Book Review | Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Authour:
Gabrielle Zevin
Format:
E-galley
Publication date:
August 22nd 2017
Publisher:
Algonquin Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I adored Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and was intrigued by the synopsis of Young Jane Young as it focuses on the relationships between mothers and daughters.

Young Jane Young is told through multiple perspectives, starting with the mother of the titular “Jane” who is actually Aviva Grossman, a former intern who had an affair with the Florida congressman she worked for. Afterwards, we are filled in on what happened to Aviva now going by the name, “Jane’s” before moving on to the perspective of Embeth, the congressman’s wife. I also liked that we see how Jane’s decisions still have an impact on her life several years later. And it’s interesting how the author chooses to have the last chapter in the book be styled in a Choose Your Own Adventure manner as it gives the reader greater insight into “Jane’s” thought process when she was younger. However, this was a bit confusing at first as I was reading an e-galley copy and couldn’t turn the pages, though I eventually realized that it wasn’t actually a chapter where the reader is actually given the opportunity to “choose” what happens as “Jane” has already made her choices.

It’s wonderful to have women be the dominant voice in this kind of political narrative for once, and Zevin does an excellent job of making each woman feel like a real person that the reader can empathize with. An engrossing, and a surprisingly empowering read at times, Young Jane Young takes the refreshing approach of focusing on the women who are affected by a political scandal making it equal parts entertaining and enlightening.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

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Midweek Mini Reviews #8

You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle by Paul Benedetti

Continuing my pattern of reading collections of personal essays, I decided to pick up Paul Benedetti ‘s You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle. This book is a collection of his past columns for The Hamilton Spectator where he writes about his life, family and of course his neighbour Dave. Maintaining a good balance of being heartfelt, witty, hilarious and self-deprecating Benedetti’s writing at times reminded me of the writing style of the late Stuart McLean’s. Touching on every happenings in his life, there is definitely something that everyone can relate to in this collection of essays.

Well written and organized in a short and simple way, You Can Have a Dog When I’m Dead: Essays on Life at an Angle is most certainly a book that was made to take along with you on vacation or even for a weekend at the cottage.

This Time Around by Tawna Fenske

For those looking for a light, sweet contemporary romance Tawna Fenske’s This Time Around definitely does the trick. I adored the setting and all the characters, especially Jack’s daughter, Paige (who stole every scene she was in and even some that she wasn’t in) and Allie’s new friend, Skye. Furthermore it was difficult not to root for Jack and Allie as they were perfect for each other.

The only issue I had with this book was the conflict with Allie’s family and the money she discovers, I found it incredibly frustrating that she just kept on making poor decisions when it came to that. However, this was offset by the absurdity of what else she finds in her grandmother’s attic as it seems every character was finding something there.

This Time Around, is one of those warms that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy in the end, and I like how it shows that the life you expected might not be the life you get and how sometimes it’s the unexpected that leaves us pleasantly surprised.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

 

Book Review | A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Authour:
Krystal Sutherland
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
September 5th 2017
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
The pitch is what lead me to pick up Krystal Sutherland’s sophomore novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares. I’m always up for sharp and witty banter and fun characters.

However, upon starting it, I came to realize that A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is not your usual type of contemporary YA. Instead, it incorporates supernatural like elements, giving the story more of a magic realism/horror vibe similar to The Addams Family. That being said, I definitely appreciated the weird and quirky cast of characters and the various phobias of the Solar family and how they dealt with them in dysfunctional ways. Furthermore, I liked how “Death” was portrayed as an actual, physical character in this book and how even “Death” has to die at some point showing that nothing is forever.

Despite A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, being a refreshingly odd YA novel I found it difficult to connect to the characters. As a result, I wasn’t really a fan of the romance even though I loved the protagonist’s interactions with her brother and best friend. Still, I did appreciate how Jonah assisted Esther in her mission to tackle her fears and break the family “curse”.

