Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand | Book Review

★★★★☆
July 5th – 6th

I knew nothing going into this book. I had seen the cover, and a bunch of people I follow had read the book and rated it well. I didn’t know what it was about, or what genre it was even. But it was next on the list, so I decided to give it a shot.

Sawkill Island is a small island off the Eastern Coast of the United States. For centuries, girls have gone missing there, each case tied to a mysterious family at the center of the island. Marion and her family have just moved there after her father’s accident. Zoey has lived there for years, suffering her own losses as her friend Thora became one of the missing girls. Val is responsible, the person at the center of everything, her family feeding a hungry power that feasts on the missing girls.

This book was weird, magical, and fantastic. I loved the representation brought to the surface, especially for Zoey, and her relationship with Grayson. I loved the mystery of the island and the intrigue of what was going on. The writing was fast-paced and kept me reading for hours. The descriptions of the island were beautiful, and I loved the imagery of the woods and the trees. There were a few times where the dialogue felt a bit clunky (especially with Zoey), but I find that I have that complaint with a lot of YA, so this wasn’t entirely surprising.

My biggest complaint was the fluctuating perspectives. I had a hard time determining the voices of each of the three girls, even though the book was written in third person. Within each girl’s chapter, there were also times where it would switch to show the thoughts or the feelings of a different girl, which I found hard to follow at times.

I also had a few gripes with the ending, mostly surrounding the resolution with Val’s mother, and how everyone was suddenly more willing to accept a supernatural situation into their lives without question. I suppose that’s a part of the suspension of disbelief though, considering how long these disappearances had been going on.

I’ll definitely consider picking up another Claire Legrand book. Her ideas are fascinating, and I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

-Siobhan

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

★★★★☆
July 4th – 5th

This was the second book that I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I find myself asking how she creates characters that I instantly care so much about.

Evelyn Hugo is a hugely famous movie star. The novel follows Monique, a journalist struggling with her own personal and work relationships, as she becomes Evelyn Hugo’s biographer. Within the first few chapters, I was already hooked on finding out more about this person, her relationships, and all of the marriages that she had during her life.

I loved reading about this character. What I love about this author is how the relationships are so developed and so complex. I loved reading about her relationships with each of her husbands, and her overarching relationship with Celia. I liked the complexities of her relationship with her daughter, and I loved how much Monique grew as a result of listening to Evelyn’s life story.

This book handles a lot of things really well. Bisexuality first and foremost is a major component of Evelyn’s life and the way she identifies, and I think that it’s given the time on the page and the respect that it deserves. In addition, I think that the book handles her relationship with her first husband, a man who hits her, in a way that shows how complex difficult relationships can be.

This book was so close to being a five star read for me. My only criticism was that I didn’t like the “hooks” that kept insinuating at a mystery or a twist coming towards the end, and one which I felt was somewhat predictable. Though I don’t think I would have preferred for the twist to come completely out of nowhere, I didn’t need the bits at the end of the chapters which said things like “I was going to want to kill her by the end of this”, which I’m totally paraphrasing.

I’ve come to really love the way that Taylor Jenkins Reid writes, and though I probably won’t dive into the romance novels she’s previously written, I’ll continue to read new books she comes out with.

-Siobhan

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix | Book Review

June 27th – July 3rd
★★★★☆

This is the second novel that I’ve read by Grady Hendrix, the first being his super weird, super awesome, super eighties novel My Best Friend’s Exorcism. I read that one last year after seeing it recommended in my local bookstore and immediately after, I knew I’d read whatever Hendrix wrote. So here’s this book, in all it’s weird, amazing metal glory.

I’ve been on a symphonic/viking metal kick lately, (which is probably one of the weirdest sentences I’ve written on this blog) so now seemed like the perfect time to pick up We Sold Our Souls. The story goes like this: Kris’s band Dürt Würk almost was famous. They came very close to their big break, and then everything fell apart (or so we’re led to believe). Now Kris is working miserably at a Best Western and hasn’t played a note on her guitar in six years. She’s in her fifties, and she’ll never have her chance at glory.

When her former bandmate Terry Hunt’s band Koffin (a hugely famous metal band) announces a farewell tour, Kris goes a little nuts and goes to visit her former bandmates. We learn about Dürt Würk’s album, the one they almost made, as well as what happened when they were all offered contracts to be a part of Koffin.

But this is where Hendrix’s books have a tendency to go off the rails, in the best possible way. There are UPS men who act as covert assassins, coverups, conspiracies, prophecies, and a lot of metal references. The mystery and suspense is one of the best parts, so I really don’t want to give too much away.

I loved this book a lot. Kris was a fun character, and was probably the oldest female character I’ve read from the perspective of. I loved the interplay between her and Melanie, whose dream is just to start over. I liked the supernatural aspect of it, and the lyrics from Dürt Würk’s never published album being interspersed to tell Kris where to go and what to do.

It was a super enjoyable read, and I’ll keep reading everything Hendrix writes.

-Siobhan

August Recap | 2019

August went by so quickly! I finished two books this month, which was great.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – August 3rd – 5th
★★★★☆

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
★★★★☆

And here’s the books I’d like to get to this September!

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing