Review Rendezvous: 5/11/19

Final Girls by Riley Sager
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery, horror
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 342
Publish date: July 11th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository


Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. 

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Murder, lies, betrayal. Quite the recipe for disaster. And yet, Quincy Carpenter made it through. Of course, she doesn’t remember anything that happened, but that’s probably a good thing. In the time since her horrific incident, Quincy has made herself a new life and refuses to acknowledge that she is a ‘final girl’ as the media has dubbed her.

On the outside, everything looks good. She’s got a mildly successful baking blog, she’s living with her boyfriend (the one she expects to be upgraded to fiancé at any time), and she’s moved on with life. Of course, when you’re the victim of a mass murder event, life is never going to be that easy for you.

I love slowly peeling back the layers of Quinn. She’s got quite the complex character, which is key for authors to achieve. There’s also quite a few misdirects and red herrings, and this book was a wild ride from beginning to end. You also get snippets of Quinn’s memories from that night, and it all culminates in one vicious night when the memories finally return and everything is out in the daylight.

There’s so much good realization and character arc in here, not to mention plot twists everywhere. I highly recommend this book, if you haven’t read it already!


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Review Rendezvous: 3/31/18

The House Always Wins by Brian Rouff
Book stats:
Genre(s): Paranormal, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 215
Publish date: October 10th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Book Depository


Anna Christiansen’s small-town life is about to go haywire. A young reporter stuck in a dead-end job, Anna falls head over heels for an interview subject, the bass player in an up-and-coming alt band. In short order, she pulls up stakes, moves to Las Vegas, gets married and pregnant, and moves into a big fixer-upper haunted by the ghost of a Sin City racketeer. That’s when she gets notice from a corrupt casino owner that he’s buying up all the properties on her street to make way for a parking lot. But Anna has poured her heart and soul into the house, and digs in hard to fight the system, not the easiest of tasks in a city where bribery, mayhem, and murder are standard operating procedures. 
Can Anna’s tough-guy ghost provide the help she needs to prevail in this dangerous cat-and-mouse game? Will Anna’s life be left in ruins? Or worse?

Stepping out of my usual bounds for a minute here. Despite the fact that I don’t read much adult fiction, I actually quite liked this. I can’t say I’ve read anything set in Vegas either, so I liked seeing a change in scenery.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of Anna. She was a bit of a doormat and somewhat unlikeable, but I am proud to say that she did grow and change, settling into a much better persona. She’s not afraid to reach for the things life has to offer, even if that means ditching everything she’s ever known for a shockingly new start.

Her parents actually care about where she’s going, giving her new love the third degree before they even consider letting her step out of the door. But at the same time, it’s made very clear that she will leave regardless, so I applaud Anna for having a backbone. It’s that kind of thing that told me she wouldn’t take the rest of the book lying down.

Anna’s situation is the setup for every tragic backstory ever. She leaves her home because she’s in love with an up-and-coming musician. Barely a few months go by and she’s already pregnant, but in this case, her boyfriend – and soon husband – actually stays around. Of course, the moment when everything seems to fall into place is also the moment when a corrupt casino owner shows up with a notice that he’s going to buy out the properties.

There was much less paranormal involvement than I thought there would be, though there is some to a degree and it does factor into the climax. We also get several pages of the backstory of this ghost through flashback and storytelling, which was interesting but it felt like a lot of “telling” rather than “showing”. While it was interesting to read about everything the ghost went through, I feel like his involvement could’ve been expanded and information revealed more slowly, rather than all at once. Still, this book is good in its own right and I enjoyed it very much.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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