Jul 21, 2019

Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison (The Collector, Book 1)

The Gardner loves butterflies and collects them to keep in his private garden. The garden is his secret place where he lives out his twisted reality. But his butterflies are young, teenage girls he abducts and holds prisoner, raping them whenever he wants. He gives them all new names and tattoos them with butterfly wings. In his sick mind he thinks he is caring for them and loving them in his own way. The girls who live in the garden don’t have much in the way of hope to escape but the bonds they share give them strength to live another day.

My Thoughts 

I really struggled to get through this book. It had been on my TBR list for a while and I remember all of the hype when it was first published. Having read it now, I can say that I am glad it was only 280 pages but it sure felt like a lot more.

Let me be clear, it wasn’t the dark, disturbing content that bothered me as I do enjoy dark and twisty thrillers. I will also say Hutchison has a unique ability to weave a very intricate, detailed story. However, I just felt it took for ever to tell the story and it didn’t change much through the pages. I was waiting for the twists and turns that some reviewers raved about but were absent in my view. I found the interaction between one of the girls in the FBI agents very tedious and sluggish. The one twist that came at the end left me more baffled than anything and not exactly worth the wait.

Probably the only reason I finished the book is because it was only 280 pages. Any longer and I would have had to question if I should continue. That being said, I doubt very much if I read the second book in the series. Again, I give the author credit for such a intricate, detailed story but the pace and the outcome just wasn’t enough for me.

Published 2016, Thomas & Mercer

Jul 9, 2019

Review: Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

In this story of three teenage sisters in rural Western Canada, the reader is taken on a terrifying, suspenseful journey of survival. On the run from an abusive home life, these young sisters find themselves in yet another dangerous situation. They will do whatever they have to do to get to a safe place where they can start new lives and forget the past. The story spans almost 20 years and confirms that you can run from your past but that it’s always with you.

My thoughts:

This is one of the toughest books I’ve ever rated. I was all over the place trying to decide on my rating. There was a point when I decided I didn’t like it and I probably wouldn’t read another of her books, but as I kept reading, there were times I thought Wow! Maybe I don’t dislike this book as much as I thought. Talk about mixed feelings!

First of all, the violent content of this book, especially in part one, made it very difficult for me to get through. That said, the intensity is what kept me going. Part two wasn’t as riveting but it showed how the girls were able to move on and I didn’t hate it. The part that really frustrated me was part three with two of the characters making bad decision after bad decision. By this time, I was invested and had to see it through. Surprisingly, by the end of the book my attitude had softened a little bit and I even got choked up.

The bottom line is that I’m glad I stuck with it, I liked the way the book ended, but I think it’ll be a while before I read another of Chevy Stevens’ books. This is the third book of hers I’ve read. (Still Missing and That Night) and it occurs to me this is how I feel after each of her books. Very conflicted. I’m torn between having problems with the story but unable to look away due to the suspense. Kind of like a car wreck you see on the side of the road. You don’t really want to look but you want to know what’s going on. That’s the best way I can describe how I feel about this book. For me, I gave extra marks for the intensity and the ending.

Published in 2015, St. Martin’s Press

Jun 19, 2019

2019  Summer Reading

I know it’s not quite summer yet, but I’m sure most of you are well on your way into your summer reading choices, and there are a lot out there to choose from. I’ve been lucky enough to have received some great books this season for review and I’ve shared them on my Southern Girl Reeds Facebook page. (https://www.facebook.com/Southern-Girl-Reads-295150096094/ ). Here’s a list of some of the books I’ve recently shared:

  • SUNSET BEACH by Mary Kay Andrews
  • MINE by Courtney Cole
  • MAN OF THE YEAR by Caroline Louise Walker
  • THE GOOD SISTER by Gilian McAllister
All of these new books were great reads and I recommend them highly. Caroline Louise Walker is a stand out as a debut writer. 

I’m currently listening to another recently published book by Patti Callahan Henry. THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER was released earlier this month. I’ll be finishing it up this week and posting my review very soon.

I’m also listening to EDUCATED By Tara Westover, the critically acclaimed memoir from last year. That review will be forthcoming as well.

Along with the new books, I’m also sharing some that have been out for a while, though I am just getting around to reading them. These days, most of the books I’m reading are mysteries, Thrillers, with some contemporary fiction thrown in. There is one classic on the list that I am especially excited about and that is MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

This summer is sure to be a great reading experience for me, as I am on a reading binge lately and can’t seem to get enough! I hope you’ll check back periodically, either here, or the FB page and check out my thoughts on these books.

Happy summer reading!

Feb 14, 2019

Blog Update

Hello everyone! I wanted to post this update to let everyone know what’s going on lately with Southern Girl Reads. As you can see, if you scroll down, there haven’t been many postings since early last year. Though I kept reading, it became harder and harder for me to maintain the blog the way I wanted. As some of you may be aware, my vision has deteriorated significantly over the last year and it has become impossible for me to see my computer screen any longer. Luckily, with the help of accessibility features on my Kindle and audiobooks I’ve been able to keep reading. I took a break from writing reviews for a while. It was a trying time coming to terms with losing the ability to create my blog the way I wanted to.  In fact, I still have my PC stored in my closet! I don’t really know why but just having it there makes me feel better in a way. I guess you could say I haven’t totally let go. With the help of my iPhone and the Blogger app, which I’m using now, I can still post to the blog but  i’m still a little clumsy with it. I haven’t fully figured out how to utilize all the tools and manage the layout the way I used to. That’s why a lot of the images and updates have not been done. It drives me crazy!

A short time ago I started writing reviews again and posted them on the Facebook page instead because it was much simpler for my eyes. You can easily find Southern Girl Reeds on Facebook via the search box. I invite you to come and like my page to keep up with the books I’m reading and reviewing.

I’ll be checking in periodically here on the blog but for now my reviews will be on the Facebook page. I hope you’ll check back from time to time and keep in touch. Feel free to leave a comment, either here, or on the Facebook page. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this post.

Happy reading!