Review of “Little Fires Everywhere”

This week I focused on reading a modern classic. This book “Little Fires Everywhere” is the second novel written by Celeste Ng. Ng’s debut novel is titled, “Everything I Never Told You”, and is also considered a modern classic. What is a modern classic? A modern classic is a book written after World War II that has modern themes which tell a tale about the society we live in today, and usually has a statement the book is trying to make.

First Impressions

I bought “Everything I Never Told You” and “Little Fires Everywhere” at the same time. However, it’s been a while. I remember reading Ng’s debut novel a while ago, but I haven’t picked up “Little Fires Everywhere” until I found it with a bunch of books previously put in storage.

The subtlety in this cover is amazing to me for flirting with the idea that everything is not as it seems. It is a very soft, aerial view of a neighborhood with the shapes not having very defined lines. The houses are not defined with stark contrasts to the yards they sit on, however I would say the houses that have the lights on do contrast to the streets and the yards behind them. The houses are mid-west, classic American looking homes. The title is in white across the cover, but it is not written in all caps. Nobody is screaming for you to read this book. But I think that’s what makes this book all the more appealing.

During reading

This book started off as a slow burn which slowly ignites into a large flame. The characters are introduced, the setting is set up, and the background of the story is getting placed within the first hundred pages or so. But it’s not boring to be reading about these characters. Shaker is not a boring place to me, even though it has the potential to be boring.

The author breathes life into the characters and into the setting in a way that’s simplistic but also has a double meaning to it as well. What does that mean? There are always two sides to every story, and I really think Celeste Ng is able to deliver this beautifully.

“Little Fires Everywhere” also digs into controversial topics such as double standards, racism, cultural appropriation, and societal judgment (especially with mothers and women). This book does so in a thought-provoking light that also makes it page turning and easy to read.

Final Thoughts & Star Rating

I enjoyed this book. I enjoy Celeste Ng’s writing style, and I thought this book was well written. It’s not going to be a book that I’m planning on rereading soon, but I understand that this book could be that to someone.

Overall, I give this book a 5/5 stars and recommend for most people to try and read this at one point or another in their life.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review of “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires”

It’s that time of the year again.

It’s spooky season.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and this year it holds extra special sentimental value. This time a year ago, I was preparing to launch this blog. Even though it was a soft launch and even a softer year as I don’t post much, this blog has brought me back to reading. It has helped me carve out a space on the internet where I can write what I think to my little hearts content and that’s something to celebrate.

As a form of celebration, I finally sat down to share with you guys one of my favorite books from this year. It’s the perfect book for October, and I’ve been recommending this book nonstop online. “The Southern Book Clubs Guide to Slaying Vampires” by Grady Hendrix is a contemporary masterpiece.

There, I said it.

Do not get me wrong, he has a few authors he holds the spotlight with this season. Sophia Moreno-Garcia is another exceptional horror writer I’m recommending this season and Ali Hazelwood knocked it out of the ballpark with her academic romance novel. But Grady Hendrix brought vampires back for me, just as “Midnight Sun” was prepared to crush my hopes and dreams.

First Impressions

I picked this book up when I was shopping at my local Barnes & Noble. What attracted to me first was of course the name. I love a chunky name if done right, and something about “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” had my curiosity peaked. The book cover was a close second.

The southern peaches with blood dripping from gaping bite wounds was a “hidden between the lines” temptation for me. This book was daring me to imagine what it was trying to say by just the cover. Was a handsome vampire going to swoop into a southern belle’s heart (and bed…) while the reader begs her to understand what he truly is? Was the book club a clan of hardened criminals living on the edge of society and slaughtering vampires while reading smutty fanfiction?

During Reading

This is the first book I’ve read by Grady Hendrix, although I’ve had “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” in my mental TBR reading pile for a couple of months. I’ve heard this book is pretty mild as far as his other works are concerned, but I cannot attest to that. I do enjoy the book clubs reading lists for the timespan taking place in the book, and I do enjoy the rudimentary maps that were included in my copy as well. I am a visual person, and I always love when authors include extra materials in their books to help the readers better disappear into their world.

