Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Romance Fiction
Publication Date: Jun 13, 2017


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.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is definitely worthy of all the hype that it’s received. In a story about perspectives, love, and sacrifices told in an autobiographical form, Taylor Jenkins Reid paints a masterful story that will leave you questioning your own perspectives and biases.

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s greatest skill is writing beautiful, real, and honest characters. In every book I’ve ready by her, it’s her characters that always win me over; they always make me feel. Even though we don’t spend as much time with Monique as we do with Evelyn Hugo, I still felt a connection to her and had a stake in her life. That being said, Evelyn Hugo’s life was fully fleshed out – every minute detail on display. Why did she have seven husbands? Who really was the love of her life? The whole book really is necessary to give an accurate answer to those questions, and I love that Reid make every chapter, every scene, every word count.

Another fantastic aspect of the story is the world building. It was rich with details on the studios, the sets, the competition for roles, and the need to always save face, no matter the consequences. So many aspects of this world were problematic – the misogyny, the patriarchy, the idea that women were only pretty things. I think the worst thing about it is that so much of that is still true today. We are getting better, there’s no doubt about it, but after so much time we’re leagues behind where we should be.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a fantastic story. There are so many layers and intricacies in Hugo’s love life that you can’t help but just sit back and enjoy the ride, because even though there is a lot of heartbreak in this story, it truly is enjoyable to read.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 5/5
Overall: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.30/5

Review: Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties by Camille Pagán

Title: Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties
Author: Camille Pagan
Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: Feb 27, 2018


At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.

On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.

Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?


Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties is a fresh reminder that just because something is comfortable, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. We meet Maggie at a time of change – her husband has left her and she’s single and alone for the first time in a long time. How do you pick yourself back up after something like that? It’s so easy to become complacent and put your identity in the things that are important to you (your husband, your children), but sometimes you need to make sure that you’re taken care of too.

It’s an age old story of reinvention, love, friendship, and the fact that being in the right place at the right time can change everything. Travel, find love, do what makes you happy – now that I’m saying that, maybe this book is just right for the new year since it’s the time of reevaluation and inspiration!

While the story was well written, and the characters were relatable enough, there was just something missing for me in the book. Maybe it’s the way it all fell into place so easily at the end there, or maybe it was the fact that I couldn’t fully invest myself in the characters and their troubles. Either way, I found myself leaving this book with a sense of meh-ness instead of awe, or joy. I would say this is a great read if you’re looking for something kind of quick and light (ish). But, if you don’t want to be bogged down by someone else’s troubles, this book probably isn’t for you.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
World Building: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Pacing: 2/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.78/5

eARC obtained via Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Title: Slayer
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
Publication Date: Jan 8, 2019


Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.


Let’s be real, our first thought at the end of the day wasn’t, “Wait, what about the Watchers?!” When the final credits rolled for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we were wondering whether she’d be back in Angel, how we’d get over Spike’s sacrifice, and where all these slayer-powered girls will go from here.

Slayer takes place two months after the apocalyptic fight in Sunnydale and the question no one was asking is answered – are the Watchers okay?

When we meet MC Nina, it doesn’t seem like it. The Hellmouth is gone, but so is all the magic – what held together a lot of the old traditions for the Watchers. Now they have books that are more paperweight than educational, and Nina, a failed watcher turned makeshift nurse who can’t speed heal to everyone’s dismay. However, when Nina comes into her Slayer powers after a Hellhound attack, Nina finds herself questioning her identity as a healer and Watcher.

I really liked Nina as an MC, and I think her character development was done really well. She makes a few mistakes, she gets herself in trouble, but I think the whole Slayer thing is something that she grows into. That being said, Nina hasn’t had the best childhood – she witnessed the Watchers’ fall, the magic die; lived through her father’s passing, the neglect of her mother; and found herself an outcast when she wasn’t allowed to take the Watchers test. Nina dwells a lot on these things throughout the book – time and time again coming back to them. She dreams about it, she complains about it in the narrative, she’s jealous of her sister because of it, and it becomes this whole thing that you just start skimming over every time she thinks about it. I’m not faulting her for dwelling on it, and I’m not mad that this is what made her who she is, but it was just too much too many times – it started bogging down the story and taking away from the areas of the story I wanted more of.

The world building is well done – Nina paints us a clear picture of the Watchers’ current living situation, as well as the cities she ends up visiting. Even her dreams are vividly described and I really liked that I got to dive deep into the world with the narration.

The action – when there was action – was good, like so good. It made me exceptionally happy and it was what kept me pushing through the book. Nina’s not a natural fighter – so seeing her train, and jump into action was a lot of fun. The last 100 pages got me so fired up. I was so mad when the book just ended and I realized I had to wait for the next one.

