Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review: The Second Chance Café in Carlton Square


A few months ago, HarperCollins started a campaign asking #WhoIsLilly. Lilly Bartlett was a debut author but she was the pseudonym for another, more established author. I took part in the campaign, tweeting out clues over the course of week or so, until the big reveal was made. Lilly Bartlett, author of the new book, The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square, is actually Michele Gorman! I've been reading Gorman's books on and off throughout the years so it was so much fun to take part in the campaign. I never did manage to read the first Lilly book but did dive into The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square.

Here's the synopsis via Goodreads:
One chance isn't always Enough
Everyone expects great things from Emma Billings, but when her future gets derailed by an unexpected turn of events, she realizes that getting back on track means traveling in a different direction.
She finds it in the closed-down pub on Carlton Square. Summoning every ounce of ingenuity, and with the help of her friends and family, she opens the Second Chance Café. The charity training business is meant to keep vulnerable kids off the streets and (hopefully) away from the Metropolitan Police, and her new employees are full of ideas, enthusiasm ... and trouble. They'll need as much TLC as the customers they’re serving.
This ragtag group of chancers have to make a go of a business they know nothing about, and they do get some expert help from an Italian who's in love with the espresso machine and a professional sandwich whisperer who reads auras, but not everyone is happy to see the café open. Their milk keeps disappearing and someone is canceling the cake orders, but it's when someone commits bloomicide on all their window boxes that Emma realizes things are serious. Can the café survive when NIMBY neighbors and the rival café owner join forces to close them down? Or will Emma’s dreams fall as flat as the cakes they’re serving?
While you don't necessarily have to read the first book about Emma, I would suggest it. I wasn't really confused about her life or anything like that but I wish I had been able to read how she and her now-husband Daniel, met and got married. I also suspect that would have given me even more insight into Emma's character instead of meeting her as she was a mother and trying to fit in opening a business around raising twins.

This novel is definitely a rom-com with more lighthearted laughs and silly scenarios than actual depth, but there is so much heart in this book that the seemingly superficial nature of the story doesn't really matter.

I'm not totally sure why Bartlett chose to start the story in the present, go back in the past, and then work her way forwards to explain the story. It worked just fine but I don't know if I necessarily needed to know (other than from the synopsis) that someone was sabotaging her business before I learned how and why she was opening the cafe.

I did love that Emma was so committed to her trainees. She had two - one teenage boy and one teenage girl. They had had a rough upbringing and at least the girl, Lou, has a record (she'd been caught stealing). Emma's a bit hesitant about the teens but her heart is so big that she really wants to help them succeed. It's equal parts sweet, funny, and frustrating to watch as she trains these kids and tries to give them the tools they'll need to succeed in their future.

The Second Chance Cafe in Carlton Square is a quick and sweet read that's for anyone looking for a fun and lovely story. It'll make you smile and cringe, and probably start hunting for a cafe in your neighbourhood that's just like Emma's. I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for that cafe - and for Lilly Bartlett's next book!

*I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: The Big Life


I just turned 30 this year and sometimes think I'm having the longest quarter-life crisis ever. I still don't know what I want to be when I "grow up" so when I had the opportunity to review The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be, I thought, hey, maybe this can help me get my act together. Ann Shoket's book obviously isn't magical so I didn't finish it and immediately know what I need to do to have my Big Life but it certainly gave me a few things to think about to help me get on that path to being a Badass Babe.

