THE SUN DOWN MOTEL by Simone St. James


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★


Something hasn’t been right at the roadside Sun Down Motel for a very long time, and Carly Kirk is about to find out why in this chilling new novel from the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.

Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.


Amazing! THE SUN DOWN MOTEL is an addictive and chilling paranormal mystery set in the small town of Fell, New York. The story is told in dual time periods — Viv in 1982, and her niece, Carly, in 2017. Viv was the lone night clerk of the creepy motel when she went missing without a trace 35 years ago. Now Carly has come to Fell and taken Viv’s old position in hopes of finding out what happened to her aunt decades ago.

Simone St. James knows how to create the perfect dark, eerie atmosphere and compelling mystery. I adored the cast of characters who were mainly strong and intriguing women. Of course, one the most fascinating characters in the book was the motel itself. That place felt so alive and real with the creepiest vibe ever!

THE SUN DOWN MOTEL is a haunting page-turner that kept me reading all night. Highly recommended!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE BROKEN GIRLS by Simone St. James {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★


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…


THE BROKEN GIRLS was an amazing book, combining many elements I love: mystery, ghost story, historical fiction, dual time periods, and crime drama. I loved it – yes, it was dark and unsettling, but I was glued to the pages.

The story alternates between the early 1950s and 2014 in a tiny Vermont town. In the past, four teenage girls attend a local boarding school for troubled girls called Idlewild Hall when one goes missing; in the present, a journalist named Fiona investigates the death of her sister whose body was found on Idlewild’s abandoned property two decades earlier. Fiona agrees to write an article on the restoration of Idlewild when it’s purchased by a mysterious buyer. During renovations, a shocking discovery pulls Fiona into the unsolved case of the missing girl. Will it also lead her to answers about her own sister’s death?

This was an atmospheric and creepy read, with some definite chilling moments. Like many Gothic novels, the house, Idlewild, was a haunted, complex character itself, and the tale of its resident ghost was heartbreaking. The mystery was complicated, and I enjoyed how the well-researched historical elements were woven into it. I love Simone St. James’ storytelling, and I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes a spooky story full of emotion and depth.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

DEATH OVERDUE by Allison Brook

Death Overdue (A Haunted Library Mystery, #1)
DEATH OVERDUE by Allison Brook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A haunted library and Halloween? DEATH OVERDUE pulled me in with some of my favorite elements. Main character Carrie Singleton is the new head of programs and events at Clover Ridge’s local library. Unfortunately it’s not exactly smooth sailing at first. Carrie discovers the ghost of a former librarian haunting the stacks, learns that not everyone at the library is thrilled with her getting the job, and hosts her first event where the keynote speaker is murdered. Carrie is convinced his death is tied to the unsolved murder of another library employee 15 years earlier, so she does some investigating on her own.

This new series has potential, especially for fans of paranormal cozies and library settings. The two interwoven murder mysteries were intriguing, though it took a while for me to get into the story. I felt like there were too many details of daily happenings that slowed down the flow at times. I also wanted the library ghost to be more integral to the plot, and for Carrie’s reaction to the ghost be more – realistic? She wasn’t freaked out in the least bit. I think Carrie’s character overall needs to be spiced up a bit as the series continues.

The Halloween elements in DEATH OVERDUE were a lot of fun. Will see where the author goes with the next book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A GHOSTLY LIGHT by Juliet Blackwell


Series: Haunted Home Renovation, #7
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Give Up the Ghost, it will take a beacon of ghostly intervention to guide contractor Mel Turner to the truth.

Dangerous tides ahead…

When her friend Alicia hires Turner Construction to renovate a historic lighthouse in the San Francisco Bay, Mel Turner can’t wait to get her hands dirty. Alicia plans to transform the island property into a welcoming inn, and while Mel has never attempted a project so ambitious—or so tall—before, she’s definitely up for the challenge.

But trouble soon arises when Alicia’s abusive ex-husband shows up to threaten both her and Mel, and later turns up dead at the base of the lighthouse stairs. With no other suspects in sight, things start looking choppy for Alicia. Now, if Mel wants to clear her friend’s name, she’ll need the help of the lighthouse’s resident ghosts to shine a light on the real culprit…


This is the seventh book in the Haunted Home Renovation series, starring Mel Turner, renovator extraordinaire. Her unique specialties are restoring historic places around the San Francisco area, communicating with ghosts, and solving murder mysteries that frequently pop up on her construction sites.

I greatly enjoyed Mel’s latest project, the restoration of a lighthouse and its keeper’s house in San Francisco Bay. The rich history and romance of lighthouses are fascinating, though tragedy and grief are parts of their past too, as Mel quickly discovers.

There are really two mysteries in this book to solve. The first involves the death of Mel’s friend Alicia’s ex-husband, an abusive jerk who shows up on the island unexpectedly and takes a fatal tumble down the lighthouse stairs. The second (and my favorite mystery) is about the mournful ghost who haunts the tower. Hers is a heart-wrenching story, and I easily got into the research Mel had to do to get all the pieces to fit.

A GHOSTLY LIGHT is an enjoyable cozy with likable characters, and the paranormal element makes it even more intriguing. I’ve read one previous book in this series, so I knew some of the backstory, but I think you’d be fine jumping in here.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by Susan Meissner


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life .

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.


Wonderful book! A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a lovely blending of ghost story, historical fiction, mystery, and women’s fiction. The story is told from differing points of view in multiple time periods, mainly during WWII, just after WWII ends, and also present day. It may feel a bit disjointed at first, but I promise the book quickly finds a nice flow and all the pieces come together for an amazing ending.

The majestic ship, the RMS Queen Mary, has served many purposes since its maiden voyage in 1936, one being a vessel to transport thousands of European war brides across the Atlantic to their new husbands in America. In February 1946, two of those brides are Simone Deveraux from France, and Annaliese Lange from Germany. The war years were horrific for both of them, and both women are looking forward to a new beginning in the US. Unfortunately, fate has other plans…

In present day, Brette Caslake is struggling with her special, yet burdensome, gift of being able to see and communicate with ghosts. She’s spent years trying to ignore them, but her experiences during a visit to the Queen Mary has made Brette rethink her position on restless spirits.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a unique take on WWII historical fiction. I enjoyed the compelling characters, the paranormal elements, and the multi-layered mystery. Susan Meissner writes beautifully, and I’m looking forward to checking out more of her work.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.