The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve been a huge fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid since I read her other novel One True Loves. Just as similarly as I felt about that novel, I feel the same way here.

The story is fantastic covering the imaginary screen legend Evelyn Hugo and her tumultuous love life only to reveal one big truth; not everything you see is real.

The plot

32620332Evelyn 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.

My thoughts

Ok, let’s talk about this. A beautiful bombshell from the 50s and 60s of Hollywood fame finds this one female reporter that she wants to tell her entire life story to. It’s 2017 and Evelyn Hugo is squaring away her affairs to prepare for the inevitable; her death.

Right off the bat, you’re asking yourself a ton of questions. Who is Evelyn Hugo? Why is she asking Monique to write her article about her? What is it about her past that is so illicit that a tell-all book is the only way to say it?

I don’t know if I should spoil it or not, but to give you an idea of what the secret is, let’s just say that it’s something that was completely unaccepted during the 1960s and sort of on its way to full understanding in 2017. People still chastise these humans for being who they are, but they are stronger and more supported than in the past.

And I loved this story. Not only was it exposed and raw, but it felt like this could have easily been the memoir of some other Hollywood starlet. But I think the one thing that truly made this book a joy to read was the constant parade of love spread throughout the whole story.

Even when Evelyn and her friends were faced with some strange circumstances or even when she was the center of the gossip rags, there was always someone there to love her and to be loved and share love. From her fictional life, you can see the years that were wrought with pain and suffering, but no one person suffers the entirety of their life and luckily neither did Evelyn Hugo.

The writing style was also pretty pleasant to read. When Evelyn talked about her life, it was written in the first person. I always find that when you’re reading in the first person it’s like jumping into their brain or a pensieve and seeing for yourself what’s happening.


The story between Monique and Evelyn was written in the third person. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure where the heck that storyline was supposed to go. What was the point of Monique being there? But as Evelyn Hugo says everything comes in due time. You’ll find out why Monique was asked to interview her and while it was shocking to hear the truth, it wasn’t that bad.

I just think about how people have changed so much these days. There’s so much more self-expression and self-identification. You really learn who you are and if that means that you’re 50 years old and you find out that you’re gay, then yeah that’s real.

People nowadays dig through the roots of their existence and find these hard truths that thirty years ago would have been frowned upon. NO ONE wants to be lynched for being something different. And even though as a society we still have a long way to go towards pure, unadulterated acceptance, you have to admit that we’ve all come a long way from a life that some of us still remember.

And this is what Evelyn Hugo does for us. She makes us realize and understand that there’s a generation born in the wrong generation. There are people still deeply hidden in the closet. People afraid to walk down the wrong street at the wrong time. And one day we’ll all be free to tell our story the way Evelyn Hugo did without frustration or malice or regret.

When those people are ready to tell those stories, I’ll definitely be one of the ones listening.


June 2017 Book Haul

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I recently received some lovely book mail and I couldn’t be more excited about them. Two debut novels from two new authors means that the world is filling up with more beautiful words and stories for us to read and enjoy.

Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma

Published by Scriber Books. André is a listless Brazilian teenager and the son of a successful plastic surgeon who lives a life of wealth and privilege, shuttling between the hot sands of Ipanema beach and his family’s luxurious penthouse apartment. In 1985, when he is just sixteen, André’s mother is killed in a car accident. Clouded with grief, André, his younger brother Thiago, and his father travel with their domestic help to Belem, a jungle city on the mouth of the Amazon, where the intense heat of the rain forest only serves to heighten their volatile emotions. After they arrive back in Rio, André’s father loses himself in his work, while André spends his evenings in the family apartment with Luana, the beautiful daughter of the family’s maid.

Three decades later, and now a successful surgeon himself, André is a middle-aged father, living in London, and recently separated from his British wife. He drinks too much wine and is plagued by recurring dreams. One day he receives an unexpected letter from Luana, which begins to reveal the other side of their story, a story André has long repressed.

Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz

Published by Random House. Seoul, 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind.

For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew. Her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty.

But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever.

I think I’m set for the rest of summer 🙂

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Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson


Imagine if you were in a relationship and completely happy. Blissfully happy in the same routines you’re always used to doing. You’re always sure you’ll come home to someone.

Then suddenly, your significant other tells you that they’re interested in someone else. How do you react?

This book is about the value of a relationship. How some people move from one partner to the next like stones skipping in a river and how other people enjoy that sinking feeling of being with someone you love.

Synopsis (from

30201150After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Rating: 4/5 partners

My thoughts


I have a lot of thoughts about this one. If you can artistically create a relationship with words, this might be the best example of it. At first, I thought this was some book about some dude who is bored with their current mate and looking for another. Granted, I don’t like Chris because he’s the type of insecure human being who can’t be with someone in a committed relationship. However, this book turns out to be the analysis of relationship all together.

When we first hear about Chris and his myriad of relationships, you think to yourself that he’s so womanizing jerk who drops one girl for another girl because of the way they look or their interest. But it turns out that he’s extremely insecure and doesn’t know what he wants for himself. It’s a tough lesson to learn especially when there are other people involved.

