Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

How I Read It: Audiobook/Print

Dates Read: 10/15/21-10/16/21

How I Found It: Book of the Month

When Maggie was a child, she lived in a house called Banberry Hall for 20 days. Her father (with support from her mother) wrote a true story memoir called House of Horrors, claiming that the reason the family left was because the house was haunted by the former residents. When her father dies, she gains full ownership of the house. Since she works as an interior designer, she wanted to go and refurbish the house in order to hopefully gain a bigger profit, but more importantly gain closure over this time she doesn’t remember.

Upon coming back to Banberry Hall, Maggie immediately learned that everyone in the town hates the book. She begins to investigate the clues that were left from her family’s time in the house. As she finds more and more evidence that confirms the events of the book, she begins to believe that maybe her father didn’t make it all up. Flipping between the House of Horrors book and Maggie’s adult experience in the house, we follow a journey towards discovering what is really haunting the house once and for all.

I was listening to this book while working and let me tell you, that was a mistake. I have talked about it previously, but I am not a paranormal person. Due to a childhood trauma, paranormal/ haunted tropes get to me more than I think any other. Give me gore and I’m fine; give me a ghost and I’m running screaming. As my coworkers slowly trickled out of the building, I became one of the last people at work. One of my coworkers, who is the sweetest grandmotherly-type person, often brings me chocolate at the end of the day, thinking that I would need the little bit of sugar to get through the rest of my shift. With no warning to her presence, I turned around and she was right there. I swear I almost pooped my pants. Lessons learned, not a good idea. But it created a memory that I am always going to associate with this book, which is always one of my favorite parts of reading. There is something so magical about that.

Anyway, I totally didn’t see the ending coming. I think that it is very humanizing, but I think that the book would almost been better if it didn’t come together with a perfect bow. I think that would have made it completely unique. In the same vain, I also see why we needed closure for who the ghosts are. It’s a really hard line to cross, and I also am very introspective today about books, so ignore me, I’m being weird.

OOOOOOOhhhhhhh, I almost forgot. I hate the title of this book. Where did it even come from? It 1) was not said at all during the book and 2) was not even implied in the book. Let’s be honest, I don’t know what I would have called this book, but I also hate when titles do not match the content of the book. Again, that’s a personal feeling, but it is something that bugged me when I finished it.

I think this book is good, but I personally would give it a 3 out of 5 stars. Trying to think in a non-biased viewpoint, I would probably bump it up to a 3.5 or 3.75. I would say that it is good, but I also don’t think it is as good as Sager’s other books.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… Riley Sager

A mini-author post, coming at you! Okay, so normally I would read everything written by the author, but this isn’t a normal situation. Riley Sager is the pseudonym of of Todd Ritter (author of Death Notice, Vicious Circle, Bad Moon, and Devil’s Night), an author whom I have never had the pleasure to read. He has listed on his Goodreads that the reason for using the pseudonym was due to publishing issues under his actual name.

I first heard about Sager through Book of the Month. In my third month with the program, The Last Time I Lied was given as an option. I did not choose it, but I did purchase it from Amazon with the expectation to read it at my first chance. In my July 2019 box, I chose Lock Every Door. Realizing that the only book by Sager I didn’t own was Final Girls, I immediately purchased it, and then because I literally own 0 self control, I bought both books on Audible.

When it comes to his style, I have noticed that he chooses characters that suffer “survivor guilt”. In Final Girls, each girl is the survivor of a terrible massacre that is heavily perpetuated in the media. In The Last Time I Lied, Emma is the lone survivor of a cabin in the woods when everyone disappears. And finally, in Lock Every Door, Jules is the lone survivor of her family.He also uses this survivor guilt to heavily influence the thought process throughout the plot.

He also likes to throw up smoke screens in his stories. While that can be a great tactic, he sometimes overuses it to the point where you can detect it. And when the happens, it takes away from the overall story. He also finds ways to surprise you at the end that leave you completely stunned. He clearly has found his niche in the thriller genre.

As of August 2nd, 2019, he does not have a next list date for his next book, but he seems to be releasing books every July. I will definitely be looking out to see when his next book comes out!

Side note: According to his Goodreads, Final Girls has been optioned for a movie, and The Last Time I Lied has been optioned for a limited series. Quick searches show that other than purchasing the rights, little has been done to get either project off the ground.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Print

Dates Read: 8/1/19-8/2/19

Eww….. I have the heebie jeebies just thinking of making this post. This book is so incredibly good and dark and intriguing and fun to read. I would recommend it for anyone who likes the feeling of “wtf”.

We follow our girl, Jules, as she is recovering from one of the lowest moments in her life. After losing her job, boyfriend, and apartment, Jules takes an apartment sitter job at the famous Bartholomew in New York City. Upon taking the job, she learns that she is forced to stay in her apartment every night, no one is allowed to visit, and she has to hide the fact she is staying there. Chalking it up to privacy for the famous residents in the building, Jules thinks nothing of it.

