The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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I got my hands on another highly talked about book last evening. Fingers crossed!

Monique Grant is waiting for a big break in her journalism job. All of the sudden, Evelyn Hugo, a famous actress, has specifically asked for Monique to write a story about her. Turns out, Evelyn wants her to write her biography for her. She’s finally ready to tell her life story to the world. Monique is hesitant, but realizes how big this is for her and decides to take the job. The rest of the book is all about Evelyn’s story of each of her seven husbands. What comes as the biggest surprise is why Evelyn has chosen Monique (there’s a twist!) and who Evelyn has loved her entire life (another twist)!

Guys, I’m sorry to say, but I didn’t love it. I had such high hopes! Everyone has been raving about this day in and day out, but it just wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Reid’s writing and I didn’t want to stop reading it despite not loving the storyline. I was entertained throughout. I just couldn’t stand Evelyn. She was such an annoying person! I am also not into hollywood stories. I felt like I was watching and entertainment tonight story – my least favorite thing. The theme of the story was completely unexpected to me. I don’t have a problem with the theme, I just wasn’t in the mood to read a book like it at this time. I did enjoy Monique’s story and would’ve wanted to hear more from her. It’s not something I would read again. Bummer.

3/5 Stars

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Every Time You Go Away by Beth Harbison

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As soon as I saw that this novel takes place in Ocean City, Maryland, I just knew I had to read it! I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and visited Ocean City quite often.

Willa and Ben had a wonderful relationship together. They met during Senior Week in Ocean City, Maryland. They got married and had a son named Jamie. Years later, Ben died unexpectedly in their vacation home in Ocean City. It caught Willa and Jamie off guard. It started a rough road to recovery to heal from their loss. Willa and Jamie have had trouble getting along ever since his passing. Two years later, Willa has come to the conclusion that they need to sell their beach house. Only problem is, she starts to see Ben showing up the house. It’s not his true form, but she can converse with him. She realizes this isn’t something she needs to be completely engaging with, so she asks Jamie, her best friend Kristin, and Kristen’s daughter to join her for one last summer at the beach. Will she finally be able to get over Ben’s death and grow closer to Jamie?

This book reminds me a little bit of the movie Ghost. It’s a perfect beach read for sure, and I imagined myself in my beach chair the entire time reading this. It’s a heartwarming novel about the true meaning of family. The novel is written in the wife’s and the son’s point of view and I felt like I could’ve done without the son Jamie’s point of view. I would’ve wanted to just keep all my focus on Willa’s story and her feelings as she’s learning to accept her husband’s death and grow closer to Jamie. It was a really entertaining read and I especially loved the location. I really wanted some Thrasher fries after reading this, haha!

4/5 Stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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I finally got my hands on this one – it’s been talked about all over the place!

Eleanor is a 30 year old woman who is on the spectrum. She is a quirky lady who works in an office setting. She keeps the same schedule each week, up until she meets Raymond from the IT department. Things seem to change for her – together they come across an elderly man named Sam who falls on the street. They start to care for him in the hospital and it’s the most interaction Eleanor has had in awhile. These new interactions start to bring up Eleanor’s deep dark past of her family history, why she’s jumped from house to house as a child, why she has the scar on her face, and why her relationship with her mother is the way it is.

I feel terrible to say this, but I just couldn’t get into the story. I usually love mental illness books, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around this one. It’s a dark book, and most people seem to pour out all their emotions because of it, but I was bored. I really wasn’t entertained by the side humor throughout and stopped reading it a couple of the times throughout. The ending was beautiful, but I could’ve DNF’d this one multiple times.

2/5 Stars

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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As soon as I finished Caraval, I just had to read Legendary!

This is Donatella’s story this time. The story picks up with the letter that ended Carval. Tella owes her friend a big payment – the true name of Legend. She has to play Caraval again on a new island in order to get the payment. This time, Caraval is not just a game – it’s real and her life is at stake. Will she find out who Legend really is? Will she survive? Who is this “friend” of hers?

