pride month readathon · readathon · review

Pride Month Readathon 2022 Summary

It feels good to finally be back into the swing of things when it comes to reading. While I didn’t read every book selected for the Pride Month Readathon, I was able to read four of them! I’m still slowly chugging away at my BOTM pick (The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah – a hefty first book in a trilogy based around One Thousand and One Nights), but I managed to read a total of eight books in June! I’m now at 31 out of my goal of 50 for the year, seven ahead of schedule!

I already wrote a full review of Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, and I’ll be doing smaller reviews for the other books that I finished in this readathon. I also had a bonus book that I wasn’t anticipating reading but definitely checks all the boxes of this readathon, so I’m including a review for that as well.

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Review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Summary: Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Genre: horror, young adult, fantasy, lgbt
Rating: ★★★★★

Sawkill Girls has been on my TBR list for four(!) years, and I finally forced myself to read it for my LGBT+ reading challenge for the month of June. First, I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of gay horror books out there and will absolutely be reading more of those. Second, I’m low-key mad at myself for waiting so long to read this, because I am obsessed with it.

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Review: The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Summary: Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R. M. Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favourite literature.

To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn’t hers, left on the page of an old diary: “Hallo, Clare. You don’t know me.” Clare becomes more certain than ever: “The Stranger” has come to terrifying life. But can the ending be rewritten in time?

Genre: mystery
Rating: ★★★

The Stranger Diaries was recommended on a list of gothic horror and mystery novels, and I really loved the creepy atmosphere that Griffiths built here. The story takes place in a school that is rumored to be haunted; there’s a strange horror story written by a dead guy who used to live at the school; some of the students learn to do white magic from their professor; oh, and the English department is being killed off one by one. For as much as I love a good haunted house story, it was refreshing to take place in a different setting, and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into this story.

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asian readathon · readathon · review

Asian Readathon 2022 Summary

May is always one of my busiest months (birthdays, holidays, the first time in the year when the weather gets nice and suddenly we’re not longer cooped up indoors), so when I signed up for the Asian Readathon for Asian Heritage Month, I was worried I was getting in over my head. I was especially nervous because I’d been in quite a reading slump so far this year, but I surprised myself by not only reading six books for this readathon, but also both of my Book of the Month selections and one (of three, sadly) books from my online book club!

All of the books I selected for this readathon were already on my tbr list, so it felt good to knock that number down a bit. I also made it a goal this year to read more books by POC, so this felt like a perfect reason to do that. If I want to read these books anyway, why not do it during a time to celebrate and bring awareness to these authors and stories (of course, we shouldn’t be reading these books exclusively for one month of the year). What I’m learning is that I really enjoy stories about different cultures, especially those that include mythology and folklore from said cultures. Who knew that young adult fantasy still had my heart?

The Asian Readathon had five simple rules, as follows:
– Read a book written by an Asian author.
– Read a book featuring an Asian character who is a woman AND/OR older.
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a universe you would want to experience OR a universe that is totally different from yours.
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a cover worthy of googly eyes. 
– Read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating OR was highly recommended.

I found that all of these books covered multiple rules. For example, The Ones We’re Meant to Find was written by an Asian author, had a universe that is totally different from mine, had a cover worthy of googly eyes, AND was highly recommended by a handful of my friends. In that regard, it was easy to reach this goals of the readathon, and I loved the loose interpretations here. It took a lot of the stress away from the readathon, and I had a lot of fun with it!

I already wrote full reviews for both The Ones We’re Meant to Find and The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, but here are some mini reviews for the rest of the books.

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Review: Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

Summary: Life is looking up for Holly Darling. She’s running a successful skincare company; her son, Jack, is happy and healthy; and the tragedy of her past is well behind her . . . until she gets a call that her daughter, Eden, who has been in a coma for nearly a decade, has gone missing from the estate where she’s been long tucked away. And, worst of all, Holly knows who must be responsible: Peter Pan, who is not only very real, but more dangerous than anyone could imagine.

Holly has no one to turn to–her mother is the only other person in the world who knows that Peter is more than a story, but she refuses to accept that he is not the hero she’s always imagined. Desperate, Holly enlists the help of Christopher Cooke, a notorious ex-soldier, in the hopes of rescuing Eden before it’s too late.

Genre: fantasy, retelling
Rating: ★★

Peter Pan is one of those stories that I’ve always held a little too close to my heart. There’s something about the idea of never growing up; of a magical world full of fairies, mermaids, and pirates. There’s a complete romanticization of the story, with lines like, “You know that place between sleep and awake? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”

I’m also, unsurprisingly, a fan of twisted versions of fairytales, so when I read the synopsis I thought I would love this story. Instead, I found myself angry, confused, and, at times, downright disgusted with some of the concepts in this story. This book tries so hard to be edgy and dark, but it winds up pushing the limits and loses any credibility here. I’m on the fence about whether books should incorporate trigger warnings, but considering the heavy subjects in this book, I felt like there should have been some kind of warning for readers.

Trigger warnings that are included: rape, sexual assault, drug abuse, murder, thoughts of suicide, physical and mental abuse, death/murder of children.

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