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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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.

 

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

Review: The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

The Lucky OnesAbout The Lucky Ones

Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: MIRA (February 13, 2018)
They called themselves “the lucky ones”
They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.

Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night — was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?

But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

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, the cover and blurb immediately caught my eye. It sounded super creepy! When I first received the book and read the first page I was a little unsure about my decision to take it on. I decided to set it aside until closer to my tour date. I picked it up with about a week to go before my scheduled date. And then I couldn’t put it down!

I was intrigued by every little turn of events the entire book! First I wondered how a young woman like Allison could get involved in a relationship like she was in. Then I wondered how she could have so few memories of her time in her foster home. And then as she went out to Oregon and her memories came back to her little by little I couldn’t wait to figure out what exactly had happened all those years ago!

I fell in love with each character in their own ways. They all each had a great voice and it was interesting to see them from not only Allison’s perspective but also their own perspectives. They were all so well-developed that at one point I felt like I was right there with them all in the attic, just hanging out and catching up.

This is such an intricate novel with all the secrets of the past revealed little by little. I found it to be extremely easy to read and enjoyable. I couldn’t put it down at times. I wanted to know what happened to the “lucky ones” so many years before. This was a really good novel that I highly, highly, highly recommend! It will definitely be on my favorites list for the year!

Don’t walk …. but run …. to get your copy of this! It does not disappoint!


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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

About Tiffany Reisz

Tiffany Reisz lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer.

Connect with Tiffany

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Seven Deadly Wonders by Matthew Reilly

Seven Deadly Wonders
by Matthew Reilly

Seven Deadly Wonders

Copyright: 2006

Pages: 543

Read: Jan. 22-28, 2018

Rating: 2/5

Source: Paperbackswap

Blurb: A legend of the ancient world decrees that every 4,500 years, a terrible solar event will wreak worldwide destruction … but whoever sets the Golden Capstone atop the Great Pyramid at Giza will avert disaster and gain the ultimate prize: a millennium of world dominance.

Now the Sun is turning once again and nation will battle nation to retrieve the missing Capstone … but a group of small nations, led by super-soldier Jack West Jr., bands together to prevent any one country from attaining this frightening power. Thus the greatest treasure hunt of all time begins – an adrenaline-fueled race on a global battlefield.

From the Colossus of Rhodes to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the Great Egyptian Pyramid itself, unlock the thrills of Seven Deadly Wonders.


Review: This book has been lingering on my shelves for many years, at least 5 I would say. It sounded really good, but I have a feeling the 500+ pages kept me from picking it up to finally read (that and the fact that it’s the start of a new series, like that’s something I really need, lol). But it was a selection from a Goodreads challenge call-out, so I finally picked it up.

So what did I think? Imagine an Indiana Jones movie in book form. Yep, that’s pretty much it. It read fast and was fun, but there was a lot of filler that I think the story could have done without. Yet looking back, I understand why that filler was there – to set up the series. I don’t know. Sometimes I struggle to keep my attention on longer books.

So as I stated, this is the first in a series …. the question remains: will I continue on?! Honestly, I’m not 100% certain. I do have the second (and third) book on my shelf, but I’m not entirely sure I want to continue on. I guess I’ll leave it up in the air at this time.

Either way, it was a fun adventure book. There’s a lot of character development and the writing is good. If it was just a tad shorter it would have been a little more enjoyable for me. But still a good book that I would recommend to those Indiana Jones lovers out there 😉 … and I can always hope this eventually gets made into a movie!!

 

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Eve Dallas, Fiction, Mini Review, R, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES, Stephanie Plum

Mini Reviews: Ceremony in Death & Hard Eight

ceremony-in-deathTitle: Ceremony in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read: Feb. 9-15, 2017
Pages: 310
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  This is the fifth book in the In Death series. I read #4 back in the beginning of 2016. I don’t remember much about it other than that I really liked it. So I was looking forward to dipping back into this series. But this one fell flat for me. It had to deal with Wiccans and witchcraft. Which if you’re a long-time follower of mine, you know that I only sparingly dabble in anything dealing with witchcraft/magic. So my personal feelings on these types of storylines definitely affected my overall opinion of the book. But I will still continue on with the series and hopefully the sixth book will be back on track to what I prefer.


