Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

little fires

Publication Date: September 12th, 2017

This review does not contain spoilers

Goodreads Synopsis:

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours 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 principal is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.

My thoughts:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I have yet to read this authors debut novel ‘Everything I Never Told You’, but I am definitely intrigued now. I loved the writing style, and I really enjoyed the perspective of Pearl the best. I also thought a few of the other characters were quite interesting as well. I thought the most enjoyable sections of the book were the ones about Pearl and the relationships she had been forming with each of the Richardson children. I also liked learning about Mia Warrens past, and just how different her life was compared to that of Elena Richardson.

To be honest, I was not a big fan of the sections discussing the adoption of the Chinese baby. At times I felt like I was reading 2 different stories within one story, and I had a hard time putting the pieces together and making sense as to why this section was even in there. I get that there was probably some type of ‘lesson’ to be learned from this..about what makes a person a good mother, and if wealth, race, or other factors play an importance, which it shouldn’t. Im just saying that I honestly would have enjoyed the story more so without it. I also think that there were a little too many coincidences between many of the characters and the plot that I think tied up the story too perfectly in the end. All in all though, I did enjoy this, and I rated it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.





A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold


Publication Date: February 15th, 2016

This review does not contain spoilers.

Goodreads Blurb:

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

My Thoughts:

I listened to this on audiobook, and it is read by Sue Klebold herself. This book was depressing, and puts in perspective just how much you might not know about the people who are closest to you. Sue could have never imagined that her son would be one of the most notorious school shooters in history. He was able to put on a completely different persona around his family, and the Klebold’s could not understand why he would commit such an act. She does not just discuss her disbelief that her son did such a thing, but also gives her deepest sympathies to the victims families. I could not imagine being in this women’s shoes, and being hated by thousands of people. Many people blame the parents of troubled teenagers who commit heinous crimes, and she also discusses how in her darkest times, there were many moments that she would have liked to commit suicide. Sad, but I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend.




Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini


Publication Date: November 3rd, 2015

This review does not contain spoilers

Goodreads Blurb:

Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.

That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.

My thoughts:

I listened to this as an audiobook, and I loved it. It was read by Leah Remini herself, and she definitely made it super enjoyable to listen to. She is hilarious, and the way she discusses her upbringing in Scientology, you can’t help but laugh out loud throughout the entire story. Some sections of the book were extremely interesting, especially how the church seems to treat Tom Cruise like he is a god of some sort. I also never realized how much money is required to be a Scientologist, and I can now understand why people say its a ‘rich people’s’ religion. We also get to see how Leah got her start as an actress, and how her friendships with Kevin James and Jennifer Lopez started. I can say that this was probably the most interesting and entertaining audiobook I have ever listened to, and I would definitely recommend it. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.



Where Am I Now by Mara Wilson


Publication Date: September 13th, 2016

This review does not contain spoilers.

Goodreads Blurb

Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place: as the only child on a film set full of adults, the first daughter in a house full of boys, the sole clinically depressed member of the cheerleading squad, a valley girl in New York and a neurotic in California, and one of the few former child actors who has never been in jail or rehab. Tackling everything from how she first learned about sex on the set of Melrose Place, to losing her mother at a young age, to getting her first kiss (or was it kisses?) on a celebrity canoe trip, to not being “cute” enough to make it in Hollywood, these essays tell the story of one young woman’s journey from accidental fame to relative (but happy) obscurity. But they also illuminate a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself, and figuring out who you are and where you belong. Exquisitely crafted, revelatory, and full of the crack comic timing that has made Mara Wilson a sought-after live storyteller and Twitter star, Where Am I Now?introduces a witty, perceptive, and refreshingly candid new literary voice.

My Thoughts

I listened to this on audiobook over the last couple of days and I quite enjoyed it! It is read by Mara Wilson herself, and I am always interested in looking up child stars and reading into what they are up to nowadays, especially if I haven’t seen anything about them in the media recently. I can remember one of my favorite movies as a kid was ‘Matilda’, and wanting to be like Matilda, with all her books and her powers. I also remember that Mara Wilson was the little girl in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, which I have seen a numerous amount of times. I found it interesting to hear all about Mara’s personal life, and what she had gotten into after she left Hollywood. I actually found that we are pretty similar in a lot of ways, and I could relate to many of her experiences. She is an excellent story teller, and it amazes me that she can remember so many little details about the things that she has done from many years ago. She also talks about what it was like to know and work with Robin Williams, which I enjoyed. While this book was nothing spectacular, I found it an entertaining audiobook that is worth a listen. Overall, I rated this 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.



American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse


Publication Date: July 11th, 2017

This review does not contain spoilers.

‘Goodreads Blurb’

The arsons started on a cold November midnight and didn’t stop for months. Night after night, the people of Accomack County waited to see which building would burn down next, regarding each other at first with compassion, and later suspicion. Vigilante groups sprang up, patrolling the rural Virginia coast with cameras and camouflage. Volunteer firefighters slept at their stations. The arsonist seemed to target abandoned buildings, but local police were stretched too thin to surveil them all. Accomack was desolate—there were hundreds of abandoned buildings. And by the dozen they were burning.

