Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Borrowed

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Last year, I read Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved it, but Evelyn Hugo had gotten so much hype that I was too scared to read it. Well, enter the Great Reading Slump of 2020 and I figured I didn’t have much to lose. Nothing was holding my interest anyway, so if I hated it, that would obviously be why.

Well, let me just say… this held my interest. Evelyn was an absolutely fascinating character, and I found her life story so interesting. I liked that she never claimed to be a good person and never tried to excuse the bad things she’d done. She fully owned every decision and every mistake and I aspire to someday be that self-assured.

As with Daisy Jones, Evelyn Hugo is told mostly through a series of interviews. I love this style of storytelling and Reid is so good at it. This book spanned several decades (and seven husbands) and I felt like I was right there with Evelyn through all of it.

And that twist at the end? I did not see that coming.

I’m not sure which of Reid’s other books I should read next, but I’m definitely not stopping here.


Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

ARC Review: The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune

The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 14, 2020
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.

Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?

After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Marissa Meyer’s Renegades in TJ Klune’s YA debut.

 

I have this really bad habit of requesting books on Netgalley without fully reading the synopsis. I just knew that this book had a fun cover, had something to do with superheroes, and was written by T.J. Klune, who I’ve only ever heard good things about. As I was reading, I wrote in my little reading journal “It’s like Renegades meets Fangirl!” and wow… that’s literally in the synopsis. For once, the comparison worked!

First things first, this book was a ton of fun. This was the fun, quirky, nerdy superhero book I never knew I needed. Nick and his friends were great and I absolutely believed in this world where superheroes are real and the police are just exasperated with them. This book almost felt like a movie because it was so descriptive! I could almost see everything playing out in front of me.

I loved how Nick kept trying anything he could think of to make himself an Extraordinary and he never gave up regardless of how many times he failed or how many people told him he was crazy. Also, I thought I knew what was going on with the various superheroes (and villains?) but I did not.

There are at least two major plot points that are hinted at and left open at the end of the book. This was a little bit frustrating for me because I really wanted answers, but now I see that this is going to be a trilogy and things make a little more sense. The next book has no title or cover yet, but it’s set to come out at some point next year. (Do what you will with that information.)

All in all, this was a super fun book and I would definitely recommend it as long as you’re okay with waiting for answers. I would also recommend not taking it seriously, because it’s meant to be a little bit silly.


Have you read The Extraordinaries? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Blog tour (+ interview!): More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads 
Publication Date: July 21, 2020

Growing up under his punk rocker dad’s spotlight, eighteen-year-old Luke Greenly knows fame and wants nothing to do with it. His real love isn’t in front of a crowd, it’s on the page. Hiding his gift and secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night, he prefers the anonymous comfort of the locally popular podcast he co-hosts with his outgoing and meddling, far-too-jealousy-inspiringly-happy-with-his-long-term-boyfriend twin brother, Cullen. But that’s not Luke’s only secret. He also has a major un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada Carsewell.

Vada’s got a five year plan: secure a job at the Loud Lizard to learn from local legend (and her mom’s boyfriend) Phil Josephs (check), take over Phil’s music blog (double check), get accepted into Berkeley’s prestigious music journalism program (check, check, check), manage Ann Arbor’s summer concert series and secure a Rolling Stone internship. Luke Greenly is most definitely NOT on the list. So what if his self-deprecating charm and out-of-this-world music knowledge makes her dizzy? Or his brother just released a bootleg recording of Luke singing about some mystery girl on their podcast and she really, really wishes it was her?

I loved Erin Hahn’s debut, You’d Be Mine, so imagine my excitement when I was invited to participate in a blog tour for More Than Maybe! (Imagine my excitement growing even more when I got the chance to interview her!) I loved this book just as much as her debut (and already posted my review here) and now I’m thrilled to be able to share an interview!

Thank you so much to Wednesday Books and Erin Hahn for making this post possible!


I absolutely loved this book! It was so much fun to read about Vada, a music blogger, and Luke, a podcast host. What was your inspiration?

Well there are a few. Firstly, as a (young) teen, I was obsessed with the 90s cult classic EMPIRE RECORDS. If you haven’t seen it, you should… but it’s basically built around a day in the life of a record store complete with a misfit cast of employees and a mentor-like rock-and-roll boss, Joe. Working at Empire Records was a dream of mine. I wanted to be the one to save the record store and as an author, I wanted a way to make that idea contemporary. I, like so many others, started working at 14 and had multiple part-time jobs throughout high school and college. First jobs are where you often first stretch your wings and are exposed to a more eclectic population of people. For some kids, they don’t find their people in high school, but rather at their first jobs. For Vada, and later, Luke, the dive bar known as the Loud Lizard becomes a sort of surrogate home for them—filled with interesting characters who challenge and support them. And where you find an eclectic array of strangers of different ages and backgrounds working at a dive bar, you’re bound to find music. I didn’t get to save the record store, but I did get to save the dive bar. ☺

Vada and Luke both reference a ton of great music throughout this book. I was so happy to see some of my favorite bands show up! How did you choose the songs you wanted to use?

