BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP // VOLUME 2 ISSUE 16

A review and rating of the last 5 books I read and a look into my TBR list for books to come

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: July 2017
Genre: historical fiction, romance, LGBT
Method: paperback borrowed from TPL

Let’s just state the obvious, this book has an extreme cult following with mega, insane hype. The #1 question – is it worth the hype? Undoubtedly, yes.

The story opens with a news article, which for me, is a huge turn on. If there is one thing I love in books, of any genre, it’s a multi-format approach for the story telling. In The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, we get snippets from tabloid and magazine articles intermixed with the conversational interview between main character, Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo and unknown journalist, Monique Grant.

This book likely would have been a 5 star read if it weren’t for booktok and bookstagram spoiling the plot. I wish, wish, wish I could have read without knowing! I was truly surprised by the big reveal tying Evelyn and Monique together. This is my plea, TJR I need a follow up story surrounding the lives and love between Harry and John. Then and only then, I can die happy.

November 9
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: November 2015
Genre: romance, new adult, contemporary
Method: audiobook via TPL

I liked this book, I did. The audiobook was great, really liked the dual narrators. It was intensely entertaining and surprising. The plot was interesting, the plot twists were immaculate which literally had me screaming in my car with not one, not two, but three jaw dropping moments.

But. Buuut. This story is incredibly problematic.

Like what the actual fuck. Truly, what the fuck.

The male main character, Ben, is consistently objectifying, controlling, abusing, and manipulating Fallon, the female main character. When Ben remarks, “I can’t believe this girl found it in her heart to forgive me” I lost it – YOU FUCKING THINK?! Your dumbass actions nearly killed her!!!!!!!!!!! Immediately no.

Don’t take my 2 star rating to mean that I hated the book, because I really didn’t. Colleen Hoover knows how to write one hell of a problematic story. I feel like I could justify a star rating anywhere from 1 to 5. If ratings were based on entertainment alone, it’d be a 5 star, but I just can’t justify a higher rating given Ben’s character. 2 stars.
Buzzword Readathon: December selection

Somebody’s Daughter
Author: Ashley C. Ford
Publication Date: June 2021
Genre: autobiography, memoir
Method: audiobook via TPL

I first came to hear of Ashley C. Ford from a podcast interview with Chelsea Fagan of The Financial Diet (episode linked here) and was drawn in immediately by her soothing voice and calm persona. The episode touches on topics such as money, shame, race, poverty, socioeconomic status, and childhood trauma as Ashley grew up having an incarcerated father. I’ve come to appreciate how effortlessly and eloquently Ashley speak about these difficult topics – her vulnerability is inspiring.

Ashley’s memoir was incredibly written and powerfully moving. While I will never claim to be able to understand Ashley’s life struggles or experience as a poor black girl, I could relate to her childhood in some sense that I grew up only 50 minutes from her hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Listening to Ashley read aloud and share her story reminded me of the short stories found in a favorite book from earlier this year, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw.

The Holiday Swap
Author: Maggie Knox
Publication Date: October 2021
Genre: holiday, romance
Method: paperback borrowed from TPL

This story was totally fine and dandy, a great quick little holiday romance covering the story of twin sisters who swap places during the Christmas season. Nothing wrong with it, just nothing super spectacular either. If this became a Hallmark movie, I would definitely indulge. A holiday romance is likely never going to get a 5 star rating from me. Romances in general likely will never get a 5 star rating – unless you are Emily Henry, to be honest.

Would recommend if you’re in the mood for a food-centric, holiday story!

The Last Thing He Told Me
Author: Laura Dave
Publication Date: May 2021
Genre: mystery, fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

My plan was to read this in 2022 given how much hype it’s gotten recently with the news of the movie adaption starring Jennifer Garner and winning the Goodreads Choice Award for best mystery & thriller in 2021. But, when 2 of my coworkers both read the book in a matter of days and both rated it 5 stars, I knew I had to get to it immediately.

I’d heard good things about the audiobook and went that route, which was a great decision – the audiobook was excellent. I was drawn in by the story immediately. So much so that I got through 70% of the story in the first day listening during my daily work commute and also while at the gym later that night.

I loved the overall plot and the mystery surrounding Owen’s disappearance and Hannah’s investigation into his past. I was obsessed with the story and the adventure the reader had gone on up until the point of Hannah meeting Owen’s brother-in-law and then father-in-law, and that’s when my enjoyment took a complete nose dive. Why, you may wonder? Because the second the story crossed into mob/mafia/organized crime territory – immediately no.

Immediately no.

If there is one thing I absolutely hate in mystery, thriller, or crime novels, it’s the mafia and/or mob. I just find it lazy and boring. There’s a million and one other ways to make a story thrilling and interesting that doesn’t involve organized crime. In the end, I was left feeling disappointed. I would definitely recommend this book to others, but I just didn’t care for the direction the story took after the half way point. Author Laura Dave has hinted at a possible sequel, which I would pick up out of curiosity.

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


One Reply to “BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP // VOLUME 2 ISSUE 16”

  1. You always offer a really great variety of books! I have been on the hunt for exciting escape reads so I think I have to add “The Last Thing He Told Me” to my list – thank you. Not sure if you’re looking for new books (you always seem to have plenty on the TBR pile – lol.. But just in case – I found a really fantastic romantic suspense novel – “Dark Truths” by Tess Thompson (https://sisterswritingcrime.blogspot.com/). It’s a part of the Angel Fall series but it can 100% be read on its’ own. Horror fiction author, Peyton, and county Sheriff, Jonas, meet at a bar and have an instant connection. However, both were going through some devastating personal issues so the timing was definitely off. Fast forward to the murder of Peyton’s dear friend and fellow author, Cecil, and guess who’s on the case? Not only that, Jonas knew Cecil too. Mix in a local psychic (one of my favorite characters) confirming that Cecil was murdered and a whole lot of shocking twists and turns along the way this was an extremely addictive book from start to finish. This is the perfect cozy winter read. If you check it out I would love to know your thoughts!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: