Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Washington Square Press

The Blurb

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie 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 for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. 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. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was one of my favourite books of 2018. It centres on the life and times of Evelyn Hugo – an award winning movie star – and it charts her way to success; the good times, the bad times and the times when life was so hard it was unbearable. Not only does Taylor Jenkins Reid take you on an emotional rollercoaster of a journey through Evelyn’s life but she also looks at the hypocrisy of Hollywood during its golden age, it looks at the LGBT community and its rise to prominence and it looks behind the screen at the lives of Hollywood actresses – the parts that they don’t want us to see.

This is the first book that I have read by Taylor Jenkins Reid but it certainly won’t be the last.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available now.

For more information regarding Taylor Jenkins Reid (@tjenkinsreid) please follow www.taylorjenkinsreid.com.

Title: The House with a Clock in its Walls

Author: John Bellairs

Pages: 179 Pages

Publisher: Piccadilly Press

The Blurb

Lewis Barnavelt doesn’t have time on his side…

When Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, comes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. But he is wrong. Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbour, Mrs Zimmermann, are both witches! Lewis couldn’t be happier. What’s not to like about seeing his uncle practise spells and eating Mrs Zimmermann’s delicious cookies?

At first, watching magic is enough. Then Lewis experiments with magic himself and unknowingly resurrects the former owner of the house: a woman named Selenna Izard. It seems that evil Selenna and her husband built a timepiece into the walls – a clock that could obliterate humankind.

As the clock can be heard ticking away in the house all the time, sometimes louder, sometimes quieter, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, it is up to the Barnavelts to find where it is hidden in the walls – and stop it. A true race against time…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

In the grand tradition of teen mysteries comes The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Weird title, I grant you but it is a bit like Ronseal. It does with it says on the tin.

The story is about a young, orphaned boy (isn’t it always?) who goes to live with his mad-cap uncle to live in his house which is full of mysteries. A relevant amount of chaos ensues and our young hero, Lewis Barnavelt becomes embroiled in solving the mystery.

It is all fun and games, this book and it would be a perfect gift for a middle grade reader.

The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs is available now.

For more information regarding Piccadilly Press (@PiccadillyPress) please visit www.piccadillypressblog.wordpress.com.

Title: Should I Stay or Should I Go – And 87 Other Serious Answers to Questions in Songs

Author: James Ball

Pages: 280 Pages

Publisher: Boxtree

The Blurb

What is love? How soon is now? How do you solve a problem like Maria?

They’re some of the most famous questions ever asked. But do you know the answer to them? In Should I Stay or Should I Go?, award-winning journalist James Ball travels from the economic status of doggies in windows, to what war is good for and what becomes of the broken hearted to find out the definitive, fascinating and hilarious answers.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love silliness and I will actively pursue it, keep people in my life is they are silly and partake in anything that is in the least bit silly. It is for that reason that I really enjoyed reading Should I Stay or Should I Go. It is such a simple concept really, take a popular song and look for all the things that could be incorrect in it or that pose a question.

Genius.

This book made me look at popular music in a different way. My one issue with the book was actually a matter of research. It claims that Busted had four members in the band which it does not. It only has three. So yes, I love the silliness but I also like accuracy.

Should I Stay or Should I Go: And 87 Other Serious Answers to Questions in Songs by James Ball is available now.

For more information regarding James Ball (@jamesrbuk) please visit www.jamesrball.com.

Title: When You Reach Me

Author: Rebecca Stead

Pages: 210 Pages

Publisher: Anderson Press

The Blurb

Miranda’s life is starting to unravel. Her best friend, Sal, gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The key that Miranda’s mum keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives:
‘I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I ask two favours. First, you must write me a letter.’

The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realises that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she’s too late.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

When you reach me is a story of wrong first impressions, friendship and time travel. It is a sweet story that was recommended to me by one of the students that I work with and I am awfully glad that she did.

It is the story of Miranda and how she is given clues to her future but she doesn’t know what to do with those clues. When You Reach Me follows her journey of trying to work out the pieces of the puzzle. At the same time, she is dealing with a mother who is practising for a TV show where they could win a life changing sum of money and a friend who has an illness but is not sharing the information with Miranda.

It sounds a bit complicated but it is actually very intriguing and a wonderful read.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is available now.

For more information regarding Rebecca Stead (@rebstead) please visit www.rebeccastead.com.

Title: Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Author: Sally Nicholls

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

The Review

Things a Bright Girl Can Do looks at the suffragette movement from three different perspectives and at what girls in that period of post-Victorian change would do to get equality. It is still a fight that we are striving for today but it is interesting to look at a fictional account of what suffrage meant during its hey-day.

We get to look at how the different classes were affected by the need for equal rights and how even with the onset of the Women’s Vote some people were still excluded. We see it from the perspective of a well-to-do young lady whose desperate need to fight the cause ended up with a prison sentence and a hunger strike. We see the Sapphic love between two girls from different classes, and we see how they both want the same thing when it comes to freedom and rights but how they both try to achieve it in different ways.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do is an interesting read and one that still holds relevance in modern society where the battle for total equality is still happening.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls is available now.

For more information regarding Sally Nicholls (@Sally_Nicholls) please visit www.sallynicholls.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.