker In The Dark” By Stacy Willingham

I picked this book as my main December pick for Book Of The Month Club thinking a debut thriller sounded amazing! I haven’t read a thriller in months and I truly believe that is the reason for my big reading slump. I was so excited to deep dive into this one.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that, in the process, he does not become a monster. If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

Direct quote from book

About The Book

Author: Stacy Willingham

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Published Date: January 11th 2022

Page Count: 357 Pages

Main Genres: Thriller, Mystery and Fiction

GoodReads Rating: 4.06

“I think of the girls, of all the missing girls out there, and I force myself to keep walking toward the truth.”

Direct quote from book

Synopsis

Chloe Davis is the daughter of a known serial killer who kidnapped and murdered 6 teenage girls and left his family to deal with the aftermath of his decisions.

Fast forward 20 years and Chloe is now a psychologist in a happy relationship finally getting a grasp on her new life in Baton Rouge. But when two teenage girls go missing there are too many coincidences to ignore. How could her farther be murdering these girls when he is behind bars? There is only one answer, it must be a copycat killer. Chloe then takes things into her own hands to help any future girls from becoming the next victim. Can Chloe find the copycat killer before he gets ahold of another girl?

“And so we became the reason: the neglect of his wife, the taunting of his son, the budding promiscuity of his daughter. It was all too much for his fragile”

Direct quote from book

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“fifteen-year-old girl taking a razor to her skin probably has something to do with feelings of inadequacy, of needing to feel physical pain to drown out the emotional pain burning inside her.”

Direct quote from book

Review

I was in need of a really good thriller/mystery read and this one hit the right spot! I was hooked on this book within the first three chapters and they are fairly short chapters so I would say that is a pretty decent timeline.

I had my suspicions of who the killer was basically from page one however I was completely wrong! I would have never of seen that ending coming which is why I really love this book. There was a lot of great twists and turns in this book and it really made the book interesting.

This book also focused a little bit on drug addiction and the way it can affect your everyday life. I felt like this was very important to the plot and just an interesting story line that I didn’t see coming. This is an important topic and this book made me want to learn more about how addiction can negatively affect your life.

I highly recommend this quick and easy read! Especially if you like a book that catches you by surprise.


QOTD: What is your favorite Thriller and/or Mystery book?

Book Review: “The Maid” By Nita Prose

I went into this book pretty much blind, meaning I did not read the synopsis I just saw it was labeled as a debut mystery book on Book of the Month Club and decided ehh why not. I liked the simplicity of the cover and that it was less than 300 pages which meant it would be a pretty quick read. Lets see what my thoughts were on this book.

“I am your maid. I know so much about you. But when it comes down to it: what is it that you know about me.”

Direct Quote from book

About The Book

Author: Nita Prose

Date Published: January 4th, 2022

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Page Count: 285

Main Genres: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller

GoodReads Rating: 4.05

“I don’t cut corners, I shine them. No fingerprint left to erase, no smear left to clear.”

Direct quote from book

Synopsis

Molly works as a maid at The Regency Grand Hotel. What she lacks in social skills she makes up for with her superior cleaning skills. Molly finds happiness in knowing that she can come into a destroyed room and to leave it as if it had never been touched.

Her simple maid life takes a quick turn downhill when she finds a V.I.P guest dead in their hotel room and she quickly finds out that she is the number one suspect! With very little social skills and hardly any friends she has to figure out how to clear her name.

“Hello, I’m Molly, the Maid. You don’t see me, I’m invisible but I see you and all you leave behind.”

Direct quote from book

Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

“It’s what’s between the lines, not on them.”

Direct quote from book

Review

This book started off pretty slow for me. I was on page 75 when I contemplated not finishing the book. However, there was less than 300 pages in the book and it felt like a waste to be almost half way done with the book and to quit so I trekked on! To be honest I felt like the ending was worth the read.

I really struggled with the writing in this book for the first half, the story was slow, the conversation boring and I had nothing that pulled me in. The book really started moving about half way through and you will be forced to finish in one sitting!

Like I said before I have seen this book all over bookstagram with a lot of 5 star reviews so I am in the minority here with this unpopular opinion. I typically love mysteries and it isn’t that this book wasn’t good it is just that it wasn’t memorable!

What I did really like about this book is that Molly really grows on you towards the end. I thought her character was really well rounded and put together. I also liked the relationships that grow throughout the book. Well written characters made this book for me.

I think if you like the synopsis for this book then give it a try! But if you are on the fence maybe skip it.


QOTD: What is your favorite mystery novel?