The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo is a book that I’ve heard a lot about. Towards the end of 2018, it popped up on everyone’s favourite lists for the year, and I’ve not seen a single bad thing about it. Sadly, that’s one of the reasons why I’ve avoided it: hyped books have a tendency of letting me down. It wasn’t until fellow blogger Sofia kept insisting that I give it a go that I finally cracked.
The story is centered around Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo who has decided to come out of hiding to write a book about her life with the help of Monique, a magazine reporter. Evelyn is famous of her many film roles but also the absurd number of husbands she’s garnered along her journey. Monique, on the other hand, is the epitome of the writer stuck in a dead-end job looking for something to put her on the map and this proposition seems like it could do just that. The book is split into three narratives: Monique’s which covers her life, the events at work (where they currently believe Evelyn will be doing a cover shoot with them – however this is not the case), the “autobiographical” chapters of Evelyn’s stories that act as part of the book she’s working on, and then the gossip columns that follow alongside the past and present of Evelyn’s life.
Quite simply, I am in love with this book. The whole world view of Evelyn reminds me so much of The Great Gatsby and all the rumours that circulate about the mysterious Jay Gatsby. The audiobook has multiple narrators who are all quite simply fantastic. It’s so easy to drop into this world and feel like I’m listening to real people talking about their lives. The narrator for Evelyn has me completely hooked to the point where I actually forget that I’m not listening to a non-fiction book. I’m completely invested in learning about the history of the character.
I didn’t know that this book was gay. It’s several hours into the audiobook before it’s even hinted that Evelyn has an interest in women; and subsequently comes out as bisexual to Monique in their conversation. It’s a shame this hasn’t been pushed more in the promotion or hinted on the blurb because I know a few readers who also weren’t aware of this prior to reading the book.
At the time of writing this post, I am 45& into the audiobook and I just can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? What did you think?
What audiobooks are you listening to at the moment?
After getting into Matt Haig’s books last year, and one of them making it onto my list of favourites for 2018, I’ve decided that I really want to read more of his back catalogue so when I was scrolling through audible desperately trying to find my first listen of 2019, I came across The Humans.
The Humans is about an alien who comes to earth and takes over the body of Professor Andrew Martin. The unnamed narrator has been sent to stop the humans discovering the answers to a mathematical theory. Initially, this summary didn’t really interest me, but I adored the writing style in How To Stop Time so I took a tiny leap out of my comfort zone and decided to give The Humans a go.
A lot of my pure enjoyment from this audiobook so far comes from the narrator, Mark Meadows. He is simply fantastic. The delivery of the lines and the tonal usage really makes the funny and witty moments land perfectly and I’ve found myself laughing out loud many a time at my desk during a work day. Of course, part of this falls to the clever nature of the narrative constructed by Matt Haig. The narrator talks about walking around naked and being confused about why the police have been called on him, not understanding why on earth someone would have a wife, and learning the human language through magazines such as Cosmopolitan.
It’s a short audiobook – standing at just over 8 hours- so I’m wondering where exactly the story is going to end up given the length.
At the time of writing this I am 29% into the audiobook and loving every minute of it.
What audiobooks are you listening to this month?
What were your favourites of 2018?
Unless you’ve been living under rock which has been buried several feet underground, you’ve probably heard of Michelle Obama. For eight years she was First Lady of The United States of America, but as a non-American I only saw bits and pieces of what she used her position to create. So it’s pretty helpful that she decided to write a book all about her life! I always have to listen to non-fiction on Audiobook because I really struggle to read these kind of books otherwise; it also really helps hearing the individual tell their own story and Michelle Obama is really soothing to listen to.
The book starts at her growing years, laying down her roots and detailing the significant memories she has such as her piano teacher and the application advisor at Princeton who told her she didn’t stand a chance of getting in. She talks about the moment when she started to be treated differently due to the colour of her skin along with seemingly small events that she didn’t realise the weight of until she looked back on them with an adult perspective.
I’m already learning so much about her life, but one of the big reminders I’ve received is that Michelle Obama is just a person. It’s easy to see her as almost ethereal after seeing her talk strongly about women’s issues, racism and education in public and watching her reside in the White House for eight years. It feels almost too easy to forget that fundamentally she’s a wife and a mother as well as an activist.
I am really enjoying listening to the audiobook and at the time of writing this post I am 22% in.
Have you read Becoming? What did you think?
