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?

Book Review: “The Change” By Kirstin Miller

So far this month I have finished seven books, three of which have been audio books and one was a poetry book. I haven’t done any official reviews for these yet but I think I might throw them all into one blog post later and do some mini reviews for them. It’s not that I don’t think they could all have a post dedicated to them but I just feel my audio book reviews tend to be less detailed than my physical book reviews for some reason.

“The Change” was a book I picked up from my Book of the Month subscription box this month and I was very excited to dive into it! To be honest I don’t read too many books that are over 400 pages, this is mostly just how the cards fall, I don’t have too many books on my shelf that are longer or if they are sitting on my shelf their size just feels intimidating! They take longer to read, obviously, and I tend to have a short attention span but I heard even though this book is long the story itself moves pretty fast which made it easier to dive into.

“One day, your life will grow quiet, and that’s when you’ll be able to hear them again. Like my auntie used to say, the gift arrives after the curse ends.”

Direct Quote From The Book

About The Book

Author: Kirsten Miller

Publisher: William Morrow & Company

Published Date: May 3rd, 2022

Page Count: 480 pages

Main Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Thriller

GoodReads Rating: 4.33


“Yes, you’re afraid of me because I’m better than you are. And if you give one talented woman the power she deserves, another will follow. Then another. And together they’ll show that their way is better. Then your whole fake f*cking world will come tumbling down.”

Direct Quote From The Book

Synopsis

Nessa has always known she had a special gift to hear the dead but when she got married and had kids her power seemed to go dormant due to the craziness of every day life. But with her husband dead and her two kids off at college she finds her life finally slowing down and one day she wakes up to the sound of a dead girl calling for her help.

Something inside of her tells her that she won’t be able to help this girl on her own and so her intuition brings her to find two other women with special gifts as well. Jo, a retired business woman who now owns a local women only gym who is filled with heat and rage. Then there is Harriet, the local “Witch” who knows the secrets of the wildlife and plants around her. Together these three women will bring justice to the girl calling to Nessa.

“Witch is the label society slaps on women it can’t understand or control.”

Direct Quote From The Book

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Every recipe is a spell and all cooks are witches”

Direct Quote From The Book

Review

This book got four stars for one reason really. First I would recommend this book to all my friends as it was really well written and had a very interesting storyline. But if I liked it so much why not give it five stars? Well, yes, I did enjoy this book a lot but there were so many characters that a lot of the time I had to stop reading just to remember who that person was at the beginning of the book when they were first introduced. In fact, in the last 100 pages we still had new characters being introduced and it got exhausting at times. Now, these new characters were important to the story so I can mostly forgive this situation. Other than that I really didn’t have too many hang ups with this book.

The three main characters were all bad ass! They each had very unique gifts and overall I really enjoyed learning their back stories. I think Nessa was my favorite character just because I really felt her emotions and could tell how drained she would get having to witness the dead girls. Jo’s character was really powerful, she had my favorite back story and I really loved her relationship with her daughter. That brings us to Harriet, probably my least favorite character of the three. I didn’t care for her back story as much as the other two and I found her just kind of annoying. I felt her character was mostly there to just foreshadow events. However, her powers were extremely cool but also just felt unbelievable at times.

This book moved pretty quickly and had a lot of really great twists and turns around every corner. I liked how empowering it was for women of all ages and I think the author couldn’t have written a more powerful story. I highly recommend it to all my fellow friends and followers,


Trigger Warnings

Rape, Sexual Assault, Murder, Kidnapping and sexual Harassment


QOTD: If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Book Review: “Lucky” By Merissa Stapley

I went to Target on Sunday just to grab some essential household items and of course I stopped in the book section because they have an amazing selection. Well, you guessed it, I found a book that’s cover was too beautiful to pass up and walked out with more than what I came for. How can you say no to a cover that looks like this? Did I even bother to read the back of the book? The answer is no you can’t pass up a beautiful book cover and no of course I didn’t read the back of the book!

“The world’s like that. What matters in one moment, it doesn’t matter the next. Things that fall apart eventually come back together again. Everything passes. You can be sure of that.”

Direct Quote From The Book

About The Book

Author: Marissa Stapley

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Published Date: December 7th, 2021

Page Count: 232 Pages

Main Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Thriller

GoodReads Rating: 3.70

“No problem. People deserve second chances. And third chances. All people do is make mistakes. If we never forgave, we’d all be alone.”

Direct Quote From The Book

Synopsis

Lucky has lived a life on the run. Having a con-artist as a father, Lucky never got to experience an ordinary life, just one of crime and fake Identities. All Lucky ever wanted was a shot at some normalcy: a house, a stable job, some kids and a dog. She thought she would finally get this life when she and her boyfriend decide to settle down in Idaho. But when one last con goes horribly wrong, Lucky is found all alone and forced to stay hidden from the cops with a multi-million winning lottery ticket tucked away in her wallet. Her whole life could change, but is it worth cashing in the lottery ticket just to get caught by the cops? Or should she continue to stay on the run?

“The world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.”

Direct Quote From The Book

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“The lottery is the greatest con of all time, kiddo. Proves our government is just like us, tricking people into thinking any dream can come true.”

Direct Quote From The Book

Review

This cover… Just wow!

I new the moment I saw this book, sitting on the shelf at Target, that it was going to be coming home with me. Little did I know that it would quickly rise to one of my top ten all time favorite books!

I had no clue what I was getting into when I sat down to read this one but man oh man am I so happy that I didn’t waste anytime to dive into it! I was first pulled in by the cover but quickly fell in love with Lucky and her hunger to get a grasp onto a normal life.

I will be honest, In the beginning I had an idea of where this book would end up going but this book had me guessing on ever page! This made it so hard to put down the book, I needed to know what was going to happen to Lucky and if in the end she would end up being ok!

This book swaps perspective from present day to back when she was growing up and in the end the two timelines catch up and have you basically in tears from the life this girl has had to live through. Living on the run your whole life and making no meaningful connections with anyone has to be miserable! Also the fact that you never truly had a secure home to live in, wow this girl is one tough cookie!

I highly recommend this book to everyone! You don’t have to just by it for the pretty cover, I promise you this book will leave a mark in your sole and you will fall in love with it just as I have.


QOTD: What would you do with a winning lottery ticket?

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?