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares is without a doubt an incredibly unique and mysterious novel. There are often times where the reader is left to question what is truly happening vs what is in one character’s imagination. And while I did not truly connect with the story, I do believe it leaves its reader with a good message about facing your fears head on.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | I’ll Have What She’s Having by Erin Carlson

Authour:
Erin Carlson
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
August 29th 2017
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’ve only seen a few of Nora Ephron’s films, although I will admit that I’m a fan of her writing more than I am of her movies. However as a person who loves rom coms, I can definitely appreciate what she has done for the romantic comedy genre. Thus I was, why was looking forward to picking up Erin Carlson’s I’ll Have What She’s Having: Nora Ephron and the Three Movies that Changed Romantic Comedy.

Written from an omniscient yet also objective and observer-like perspective, reading I’ll Have What She’s Having akin to watching a biopic/documentary of Nora Ephron and her most well-known filmography. With my interest in writing, I loved that readers are given a glimpse at the behind the scenes happenings of several of Ephron’s most iconic movies in addition to Ephron’s early life and upbringing.

Reading through I’ll Have What She’s Having, it’s clear that author has truly gone out of her way to conduct an extensive amount of research to ensure that the voices of all the “players” in the three movies seem authentic and believable. I also appreciated learning tiny tidbits about the Ephron family, such as the “Tao of Phoebe” (Nora’s mother) which is all about owning your slip ups and making it into a story where you appear as the “lead”/”hero” as it helps us to understand how Ephron’s upbringing shaped her writing and as a result her films.

Fans of Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail and even film lovers in general who grew up with these movies will definitely feel nostalgic after reading this book. More than just an homage of one of the most notable and distinctive voices, I’ll Have What She’s Having also reads as a “love letter” to movies especially those in a genre that is often looked down upon.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Fall Books Preview 2017

Fall marks the return of school, and the return of people coming back to work from their summer vacation. But book lovers may also know it as the prime “book season”, when many great releases are out, serval literary festivals are happening and the major book awards are given. This month I had the opportunity to attend two different fall book previews each with amazing author guests, and  so instead of doing a full event recap for each event I thought I’d highlight a few of the titles from both that I’m looking forward to.

Penguin Random House

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (Out Now)

This one is one that I’ve actually read before the preview. It’s about a young woman who as an intern has an affair with her married, a congressman. Told from various points of views including the woman, her mother and the congressman’s wife this book unexpectedly became one of my favourites for it’s incredibly female empowering message. A review of this book will be up on the blog some time next week.

Smitten Kitchen: Every Day Triumphant & Unfussy New Favourites by Deb Perelman (October 24, 2017)

I don’t often cook or bake, but when I do I tend to visit food blogs for inspiration. I stumbled upon the Smitten Kitchen blog last year when I was looking for recipes for my Christmas cookie swap with my friends. I love the simplistic blog layout, gorgeous photos and the easy to follow recipes. It’s been more than four years since the last Smitten Kitchen book and based on the previews, this one promises the usual drool worthy food photos and family friendly, accessible recipes. For those of you interested, Deb Perelman will be coming to Canada for a signing at Chapters Bayview on October 26!

Unqualified by Anna Faris (October 24, 2017)

This one is rather interesting seeing as Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt have just announced that they’re separating. Chris is still confirmed to be doing the foreword to the book as announced earlier. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but after reading an excerpt of her book where she talks about how its importance of friendships especially female friendships outside of your romantic relationships, I found her writing to be relatable and interesting so I’ll definitely be picking this one up. Unqualified has been suggested as being a must read if you’re a fan of Faris’ podcast or even if you enjoy funny, female memoirs.

Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean (October 31, 2017)

I grew up with CBC radio, and Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe show was one of the staples of my Canadian childhood. Sadly with his passing earlier this year, 2017 will be the first year without a Vinyl Cafe Christmas special. This collection includes some previously recorded stories as well as some new ones, so I’m definitely excited for it as it would make for some perfect Christmas reading.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (November 7, 2017)

I adored Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and after hearing abut The Music Shop, I’m eagerly anticipating this one as well. Inspired by a real life event, and taking place in the 1980s and featuring a record store where the owner has a “gift” for finding music that people need at a certain point in their life. Described as quirky and heartwarming and recommended for fans of Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid Plans this one is definitely on my must read list this fall. (I managed to get an ARC of this one, so stay tuned for my review of it on the blog)

