4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018

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

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evenlyn Hugo

 

Copyright: 2017

Pages: 388

Read: July 30 – August 3, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Book of the Month Club

 

Blurb: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon 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 is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? 

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious Manhattan apartment, Monique listens in fascination as Evelyn tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s – and, of course, the seven husbands along the way – Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear there her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.


Review: What. A. Book. And not necessarily something that is my normal reading, but wow … was it a fun, juicy read! I’m definitely kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelf for the past year!

I found this book to be intriguing from the beginning. We see Monique meet Evelyn and it’s painfully obvious that something big is going to eventually be revealed. And it’s not going to be something easy to accept, either.

I have no idea that in less than a week, Evelyn Hugo will finish her story, and I’ll find out what this has all been about, and I will hate her so much that I’ll be truly afraid I might kill her.” pg. 224

I had a lot of fun reading this one. Throughout reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the marriages and various relationships mentioned didn’t have some bit of historical truth to them. It was interesting to imagine comparing Evelyn to some of the most famous actresses of the 1950-1960s. I can’t help but think there was some serious inspiration there!

Overall, a good book. I think a lot of different readers will find this one appealing. It’s a historical fiction with a little chick-lit/romance flair. As primarily a thriller/mystery reader, I was quite intrigued throughout the entire book and couldn’t wait to see how Evelyn would wrap this all up. It was a good fun romp through some of Hollywood’s golden years!

Definitely recommended!

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First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, August 14, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring a book that I was really looking forward to! It was one of my July BOTM selections. I had read and LOVED Final Girls earlier this year and was eagerly anticipating this one coming out, so I was absolutely thrilled to see that it was a BOTM selection!

The Last Time I Lied

This is how it begins.

You wake to sunlight whispering through the trees just outside the window. It’s a faint light, weak and gray at the edges. Dawn still shedding the skin of night. Yet it’s bright enough to make you roll over and face the wall, the mattress creaking beneath you. Within that roll is a moment of disorientation, a split second when you don’t know where you are. It happens sometimes after a deep, dreamless slumber. A temporary amnesia. You see the fine grains of the pine-plank wall, smell the traces of campfire smoke in your hair, and know exactly where you are.

Camp Nightingale.

I took this book on my plane ride to Vegas and I was immediately hooked! I’m now about 3/4 of the way through and I can’t wait to get to the ending to see what happened! Look for my review of this one next week!

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018, S

Review: I’ll Be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky
by Marisa de los Santos

I'll Be Your Blue Sky

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 309

Read: July 19 – 24, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Clare Hobbes is tying the knot with a bona fide catch: a handsome, smart, hardworking lawyer who adores her. Zach makes a perfect egg over easy, refuses to go anywhere without her, reads the same books she does, and tells her he will never have a happy day for the rest of his life if they aren’t together. So why is she so jittery? Is it just prewedding nerves? She and Zach met a year ago, and since the moment he popped the question, her life has been like one long, breathless fall. How, Clare wonders, did she get here?

On the morning of the ceremony, the bride-to-be meets a woman named Edith Herron. During the course of their spontaneous yet profound conversation, Edith gives Clare the courage to do what she longs to do: follow her heart. Three weeks later, Clare learns that Edith has died, and that the elderly woman has given her another unexpected gift – the space to discover what she truly wants – an old house along the Delaware shore.

Nestled in crepe myrtle and hydrangea and perched at the marshy edge of a bay, Blue Sky House once opened its doors to seaside vacationers. Though the rambling home has been empty for years, Clare instantly feels a deep connection to Edith inside its walls, which are decorated with old photographs taken by her and her long-dead husband, Joseph. While exploring the house, Clare finds two mysterious ledgers hidden beneath the kitchen sink. Edith, it seems, was no ordinary woman – and Blue Sky House no ordinary place.

With the help of her mother, Viviana; her surrogate mother, Cornelia Brown; and her former boyfriend and best friend, Dev Tremain, Clare begins to piece together the story of Blue Sky House – a decades-old mystery more complex and tangled than she could have imagined. As she gradually peels back the layers of Edith’s life, Clare uncovers a tale of dark secrets, passionate love, heartbreaking sacrifice, and incredible courage. She also makes startling discoveries about herself: where she’s come from, where she’s going, what she wants, and who she truly loves.

