#WWWWednesday: 31 July

Friends, it’s August tomorrow. We’re eight months into the year and… I don’t even know what I’ve done with my year besides read! I think it’s kind of scary how quickly time is going. Don’t you think? Or is it really just me? Lol It’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be talking about:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

My recent ‘big finish’ was Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Daisy Jones is probably one of the most hyped up books in 2019 and I admit to a great load of wariness in picking it up because even though I’ve loved everything that I’ve read by TJR so far, I was worried this one would let me down. Let me put those shameful thoughts to rest right now because wow, I really had nothing to worry about. I absolutely LOVED it. I will be posting a longer review on my blog soon (because I really can’t stop gushing about it) but for now, you can read my review up on Goodreads! After finishing Daisy Jones on Monday, I was a little worried about having an epic book hangover so I decided to read a fluffy romance (or two). I finished That Second Chance (Getting Lucky #1) by Meghan Quinn and The Consequence of Falling by Claire Contreras. Reviews coming soon!

What are you currently reading?

I’m kind of not reading anything at the moment? I really can’t decide what to pick up next after finishing The Consequences of Falling earlier today. I feel like I’m still in that ‘book hangover zone’ from Daisy, so I’m wondering if I should stick to romance (The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker), move on to some thrilling YA (Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson) or if I should just pick up a fantasy that I’ve been wanting to read for a while (We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal)? I might be reading all three of these before the night is over 😬

What will you read next?

I have a feeling that my buddy read for A Spark of Light has fallen through because nobody is saying anything in the group chat (lol) but if I’m in the mood for it, I think I’ll still pick it up. There are also some ARCs that I want to get to and I’m considering participating in ARC August(?) that I’ve seen a few people mention. I’ve got a few that are fairly overdue and my guilt is kind of eating away at me but I’m also so good at ignoring it? This is why being a mood reader can be so frustrating sometimes!

What are you currently reading? How do you avoid a book hangover?! Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme, and this time it’s actually Sunday when I write this! 😉 This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I’m pretty sure that we’ve all heard about one of the most hyped books of the year: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’ve read a few of TJR’s books this year and I’ve loved every single one of them, so I don’t know why I kept putting off reading Daisy for so long. Then I woke up this morning and I started to listen to the audiobook on a whim. It’s read by a full cast and I felt myself immediately hooked into the story. My attention span is pretty crap though and I’m still trying to find the best way to listen to audiobooks without getting distracted, so I decided to pick up the physical book to follow along. The audiobook is pretty amazing but I ended up focusing too much on wondering who was reading which character’s part and I might have ended up on a bit of a Google spree trying to figure out the who’s who. I think the narrators are perfectly cast and I love how it’s bringing the story to life even more than reading the physical book already does. I’ve found myself constantly wanting to put down the book to bring up Spotify on my phone so I can play some of their songs, only to remember that this is a fictional band! WELP. TJR doing her thing yet again! In case you don’t know about it, the synopsis is below:

Everyone knows DAISY JONES & THE SIX, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity…until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ’n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend. The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies.

What are you currently reading?

Well, it’s been a pretty funky week for me. I made a note on my late Friday Favorites post about how I had to take a break from the blog (and social media) because life and my anxiety has been particularly crippling this week. I think I really reached a ‘breaking point’ on Friday and I couldn’t muster up the energy to re-open my laptop after I got done with work, let alone finish writing my Friday post. I’ve always had issues with sleeping and it suddenly got worse two years ago, so I started to take melatonin to help me sleep. However, my metabolism is so slow that if I don’t take it at least a good 2-3 hours before I want to sleep (i.e. midnight-ish) then I won’t fall asleep until well past midnight and I’ll wake up feeling even more tired than before. Over the last two weeks I’ve not been taking melatonin because whenever I remember that I should have taken it, I find that it’s already 11PM, and because of that I’ve been running on 2-3 hours of sleep every night. For two weeks. I think my body finally gave up on me on Friday so I’ve been feeling pretty lousy and unmotivated this weekend. That said, I got a good lie in (6 hours!) on Saturday and today, so I’ feeling a bit better now. Obviously this means that my blogging has been pretty much on the ‘meh’ front this week, but thanks to the reading rush I did manage to read quite a few books this week. You’ll find a recap of what I read for the rush after my post recap below!