HarperCollins (YA)

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Out Now)

I haven’t read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout yet, but the tagline for this book “how can you move on if tomorrow isn’t guaranteed” has me intrigued. Also I looked up the synopsis of this one online and it sounds like it would be an interesting contemporary YA novel with the added bonus of a swoon-worthy book boyfriend! This one was recommended for fans of All the Bright Places as well as 99 Days.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (September 19th)

I quite enjoyed Three Dark Crowns and am looking forward to more action in the sequel! This series is about a set of triplets who must fight to the death in order to become the next queen! Recommended for fans of complex, and messy sibling relationships and readers who love the fantasy genre.

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West (December 26th)

So this one was my most anticipated titles out all the ones that were presented! I love a good contemporary YA novel and am a huge fan of the friends to lovers trope. Plus I love reading books were characters have their own bucket lists and are trying to check things off their list. This is mostly because I’ve always wanted to make a bucket list but could never really commit to doing one so its fun for me to live vicariously through others even book characters.

So what are you guys looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review | In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Authour:
Jessica Brody
Format:
e-Galley
Publication date:
August 8th 2017
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I truly enjoyed, Jessica Brody’s A Week of Mondays, and was intrigued by her latest book for its “sliding doors” like premise. Every person has their what-ifs moments and it’s fascinating to explore the idea of alternate universes that are created because of a different decision or choice a person makes.

In the case of In Some Other Life we follow Kennedy Rhodes, who regrets turning down her acceptance into the prestigious Windsor Academy after she discovers her boyfriend (whom she initially gave up Windsor Academy for) is cheating on her with her best friend! After an accident leads her to “fall” into an alternate universe, she gets to realize for herself what her life would be like if she had chosen to attend Windsor Academy.

I liked that there was no easy fix, and that a few things still stayed the same in her “new” world despite her making a different choice. I also found it hilarious, that her genius little brother was the one constant between both worlds and that it frustrated him to no end. I also enjoyed the dynamic between Kennedy and Dylan which made me wish we had just a bit more of their interaction together. And finally I found it refreshing to that this book featured a father who works at home while the mother is the primary breadwinner as this isn’t something you see as often in fiction or in YA novels.

 That said In Some Other Life was a fairly predictable story that prone to dragging on a little especially in the beginning of the book. However, I did like that the message was that although we may have regrets our choices they make us who we are. Additionally, even if you went down another path in your life, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things will go exactly how you imagined after all the universe is just that unpredictable.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Late Show by Michael Connelly

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. The Late Show is the first book in his Renée Ballard, which features a fierce female detective.

What is it about? Renée Ballard is a former homicide detective who now works the “late night” shift in Hollywood as “punishment” for daring to file a sexual harassment complaint against her supervisor. This book focuses on two cases that she can’t let go of, one being the assault of a prostitute who is left for dead and the other being a bar shooting. Despite neither being in her jurisdiction, Ballard becomes relentless in her pursuit for justice especially when those close to her get dragged into the cases even if its to come at the expense of her career.

Where does it take place? Hollywood, LA the city of angels aka “Tinseltown”.

Why did I like it? I was both wary and excited when it was announced that Michael Connelly would be coming out with a new series, this one featuring a female detective. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about as once again Connelly brings it! His writing is sharp as always and the story is excellently plotted. I loved that Renée Ballard is a fierce, complex and unrelenting character and that right from her introduction, we see how she truly cares about helping others. She even goes out of her way to help those she knows who have cases that would otherwise get lost in the pile of other police cases. Furthermore, I enjoyed the portrayal of Renée’s employment situation as it highlights how difficult it can be for women working in a male dominated field and how unfortunate it is that those in a position of power can abuse their authority. That being said, I appreciated the fact that while she may be continuously dismissed and mocked, at the end of the day, even her superiors can’t help but acknowledge just how talented Renée is at her job. I’m definitely looking forward to more Renée Ballard books, as I’m intrigued to see where her character goes next.