Shifting between the 1950s and the present day and told in the alternating voices of Edith and Clare, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky is vintage Marisa de los Santos – an emotionally evocative novel that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart and reminds us that in our darkest times, the people dearest to us are the light that illuminates our lives.


Review: This is the August selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. Once again this is a book that I would never have picked up on my own. In fact, I had never even heard of Marisa de los Santos before this book was announced as August’s read. However, I was willing to give it a go (MMD hasn’t let me down yet…) and was thrilled to be able to get it through my local library.

I was not expecting to be so swept up in this story! It was the perfect blend of present day and flashbacks – a structure that doesn’t always work for me. I do want to say that this is technically the conclusion of a trilogy. That being said, I found it to read quite well as a standalone. I had no trouble at all falling in with all of the characters, and if I had to guess the only thing that I would have “missed” is how Clare and Zach got together to begin with. But the way this book is set up, it worked well enough to already be at the wedding without much background of the courtship.

I feel like Marisa de los Santos is an extremely gifted author. She definitely has a beautiful way of words. That said, I will say that the only thing keeping this book from having a 5 star rating from me was the stretch that it sometimes took. It’s hard to explain this without giving away the whole book, but basically the way the characters were all connected in the end was a little far-fetched to me. It was almost too cookie cutter, happily ever after for my tastes. I had to really push down the “yeah, right ::eyeroll::” feelings at the very end. I guess I just prefer things to be a little messier than this one ended up being. That one little criticism is really all I have for the entire book though.

If you want a happy, feel-good story this will definitely fit the bill for you. It was fun to work out all the questions that Clare was left with in the Blue Sky House. I definitely enjoyed it and will be looking forward to exploring more of Marisa de los Santos’ works in the future!

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, August 7, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring one of my BOTM picks from 2017. I have let it sit on my shelves for more than a year … crazy!!

The Seven Husbands of Evenlyn Hugo

“Can you come into my office?”

I look around at the desks beside me and then back at Frankie, trying to confirm to whom, exactly, she’s talking. I point to myself. “Do you mean me?”

Frankie has very little patience. “Yes, Monique, you. That’s why I said, ‘Monique, can you come into my office?”

“Sorry, I just heard the last part.”

Frankie turns. I grab my notepad and follow her.

When I first read that I was quite eager to find out what Monique was walking into 🙂 I sure hope that you come back next week to read my review of this one!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 6, 2018

Mailbox Mondays

So as part of my birthday gift to myself, I signed up for two new-to-me book subscription services! I got three books in from those, I also received my BOTM selection. So without further ado, here’s what made it into my mailbox this past week:

I’ll start first with my BOTM selection:

Sweet Little LiesTwenty-six-year-old Cat Kinsella overcame a troubled childhood to become a detective constable with the Metropolitan Police Force, but she’s never been able to banish the ghosts of her past or reconcile with her estranged father. Work provides a refuge from her family dysfunction, but she relies on a caustic wit to hide her vulnerability from her colleagues.

When a mysterious phone call links a recent strangling victim to Maryanne Doyle, a teenage girl who went missing in Ireland eighteen years earlier, the news is discomforting for Cat. Though she was only a child when her family met Maryanne on a family vacation, right before she vanished, Cat knew that her charming but dissolute father wasn’t telling the truth when he denied knowing anything about the girl’s disappearance. Did he do something to Maryanne all those years ago? Could he have something to do with her current case?

Determined to close the two cases, Cat rushes headlong into the investigation, crossing ethical lines and trampling professional codes. But the deeper she digs, the darker her secrets she may uncover…


Ok, so first I will start with my Page 1 Books subscription box! They have many different genre choices (I went with “For the Sleuth”) and offer 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions (I chose 3 months). What’s great is that you fill out a little survey (be sure to include your Goodreads TBR link!) and then they take your answers and personally pick out a book to send you based on your reading tastes. I specifically asked for books that are lesser known standalones. Even better is that if they send you a book you already own, have already read, or just don’t like it … they’ll immediately send you a new one to “make it right.” So when I opened this one I was super excited! It looks really good!!

