Chelsea Humphrey's Reviews > The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
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really liked it
bookshelves: from-publisher
Recommended to Chelsea by: Berkley Publishing Group

The night it all ended, Vivian was alone... She felt like crying. She felt like screaming. She felt sick.
"I don't want to go in there. But I will. Because I always do."


Obviously flashy psychological thrillers are still trendy, but have you ever picked up a mystery that is simply well-written, to the point where you can just bask in that book's quiet glory and subtle power? That's precisely how I felt regarding The Sun Down Motel. It's receiving copious amounts of hype, and rightly so, due to it's gorgeous cover art being splashed across social media, it's feature as a January 2020 pick for Book of the Month, and the many lists that it has been featured on prior to publication. Did I mention it's a BOTM pick for January? The tricky part is convincing those readers who typically steer clear of any mention of the supernatural to pick up this book, and I truly believe some of you will love it regardless of this inclusion, because the paranormal aspect plays a rather small role in the overarching story.

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In my humble opinion, the feature that makes The Sun Down Motel a stand out novel is the incredibly eerie atmosphere. The upstate New York setting was a character of its own, and the ability to fully immerse myself in this oppressive motel that was off the beaten path is what kept my mind constantly circling around the story, even when I wasn't reading it. The intentionally claustrophobic writing was key to keeping both the past and the present storylines married to one another, and I'll be a monkey's uncle if it wasn't one of the most brilliant tactics I've seen recently. While this could be considered a slow burning mystery, due to the heavy emphasis on the amateur detective work playing a large part of the narrative, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened next.

description

There were two reasons why this book wasn't a 5 star read for me: the repetitive nature of the past and present chapters, and the underwhelming, rushed climax of the book. While I wholly appreciate and understand the need for establishing plot progression in both tenses, many passages read almost word for word as the same conversations, which slowed the pacing down. I feel like maybe some fade to black moments, or implied info dumps off page would have kept the accuracy in tact while saving the reader from experiencing the same dialogue twice, and perhaps exchanging information reveals in an alternating style between tenses would have been helpful. Once the ending came, the last 50 pages felt so rushed as such a slow and steady build up, and while I was pleased with the way all the stories tied up, I could have used a bit more extension in that portion. Overall, a fabulous read and one that makes me look forward to future books from the author.

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*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.
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Reading Progress

August 9, 2019 – Shelved
January 9, 2020 – Started Reading
January 11, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

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Tammy It is eerie, Chelsea. I liked it a lot


Chelsea Humphrey Tammy wrote: "It is eerie, Chelsea. I liked it a lot"

So thrilled to hear that, Tammy! Headed over to check out your review now.


Tammy Chelsea wrote: "Tammy wrote: "It is eerie, Chelsea. I liked it a lot"

So thrilled to hear that, Tammy! Headed over to check out your review now."


I’m being lazy. I’ll have something up soon.


Chelsea Humphrey Tammy wrote: "Chelsea wrote: "Tammy wrote: "It is eerie, Chelsea. I liked it a lot"

So thrilled to hear that, Tammy! Headed over to check out your review now."

I’m being lazy. I’ll have something up soon."


Ah no rush! <3


Cindy Burnett I am midway through this one. Love it so far!


message 6: by TMR (new) - added it

TMR Saaame here


Chelsea Humphrey Javelyn wrote: "Saaame here"

<3

Cindy wrote: "I am midway through this one. Love it so far!"

Ah so glad to hear that!


message 8: by Jeannie (new) - added it

Jeannie I look forward to your review!


Chelsea Humphrey Jeannie wrote: "I look forward to your review!"