All in all, Slayer is a good starting point for this series – it has the necessary character development, a clear and immersive world, and a lot of demony action that fires you right up and throws you back into the world of Hellmouths and Slayers. I won’t lie and say that I wish there had been a little more action and a little less moping, but it was definitely something that contributed to the character development. I’m so ready for the next book, because that end got me shook. Nina is going to be a bomb Slayer is all I’m saying.

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Pacing: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.78/5

eARC obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada and Simon Pulse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Game Review: The Pillars of the Earth

Title: Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Release Date: August 15, 2017


Based on Ken Follett’s world-bestseller, ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ retells the story of the village of Kingsbridge in a whole new interactive way. Play as Jack, Aliena and Philip and change the events of the book through exploration, decision-making and dialogues.

12th century, England: In a time of great poverty and war, a small town begins the construction of a cathedral to claim wealth and security for its people. In their struggle to survive, lives and destinies intertwine. Philip the monk becomes prior of the small abbey of Kingsbridge. At the same time, a boy called Jack is raised in the woods by his outlawed mother. His apprenticeship as a stonemason paves his way to become a gifted master builder. Together with the disgraced noblewoman Aliena, Jack and Philip begin the construction of one of the greatest cathedrals England will ever see.


The Pillars of the Earth brings to life the book of the same name written by Ken Follett. Whereas the book is divided into six parts, the game is instead split into three. For those who haven’t read it, the world of Pillars of the Earth is a bleak one, full of sadness, sudden deaths, and dashed hopes. In midst of this, there are spots of optimism and humour that allow you to hope that these characters will get the happy ending they deserve. Pillars of the Earth is set in 12th century England during several key historical events that the characters play a part in. Though the setting remains the same, the game presents players with opportunities to make their own choices and diverge slightly from the original storyline. Where some choices simply change the dialogue, others seem to have some lasting impact throughout the rest of the game, which can result in an ending that’s different from the book.

The sprawling plot follows many characters, but the one thing they all have in common is that unlike most other games, none of them are special in any way. The three characters you will play as are Philip, who is a monk, Jack, a young man trying struggling to keep him and his mother alive, and Aliena, a young woman of nobility. There is no chosen one or great saviour, and all of these characters are just everyday folk trying to survive. The Pillars of the Earth deals with many complex themes, from ever-present political schemes and the early church’s impact on everyday life, all the way to buildings were constructed in that time period. However, the main storyline revolves around cathedrals, particularly the process of constructing one and how its construction affects the lives of those around it. The cathedral is the backdrop for the drama that occurs in the game, with characters fighting to get it built or using it as a means to seize power.

Players jump through the story playing as different characters, acting out various scenes from the original book. New settings and characters are introduced as the game builds up a new world before you. Granted, some chapters (i.e. characters and storylines) are more interesting than others, which made me lose interest at times throughout the game. As a whole, the game moves quite slowly. The translation from book to game did not work out quite well as you jump around from scene to scene, setting to setting, playing different roles in the world. I found this same problem in another game by Daedalic – Memoria. While the story was interesting, the jump between storylines and characters led to some confusion. Also, if I was playing through one storyline for a while, I would sometimes forget what was happening/where I left off in the other storyline. This also resulted in some problems where if I left the game too long, I’d forget everything all together.

In addition, I found that there was a lot of telling over showing – something that books and games alike should try to avoid. There were a lot of significant events that would happen in the background and instead of my characters living through it, I’d jump back into the storyline and be updated through narration or conversations. I think this impacted how I experienced the story as well. Though discovery through items, observations, and conversations can have its merits, I would have loved to have worked through some of the big events that were happening around me.

As a whole, the game’s art and dialogue won me over. The style of art is very similar to a cartoon you might see on television with an almost painted look, while the characters almost resembling animated cartoons and the environment itself is extremely detailed and well drawn. The colours are easy on the eyes and help maintain the atmosphere and mood of the scene. Though the action distracts from the background, it’s hard to miss how much the art really helps make this game more visually stimulating when the story is moving along slowly. This also made exploring interesting. As a point-and-click game, the environment is ripe for exploration and discovery as players can examine details and items that may help move the characters’ story forward. Players can further interact with the environment using items in their inventory or from the surrounding area in order to solve puzzles. The way the game’s world is built through art really adds to these elements.

What really impressed me though was the voice acting – the chosen voices helped build the world and the story. Many of the voices, along with the well-written dialogue, helped bring the characters out of the pages. They breathed life into the game. I appreciated that all the voices were so unique – you knew who was talking at any given time just by listening to them. It helped that every voice fit its character so well, and the emotion, tone, and timbres worked to build the game’s tone and atmosphere.