Invitation to a Bonfire.jpgIn the 1920s, Zoya Andropova, a young refugee from the Soviet Union, finds herself in the alien landscape of an elite all-girls New Jersey boarding school. Having lost her family, her home, and her sense of purpose, Zoya must now endure the malice her peers heap on scholarship students and her new country’s paranoia about Russian spies. With the arrival of visiting writer and fellow Russian emigre Leo Orlov – whose books Zoya has privately obsessed over for years – her luck seems poised to change, but the relationship that forms between them will put Zoya, Leo, and his calculating wife, Vera, all at risk.

Grappling with class distinctions, national allegiance, and ethical fidelity – not to mention the powerful magnetism of sex – Invitation to a Bonfire investigates how one’s identity is formed, irrevocably, through a series of momentary decisions, including how to survive, who to love, and whether to pay the complicated price of happiness.


And finally, I also received my first bookcase.club subscription box! They also have different genre options (I selected Thrill Seeker) and offer 3, 6 or 12 month  options (I went with 3 months). I received two books from them:

The Ice Beneath HerWinter’s chill has descended on Stockholm as police arrive at the scene of a shocking murder. An unidentified woman lies beheaded in a posh suburban home – a brutal crime made all the more disturbing by its uncanny resemblance to an unsolved killing ten years earlier. But this time there’s a suspect: the charismatic and controversial chain-store CEO Jesper Orre, who owns the home but is nowhere to be found.

To homicide detectives, Peter Lindgren and Manfred Olsson, nothing about the suave, high-profile businessman – including a playboy reputation and rumors of financial misdeeds – suggests he conceals the dark heart and twisted mind of a cold-blooded killer. In search of a motive, Lindgren and Olson turn to the brilliant criminal profiler Hanne Lagerlind-Schon. Once a valued police asset, now marooned in unhappy retirement and a crumbling marriage, she’s eager to exercise her keen skills again – and offer the detectives a window into the secret soul of Jesper Orre.

But they’re not the only ones searching. Two months before, Emma Bohman, a young clerk at Orre’s company chanced to meet the charming chief executive, and romance swiftly bloomed. Almost as quickly as the passionate affair ignited, it was over when Orre inexplicably disappeared. One staggering misfortune after another followed, leaving Emma certain that her runaway lover was to blame and transforming her confusion and heartbreak into anger.

Now, pursuing the same mysterious man for different reasons, Emma and the police are destined to cross paths in a chilling dance of obsession, vengeance, madness, and love gone hellishly wrong.

The Wolf of Sarajevo.jpgTwenty years after the Srebrenica massacre that claimed the life of his friend and colleague, Eric Petrosian is back in Sarajevo at the American embassy, and the specter of war once again looms over the Balkans. The Bosnian Serb leader, who had for a time been seeking a stable peace, has returned to his nationalist roots and is threatening to pull Bosnia apart in a bloody struggle for control … and behind him a shadowy mafia figure is pulling the strings.

Stuck between an upright politician seeking to make her name by brokering peace in the region and an old CIA contact – and former lover – who begs for his help locating some sensitive information, Eric is dragged deeper into the maelstrom. What he uncovers is a plot of blackmail and ruthless ambitions, and he’s faced with an impossible choice: to take the path of expedience or to risk his life for what’s right.

Rich with bone-chilling tension and penetrating insight, The Wolf of Sarajevo is another masterwork of suspense from an author who’s been in the trenches of international diplomacy for over a quarter century.

 

Monthly Wrap Up

July 2018 Wrap Up

Well … my reading definitely picked up this month! Of course awesome selections definitely helped 🙂 Here’s what I read:

Our Kind of CrueltyTrick or Treat MurderGeorge Washington in the American RevolutionA Vision of MurderLost LightI'll Be Your Blue SkyWhat Remains of Her

Overall a really good month! Some good books in there!! As usual, clicking on the book cover will take you to my review, with the exception of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky, that’ll post next week. … the best book of the month is a three-way tie between Our Kind of Cruelty, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky, and What Remains of Her.