This month I’m continuing on with my reread of The Dark Artifices series by moving on to Lord Of Shadows. This was a bit of a disaster book for me the last time I read it. I really didn’t like it and, again, didn’t appreciate the endless info-dumping about The Mortal Instruments series. But, as the case has been with a few books I’ve reread in the past, a different format can sometimes make the world of difference.
Tensions between the shadowhunters and downworlders are continuing to rise following the events of the Great War and plans to create a register listing downworlders and their abilities only adds to it. In the midst of this, Emma and Julian are fighting their feelings for each other as their parabatai bond forbids them from it and the faeries are plotting something very bad.
The narrator James Marsters is a lot better than the narrator for the previous book. He’s adding distinctive voices for the characters which is making the story really immersive.
I found the plot difficult to follow in my last reading of it and the same is happening this time round but new life is being breathed into the characters.
I am sure to be prepared for Queen of Air And Darkness next month!
Have you read Lord of Shadows? What did you think?
I’m sure every reader on the planet has heard about Cassandra Clare, let alone The Dark Artifices series, but here I am spending the month of October venturing into a reread in preparation for the finale in December.
Lady Midnight is the first installment in The Dark Artifices series and set a few years after the events that took place in the hugely popular The Mortal Instruments which has been made both into a TV show and a movie.
The book focuses on a young shadowhunter Emma Carstairs who is trying to uncover the secrets behind her parents mysterious deaths and seek vengeance upon those responsible, with the help of her Parabatai Julian Blackthorn.
Cassandra Clare made a big point with this new series that it intended to be an entryway to the world for new readers. While that is nice in theory, Clare consistently adds characters of plot elements that tie every one of her books together (for example, if you haven’t read The Mortal Instruments you’re instantly spoiled for the ending in the first twenty pages of Lady Midnight). While I loved this book when I first read it, the constant heads to the other series really took me out of the experience because, to frequent readers, this book is mostly just recap. But, if it was a new reader approaching it, then it’s absolutely necessary.
I’m enjoying seeing the relationship dynamics play out and the story is starting to get going now. I’m 35% through at the time of writing this post.
Have you read Lady Midnight?
What did you think?
We’re so close to Christmas that I can almost taste all of the gingerbread lattes and walnuts I’m going to consume! I’m also back to wearing cardigans so it feels like I’m in my true form again.
This month, I’ve been listening to Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson and I was already sold on the premise, but hearing the author talk about the book on Epic Reads made me add this to my TBR and impatiently wait until release.
The story follows Claudia whose best friend Monday goes missing. She’s not on the register at school, her phone is disconnected and her parents seem unwilling to talk to her. While becoming very much a mystery novel as the narrative fits around in time to build up Monday’s character and her relationship to Claudia, there is a big emphasis on how missing white children are investigated compared to POC children. Monday’s absence barely makes a ripple in the water.
After the disaster of my last audiobook, it’s such a relief to get one with a really good narrator. This is narrated by Imani Parks who is doing a fantastic job of bringing life to Claudia.
At the time of writing this I am 37% in and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story is going!
It felt like January was going to last forever, and now it feels like every time I blink it’s a new month and time to pick another audiobook to listen to.
My selection for August is a rather popular one in the YA book community, but also one that I’ve been incredibly wary about delving into. Naturally, books with a lot of hype around them can go one of two ways for me, and more often it tends to be that I don’t like them. I’ve downloaded the chapter sampler many times for Six of Crows and wasn’t able to stick with it. As the audiobook has multiple narrators, I decided to give it a go in a different format and see if that makes any difference to my enjoyment.
Six of Crows is essentially one big heist mission in which the typical brooding YA male, Kaz Brekker, is the leader and facing the delicious prospect of a lot of money if he succeeds. It’s set in the Grisha universe, although it’s not required for you to have read Leigh Bardugo’s other series in order to get your footing in this story.
So far, the world-building is super intriguing and it’s interesting seeing all the different motivations the characters have for agreeing to do the mission. However, Kaz seems to be the only real prominent voice and he just oozes all the stereotypes you’d expect from a YA male; he reminds me a lot of Jace Wayland in The Mortal Instruments series. It’s not fully engaging me at the moment so if I had stuck with the book I think I would have put it down, but it’s still the early stages and I expect it will pick up soon. At the time of writing this I am only 30% into it. So we’ll see!
Have you read Six of Crows?
Let me know your thoughts!
