I first found TJR in 2019 when I came across The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and loved it.
I then read her next book Daisy Jones and The Six a year later. I was bored shitless and had no idea why there was ten pages of reviews at the beginning of the book.
So this year, not only did Malibu Rising make a splash, but her latest, Carrie Soto is Back is out now and I’m just waiting on it from the library.
So I thought I’d go back and read her first four books.
Here are my reviews on all to date, in order of published book.
1 – Forever, Interrupted – 7/10 – the layout needed rectifying with proper chapter titles.
This was a good storyline, for her first, and very similar in writing to Maybe In Another Life, and One True Loves, in the sense of talking about heartache and pain and losing someone you desperately want in your life.
Written in first person single POV, which I do find annoying as you never get anyone else’s POV, it’s told a lot better than her next novel.
The bad part of this book, there are no chapter titles so you have to figure out the storyline jumps back and forth to the year before and continues through the book. Annoying as fuck.
I hate death, which came right at the beginning and was practically passed over in a rush of a few pages, but I didn’t cry until the second half of the book.
2 – After I Do – 4/10 – badly written and the chapter titles needed to be better.
This story was badly written in the physical form. It jumped badly, and seemed very much like it would have been the first book she ever wrote before she improved her writing. The story itself was as boring as bat shit and there was really nothing to it.
A young couple, who has been together since college, get married, and ten years later he wants a separation to try and sort out their issues. Both date other people, fuck other people, don’t contact each other, but then write emails to each other that they don’t send. In the end they’re brought back together by her grandmother dying, and her brother’s one night stand having his baby in the same hospital. It’s only nine months into their twelve month plan, and they admit to logging into each other’s email accounts and reading the other’s unsent emails, and get back together.
Seriously! Seriously eye roll inducing. I’m surprised I finished it.
3 – Maybe In Another Life – 7/10 for the story, the layout needed rectifying with proper chapter titles.
In the same vein as books 1 and 4, this is an interesting storyline. Told in two storylines/timelines (like Sliding Doors) after the first chapter, the two lives both become enmeshed with the same people, same circumstances, and similar endings.
The big problem, when the chapters jumped to the other timeline it was confusing, especially towards the end when the timelines became the same story. Chapter headings to keep them in order would have been a simple remedy that would have made it so much easier to keep up.
4 – One True Loves – I’ll give this one 7/10 as well
I cried a lot through this book. Written in the same style as Maybe In Another Life and Forever, Interrupted, once again the incident that causes the female to mope and woe is me is rushed and glossed over in a “telling” style which Taylor seems to do a lot. She ‘tells’ stories.
The incident is gone into once the male is back but some of it just didn’t make sense. Stranded for that long with such a large supply of power bars? And why did no one find him? Too many inconsistencies where that is concerned, but the storyline is brought swiftly to a close when the female lead makes her choice and it comes all wrapped up in a bow.
5 – The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo – 100/10 I went back and copied my review.
This was the first book of Taylor’s that I read and loved it so much I wanted to buy it, which I did. I generally don’t buy other people’s books, except for Jackie Collins, Nancy Drew et al, and style/fashion books. But I did buy it. I personally think it is her best.
I don’t cry during many books, but this one hit a nerve on all fronts.
I LOVED IT.
It kept me reading, wanting to learn the secret that Evelyn had to tell, the tall tales of her seven husbands, the fame and fortune she amassed along the way, and why she wanted Monique to write it. There was a twist I did not see coming, although my brain was working overtime to guess what the twist was, I certainly didn’t expect it to be what it was.
This story was like a fictional retelling of an old Hollywood version of Elizabeth Taylor’s life. The men, the money, the fashion and jewels.
Evelyn was no different to any other star back in the day, always striving to be the best, get the best roles, marry the hottest hunk of the time, most of them did back then. And yes, many turned out to be gay.
Poor Harry, he and Evelyn loved each other dearly and his death killed me.
I’m surprised it wasn’t explained more clearly. He and Evelyn were flying home that night to their daughter, but for some reason he went to see his lover, got drunk and crashed his car, killing his lover and putting himself within hours of death.
It made no sense that he would do that. Not after talking to his daughter on the phone that morning, telling her they’d go to Wiffles the next morning. The only reason I can formulate, after finishing the book, was that he’d been speaking to his lover, his lover had given him the letter/he’d received the letter, and they’d gotten drunk and maybe argued on the way home and crashed.
Why no one else found them, or called an ambulance beats me, but then it was the set up for the story.
Evelyn sobbing by his grave killed me even more. So did Connor’s death.
It’s not hard to go through husbands or wives these days. These days are no different to those of Hollywood past. Men beat their wives, you grow apart, you cheat. It’s all the same, no matter what era, no matter what country. Marriage, followed by a divorce, was the norm, all for covering up the fact many stars were gay, and the studios dictated their lives.
I loved it (despite what I thought were its minor issues), probably because I love stories of old Hollywood, and the hardcover is awesomely green.
