The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Also Titled THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE

This book is so fun to read. It’s a book I didn’t want to end. At 458 pages, I found myself secretly rejoicing about its length. I had moments where I was in the middle of reading it, with hundreds of pages left, and I just quietly cheered in my head, “Yaaasssss.” It’s that fun to read.

Beyond just the enjoyment of this book, I found myself continually impressed with the uniqueness Stuart Turton brought to the table. This isn’t your typical mystery; it’s a body hopping, time twisted, who dunnit, my life depends on the answer, action packed, clue riddled, masquerade ball having, good time. I LOVED it.

‘“Trauma,’ he says abruptly, raising a finger in the air. ‘That’s what it’ll be. Very common, in fact.’”

Aiden Bishop doesn’t know much, he doesn’t know anything about himself; what he does know is Evelyn Hardcastle will die at 11:00 p.m. every night and he has eight days, and eight host bodies, to figure out who it is that kills her.

This is no pleasant walk in the park for Aiden people, this is a crazy ride. I loved it. It kept me up at night. It kept me turning pages. It kept me thinking about it while I was showering. All the qualities I love in an engaging book. Thank you Stuart Turton. 

I liked the ending. Still, I kind of had that, “Wait this is the end? Noooooo,” feeling. But in general, considering how many questions the book makes the reader ask oneself, it did do a fantastic job of wrapping up most of those questions. I had a couple left, not many, but that’s probably on me. It’s the kind of book where I was hoping for an epilogue, and was sad that I didn’t get one. I might be a spoiled reader. If Turton writes a follow up epilogue somewhere, like for the kindle or his website, I won’t be mad. And I hope someone points me in that direction.

I would highly recommend this book. I applaud the great work, the uniqueness, the engaging qualities, and the writing. I will definitely be looking for Turton’s next book.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This book is everything I want from a light romance novel. The characters are sweet, intelligent, and imperfect. The romance isn’t easy, but it’s lovable. There’s some hot scenes, but it isn’t dripping in sex like The Kiss Quotient. I really think Helen Hoang nailed The Bride Test, and the author’s note at the end was such a lovely added bonus.

“He shook his head at himself. That took “delayed reaction” to an extreme. But he was an extreme kind of person.”

Again, I don’t think it can be understated, what Helen Hoang is doing in the romance genre on a deeper level, for autism. The talent to be able to write these characters so perfectly, so genuine, so human; the gift she shares with us is insight and understanding; what she’s doing is bringing us all closer to one another. People who fall somewhere on the spectrum, and people that don’t know quite what that means because they don’t have experience. As an extremely talented, own voices writer, she’s giving insight to that experience. And it’s beautiful. I absolutely love her for it, and for her bravery to be an own voices writer. Because she didn’t have to be. She could have written about anything and not opened herself up to the inherent vulnerability. But she chose to write about what she knows, she connected with her family and with herself, and gave us something that matters.

I love that Khai is different from Stella, Stella being the high functioning autistic protagonist from The Kiss Quotient. By having two characters on the spectrum, in two different books, she’s showing the diagnosis doesn’t define a person; it’s just a piece of them. 

“His heart wasn’t made of stone, after all. It just wasn’t like everyone else’s.”

The Bride Test is a book that really makes you think about what it is that defines love. Is it the way we express affection? Is it the way we remorse when it’s gone? Is it the need to not lose something we can’t live without? What is the illusive definition of love between two people, and who has the right or power to define it? And how many of us have the same definition? Does it just come down to the ability to say, “I love you,” or “I love?” Is it just claiming the love.

These questions are going to be with me long after I shelve this book. The insight into life experiences different from my own are going to be with me long after I shelve this book. And let’s not look over the insight into immigration either. Because there was a good deal of that as well. 

Thank You Helen Hoang. Another wonderful gift to the romance genre from this brilliantly sweet writer.   

Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Enemies to Lovers Trope.

“I’m taking Ami’s spot. But you keep to your space, and I’ll keep to mine.”

Olive is the unlucky twin, while her sister, Ami, wins everything. However, things change at Ami’s wedding when everyone comes down with food poisoning except Olive and her nemesis, Ethan, the groom’s brother. So the all inclusive trip to Hawaii goes unused, or they go together.

Christina and Lauren are fantastic romance writers who know how to keep a book moving. The pages turned quickly and the book was over before I knew it. It was light and fluffy with little emotional investment from the reader.

Some readers might find this one a little too predictable, and it very much sticks to the typical enemies to lovers plot line.

But for those looking for something that’s not going to make them think too hard or hurt too much, but instead deliver a little much needed romance, then this is the book for you.