Here's the (very long) description of the book, courtesy of Goodreads:
Millennial women are changing what it means to be powerful and successful in the world―for everyone. Forever. You want The Big Life―that delicious cocktail of passion, career, work, ambition, respect, money, and a monumental relationship. And you want it on your own terms. Forget climbing some corporate ladder, you want a career with twists and turns and adventure. For you, success only matters if it’s meaningful. Ann Shoket knows the evolving values of young women more than anyone. She’s the voice behind the popular Badass Babes community, a sisterhood of young, hungry, ambitious women who are helping each other through the most complex issues around becoming who you’re meant to be. As the trailblazing editor-in-chief of Seventeen for the better part of a decade, Shoket led provocative conversations that helped young women navigate the tricky terrain of adolescence and become smart, confident, self-assured young women. Now that they are adding muscle to the frame work of their lives, she’s continuing the conversation with The Big Life.
The Big Life is packed with actionable guidance combined with personal advice from high-profile millennial women who have already achieved tremendous success, plus intimate conversations with a cast of compelling characters and Shoket’s own stories on her quest for The Big Life. You’ll learn to tackle all of the issues on heavy rotation in your mind such as:
  • How to craft a career that’s also a passion.
  • How to get respect from a boss who thinks you’re a lazy, entitled, and self-obsessed millennial
  • Why you need a “squad” of people who support you as you build your Big Life
  • How a side hustle will make you smarter, hotter, and more in control of your destiny.
  • Why work/life balance is a sham and you need to embrace the mess.
  • How to find a partner whose eyes light up when you talk about your ambition.
Written in Shoket’s friendly and authoritative style, The Big Life will help you recognize your power, tap into your ambition, and create your own version of The Big Life.
While there's no real age limit on this book, or searching for and having The Big Life, I think it's ever so slightly geared towards younger Millennials. Nowhere was that more obvious than on the very first page of the introduction as Shoket explained where The Big Life starts - in your bedroom at 16 years old. Shoket's version of this teen dreamed of being a digital influencer and imagined an Instagram-worthy first apartment. I had hardly mastered the Internet at 16 and Facebook wasn't even a thing yet (to be fair, it would be founded a year after I turned 16), let alone Instagram. But all that is ok. I'm still a Millennial and the stereotypes this generation fights against are ones I have to fight against too. 

Shoket is a huge believer that women can do bigger and better things if we help each other. I love that. It makes so much more sense than trying to take down another woman on social media or not assisting a co-worker when she has the opportunity to totally kick ass. Building up the females around you isn't going to hurt you. It can only help. Of course, that's easier said than done but it's definitely a thought to keep firmly in mind.

Something I found pretty interesting was when Shoket explained that Carrie Bradshaw's life and version of "having it all" has completely changed for today's young women. How we get ahead in life and in our careers is totally different than it was for the women in Sex and the City and everyone else in that generation. 

When you read this book you'll most likely find sections that really resonate and others that don't reflect your life at all. For me, I wanted to focus more on the career and side hustle sections of this book than the relationship and family side of things. I have an amazing boyfriend and we don't plan to have kids so there's no concern about pausing my career to pop out babies. But I don't really have a career to pause anyway, which is my problem. Sure, I have a job that keeps the bills paid but I'm still looking to be able to use my passions for the majority of my time instead of trying to fit them in around a 40-hour work week. 

There's a lot of Real Talk in this book and, for an introvert like me who hates criticism, it's hard to take a look at your own life and pick out what you could be doing better. There's nothing I'm doing wrong, per se, and Shoket definitely isn't saying anyone's current life is wrong, but I could be hustling more to help get me closer to that Big Life. On the flip side, Shoket also warns against comparing your life to those around you. You know you do it when you scroll through social media...I definitely do, especially when I've had a rough day or week. You also know that what's posted online is the shiniest version. You should be happy for your friends and jealousy shouldn't enter the picture. Instead, focus on how that woman has got to where she is. You probably didn't notice the hustle going on behind the scenes before she got to this point. I'm not saying I'm great at this but I'm definitely going to make a point of thinking about how those women - who seem to have it all together - got to where they are and how I can use their experiences for my own hustle.

Some people might find it odd that Shoket, who is in her 40s, is writing a book on how to kick ass at being a Millennial woman. But think about this. She was the editor-in-chief for Seventeen during the time many younger Millennials were reading it (I was already in university by the time she took the helm). She successfully ran the magazine and that shows, to me, that she really understands what makes us tick. Plus, she's made it her mission to help young women succeed in and out of the workplace. And she's the boss to many Millennials and there were a few instances in the book where that Gen X insight was really helpful to change my frame of thinking. 

