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Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evely Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid32620332

Evelyn Hugo is a famous actress and she became a celebrity icon because of her incredible life from the 50’s to the 80’s. She was not only famous because of her roles, but also due to her seven marriages. She has always carefully hidden her private life, but now she decides that it is time for the public to really get to know her and who she really is (was).

But, she is willing to share her life story with only one person in particular – with a fairly unknown magazine reporter Monique. Monique doesn’t have an idea why she is the one. The only things she knows is, that this is a chance fo her life.


Evelyn Hugo, glamorous icon, decides to share her intimate life with the public. She demands that the only person she’s willing to share all aspects of her glamorous and scandalous life is unknown magazine reporter Monique. First, Monique thinks that she’ll just write an article, but soon she’s surprised by Evelyn suggestion about exclusive biography offer.

Monique, who is currently in the phase of divorce from her husband, naturally wants to know more about Evelyn and her loves. The book is formed of different parts – the Monique story and her visits to Evelyn. Longer chapters where each one is dedicated to one of Evelyn’s husbands. And short newspaper articles, which are presenting the media’s response to Evelyn’s circumstances at a given moment. Because of the structure, the book is even more remarkable. But the plot itself is the one which makes this book so incredible.

The main point of the story is, that Evelyn Hugo, a sex symbol and celebrity icon, wants to reveal her private life to the public. Through decades of acting career, she gained an intangible celebrity status, men wanted her, women wanted to be like her. Yet, was Evelyn Hugo really what the public saw? At the very beginning of her story, we quickly find out that she wasn’t. Public image is very different from that of private life. We realize that she is not as flawless as one may think. That she used many tricks to succeed and many more to stay on the top. What did she have to sacrifice in her way, and was it (at all) worth it at the end? Her life story is even more interesting since it begins in the 1950s and is then a representation of different times.

The book also exposes how the media present their truth, and how easily they can be manipulated. Of course, the advantage is that Evelyn’s story takes place in the past, before the time of the Internet. Now, it would be harder for Evelyn to manipulate with media or hide some stuff she’s done.

A character of Monique was not my favorite and her personal story didn’t interest me. And besides, she’s put into a shade of beautifully designed character of Evely Hugo. I am not sure whether this was authors intention, to expose Evelyn even more, or is Monique’s character simply weak. Overall, all the characters in Evelyn’s story were astounding and truly vivid.

This book really surprised me in a good way, because at first, I didn’t have the intention to read it. I thought that this story wouldn’t be something I was interested in. But it is beautifully written, the plot is interesting and full of twists. Evely Hugo’s life was not a fairy tale, though it seemed so in public. When reading, it’s interesting to think about what Evelyn has done for fame and who was using who – all her husbands her, or was it opposite? And, was it worth it?

Great book and I highly recommend it.

 

Rating: 5/5 stars

 

Did you read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

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Book Review: The Girl before

Title: The Girl Before

Author: J.P. Delaney

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A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season. (Source: Goodreads)


The book The Girl on the Train paved the way for mysteries, where the main role is an unreliable woman. And The Girl before follows this trend. In the flood of similar mysteries, this book is one of those who tries to combine the themes of different successful books.

The story switches between two personal stories. Personally, I really like reading books with multiple perspectives, even if it’s hard to separate from them at the beginning. I always struggle with who is who. In this book, I did not have a problem with the separation between the two women, even that their stories are very similar. Some things even repeats but one perspective is written in past and another is told in present.

The house is the main theme connecting personal stories, which I found interesting, but at the same a little bit bizarre. I mean, I loved the idea but at the same time I had difficulties to imagine a house or why should anyone wanted to live there.

The main characters are Emma and Jane. We are following Emma’s story in the past, while Jane’s is told from the present time. And the only thing that connects them is a particular house.

Both had personal tragedies, they are mentally at the bottom … Since the synopsis promised similar story as Gone Girl or Girl on a train, a reader knows that they are unreliable as a character and that we can expect a certain turnaround. At first, Emma and Jane seem different, as if they have nothing in common, except the house, but it turns out that it is not. Like most crime-like creatures, we did not like Emma, neither did Jane. I simply can not identify with such a type of woman.

