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.
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.
Summary: In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost. But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined. When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano? Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.
Genre: horror, historical fiction Rating: ★★★★★
I’ve been anxiously waiting The Hacienda for a few months now, and when it came up as an option for Book of the Month, I didn’t hesitate. It has everything I want in a story: a haunted house, a hot priest, witchcraft, gothic horror vibes, oh and it’s essentially a retelling of Rebecca in 19th-century Mexico. What’s not to love?
Summary: Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House.
At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
Genre: horror Rating: ★★★★★
I have never really been one for ghost stories. I have never believed that houses can be haunted, that they can hold onto the dead like keepsakes. Houses simply do not wear their tenants as a badge of honor, in a locket around their throat. Houses are not horrifying entities; whatever awfulness resides in the house moves with the owners. A house is simply a house. And yet.
The idea of a building holding so much history, anguish, betrayal, and anger seems impossible until you’re introduced to Hill House. The famous opening lines begin by describing the house almost as a living, breathing concept. It is not a standard, normal, or even sane thing. It’s an indescribable entity, something dangerous and horrible, its capabilities completely unknown. And of course, “whatever walked there, walked alone.”
Summary: In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her? Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with other final girls in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone is determined to take their lives apart again. But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
Genre: horror, thriller Rating: ★★★★
Grady Hendrix is spreading like wildfire through the horror community, and I fully support it. I was admittedly a little hesitant to read this when it first came out because it sounded exactly the same as Final Girls by Riley Sager, but I actually enjoyed this more, and it’s purely because Hendrix packs all the punches of the horror genre. He isn’t afraid to make bold storylines, insane twists, and include all the gore.