Overall, The Big Life is worth a read if you're really struggling with at least one aspect of your Millennial life. You'll definitely find tidbits in Ann Shoket's book that you'll flag and return to time and time again until your Big Life finally clicks. 

*A copy of this book was provided by the distributor, Raincoast Books, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Review: Kim vs The Mean Girl


I don't read a ton of YA these days. There are so many adult titles out there that I only make time for important stories (think The Hate U Give) or my favourites (I will always read Sarah Dessen). But when Meredith Schorr, one of my favourite authors, writes a YA prequel to one of my all time favourite romcoms? Yeah, I'm gonna read it. Kim vs. the Mean Girl gives the origin story, if you will, of Kim Long from Blogger Girl (which I adored and reviewed here). I actually beta read this one for Meredith but I read the book again after it was officially published and I loved it each time.

Here's the synopsis:
High school sophomore, Kim Long, is no stranger to the “mean girl” antics of Queen Bee Hannah Marshak. When Hannah steals Kim’s diary and in front of the entire class reads personal (not to mention humiliating) entries Kim wrote about her crush, Jonathan, Kim vows to enact revenge.
Kim and her loyal best friend, Bridget, come up with the perfect plan to put the evil Hannah in her place once and for all. But will their scheming have the desired effect of getting even, or will Hannah emerge more celebrated by her peers than ever?
Kim vs. The Mean Girl can be read as a young adult standalone novel, but it is also a prequel to the popular Blogger Girl adult romantic comedy series and is set in 2000. Told in the duo perspectives of teenage Kim and Hannah, fans of the series will get an inside look into Kim’s early passion for reading, writing (and Jonathan) and find out why Hannah is so darn mean.
Like many authors, Meredith has dedicated beta readers she uses for every book. While I'm a huge fan of hers, she normally doesn't ask me to read the work in progress so I can have the full, finished, polished book to read and review. Kim vs. the Mean Girl was different. Why? Because it's about a teenager in 2000. I was just becoming a teenager myself at that time so I helped Meredith get into the mindset of a teen from that era. So much fun! I actually dug out my own diaries from that time *shudder* But, it helped remind me what my life was like. I also did a lot of online research and I'm so glad the fashion trends from those years haven't made any comebacks. If you read this one (and you totally should), a teeny part of the storyline was inspired by yours truly (hint: it involves Dawson's Creek). One final pat on the back: I was, well, kind of blown away by being mentioned three times in the acknowledgements. Thanks, Meredith! :) xo

I really thought Meredith did a great job of writing a YA story. Not only that, but it can stand alone while also giving Blogger Girl fans a really great story about Kim (and Hannah's) past. Her adult novels (the aforementioned Blogger Girl and Novelista Girl - which I read and reviewed here) allude to the girls' history but it was so cool to actually read about it. You get to see what Kim and Bridget's friendship was like back in high school, you meet Jonathan, and, yes, find out why Hannah is so mean.

I was pretty lucky in high school and didn't have any mean girls that really picked on me for no reason. But, I was still a teenage girl once and I know how they operate. Even if you're safe from the mean girls, they're still out there. Reading Hannah's portion of the stories was hard sometimes. Seriously, she didn't have to be so horrible and it hurt my heart every time she said something hurtful or snarky to anyone, especially her so-called friends. Meredith wrote those scenes so exceptionally well. (OK, she wrote every scene well, let's be real.) But, reading from Hannah's perspective gives so much insight into her world and why she was the way she was. There are no excuses for being cruel but it's a reminder that you don't really know what's going on it other people's lives.

Finally, I loved the little Easter Egg Meredith dropped in near the end of the story! Nope, I'm not giving you any more details. Read the books.

I don't think you have to have read Meredith Schorr's Blogger Girl series before reading Kim vs. the Mean Girl but I definitely encourage you to read all of them (well, all of Schorr's novels period as they're all fantastic). You also don't have to be a YA fan though they'll love this story that has a really contemporary feel (even though it's technically not contemporary since it's set in the past...). This is a great series to pick up this summer!