Friday Favorites: Tropes
ARC Graphic Novel Review: Double Vie (Rose #1) by Denis Lapière and Émilie Alibert
Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (unpopular opinion time!)
Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Reading Update: Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge (June-July)
#WWWWednesday: 24 July
#TopTenTuesday: Settings I Want More of…
Goodreads Monday: 22 July

If you read my post last week, you’d know that I was thinking about joining The Reading Rush (formerly known as the Booktubeathon) but wasn’t sure because of time and life etc. But then I caved pretty quickly and jumped on the challenge wagon and I’m glad that I did! Considering my state-of-mind this last week, I’m actually quite proud that I managed to read four books for the challenge (on top of other ARC reads) and that I also earned quite a few badges (more than I actually thought I would)! I did end up reading everyone’s a aliebn to fulfill three prompts, but hey, that’s okay 🤷🏻‍♀️While I’m happy that I took part in the challenge, it made me realize just how much of a mood reader I really am. I was fighting the urge to pick up any random book by the time I finished my second book, so I’m proud that I managed to finish four. Sticking to TBR lists just isn’t my jam! Since today’s the last day of the challenge, I thought I’d call it in and I’m glad that I did.

Here are the books that I managed to read for the #ReadingRush:

Here are the badges that I earned:

How has your reading and blogging week been? Did you also join the Reading Rush Challenge? Are you happy with what you’ve read/achieved?
Come let me know in the comments and let’s have a chat 🙂

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Goodreads: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: 29 May 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Reclusive Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to write her story, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career, Monique listens in fascination. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s – and, of course, the seven husbands along the way – Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. But as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

NOTE: I finished this book in March 2019 but for some reason didn’t post my review on my blog. I remember that I was traveling for work when I finished this and felt completely shattered at the airport waiting to board my late night flight. When I finished it, I felt like if I could give it all the stars, I absolutely would and even now, months later, I still feel that way. I believe the immediate words I used when I finished this were: Wow, holy heck, and why did this book have to end?!

One of my new all-time favourites, definitely a Top 2019 read. Fierce, heartbreaking and inspiring. I dare you to not fall in love with Evelyn Hugo!

I honestly don’t know why I waited so long to read Evelyn Hugo, despite all the insane hype. The story really surprised me from the start because it didn’t go at all the way I expected it to. Of course I thought it would be compelling, but maybe a little predictable. I didn’t anticipate that it would have me on the edge of my seat the whole time and greedily flipping through pages to learn more. How wrong I was! This was such a beautiful, sometimes tragic, life and love story—but it’s probably not the love story you’re expecting.

“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.

Evelyn Hugo is one of Hollywood’s darlings. Starting in the 50s when she exploded onto the scene with her tanned skin, blonde hair, dark brows, and her busty voluptuous figure. She dazzled Hollywood and the masses with her acting and won them over time and again with her looks and sexuality. She was one of the most complex and compelling characters I’ve had the pleasure to read in a very long time. Her character managed to evoke a range of contradicting emotions simultaneously. I was enamoured and repelled by her. I admired and pitied her. I loved and hated her. She was brilliant and cunning, always working angles to manipulate the people in her life to ensure that the outcome suited her agenda. Her sexuality was a weapon that she honed to perfection and brandished without hesitation when she wanted. As much as I found myself repelled by her blasé attitude towards some of her awful actions and thoughts, I honestly couldn’t stop myself from admiring her and falling in love with her anyway. She was unapologetic for always openly going after what she wanted, especially at a time when it was unheard of for women to do so, and I admired the hell out of her character for that. 

