Review | Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Adult Fiction, Historical

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Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Let me start off by saying rather simply: the new Taylor Jenkins Reid novel did not disappoint! I feel as though she’s definitely grown into an author now that I can fully depend on and know before I even read the first page that the novel I’m about to read is one I’m going to enjoy.

With Malibu Rising, her latest release, Jenkins Reids brings us the story of four very close children of a famous singer whom all have huge secrets, and at their annual party on the beaches of Malibu, the truth will come out and the night will end in a fire that devours Nina’s home. But what leads to it? That’s what we will come to find out.

What I love most about Jenkins Reid is that she knows how to tell a damn story, and she knows how to do it well. There’s something about her writing style, especially with her last few books, that makes it so intoxicating. I feel like each page is always pulling me in further to the story than the last. She knows how to grab the reader’s attention and Malibu Rising was no different. From the very beginning, I felt invested in each of the storylines and really enjoyed getting to know each character.

I loved all the little cameos and mentions to her other book, and I really enjoyed the different time periods from the 50s up to the 80s. The way it was written made learning about this family’s history so refreshing and interesting, and I loved each of the snapshots of the present with each of the main characters. One thing, however, that I wasn’t too keen on was the way it would include chapters from random people’s perspectives that didn’t have much to do with the overall plot of the novel, so I felt like these didn’t really add anything to the story.

It didn’t have quite the same kick to it as Evelyn Hugo or Daisy Jones, but it is still absolutely worth the read if you’re a fan of either of those two. Amazing characters and gripping storylines, Jenkins Reid has delivered another belter of a novel!

Review | One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Contemporary, Romance

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In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

In anticipation of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s newest book, Malibu Rising, next month, I decided to take a dive into her back catalogue by reading one of her earlier books, One True Loves. After absolutely adoring both Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo much like most of the bookish community, I was really excited to get stuck into this one, although I have to admit it didn’t exactly hit the same mark as the former pair, but I did still enjoy it! Let’s delve into a bit more.

One True Loves has a great premise: Emma and Jesse were childhood sweethearts and after being together for almost 10 years, they get married. But on their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is in a horrible helicopter crash and is presumed dead. After grieving him, she finds Sam, who helps her to love again. But just as Sam and Emma are celebrating their engagement three years later, Jesse shows up alive.

I loved the idea of this book, and I knew that an author like Jenkins Reid would be able to conjure a believable, but complicated love triangle and actually pull it off. It was written really beautifully, and the prose was excellent. I found myself for the most part absolutely torn between Sam and Jesse and really felt for Emma, the main character. I couldn’t imagine the struggle of that actually happening to you, so I was really rooting for her to make the right decision the whole way through. It definitely kept me gripped from the very beginning, that’s for sure.

However I do sort of wish that I read this before I read Evelyn Hugo or Daisy Jones, because I think that I put such a massive expectation on this after such amazing books that it just didn’t live up to the hype. That’s no reflection on Jenkins Reid as an author, but it was more so a case of right book, wrong time. I did enjoy and definitely would recommend, but it just didn’t have the same star power as Evelyn or Daisy. But enough comparing! I’m still very excited for her newest book that publishes next month, and I do want to eventually get around to some more books in her back catalogue!

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

seven husbands

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Adult Historical Fiction

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Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

It’s hard to be on book twitter or to watch booktube—or even be a reader in general—without hearing about the Evelyn Hugo hype. I mean, seriously? If you’ve not heard about this book then I have to applaud you – but you also must be living under a rock! And I have to admit, this is a book that deserves ALL OF THE HYPE.

If you’re not looking for a review raving all things good about this masterpiece, then you may read no further. After reading Daisy Jones & The Six, I couldn’t get the voice out of my head. I instantly connected with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s talent and knew I needed another hit. Evelyn Hugo was very much that hit – and it completely destroyed me.

I love the theme that Jenkins Reid has been following with her last two novels, of fame and the impact it can have on a person and their relationships. This novel focuses on the life and evidently the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo – a renowned, aging Hollywood actress who has lived a life full of scandal and drama. I loved how it was split between modern day and flashbacks to Evelyn’s life, Jenkins Reid managed to weave the two timelines together so perfectly and brought them together in a way I did not expect at all.

I don’t feel like I have any of the right words to describe just how marvellous this book was. It was such a vivid portrayal of a life well-lived and a life well-shamed, with an epic, complex romance at the centre of it. Evelyn Hugo is one of the most compelling and memorable characters I’ve read – from her voice, to her character and even the way she carries herself in the pages. She’s quite unforgettable. I’ve been reading some fantastic books lately if you haven’t been able to tell, and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is most certainly that.

An incredible novel spun with romance, mystery and complete honest emotion.

5 star

Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

daisy jones

Daisy Jones & The Six

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Historical Fiction

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Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . 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.

I literally have no words for how good this book was. I have devoured The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo since reading this, and I’ve come to the conclusion what I love most about Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing is how absolutely enthralling it is. From the first 5 or so pages, I was completely hooked. Not only does the premise draw you in, but so does the writing. Reid has such a talent with words that it’s like they somehow jump off the pages and sink into your skin. She writes stories that demand you to listen and that’s something I adore about her.

Daisy Jones felt like such a wholly original novel, and I was a massive fan of the format. I think it suited it and made the book even better than it already was! For those who don’t know, Daisy Jones & The Six follows the legendary rock band of the same name in 1970s Los Angeles. One night in July 1979, they split up and nobody ever knew why. Until now. It traces back through the history of Daisy Jones and the band and everyone involved talks about what happens. It’s also told in an interview-style format!

The characters are so strong and their voices so crisp. Despite telling the story from more than 10 character’s voices, Jenkins Reid manages to make each voice unique and memorable. I couldn’t even predict what each next page would bring so I couldn’t stop reading. It completely mesmerised me that I almost forgot about the world around me. That’s exactly how you write a good novel. This will for sure be one of the best books I’ve read this year, and I would urge you to read it if you haven’t already!

With an incredibly alluring atmosphere of sex, drugs, scandal and rock ‘n’ roll, Daisy Jones & The Six is an instant classic.

5 star