Here’s a quick round up of what all was posted on the blog in July:

July was a very good month. I celebrated my birthday :D. I also received the Garmin watch I had been coveting for running! It’s really cool! I also received an Instant Pot. I haven’t tried it out yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

We got a couple of date nights. The first we just stayed at home and chilled. It was kind of spur of the moment and to be honest we didn’t really feel like doing much. The second one we had tickets for the Kenny Chesney concert at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Back in 2002 Kenny Chesney was my first concert! I was really looking forward to seeing him again! Overall he still puts on a good show … but Thomas Rhett was really the star of the night! He’s amazing! I would see him again in a heartbeat!! We stayed the night up there and then spent most of Sunday hitting all the malls. I got a new purse and some shirts with my birthday money. We had a really nice time, it was nice to be able to shop and take our time … and not wrangle children 🙂

Garrett did a basketball camp this month. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a basketball star (he’s not likely to be very tall) but he was really bummed when I didn’t sign him up for basketball season back in January, so I figured I could send him to the camp to see if it’s something he’s interested in. He seemed to like it. I’m still in denial that summer is almost over! A week and a half until he goes back … for FIRST GRADE! That seems so old 😥 He’s super ready though … he loves school. Although he may not love school after he finds out how much work 1st grade is in comparison to kindergarten. Although I don’t know, his kindergarten teacher was much more work oriented than most of the other kindergarten teachers were. Which was a good thing for my child, ha!

Well that’s about all I’ve got. By the time you read this we’ll be in Las Vegas for a quick weekend getaway. We love Vegas (we got married out there!) and try to get back there at least once a year. We have tickets to see Shania Twain. It’s going to be a very quick trip since Nathan changed jobs we had to change our flights and shorten the trip. But it’s ok… you don’t sleep in Vegas anyway 🙂 And then it’ll be time to settle back into the school routine. We definitely thrived on that routine; summer has us all a little out of whack.

Anyway .. until next time, happy reading!

 

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018, Review Book, TLC Book Tours

Review: What Remains of Her by Eric Rickstad

What Remains of Her.jpgAbout What Remains of Her

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (July 24, 2018)

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girlscomes this chilling, harrowing thriller set in rural Vermont about a recluse who believes the young girl he’s found in the woods is the reincarnation of his missing daughter, returned to help him solve her and his wife’s disappearance.

I won’t say a word. Cross my heart and hope to die…

Jonah Baum, a professor of poetry at a local college in Vermont, sees his ordinary life come tumbling down when his wife and young daughter vanish from their home. No evidence of a kidnapping. No sign of murder. No proof that Rebecca didn’t simply abandon her marriage. Just Sally’s crude and chilling drawings, Jonah’s little lies, and the sheriff’s nagging fears that nothing is what it seems.

For Sally’s best friend, Lucinda, it’s something else. She trusts in Sally not to just disappear, not after they’ve shared so many secrets—especially about the woods and what they saw there. But she’ll never tell. No one would believe her anyway.

As the search for Rebecca and Sally intensifies, and as suspicion falls on Jonah, the disappearances become more relentlessly haunting than anyone can imagine. Because what’s seen in the light of day is not nearly as terrifying as what remains hidden in the dark…


Review:

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.

When I was first pitched this book I was immediately drawn to the cover and description. I had never read anything by Mr. Rickstad, but I knew that I really wanted to give this one a try.

And boy oh boy … is it a book! I found it to be so compulsively readable! I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what had really happened all those years ago … as well as how the current happenings were going to unfold. There were times that I really thought Jonah had completely lost his mind and was hallucinating everything.

At 400+ pages I expected to take longer to read this one that I did. But I couldn’t get to the end fast enough. And let’s just talk about that ending … wow. It’s one that I never. saw. coming. There were twists and turns that I saw and twists and turns that I never imagined. It was such a good book. I loved it!

Highly recommended! And now I can’t wait to explore Mr. Rickstad’s backlist … and I’m eagerly awaiting what he comes up with next!


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Meridith Levinson

About Eric Rickstad

Eric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Silent Girls, Lie in Wait, and Reap, novels heralded as intelligent and profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. He lives in his home state of Vermont with his wife, daughter, and son.

Find out more about Eric at his website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

 

tlc tour host

First chapter, Meme

First Chapter, First Paragraph, July 31, 2018

First Chapter

This week I’m featuring Modern Mrs. Darcy’s August book club selection. As usual, it’s outside my comfort zone… but so far I haven’t been let down by the selections, so I’m eager to dig in!

