It’s beach read season! I have two amazing books- one that’s been out awhile and one that’s new. A third book that was just really good.
First up, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I LOVED this book! It was released in 2017, but has been enjoying some extra love lately because of Booktok and Reid’s more recent books. I bought this in 2019 and have no idea why it took me so long to read.
Evelyn Hugo is a major Old Hollywood bombshell of an actress. She was indeed married seven times and she’s finally giving an interview about her life to young woman journalist. There are a few mysteries in the book that get solved over time. Why did she marry seven times? Who was her greatest love? And, why did such a famous actress choose an unknown writer to finally pen her biography? All are solved through through the amazing, direct, no-nonsense voice of Hugo. I felt like I was transported to the golden age of film when reading this book. The language, dialogue, characters, misogyny…all of it felt completely authentic. Hugo is a complicated woman. I respected her and disliked her at the same time. I wanted to share a drink with her but certainly would never trust her. Monique is the young woman who interviews Hugo. The twist at the end, why she was chosen, was brilliant. I didn’t see it coming. Read this book. Now.
Next, I listened to The Bodyguard by Katherine Center. Another terrific book! Fun, hilarious, heart warming, and original. This one releases on July 19th.
Hannah Brooks is in the executive protection business. She’s based in TX and lives to travel internationally, protecting wealthy business people around the world. She’s totally bummed when her boss puts her on a local assignment. She is going to protect Jack Stapleton, the hot, single celebrity who stars in films and women’s dreams. Most women would be thrilled to get close to Jack. Not Hannah, she’s itchy to get out of TX. Jack is back in TX to help his family through his mom’s illness.
As for Jack. He’s charming, witty, a bit nerdy and has a secret he’s been keeping from his family. Not the BIG secret, but Jack does have a stalker who appears to be harmless, obsessed with her corgis and wants to have a baby with Jack. Besides that, his life is pretty low key these days.
The fake relationship trope is great. They pretend they’re a couple to make things easy on Jack’s family and so his mom doesn’t worry and add more stress in her life.
Both characters are compelling. Jack is soooo sweet to Hannah! She’s never sure if he’s acting or being real. That’s her struggle and fear- does he really like her?! Hannah’s own family wasn’t close and she bonds with Jack’s parents. They love her before Jack and Hannah realize they’re not acting. My only small complaint was the narrator. She didn’t do it for me at the beginning, I had a hard time getting comfortable with her voice. The story is excellent and after listening for a couple chapters, I found her to be just fine. Book releases July 19 and I HIGHLY recommend a one click!
Level with Me by Claire Wilder is a STEAMY read with a fun meet cute at the top. Cassandra is the CEO of her family’s resort business. Her mom died and her dad unraveled a bit and spends his time traveling. Claire and her siblings are left to run the resort. She is taking a morning run by a river on the resort property and stumbles in the water. She’s a swimmer, athletic, doesn’t need saving. Blake is fishing nearby, sees it happen and goes in for the rescue. While Cassandra is at first completely turned off by the whole thing and embarrassed, she comes around and realizes that she did in fact need some saving.
The plot twist for Cassandra is that she later finds out that guy who rescued her also the husband of the husband/wife consulting team she just hired to help audit and turnaround the resort. Yet, despite being married, she knows he was most definitely attracted to her. She’s disgusted and wants to fire him ASAP. She’s also admittedly attracted to him, too. What to do?
This is where I tell you that there is no cheating and all things are not what they seem. I liked the book. I liked it more when Cassandra and Blake weren’t together and were dancing around each other. It is most definitely spicy when they do get together! The family dynamics are interesting and there are more books coming in this series. Worth a read, check it out!