Playlists are my superpower. These songs have been waiting years for this moment to shine. I did work super hard on balance in this story. I wanted to make sure I featured an equal number of older, more classic songs and brand new, up and coming artists. Since Vada is a music critique blogger with big ambitions of Rolling Stone, it was important that she knew about all kind of music, not just what is on the radio today. She needed to have educated opinions about music of all genres. Luke, being the son of a former British punk rocker from the 80s and 90s was a good match for that. He’s also well-versed in the classics. I tested it out on several beta readers and my goal was to have EVERYONE hitting up their Google app while reading. I knew it would be impossible to expect everyone (particularly non-music lovers) to know all of the songs and artists, but I hoped to tease the songs enough that people would want to check them out for themselves after reading a conversation between Luke and Vada. I hope I’ve achieved that. I think I have! Nothing makes me happier than when an early reader has reached out to say they’ve been following along with the music in the story and or creating their own playlists. I’ve got my official playlist set up on Spotify, but when readers create their own? Amazing. I love it.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

I wrote “More Than Maybe” before my debut “You’d Be Mine” released and that made it especially difficult to give myself permission to be creative. I felt on the edge, waiting for readers’ reactions to my first book while trying to convince myself I could write another, and that people would want to read that too! It took a lot of faking it. ☺ But eventually, “You’d Be Mine” released and found its audience and I was able to breathe easy and really focus on making “More Than Maybe” the best it could be. 

Which scene was your favorite to write?

I have a few, to be honest. I loved writing the relationship between Phil and Vada, and basically cried my way through all their interactions. The silent disco “not-date” was fun because Luke and Vada are so overflowing with chemistry around each other but happen to also be completely adorkable and awkward. So that’s a riot for an author to portray. I knew the ending before the rest of the book came together, and I don’t want to spoil it except to say that the day I sat down to write it, my heart was racing, and I wanted to puke, I was so excited for it. It’s definitely my favorite ending I’ve ever written!

What are some of your favorite songs right now?

I’m creating a new playlist for a whole new, totally unrelated story so my current faves come from that… 

Top three are:

Every Heartbeat by Grace Potter

Bluebird by Miranda Lambert 

I Hope by Gabby Barrett

Are there any books that you’ve read recently that you’d recommend checking out?

In the next year, three authors are debuting with magical YA books: Syed Masood wrote the hilarious and heartfelt “More Than Just A Pretty Face”, Laura Zimmerman’s charming “My Eyes Are Up Here” and all the yearning in “Amelia Unabridged” by Ashley Schumaker. 


About the Author

 

Erin Hahn is the author of You’d Be Mine and More Than Maybe. She teaches elementary, would rather be outside and makes a lot of playlists. So many playlists in fact, that she decided to write books to match them! She married her very own YA love interest who she met on her first day of college and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, aka the greenest place on earth and has a cat named Gus who plays fetch and a dog named June who doesn’t.

WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads


Have you read More Than Maybe? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

ALC Review: The Switch by Beth O’Leary

The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 16, 2020
Source: ALC via Netgalley

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

 

In case you hadn’t heard the news, Netgalley now has audiobooks! I was really excited to find Beth O’Leary’s new book available for download and got to listening right away.

First things first, I loved both Eileen and Leena. I could totally relate to Leena’s struggles with a stressful job and a long-distance relationship. I also loved Eileen and I think she’d be such a great grandma to have! Just like with The Flatshare, O’Leary touches on some deeper topics than just swapping lives. Leena’s dealing with grief and there’s a lot of commentary on mental health and healthy relationships.

I really liked both Eileen and Leena’s romances in this book. Both characters ended up with such sweet romances with such great people. I think this book had a great message about finding love and happiness and not just sticking with the same thing (or the same person) because it’s what’s comfortable.

As for the audio, both of the narrators did a great job. I will say that I listened at 1.75x speed, though, because they spoke so slowly! But sped up, it was really easy to listen to this book.

Overall, I’m giving this four stars because although I enjoyed it, I never really had trouble setting it down.


Have you read The Switch? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

Mini-Reviews: Beach Read, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, & Twice in a Blue Moon

Beach Read by Emily Henry
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
Source: Borrowed

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Beach Read was one of those very, very (very, very, very) hyped books that I was kind of afraid to read but picked up anyway because I had to know if the hype was deserved. I think that because of that, my expectations were a little high and that impacted my opinion.

I do love a “we were obsessed with each other but both thought the other didn’t care” storyline, and that’s one thing that Beach Read does really well. Another thing that the book does really well is the exploration of January’s complicated family life and the way that we learn more about our families as we grow older.

I loved January and Gus individually, I loved their history and their banter, but their actual relationship wasn’t my favorite. And, no spoilers, but that ending really left a lot to be desired.


Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Another book that I was kind of scared to read was Get a Life, Chloe Brown. So many people have adored and recommended this book!

I loved how cute and bantery this book was. The writing is really lighthearted and it flows really nicely. The dialogue feels really natural and Chloe absolutely felt like she could be a real person. (Red was possibly too good to be true.) The romance did end up coming together really quickly, though, and I’m not sure how I felt about that.

In the end, I liked the first half of this book more than the second half, but I had a good time with this book overall.


Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 22, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment WeeklyMy Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it…

I was so excited to be offered an ARC of Twice in a Blue Moon, and then, for some reason, I had absolutely no desire to read it. I finally convinced myself to pick it up about nine months after it was originally published, and I can definitively say that it’s not my favorite of this duo’s work.

On the positive side, I can say that Christina and Lauren are great at writing emotional scenes. I felt everything that Tate was feeling. I was right there with her in London, I was on the movie set, I was in that truck. Their writing is always good. Even when I don’t particularly like one of their stories, I can admit that their books are well-written.

The thing that didn’t work for me in this one, unfortunately, was the premise. I love a good second chance romance, but regardless of how good Sam’s excuse was, I don’t think there’s any forgiving him for what he did to Tate. I kept waiting, but I never felt like he truly redeemed himself.

Onto the next Christina Lauren book…


Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’