6 – Daisy Jones & The Six – I went and tracked down my review of this book from 2020.
There was a lot of fanfare and hoo-hah over this book, I have no idea why.
While the concept of it is interesting, it’s written in a music magazine style interview, it had absolutely no story whatsoever because it’s just that. A music magazine style interview.
I could have been reading Rolling Stone, or any other magazine, and still that story would have been boring.
A band making its way through the 70s hyped up on drugs and alcohol. Oh, wait, what else is new? Slowly making their way up the charts with their music while on a parallel path is a young female singer full of drugs and alcohol making her own way, stubbornly, and with both on the same label, the powers that be put them together.
Billy, the lead singer, and Daisy, the female, are one of those typical couples who aren’t together and fight because they’re so opposite. But realise, by the end of their musical career that they’re close to being obsessed with each other. Except a wife and husband are in the way. Sure other stories happened in the band, as it does, but there was no real drama, no murder, no mystery, no nothing.
Daisy is a narcissistic pain the ass who thinks she can do whatever she wants and to hell with everyone else and I felt like slapping her a lot. A LOT! Billy is struggling with his demons as many did.
For such an incredibly boring book seemingly based loosely on the singers and musos of the 70s, Janis Joplin comes to mind, this book does not live up to the hype, especially all of the “reviews” that cover the inside front cover and the first three pages.
I had first seen this book online when looking at something else and read the reviews, making it seem like the next best thing, but I disagree. It’s as boring as hell and didn’t deserve to be a book.
I can’t even rate this because to me, it’s not a book, not a fictional novel. It’s a fictional music interview in book form. There’s no substance, no real story, and is a re-telling of the usual events that lead to a band on the rise breaking up. Which was the usual events and not the dramatic overtures the blurb eluded to.
This was the most boring book. Reading like a Rolling Stone article, there was no…anything. A story about a 70s rock band and female singer who were forced together to make an album and the shit that came with. Drugs, alcohol, not a lot of sex. No real drama, except for a marriage that didn’t last, and a potential affair that didn’t come about.
I was that bored shitless. I don’t even remember how this book was laid out, but I do remember the ten or so pages at the beginning of the book of nothing but reviews. TURN OFF!
7 – Malibu Rising – average at best 6/10 – spoilers ahead
I expected so much out of this book. And it was the first book that was laid out with proper chapter titles for the jumping timelines.
Told in two parts, 7am to 7pm and then 7pm to 7am, it’s set over the course of 24 hours.
The first part is 7am to 7pm. The intro was a little info on Malibu, and the last line caught my eye. It made me think there was some big arsonist that was going to burn the shit down. Sadly, there wasn’t.
The timeline for part one jumped back and forth between the hours of the day and the four Riva children, to the past of when their parents met and lived their lives. Thankfully, the chapters had headers that told you when it was happening so there was no timeline confusion.
Spoilers, their mother dies which was sad and I cried.
Part two started from 7pm when the Riva party started and shit went to hell. It became confusing trying to keep up with all of the people who suddenly appeared for the party, but weren’t in the rest of the book. The house was destroyed; people came and went, including the cops who arrested many of them, and their father who they hadn’t seen in decades.
They all walked away at the end with storylines left unresolved.
And more spoilers…
Their father flicked his cigarette into the bush, which is how it burned down.
Yeah, real boring that shit was. I was expecting a mega arsonist who wanted to kill people. I got nothing!
There are a couple of issues throughout the book.
In a flashback, their mother June is holding two babies, three months, and four months old, yet she manages to change the TV on the channel and get her daughter settled before putting them down.
I know women can do a lot, but not while holding two little babies who need head support. She could have written it that June put them down and then changed the channel because remotes weren’t around then.
The other issues came at the end of the timeline.
Mick Riva left the house before 6 am. The chapter he left in was titled 5am, but the hour took some time to evolve.
In the 6 am chapter it claimed there were 52 minutes to convince Nina to leave. Which would then make it 6:52am.
In the 7 am chapter, Mick smoked his cigarette and set the place on fire.
Also in the 7am chapter, the siblings slowly left two by two. The boys left and then Kit left with Casey, a potential sibling, all before the smoke was visible (stated in the book).
And, also in the 7am chapter, the house caught fire.
Does that timeline seem dodgy?
It did to me. Why did Mick hang around for an hour trying to find a car that he could drive because his was gone? There weren’t that many left to use. And why did he not crunch the cigarette into the ground. Why do people insist on flicking those things anywhere?
I know what can happen when you do. I walked past an open door at a pub once when someone flicked their cigarette out the door. It burned my throat as it flew past. Shit can happen with flicked cigarettes.
This book was not as good as it could have been. It was better than Daisy Jones, but not as good as Evelyn Hugo.
I’m waiting on Carrie Soto from the library, as I mentioned, along with a few other books. I may do a special edition book list post in December to celebrate one year of monster book reading. But we’ll see.