I’ve been working towards my personal goal of reading 20 books this year (these are books 10, 11, and 12! To see books 1-9 and my thoughts, check out this post), and thought I’d give you an update! June has been particularly exciting with three new books to talk about: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, and Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Genre: YA Distopian (a companion piece to the Hunger Games Trilogy)
Grade: Overall B-
LET ME START BY SAYING I LOVED THE HUNGER GAMES AND WANTED TO LOVE THIS TOO. It focuses on the supervillain from the Hunger Games, Coriolanus Snow. In Songbirds and Snakes, he’s a teenager and working as a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games. He makes a connection with his Tribute (from District 12, of course), and desperately wants her to make it out of the games alive. The book is divided into three parts. Part One was super exciting, part two was good, part three is where it really started to drag (I set the book down for a few days and didn’t even feel compelled to run back to it). I loved getting to read about how the games started out because it was so different from what we’ve seen in the original series and in the movies. The subtle nods to what would come later were fun to look for and try to decipher. Overall, if you’re a fan of the Hunger Games series, I would recommend reading this book as well. That being said, I don’t feel like you’re TOTALLY MISSING OUT if you don’t read it.
This book takes place in South Carolina during the 1990s and focuses on a woman named Patricia. She’s bored with her life…her kids are teenagers, her husband is a workaholic, and she’s growing weary of the day to day cleaning and driving that all moms can relate to. So, she joins a ladies’ “book club that’s not a book club” where all the members are true crime obsessed. One day, Patricia is attacked by an elderly woman outside of her home and the woman’s handsome nephew is brought into Patricia’s life. But all is not what it seems. Soon children from the neighboring community start to disappear, and Patricia starts to suspect that this new man in town has something to do with it. I loved the fast-paced feeling of this book. It was filled with dark and witty humor that had me laughing out loud, and gore that left me feeling squeamish. I highly, highly recommend this book, and can’t wait to read something else by this author!
Maggie’s father wrote a book – an Amityville-style “Real Life” Ghost story – 25 years ago about their lives, and the time when they lived in a now “famous” haunted house, Baneberry Hall. Maggie doesn’t believe in ghosts, doesn’t remember anything about her time in the house, and doesn’t like being known as the scared 5-year-old little girl portrayed in her father’s novel. After her father’s death, she returns to Baneberry Hall with the hopes of flipping it for a profit and maybe even learning more about what happened during her family’s time there. She’s always assumed that everything her father wrote about their time in the house was a lie….but after she gets there, things start happening and she can’t help but wonder how much of it might have actually been true. Riley Sager has DONE IT AGAIN. He has written three other books under this pseudonym, and each one has left me reading way past my bedtime. This one in particular gave me some really intense “Haunting of Hill House” vibes! I recommend it if you love a thriller and are looking for something a little spooky.