This book follows a group of 90s housewives as they find out the mysteries surrounding their neighbor and fellow book club member, James Harris. What follows is some female badass-ery as these housewives navigate the dark waters of what happens behind the closed doors in a sleepy Southern town. I don’t want to get into too much detail because I know I’ll end up spoiling something, but this book is going to be great for someone who:

1.) Doesn’t mind dark themes including – child murder, rape, suicide, kidnapping, domestic abuse and violence.

2.) Graphic content being drawn out figuratively across the page

3.) Likes novels with contemporary historical themes (it takes place in the 90s)

4.) Dislikes complex plots; this book is pretty clean cut, and is not for someone who likes longer length narratives.

Honestly, to me this book was pretty mild as far as language goes and content, but I would say it does have some pretty mature content that wouldn’t be suitable for younger readers.

After Reading & Star Rating

I really liked this book. The author tackled pretty hard hitting topics such as classism and sexism, and overall Grady Hendrix did a great job. I never thought I needed a book where housewives take on a creature of the night, but lo and behold here it is.

My biggest gripe with this book would be that we aren’t introduced to some of the background characters as much as I would have liked to be. Most of the book clubs family members are just mentioned in passing, and much of the husbands characters can be summed up in a descriptive word or two. I think if he had made these characters more complex he could have expanded further on sexism. Where it stands, most of the husbands I could either cared less about or they were just so self-centric it was easy to hate them.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall I give this book a 4/5 stars and highly recommend you reading this book during the month of October.

Review of “The People We Keep”

I know I haven’t really been around recently on my blog, and I wish I had a better excuse behind my absence. No, I haven’t been working on an elaborate project lately. I haven’t gotten married or have given birth to any offspring. But I have been reading some pretty decent books that I wanted to share with you guys and talk about.

“The People We Keep” by Allison Larkin was my nominee for this year’s book in my Book of the Month app. Yes, I feel in love with it that hard and that deeply. Have I read most of the other nominated books on the list? Not yet, but I’m slowly getting there. Do I believe this book generally deserves the nomination and potentially winning the award? Yes.

This book is an emotional roller coaster. You follow the life of April Sawaki, a vagabond who moves up and down the East Coast following a series of unfortunate events that leaves this young woman believing she is not worthy of being loved. This book tackles deep topics such as family dysfunction and mental illness. It really goes in deep about the scars everyone carries based on the people we have loved and harmed in our lives, and those who have harmed us as well.

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As a really reflective person who didn’t grow up in the best of situations, I can relate to this character. I can relate to her on a deeper level and on an introspective level as I’ve watched a lot of people grow and come out of really crummy situations, thanks a lot in part both to the individual and the great support system they surround themselves with.

The story takes place in the 90s. Hello. The 90s. As a millennial I have an unnatural obsession for the decade I started grammar school in. The author leaves little nuggets of nostalgic joy into the story line. April has a Ren and Stimpy flashlight and a potential dislike for Pearl Jam. I enjoy whenever writers put time pieces into their stories, but I do know a lot of people believes it distracts from the overall plot or that it’ll just age the book that quicker. I read out a passage to my boyfriend and he literally cringed that they were hinting at a song on the radio mentioning to not call him daughter. He just thinks it’s unnecessary and the author is just trying to be cool.

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Whether you think it’s cute or cringe, that’s up to you.

If you ever sometimes feel like you are not loved, this is a great book to pick up and remember that you are deeply loved. It’s not always about the people we interact with every single day, but it’s about the people we keep and hold to us most in the darkest times of our lives.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5/5 Stars

Originally I thought about giving this book 4.5/5 stars because let’s face it, I can be a hard ass. It’s hard for me to find a story that I believe cannot be enhanced in any way, but this story deserves all the stars I have in my box. This book was thought provoking, it was easy to read and get through, and the characters were well thought out.

What did you guys think? Have you read this book yet? What would you consider the greatest book to come out in 2021?

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“Midnight Sun” and Then Some

Okay…

The moment we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of December has finally come. I have completed Stephanie Meyer’s book “Midnight Sun” and I can now check this book off my February Reading list…

Ha. Right.