hard-eightTitle: Hard Eight
Author: Janet Evanovich
Read: Feb. 16-24, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  I picked this one up because I needed something light after reading the J.D. Robb book. I read a few of these books last year until I kind of burned out when they started to all feel the same. So I was looking forward to knocking another one of these series books out of the way. Overall it wasn’t a bad book. I will say that Albert Kloughn has to be one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a book in a while. He definitely made the book much better. But seriously …. how many times can Stephanie’s car get blown up? At this point I can’t help but think that Ms.Evanovich needs to get some new ideas for her books – it’s no longer funny when Stephanie’s car gets blown up … it just makes me roll my eyes at this point.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant
by Veronica Roth

Allegiant

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 526

Read: July 29-Aug. 3, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased New

 
Blurb: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


Review: This review is tough because I went into this one with absolutely no recollection of the first two books. Overall, that really affected my understanding and opinion because a lot of things made absolutely no sense. I also didn’t really care for the alternating stories of Tris & Tobias. The other two books weren’t in that format and I just didn’t care for it. Also – I was not impressed by the ending. It made me a little more than irritated.

So I guess while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it definitely could have been made better had I read this one with more memory of the previous two books. But I am glad that I finally finished the trilogy out. Just kind of an “eh” book from me.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.12 REVIEW – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2012
Pages: 525
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 14 – March 23, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 12
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #2

InsurgentBlurb: One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Review: Just last week I finished Divergent. I had picked it up for a Goodreads challenge that was asking us to read outside our normal genres. I never dreamed that I would fall in love with it. I enjoyed it so much so that I immediately went out and purchased a brand new copy of Insurgent (I so rarely buy any book new, so that should say a lot about my feelings). I immediately started reading it, too. Something I also very rarely do.

Then about a quarter of the way through I just about stalled out. This book was not nearly as enjoyable and entertaining as Divergent. But I was determined that I would stick it out and finish it. And I finally did.

And boy am I glad that I did. Because that ending … now I have to get my hands on the last book in the trilogy, Allegiant. I have to know what happens now.

As I stated above, I felt like this book was not up to par with the first book. There was just too much drag in the middle portion of the book for my taste. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like what was going on in places or if it was because I don’t normally read series books back-to-back to avoid burn-out. But I felt like this was a much weaker installment than Divergent. I can only hope that Ms. Roth finishes out the trilogy with a strong bang.

There’s not much else I can say about this book. Based on the last two pages alone, I’m glad that I spent all that time reading the previous 523 pages. Those last two pages gave me hope that just maybe the trilogy will wrap up with a bang.

But then again, most of the reviews on Goodreads say otherwise. I guess I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant ASAP and decide for myself.

 

 

5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.11 REVIEW – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2011
Pages: 487
Rating: 5/5
Read: March 8 – March 13, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 11
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #1

DivergentBlurb: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Review: You may remember me mentioning in my review of Attachments that I had signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one being where we were encouraged to read outside our comfort genres. This is another book that I chose for that challenge.

So what did I think? Honest to goodness, I LOVED this book. I surprised myself by how much I truly enjoyed it. I really took to Tris’s character. And Four. I think I may have had a little bit of a crush on Four by the end of the book.

I think my only complaint about this book is the lack of background. We just jump right in. What happened to put the City in its current state? Why the factions? Why the hatred between the factions? What caused all this discontent? I hope the other two books address this.

This book was about initiations. We got to see all the training that Tris had to go through to become Dauntless. It was unrealistic, to say the least. There’s no way anyone could have survived what they had to go through. Okay, maybe some people could have – I sure wouldn’t have, ha! It’s this training that sets up for whatever is going down. We get a little bit of a preview of what is to come in the last few chapters of the book. But now I’m anxious to know what will happen next!

I am still amazed that I liked this book as much as I did. I liked it so much that I’m going out to buy Insurgent.

Highly recommended.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.10 REVIEW – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments
by Rainbow Rowell

Copyright:2011
Pages: 323
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 4 – March 6, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 10
Format: Print
Source: Purchased online at powells.com
Series: N/A

AttachmentsBlurb: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work email. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious emails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now – reading other people’s email. When he applied to be “Internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers – not writing up a report eery time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained – and captivated – by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say…?