I'll Be Your Blue Sky.jpg

It was what she would remember always: how the second she stepped inside, before she’d so much as taken her first full breath of new air, she was struck by the feeling – the understanding, the certainty – however improbable, that the house was Joseph. Not merely that it felt like something he would choose or that she saw his handiwork everywhere – fresh paint, thick as cream; re-finished pine floors; green apples in a glass bowl – but that it was him, sturdy and open, light swooping in through every window, forthright and decent and kind. She would not have supposed that a house could be kind, but this one was.

Hm.. I’m not entirely sure about this one. It seems rather “flowery” with the descriptions … that’s not necessarily my cup of tea. I’ll read on, but I can’t say that this intro grabbed me immediately. What about you?!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Harry Bosch, RATING, Read in 2018, SERIES

Review: Lost Light by Michael Connelly

Lost Light
by Michael Connelly

Lost Light

 

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 385

Read: July 13 – 18, 2018

Rating: 4/5

Source: Grandmother

 

Blurb: The vision has haunted him for four years – a young woman lying crumpled in death, her hand outstretched in silent supplication. Harry Bosch was taken off the Angella Benton murder case when the production assistant’s death was linked with the violent theft of two million dollars from a movie set. Both files were never closed. Now retired from the L.A.P.D., Bosch is determined to find justice for Angella. Without a badge to open doors and strike fear into the guilty, he’s on his own. And even in the face of an opponent more powerful and ruthless than any he’s ever encountered, Bosch is not backing down.  


Review: This is the 9th book in the Harry Bosch series. I really need to read these quicker than one a year. I distinctly remember how the 8th book ended, with Harry’s retirement from the LAPD. And I was eager to see where he went from there. So I was anxious to finally get around to this book to see how he was faring in retirement. I was not disappointed!

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. It had an interesting storyline and I found it to move pretty quickly. Bosch is so not tech savvy and it left me chuckling more than once – and it definitely reminded me of my father-in-law!! There was also a very interesting revelation at the end of the book that has me looking forward to the 10th installment!

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what case Harry finds himself involved in next … as well as where his personal life goes from here. I hope I get to book #10 sooner rather than later!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: A Vision of Murder by Victoria Laurie

A Vision of Murder
by Victoria Laurie

A Vision of Murder

 

Copyright: 2005

Pages: 296

Read: July 8 – 12, 2018

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: When Abby gets roped into investing in a fixer-upper, she has no idea she’ll go from real estate mogul to real-life ghostbuster. After the deal is closed, phantom inhabitants of the house replay a violent night from long ago that ended in the murder of a beautiful blonde. The only way to evict the house’s spectral tenants – and save Abby’s handyman from flying drills – is to uncover the dead woman’s identity and solve her murder.

Aided by her boyfriend, sexy FBI agent Dutch Rivers, Abby discovers the key to the puzzle is a hidden treasure lost since World War II. Unfortunately, Abby’s not the only one intent on finding it. As she gets closer to the truth, a madman shadows her every move. Now a race is on to find the treasure and solve the mystery – and only the winner will survive…


Review: This is the 3rd book in the Abby Cooper Psychic Eye series. I had read and enjoyed the first two so much that I immediately ordered the next three from Paperbackswap … but then I let them just sit. So I was glad when this one came up for a call-out on a Goodreads challenge! I was ready to get back in with Abby and see what kind of trouble she found herself in this time.

Overall I’m a little conflicted on this one. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I didn’t really care for the overall storyline – with the World War II hidden treasure and ghosts. That just didn’t work for me, but paranormal can be very hit or miss with me. So it’s not surprising that the storyline wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea.

I also noticed how angry Abby seemed to be in this one. At times I felt like she was purposefully ticking off Dutch, her boyfriend. It just got to be repetitive and annoying. I can understand that things didn’t go as planned with their planned vacation and then there was a lot of togetherness. But if they intend to have a future together, they’re going to have to figure out how to live with each other a little bit better.

So while this one wasn’t necessarily my favorite so far, I’m still looking forward to getting to the 4th book in the future!