 I did not expect much from this book. I read it very quickly because the chapters are short and it’s truly a quick read. Somewhere in the middle of the book, I thought that the book was actually very predictable, but then it began to get complicated on the next few pages. After that, the author began to exaggerate. With each new chapter came to a new twist and after a while, I didn’t know anymore who is lying and who is talking the truth or what was really happening.
I would recommend this as a summer read. It’s perfect for readers who like mysteries but still want to enjoy somewhere on the beach and not think too much about the story itself. It was fun and tense enough that I enjoy it.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it?

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Book Review: Rosemary’s Baby

Title: Rosemary’s Baby

Author: Ira Levin

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“Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor – husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet’s circle is not what it seems.”

Source: Goodreads


Despite the fact that both, the book and the movie, are considered classics, I had no idea what this book (or movie) is about. According to the title and genre of the book, I concluded that it would be about baby, a devil (?) and that would be tense or creepy.

The book is quite short, so I read it quite quickly. It was fantastic from the first page and if I would have more time, I would probably read it in one sitting.

The tension is rising through the story. It starts innocently when Rosemary and Guy are searching for an apartment, and they find a perfect one but later hear a lot of unpleasant things about it. Nevertheless, they move in and Rosemary is beyond excited. She focuses all her energy on the decoration and the idea of having a baby. At first unusual neighbors, soon become part of their new life.

I didn’t found book neither scary or horrifying. I was just excited about what was going to happen. Since I didn’t know anything about the story, with each page I expected a shocking twist. As the thrill grows, the story becomes more mysterious until it reaches its peak. And during reading, we get to know Rosemary, who is a central figure in the book.

Rosemary is a girl/woman who would I consider as a person with no character. This is also a reason why she finds herself in this peculiar situation. It’s quite easy to manipulate with her because of her character. She is completely subordinate to her husband – although she would probably have claimed otherwise. But she is completely dependent on the husband, both financially and emotionally. She doesn’t know how to stand for herself, so she becomes a victim.

The story is actually rather simple, but it’s written so fantastically that I understand why it’s considered a classic. It does not contain turnarounds or unexpected situations. Ira Levin simply wrote the story so fantastically that it doesn’t even need them. Everything is in place. At first, I was a little bit disturbed by the ending, which seemed to me to be very average for such a book. But after thinking about it, I came to the realization that the ending is excellent. It’s simple, just like the story itself. But it still shocks the reader.

 

Rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Review: The Dry

Title: The Dry

Author: Jane Harper

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Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

(Synopsis is taken from Goodreads page. I changed it a little bit).


After only a few pages, I completely fell into the story. How could I not? The reader soon discovers, that there is something else going on, not just a story we read about. And that things aren’t the way they seem.

Location, where the story unfolds, makes everything more interesting and intense. A drought increases the tension in sleepy little town and it also supposes to be the cause of double murder and suicide. It’s a story about a small town with their typical inhabitants, where everyone knows everyone and where the past is never forgotten but it’s also affecting present even thoug people try to escape it.

It’s the same with federal agent Falk who tried to escape his past by leaving the town and moving to the big city but he’s back for the funeral of his best friend. Now Falk has to deal with unexpected death, his past and it’s secrets. Falk is not one of the most interesting detectives I read about. Actually, none of the characters stood out in any way. They are extremely good or bad. Those in between are almost irrelevant and do not have too much influence on the story. Falk as a character seems rather plain and it’s difficult for a reader to create an opinion about him. We can learn the most about his character from the records of his youth when he is described by his friends.

But the story was still tense enough for me, that I keep reading with interest. It was a quick read that kept me in tension until I read it. The ending was maybe a little bit unexpected because I surely didn’t foresee such an ending. Still, it was good enough that I will read another book about Falk.

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The Famous Five Series: Mini reviews of books 1-5

As I mentioned before, this year is the 75th anniversary of The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. That’s why I decided that I will re-read all 21 books from the series. I’m slowly finishing with reading – I still have one book to read. But here are my mini-reviews of first five books in the series. Synopsis and pictures are from the official site.

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Five on a Treasure Island

Julian, Dick and Anne are spending the holidays with their tomboy cousin George and her dog, Timothy. One day, George takes them to explore nearby Kirrin Island, with its rocky little coast and old ruined castle on the top. Over on the island, they make a thrilling discovery, which leads them deep into the dungeons of Kirrin Castle on a dangerous adventure. Who – and what – will they find there?