When did it come out? July 18th, 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

Authour:
Hala Alyan
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
May 2nd 2017
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Last year, I read a couple of books by Israeli authours so this year I thought I should try getting a different perspective by reading a book written by a Palestinian writer. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Hala Alyan’s Salt Houses through an excerpt included in Publishers Lunch’s Buzz Books 2017: Spring/Summer.

Salt Houses is a story about the Palestinian diaspora, and rather than focusing on the war and violence in the Middle East, the novel instead chooses to tell the story of a Palestinian family over several generations. What results it’s a glimpse of the various family members, and how they are separated as a result of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict in addition to how each member survives in their own unique way. Unfortunately because of the way the story is told, we do not get a full glimpse into the majority of the characters and their development. Still, enough detail and information have provided over the various years that one can easily piece together the significant events.

Hala Alyan who is also a performer in addition to being a clinical psychologist and a writer brings many of her talents to her début novel, making Salt Houses an enchantingly beautiful and poetic novel that takes its readers on a difficult but unforgettable journey. Even now as I write this review days after I’ve finished the novel, the character of Alia and the haunting imagery of the last scene in Salt Houses still remains clear in my mind. Highly recommended if you love reading culturally, rich and diverse family sagas.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Heart of the City by Robert Rotenberg

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Robert Rotenberg is a Canadian, Toronto based criminal lawyer and writer. Best known for legal thriller series, and for using real life Toronto locations in his book, Heart of the City is the fifth book in his Detective Greene series.

What is it about? It’s been some time since Ari Greene was falsely accused of murdering his lover, and although he was cleared of the charges he ended up fleeing Toronto. Now he’s back, but no longer as a homicide detective. Instead he finds himself in two new roles, one with his new job in construction and the other as a father to his newly discovered daughter. However, try as he might to avoid his past life, it seems like he can’t escape the call of murder and crime. This time however, the murder victim is condo developer Livingston Fox, who is technically his boss’s boss. As Greene once again finds himself at another crime scene, he is reunited with his former protégé, Daniel Kennicott and ends up becoming a part of the investigation.

Where does it take place? Ari Greene is back home in Toronto! And Heart of the City takes place in the Kensington Market neighbourhood.

Why did I like it? It’s been awhile since I’ve read any of Robert Rotenberg’s books. That being said, however, it was relatively easy to jump back into Ari Greene’s world and the characters of Rotenberg’s Toronto. Heart of the City was an incredibly well-written and fast paced mystery, especially as the chapters are all short in length. I also love that like all the other books, this one is set in Toronto as it was interesting to see real life places that I’ve been to or seen featured in a work of fiction. Furthermore, I like how Heart of the City focused on the real estate market and urbanization which are actually very real issues in Toronto at the moment.

Unlike the earlier books in this series, in Heart of the City there are less characters and perspectives which helped make the story more focused and less confusing to the reader. I also found the introduction of the character of Allison, Greene’s daughter to be a welcomed addition to the cast of characters. I like that she had her own storyline, but still was connected to the case. And while I was slightly disappointed by the ending and the identity and motive for the murders, overall Heart of the City was a solid read that left me curious to see what will come next.

When did it come out? August 1st, 2017

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

September Blog Schedule

This summer just flew by! Although I’m not going back to school, September still feels like the start of a new year for me.  Fall also means many new book releases! I’m looking forward to a couple of book events in the coming week and to all the amazing fall releases. What are you guys looking forward to in the coming months? Feel free to let me know in the comments below. I’ll see you guys again in November as I’ll have to go on a mini hiatus next month since work will get super busy. Until then, I hope you guys enjoy the posts this month.

***

September 4 – Heart of the City by Robert Rotenberg
September 5Salt Houses by Hala Aylan
September 11The Late Show by Michael Connelly
September 12In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
September 14 Fall Books Preview 2017
September 19 – I’ll Have What She’s Having: Nora Ephron and the Three Movies that Changed Romantic Comedy by Erin Carlson
September 21 – A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland
September 27 – Mid-Week Mini Reviews #8
September 28 – Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Cover Reveal | Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapley

When secrets tear love apart, can the truth mend it?