Her story was an endlessly fascinating journey that captivated me from chapter one. From her beginning as a Cuban girl growing up in Hell’s Kitchen, to her making when she moved to Hollywood and decided to become a star. To her career, her marriages, her friendships. To the exploration of love and sexuality throughout her life. To her struggle with her heritage in a society that wouldn’t accept it. All of it kept me hooked and constantly craving more. You not only learn about Evelyn Hugo and her Seven Husbands, you learn just how far a strong willed woman can go when she’s determined to be the biggest, brightest star there is.

“Evelyn looks at me with purpose. ‘Do you understand what I’m telling you? When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.'”

On the other hand, I wasn’t so invested in Monique. I didn’t love or hate her, I was just a little meh about her character. I felt for her at the end–I can’t imagine what learning something like this would do to a person–but otherwise I didn’t connect with her character. She did experience an empowering growth through the novel, but I saw her less as a “main” character and more as a plot device to help the story move along (as the character to hear Evelyn Hugo’s story).

Taylor Jenkins Reid is supremely talented. Her writing flows like water, her descriptions are vivid, and her characters are so full of life. There’s a simplicity to her writing that I love because it lets the story speak for itself and allows the characters to come to life without any need for embellishment. I honestly finished this book feeling as if I had said goodbye to real people, old friends even, whom I’d come to know and love, and my heart was broken over it. Her ability to take even the most morally questionable characters, and make them likeable and relatable is probably one of the main reasons why I love her writing.

This is the second TJR book that I’ve read and I can confidently say she has quickly become one of my favourite authors. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of her work as soon as I can get my hands on all of them! If you haven’t read this yet, I urge you to do it ASAP! 

Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? Did you love her as much as I did or were you kind of ‘meh’ about her story? Let me know in the comments and let’s have a little chat about one of my all time favourites!

#TopTenTuesday: Autobuy Authors

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: autobuy authors. I tried to diversify my list a little bit instead of repeating authors and books that I’ve already mentioned on here countless times, but you can’t avoid the inevitable because these authors are my all time faves, so they’re bound to make an appearance! It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to just recall all the authors I’d auto buy, so I had to do a little bit of rummaging around my memory (it’s really that bad) and came up with this list. Yay!

Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is a master of crafting words into incredibly bizarre and delightfully magical worlds within our actual world. I’m always left in awe of his stories. They’re dark, funny, did I mention bizarre, and oddly touching. When I read Neverwhere for the first time a few years ago there was no looking back. He’s been an autobuy since! I’ve really enjoyed everything of his that I’ve read including American Gods, The Graveyard Book, and The Ocean At the End of the Lane, to name a few!

Taylor Jenkins Reid. So I’ve only read two of TJR’s books: Maybe In Another Life and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Both took my feelings and ripped them to shreds and I loved every minute of it! These reads are so emotionally packed and I’ve found elements of relatability in both of them, which obviously made it more impactful.

Jodi Picoult. I’ve loved Jodi Picoult since I first discovered her in high school. I think my first book by her was The Pact and it just wowed me with the writing style and the storylines. Since I read most of her books in high school, I don’t think I fully appreciated the complexity of her characters and their situations. I’d definitely love to re-read my favorites at some point!

Robin Sloan. Sloan’s books are so odd, intriguing, and full of quirky loveable characters that worm their way into your heart! Sourdough is probably one of my all time favorite books — no joke. It just makes me feel warm and so happy. Mr. Penumbra’s was also such a fun-tastic adventure with BOOKS and who wouldn’t love that?! I wish it were easier to get my hands on more of his books!

Helen Hoang. Hoang has only put out two books (The Bride Test and The Kiss Quotient) so far but I’ve loved both of them dearly! I love the diversity of her romances. They’re awkward, funny, sweet, (so) steamy, and have left me feeling light-hearted after each read. I am also eagerly looking forward to reading about QUAN in her next book, The Heart Principle. She describes it as: “kind of a cross between a gender-swapped Sabrina and Say Anything” … I MEAN C’MON. All the 😍 emojis.

Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. I’m a little embarrassed to mention this but I’ve only ever read anything by both authors that they’ve written together. So that’s The Illuminae Files and Aurora Rising. It’s not that I don’t want to read what they’ve written separately, there are just SO MANY books and so few waking+non-working hours! But I will buy anything these two write together. They are the ultimate dynamic writing duo and slay me with their stories and characters!

V.E. Schwab. After finishing ADSOM I immediately knew it’d be one of my all-time favorite series and Schwab immediately jumped onto my auto buy authors list. I loved the writing, storyline and characters. The magic really came to life! I’ve since read and loved her Monsters of Verity and Villains series.

Christina Lauren. It’s as simple as I love CLo and pretty much everything that I’ve read from them! Josh and Hazel‘s Guide to Not Dating is undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite romances. This duo never fail to make me laugh, swoon, squeal, and generally have the most fun reading experience with their books. I’m so looking forward to reading Twice In A Blue Moon when it comes out!

Jane Harper. I discovered Harper this year after reading The Dry and there was just no looking back. Her writing is just stunning. It’s so deeply atmospheric, reading her stories takes you straight into the punishing dry heat of the Australian outback. Although her books are classified as thrillers, I’d say they’re more mystery, but they kept me guessing right up to the end.

Brian K. Vaughan. He’s the writer of my all time favorite graphic novel series, Saga. I’ve mentioned this one countless times already on my blog but it’s seriously so freaking good. Anytime someone asks me for graphic novel recs, Saga is the first one I mention. He’s also written Paper Girls, which I enjoyed!

Who are your auto buy authors? If you’ve done a TTT this week, leave your link in the comments and let’s chat auto buy authors!

#WWWWednesday: 03 April 2019

Hey, book lovers! Another Wednesday has come and almost gone over on this side of the world. Today I’ll be posting my first WWW Wednesday, which is a meme hosted by Taking on A World of Words. This meme is about answering these three questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

So, without further ado, here is what’s happening in my book world right now!

What did you read last?

I just finished two books the other day: an e-ARC for Suddenly Single by Carol Wyer and One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus. Both books were very different from each other but both were enjoyable, although I enjoyed the latter much more. Suddenly Single was cute and empowering, although the romance aspect left me wanting. This book comes out 08 April 2019 so I’ll be posting a full review up soon! It took me a while to read, and even though I enjoyed it, it wasn’t a favorite. On the other hand, I read One of Us is Lying in about 6 hours! I think this was my first YA Thriller/Mystery and I really enjoyed the Breakfast Club meets Gossip Girl meets How To Get Away With Murder vibes of the story. I’m not a complete noob when it comes to mysteries/thrillers, but this one actually kept me guessing up until the 60% mark, when it all came rushing together. I look forward to checking out her other book: Two Can Keep A Secret!

What are you currently reading?

I finally decided to pick up The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I’ve been reading a lot of romance and chicklit lately, and I’ve missed immersing myself in fantasy, so I’m quite eager to get lost in this. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Winternight Trilogy, so I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone’s talking about. Plus, the books are all out, so there’s zero waiting time between the first, second and last book, if I end up loving this! Work has been tiring me out the last few days, so if I don’t make much headway during the weekday, I’ll be able to read interruption free this weekend. (I can’t wait!)

What will you read next?

Since March was such a great reading month, I’m hoping that April will be too! After I finish my current read, I’m hoping to get to these three books, whether that’ll be at the same time or one after the other will depend entirely on my mood! The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker. All of these books have been crazily hyped on bookstagram so I’ve been very excited to get my hands on them. I’m not sure which one to read first though… I’ve been wanting to read The Dreamers since the beginning of the year, but I’ve heard mixed reviews. Daisy Jones & The Six is a recent almost immediate favorite by everyone and their mother, and while I love TJR and haven’t been disappointed with the two books of hers that I’ve read, I’m still a little apprehensive about diving into this one so quickly. Lastly, I’ve heard The Night Tiger is a beautiful novel filled with magical realism, and set in the neighbouring country to mine, Malaysia. Oddly enough, I actually haven’t read many books that have roots in Southeast Asia, so I think this’ll be interesting! Any thoughts into what you think I should read next?