This is the first book and as expectedly this book is more of an introduction of all the characters. We get to know their personalities and setting, their adventure remains behind. Still, it was a nice read.

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Five Go Adventuring Again

In their second adventure, the Famous Five find a thief at Kirrin Cottage. They think they know who it is, but need to prove it. Will the discovery of a very old map help uncover the true culprit?

I thought this adventure was quite boring, especially for the second adventure in a row. Maybe it was because of the winter time and the fact, that friends were limited with outdoor space. Still, it was fun to read about secret passages and mysterious map.

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Five Run Away Together

The Famous Five discover that someone has been on George’s island. And what is locked in the mysterious trunk hidden on Kirrin Island? The Famous Five think they’re on the trail of smugglers – until they hear a child scream…

This book was really interesting. The bad guys were interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about our friends spending time on George’s island. They are so independent and what a lovely housewife Anne is! This adventure was intriguing and it kept me hooked until the end.

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Five Go To Smuggler’s Top

The Famous Five stay at the large old house at Smuggler’s Top. They discover secret hiding places, underground tunnels, and one night they catch people signalling out to sea! Are there still smugglers at Smuggler’s Top?

This book was dark! And because of that, it was amazing! Such a dark settling, with wonderful descriptions of marshes and creepy old house. The adventure was entertaining and full of twists. Not to mention spooky Block and new friends of our five friends. I was really entertained while reading.

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Five Go Off in a Caravan

The Famous Five go on a caravan holiday. When they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

The new location, a new adventure. As far as I love mysteries in Kirrin or Kirrin Island, I also love it, when Five go around, traveling and meeting new people. At first, I didn’t like this book, because I thought that kids were a little bit pushy. But after a while, reading became fun again. And there are smugglers in adventure again!

 

Did you read any of Famous Five books as a child? What did you think about them then and what do you think about it now? Do you remember any of this five books mentioned here? Please, share your thought with me!

 

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Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green35504431

Aza is a perfectly normal teenager who is investigating the disappearance of a millionaire, with a help from her best friend Daisy. They started with an investigation because there’s a reward for any information about disappeared millionaire Pickett. They’re lucky because Aza hanged out with Pickett’s son Davis when they were younger.

But the disappearance is not the only thing that occupies Aza. She suffers from anxiety, a mental disorder that makes her everyday difficult and affects relationships with her loved ones and friends.


Two stories are intertwined in the book. The first is the story of Aza, which is actually a rather average girl who suffers from anxiety and OCD. The other is the story of the investigation of a missing millionaire.

Green decided that he would discuss the topic of mental illnesses in his book, which is great. Mental illnesses are common and much present today, but they are rarely discussed, especially in YA literature.

I believe it’s difficult for young people who know that they have problems, to define what is actually wrong with them and how to deal with their disorders, or where they can seek help. It’s important to know what we’re dealing with and how to verbalize our feelings and mental state. And Green is quite good at this. And yet, it seemed to me that he was exaggerating. And I am saying this from my own experience because anxiety has been a part of me since I can remember. Nevertheless Green’s good intentions, I could not identify with Aza’s character and what she was experiencing.

Nonetheless, Aza seemed as a likable character through which Green attempts to portray what people with anxiety are facing and how thoughts can have a negative impact on the person and his everyday life. And how negative thoughts can actually control a person. What really disturbed me in the book was Aza’s rejection of medical treatment. Many people don’t have the opportunity to seek help or to treat their mental illnesses. Still, despite the privilege of having this opportunity, Aza consciously rejects treatments. Do not understand me wrong, I know that healing is only a small step towards improving the conditions and that it is a lengthy process that does not end. A person has to live with such disorders every day until the end of his life. However, treatment is an important part of this process, which should be more obvious from reading this book.

I’m also aware that every mental illness is shown in a different way, but I could not identify with Aza’s disorder. It seems to me that she reacts all too easily in certain situations and she’s living a simple life – her mental illness just makes her more introverted than others. But, as has already been said, it is likely that each illness is indicated in a different way. However, I am interested how people who never had any problems with anxieties would comprehend everything written and how the ones who are living with it will.