I think the entire story is an allegory on the types of people we tend to turn into in a relationship; those people who are completely dependent on the other. The people who don’t remember who they were before they fell in love. Being in a committed and long relationship myself, you can definitely feel a struggle to maintain a semblance of your “True Self” and also be with someone else.

Relationships are a shared life, not a single one. What you do may have cause and effect on your partner and that’s clearly what’s happening here with Chris and Kathryn. Chris finds someone else. They form some strange triad, not necessary a poly relationship but three people all involved in the same relationship. You see Kathryn peer off to someone else. You see Kathryn be happy. You see Chris miss all the little things about his relationship with Kathryn. Did Chris make a mistake? That’s the ultimate question.


The writing is quite simple, but beautiful. For a debut novel, I’m surprised the author didn’t go full tilt on eloquent writing. But the story has got a bit of depth. You can’t take it at face value. This isn’t a story about a dude who has two girlfriends. It’s more about finding yourself in the niche of a loved one. It’s more about seeing yourself be with someone else. It’s beautiful and while not the most thrilling novel I read (hence the four stars), it’ll definitely leave you thinking, who am I? Is this the person I want to be?

The Mothers by Brit Bennett


I approached this book believing that it’d be vignettes of different mothers and their daily lives. However, it is so much more than that. The Mothers here are a group of church women who congregate outside of regular sermon hours to pray, chat, and mostly gossip about everyone in their small town in San Diego. They’re the narrators of the story, but this story isn’t really theirs to tell.

Trigger warning: This book has themes around suicide, grief, abortion, and infidelity.

Synopsis (from

288153711It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Rating: 4/5 mothers

My thoughts


This book was quite a short read! Coming in under 300 pages, you’ll be able to read this over a weekend. The story is eloquent and I feel like a lot of it is wrapped in metaphor.

I was a little bit confused in the beginning of the story because it starts off in the first person POV and then switches to the third. Later I realized that the book is being told in the perspective of the mothers who pray in Upper Room, a church they all attend.

The book is obviously about mothers, but it’s also about the maternal instinct in us all. Regardless of your gender and how you identify as such, we all carry around the caretaker in us. That need to cover someone in a blanket when they’re sleeping on the couch. That want to make snacks for friends who are coming over for game night. The desire to make someone else happy instead of yourself.

If you’re not a mother, then you might be a child. Many of the characters throughout the novel took turns being the one who needed the mother. It’s funny that they all needed mothers yet they were met with their real mothers, all of their current options are not that great.

Except for Nadia. Nadia isn’t a mother, but she doesn’t regard herself as the child. She was going to be a mother, but then decided to get an abortion. Every time Nadia is faced with a situation where she needed to be a mother or carry that maternal instinct, I think she failed to keep herself and her needs out of the picture. It’s not for a lack of trying, but some people are more innate to the instinct. It also explains how she ended up in the end. In some situations, you just need to be your own mother.


2016 Thanksgiving Reads


I’m super excited about this week because:

  1. I only have to work three days because of the holiday
  2. I love Thanksgiving and all the fruits of that labor
  3. I have time to READ

And with that, I put together some Thanksgiving reads to enjoy while breaking bread with your family and friends. While some of these books you could probably read within the weekend, there are some that might take some time.

103575751Q84 by Haruki Murakami – So you might be thinking that it’s nuts to try and read this three-book series within the weekend. Well, I’ve got a little history with this book and trying to read it through Thanksgiving weekend. I couldn’t do it. In fact, it took me through the middle of January to finish this book because it’s so crazy. However, if you’ve been wanting to start this one and make it your commitment for the rest of the Holiday season, this might be the best one for you.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

2998The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I love this book. I love this movie. And even though it’s not really the best time of season to read it, The Secret Garden will always have a place in my heart during the holidays.

I think it has something to do with taking the dead earth and bringing something of life to it. It really warms the heart and makes me happy to read time and time again.

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

10964Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Yes, another big read but totally worth it. I don’t know why this is a favorite of mine for the Fall, but I think it has something to do with the cold months in Scotland wearing only a kilt and keeping warm by having sex. Or it might be because the first part of the story takes place in 1945 and for some reason I always correlate WWII with the Fall. If you’re interested in historical fiction and a little sexiness, then this will definitely keep you warm at night.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

3Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – Duh, nothing says the Fall and Thanksgiving like Harry Potter. While the books take place all year round, I think it’s because the movies were always released in the Fall and around Thanksgiving that it makes it a Fall read. This goes doubly for The Sorcerer’s Stone since it seems like the least wrought with anguish and pain (and that’s just something I don’t tolerate during the cold months). It’s a great re-read and a great time to also start up the novel if you’ve never read them before. I highly recommend.

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What are you reading this Thanksgiving?

July 2016 Wrap Up


I love reading in the summer. Well, honestly I love reading all year round (and there’s a plethora of reasons to read all year round). I think it’s the fun of being outside in the park or going to the beach with your book and enjoying the great outdoors. As an indoor kid, a good dose of Vitamin D always does my body good.

Anyway, here’s the wrap up for July! It was such a great month with some really great books devoured:

  1. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
  2. Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Bearllionaire by Terry Bolryder
  5. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Also, check out my book haul from July 2016. As you can see, I have yet to crack into any of the books I actually bought in July. Perhaps August? IDK, my TBR pile is getting unmanageable and scary.