Mae Summers and Gabe Broadbent grew up together in the idyllic Summers’ Inn, perched at the edge the St. Lawrence River. Mae was orphaned at the age of six and Gabe needed protection from his alcoholic father, so both were raised under one roof by Mae’s grandparents, Lily and George. A childhood friendship quickly developed into a first love—a love that was suddenly broken by Gabe’s unexpected departure. Mae grew up and got over her heartbreak, and started a life for herself in New York City.

After more than a decade, Mae and Gabe find themselves pulled back to Alexandria Bay by separate forces. Hoping to find solace within the Summers’ Inn, Mae instead finds her grandparents in the midst of decline and their past unravelling around her. A lifetime of secrets that implicate Gabe and Mae’s family reveal a version of the past that will forever change Mae’s future.

From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a poignant generational story about family and secrets. With honesty and heart, Marissa Stapley reminds us of the redemptive power of love and forgiveness, and that, ultimately, family is a choice.

***

As a someone who enjoyed Mating for Life, I’m definitely looking forward to Things to Do When It’s Raining. Also how pretty is this cover? This book will be out in stores, February 2018!

Midweek Mini Reviews #7

One Brother Shy by Terry Fallis

I’ve been a fan of Terry Fallis’ books since I’ve read Up and Down so I was excited for this one especially as it features twins! (For those of you who don’t know the author is also a twin in real life) Anyways, One Brother Shy was a well written and heartwarming story about family and moving on from your past. As with his earlier novels, Fallis’ trademark humour once again is evident within the pages of One Brother Shy in addition to his talent for writing scenes that are funny but also shockingly dark like the “Gabriel” incident in this book. I loved that in addition to family One Brother Shy touched on other topics like bullying, trauma, the effects that viral videos have on their victims. And despite liking the where the book Alex leaves at, I do wish we got to spend more time with Alex, Matt and the rest of their family. One Brother Shy is a great vacation read that’s not too light and not too dark, and bonus points for it being Canadian of course. Also while the book is good, I’d highly recommend you check out the podcast of One Brother Shy. Read by the author himself, you definitely feel more connected to the story, the world and Alex when you listen to the podcast.

Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini

Having found, Katie Heaney’s earlier books fairly enjoyable I was really looking forward to her newest book, Public Relations which she co-wrote with her friend, Arianna Rebolini. I love a fun, light romantic comedy, especially for the summer and I was eager to dip into this tale of a faux showmances.

Unfortunately, this one was a bit of a disappointment. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, although I did appreciate how the novel chooses to focus on Rose’s job in PR giving us an insider look at what goes on behind the scenes of a public relations firm. And I can definitely relate to her working an entry-level job and trying to work her way up the ladder. That being said, however, the characters and the majority of their relationships were often frustrating at times. Furthermore, I couldn’t stand the character of Archie Fox, who was supposed to be the intended love interest, as he came off as pretty spoiled and condescending and I couldn’t really see his appeal.

So while I didn’t hate Public Relations, I will admit it just wasn’t for me. I do think that Public Relations is a book that may appeal to the millennial crowd and someone who is looking for a read that’s light on romance and heavier on celebrity culture and PR.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

 

Book Review | How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron

Authour:
Mandy Len Catron
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
June 27th 2017
Publisher:
Simon Schuster
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Don’t let the title fool you, Mandy Len Catron’s How to Fall in Love with Anyone is definitely not an instruction manual. Instead it’s a memoir and a collection of essays on the authour’s life as she examines our ideas of love through her own personal relationships.

In case you haven’t heard of her, Mandy Len Catron is best known for her 2015 Modern Love essay that was published under the same name as her first book, this book. I love personal essays, and have been lately getting into them so I was excited for this collection, especially as it stems from her famous essay where she write about how she and an acquaintance answered the questions from Arthur Aron’s psychological experiment on love, and how the two fell in love.

