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The Sunday Post #99

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • For those that missed yesterday's review post, I saw Love, Simon on Friday and LOVED it.If you've read the book, go see the movie. If you haven't read the book, go see the movie. Do you see a trend here? :)

  • Speaking of movies, anyone love 10 Things I Hate About You like I do? Remember Kat Stratford's gorgeous house on that big corner lot? Well, it's for sale and can be yours - for the bargain price of $1.6 million (USD). Brother, can you spare a dime?  
  • This recipe from Laura Vitale had me practically drooling this week. I love stuffed mushrooms and these, filled with Italian sausage and cheese (swoon), look sooo delicious. I would totally make these my dinner.

Tuesday, March 13
Top Ten Tuesday:
Books That Surprised Me

Friday, March 16
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Saturday, March 17
Movie Review:
Love, Simon


Half-Blood (Covenant #1) - Jennifer L. Armentrout
A re-read so I can continue with the series.

 Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell
Not very far into it but enjoying it.


Lots of fun but just took a surprisingly emotional turn.


Alphas Like Us (Like Us #3) - Krista & Becca Ritchie
The Return (Titan #1) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Love, Simon: Movie Review

It's no secret that I adore Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Love it. LOVE. IT. I talk about it all the time, I recommend it, I use it in half my Top Ten Tuesday lists... it's one of those books for me. So naturally I have been slightly hyped (aka counting the days) until the movie released. The Husband and I saw the movie last night and I'm still so jazzed about the experience that I decided I needed to talk about it. 

Disclaimer: This is not a thoughtful, critical review. This is me gushing about a movie I loved based on a book I adored. You've been warned. :)

Spoiler alert: I loved this movie!

I first read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda in 2016. And it became an instant favorite. One of my exceedingly rare 5 star reads. (Seriously y'all, me giving a book 5 stars is akin to seeing a leprechaun riding a rainbow-colored unicorn on February 31st.) Since then I've read the book multiple times (and I am not a re-reader) and I've lost track of how many times I've listened to the audio version. And yet, I've never written a review for the book. Simply put, I love it too much to review it. (But that's a discussion for another day.) Naturally, I was equal parts ecstatic and nervous when I heard about the movie. My mantra became: please don't screw it up, please don't screw it up. Well guess what: they didn't screw it up!

To try and keep this somewhat focused and avoid a flailing word vomit of emotion, I'm going to break this down .

Casting. In a word: perfection. Going in, I really only knew two of the actors - Nick Robinson (Simon) and Jennifer Garner (Simon's mom), both of whom I liked so it was a good start. But it was obvious from the start that all of the casting was spot-on. Katherine Langford (less cynical and moody than Book Leah), Jorge Lendeborg (fun-loving Nick) and Alexandra Shipp (the bubbly and exuberant Abby) totally embodied Simon's crew of best friends. Other stand-outs were Natasha Rothwell as drama teacher Ms. Albright (loved her!), Keiynan Lonsdale as Bram (what a cutie!), Logan Miller as Martin (exactly how I pictured Marty), and Josh Duhamel as Simon's dad. 

Plot/Faithfulness to Book. This is how to adapt a book to the big screen (I'm looking at you, Divergent series.) The powers that be managed to translate 303 pages of narrative into 1 hour and 49 minutes of screen time and still retain the charm and magic of the book. Yes, there were changes but most of them were minor (example: movie Simon has only one sister instead of two). A couple changes were a little more substantial (one concerning Leah that I'm not sure really needed to be changed) but none that altered the overall story line. I loved the progression of Simon's character as he dealt with his growing feelings for online crush Blue, his forced outing, coming out to his family, and the ensuing fall-out at school. Nick Robinson's performance was the perfect blend of humor and heart. I was totally invested as he ogled cute boys, laughed with his friends, laid his soul bare to Blue, faced bigotry and bullying head on, and showed courage with his willingness to be honest about who he was.

Music. I guess I'm showing my age and my total lack of knowledge of current music but I wasn't familiar with any of the songs/artists used in the film. (Well, except for the two "older" tunes from Whitney Houston and the Jackson 5. LOL)  But even so, the music added so much to the experience. A group called Bleachers was used heavily and several of the songs felt custom-made for Simon's story, my favorites being Wild Heart and Rollercoaster. Also included was music from The 1975, Troye Sivan, Kahlid, Haerts, and Amy Shark.

Favorite Moments. 
- The talk between Simon and his mom
- Both scenes with Ms. Albright
- The Simon/Martin confrontation in the parking lot
- Simon meeting Blue on the ferris wheel
- The Whitney Houston dance number (priceless!!)

Final Thoughts. Obviously, I loved this movie. I loved the casting and thought the actors brought the characters to life. There were laugh out loud moments and there were a couple times when I got teary. Most of all, I'm so just so happy that one of my favorite books was turned into a movie that kept the spirit of the book, all the sweetness and humor and emotion. And I already want to go see it again. 


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

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Series: No

Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Women's Fiction, Romance

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Format: Audio

Narrator: Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan, Robin Miles

                                     Source: OverDrive

                                     Find it here: GoodReads 

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But 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 1950's to her decision to leave show business in the late 80's, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very 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.

It was more than a year ago that I was first introduced to the writing of Taylor Jenkins Reid. I read One True Loves and was utterly captivated by the story. And when I finished the book my first thought was: I have to read more by this amazing writer! And yet somehow it wasn’t until recently that I picked up my next book by TJR. And what a book it was. You know how you see critics throw around the term “tour de force?” Well, that’s exactly the phrase I thought of when I finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This one is not to be missed.

