Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 400
Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Synopsis from 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 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 through the decades—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.
Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

This book isn't going to be published for another three months, but I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC for review purposes. Written in a style that immediately drew me in, it quickly became one of the most interesting books I've read in awhile.

5/5. This book has a very unique story ling unlike any other book I've read before.
Monique has been contacted to write the biography of a Hollywood icon named Evelyn Hugo. Through their time spent together, Evelyn gives Monique a tell-all of her life and doesn't spare any of the juicy and scandalous details.
I had no problem falling in love with all of the characters. Monique and Evelyn had a bond (albeit rocky) like I haven't seen between characters in awhile. Even the supporting characters were amazing, and I felt the love and bond between every character in the book.
None of it felt rushed, and when I got to the end it was honestly a jaw-dropping ending I couldn't have even imagined.
My heart broke and mended itself multiple times throughout the three days it took me to read it.

This book definitely put Reid on my auto-buy list.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Always Watching by Chevy Stevens

Title: Always Watching
Author+Chevy Stevens
Pages: 338
Type: Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:
She helps people put their demons to rest.

But she has a few of her own…

In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.
When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today?
And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back.
Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape. 

Plot: I've seen a ton of people say that this has been their least favorite Stevens book she's written so far. I've only read Never Let You Go, and this one in my opinion is better than that. I do have to admit that I read it slower than I normally read books, simply because it took quite a bit for me to get into it, but when the suspense finally started happening I had no issues rushing through it.

Nadine. I've seen reviews by people saying that they couldn't put themselves into Nadine's character and feel what she was feeling. I had no problems with this! I also suffer from claustrophobia, and there's a scene (I can't divulge what exactly happens) that I read and I felt immediate anxiety stemming from it! I really did like Nadine, but at times she annoyed me with some of the things she let slide from her brother. She admitted her shortcomings and was willing to realize the mistakes she's made in her life after reflecting on them.
Robbie, her brother, was just hateful in general! I wanted to strangle him on more than one occasion. Although he does have a good reason for his attitude, I still hate how he took his anger out on Nadine.
Aaron Quinn (the cult leader) was the ultimate bad guy. I can't spoil everything, but his techniques to keep the cult behaved blew me away. I can't imagine anyone in real life being as manipulative as this character was, but I know people like Aaron Quinn are out there.
The rest of the supporting characters were at times very frustrating to say the least, but I like that they could evoke feelings out of me. That's what I look for most in a character.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran

Title: How to Build A Girl
Author: Caitlin Moran
Pages: 368
TW: Sex, self-harm

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself.
It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes—but without the dying young bit.
By sixteen, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.
But what happens when Johanna realizes she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

I was recommended this book by my 8th grade teacher. I recall getting really into reading in her class so I'm always excited seeing when she reviews a book or recommends a book to me! They're always so good, and this book was not an exception to that.

The beginning of this book starts out hilarious. I love when a book can pull you in definitively within the first few sentences. We are introduced to a girl named Johanna Morrigan who is, and out of all the words I can think of, crass from the bottom of her heart, and I love her for it.

I did feel as if there were a lot going on in the story, but I also feel like it was intentional of Moran. I recall being a teenager and feelings as if I were in a whirlwind of adventures and drama 24/7, and barely having enough time to breathe through it all. So although Johanna's thoughts seemed to border on the manic side, I can see why Moran would write her character like she has.

I feel like this book should be on every girl or woman's TBR list simply because of how brilliant it was.