Thanks, Jeannie!


message 10: by Andrew (last edited Sep 12, 2019 09:34AM) (new) - added it

Andrew This looks a title made to scare reader, joined to a cover that remind me the "Psycho" series. It deservers a try, Chelsea. :)


message 11: by BookGypsy (new) - added it

BookGypsy Can't wait to check this one out


Chelsea Humphrey BookGypsy wrote: "Can't wait to check this one out"
<3

Andrew wrote: "This looks a title made to scare reader, joined to a cover that remind me the "Psycho" series. It deservers a try, Chelsea. :)"

Omg you're right Andrew! Total Psycho vibes with the cover!


message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Zetes Im about 60% done with this book and Im loving it. It's 2:00 am and I want to keep reading but I have to go to bed. 😭


Chelsea Humphrey Lisa wrote: "Im about 60% done with this book and Im loving it. It's 2:00 am and I want to keep reading but I have to go to bed. 😭"

Ah yay! I can't wait to start it!


Kerry Stewart I'm just starting it! Welcoming some eerie into my 2020! Btw, I love your IG account you take beautiful pictures and it makes me happy!


Chelsea Humphrey Kerry wrote: "I'm just starting it! Welcoming some eerie into my 2020! Btw, I love your IG account you take beautiful pictures and it makes me happy!"

Aw thank you so much Kerry! Happy reading!


message 17: by Ana (new) - added it

Ana Im intrigued 👀


Chelsea Humphrey Ana wrote: "Im intrigued 👀"

I'll keep you posted! <3


message 19: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason Williams I believe this is what I’m choosing for Jan BOTM selection. The cover definitely catches the eye.


Chelsea Humphrey Jason wrote: "I believe this is what I’m choosing for Jan BOTM selection. The cover definitely catches the eye."

So far I’m hooked. I hope you enjoy it, Jason!


Kate Angel Natasha Such a great book


Chelsea Humphrey Kate Angel Natasha wrote: "Such a great book"

Agreed!


Susanne  Strong Brilliant review Chels! So glad you loved it too!


Chelsea Humphrey Susanne wrote: "Brilliant review Chels! So glad you loved it too!"

Thank you, love!


message 25: by Ginger (new) - added it

Ginger Great review Chelsea! Really looking forward to finally reading this in 2020!


Chelsea Humphrey Ginger wrote: "Great review Chelsea! Really looking forward to finally reading this in 2020!"

Thank you, Ginger. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this one!


message 27: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Great review.


message 28: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma A million percent agree with the repetitiveness. That’s also why I have it 4 stars.


Chelsea Humphrey Emma wrote: "A million percent agree with the repetitiveness. That’s also why I have it 4 stars."

Teresa wrote: "Great review."

Thank you!


Ashley I 100% agree with your review! Great read, but the repetitiveness was a bit much.


Chelsea Humphrey Ashley wrote: "I 100% agree with your review! Great read, but the repetitiveness was a bit much."

Thank you, hun!


message 32: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina I'm reading this right now. I enjoy the supernatural aspect but it's moving pretty slow for me. About what point would you say the pace changes?


Chelsea Humphrey Nina wrote: "I'm reading this right now. I enjoy the supernatural aspect but it's moving pretty slow for me. About what point would you say the pace changes?"

Honestly, this one is pretty much a slow burn from start to finish. Definitely not an action packed thriller!


message 34: by Nina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nina Okay thank u 🙂


Chelsea Humphrey Nina wrote: "Okay thank u 🙂"

You're welcome! If this one doesn't work out for you, I hope your next read is much more enjoyable. :)


Ashley Gill OK MOIRA! I was really trying to connect schitts creek to fell the entire time some how 🤣


message 37: by Shay (new) - added it

Shay Besides the repetition is this book good?


message 38: by Diana (new) - added it

Diana Messig Thanks for the review. I selected this as my BOTM pick. The eeriness intrigued me and the cover kind of sold me.


Chelsea Humphrey Diana wrote: "Thanks for the review. I selected this as my BOTM pick. The eeriness intrigued me and the cover kind of sold me."

I hope you love it, Diana! Happy reading. <3

Shay wrote: "Besides the repetition is this book good?"

Definitely!

Ashley wrote: "OK MOIRA! I was really trying to connect schitts creek to fell the entire time some how 🤣"

Bahahahaha! I love it!


message 40: by Beverly (new) - added it

Beverly It was very good held my interest at all times


Chelsea Humphrey Beverly wrote: "It was very good held my interest at all times"

Glad to hear that, Beverly!


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