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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!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes

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

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Favorite Book Quotes 
Welcome to this week's Top Ten Tuesday, where I prove what a rebel I am by sharing not ten but twelve of my favorite book quotes. #totalbadass

But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.
The 5th Wave, Rick Yancey

So I’m not about to apologize for loving all these things about you, no matter the reasons or the circumstances behind them. And no, I don’t need days, or weeks, or months to think about why I love you. It’s an easy answer for me. I love you because of you.
because of
about you.
Point of Retreat, Colleen Hoover

Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood.
(Note: This happens to be my favorite quote ever.)
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, Oscar Wilde

You look so blindingly cute right now, I feel like I need to make a pinhole in a piece of paper just to look at you.
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

When the day shall come that we do part, if my last words are not “I love you’, ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.
The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon

I would always rather be happy than dignified.
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

I know what I think, but people don’t want you to say what you think. They want you to say what they think. And knowing what that is isn’t easy.
A List of Cages, Robin Roe

I haven’t had a very good day. I think I might still be hung over and everyone’s dead and my root beer’s gone.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black

From now on I will only address people by nodding at them.

That’s stupid, why would you do that?

Because it says that ‘I am a badass and I recognize that you, too, are a badass.’
City of Glass, Cassandra Clare

She “loved me” in quotations.
She kissed me in bold.
I TRIED TO KEEP HER in all caps.
She left with an ellipsis…
November 9, Colleen Hoover

You love me. Real or not real?
I tell him, “Real.”
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
“Pooh” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne

Have you read any of these books?

Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Series: The Others #6

Genres: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Format: eARC

Source: NetGalley & Berkley Publishing

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

I have been eagerly awaiting this latest installment in The Others series and I'm happy to say that it did not disappoint!

In Lake Silence, Bishop leaves the Lakeside Courtyard and the residents I've come to know and love and sets this latest tale in the small village of Sproing. Human inhabited... but not human controlled. Surrounded by the Wild Country, where The Others have free rein, Sproing is now home to Vicki DeVine. Hoping to turn the property she received in her divorce settlement into a successful business, things take a turn when her lodger finds a dead body. And things certainly take off from there.

There's all new cast of characters in Lake Silence and Bishop spun her magic and made each one unique, quirky and full of personality. From Vicki, still struggling after years in an emotionally abusive marriage, to Wayne Grimshaw, the cop called in from a neighboring town who is quickly embroiled in the apparent murder, to Julian Farrow, a former cop now running a small bookshop and who has an uncanny sense about the area around him. There's the charming and almost childlike Aggie Crowgard, Vicki's lodger who quickly becomes an important part of the story and whose constant search for "shiny" was always amusing. 

And let's not forget The Others. Those seen - like Aggie, and like Ilya Sanguinati, Vicki's vampire attorney - and those unseen. Those that live in the wild, those that are heard or felt or even sensed. Bishop has a way of imparting just how lethal The Others truly are without ever making them the "bad guys." In fact, with their strong sense of right and wrong, their swift justice, and their loyalty to those who deserve it, it is most often the humans who show a lack of humanity and are doing the most harm.

I was thoroughly invested in Lake Silence. From the characters, to the mystery, to the world building, Bishop totally captured my imagination and kept me glued to my Kindle as the story unfolded. While Lake Silence can easily be read as a stand-alone, I highly recommend grabbing the previous books and immersing yourself fully in the world of The Others. Meanwhile, I'll be ready and waiting for the next book in this addictive series!


Do you enjoy urban fantasy?