The culprit, and the path that led to these crimes, is a story of twenty-first century America. Washington Post reporter Monica Hesse first drove down to the reeling county to cover a hearing for Charlie Smith, a struggling mechanic who upon his capture had promptly pleaded guilty to sixty-seven counts of arson. But as Charlie’s confession unspooled, it got deeper and weirder. He wasn’t lighting fires alone; his crimes were galvanized by a surprising love story. Over a year of investigating, Hesse uncovered the motives of Charlie and his accomplice, girlfriend Tonya Bundick, a woman of steel-like strength and an inscrutable past. Theirs was a love built on impossibly tight budgets and simple pleasures. They were each other’s inspiration and escape…until they weren’t.

Though it’s hard to believe today, one hundred years ago Accomack was the richest rural county in the nation. Slowly it’s been drained of its industry—agriculture—as well as its wealth and population. In an already remote region, limited employment options offer little in the way of opportunity. A mesmerizing and crucial panorama with nationwide implications, American Fire asks what happens when a community gets left behind. Hesse brings to life the Eastern Shore and its inhabitants, battling a punishing economy and increasingly terrified by a string of fires they could not explain. The result evokes the soul of rural America—a land half gutted before the fires even began.

My thoughts

I enjoyed this book well enough; however, I did find myself getting a little bored near the end. I thought the story of this case dragged on a bit too long, and it could have been shortened just a hair. I had never heard of this case though, and I did find it quite interesting. Arson seems to be a crime that you don’t often hear much about, and these particular people decided to set fire to a bunch of abandoned homes for no particular reason, which I found interesting. I liked how the author talked about the history behind those who commit arson, and the shared traits that many of them have with each other. I also enjoyed learning about Accomack, my husband is from Virginia and I am not, so I learned a little bit more about the state that I did not already know. While this was not the best nonfiction book I have read so far this year, it was still quite good. I think it is worth a read if you are someone interested in true crime. Overall I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.



What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan


Publication Date: December 1st, 2015

This review does not contain spoilers

As Rachel walks along a path in the woods with her eight year old son Ben, he suddenly asks her if he could run ahead little bit on the path. Reluctantly, Rachel allows him too, and she soon realizes that she makes the worst decision of  her life when she finds that Ben has suddenly disappeared. After running into another women on the trail, and asking for help to look for him, the police are called, and from this point, the story takes off with an investigation in the disappearance of Ben.

In this story we are introduced to not only Rachel and Ben, but also Rachel’s sister Nikki, her friend Laura, her ex husband John, and several of the police officers involved in the case. We learn that not everything in Rachel’s life is what it seems. Many secrets come out during the investigation, and we also find out that Rachel is recently divorced from her ex husband John, who left her for another woman. After a televised interview with Rachel goes horribly wrong, much of the public believe that Rachel is actually guilty.

As for my thoughts, I really enjoyed this book. Even though it was quite long, at almost 500 pages, it read pretty quickly. It is told from 3 different perspectives, Rachel, Officer Clemo, and the therapist that sees Clemo throughout the length of the story. I was easily sucked into this story, and I never had a problem picking the book back up when I had to set it down. I am definitely interested to read more from this author in the future. Excellent debut thriller! I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.



The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

the namesake

Publication Date: September 1st, 2004

This review does not contain spoilers.

Hello, remember me? Yeah I haven’t updated in a few weeks. I have been battling a serious reading slump, and I am slowly but surely getting out of it…but anyways….

In this story, we follow several different characters, starting with Ashima and Ashoke, who are recently married and move from their homes in India, to the unfamiliar world of Massachusetts. This is an immigrant story where we follow the Ganguli family as they have two children and become accustomed to daily life in America, and the struggles that they run into along the way. Life in America is so different compared to what they knew in India, and Ashima struggles to cope with the fact that they are so far away from family and the culture that she is familiar with.

When their son is born, they give him the name ‘Gogol’ which comes from a Russian author that Ashoke admired, and also signifies a certain tragedy that he lived through from his earlier years; however, Gogol hates the name, and does not understand why he was given a Russian name as a Bengali boy. Ashoke does not explain the meaning of Gogol’s name until later in his life, and throughout most of the novel, you see how a name is one of the most important pieces of identity you can have. We essentially watch Gogol from birth until well into his 30’s as he struggles to figure out who he is and what his purpose is. We also watch as this family slowly adopts American values and traditions, while also trying to hold on to their Indian culture.

As for my thoughts, I really enjoyed this novel, and I hope to read more from Jhumpa  Lahiri in the future. I was looking for books that are somewhat similar in style to Khaled Hosseini, who wrote ‘The Kite Runner’, and ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’, which are two of my favorite books. When I did a google search for books or authors that were similar, Jhumpa Lahiri kept popping up, and I had ‘The Namesake’ sitting on my shelves for awhile, so I thought it would be the perfect time to give her a shot. I love novels about families, and especially families that are of different ethnicity and background from myself. Lahiri’s writing was very easy to follow, and I learned a lot about India and Indian culture from reading this book. Even though it took me a long time to finish this, I don’t blame the reasoning on the book itself, only on the fact that I just haven’t been reading much this month. I look forward to reading Lahiri’s other novels. I rated this 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.




