Every year I make the New Year’s resolution to read more and for the last few years I have set my reading goal to 50 books a year. The closest I cam to reach my goal was in 2018 when I read 30 books. This year is looking pretty good because I have already finished 33 books. Although I might be cheating a little. I’m counting the books I listen to on Audible in that list. This year I’ve really gotten into listening to Audible mainly because for Christmas my mom gave me a new stereo for my car. I can listen to books while running errands. I also listen while cleaning and working on embroidery. But being home thanks to Covid has really helped me have more time for actually sitting down with a book. Since I’m reading books more often I decided to renew my subscription to Book Of The Month Club. I don’t think the two books I selected for my first post could be anymore perfect for me. One is a paranormal book and the other is about a plus size blogger.
Home Before Dark
Maggie Holt doesn’t believe in these things, even though they are the details of the story that made her family famous. 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 twenty days there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a horror memoir, 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.
Maggie has lived her life in the shadow of her father’s book, so when she inherits Baneberry Hall after his death, she returns to renovate the house to prepare it for sale. However, 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 Ewan’s book, she starts to wonder if what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
This book was honestly a lot better than I was expecting. When something compares itself in some shape or form to The Amityville Horror, little red flags usually go off in my head. Last year I read The Amityville Horror (which you can read that review here) and it was an eye opener into what supposedly happened to the Lutz family. I thought this book would be similar to that and I prepared myself for eye rolling at the paranormal parts. What I wasn’t expecting was to be so dragged into the two different stories that I couldn’t put the book down. The book takes an different approach of every other chapter was a chapter from The House Of Horrors and the other chapters were from present day of Maggie dealing with moving back into Baneberry. Normally I don’t like when books do this but for this book it not only worked but made the story more enjoyable.
Home Before Dark does really well at pulling the reader into the story. The chapters from House Of Horrors do really well at trying to explain away the paranormal. The parents don’t just jump into “oh my god we are living with a ghost” as an explanation to the events like so many books and movies do. It actually shows the affect of living in a possibly haunted house has on an unprepared family. It was realistic and I understood why they did what they did for each event. That doesn’t mean that the events in the book are predictable at all. I was caught off guard quite a few times by the twists and events. Just like in The Amityville Horror, I had a hard time determing if these events were really paranormal or not something else (yes I am aware this book is fiction but I have come across some similar incidents like that in the book). Instead of reading two or three chapters before bed like I usually do, I read as often as I could and finished the book in three days. For the chapters dealing with present day Maggie, it was interesting to see how she dealt with the aftermath of her father’s book, his death, and her own history with the house. Again, everything was realistic and believable even though some of the events at the time leave you questioning what’s going on. I really think that this book is something that even those that don’t have a background in paranormal stuff would appreciate and enjoy to read.
It wasn’t until after I was done with the book that I realized why I loved the writing so much. This is the second book that I have read by Riley Sager. The first book of his was also a Book Of The Month book called Final Girls. Sager does such a great job of explaining the characters, their quirks, and their past without it feeling like that’s what is doing. It feels more like catching up with an old friend than meeting someone new. I can’t wait to read his other books!
If you have read any of Riley Sager’s books, let me know what you think of them. Also if there are any books you want me to review, leave your suggestions in the comments down below. You can also sign up for Book Of The Month here if you would like to get great new books every month. I’ll be reviewing the other book that came in my box next week.