Monique is a staff writer for a magazine and is surprised when she is summoned to the luxurious home of Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo. She’s positively stunned when she learns why. Evelyn Hugo has chosen Monique, a virtual unknown, to write her biography. A book she says is to be published after her death; one that is guaranteed to be a bestseller. Monique, having no idea why Evelyn would seek her out for such a task, and getting no real answer from Evelyn (other than “By the time we are through, you won’t have any questions.”), agrees to the arrangement. And it is there, with Evelyn’s history, and Evelyn’s unflinching delivery, that the real story begins.

Evelyn is one complex, commanding character. She is bold, ambitious, fearless and unapologetic. She makes it clear that her motivations were usually self-serving – and that she would do it all again. This was no starry-eyed ingĂ©nue who ran when times got tough or when doors were slammed in her face. Evelyn was a force to be reckoned with and when her career was on shaky ground she fought her way back to the top. She didn’t always do the right thing, she used people to her advantage, but even so, I respected her drive, her unwillingness to give up, and her devotion and loyalty to those she loved.

Evelyn’s career spanned decades and the ‘insider look’ at Hollywood through the years was fascinating. Starting in the 1950’s, with the all-controlling movie studios where star were under exclusive contracts, Evelyn chronicles both her career and her turbulent personal life – including the eponymous seven husbands, and the true love of her life.  And I gobbled up every morsel. Her rags to riches story was totally engrossing and I loved the way she delivered the overarching story of her life, both the titillating and the mundane, with such candor. And the eventual revelation of how her life intersects with Monique’s was one that I never saw coming.

I loved the addition of tabloid reports and newspaper articles interspersed throughout the story.  Not only did it offer an outside point of view to Evelyn’s life, but it was a fitting inclusion considering so much of Evelyn’s life was lived in public and chronicled in print. In addition, the narration was top notch and made for an incredible listening experience. Alma Cuervo was captivating as the title character and her delivery brought Evelyn to life. Several times I found myself wanting to go watch all of Evelyn’s old movies and had to remind myself (more than once) that she was, in fact, fictional.

Reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a totally immersive experience, with so many topics that were woven in seamlessly, but never at the expense of the story. If you like a character that is so richly drawn that she begins to feel like a real person, if you enjoy the glamour of old Hollywood, if you want to immerse yourself in a juicy tale that spans decades, pick this one up and prepare to meet Evelyn Hugo.

4.5/5 STARS

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Books That Surprised Me 
Is there a book you thought you’d love, but ended up hating? Was there a book you thought you’d hate but really loved? Major plot twist? Main character ends up with someone you weren’t expecting? Were you expecting a certain something from a certain author and they went completely rogue?


A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas
Sooo not my usual kind of read, but the synopsis of this one appealed to me (and that cover!) so I took a chance. Paid off big time!

The Edge of Jupiter - Lora Richardson
I'm usually wary (i.e. run away screaming) of unsolicited ARCs but this one was the exception to the rule. I loved it!

The Way I Used to Be - Amber Smith
I downloaded this one on audio without knowing much about it - and was surprised by what an impact it made on me. Unforgettable.

Unraveling Oliver - Liz Nugent
Psychological suspense? Something I never pick up. But I was totally captivated by this audio book. 

Royally Screwed - Emma Chase
I was in the mood for light and fluffy and got more than I bargained for. Yes, it was a lot of fun but I was surprised at how emotional it was!

Written in Red - Anne Bishop
Urban fantasy + Me? That's something that had never happened before. But The Others is now one of my favorite series.


Wintersong - S. Jae Jones
Inspired by Labyrinth? Has a Goblin King? Count me in! Unfortunately there was little evidence of Labyrinth, the Goblin King fell flat (sob!), and the story moved at a snails pace.

Up in Flames - Abbi Glines
I loved the Rosemary Beach series. Hardcore. But this last book in the series that I was so excited for? It was like a bad soap opera with even less substance. A slap in the face to the rest of the series.

Reason to Breathe - Rebecca Donovan
It's not that I didn't like this one. It just wasn't (at all) what I was expecting. I anticipated a new adult novel with dark themes; what I got was a YA story filled with high school drama (in addition to some darker themes).

A Thousand Boy Kisses - Tillie Cole
I knew I was going to love this one. I just knew it! Oh, how very wrong I was. It was sooo sappy and sooo overly emotional, every word practically screaming This Is A Sad Book Meant To Make You Cry! So schmaltzy that I practically gagged. I truly disliked it. 

Have you read any of these books?

The Sunday Post #98

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • Vacation has been booked and is 49 days away (not that I'm counting). A week of total R&R and poolside reading sure sounds good right now.

  • I was feeling a bit low this week (dealing with another health issue, though nothing serious) but then this happened. I truly love Winnie the Pooh (I even used one of his quotes for this week's Top Ten Tuesday) and having this to look forward to really lifted my spirits. :) 

Monday, March 5
Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Tuesday, March 6
Top Ten Tuesday:
Favorite Book Quotes

Love and Other Words - Christina Lauren
Loved this one!!

 Half-Blood (Covenant #1) - Jennifer L. Armentrout
Re-reading so I can continue with the series.

The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
So excited for this one - Kristin Hannah is a favorite!

The Smallest Part - Amy Harmon

I listened to all the previous books on audio so, even though I read the ARC of this one, I really want to experience it on audio as well.
Lovers Like Us (Like Us #2) - Krista & Becca Ritchie

Before and Again - Barbara Delinsky
It's been years since I read anything from Barbara Delinsky, 
but the synopsis of this one really captured my interest.

Where I would like to be right now... anyone care to join me?

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!