From a very young age, reading has been a huge passion of mine. It’s what I choose to do in my spare time; it’s what I want to do on vacations. Even as a first time mom without a lot of time on her hands, reading is something that I continue to make time for. It technically adds a ‘to-do’ to my life, but reading seems to simplify my life by helping me feel like myself even when I am frazzled, overwhelmed, and sleep deprived. For me, it is a form of self-care so I make sure to prioritize it as much as I can. Every month I try to read at least a few books and this summer I started documenting what I read. I’ve decided to have monthly recaps/review of what I have read here on the blog. My reviews will be spoiler-free and give more of my feelings about the story/how much I enjoyed the book rather than detailed plot reviews.
That being said, I have a whole summer’s worth of reading that I want to recap so for the next few weeks we’ll be playing catch up and having more frequent review posts. If you’re also an avid reader, hit me up with suggestions for further reading in the comments! If reading is not your thing, feel free to just skip these blog posts. 🙂
So let’s get started, shall we? Here’s what I read starting in May 2018:
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah
Summer Island follows a mother-daughter duo who have a mostly estranged relationship. After an exposed scandal and an accident involving mother Nora, daughter Ruby has her own reasons for choosing to care for her mother in their family’s memory-laden home on Summer Island, where they both have to face their respective pasts. Secrets are exposed, relationships are tested, and Ruby is faced with some big life decisions. I will say that I have read several books by Kristin Hannah and loved every single one so I was very excited to read this story. While I did enjoy this book, I did not feel like I was reading a novel written by the same author of The Nightingale or Winter Garden. This was an earlier work of hers and I just didn’t think the writing was *quite* as amazing as some of her more recent books. I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to someone looking for a good summer read but it is not quite on par with some of the other Hannah books I have read.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This story follows a man who returns to his childhood home for a funeral and feels led to sit beside a pond on a neighboring farm. While there, he begins to recall memories from his childhood that are fantastically bizarre and frightening. We journey with him into memories of strange happenings and a neighbor girl who befriended him. Neil Gaiman writes in a style that is definitely outside of my usual scope of reading. He combines dark fantasy/science fiction in a very unique way and his books are truly unlike any others I have read. Previously, I read his book Neverwhere and had picked it up without any idea of the genre in which he writes so the book really threw me for a loop. This time, I felt like I was going into The Ocean at the End of the Lane with a better idea of what I was getting in to and I did enjoy it more. That being said, this story left me feeling a little sad, bewildered and, like Neverwhere, a little uncertain with how I felt about it. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either. It fell somewhere in the middle.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This novel is a tale of the glamorous, ambitious Evelyn Hugo. For reasons initially unknown, Evelyn chooses a relatively obscure writer to tell the intricate story of her life to, including everything she did to get to, and stay at, the top of celebrity in Hollywood from the 1950’s to 1980’s. I did not know what to expect with this book when I began reading. I knew nothing about the storyline prior to reading and picked it up mostly because I read Taylor Jenkin Reid’s One True Loves and loved her style of writing – not to mention the plot of that book stuck with me for a long time after reading. This book did not disappoint. There were several surprises that I did not see coming as Evelyn chronicled her life story and I absolutely flew through this book. Without spoiling anything, I will say that Evelyn Hugo is truly one of the most complex characters I’ve ever encountered and I was thoroughly engrossed by her story from start to finish.
The Dry by Jane Harper
After a brutal murder-suicide occurs during a severe draught in a tiny Australian town, Aaron Fulk comes back to his hometown for the funeral of the victims and somewhat unwillingly gets involved with trying to figure out if everything that happened is really as it initially appeared. I found this whodunit to be very well written – I felt just as antsy and restless as the residents of the stir-crazy, dry town and I was so itchy to figure out what was really going on! I thought I had figured things out at several different points but this novel continued to deliver twists and turns that I did not see coming. I found this book to be very hard to put down.
And that’s a wrap on my first book review. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books too and what you thought of them!