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Search tags: Celeste-Ng
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review 2018-12-10 19:34
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

I enjoyed this book. It’s quick, relatively light compared to a lot of my reading, and shows a lot of compassion towards a wide variety of characters. I don’t think it digs quite deep enough to be literary fiction, though it’s certainly more intelligently written than a lot of the “suburban drama and social issues” books out there.

 

This book focuses on the drama growing out of the enmeshment of two families. The Richardsons are prominent citizens in their planned community of Shaker Heights, Ohio, who rent a home to struggling artist Mia and her teenage daughter Pearl. The Richardsons have four teenagers of their own, all of whom are drawn to Mia or Pearl or both. But Elena Richardson, the mother, starts digging into Mia’s past when a controversial adoption case divides the town and the two women are on opposing sides. All of this leads to a conflagration, as we learn in the book’s first sentence.

 

What I most enjoyed about this book was its empathy and understanding toward its characters. Rather than painting people in black and white and dismissing some of them as just being lousy, it reaches out to turn everyone’s viewpoint into a sympathetic one. The omniscient narrator dips into the heads of even minor characters, which works well, drawing a full picture of events that allows readers a greater understanding than any individual character possesses. And the level of empathy is particularly noticeable around the adoption case, where the author shows an understanding of both the poor, desperate immigrant mother who abandoned her baby in a dark moment and the loving couple that want to adopt her despite their contented ignorance about her birth culture.

 

And yet, there’s still a certain remove from the characters that left me frustrated. If only the book had dug one layer deeper with the protagonists, I think this would have been a great novel. Perhaps it’s the amount of narrative summary (though there’s still a lot of scenes and dialogue) or the omniscient narrator (though that works well in many books) or the cramming of six or so “main” characters along with many more of lesser importance into a novel of average length rather than focusing on one or two protagonists (though again, this has been done successfully).

 

Or maybe it’s that certain moments don’t ring true.

The younger teens’ successful revenge on the bullying orchestra teacher reads like pure wish-fulfillment fantasy. Trip and Pearl’s relationship doesn’t quite ring true, and for that matter her friendship with Moody didn’t quite make sense to me either, probably because we don’t really see them together after their first meeting. Elena’s pursuit of Mia’s past also seems a bit over-the-top: Elena is initially presented as a principled woman, though somewhat blinded by her privilege, and her lack of qualms about her methods (as well as the fact that it was sparked simply by Mia’s telling Bebe about her daughter’s whereabouts – which weren’t exactly a secret) didn’t seem quite believable. And of course there’s the absurdity of the wealthy New York couple whose choice of a surrogate is a struggling college student picked up on the subway simply because she resembles the wife: I realize surrogacy wasn’t common in 1981, but common sense could still have told them that a girl who has never given birth before and is backed into a financial corner might have a change of heart about giving up her baby. And finally, the photographs Mia leaves behind, speaking on a deep level to each of the Richardsons, seemed to me a cliché but not very believable gesture.

(spoiler show)

 

At any rate, I enjoyed my time with this, though it didn’t rock my world. I would consider reading more from this author.

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review 2018-11-18 08:31
A Night To Remember by Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan
A Night to Remember - Celeste Bradley,Susan Donovan

In Wedding Knight Katrina Trapp takes her nervous twin sister's place at the altar, only to find out her sister never had any intentions of marrying Alfred Theodious Knight in the first place...


This was a quick, quirky and funny little romp about a woman switching places with her sister, who ends up disappearing and leaves her in the lurch of being married to a supposed tyrant of a man. But as the two newlyweds come to get to know each other, they also rediscover themselves, and dare we hope fall in love?

I liked the two protagonists, although I felt Katrina was a tad too bratty at times, and I loved how they slowly changed for one another as they got to know each other and developed tender feelings of one another. Of course, seeing how everything was based on a switch, the inevitable twist had to come.
I felt it was resolved a little too quickly, but that's scandal for you.

A lovely little budding romance story.



In Have Mercy Winifred Mackland, having failed to deliver a good manuscript, is packed away on a forced writing retreat by her agent...Who turns out to have matchmaking tendencies...


Quick, funky and hot as hell.

Initially, I felt it was all moving a tad too quickly (even for a short story), but as it moved along, and the two got into their easy rhythm beyond jumping naked into the hot tub on the day they met, I came to love them and their little romance.

The progress and the reservations thanks to Mac's profession, was organic and realistic, and they were super cute and super hot together. Besides, the story made me smile, which is always a plus.

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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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