I’ve finding it really hard to believe how far we are into the year, but when my audible credit renewed, it brought the promise of a new month and a new book.
After seeing the trailer drop for the film adaptation of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, it seemed only right to step back into the trilogy and finish it off; something which I’ve actually been trying to avoid because I love these characters so much.
Always and Forever Lara Jean is the third and final book in the series. Readers see the loveable Lara Jean applying to colleges and dealing with the typical problems teens face in their senior year. She’s navigating how her relationship with Peter Kavinsky will work outside of school life and just in general seeing her life start to shift.
My absolute favourite thing about listening to all of the books on audio is that the narrator, Laura Knight Keating, just brings so much life to the character. She gives Lara so much personality that she feels like she could be the girl living next door, I’m rooting so much for her, and I don’t think I could finish off the series without hearing how she narrates Peter’s dialogue. I’m just utterly in love.
At the time of writing this post, I am 34% in but it feels like I’m trying to pace myself a lot more because I want to savour this last bit of time with the characters before I have to say that dreaded final goodbye. For that reason, not much has happened apart from that Lara has been thrown a curveball and I’m just waiting to see how she’s going to deal with it.
Have you read the Lara Jean series?
Who’s your favourite character?
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of both Tom and Giovanna Fletcher’s books. However, when I saw the announcement that they had written a YA book titled Eve Of Man, I was very sceptical. As they are established in their respective age ranges – Tom being a children’s author and Giovanna being an adult romance author – it felt like a strange merge and almost an invasion for them to step into the world of young adult.
Pitched as an “unconventional love story”, Eve of Man takes place in a world where no girls have been born for fifty years. The human race is facing extinction… until Eve. She is Earth’s last hope. Told through two perspectives, readers learn about Eve’s life inside the dome and Bram; one of the many people watching over her.
At the time of writing this post, I am 52% into the audiobook and it’s safe to say that I am really struggling not to give up on it. The story is narrated by two people: Charlotte Ritchie for Eve’s chapters and Josh Dylan for Bram’s. My big issue is that the latter is incredibly boring. While the writing itself shows the passion Bram has, the dramatization makes it seem like the character is just bored and doesn’t really care about Eve. There’s not real vocal changes to represent the characters to I have to rewind a lot to understand which character is saying the dialogue. Eve is much preferable and has that typical style to it that will be recognisable to fans of Giovanna’s books and, because the dramatization is infinitely better, I’m enjoying her chapters a lot more.
The writing itself is really clunky, especially in Bram’s chapters and overall there’s so much telling rather than showing. In these kinds of futuristic stories, I like being given a few breadcrumbs then just thrown in with the character. Whereas in Eve of Man I’m taken out of the moment a lot as a scene takes place and it suddenly halted for a few minutes of info-dumping.
I plan on going into more concise detail in my full review but I will briefly mention the issues raised about gender stereotypes in this book. To me, it’s understandable that the story has gone down such a confined route, and that there’s a lack of mention for sexualities, but it seems odd not to bring mention to infertile women in the quest to birth a girl.
Have you read Eve of Man?
What did you think?
As you can tell by the title of this post, it’s that undetermined point in the month when I talk about what audiobook I’ve decided to listen to for this short period of time. We’ve established that I’m terrible at introductions, so let’s get straight into it.
Almost Love is Louise O’Neill’s first adult book and follows a woman called Sarah who starts to relive a past relationship after bumping into her ex for the first time since their “break up.” Some of the many themes we’ve come to know (and be terrified) of Louise O’Neill for are present this story: consensual and not-consensual sex, power imbalances and obsession. The book flits between the past and present with the former focusing on Sarah’s relationship with Matthew and how she let him use her for sex, constantly checked messages etc and was forced to keep their partnership private for reasons she didn’t really understand, other than that Matthew had told her to. The present focuses on her latest relationship and shows how Sarah hasn’t really evolved: it’s acknowledged in the narrative that she often pretends she’s going to pay even though she knows the men in her life always will and she’s quite abrasive with her current boyfriend.
The audiobook is narrated by Aoife McMahon and there’s just something truly captivating about the way she’s telling the story. Almost Love is a slow story and I think I’d have been easily bored if I was physically reading it, but her narration just has me flying through the chapters.
At the time of writing this, I am 52% into the book and nothing major has really happened but I’m waiting for that typical “Louise O’Neill moment” when impending doom sets free.