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review 2018-08-21 22:13
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng

I'm honestly kind of of disappointed in this book. I'd heard so many rave reviews from friends who read, and loved it. Perhaps I set my expectations slightly too high because of that, but this just didn't live up to what I was hoping for. I understood what Ng was going for. I saw the picture that she was trying to paint with total clarity. This story just never hit the point where I felt fully invested in it, and that was a shame.

 

This book was written beautifully. It was lyrical, and flowed perfectly. It was the characters that never let me into their lives. Even Lydia, our poor deceased main character, felt like a flat piece of cardboard rather than a real girl. I hated her mother. I hated her brother. I somewhat liked her father and her sister, but really only because they were the two characters who had some kind of depth to them. They were flawed, and they let me see their true selves. Lydia was a cutout. A cutout of a girl who is floundering in a life that she didn't build for herself. I'm not going to lie, I kind of hated her too.

 

I know there will be people who love this story. I, alas, am simply not one of them.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-20 03:29
With This Ring - Celeste Bradley

The cover for this book is utterly stunning and it's the only thing that kept me reading.

 

In the third installment of the Wicked Worthingtons, we see Elektra's story. From afar, the story is whimsical sounding - Elektra probably the only Worthington who cares about the state of the family - I mean what about  Calliope? She married well in the first book, but doesn't even send over not even an apple to help our her family SMH - and Elektra feels she must marry well to reinstate her family to their former glory.

 

To ensure this, she plans to kidnap the most eligible bachelor, put him in a compromising position and make him marry her. But her plans goes awry and it doesn't help matters that the Lord she kidnaps has been involved in a scandal that drove him from London and 10 years later he's finally back hoping to win his father's forgiveness and favor in his deathbed. 

 

So, the story  was so-so, but  I found there was just too much concentrating on the  Worthingtons and not too much on Elektra and her story. The 3 stars are merely for the cover and 1.5 for the story. So ends my travels with the Wicked Worthingtons. The next book cover is super dull and I find the Worthington family just gets on my nerves. 

 

story features:

sexual content

historical romance

suspense

intrigue

kidnapping

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-20 03:12
And Then Comes Marriage - Celeste Bradley

The second o installment f the Wicked Worthington series really missed the mark for me. I truly enjoyed the first part, but everything unraveled in the second  book. 

 

Cas and Pol are twins - though they are grown men they are irresponsible and only think about inventing well absolutely nothing worthwhile. They run around the brothels and spend money like there's no tomorrow, never caring after the wellbeing of their family. I'm not sure if the author meant this in an endearing way, but I found nothing endearing about this behavior whatsoever.

 

The twins are making their usual mayhem when a widow is struck by Pol's handsomeness. She cant get Mr. Worthington off her mind, not knowing he's a twin. 

 

A complex but rather dull story ensues of a back and forth of should they - shouldn't they as it seems both men fall for her. But just when I thought it was going to be a menage book, everything falls apart as they all can't figure out who should be with who. Add in a pesky clause that the widow shouldn't do anything scandalous or she'll lose her fortune and it's all one big mess I couldn't be bothered with.

 

I really didnt care who stayed with who as I couldn't believe how irresponsible these idiots were. I was floored they got the widow to lose her fortune and then made her live with their parents because they are such losers they didn't have a home of their own. What a waste.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-07-10 04:02
When She Said I Do - Celeste Bradley

Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Calliope Worthington is a spinster as the oldest of the Worthington girls as she's in her thirties. Gone are her dreams of being introduced into society, much less getting married as she's resigned her life to taking care of her wild and rambunctious family and younger siblings. 

 

But then one fateful night, a storm washes away a bridge her family is traveling on and they all descend upon what looks like a deserted and decrepit manor. While everyone struggles to get their bearings and dry their clothes, Calliope goes up the manor, exploring to her heart's content. 

 

In her soaked nightgown, she spies a chest full of jewelry and she can't resist trying on the beautiful baubles. But it turns out the mansion isn't deserted, and it's Master, Sir Lawrence "Ren" Porter doesn't take kindly to thieves. 

 

Ren bargains with Calliope and in exchange for her doing his dark and devious biddings, he'll give her one pearl a night from the necklace she stole. Once the pearls are all given back, Calliope will be released from his hold. 