I didn’t love it as much as Caraval. I am not a fan of Tella and Dante, and the majority of the story was about them. This story is also much darker than Caraval. I also wasn’t a fan of who Legend was at first, but I started to warm up to the idea. The romance tends to be cheesier in this book, but I honestly love Stephanie’s writing. It’s so captivating and detailed. Even if I wasn’t a fan of the story, I was completely engulfed and couldn’t stop reading. And, of course, I am going to need to read the third book because, that ending…UGH!

4/5 Stars

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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I did it! I finally read it! After seeing this book being bragged about all over the place, I finally got to it!

Scarlet and her sister Donatella (Tella) have heard the wonderful stories about Caraval, a magical island where you get to take place in the performance of a lifetime. Scarlet has wanted to be invited to participate in the game for years, and never got to. Until now. Scarlet is invited, along with her sister, to attend. The problem is, their father is a nasty human being and would never allow them to leave the island. In fact, he has arranged for Scarlet to marry a Count in a few days, so their dreams of seeing Caraval are shot. Then along comes Julian, a sailor who gives them the opportunity to experience Caraval and escape their father’s fate for them. Once they arrive to Caraval, all seems wonderful until Tella disappears. Will Scarlet find her in time? Are they in true danger? Is the magic all it’s cracked up to be? Will their father get ahold of them? Will she really marry the Count? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

WOW you guys. WOW. I’m beating myself up over here for how long it’s taken me to read this book. What a magical, whimsical adventure. It’s so beautiful! Honestly, there were a few times I got mad at the book. There were a few instances where I didn’t love where the story was going, but MAN did the story always make-up for it. Holy crap! This is a huge roller coaster of emotions. This story will play games with your head. If you aren’t a fan of being tricked, don’t read this. I’m all for being captivated with the characters. And the ending?! UGH! Thankfully I read this now so the sequel is available for me to get right away. The only problem is, I got Legendary (the sequel) on audiobook to play on my 8 hour car ride this week so I have TWO DAYS to wait and start it. I don’t know if I can do it! I never wanted this book to end. The romance wasn’t cheesy either! Sigh….just beautiful. I will bask in this wonderful book high all day.

5/5 Stars

Literary Book Gifts

If you’re a book nerd like me, you’ll take anything and everything book related!

Take a look at these gorgeous vintage designs! I’m totally obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, so as soon as I saw this print, I fell in love! It’s a unique design that I’ve not seen anywhere else, which is hard to come by with such a popular book. I also fell in love with the Darwin designs (cue the biology teacher nerd in me) since I’ve not see anything like it before! Their Darwin tote bag has a phylogenic tree! SO COOL!

Check out their other bookish items here to fall in love with.

Because of this post – you can score 20% off ANY item in the store! No minimum and you can use it again and again! Use code: LIVEREADANDPROSPER20

Christmas in July, anyone?!

Vox by Christina Dalcher

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Ladies, can you imagine only being able to say 100 words a day? Wait to you see what this book is about…

Thank you berkley publishing for allowing me to read Vox in exchange for my review.

Welcome to dystopian America, where woman are chained to a counter bracelet and defined by the few words they are allotted in 24 hours. Dr. Jean McClellan is an American linguistic scientist and mother of a daughter herself. Both of them are forced by this 100 word law where her husband and three other sons go about their daily business. Jean is suddenly approached by the President’s team and asked to come back to work to use her skills. Now that she has some power back, can she fight the system?

There’s something about this novel that I just can’t put my finger on. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. The politics in this novel were over my head. I couldn’t follow them because they were so outrageous. The possibility of how quickly the law came into effect was just not believable. On the other hand, the feminist inside of me wanted to keep on reading. I had to make sure women got their say in the end with all my anger built up inside. I normally really enjoy science jargon in literature being a scientist by trade, but this bored me. I enjoyed the family relationship between Jean, her husband, and her children. The emotions they experienced were the most real thing in this book. They were completely heartfelt. I mean, to not be able to read to your daughter each night or comfort her when she’s sad? That got me right in the feels. In the end, this wouldn’t be something I would most likely pick up again.

3.5/5 Stars