Review: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Beautiful. Poetic. Haunting. Lyrical. This latest story from Celeste Ng is all that and more.

Izzy has finally gone over the edge. Everyone knew it was going to happen eventually. But what caused this inevitable collapse? Things are never as simple as they seem, and that rule applies to the Richardson house being burnt to the ground by their erratic, youngest daughter.

Rewind to the beginning. That’s when Mia and her daughter Pearl arrive in town. At first just tenants in a rental house owned by the Richardsons, they soon find themselves ingrained into the family. Pearl finds friendship among the four Richardson children while Mia takes up employment as their housekeeper. Their nomadic, artistic lifestyle is too tempting to resist. Soon their lives are intertwined in unimaginable ways. But all families have secrets, and these two families are no exception. As secrets typically go, when one is discovered another soon follows. Some secrets aren’t so big, others are huge and life changing.

These characters are amazing, every single one of them. Mrs. Richardson is controlling and disciplined beyond belief. Mia is free spirited and thoughtful. The teenagers are, well, what you would expect of teenagers. The way they all come together is simply spellbinding. This is a story that I both wanted to end and wanted to last longer at the same time. An outstanding tale!


Buy It Now: Little Fires Everywhere


Review: Sociable by Rebecca Harrington

Quirky novel about the culture of social media – using it, creating it, changing it, and earning a living by it. While most of the characters were in their 20s, a few unlikeable chaps were more my age (forty-cough-ish). I just couldn’t wrap my head around grown men acting so silly about making lists a la buzzfeed. The male characters were intolerable at best.

I did like the development of Elinor, and the characters of some of the other women. Elinor was a little wayward but as soon as she got rid of a certain albatross she was able to come into her own.

All in all, I think that (1) I’m not the right demographic for this book (twenty-somethings will appreciate more, I think!), and (2) I’m just too much of a realist to get into unrealistic realistic fiction. Or maybe I’m just clueless. Do people really live like that in the city? Is working for a social media company actually that prestigious? SOCIABLE may have been intended as satire, or maybe something tongue in cheek. Maybe it was totally mocking society. I’m not sure, but whatever it was supposed to be, I think it went over my head.



Review: Little Woodford by Catherine Jones

This story is a cute telling of a slice-of-life in an English village. After her husband dies, Bex moves to tiny Woodford with her children – and there she has to navigate the stereotypical town gossip, church ladies, and the snooty do-gooders — all while trying to move in, fit in and make her own footprint as the new lady in the fancy house.

I enjoyed this predictable bit of fun, despite having to suspend my disbelief a couple of times. I mean, does Bex ever grieve?! Is Olivia that perfect?! In Little Woodford Miss Jones gives us a new adventure, a little mystery, a romance or two, teenagers figuring out life, some good guys, some bad guys, and a bunch of regular Joes making the most of small town living. Charming.



Review: Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

When was the last time you finished a book and immediately sat down and wrote out a list of people who MUST read this book? When I finished this, that’s exactly what I did. The first, my kids, then my homeschool co-op teens, then some moms of those teens, then a few scattered friends who I know would get a kick out of this. And then I pretty much went on IG and FB and shouted it from the rooftops there. THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING!!! Thought provoking and exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to read this.

When I first got Pacifica, I almost skipped the author’s note and went right to the story. I’m so glad I didn’t. The author’s note is where the magic begins. It’s where the background story comes from. It’s the first time your heart is squeezed. And it’s definitely not the last.

When you read dystopians, part of you thinks, “This could never happen. We won’t let it happen.” But when I was reading this book, I kept thinking, “Crap. This could totally happen. And that would be horrific.” Basically climate change and the affects it has on our planet. But that’s not the hardest part of this story. The people, and what’s happening right under their noses, that’s the hardest part. They thought the government knew what was best for them and they just went along with it. But when the story is uncovered, they realize it’s far from anything they’ve ever heard of.

I think the best part of this book was the friendships. I was cheering everyone on. Marin, who was a pirate’s daughter and Ross, the president’s son, set out to rescue Ross’ friend, Adam, the vice president’s son, and it is non stop action. Like stomach twisting action. I couldn’t stop reading, for fear of something happening and I miss it. 🙂 Silly, I know, but I was so invested in these characters, I wouldn’t stop until they found their way back to safety. Now there is a little bit of love brewing on the high seas, but can you blame them? People who’ve gone through traumatic experiences tend to react that way. But it’s teen friendly, so no worries.

