Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng / #BlogTour

Hi guys, hope you are all having a great Thursday – it’s almost weekend, right? Today I’m very thrilled to welcome you to my stop on Celeste Ng’s blog tour – her new novel, “Little Fires Everywhere”,  is out today, as a beautiful hardcover copy, but what is between the covers is even more beautiful – this story took my breath away and I was like glued to the pages. It was an intriguing, captivating novel and I can’t wait for more from this author.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

 

35221049Publisher: Little, Brown

Publishing Date: 9th November 2017

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre:  Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

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.

Rating: four-stars

Celeste Ng’s debut novel, “Everything I Never Told You”, is a part of my ever – growing TBR pile but I’ll make sure to clear some of my reading time to read this book as soon as possible, as “Little Fires Everywhere” has just blown me away – I expected it to be good but not this good, as it turned out to be a very clever, multi – complex book with unforgettable characters, a story about motherhood, manipulations and opinions, an absolutely hooking and captivating psychological mystery touching upon many taboos and controversies.

This book was a slow – burner. For me personally the story took off at around page 150 – I was then glued to the pages, while earlier it was a nice albeit slow read about things and events that at the first sight were not so significant to the rest of the story. But of course we needed this long introduction to figure out all the complex relationships, friendships, family dynamics and battles, and we move on, but in my opinion it was a little on the slow side. However, we get a great picture of what has happened and what has led to this tragic finale.

The characters in this book are incredibly vivid and so caught up in the little fires of the small town Shaker Heights – the author so incredibly well captured the atmosphere of this place, of its residents, the way they were ticking. The characters, the Richardsons, Mia and Pearl, then Bebe and the McCulloughs, they just pulled me into their lives. I was exposed to all kinds of emotions when reading about them and their lives, liking and disliking them, pitying them, feeling impatient with them.
The characters were not the most likeable ones – they were manipulative, they used each other, they were morally corrupt and mostly some of them had a feeling they’re of a better sort. They were full of flaws that they were trying to hide from other, prying eyes and on the surface their lives seemed perfect, even though they were far from it. I’ve been actually changing my mind about them, and it doesn’t happen often that my feelings and emotions vary so much during reading and even now, days after finishing the novel, I still find myself changing my perspective and opinion.

It was a brilliant description of relationships, of how the behaviour of the others may affect you and the way you behave – a great psychological portrait. It is very character – centred and they create a very powerful and intriguing story. I loved the fact that the author isn’t judging any of the characters, letting us to have our own opinions, and even though I was sure on which character’s side I’m on, I started to have doubts as well. Am I right to think so? Are the characters really white or black, good or bad? I love when the stories are not straightforward and make you think, and this was this kind of a story.

It was thought – provoking, compelling and intriguing domestic drama. It was raw, emotional, and sharp observed about small – town politics, about hypocrisy, about tragedies, small and big, full of surprises and brilliantly well crafted characters. However, I must admit that I am not the hugest fan of the end to this story. It is left open, and it is this kind of a story that I’d love to have a closure, to know what has happened then – hence the four stars rating. But apart from this, I was really captivated by this multi – layered and clever story. Recommended!

 

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Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb / #BlogTour

Hi guys. Today I am delighted to be part of the “Last Christmas in Paris” blog tour. I do love a great historical fiction, and I am always intrigued by books written by two authors, and this novel brings both of those things. While I’ve already read and adored books written by Hazel Gaynor – they mostly make me cry like a baby but they are so beautiful! – Heather Webb was a new author to me that I am incredibly happy to have discovered for myself.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

 

34150794Publisher: William Morrow

Publishing Date: 3rd October 2017

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre:  Romance, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Rating: four-stars

I love to read great historical fiction and Hazel Gaynor is for sure one of the authors that can write in this genre. This time she has collaborated with Heather Webb, and together those two ladies have delivered a wonderful, poignant and heart – breaking novel, and a very unique one, as it is written in a letter format. There are literally only letters, and yes, at the beginning it was somehow hard to follow the story like this, without the usual descriptions of, I don’t know, people, their looks, the way they dress, places, weather, without dialogues, but it didn’t take me long to fell in love with the characters and the way the story was told.

Evie Elliott’s brother Will and his best friend Thomas leave to serve in World War 1. They all hope that war is going to end soon and that they’re going to see each other in a few months, in time for Christmas. They stay in touch via letters in which they describe all things that happens, their deepest thoughts, hopes and fears – out of those letters arises a story between a young and ambitious girl who wants to fight the war in her own way and becomes a spirited journalist, her reserved but loving brother and his best friend, those two new – minted soldiers, believing in all things good – that is, until they realise what war really is.

 There was one thing that didn’t really work so well for me, and it was the romance aspect between Evie and Tom.  All the time they were best friends and the sudden explosion of the love was this little bit unrealistic and out of the blue. I had a feeling that the authors concentrate on all things but the blossoming feelings, and then suddenly, towards the end, the love exploded and it felt much too rushed for my liking, too flawless. Also, the change in Evie after she went to the war was too forced for me, it just didn’t ring true, and was also too quick.

 But altogether,  it was a great love story, about dreams, disillusions and loyalty. What made it even more better was the fact that the authors so skilfully smuggled a lot of clever, sharp humour that was so needed when we faced all those tragedies. It was thoroughly researched and I didn’t have a feeling that it was written by two authors, maybe it was even better that it was written by two authors because the letters had their own distinctive voice and didn’t sound similar, as if written by the same person. Both authors writes in such an engaging, descriptive and rich style and they effortlessly transported me to a different times and different places.

In the end we receive a wonderful, touching and unique story that tugs at the heart strings. It made for a very fast read and it was, in fact, unputdownable – because it was always “just one more letter” and because it was so hooking and captivating. You somehow felt just like a part of the characters’ lives, probably because thanks to the letters, as they were so honest, there were no secrets, you knew all their feelings. Beautiful and poignant, a great book for fans of historical fiction – recommended from me!

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