The following books made my head spin. Proceed with caution.
#1: The House Across The Lake by Riley Sager
I read this book in four hours. I specifically grabbed this from my shelf because it has been there, staring at me with deep-seeded judgement, since the beginning of summer. And. I. Deserve. It. I went into this story thinking it was very much a Woman in the Window plot. That's kind of what it starts out as and then it turns into a case of demonic possession of a famous model by the serial killer husband of the main character who is also an actress. Throughout the whole book, you think that Casey, the main character, is an alcoholic because she's still dealing with her husband, Len's death. But then the most massive thing is revealed: Casey found Len's serial killer trophies the year before. She's so enraged that she drugs Len with his allergy meds, gets him on their boat, pushes him off, and then stages it as a fishing accident. Earlier in the book, we learned there's a legend about this particular lake where souls get trapped and haunt it. Len's soul ended up in the water and he took over Katherine's body as a vessel. After Katherine-as-Len is locked in a basement by her husband Tom (who we will be getting to later) because she's currently hosting the soul of a killer, Casey breaks him/her out so that he'll lead her to the bodies of his victims. Spoiler: they're in the lake. Now you may be asking, why hasn't Casey just killed the living body yet? Because otherwise she kills Katherine. But, don't worry. Girl has a plan. Back in the boat, Casey gets "Len" to kiss her, therefore transferring his soul to her. Before Len takes over, Casey tells Katherine what she needs to do and then jumps in the water. Like, what?! In order for Len's soul to punch its time card, the host has to die. And she does for, like, a nanosecond before Katherine saves her. By this point, Len's back in the magical lake and all is well. But then, surprise! It's not! Tom is trying to kill Katherine to get all her money. As if he isn't already terrible, he goes for the classic husband-kills-for-money motive. Casey figures it out because Katherine had been feeling bad since before she had a slumber party with a crazy killer. After a fight, Casey bashes Tom's head in with a very expensive wine bottle. By. The. Lake. So Len's back! Luckily, Casey has no moral issues when it comes to Tom, so she uses his head for batting practice yet again. Both evil souls are now in the lake and we'll see if a sequel comes.
#2: Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George
Guys, history! I love it. It's my favorite thing, we know this. One of my particular favorites is Mary Queen of Scots as well as anything related to her. I found this book in the library on a random shelf and took a whole two months to read the 700+ pages. From start to finish this was a masterpiece! Historical biographies can be difficult because the story's already been written. You're just compiling it all in one place. The challenge is adding a fresh spin to a dense topic and taking people's thoughts into a new realm. This version of Mary's story took the history and spun a bit of creative license into it, While the public accounts are all accurate, she actually included scenes of what might've been going on behind the scenes based on what's known about each person's behavior, beliefs, and mannerisms. I was hooked! Always looking for extra time for a page or two is the hallmark of a good book, especially in one where the events took place five hundred years ago.
#3: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
Lisa Jewell is a master of twisted mysteries! The Family Remains is perfect if you're looking for a spooky season read. The setting: London. The place: a creepy abandoned mansion. The past: not as buried as they thought. Libby, our main character, was adopted after her parents and an unknown man were found dead of an apparent suicide. She's just turned twenty-five and has inherited her birth parents' home. There were two other children, Henry and Lucy, but they disappeared following the deaths and never came forward on their birthdays. The book is split between two timelines: the present and the late-80s to 90s in the build-up to the adoption. The whole picture forms about 3/4 of the way in and reveals cults, murder, poisoning, and abandonment all in the name of survival. It is truly a masterclass in thriller writing and I'm telling you now: even though he's weird, Henry will be your favorite character.
#4: Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf
A creepy book set in Iowa! I've been waiting for October to write about this one. While it's a little hard to follow and definitely not the best book I've ever read, it still deserves some praise because it did give me goosebumps. It's set in a very small Iowa town and follows a group of girls after one of them is seriously stabbed on the train tracks and all of her friends are suspects. A lot of weird stuff happens that doesn't really make sense but I did like the ending. It was a total shock because I truly didn't know how it was going to end. You really can't trust any of the characters because they all have agendas, even the girls. Overall, I just wish the structure was different.
#5: The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
I don't like giving shade to a book because authors put so much time into them but this one was SO BAD. The characters had horrible development and the plot was just a total dumpster fire. Nothing pulled me in. There were a few small moments that I liked but even those were mediocre. The main character, whose name I can't remember because this book was that bad, comes to stay with her brother in his apartment in Paris (such an original book title) but then he disappears and she starts trying to find him. All the characters within the building turn out to be related and the building is actually their home and, like, nothing comes together and it's all a mess. The end.
Happy haunting! I hope these give you nightmares.
The Blog in a Nutshell
Hi! Welcome to Fashion Fun and Extra, a blog run by Caroline Hill. A wheelchair user, podcaster, little sister, writer, and more, Caroline's unique view on life allows readers to take a glance into something they don't experience everyday. Told with humor, realness, remarkable wit, and a special kind bluntness, no blog will fail to entertain!