*A copy of the novel was provided by the author in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Friday, June 30, 2017

Cover Reveal: Things to Do When It's Raining


I read Marissa Stapley's debut novel, Mating for Life, almost exactly three (!!!) years ago. I absolutely loved it - you can read my review here. Since then, I've been (im)patiently waiting for her next novel. She's been busy writing book reviews for The Globe and Mail (I'm seriously envious of her for being able to do this...maybe someday that'll be me...) and, happily, working on her second book, Things to Do When It's Raining. The novel is being published in February 2018 and I cannot wait! I've been fortunate enough to see Marissa at several book events over the past couple of years (I actually just saw her on Wednesday night at K.A. Tucker's launch!) and she is just oh so lovely. So, since I love her work and her as a person, I'm thrilled to share her cover with you today!

But first...here's what this upcoming novel is all about:
When secrets tear love apart, can the truth mend it?Mae Summers and Gabe Broadbent grew up together in the idyllic Summers’ Inn, perched at the edge the St. Lawrence River. Mae was orphaned at the age of six and Gabe needed protection from his alcoholic father, so both were raised under one roof by Mae’s grandparents, Lily and George. A childhood friendship quickly developed into a first love—a love that was suddenly broken by Gabe’s unexpected departure. Mae grew up and got over her heartbreak, and started a life for herself in New York City.
After more than a decade, Mae and Gabe find themselves pulled back to Alexandria Bay by separate forces. Hoping to find solace within the Summers’ Inn, Mae instead finds her grandparents in the midst of decline and their past unravelling around her. A lifetime of secrets that implicate Gabe and Mae’s family reveal a version of the past that will forever change Mae’s future.
From the bestselling author of Mating for Life comes a poignant generational story about family and secrets. With honesty and heart, Marissa Stapley reminds us of the redemptive power of love and forgiveness, and that, ultimately, family is a choice.
How good does that sound? I can't wait to curl up with it and a hot chocolate when it's released next year! (Though it's odd to think of drinking a cozy hot beverage when July is tomorrow...)

So...are you ready to see the cover? Of course you are!


I adore the blue and the red together (though...may I ask why the sky is blue when I think it should be raining?). I'm also a big fan of the simple font. I love me some handwritten titles (think Until It Fades, Tucker's book that I just reviewed this week) but the block letters just looks so crisp and lovely.

Go ahead and add Things to Do When It's Raining to your Goodreads shelf and mark your calendars for February 2018. Hopefully you're just as excited for Marissa Stapley's upcoming novel as I am!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Blog Tour: Until It Fades


Until It Fades was my first five star, holy-crap-everyone-and-their-sister-needs-to-read-it book of 2017. I shouldn't have been surprised because K.A. Tucker is one of my favourite authors and I'd probably enjoy anything she writes. Until It Fades, though? Hands down my favourite of her novels. It had everything I love in a story and that, paired with Tucker's excellent writing skills, meant I could barely put the book down. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Atria Books for allowing to be part of the blog tour!

Here's the synopsis (via Goodreads):
Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.
And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.
Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.
For a time.
But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.
Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?
I was really looking forward to Until It Fades because Tucker hasn't really written a novel that's so suspense-free. I adore those twisty books, don't get me wrong, but going into a book knowing there aren't any murderers to track down or mysteries to work out was kind of nice. I may read a bit out of my comfort zone every once and awhile but I am a slave to Happily Ever Afters. Of course, Tucker put her own stamp on the story. This book might be lighter than her others but that doesn't mean it's without drama or surprises (if you're like me, you won't have everything figured out, which was a nice change for me, actually), which added so much more to the story. 

