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The Haunting of Maddy Clare

Title: The Haunting of Maddy Clare

Author: Simone St. James

Genre: ghost story, historical fiction

I love finding new to me authors and going through their back catalogs. Simone St. James is one of them. I first read The Sun Down Motel and really loved it. It was a great mix of thriller and supernatural. Then I read The Broken Girls, another mix of thriller and ghost story. So, I decided to keep going. This one is more of a historical fiction and ghost story, heavy on the ghost, namely Maddy Clare who is haunting a barn where she died.

From Goodreads: Sarah Piper’s lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis—rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts—has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide.
Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah’s task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a desperate struggle. For Maddy’s ghost is real, she’s angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair’s assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, where she came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance—before she destroys them all?

I’m not a big historical fiction fan, but this one was much more of a ghost story than anything. I’m not a believer in ghosts, so the story wasn’t truly scary to me, but it was definitely well-written and creepy. You really do start to feel bad for ghost Maddy when you learn more of her background. Sarah, Matthew, and Alistair make a good team and try to figure out why Maddy is still around. What needs to be resolved before she moves on, out of our world? I’m at the point where Simone St. James has yet to let me down, so, even though I don’t normally read ghost stories, I thought this one was great. I’ll definitely keep reading her books.

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books and reading

The Broken Girls

Title: The Broken Girls

Author: Simon St. James

Genre: mystery, thriller, ghost story

PopSugar Reading Challege Prompt: a genre hybrid (part ghost story, part murder mystery)

I read The Sun Down Motel last year and really enjoyed it. I thought it was well-written and spooky but still plausible. When I heard some buzz around The Broken Girls, I thought I would give it a chance. And I’m happy to report that I enjoyed this book even more!

From Goodreads: Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . . 

I don’t believe in ghosts at all, but I enjoy reading ghost stories, especially ones that aren’t too horrifying. This book was a great blend of unsettling supernatural and solving a murder mystery. All the characters were interesting, and I loved how both the 1950 and 2014 stories came together. This story kept me reading and guessing. Definitely recommend this one!

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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.