What have you been reading lately?
Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat books!

Book Review: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Goodreads: Maybe in Another Life
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Chicklit,
Rating: ★★★★☆

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

It’s here that the story splits and we get two concurrent storylines that follow what happens if Hannah chooses to stay or go. As the stories play out, Hannah and the people around her have to deal with huge life-altering events that have big consequences for what happens next. Maybe in Another Life not only questions what’s meant to be in this life and who we’re meant to be with, but it also makes you think about where and what home really is. It’s so easy to think that only the big decisions you make affect the course of your life, when in reality all the decisions you make have an effect — and you can’t simply just wish the bad away, because from the bad eventually comes good.

“I think I have to believe that life will work out the way it needs to. If everything that happens in the world is just a result of chance and there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it, that’s just too chaotic for me to handle. I’d have to go around questioning every decision I’ve ever made, every decision I will ever make. If our fate is determined with every step we take . . . it’s too exhausting. I’d prefer to believe that things happen as they are meant to happen.”

This book had me feeling all the feels. Being only a year older than Hannah, I definitely felt for her. Although I have a steady job and I don’t jump from city to city looking for a place I belong, I too still don’t know where ‘home’ really is and I’m not sure whether the direction my life is heading, is the direction I want it to go. So much of Hannah’s character resonated with me and I constantly found myself rooting for her (and Gabby)! For the most part, I tend to have a slightly cynical view of the world and of life, but there’s a part of me that really also believes that whatever is meant to be will be—if it’s gonna happen it will happen—and Hannah’s belief in that really touched me. Surprisingly, I found very few characters in this book unlikable. Although many of them, even the main ones, don’t experience much growth throughout the story; as it centers on Hannah. They all managed to worm their way into my heart, except for the asshole characters of which there’s ONE BIG ONE. This obviously contributed to making the book a more enjoyable and easier reading experience.

While the story primarily focuses on the relationship between lovers, it also explores friendships and the relationship between parents and their children. I absolutely loved the friendship between Hannah and Gabby. Gabby is the steady, level-headed, politically correct friend to Hannah’s spontaneous all-over-the-place clumsiness. There was so much love and support between them, and even at Hannah’s worse, there was no condescension or judgement on Gabby’s part, which I think is rare to find (not only in real life but in story friendships too). Their type of bond transcends traditional friendship and makes them more like sisters and family; which considering Hannah’s home situation, is honestly not that difficult to do. The relationship between Hannah and her family made me profoundly sad. I honestly didn’t and still don’t understand her parent’s decision to not take her along with them. To say that they’re stuck in their own privileged bubble would be an understatement, even though they didn’t have bad intentions, it’s kind of incredible that they were so obtuse. While it’s clear that the Martin family have love for each other, it’s obvious that Hannah doesn’t feel like her parents and sister really have much of a place in her life, and that’s evidenced by the fact that they weren’t really around for the majority of the big life changing moments in either of the stories.

In a way I kind of feel like loving how both storylines ends is a little bit like cheating — it’s not, I know, but it’s like getting to have your cake and eat it too, because you don’t normally get two very different but both very happy endings in real life. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that’s told in this way (except the ‘choose your own adventure’ types and that’s completely different), and I wasn’t expecting to love it but in the end I really did. I honestly love the concept of parallel universes and the playing out of actions on the “other side of the coin”. There’s a quote in this book that had my goosebumps rising and that so perfectly sums up the experience of the book.

“The world is splitting further and further into an infinite number of parallel universes where everything that could happen is happening. It’s entirely possible that every time we make a decision, there is a version of us out there somewhere who made a different choice. An infinite number of versions of ourselves are living out the consequences of every single possibility in our lives. What I’m getting at here is that I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices that led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. […] And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.”

Have you read Maybe in Another Life or is it on your TBR?