All in all, I don’t know if I’d recommend the game to everyone. I appreciate that the story was given room to breathe, but that also came as a detriment to the pace of the game. I think if you enjoy adventure story-based games, this may be of interest to you, but if you want it to be fast-paced, and immediately gratifying, it’s probably best you look elsewhere. In the end, The Pillars of the Earth is a story you have to work for and earn. Though it is well worth it in the end, the journey getting there may not be appreciated by everyone.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Graphics: 4/5
Gameplay: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

A copy of this game was provided by Daedalic Entertainment in exchange for an honest review.

Game Review: Night In the Woods

Title: Night in the Woods
Developer: Infinite Fall
Publisher: Finji 
Release Date: January 10, 2017


College dropout Mae Borowski returns home to the crumbling former mining town of Possum Springs seeking to resume her aimless former life and reconnect with the friends she left behind. But things aren’t the same. Home seems different now and her friends have grown and changed. Leaves are falling and the wind is growing colder. Strange things are happening as the light fades.

And there’s something in the woods.

In 2017 join Mae on a trip through her hometown and into the dark on the other side.


Night in the Woods surprised me. I initially thought it would be a mysterious story-based game, but it ended up being a lot more than that. The game really hits home as it addresses a wide array of issues that we honestly don’t talk about enough in today’s society.

Mae Borowski returns to her small hometown to find that everything is the same, but also different. The buildings are all there, but some of the businesses have gone under. Her old friends stuck around, but they now have jobs. Mae finds that she has to readjust and relearn how to interact with the people she left behind. The reality of it is – people change, the economy has changed, and the town has been facing problems since they closed their mines down. As you go through the game, Mae chronicles her adventures in her journal (I suspect the blank pages I had means I missed a few things in my two play-through rounds…).

The world reflects our world well. When before we saw thriving businesses in downtown Toronto, companies are finding that they now need to have a gimmick that differentiates them from their competitors. These gimmicks attract young, social media-addicted customers to the businesses in the hopes that they’ll go viral and become popular. This hits harder for smaller towns, like the one Mae lives in. I saw this phenomenon first-hand this past year when I was living in a small town a couple of hours outside of Toronto – some places that were popular still struggled to the point where they had to close their doors or sell their establishments. Night in the Woods depicts this struggle so subtly, but accurately, that it really struck me as I went through the game.

The game also addresses mental illness and gay relationships in a way that doesn’t alienate them. They aren’t seen as “other” because of their choices, and that really should be how our society works. At the heart of it, people are still people and they deserve respect and love. It’s sad to think that this concept seems so novel, despite the fact that our society has been wrestling with these issues for decades.

While all this is going on, we inhabit the role of Mae who is at the center of the story. I feel like we all know a Mae – someone who’s kind of stuck in the past and doesn’t want to face their demons (or reality). She’s quite self-centered and seemingly unredeemable as a character. She likes getting into trouble, enjoys the thrill of stealing, and she doesn’t seem to care much for the problems that her friends might be facing. However, we learn a lot about her character and her friends throughout this game, and that makes sticking with her throughout her journey worth it. The world isn’t just built through Mae’s observations and adventures, but also her interactions with the people. The game provides players with the freedom to choose how they interact with other characters, and this in turn affects what goes into Mae’s journal and what kind of interactions she has later on.

We’ve all heard it before – reading teleports you, it introduces you to new characters, and you walk with them as they navigate the problems of their lives with none of the baggage that you carry. I love reading because books tend to reflect our world. However, there’s a lot behind the scenes that we don’t get to see in books – or rather, authors skip past them because we don’t need to follow every movement of each character. However, the micromovements and details that are often missed in books are found all throughout Night in the Woods, and they paint a painful, yet amazingly executed image of our world and the millennial nightmare.

Everyday, Mae wakes up in her room, wanders through the town, talks to a couple of people, maybe goes on an adventure (but not all the time), and then ventures home again to sleep. Then she does it all over again. She’s unemployed while her friends have work; she is discovering more and more things in the town that are now broken or forgotten but used to be important; and she struggles with idleness. The seeming repetitiveness of the daily grind just to burn away the daylight hours seems monotonous almost, but brings so much attention to the millennial condition.

While the daily walks through town may seem tiresome at some points, there are areas of interest – every couple of days you can look for constellations on the roof of Mr. Chazakov’s house, you can get fun snippets of poetry from Selmers, and there are lots of opportunities to talk to new people in town. In the recent update, you can even take the time to learn songs on your bass in your room!