So I ended up not finishing this book, ya’ll. Perhaps maybe one day I’ll eventually finish this book, but now that I have tried countless of times I’m still just going to mark this off my list and leave it incomplete because I think I’ve made a strong enough opinion on it already.

We all know it’s not a good sign when a reader doesn’t want to finish reading a book, and a short list of the reasons why a person may forgo finishing includes:

1.) The book is a yawn, personified.

2.) The book’s plot is hard to follow, muddled, isn’t thought out, etc.

3.) The book is outdated.

In this case, I would like to say it was perhaps all of the above. I am not dragging Stephanie Meyer’s by any means because I really liked her series when I was a teenager. But I am now a twenty-six year old woman, and this book had a lot of moments early on that were hard to get through.

So let me count down the things I disliked in the story…

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First Impression: Book Cover

From the moment you lay eyes on the cover, you can tell it’s another book in the “Twilight” series. There’s just a distinct look these books have–the clean black background with the simple image contrasted on the cover always makes me do a double take in the bookstore to see if it’s another book from Stephanie Meyer. I can appreciate what they were trying to do with a pomegranate, since Edward refers to Bella as Persephone in the story. But honestly I dislike having the fruit sloppily cut open on the front. I feel like having a whole pomegranate sitting on the front cover like the original books always have a whole apple on their front cover (unless it was the version used to promote the movie series) would have been a better design.

I already knew what the book was going to be about, so I can’t really make a unbiased first impression on my thoughts going into this book. I have an expectation that this book is going to be Edwards point of view of Twilight. I figured my impression was going to be generally more focused on whether or not Meyer decided to add something crazy into it that wasn’t included in the first book.

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Going in, I’m feeling pretty open minded. I have read the twilight books since graduating high school. They are not that bad structurally compared to the House of Night series where I couldn’t get through the series based on how the author wrote her sentences. There’s some moments that used to make me swoon as a teen that as an adult make me laugh (the Bella-Jacob in a sleeping bag scene for one) but overall, I pulled through the series in the matter of days.

I expect this book will take about the same amount of time to get through, and will be the generally the same tone as the Twilight saga was.

Impressions After Reading

Oh, how wrong could I be.

Stephanie Meyer didn’t add any scenes, so that problem was easily laid to rest. However, she surely doesn’t do much for making Edward’s character less creepy than people had originally thought for him to be. This definitely is not a romance book now reading back at it from an adult’s perspective. This is a bit more horror-like now after binge-watching “You” on Netflix for hours on end in my adulthood.

Edward Cullen is fuckin’ creepy.

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He talks about killing his entire biology class in a moment’s notice just so he would be able to kill Bella the moment he’s hit with her scent. He mocks his science teacher’s intelligence level because he has two doctorate degrees. He follows her everywhere and listens into every person’s thoughts nearby. This guy is an absolute killer, and a stalker to top it all off.

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I think if this book had been published before we were adults it would have perhaps landed a bit differently, but that ship has sailed. Maybe I’m not the intended target audience, but this book series came out when I was a teen, so this was the audience it ended up being for. Why Stephanie Meyers waited so long to publish this book after a chapter was leaked back in 2008 is beyond me, because I really do think she missed her window on when this book would have ended up on the bestseller’s list.

Rating

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Overall, I give this book a rating of a single star. We have the Twilight Saga. We didn’t really need the first book retold in Edward’s voice. It came out way too late to make an impact, and Edward is a creeper.

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“Happy & You Know It” Book Review

Ah, yes. The book has been sitting on my shelf since I started my Book of the Month Club membership over a year ago. Why had I not ever picked this book up before? To be quite fair and honest, I had picked this book up multiple times over the past year, even going as far as to reading the first few chapters or so before putting it down and picking up another book. It seems almost a typical case of literary abandon where you pick out more books than you ever could possibly finding yourself reading and throwing them down to the back depths of your closet until you decide to pick it up again months after. 

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Review of “Normal People”

Going into this book, I didn’t have much idea as to what I was expecting. Last year I had heard about “Normal People” quite a lot, with a fair share of mixed reviews going both this way and that on whether this book was absolute garbage or it was a literary masterpiece.

