First line: The Greer mansion sat high on a hill, overlooking the town and the ocean.
Summary: It’s 1977 in Claire Lake, Oregon. The city is reeling with the murders of two family men on lonely roads at night. With the bodies, a note written by a woman asking to be caught. When the police and the town decide that it is none other than the richest girl in town. Beth Greer lives in the exclusive part of town, seems unfriendly and is seen leaving one of the crime scenes. However, the courts are unable to convict her. For the next forty years she lives quietly in her mansion until a blogger happens to meet her looking for answers.
It’s 2017 in Claire Lake, Oregon. Shea Collins is working as a receptionist in a doctor’s office but at night she runs a blog where she discusses cold cases. Most prominent on the blog is the Lady Killer case which took place in Claire Lake in 1977. Many theories circulate on who actually committed the murders and when Shea gets the chance to interview the main suspect, Beth Greer, she pushes down her fears from childhood to finally get some answers.
My Thoughts: This sounds like your normal thriller with a killer and a secret. But with St. James, that is never the case. She brings in the creep factor that I had to put the book down one night, hoping that I would be able to sleep. And it was not an overly scary scene but it was written perfectly to scare with little detail. Even with the scary bits I could not put this down. I had a third of the book left to read and I decided to just sit down and read till it was done. I had to find out the ending and what twist the author was going to throw at us. It did not disappoint. It was scary, exciting and fulfilling for the characters and the reader. I just finished this and I already want her next book!
FYI: A little scary and some violence against children.
First line: The night it all ended, Vivian was alone.
In 1982 Viv Delaney is hitchhiking through New York when she is dropped
off at the Sun Down Motel. That night she is offered the job of the
night clerk for the motel. On her first nights she learns that not
everything is as it seems at the Sun Down. The strong smell of
cigarettes, doors opening and closing on their own and ghostly voices
around every corner. Then one night in November Viv disappears without a
Flash forward to 2017, Carly Kirk travels to the town of
Fell, New York to find out what really happened to her aunt who
disappeared from the Sun Down Motel in 1982.
This was so much fun!! I read it in just 2 days. I loved the old motel,
the people and the mystery. I always drive by old motels and wonder who
actually stops there. This answered it for me. St. James’ descriptions
of the place are just eerie. It is a place stuck in a time bubble. I can
easily imagine the smell of the old smoke, the dirty carpets and the
old bedspreads. Add to the creepy hotel a few ghosts and you have the
recipe for a perfect story. The first time that Viv sees the woman it
gave me chills.
FYI: If you love a good ghost story than this is for you!
First line: The day I met Mr. Gellis, I had been walking in the rain.
Sarah Piper is a poor young woman working for a temp agency in London
when an unusual job becomes available. She is hired on as an assistant
for a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis, a WWI veteran and ghost enthusiast,
is determined to prove the existence of ghosts. He wants Sarah’s help
with the ghost of Maddy Clare. Maddy was a servant for the Clare family
until she took her own life in their barn. Now her spirit is wreaking
havoc on the occupants. With the help of Matthew Ryder, a former soldier
and friend of Alistair’s they search for a way to help Maddy move on
and solve the mystery behind her destructive behavior.
Absolutely chilling! Simone St. James is by far one of the best
writers, in my opinion, of the Gothic ghost story. She can weave the
historical fiction, romance and spookiness together seamlessly. I have
been meaning to read this for some time now. It took me just a few days
to read because it was that good!
I loved the mystery behind
Maddy. No one knew who she was or where she came from. She had no memory
and rarely spoke. Then one day she hangs herself in the barn of her
employer. That’s when the trouble really begins. Maddy’s vengeful spirit
is set to attack any man who sets foot on the Clare property. What
happened in her past? Sarah’s first interactions with Maddy were a
little terrifying. It literally gets your blood pumping as you read it.
When you pick this up be prepared to finish it. Maybe even the same day.
FYI: If you like this then try Wendy Webb and Amanda Stevens.
