Tag: Books: Contemporary


Review: Little Fires Everywhere

Posted 8 April, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Little Fires Everywhere
By: Celeste Ng
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

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 principle 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.

Been seeing this book everywhere (pun intended?) for the past year or so, and with the miniseries having been released this year I figured it was time to check it out and read what it’s all about 🙂

Read More

Review: Normal People

Posted 9 October, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

Normal People
By: Sally Rooney
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school–he is a star of the football team and an excellent student, and he is never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn’t have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell’s, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is quite well off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.

Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends, while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in the language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately jump up to share with your friends.

I’ve been eyeing this book for a while now, ever since it hit the circuit and everyone was raving about it. Almost picked it up on a few occasions but for whatever reason never went through with it until it went on sale over the summer on Kobo. Seemed to be on the short end so I decided to read it for a change of pace (I was reading a lot of economics towards the end of summer). Contains some minor spoilers ahead!

Read More

Review: Everything I Never Told You

Posted 26 September, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Everything I Never Told You
By: Celeste Ng
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

I’ve long had this book on my wishlist but just never got around to picking it up sooner. It was only when I not only heard continuous rave reviews about her second book, Little Fires Everywhere, and that it was going to be made into a television series that I decided to finally get around to her books. Oh, that and I see her tweets a lot on Twitter 🙂

Read More

Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Posted 12 September, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

My Sister, the Serial Killer
By: Okiyan Braithwaite
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

I had started hearing and seeing this book around quite a bit over the later half of the summertime, hearing positive things about the book as well as the fact that the book is quite a quick read. I was in desperate need of some distraction at the time (that would be…early August when I read it) so I decided to pick up this book.

Read More

Review: Miss You

Posted 4 March, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Miss You
By: Kate Eberlen
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.” Tess can’t get the motto from her mother’s kitchen knickknack out of her head, even though she’s in Florence on an idyllic vacation before starting university in London.

Gus is also visiting Florence, on a holiday with his parents seven months after tragedy shattered their lives. Headed to medical school in London, he’s trying to be a dutiful son but longs to escape and discover who he really is.

A chance meeting brings these eighteen-year-olds together for a brief moment—the first of many times their paths will crisscross as time passes and their lives diverge from those they’d envisioned. Over the course of the next sixteen years, Tess and Gus will face very different challenges and choices. Separated by distance and circumstance, the possibility of these two connecting once more seems slight.

But while fate can separate two people, it can also bring them back together again. . . .

I picked up this book after seeing it on an ARC request list. I would’ve requested it but at that point I was starting to request less ARCs to focus on my own TBR pile. I had seen it again on sale around Christmas a few years ago so I decided to pick it up.

Read More