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My Thoughts on “The Midwife Murders”

At the beginning of the month of January, I created a reading list to finish three books by an author I dislike, James Patterson. It’s now a little halfway through the month, and I have now just completed “The Midwife Murders”. This is the second book I’ve completed a review on, and if you want to hear my thoughts on “Hush” I’ll link that here for your merriment as well. 

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January Reading List: The Christmas That Was Patterson

Hey guys what is up? I figured we’d start off my first reading list of the new year a bit differently compared to what I’ve posted before in the past. The past few monthly reading lists I had made felt really scattered and thrown together; mostly in part because I was just finding myself again on a writing platform (this blog) and I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing. I also just started getting back into my love of literature and books, so I was just reading and posting about books that I thought would be interesting to read or ones I had started off earlier in the year I had intended to finish reading.

Although I still have a few books even on my December reading list I would like to finish off in 2021, I want to make these reading hauls a little more interesting and cohesive by creating a theme each month and focus my reading around said theme. 

This month I decided to start off January on a good note by reading books by authors I dislike, because I figured that would be a good way to start off the New Year on a positive note. 

For this Christmas, my father decided to buy me a bunch of James Patterson books. My father is not a very bookish man and had no way of knowing that I’m generally not a James Patterson fan and the gift was all around sweet and very thoughtful so I’m still planning on reading the books he gave me. 

Hush

Oh boy, okay. So right off the bat, my first impression is the usual ones I have whenever I see a James Patterson cover. There’s my boy James’s name almost as big as the title and then his co-writer’s name is stuck on the bottom as an afterthought. The cover is pretty simple paperback cover with what looks to be a woman standing down the end of a dark tunnel facing a light. 

The back doesn’t tell me much in the way of the story except James Patterson’s review of his own book and USA Today and TIME telling me this book is not one you want to miss out on. It looks like this may be an installment in a series, so I may have to get a few other books before reading this one. It appears to be a thriller about a detective who’s trying to right a wrong by proving the innocence of a woman who’s been wrongfully jailed. 

Revenge

My first impression is still the same as the first book when it comes to the font. James Patterson’s name is listed at the top in large font just as big as the title, and then another author thrown in there below. I turn it over and the back isn’t a quote he has written instead of a synopsis so that is good. Instead we do have a small synopsis about the presumably main character David Shelley and his background. It appears this will be another suspenseful novel. Shelley is a former SAS soldier and bodyguard, and the daughter of the family he used to bodyguard for has presumably committed suicide. The family have a hard time believing their daughter would do such a thing, so they ask their former bodyguard for help in finding out what really happened.

I’m curious as to why a family would ask their bodyguard for help in doing investigative work. Obviously Patterson isn’t above a detective story, so there has to be a reason behind it. I’m hoping it’s not just because he wants a bodyguard in place of a detective because it’ll make it more fun to read. 

The Midwife Murders

First impression: his name for once doesn’t appear to be as big and flashy as the book title. Perhaps because the blood red title finally contrasts from Jame’s silver name title just above it. The paperback cover is blue, with a woman wearing a dark blue coat running down a flight of concrete steps. I cannot tell which era she is from, although I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a historic James Patterson book as of yet, although I’ve only read one of them. 

The back synopsis I had to read a couple of times because it just sounds like gibberish nonsense. Lucy Ryuan is a senior nurse who doesn’t see pregnancy as a condition but her life’s work. Yet, when two kidnappings and a viscous stabbing happen on her watch, she decides to be the one to try and change things. 

The wording just sounds really awkward to me, and at this point I wouldn’t put it past whoever does these back synopsis on these books just going “what the hell? Let’s write out whatever we feel like! Nobody cares, they’ll just read whatever we print out.” 

Okay, so it appears I have my work cut out for me this month. I would honestly hope to be surprised, but I know we’re just going to have to wait and see. I also have “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King that I will like to be reading as well this month, but I have a lot to say about Stephen King so that’s going to be its own kettle of fish. 

Don’t forget to like and subscribe to my blog if you enjoy reading my stuff! It really makes my day whenever I get a new notification on my phone that someone else likes what I type out. 