October is here! The fall weather is arriving and Halloween is approaching. That means bring on all the scary movies and books. We have a great selection of horror movies and Halloween classics. I recently watched the previous season ofAmerican Horror Story and really enjoyed it. I always watch Hocus Pocus several times during the month of October and pick up several spooky books to get me into the holiday spirit!
Summary: When schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, comes to the village of Sleepy Hollow he meets the daughter of a wealthy farmer. Their friendship and shared loved of books and music lead to a love affair that will sweep them both off their feet. Katrina’s admirer, Brom Van Brunt, is determined to win her and scare off the newcomer. Then on All Hallow’s Eve Ichabod disappears without a trace. Katrina enlists the help of her friend and rumored witch, Charlotte Jansen, to assist in finding Ichabod using any means necessary.
Highlights: I really enjoyed this book. It was fun twist on the original classic. I have seen the movies and loved the TV series. However, this was just different enough from them that it made it fresh and new. The book is a mix between historical fiction, romance and ghost story. There were lots of interesting details about the time and culture of the Dutch settlement in Sleepy Hollow. The romance was a main theme but it was not a bodice ripper by any means. I loved the dark undertones of the Headless Horseman haunting her dreams and roaming the village on All Hallow’s Eve. This is a great read for October!
Lowlights: The story seemed to drag on a little bit in the middle. In addition, I think that title is a little misleading. I expected more witchcraft and magic. Katrina and her friend, Charlotte, do seem to have some sort of second sight but it was not what I had expected.
First Line: Although I didn’t realize it, my troubles began when we moved to Portman Street, and I became a student in the Pearce Academy for Girls, the finest school in the town of Mount Pleasant, according to Father.
Summary: Annie is a young girl in 1918. World War I is still raging in Europe and the Spanish flu is spreading across the United States. When Annie starts at a new school she meets a strange girl, Elsie, who instantly claims her as her friend. Annie discovers that Elsie is not liked by the other girls in the class. She is picked on and teased by others, which make Annie a target now too. But when Annie befriends the other girls in the school and drops Elsie things get worse. The flu finally hits Mount Pleasant. Annie’s new friends decide to pretend to be mourners and attend funerals in order to receive free treats. When they attend one funeral they are shocked to see that it is Elsie’s. She had succumbed to the flu after the girls had teased her and taken away her flu mask. All the girls feel terrible about what happened but when Annie receives a concussion from a sled ride she starts to see Elsie’s ghost. And she is not happy.
Highlights: This is spooky. I read Mary Downing Hahn’s books when I was younger and remember them being scary. Even now as an adult I was a little creeped out by the character of Elsie. It was also a history lesson. I have read and seen many shows that depict the time of Spanish flu but this makes it more real and scary too. To think how many people died and how quickly it happened can be a little terrifying.
Lowlights: I got really annoyed with Elsie. The repetition of her obsession with Annie kept dragging on. This I am sure is what the author intended since she is the villain of the story.
First line: “Yeah, send her on back. She has an appointment.”
Summary: Music City Salvage in Tennessee is on the cusp of going broke, and then Augusta Withrow comes in with an offer Chuck Dutton can’t refuse. Augusta just wants to be rid of her family’s more-than-a-century-old home and all the property. Chuck sees a goldmine in the house and property, so he sends a four-person crew headed by his daughter Dahlia on the project. Super creepy things start happening, and when the members of the crew start comparing notes, they know something is definitely up. Something angry still lives in the vacant house, and it seems bent on making one member of the crew its permanent company.
Highlights: This book has all the atmosphere, creepiness, and strangeness a really excellent Gothic ghost story needs to be interesting. It’s a page-turner and you probably don’t want to read it late at night when you are all alone in your house and start hearing strange noises. Oh, and that ending. DO NOT READ THE LAST PAGE FIRST! If you do, you will ruin the whole book!
Lowlights (or what could have been better): I felt like this book was just a little bit slow to get started, but I’m glad I stuck with it (and it really didn’t take that long) because it builds to a can’t-put-it-down-but-I-have-to-stop-reading-or-I’ll-have-scary-dreams pitch.
FYI: There is some cursing and references to violence, but nothing gory, gross or descriptive.