Month: October 2021

A Double Review of Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Today Kim and I  bring you a double review of Home Before Dark. I gave it 5 stars and she gave it 4 stars.  This is the perfect book to get you in the mood for Halloween if you haven’t been yet!

Home Before Dark
Author:  Riley Sager

Published: June 30, 2020
Audiobook/ 340 Pages

Book Description:

What was it like? Living in that house?

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father’s book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father’s death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.


Jessica’s Rating: 5 Stars
Dates Read: August 18-24, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
Jessica’s Review:

This is the perfect novel to be read around Halloween! We are dealing with the multiple tragedies of the past and is this house haunted or not?  Only time and reading Home Before Dark will tell!

Maggie Holt was just 5 years old when her family fled Baneberry Hall, the house they stayed in for just three weeks.  After the family’s ordeal, her father Ewan wrote a book based on their experiences and the book became a spectacle that Maggie has dealt with her whole life.  Being she was just five years old, and has no memories of the house and what may or may not have happened, she never believed her father.  It has now been 25 years and Ewan has died and left Baneberry Hall to Maggie.   Not even knowing that he still owned the home and not believing her father’s ‘non-fiction’ book, she decides she can fix up Baneberry Hall and then sell it.  But what Maggie gets is more than she bargains for when she returns to town.

We get two narrators with Home Before Dark:  We get Ewan’s narration through the book he wrote and we also have Maggie’s narration in present day.  And let me just say that Baneberry Hall is definitely its own character in this novel: In fact it is really the star!

There is definitely the horror element throughout this novel!  Is it ghosts of the past still haunting or something else?  Let me just say, if you don’t like snakes, then there is a part of this book that you must avoid!  We do get full conclusions to everything that has happened at Baneberry Hall and we end up with a satisfying yet scary novel from Sager! 

Home Before Dark is recommended!

Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Kim’s Review:

This was a pretty interesting one. I’ll admit that I knocked a star off the rating because it felt a little like a rehash of The Haunting of Hill House show on Netflix, but there were enough differences that I’m still happy with it! I also feel like this is one of those books that you need to read more than once to actually get everything. Maggie annoyed me a little, in that “rich kid always complaining even though they’re rich” kinda way, but she was a hard worker and she actually tried to fix things she was unhappy with. The mystery definitely kept me going till the very end and I will say that I didn’t see the ending coming! And it was definitely creepy! There were some places where I was legit freaked out!

Baneberry Hall is a place that I’d like to buy … and live in. It added so much to the story and Sager made it feel like a living character! Overall, this was a great horror book, without being full on horror. Sager walked the line of scary and fascinating well! I definitely recommend this a something to scratch the horror itch!


Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Lock Every Door By Riley Sager

Lock Every Door
Author:  Riley Sager
Published: July 2, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 1-5, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

Jessica’s Review:

Jules is down on her luck and gets the opportunity of a lifetime: To apartment sit an empty apartment for 3 months for $12,000.  It seems like a dream come true with the easiest job in the world… until this dream job becomes a nightmare.

The rules seem a little strange, and she meets a couple more apartment sitters in the building, and fan girl moment: the author of her favorite book lives in the Bartholomew (which didn’t go as she hoped). Jules gets to know fellow apartment sitter Ingrid a little bit, but then out of nowhere, she disappears. And then things start not feeling right for Jules.  Jules becomes determined to figure out what is going on.  And she starts learning about the Bartholomew’s infamous history.

Let me just say this: Riley Sager is a frickin’ genius!  For most of the novel this was a solid 4 star read for me…And then we get to the last 20% and HOLY CRAP!  This is the third of Sager’s books I have read, and will soon read his other two, and so far Lock Every Door is my favorite of his! I never would have guessed what was coming in that final act of the novel! That last 20% becomes the horror I was waiting for in this one!  Sager is fast becoming a new favorite author of mine! He looks to become an autobuy author that soon as I find out he has a new book coming out I will order it, not even knowing what it is about!

You can’t really say much about Lock Every Door other than what I already said without spoiling that last act. This is one where you need to know next to nothing going into reading.  Do yourself a favor and pick up Lock Every Door now! 

Lock Every Door is very highly recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last  Time I Lied
Author:
Riley Sager

Published: July 3, 2018
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: October 8-14, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Fifteen years ago, summer camper Emma Davis watched sleepily as her three cabin mates snuck out of their cabin in the dead of night. The last she–and anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the NYC art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings.. They catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of the very same Camp Nightingale–and when Francesca implores Emma to return to the camp as a painting counselor, Emma sees an opportunity to find closure and move on.

Yet, it is immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by surfacing memories, Emma is suddenly plagued by a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca, and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian apparently left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. And as history begins to repeat itself and three girls go missing again, Emma must face threats from both man and nature in order to uncover all the buried secrets–including what really happened all those years ago.

Jessica’s Review:

For me, Riley Sager is an author who has gotten better as he writes more.  His first two books were not really for me, but books 3-5 are superb!  I am glad I did not start off with reading his first two novels, but I usually give an author three chances, and his third book….Well… You will see that review tomorrow!

We get two timelines, present day and 15 years ago and we get Emma’s point of view.  For me this one was just lacking in the suspense and intrigue, but I wanted to see how it would end. It really got moving around 75% in and I was into the book from that point. We do get answers to what happened in the past and then I enjoyed that final reveal. 

Even though his first two novels were not for me, I really enjoyed his more recent novels and look forward to what he will write in the future!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

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