Review: So earlier this year I signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one of those was to read 14 books from the group’s moderators’ favorite genres. Talk about having to really expand my horizons. One of the genres is chick-lit. Not something I read. Ever. And something that made me a little nervous. But I went searching for a chick-lit book that I felt I would be able to handle (i.e. – not throw across the room in total and utter disgust). Somehow I stumbled upon Rainbow Rowell.

Now, I’d have to be in a complete hole to have never heard of Rainbow Rowell. She seems to have taken the book blogosphere by storm since her debut in 2011. And while I will admit that a couple of her books have sounded a little bit interesting to me, I never took the plunge and gave one a try. Until now.

And I can honestly say that I didn’t throw the book across the room in total and utter disgust. But don’t consider me a chick-lit convert just yet, either.

Overall, I enjoyed the first 98% of this book. I had a lot of fun with Beth and Jennifer’s emails. I loved the parts revolving around Lincoln. He was so screwed up it was ridiculous, but I found him to be endearing all the same. I wish I had a girlfriend relationship like Beth and Jennifer (sure, I have friends that I tell certain stuff to, but no one I can really pour my heart and soul out to). Lincoln’s mom is so dysfunctional it’s not even funny – and I could end up being the type of mother she was … not wanting her baby boy to ever leave her.

But then there’s that other 2% that just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was the ending. I. Hated. It. Pure and simple. It made me realize why I don’t read chick-lit. And it really felt at total odds with the rest of the book. It just didn’t work for me. Too cookie-cutter, everything works out for my taste. Just yuck.

So overall I’m glad that I expanded my horizons and read something outside of my comfort zone. And I might even give another Rainbow Rowell book a chance in the future.

I can’t say that I would have really missed anything if I had never read this book. But I can’t say that it was a waste of my time either. It was a decent book for a couple of snowed-in days. But that ending did it no justice in my opinion, and also majorly affected my overall rating of the book.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2014, Review Book

2014.17 REVIEW – Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson

Children of the Revolution
by Peter Robinson

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 2 – 11, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 17
Format:  Print
Source: Publicist for blog tour
Series: Inspector Alan Banks #21

Children of the RevolutionBlurbThe body of a disgraced college lecturer Gavin Miller is found on an abandoned railway line by a woman out walking her dog early one winter morning. In the four years since Miller’s dismissal for sexual misconduct, he’s been living like a hermit, listening to music from his college days and existing as frugally as possible on the outskirts of a small village. So where did he get the five thousand pounds found in his pocket?

Leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks begins to suspect that the victim’s past may be connected to his death. Forty years earlier the dead man attended a university that was a hotbed of militant protest and divisive, bitter politics. And as the seasoned detective well knows, some grudges are never forgotten – or forgiven.

Just as Banks is about to break the case open, his superior warns him to back off or risk losing the promotion he has been promised. Yet Banks isn’t about to stop, even if it means risking his career altogether. He’s certain there’s more to the mystery than meets the eye, and more skeletons to uncover before the case can finally be closed.

CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION is available now at
Amazon | B&N  IndieBound 


Review: I received a copy of this book for free for review purposes in conjunction with a blog tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I read and reviewed my very first Peter Robinson book just last month, Watching the Dark. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Enough so that it made me want to sign up for the blog tour for this most recent installment in the Inspector Banks series.

Overall I liked this one quite a bit. There were a few more revelations regarding the main characters that gave a little bit more insight into their backgrounds. Since I’m not likely to go back and read the entire backlist (hey, 19 books is a lot to commit to), I still have a lot of questions, but things are starting to make a bit more sense the more I read.

As I stated in my review of Watching the Dark, this book is not necessarily a page-turner, thrill-a-minute book. Instead it is meant to be savored. The writing sucked me in and I was entirely wrapped up in what was going on. As I felt with the previous book, I so enjoyed working the case with Banks.

I did have one issue, though. The ending. The way that it occurred (no spoilers), well it just didn’t sit well with my opinion of Inspector Banks’ character. I can’t imagine that he would let things end the way it did. Maybe it’s a sign of what’s to come in future books (that promotion?), but for whatever reason it didn’t feel right to me. Obviously, having only read two of these books, I’m no expert on Banks’ character, it just felt off to me.

All that aside, though, I would definitely recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am definitely looking forward to the next Inspector Banks installment!