Sunday, May 20, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE


LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
BY CELESTE NG
Penguin Books
September 2017
352 pages

BOOK SYNOPSIS:
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides.  Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. 
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.


MY THOUGHTS:
Little Fires Everywhere is a beautiful, complicated story of family and relationships. I loved that the story came from several of the character's point of views, giving the reader a peek into the thoughts behind the action of the character involved. I had mixed feelings about both main characters Mia and Elena. Mia was frustrating to me at times and felt very self absorbed, I felt that there was a lack of a bond between herself and her daughter Pearl. Mia and Pearl live a nomadic lifestyle, moving 46 times when we meet them at the beginning of the story. At the end of the book I was still puzzled as to if they moved so much because of Mia's secret or so that she could continue to work on her art. Once they have settled into Shaker Heights I felt that she left Pearl to negotiate uncharted waters of a permanent home, school, and friends by herself because she was too busy creating her art. Surprisingly, I felt more sympathy for Elena than I meant to. She tries to keep her family and house in perfect order but is obviously blind to the things her children are involved in. Her complicated relationship with her youngest child, Izzy broke my heart. The adoption battle that brings everyone together but divides the characters is a deeply layered element of the book that ties everything together beautifully. So many emotions were brought to the surface for me because my daughter is adopted. This book was a great page turner and would definitely be a great for a book club. I will be looking for Celeste Ng's other book "Everything I Never Told You". I have a feeling I'll like it as much as I did this one.

FAVORITE QUOTE FROM THE BOOK:
"Remember, sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW-"I FEEL PRETTY"



MOVIE SYNOPSIS:
In I FEEL PRETTY a woman who struggles with feelings of deep insecurity and low self-esteem, that hold her back everyday, wakes from a brutal fall in an exercise class believing she is suddenly a supermodel. With this newfound confidence she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?

MY THOUGHTS:
I was actually expecting a more raunchy Amy Schumer but I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of emotions that played out during this film. Amy plays Renee Bennett with the perfect combination of vulnerability and sassiness that makes this a heartwarming go see with the girls,  or your partner. I plan to rent it when it comes out and watch it with my 15 year old daughter because it's message about self confidence is spot on. My favorite supporting actress was Michelle Williams who has an adorable role that made me laugh out loud. Definitely worth a trip to the theater.

Monday, December 4, 2017

WINNER: GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY


A WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN!
Amber Terry has won a $25 gift card from Amazon.
Winner was chosen by Random.org
Thanks to everyone who participated and to BookHounds for hosting.
I've already signed up for a "Midwinter's Eve Giveaway" Hop also hosted by BookHounds. I can't wait!

Friday, December 1, 2017

WHY AM I NOT SHOCKED?

THE HATE U GIVE BANNED BY TEXAS SCHOOL DISTRICT


Angie Thomas is having quite the year. Her debut novel The Hate U Give debuted to widespread critical acclaim. It nabbed the number one spot on the New York Times list for young adult best-sellers and has enjoyed a comfortable 38 week stay on that list to date. It made the longlist for the National Book Award for young people’s literature and was the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner for fiction. It’s even been optioned for film adaptation. In rather less exciting news, The Hate U Give has been banned from the Katy Independent School District in Texas. 
For full story go to Book Riot

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SONG AT THE TOP OF MY PLAYLIST

PRAYING by Kesha
I have long been a Kesha fan. I loved her fun, funky stuff at the beginning of her career-Tik Tok and Timber are still on my workout play list. It's been four years since we have heard Kesha sing and this song-"Praying" will give you the feels. Not only are the lyrics deep and heartfelt but the video is disturbingly beautiful. AND when she hits that note-WOW! Just wow! Goosebumps.
There is very personal meaning behind this song-it's telling Kesha's journey of the past four years. I won't go into details here and now-but if your interested you can look it up and find the history on the web. But right now, just sit back and enjoy.

Monday, November 27, 2017

BOOK REVIEW-IF YOU KNEW MY SISTER

IF YOU KNEW MY SISTER
By Michelle Adams
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
375 Pages
2017

Goodreads Synopsis:
If You Knew My Sister tells the story of Irini, who was given away by her parents at the age of three, whilst her volatile, destructive sister was kept within the family. Twenty years later Irini receives a phone call from her estranged sister to say that their mother has died, compelling her to return for the first time to the family home, and to uncover the shocking truth that has defined both their lives.
My Thoughts:
I have some really mixed fillings about this book. 
The Good-
Creepy is the word I would use to describe this book. There are definitely parts that are suspenseful.
My favorite character actually turned out to be the sister, Elle. She was an excellent "villian". She had me guessing what her next move would be throughout the book. I think the author did a great job of describing the complicated relationship of the two sisters. Irini is so desperate to have a family connection that she's willing to let Elle into her life even though she knows it will probably result in disaster. Elle clearly suffers from mental illness and I found myself feeling very sorry for her, even though she acted out in disturbing ways.
I think the most frustrating part of reading this book is that I failed to connect with the main character Irini. Throughout the book she continued to make so many poor decisions. She has a live in boyfriend, Antonio who is basically sponging off of her and draining her bank account, he is obviously using her-I know that love is blind but this guy is such a loser! There are several times that she ponders about the different ways that he's spending her money but never does anything about it.
She spends the entire book trying to get answers to some long buried secrets but every time she gets the chance to connect with someone from the past, like her father, she would suddenly veer off in another direction. So much time is wasted as she runs around in circles making poor decision after poor decision. At times I wanted to reach into the book and shake her while screaming, "Get your shit together!"
The Bad-
Irini never stops playing the "victim".  She played this part so well she should have carried body chalk around with her. I was so over it by the end of the book. But listen, I really seem to be in the minority of people who didn't care for this book. People rated it fairly high. So maybe it just wasn't the book for me. 

BOOK REVIEW: LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE BY CELESTE NG Penguin Books September 2017 352 pages BOOK SYNOPSIS: In Shaker Heights, a placid, pr...