I have never read a Kristen Simmons book, but if they’re anything like this one, she’s found a new fan and I’ve found a new autobuy author. This story is now added to my ever growing “You need to read these YA books!” list. And all those people who are on my list above, better act surprised when they all get copies for Christmas.


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Review: In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner

Books about teens with mental illness are hit or miss for me. Usually not very good and full of cliches, but every now and then a true keeper comes along. This latest tale from Gae Polisner is definitely one of the latter.

Klee’s had a lot to deal with in his young life. Not only did his dad kill himself, but Klee was the one to find him afterwards. His mom, hoping for a fresh start, uproots them from his beloved New York City. He doesn’t really fit in at his new school and basically resigns himself to just getting by until he graduates and can begin a new life.

But then he meets Sarah. And everything changes. She becomes his reason for being. She’s his polar opposite. And he can’t imagine his life without her. Sarah, however, isn’t as commital. Eventually it all becomes too much for Klee and he makes a desperate attempt to end the pain he’s feeling.

This author does an outstanding job of taking us inside Klee’s head, imagining what he must be thinking and feeling. So much trauma at such a young age…leading up to the incident and his recovery period afterwards.

A word of warning: Although this one is classified as young adult, I’d suggest it for the older end of the spectrum. The message is important but it’s pretty sexually descriptive. An insightful story!


Buy It Now: In Sight of Stars

Review: The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

I’ve got to say, this wasn’t the Eternity Springs I was expecting! I thought I’d be reading light and sweet but what I read was dark and heavy.

While I liked the present day Josh character very much, his past was pretty dark, and that cast a shadow over much of the plot. His moodiness was understandable but just a little depressing for Eternity Springs.

I expected Caitlin to be the predictable small town girl/breath of fresh air, yet her character development was a little uneven: she’s still a young woman without a family of her own, yet she leaves her big city job to become a day care worker. She wants to be out of her parents’ clutches, yet she is just as judgmental as they are.

This book was well written and had cameos of characters from prior books. I loved Celeste’s hand in making sure everyone lives out their best life. Despite being thrown off by these two particular characters, I did — as usual — enjoy all the magic Eternity Springs offers.

If you’ve been reading the Eternity Springs series and wishing the next book would be more serious, a little gritty, and spicier than the previous books – Emily March has written this one for you. 🙂



Review: Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden

Oh, my sweets, this book was so lovely!! Positively lovely.

Evangeline lived a life of luxury, but after the death of her parents and brothers, her younger sister and her are at the mercy of relatives. They make all the decisions for them and they must adhere to it. Women don’t have a lot of choices. If she wants to have access to her small inheritance she must do everything she is ordered to do, and do it perfectly. So she is separated from her sister and forced to be a teacher, even though she has zero experience. She is alone and sad but is determined to do a good job, to get in the good graces of her grandfather, so she can be reunited with her sister. I can’t even imagine how strong she must’ve been.

The part I love most about this was Dermot and Ronan. Dermot was this outsider, trying to make a living so he can care for his boy. Ronan was special. Autistic really. And I loved him. I loved the way he changed little by little under the care and love from Evangeline. She was learning right along with her students and she learned what he needed and how he needed it. I got chocked up at how those changes manifested themselves. Back in those days they didn’t know what autism was and I can only imagine what those poor children went through.

While she still struggled daily, her relationship with Dermot helped ease the loneliness. What started out as neighborly, turned into friendship, which then turned into more. And I loved it!! They had their moments of distress but that’s nothing compared to the love that shown through. He helped her grow and was with her as she got stronger and more independent, took control of her life, and that of her sister’s. They were so sweet to watch. We get both of their points of view, so it was lovely to see his thoughts about her. He wasn’t looking for a woman, but life likes to throw us curve balls every now and then.

As I’ve said before, I love these Proper Romance books. I love the sweetness and romance of it all. They tend to stay with me long after I’m done reading them. And Ashes on the Moor is no exception.


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