I can't resist a good story that involves athletes. It's no surprise that Tucker, a Canadian, would write about an NHL player. (Also, minor spoiler alert if you read between the lines, if I was writing a story about hockey players I would probably give a certain team a fairy tale ending too.) If you're not into the sportsing, don't worry. Madden's identity may be incredibly entwined with his profession - which means a lot of hockey talk from him - but the games and the lingo won't get in the way of your enjoyment of the novel if you don't like hockey. After all, Catherine barely understands the game and she gets along just fine with Brett.

I think I've mentioned before that I read when I'm doing cardio at the gym. Because of a bit of a messed up back, I do most of my cardio workout on the recumbent bike. Bonus: it's a great machine for reading. The day I started this book I went to the gym after work for a 30 minute session and I honestly did not even notice the time passing. I was so incredibly engrossed in this book that I just pushed myself on the bike when the intervals required it and kept reading. I couldn't figure out why I felt so tired after my workout until I realized that I was working myself so hard because I was so into the story and I just didn't even realize it. 

Catherine was a fantastic character to read. She's tough and resilient because of the scandal she was involved in seven years earlier. (The book opens in 2010 and has flashbacks so you really get a sense of what happened and how Catherine was feeling at the time.) All she cares about is making sure her daughter, Brenna, is looked after. It's almost impossible to put yourself in her shoes but somehow Tucker made me feel every single thing Catherine was feeling. 

Speaking of characters...there are so many amazing secondary characters in this novel. Lou and Leroy were lifesavers for Catherine right after she left home (Gilmore Girls fans - think of how Mia stepped up for Lorelai and Rory), as was Keith. An aside: I really want Keith to get his own HEA. And Jack. And Misty. Point is...I loved reading about all of the people in Catherine's life.

And that cover? It's so ridiculously simple and doesn't tell you much of anything but I love it. 

I often find that some of the hardest reviews to write are for the books I love the most. Until It Fades is one of those books. I don't feel I can do it justice so I'm going to end this sort of rambling review quite simply: read K.A. Tucker's latest book (out tomorrow). It really doesn't matter what genre you're into. If you want a good, interesting, well written story, you've got it. And then can we please talk about it because I need to gush about it some more!

Find KA Tucker online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Want a copy? You can buy one at all these locations:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Books-a-Million * IndieBound * Walmart * Apple * Google * Kobo
Already have a copy and want a little something extra? You're in luck - the publishers are giving away FIVE signed copies of Until It Fades. And great news for my fellow Canadians, you are eligible! Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for a review as part of a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Lost and Found Sisters


If you're a romance reader, you'll know Jill Shalvis. You may know her work even if romance isn't your go-to genre. I've read a few of her books before and always found them lovely so I was looking forward to her latest book, Lost and Found Sisters. While it wasn't a bad book, it didn't thrill me or live up to my expectations.

Here's the synopsis:
They say life can change in an instant…
After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?
The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.
On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.
As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.
I wish I could put my finger on why I didn't really like this one. Like I said, it's not bad. It's sweet but it's very two dimensional. I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities for really expanding on the story and building up the characters. This novel - and the series - is supposed to be more of a "women's fiction" story than a contemporary romance. And maybe that's the problem? Not to say that romances can't be deep, but there's usually more meat to a women's fiction than a romance. I'm saying this as a romance reader who loves that they follow a certain formula and don't mind as long as they have an interesting journey in the middle...but this one wasn't as interesting or well developed as it should have been. I could also really tell that Shalvis was setting this up to be a series (side note...are there really that many women's fiction series out there?). It seemed like the characters that would be showing up in the next books were plopped into Quinn and Mick's story simply because they had to be...and not necessarily because they added anything to the story.

I did really like Quinn. I wanted her to be more three dimensional, but she was sweet, funny, and an all around good person. She knows her flaws and is trying to work on them but it's hard for her. I can't blame her because I am sure the death of a sister would be an awful, terrible thing to go through and it would definitely screw you up for awhile.

