Narrator: Kirsten Potter

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Posted November 11, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Narrator: Kirsten Potter, Brittany Pressley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Horror, Gothic, Thriller
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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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…

I recently had a Zoom call with some book friends and Wendy the Super Librarian recommended this novel. It had been in my TBR pile for awhile, but I moved it to the top. I usually enjoy novels by St. James, but this one was of the better ones I’ve read in awhile. The creepiness of the motel, the alternating story-lines and the mystery of what happened in the 1980s was gripping.

When Carly’s mom dies of cancer, she learns of an aunt she never knew who disappeared in the 1980s that no one ever talks about. Determined to connect with her family history, she travels to Fell, New York, to see if she can uncover what happened.

In 1982, Viv Delaney hitchhiked to Fell, New York and took a job as a night clerk at The Sun Down Motel. She expected it to be a stop-over point on her way to New York to pursue a career in acting. But strange things are happening in Fell, New York, and creepy things go on at night at The Sun Down. It isn’t long before Viv is wrapped up in the mystery of several local missing or murdered women.

The story alternates between Carly in the present and Viv in the 1980s. Carly is trying to figure out what happened to her aunt, and we’re given small pieces of the puzzle from Viv’s point of view in the 80s. I really enjoyed the two narrators and how the story was woven between the two time periods. I figured out pretty early on where things were headed, but I still enjoyed watching the story unfold.

I was slightly disappointed in the end, but I’d still definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a creepy, Gothic mystery.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5


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Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb

Posted December 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy WebbReviewer: Holly
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
Narrator: Kirsten Potter

Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Library
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Mystery
Pages: 344
Length: 8 hours and 53 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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From award-winning novelist Wendy Webb comes a spine-tingling mystery about family secrets set in a big, old haunted house on Lake Superior.
Grace Alban has spent twenty years away from her childhood home, the stately Alban House, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother's unexpected death brings Grace and her teen-age daughter home, she finds more haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.
Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace's aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years, and Grace realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the secret passages of Alban House. Her mother was intending to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died - could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? With the help of the disarmingly kind--and attractive—Reverend Matthew Parker, Grace must uncover the truth about her home and its curse before she and her daughter become the next victims.

The Fate of Mercy Alban came up in my recommended reads in Audible Escape so I decided to give it a try. This is my first book by Wendy Webb. The beginning really grabbed me and I found myself at the library requesting the ebook so I could finish it faster.

Grace Alban hasn’t been home to Alban House in twenty years, since her younger brothers and father died. When her mother passes away, she and her daughter Amity, return for the funeral and to take care of things at the estate. Almost from the moment they return home strange things begin happening. There’s something going on at Alban House, something related to the death of a famous writer there some fifty years ago, and Grace is determined to get to the bottom of what it is. With the help of the local Reverend and the long-time employees of the manor, Grace and her daughter will need to figure it out quickly…before it’s too late to save any of them.

As I said, the beginning of this book was fabulous. About 1/4 of the way through the book, things slowed down. Grace started making some questionable decisions that really pulled me out of the story, and the story moved kind of slow. Grace would ask questions and demand answers, then just shrug when no one was forthcoming. Things like that. I actually did better with the audiobook. The narrator, Kirsten Potter, did an excellent job of keeping Grace from edging too far over the “WTAF ARE YOU DOING” line for me.

In the end the mystery portion was fairly predicable and I wasn’t surprised at all with how things turned out. I did enjoy Alban House itself. The manor really came to life for me, and that’s what prompted me to keep going.

Other reviews mention this not being Webb’s best effort, so I may pick up another soon.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5


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Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted October 31, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2) by Maya Banks
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.

Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Seduction of a Highland Lass is the second book in the McCabe Trilogy by Maya Banks and holy cow, what a freaking romance! There were times when I wanted to punch both Ewan and Caelen in the junk in the beginning of this book but by the end, I was back to loving them so all is well in the McCabe world.

In my opinion, this was a well-written romance. There was a good balance of romance, suspense and a cast of characters that I couldn’t get enough of. I spent a good chunk of this book trying to figure out how Alaric and Keeley were going to end up together. The way that Maya Banks brought them together was magic. I was wrapped up from beginning to end, ask Holly, she has the text messages to prove it.

Alaric McCabe is the middle McCabe brother and when his older brother Ewan married Mairin Stuart, the pending alliance between their clan and the McDonald clan gets thrown in the air so in an effort to keep the peace and bring the alliance together, Alaric steps up to do his duty for his clan. He is to marry Rionna McDonald and align their clans. Alaric will take over as Laird of the McDonald’s after the birth of their first child and join their armies together once they go to war against Duncan Cameron. Alaric doesn’t want to get married but he’ll do his duty for his clan. He meant to keep his word and was on his way to the McDonald clan to handle his business when he’s set upon by the enemy and he’s injured. His horse takes him away and helps him escape and he finds himself at the healing mercy of a young woman.

Keeley McDonald was cast out of her own clan by the Laird’s family and she’s been on her own for quite a long time. She’s a healer so she makes money when people come to her to cure their ails. She lives a lonely existence and is more than a little surprised when an injured warrior shows up on her doorstep being dragged along by his horse. There’s no choice to make, Keeley has to heal this stranger and heal him she does.

By the time that Alaric’s brothers find him, he’s on the mend but not out of the woods and instead of being grateful that Keeley has taken Alaric in and is healing him as best as she can, they light into her like she’s a common criminal and I get that they’re worried about their brother and don’t trust Keeley but dude, fucking relax and find out what happened before jumping down her throat at every turn. It bugged the hell out of me because not only do they treat her like shit, they kidnapped her and forced her to become their clan’s healer without so much as a, please.

The MacCabe men brought nothing but trouble to Keeley’s life but man did I love the protectiveness that the women of the clan showed her and after going for so long without a clan at her back, when Gannon says, “I’m glad you’re here too, Keeley McCabe” I was in tears.

I was kind of anxious, trying to figure out how they could possibly end up together with Alaric not wanting to go back on his word. The angst was real! I kept texting Holly trying to figure out how in the world things were going to work out, and I had hella theories going on but I should have had more faith in Maya Banks because she handled the entire thing in a way that I was completely satisfied with. I cried throughout most of the second half of the book. Seeing both Alaric and Keeley love each other and know that they can’t be together. Keeley trying to keep her distance so that she could walk away from him when the time came. Alaric’s heart breaking when Caelen brought Keeley to him one last time. I was a mess but holy cow did it all come together so nicely.

This book was everything that I wanted it to be and more than I was expecting. Emotionally, this book grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let up. I loved that Keeley found a home for herself with a clan that loved and supported the hell out of her. She got the family she craved and I was so happy for her. Gah, this book was so good and it’s not getting a 5 star rating from me because I had deduct some stars for the asshole behavior of both Ewan and Caelen in the beginning.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy


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