Though the game has some elements that may stall the story a little, Night in the Woods is probably the realest game I’ve ever played. There was so much relevance to today’s world, and the story, its characters, and their world were impressively developed through quirky art and subtle details. Definitely would recommend this game to readers who’d love to try playing through a YA story, instead of simply reading it!

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Graphics: 5/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Overall: 4.5/5

A copy of this game was provided by Finji in exchange for an honest review.

Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Title: All Your Perfects
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 17, 2018


Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?


I love Colleen Hoover’s books because they’re all so real. She manages to nail every emotion, action, and moment so perfectly that her books hit you right in the feels every single time.

This book moves back and forth between the “Now” and “Then”. “Now” tells us the story of Quinn and Graham in present day and the struggles they’re experiencing in their marriage. “Then” brings us back into time to about 10 years prior and walks us through the couple’s relationship at the beginning.

All Your Perfects opens up dialogue around societal expectations, and how even the most mundane and traditional questions can hurt people. I was watching Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23, and one of the characters was pretending to be in a wheelchair during thanksgiving. As they went around the table, everyone was saying they were thankful for their family, their friends, yams, and this girl suddenly snapped and asked why people weren’t thankful for their legs and their ability to walk. All Your Perfects raises a similar question. What do we take for granted on a daily basis? Why are the struggles we face only up for conversation behind closed doors? And why is it taboo to be open about the obstacles we face?

This novel addresses everyday, human struggles, and how much work and effort is needed to sustain a relationship with another human being for the the rest of your life. It’s so easy to say you’ll make a commitment to another person, but executing that commitment in both the good and bad times is so hard. As much as we try to be, we are not always perfect.

I read this book three months ago, and just thinking about it again has me in tears, and I just can’t. When I get my physical copy in the next few days, I’m doing a reread, because it was just that good. If you’re picking up this book, get ready for a love story that will change hearts, mend marriages, and affect the way you see love. Honestly the best book of the year, hands down.

Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
World Building: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Pacing: 5/5
GoodReads Rating: 4.46/5

Book Depository Buy Link

eARC obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada and Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

Title: The Empress [The Diabolic #2]
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 31, 2017


It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?


What the what did I just what? I don’t think any of you can comprehend how disappointed I was by this book. This isn’t simply second book syndrome, it’s more like why-did-you-force-this-into-a-series-cause-it-is-such-an-absolute-let-down, with a side of what-did-I-just-read kind of syndrome.

I loved The Diabolic. I felt like the first book wrapped up a little too easily in some areas, but the character development was good, the plot was interesting, and the story as a whole was like crack – I was addicted. I burned through The Diabolic twice with ease, and that shows that it’s not S.J. Kincaid, her writing, or her ability to write a good story.

The Empress though. Oof. The. Empress.

The best word to describe The Empress is political warfare. There’s scheming, false promises, betrayals, murder, and a lot of stupid decisions. Which, if you think about it, is interesting. In the first book, everyone is so calculating and careful, with the characters managing to overcome the biggest plot twists. However, in this one, we see how vulnerable people become when they fall in love. We see how this can lead to misplaced trust, broken hearts, and revenge plots.

I just made this book sound super interesting. I’m going to axe that right now and tell you that if you’re not interested in politics, this will be an impossible book for you to get through. Yes, it’s sci-fi, there’s some science and physics that are explained, some space travel, but there’s also internal dialogue that goes on for days, four months that just disappear from existence, and a lot of regular dialogue that just puts you right to sleep.

Now let’s talk about characters. Of the things Nemesis waffles over, being as human as possible isn’t really one of them. Despite what the synopsis says, she doesn’t really dwell on her choices for very long. She know who she wants dead and who she doesn’t and that’s that. Unfortunately, the insecurity of how to navigate through the system, as well as the license-to-kill attitude that she had in the last book really isn’t present in this one. That bothered me. She was almost a whole new person/character, and some of the things she didn’t just wasn’t consistent with what I thought she would do.

And Tyrus. Holy crumb cakes. I don’t know whether I want to hug him, slap him, or kill him. Tyrus’ character went in a direction I kind of didn’t expect from him, but I also saw it coming part way through this book. I can’t say I liked it.

Honestly, the most consistent character was Senator Pasus. Which depresses me a little.

This book had so much potential, but I honestly did not get what I wanted out of this book. The most infuriating thing is that the whole book bored me to death, in that it was slow moving, very political, dialogue heavy, and the characters made me want to rip my hair out, yet I want to read the next book. Know why? Cause the last chapter was everything, and I hate that it took the entire book for that last chapter to happen.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
Writing: 4/5
World Building: 4/5
Pacing: 2/5
Overall: 2/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.88

eARC obtained via Simon and Schuster Canada via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.