Categories
books and reading

The Sun Down Motel

I’ve been hearing fun things about this book, mostly that it was a good, creepy book. When I opened to the dedication, I was sold. It’s dedicated to odd girls, nerdy girls, and murderinos. For those not in the know, fans of the podcast, My Favorite Murder are affectionately called Murderinos. With over 500 episodes, the hosts, Georgia and Karen, and certified celebrities in the true crime podcast world. As they should be. They are hilarious, honest, and just like your best friends. The Sun Down Motel, written for people like me (I fit all those categories in the dedication) was as much fun as I was hoping for.

From Goodreads:

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

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…

The story is told from the perspectives of Viv in 1982 and her niece, Carly, in present day. Carly heads to Fell to find out what happened to her aunt. The story is cleverly written that when Viv finds out something interesting, Carly does as well. And there are tiny hidden clues that are easy to miss, but become really important in the long run. This book was exactly as described, a good, creepy book. Part haunted house/motel, part murder mystery, part girl detective. I definitely recommend this one. SSDGM.

Categories
books and reading

The Residence

Thank you Netgalley for this book!

This book is described as “gripping and terrifying” so I gave it a chance via Netgalley. I saw it was about a haunting at the White House, but really didn’t skim past that. It wasn’t until I started reading that I realized it was historical fiction, about the real death of Franklin and Jane Pierce’s son, Bennie. Now, how much else of the book is real is up to you. Some events, like Jane writing letters to her dead son, are documented, but I’m guessing that most of the story is fiction.

Sadly, I was neither gripped not terrified while reading. Even though the characters were real people, I felt like they weren’t developed enough. As a mother, I can only imagine the loss Jane felt, and her sadness was noted at length, but Franklin seemed cold to the event.

As a child, Jane saw an entity in her home she named “Sir.” He would visit and guide her from time to time. After Bennie’s death, Sir visited Jane again, and through a series of events, Bennie was resurrected, of sorts. His ghost was corporeal, solid, with a scent, and the ability to move things. As creepy as this sounds, I was never really scared. The events just moved too quickly. I think the scare factor could have been ramped up a lot with some character and plot development. It felt like every event just happened so fast that there wasn’t enough suspense to be truly horrifying. If people like low burn horror, I guess this is a good one, but it just didn’t work for me.

Categories
books and reading

Craven Manor

Once again, this book was recommended by the Books in the Freezer podcast. I’m way behind, but this book was mentioned by a guest on an episode about Indie horror. The premise sounded good, and I like a good haunted house/ghost story, which don’t scare me at all because I don’t believe in ghosts but these are still fun, creepy books to read, especially this time of the year.

From Goodreads:

Some secrets are better left forgotten…

Daniel is desperate for a fresh start. So when a mysterious figure slides a note under his door offering the position of groundskeeper at an ancient estate, he leaps at the chance, even though it seems too good to be true. Alarm bells start ringing when he arrives at Craven Manor. The abandoned mansion’s front door hangs open, and leaves and cobwebs coat the marble foyer. It’s clear no one has lived here in a long time…but he has nowhere else to go.

Against his better judgment, he moves into the groundskeeper’s cottage tucked away behind the old family crypt. But when a candle flickers to life in the abandoned tower window, Daniel realizes he isn’t alone after all. Craven Manor is hiding a terrible secret… One that threatens to bury him with it.

This book was just okay for me, though. I thought the secret was good, the main character was fine, but it just didn’t come together. I felt like 100 pages were missing. I also didn’t understand the main character’s loyalty to anything. If a ghost is haunting me, no matter how sad the ghost is, I’m out. Plain and simple. I don’t need to “help” a ghost. That seemed a bit preposterous. The book is short, and I thought it could have been more developed, overall. The scare factor was minimal, but was sufficiently creepy. To rate as the ladies do on the podcast, this was a room temperature book for sure.

Categories
books and reading

Home Before Dark

I’m new to Riley Sager. I’ve dug through his work in the past few months. I read Final Girls and The Last Time I Lied first. When I saw Home Before Dark was on the Book of the Month club, I selected it, even though I wasn’t sure I was sold on his books. Both Final Girls and Last Time irritated me for various reasons (click on links to read the reviews), but I went ahead and read this one. Lock Every Door is on my kindle now, and I’ll read it next!

Home Before Dark is a ghost story/haunted house story. This genre isn’t one I seek out, mostly because I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do appreciate a good imagination and creativity. And this book definitely had that. 5-year-old Maggie’s parents bought a house and because of the events that happened while there, fled in terror. Her dad wrote a book about their experiences. The book was best-seller, but Maggie knows the true. The entire book was a lie. The legend haunts her, but she vows to find the truth of what really happened.

She returns to the house in question as an adult and tries to uncover the truth of the events, and whether ghosts are real. The book is cleverly told in alternating perspectives. One chapter is the fictional book her dad wrote and the next chapter is present-day Maggie. The events in her dad’s book parallel Maggie’s current life. This book was my favorite by far. Not only was the story great, but the back-and-forth chapters were really creative. I could take or leave the other Sager books I’ve read, but this one was worth reading