 

But even though Ren is a disfigured beast and hides away in his estate, Calliope sees him for more than anyone has ever done before. Slowly, she unravels his past and Ren opens up and lets her slip past his guarded walls.

 

As time passes and Ren entreats her night after night with new and deliciously seductive experiences, will Calliope leave his side? And what of the villagers? Will they welcome her and their reclusive master or do Ren and Calliope have an even bigger fight on their hands? 

 

When She Said I Do features: 

 

erotica

oral sex

BDSM

mystery

suspense

intrigue

historical romance

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review 2018-06-23 18:33
"Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

 

I knew, on finishing "Little Fires Everywhere" that I had enjoyed the book and that it was a first-rate piece of writing, excellently narrated. Yet I wasn't clear enough about what I thought of the book to write a review. So, I've let a few weeks pass, let the ideas and the images settle and gotten a little space from the characters and now I'm starting to see some shapes.

 

I think my inability to see the whole book at once is a consequence of how the book is designed. The authorial voice is used throughout, guiding us through the thoughts and emotions of the characters as they react to the little fires of passion, most of them to related to motherhood, that challenge and or define them. Yet, although I hear the author's voice all the time, by the end of the novel, the author had not given me any unequivocal answers as to whose side she is on. I think this is one of the key strengths of the book. It refuses to be didactic or polarising. It puts forward the views of both sides and asks you to think, to access your emotions. Perhaps to start a little fire of your own.mo

 

The book brings together two families, Mia and her daughter, who live a nomadic life, with Mia working on her art as a photographer while raising her daughter, and the Richardsons, mother, father and four children, raised in the idyllic, safe, solidly upper-middle-class Shaker Heights. Mia rents an apartment from Mrs Richardson. Their children, all in their teens, start to spend time together, Mia starts to work part-time cooking and cleaning for the Richardsons so that she can observe the family her, previously independent and possibly lonely, daughter has fallen under the spell of.

 

This "compare and contrast lifestyles" set-up is used to examine choices on motherhood, different types of mother-daughter relationships, the rights and wrongs of adoption (especially of a Chinese baby by a childless white couple) of abortion, and of surrogacy. It looks at whether families are born or made or both. It contrasts choosing to follow rules with choosing to follow your passion and asks if either choice makes sense.

 

It does all this without turning into an ethics essay. It stays focused on the people, the choices that have made them who they are and the potential that they have for changing and or for becoming even more deeply that people that they have already become.

 

The issues the characters deal with are controversial, have a high potential for conflict and speak deeply to core beliefs. So how do I get to the end of a novel told in the authorial voice and not know what the author's answer is?

 

Well, I needed to step back. I think Celeste Ng didn't set out to take sides on the issues. She wants us to understand that there are no simple answers. If there were, these little passion-fed fires wouldn't break out everywhere. 

 

The message I took from the book was that little fires are both inevitable and necessary. If we're lucky, they give us the passage to find an answer that is right for us. Yet the fires are dangerous, They can get out of control. So we are all faced with a choice on what to do with the fires? Do we damp them down, avoiding risk by starving them of oxygen? Do we spread the flame to others? Do we limit the damage? our passions, cutting off their oxygen to avoid risks?

 

Good questions. In "Little Fires Everywhere" Celeste Ng shows us all of those choices but leaves us to decide which to take for ourselves. Along the way, she builds up some memorable characters that start to feel like family.

 

To give you a flavour of the prose and the use of metaphor, I've quoted a section from the middle of the book, where the author shares Mrs Richardson's thoughts on passion and rules. 

"All her life, she had learned that passion, like fire, was a dangerous thing. It so easily went out of control. It scaled walls and jumped over trenches. Sparks lept like flees and spread as rapidly. A breeze could carry embers for miles. Better to control that spark and pass it carefully from one generation to the next, like an Olympic Torch. Or perhaps to tend it carefully like like an Eternal Flame A reminder of light and goodness that would never, could never, set anything ablaze. Carefully controlled, Domesticated. Happy in captivity.  The key she thought was to avoid conflagration."

 

"Rules existed for a reason. If you followed them, you would succeed. If you didn't, you might burn the world to the ground."

If this appeals to you, I recommend the audiobook version. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample of Jennifer Lim's narration.

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/349277108" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

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