“I did what any reasonable adult woman would do when confronted with her college rival turned next-door neighbor. I dove behind the nearest bookshelf.“
Beach Read is told from the perspective of January Andrews, a bestselling romance author who is in the midst of a personal crisis that has impacted her desire to write another happy romance, but with a deadline looming she has very little choice in the matter. When she decides to spend the summer at a beach house left to her by her late father, she hopes that she can use this time to write while tying up some personal matters. Surprisingly, her next door neighbour is none other than Augustus Everett, an author of literary fiction and her former college classmate who was heavily critical of her writing. With both parties in the midst of writer’s block, they agree to a friendly competition that has them attempting to write in each other’s genre; January will write a story that is on the broody side, and Augustus will write a happy romance. As they spend time learning from one another the words begin to flow, and bonds slowly begin to form.
The premise of Beach Read appealed to me on so many levels. For one, I love a good contemporary romance novel, and when a story focuses on a pair of writers in a small town on the beach… well, that becomes a must-read book for the summer. As excited as I was to read this story, it ultimately left me underwhelmed and slightly disappointed.
“I’d been wrong about the ways we move past the versions of ourselves that no longer fit. I’d thought it involved running, as far and as fast as your feet could carry you, from your former selves. I didn’t understand that was the surest way to wind up exactly where you started.”
Sunshine Mackenzie has it all as a cooking video sensation with millions of fans, a line of cookbooks and the soon to be star of an upcoming show on the Food Network. People fall in love with her down-to-earth persona and story of humble beginnings that led her to a new life in New York with her devoted husband. Yep, Sunshine is living the ideal life. Until she gets hacked. With her secrets revealed to the world, Sunshine loses her show, her fans, her apartment, and her husband all in one fell swoop. And where else can a person go when they lose everything, but straight back to the beginning. Back in the childhood home that she had left firmly in the past, Sunshine is forced to rethink her reality and what kind of life she wants to lead.
Hello, Sunshine is a breezy, charming read that I enjoyed quite a bit. It gave me those wonderful summer reading vibes providing a lovely escape. I loved the way Sunshine tells her story and the way the book is narrated. She does not paint herself as a victim or a hero, just someone finding her place and making mistakes along the way. The twist in the story is an interesting choice that you may or may not see coming. I wasn’t particularly surprised but I do wish it was addressed more clearly because aspects of it felt really problematic. I do appreciate that the story did not go the typical route and overall had a more realistic feel — examining the price and consequences of opening ones life to social media and the many dangers of living a “curated” life.
This was a pleasant, enjoyable novel and I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
‘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.’
In The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, a movie legend decides to tell her story to a relatively unknown reporter that she herself chose. What unfolds is a fascinating story of an incredible life, full of high highs and crushing lows, incredible success and painful loss. We learn about Evelyn’s successful career and the seven husbands along the way, while also uncovering a possible connection between the movie star and the reporter chosen for the interview. The result is a gripping tale of ambition and lessons learned along the way, combined with a touch of mystery as the reason for Evelyn’s choice of reporter is revealed.
“It would take me years to figure out that life doesn’t get easier simply because it gets more glamorous. But you couldn’t have told me that when I was fourteen.”
Taylor Jenkins Reid is truly a talented writer, and that talent is evident in this newest release. While it is a departure from her previous novels, it still has all the components that make her books such compelling and addictive reads. The main one being the brilliant depth and complexity of character that comes across so effortlessly, pulling you into the story and allowing you to experience the range of emotions throughout. Evelyn is an incredibly compelling character and it is difficult to not get completely swept away in her story and way of narrating. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a spellbinding novel that leaves a lasting impression.
‘Oh, I know the world prefers a woman who doesn’t know her power, but I’m sick of all that.’