I thought Mick was really right for Quinn. He had his own stuff to sort through (I totally get the not wanting to move back to his small hometown, though mine isn't nearly as teeny as Wildstone) but he and Quinn just seemed to fit. He supported her and tore down the walls she put up after her sister's death. And he didn't really push for more than what she was willing (or able) to give. He understood that creating a relationship with her new sister was the most important thing in her life and he helped her work on that relationship.

I love stories set in small towns so I enjoyed that aspect of this novel. There were many quirky (and nosy) characters in town. Wildstone was hit during the recession and hadn't quite found a way to bounce back, despite many townspeople trying their hardest to succeed. These issues actually play a part in Mick's backstory and I really wish the first hurdle - and a very big problem - hadn't been resolved between the end of the story and the epilogue. I felt a bit let down by not seeing how Mick succeeded. (Vague, I know, but I don't want to give anything away.)

Overall, Lost and Found Sisters is a cute read but Jill Shalvis' latest wasn't anything special. I wouldn't really consider it a women's fiction novel and really wonder why it's being pushed as such. Despite not being wowed, Shalvis did enough to keep me interested in Wildstone. I want to make sure everyone I met in this first story is going to be ok and get their own Happily Ever After.

*I received a copy of the novel from the publisher, HarperCollins, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blog Tour: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo


Like many avid readers, I love finding that book that grabs hold of you from the beginning and refuses to let you go. It's that story that you want to finish because you love it so much but know you're going to be devastated when you turn the last page. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid's latest novel, was that kind of book for me. I. Loved. It.

Here's the synopsis, from Goodreads:
From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
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.
Reid's novels are always well written and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, while a bit different from her other stories, was no exception. Her characters jump off the page, the story flows, and you can perfectly picture yourself in the setting of the novel. Which, seeing as half of the book took place in the past, is quite impressive.

The entire book is told in first person - but that first person actually changes. The story starts with Monique (actually it starts with an "article" that gives just enough information about Evelyn Hugo so the reader fully understands her star power) but when Evelyn and Monique are working on the memoir, Evelyn's memories are told in first person as well. That sounds confusing but I didn't even notice it until I started working on this review. That's how seamless it was.

This novel has all of the best kind of drama that really helps the story grab you. There are family issues (Evelyn's upbringing left a lot to be desired and Monique's father died when she was young) and career struggles (Evelyn had to work to prove herself and Monique's journalism career isn't going the way she'd hoped). Relationship problems seem to be at the heart of the story (seven husbands, duh) but as Evelyn discusses her marriages you realize the husbands really aren't the point of the story, or her life.

I loved reading about Evelyn's career. Old Hollywood is so interesting (and always makes me wish I had taken more film courses in university). Reid balanced just enough historical details - what it would have been like when actors had contracts with studios, for example - without bogging down the overall storyline.

Evelyn fought for pretty much everything in her life. She's strong. She's unapologetic about using whatever tools she has at her disposal to get what she wants. She's not entirely likeable but she's captivating and a character I still haven't been able to get out of my head.

Monique was sort of a secondary character in the novel but I think Reid did a great job of showing her growth throughout the novel. Monique started out in a supporting role - in her life and against Evelyn - but as the story went on, and as she learned more about and from Evelyn, she began to turn into the leading actress of her own life. (Yeah, that's a bit cheesy but, come on. The story is about a famous actress. I couldn't not make those comparisons :) ) Evelyn changed Monique's life, and not just because of certain stories that come to light, but also by knowing and learning from this strong, formidable woman

I really wasn't sure how the whole story was going to play out. Reid kept me guessing and I actually gasped in a few places, and I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped too. The twists added a whole new, and wonderful, dimension to the story.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was the first book in a long time that gave me an immediate book hangover. I didn't know what to do with myself after I finished Taylor Jenkins Reid's newest novel. I wanted to reread it and also thrust it upon every other reader (and non-reader) I knew because it's just that good. This is a novel you are definitely going to want with you this summer and it's one that just might be my favourite of 2017.

Make sure you check out the other reviews that have already been posted as part of this blog tour. We were all in love with Evelyn and this novel!


*An ARC of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for a review for the purposes of a blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*