The disappearance of the millionaire is the frame of the story, which, however, fades somehow through the book. I understand that Green wanted to devote to other topics, but he ignored something that led to the plot itself and the story of the book. And the fact that he put the basic story on the side, didn’t make a good impression on me. In the end, it seems like Green has given himself too heavy task, which he couldn’t accomplish. The disappearance only helps as a driving force to another situation, and in the end, it all seems tepid. It looks like book wouldn’t have a common thread, and I had a feeling that nothing much is happening in the book.

If I mention language and writing style, I don’t have any complaints. Green certainly does not underestimate its readers of different ages. He also knows how to create charming characters who are not fake. Yes, they are all unique, because obviously, it can’t get without that. Still, they don’t stand out in the way that this would disturb the reading. They are confronted with the problems that all people in real life have and sometimes they are not successful. They live lives like we all do. However, it seems to me that at times he is exaggerating with incorporating of philosophy, especially in dialogues. In my opinion, this makes dialogues fake and unrealistic.

I gave this book two stars because I thought it was ok reading, but it was also just a regular read.

Rating: 2/5 stars

 

Did you already read this book? What do you think about it?

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Book Review: Fear Nothing

Title: Fear Nothing

Author: Dean Koontz959386

Christopher Snow has a rare genetic disorder that doesn’t affect many people – he is very sensitive to light. He spends his days in his house, and only at night, he can walk through the abandoned streets of the Moonlight Bay. Despite his illness, his parents tried to provide him a normal life.

On the evening of his father’s death, Christopher witnesses events that turn his life on the head. He discovers the secrets of Moonlight Bay and its strange inhabitants.


I regret that I gave this book a chance at all. I wanted to give it a chance because this was my first Koontz book and then I was so far, that it would be unreasonable to quit.

I also won’t go much into the details of the plot because I don’t want to give out key details. All can I say is, that it’s too bad because the story itself has a potential that unfortunately has remained unused. In the small town of Moonlight Bay, the main hero witnesses events that turn his world upside down and lead him to further exploration, leading to the shocking secrets hidden by the city and its inhabitants.

The main character is Christopher Snow, who has a rare genetic disorder that makes him very sensitive to light. Of course, this complicates a story, because he’s not like other heroes who can heroically go out to explore the secrets. Christopher has to care that he is hidden and protected from light, which means that he can move around the city only during the night time, even so, in dimly lit spaces. This certainly brings additional tension to the plot. But with this, the positive aspects of this book end.

Christopher (at least to me) was a pretty unpleasant character. Regarding his disorder, he is very confident in himself and his actions. He was fearless and immediately for action, which I would not expect from such a character and which did not fit his personality. Above all, I was disturbed by his strange reactions to most of the events, which were completely pointless and for which it would be difficult to say that one of us would also do.

I will write just two examples, there are not any big spoilers but still, don’t read if you’re interested in a story.

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Example I: In a house where they just killed a woman he knew, he examines all the rooms, even though he knows he’s not alone. He’s not thinking about escaping, but it’s his goal to check all the rooms (?!? – we don’t know what he’s looking for). Then, they set him a porcelain doll in a passage, with his hat in the doll’s hands. But that doesn’t terrify him at all. The doll only arouses his discomfort because he doesn’t know why the doll has his hat?!?

Example II: His father leaves a letter for him, explaining some of the events from the past. But Christopher does not read it because it’s always time for that. He rather went to his girlfriend and they spend a whole day in bed.

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Most of the time, I was like… wtf?!? And such examples appear throughout the book and while reading, I was constantly wondering what was wrong with him. But it’s not just him, all the characters are like that. And that’s why reading is bizarre. Additionally, there is a whole bunch of pointless descriptions and irredeemable dialogues that are not at all relevant to the story.

In the end, I also found that this is the first part of a series of three books. I did not like the ending, the whole book even less, and despite the fact that in this book we don’t get to know anything about the mystery of the Moonlight Bay, I have no interest to read any other book in this series.

Rating: 1/5 stars

Did you read this book? What did you think about it? Are all Koontz’s books like that? Or would you recommend reading any other? Please, leave comments below!