Tag Archives: Berkley

Review: Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet

Are We There Yet?
By Kathleen West
Berkley, 9780593098431, March 16, 2021, 352pp.

The Short of It:

Suburban moms and junior high drama. I shudder just remembering those days.

The Rest of It:

The transition from grade school to middle school is a big one. Some kids handle it better than others. Some parents, too. Alice feels pretty accomplished. She’s about to be a partner in the design firm she runs with her boss and her kids are both well-adjusted and happy. Her husband Patrick is very successful, although hardly ever home due to work and the mom group she hangs with all have similar interests. It’s a good life.

One day, one of those suburban moms hints that there might be something going on with Alice’s son, Teddy. Having absolutely no clue what she’s talking about, Alice finds herself defensive and guarded. So when the truth comes out about Teddy and what’s going on at school, Alice’s perfect little world quickly unravels.

West does an admirable job of depicting junior high life and what goes on with teens. All of the insecurity, the hormones raging, the anger that suddenly cannot be contained no matter what, and then the parents who poorly navigate those waters. This story also focuses on the danger of social media and how quickly a bad choice can turn into real harm if allowed to run its course.

Although I didn’t love any of these characters, I feel that the author did a stellar job of presenting the conflict and that these characters behaved very realistically to the challenges being presented to them. I remember my own challenges with my two and those teen years were/are rough. Plus, West touches on the busy-ness of working parents and how oblivious they can be to issues that are literally staring them right in the face.

Overall, I found this story to be pretty realistic in the telling and yes, I can see how even the best of parents can’t control the teen mind or body. They are like wild animals sometimes and definitely have opinions of their own. What would you do if you thought you did everything right and your kid still acted out in a horrible way? That is the question Alice faces over and over again.

I think any parent will be able to relate to this story and even if you don’t have kids of your own, you probably remember what it was like to hit the age of thirteen. I know I do.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel 
By Simone St. James
Berkley, 9780440000174, February 2020, 336pp.

The Short of It:

This story was good, spooky fun.

The Rest of It:

The Sun Down Motel is a run down motel that’s stuck in the 80s. It’s the type of motel people stay at when they are up to no good, or want to disappear for awhile. Vivian Delaney gets a job as the night clerk and after a few terrifying experiences, and the appearance of ghosts, she does a little digging and realizes that the motel is housing some secrets of its own.

Just when she is beginning to figure it all out, she goes missing. Never to be found with no closure for her family at all.

Fast forward 35 years. Carly, the niece of Vivian Delaney watched her own mother die without any closure for Vivian’s death. Although the two sisters were not close, it bothered Carly that a person could just go missing, without a trace so she decides to investigate on her own which lands her a job at the very same motel. Nothing has changed at the Sun Down. Not the decor, not the emptiness of its rooms, or the dead people that come out at night to roam its floors.

This book was so good and lots of fun to read. There is a supernatural element, a mystery to solve, a serial killer and the creepiness of the motel itself made for some fun bedtime reading. I normally don’t like stories that jump from the past to the present but this was handled so well and I literally read at a snail’s pace because I didn’t want it to end.

One other thing I really enjoyed is that the story is peppered with Stephen King references, his books mainly. I counted at least five. If you enjoy that sort of thing you will be giddy with happiness when you discover another mention. Simone St. James must be a huge fan.

I had not read this author before but I happen to have her previous book on my Kindle, The Broken Girls. Have you read either one? I highly recommend The Sun Down Motel.

I read this for the R.I.P. Challenge.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.