An Honest Review of “Hush” by James Patterson

“Hush” by James Patterson

Okay, folks. The moment I think we’ve all been waiting for has come to an end. I am a quarter way through my January Reading list, which means I have now read my first book by James Patterson for the year 2021. For this month I had decided to read the books my father had gifted to me at Christmastime by an author whom I don’t typically enjoy the writing style of. 

My first impressions of the book prior to reading was that he is a attention whore on the front of the book. He takes all of the attention off of his co-writers and it seems to be all about him. On the inside of this book, I quickly catch onto the rhythmic format that is the chapter layout. Chapters are very short, about 1-3 pages long with the longest chapter being 6 pages in length. It’s almost as if someone in his public relations board said “hey, the span of the average reader is about seven minutes long. We have seven minutes to write something important before the reader loses interest.” Which I guess would make sense for the mass publishing industry, but this is what I think before I’ve researched anything about James Patterson’s publishing company or writing style. 

I did a little research into looking into Patterson’s history in an attempt to explain his advertising campaign, and it’s just as I expected. Patterson was a advertising executive for J. Walter Thompson until 1996 when upon retirement he became a full-time writer. This makes me understand a little bit more of his background, and it gives me a bit more respect for his advertising campaign for his book since he knows what he is doing when it comes to marketing.

This book is not the first one in the series, but it was easy to follow as just a book I happened to read on a random whim. The main character, Harriet Blue, is a rogue detective with her partner Whitt and other partner Tox. This tagalong team is asked by a county commissioner who despises them to find his missing junkie daughter and his granddaughter. This trope feels very overdone to me in the detective mystery genre. I do not like the county commissioner always being talked up as being this biggest tool and then asking the rogue cop baddies to halp him out because the bad guys have captured AB or C from him. The entire rogue cop detective thriller is overdone for me, but once again I’ll admit up to this genre not being my biggest cup of tea. 

Harriet Blue decides once she’s out of prison to continue helping her cellmate Dolly from the outside when Dolly is wrongfully accused of the murder of a beloved prison doctor, Dr. Goldman. This happens to take place the same day Harriet is being discharged from the prison, so they do not come into contact with at all. How very convenient. 

Harriet has to go live with her retired chief detective Pops because she has no place to go. Pops owns a at home gym where he trains troubled youth, and I get a whole Rocky’s mentor from this guy. Harriet’s first thing she does outside of meeting up with her old crew is get laid. One thing that is inked through this book quite heavily is the romantic partnerships of the ragtag team of main characters, which you don’t see build up much in this book. Tox is seeing a doctor whom has saved his life in one of the previous books. Whitt has a thing for Harry, and Harry is out getting dick like a champ right out of prison. 

There is a plot twist mentioned at the beginning of the book, but honestly there’s a very short list of suspects and a few automatically stand out the moment they are introduced to the audience, at least in my opinion. The build up fizzles out quite quickly with the most suspenseful part being Tox jumps off a highway bridge to save two little girls out of a car. There is a lot of running around for clues and a few suspenseful moments, but that’s just about it as far as this book goes. 

I think what makes Patterson’s books so enthralling to read are his short chapters. Having chapters so short made it easy for me to get reading done in multiple sittings since I usually like to read whole chapters in a sitting. I feel like he sums up what he’s getting across in just a single chapter here and there, so all of the other chapters came across as fillers to me. I would have appreciated a more suspenseful punch from the world’s best selling author, but in some cases I think we’re going for quantity instead of quality and I believe this goes in the case of James Patterson’s writing. 

I would question whether or not Patterson writes any of his own material at this point or if he just has a board of writers that sit down and do the dirty work for him underneath his pen name. He has been criticized many times by others within the industry considering the short span it takes for him to come up with a new book as well as his habit of reviewing his own literary fiction. How can you give an honest review of your own fiction if you were the one who supposedly wrote it?

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars, and I’m going to say this book was a job done okay by Candice Fox, surely the unsung hero behind the computer screen. This book was impressively easy to follow despite being in the middle of the series, and I do like Harriet Blue as a character despite how generic this book was feeling to me at the start of reading. There was a few spelling errors like a misplaced ‘S’ here or there which I’m disappointed wasn’t picked up by the editing team, but I’m sure it’s more to do with the need to meet a deadline as opposed to anything really wrong within the editing process.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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