She meets her fellow apartment sitter, Ingrid, where she learns that the girl before her left unexpectedly in the middle of the night to end her tenure. After finding out this information from Ingrid, Ingrid disappears in the middle of the night. As Jules begins investigating and piecing together Ingrid’s sudden disappearance, conspiracy theories began to lead her down a rabbit hole.

I had 2 theories as I read this book. The first theory, which I proposed on page 130 (yes I did use Post-It notes, come at me) ended up correct. The second theory, made on page 162 was TECHNICALLY incorrect, but was also correct. I am unsure if I was able to guess this hypotheses because I am a lover of the genre, or if that information was semi-blatant. Whatever the case may be, I was able to guess bits and pieces of what would eventually be the conclusion, but I was nowhere near able to actually guess the ending.

This book also had the added effect of tapping into one of my movie fears, so there is that. It is almost creepy in the story, unlike his others which felt more thrilling. I would give it 4.75 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Final Girls by Riley Sager

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Print

Dates Read: 7/29/19-7/31/19

About 4 months ago, I read my first book by Riley Sager, called The Last Time I Lied. I has originally heard about that book through Book of the Month (which I know I am completely slacking on putting out BOTM reviews out, and I am hoping to be better, especially because this months picks are REALLY good), and I finally picked it up (before my dog ate the book, true story) and read it. I grew up on authors like Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark, so I enjoyed Sager’s novel.

When July’s selection for BOTM included another novel by Sager (Lock Every Door), I immediately clicked for it to be the book I choose. Quick researched showed that Sager had only written one other book, this one. So I hopped on Amazon, got a copy, and here we are. Since I already have a review up for The Last Time I Lied, I figured I would do a mini-author series, so welcome to Riley Sager week!

In this story, Quincy Carpenter is the lone survivor of a knife attack that killed 5? others (when I piece together the list of names from those nights, I only count 5, but I currently don’t have the book with me to confirm that fact). In the media, Quincy along with the 2 other girls who have been the lone survivors in massacres, Samantha Boyd and Lisa Milner, are called the Final Girls. Lisa chose to use her experience as a way to help others, becoming a child psychiatrist. Samantha chose to hide, disappearing from the public eye a few years after Quincy’s attack. And Quincy chose to live, creating a baking blog, moving in with her long time boyfriend, Jeff, and checking in with the original police officer that found her after her massacre, Coop.

When Lisa’s body is discovered in her Indiana home, original evidence suggests suicide. In an effort to quench her guilt, Samantha shows up outside Quincy’s home, with the hope of them getting to know each other. But Samantha is a bad influence, and the farther into their friendship, the more complicated Quincy’s “perfect” life becomes.

I was about halfway into this book when I had a conversation with a friend about it. I was telling them that this girl was obviously the bad guy, which makes me think that she is a red herring. Talking more, I put the blame on Jeff, on Coop, even on Quincy, but I surely was not expecting the actual result. The ending was so surprising, while also thrilling, and I could not wait to finish this book.

The number of days might be a surprise for you. That number had nothing to do with the quality of the book and more the amount of things on my plate. But I literally threw everything aside in order to finish the book when I got home from work, so it is THAT level good.

I would give the book 4.5 out of 5 (due to the extreme emphasis on Samantha being the bad guy, essentially giving away that she isn’t his top pick for the actual bad guy) stars, and I genuinely would recommend this book for mystery/ thriller lovers. Side note: this book gave me nightmares, which is HUGE compliments.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

The Last Time I Lied: A Novel by [Sager, Riley]

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Print

Dates Read: 4/8/19-4/9/19

Why hello! Boy has it been a while! Fun fact: Queer Eye probably will be my downfall with this blog! HOWEVER, I have been listening to this book for the past 2 days at work and ya’ll: I WASN’T READY!

Okay, so I knew this was going to be a thriller. If you look at that book cover, you know it is a thriller. But OMG, it is so much more! One of those themes that make my little heart sing is the idea of survivor’s guilt: that idea that when someone witnesses a terrible crime or event and is trying to move past it. Personally, I think this book did a really good job of implementing survivor guilt while still keeping the ongoing thrill and mystery until the end.

Now that I whet your appetite, let’s talk about this book. This book is about Emma, the only survivor out of Dogwood Cabin at Camp Nightingale in rural New York. 15 years later, Emma still paints those 3 girls that went missing, using paint to then cover up their faces until you can’t see them anymore. When given the option to go back to Camp Nightingale, Emma returns to try and piece together this incredibly tragic event, and maybe get some closure that she never got before.

BUT MAN, this gets insane. I may or may not have hit my hand on the ground multiple times in the last 100 pages, thereby waking my dog a few times out of a nap, but WORTH IT! Dude! The last 100 pages of this book are BONKERS in the best possible way! Ya’ll know, I need a good ending, and boy did I get that and more!

What I will say, since you know I always have an opinion, this book did not build in a way that kept me on the edge of my seat. It felt a lot more like a roller coaster, where you are all the way back in the seat as you go up and then you get over the hill and you are screaming and losing your mind. That’s what it was like.

I personally would rate this one high, probably 4.5 out of 5. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave me a comment or e-mail me personally at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I will see you all in the next book!