While I hoped for a light, albeit realistic examination of love and the romantic myths that we create, I was slightly disappointed to find that the book focused more on the authour’s dysfunctional relationships. Nevertheless, I did like how the book expanded on her Modern Love essay thus giving us greater insight into the authour’s past and family in addition to how she ended up at the place she did when she tried to “recreate” the famous Arthur Aron experiment. Another minor issue I had with this book was how often the book jumped from the authour’s personal story to referring to academic theories. This may it initially difficult to get into the book, though with some time I was able to adjust to the constant transitions.

How to Fall in Love with Anyone is a fascinating examination of how our idea of what “love” is supposed to be is shaped by several factors, and how that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I loved that the essays, especially the one titled, “I’m Willing to Lie about How We Met” made me stop and think about how the so-called “love stories” affect me personally and affect how I view my own personal relationships. How to Fall in Love with Anyone is an insightful read for anyone fascinated by the human condition known as “love”.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

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

Authour:
Taylor Jenkins Reid
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
June 13th 2017
Publisher:
Atria Books
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m no stranger to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was something completely different from her usual books. Normally, Reid’s books are either a hit or miss with me however, as soon as I started The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo I was immediately obsessed!

It’s difficult to not to be captivated by the titular “Evelyn Hugo”, the daughter of Cuban immigrants, who transformed herself from a young girl living in poverty with an alcoholic father to the blonde bombshell that dominates Hollywood. And while Evelyn is far from perfect, it made me love her even more. She is unapologetic, even in her old age, and she is as fierce as she is resourceful. Even if you’re not into old Hollywood stories, Reid manages to weave an amazingly enchanting story that draws you into the world of the “Golden Age” of Hollywood with all its glitz, glamour and scandals.

While The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo does examine personal relationships similar to Reid’s earlier novels, it is not just a love story. Rather the “seven husbands” are as Evelyn says “just husbands”, it’s truly Evelyn that’s the real star after all it’s her story. There is however loads of heart and soul in her life story, and I love how the character of Monique was able to grow as a result of being the (chosen) person who is recording the life story of Evelyn Hugo.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the perfect beach read. It’s delightfully juicy and incredibly engrossing making it almost impossible to put down. And the author does such an amazing job of creating the character of “Evelyn Hugo” that it’s difficult to believe that she was not a real life figure. Regardless of how we feel about the titular character, I think readers will feel just as Monique did in that in the end, that we have all been blessed to have been given the gift of becoming acquainted with the life of Evelyn Hugo.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Book Review | Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

Authour:
Kevin Kwan
Format:
ARC
Publication date:
May 23rd 2017
Publisher:
Doubleday
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Rich People Problems has been my most anticipated title ever since it was announced that there would be a third book in the Crazy Rich Asians series. I couldn’t wait to return to the world and the beloved characters for the series finale!

After having two books focus on Rachel, the third book focuses on Nicholas and his “crazy rich” family. Nick’s grandmother and the family’s matriarch, Su Yi is on her death-bed which means everybody is gathered at Tyersall Park. One of my favourite aspects about Rich People Problems other than the Astrid and Charlie relationship was the relationship between Nick and his Ah Ma (grandmother) who have been estranged for five years since Nick decided to marry Rachel. I liked that we become more acquainted with her past. I also wouldn’t object to an entire book dedicated to Su Yi’s life when she was younger as I felt that we only got snippets of her past which were discovered by Nick off-screen.

For the majority of Rich People Problems, I found the book to be well written and well-paced. However, there were several moments that occurred off-screen that I wish we could have seen, such as the development of some of the later romantic relationships in addition to Nick learning more about his Ah Ma’s past and finally Nick’s campaigning attempts and Rachel’s gathering of the “dream team” and fending off Nick’s crazy aunts. Though I supposed it was necessary for all these events to happen “off-screen” as there just wouldn’t be enough time or room for it all in one book.

Those who enjoyed the other books in the Crazy Rich Asians series will definitely enjoy Rich People Problems. It’s no simple task to be able to write a satisfying conclusion to a beloved series, but Kevin Kwan manages to do just that. Sure there are still a few minor questions that are left unanswered, nevertheless I remain more than satisfied with Rich People Problems being the last book in the series. That being said, however I am eagerly anticipating the movie release and wouldn’t object to a prequel featuring Su Yi and I know I’m not the only one, right?

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.