How often do you review books for authors who request? (Discussion)

Over the past few months I have become inundated with review requests from authors. Many of the book reviews I have listed are from authors who have graciously provided me a copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. While I absolutely love to be given the opportunity to give back to these people who have worked so hard, I have started to think that I need to take a little bit of a step back.

When I first started my blog, it was solely for the purpose of talking about all the great books I have chosen to read for myself, and hoping to get the chance to read some for review as well. I started to list my blog name under book blogger lists and directories and became really excited when I started getting an influx of requests on a daily basis. During this point in time, I would pretty much accept anything. There are definitely a few titles under my book review list that I would have never considered reading in the first place, but had felt bad about rejecting. While I never lied in my reviews if the book wasn’t good, there are still many times that I have been brought into horrible ‘reading slumps’ because of them, and it has gotten to the point many times that I don’t even want to read. Unfortunately, I am now in a dilemma because I know I told people that I would review their books; however, I am no longer excited for them.

At this point in time, I have about 6 books that I am ‘supposed’ to read and review; however, I think I am going to have to narrow it down to 2, and then start out fresh. I am currently reading one (and am enjoying it), and that is ‘Home to Roost’ by Chauncey Rogers, and I have another one that I am interested in, but after that I think it will be time for a break.

I want to read and review more books that I WANT to read, and feel less pressured into pumping out the reviews from requests. Since I am not getting paid around here, its time to start being a little more picky with what I choose to read. With that being said, how often do y’all review books for authors that request?


The Long Walk by Stephen King


Publication Date: July 1979

The Long Walk‘ is apart of the Richard Bachman books, which Bachman was the pseudonym that Stephen King was writing under at the time. We are first introduced to Ray Garraty, who is getting dropped off at the starting line of the walk by his mother. Garraty is a 16 year old boy who represents the state of Maine. The long walk is an annual contest where a large group of boys gather to walk until they can not walk anymore. If they fall under a certain speed, or can no longer walk for any reason, death is the consequence that the boys will face. Whoever is the last one to remain standing is declared the winner, and is promised anything that they desire. Along the way, Garraty develops a number of friendships with the boys who are walking with him, and we see how he is able to cope with the loss of his friends who are taken out, as well as his own deteriorating health. Will he live to see the end, or will he die trying?

As for my thoughts, I unfortunately felt like I should have gotten a lot more from this, and it seems that I am the odd one out when it comes to my thoughts on this. From what I have seen, everyone loves this book, but I don’t think I am able to say the same. Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and I am slowly making my way through his works, but I can’t say that this will be a favorite of mine.

First of all, I just wanted more from this story other than reading about a big group of boys walking, getting shot, walking some more, and getting shot some more. Other than a lot of walking, there just wasn’t a lot going on in this book, and it took me forever to finish. I wanted more depth, and when I was reading it, I would often find myself falling asleep after reading only a couple pages. I really liked the premise of this story, I just thought there could have been more to it, and there also was an open ended conclusion that left me frustrated. Even though this wasn’t my favorite, it won’t deter me from picking up more of King’s books. Overall, I rated this 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.


When Houses Burn by Lauren Lee


Release Date: August 15th, 2017

This review does not contain any spoilers.

*Thank you to the author for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Goodreads Blurb

Dr. Delilah Hedley is a well-respected Doctor of Psychiatry in a small, affluent city on the East Coast. Despite her professional success, Delilah is physically unable to have children, causing increasing turmoil in her marriage. When Delilah begins seeing a new patient, a man previously accused of murdering his parents, a woman is simultaneously found dead in the river. As the hunt for Jane Doe’s killer intensifies, Delilah falls deeper and deeper for her new patient, despite his dark past. Will the doctor get a taste of her own medicine, or will she find an escape from the flame in time to save her own life?

Personal Thoughts

Im going to get it out of the way and say it now, this was the best book I have read by an author who has provided me a copy in exchange for a review so far. This is very well written, and well thought out, and has to be one of the better thrillers that I have read as of late. You immediately get sucked into the story, and it is very hard to put the book down once you get going, and that is exactly what I look for when I read from this genre.

This fast paced story left me gripped and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I was never able to guess how the story would go. It is told from Delilah’s perspective from the present tense as well as past tense, and you also get little snippets from inside the investigations taking place. You see how Delilah’s relationship with her husband slowly crumbles away, but you also see her build this relationship with her new patient, leaving you unsure of who you want to root for because all the characters are unstable in their own right, even Delilah herself. I really think that this title is so deserving to be the next big thing within this genre, and no I am not going to say the next ‘Gone Girl’, because that was so TWO years ago. This is exciting, new, and FRESH.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.