Stacking the Shelves: November 2017

December 3, 2017 Bonnie Sunday Book Haul 0 Comments

I once again went ages without posting any book hauls so this seems to have turned into more of a monthly thing instead. 🙂 I went a little wild on Audible this month what with the fantastic sale they had. I also signed up for a free trial of their new Romance Package and the selection is GOOD, guys. I’ve already listened to two and for only $7.95 a month (as an add-on to your audible membership) that’s not a bad deal at all for unlimited romance audios.

November Posts/Reviews

New Books

Audible Purchases

The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1) by John Scalzi
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Lincoln Lawyer (Mickey Haller #1) by Michael Connelly
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Artemis by Andy Weir
The X-Files: Stolen Lives by Joe Harris
Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

Audible Romance Package

Fantastical (Fantasyland #3) by Kristen Ashley
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Kindle Purchases

Afterlife by Marcus Sakey
In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

Divider

Waiting on Wednesday – Claude Before Time and Space: Poems by Claudia Emerson

November 29, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Claude Before Time and Space: Poems by Claudia EmersonClaude Before Time and Space: Poems by Claudia Emerson
Published by LSU Press on February 26th 2018
Pages: 80
Genres: Poetry
Format: Paperback
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Goodreads

The final complete collection from Pulitzer Prize winning poet Claudia Emerson demonstrates a poet in the throes of experimentation as she quietly but fiercely explores the subjugation of mortality and time.

Divided into three parts, the first section of Claude Before Space and Time uses rural, small-town southern settings to reflect on memory, the self, and relationships. The following section then unfolds into experimental forms that explore historical figures--from an early naturalist and writer who raised her children in poverty to a small-town doctor from the early 20th century. The collection concludes with "Claude poems,"-- after the poet's father-- which embrace a colloquial tone and round out this illuminating body of work

About Claudia Emerson

Claudia Emerson was an American poet. She won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection Late Wife, and was named the Poet Laureate of Virginia by then-Governor Tim Kaine in 2008.

I absolutely adored Late Wife and it’s been so hard to find copies of her other collections. This is being published posthumously but I’m still eager to read it.


border24

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

bonnie blog signature
Divider

Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR

November 28, 2017 Bonnie Top Ten Tuesday 24 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

ATTENTION: THERE IS ONLY ONE MONTH LEFT IN 2017. WTF

I’ve got a bit of a busy life as of late. I’m working two jobs which average about 65 hours a week so unfortunately, reading time has been scarce. My review mountain has continued to grow. Since the start of October, one of my goals has been to see how many review books I can knock out by the end of 2017. So far? Well, I’ve only read 15 books (including 1 DNF) but 11 of them were review books so NOT BAD. Probably overly ambitious since those 15 books were read over the course of two months but these are 10 are books I’d like to read before we say goodbye to another year.

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry
Sea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill
The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Strange Weather by Joe Hill
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty
Artemis by Andy Weir
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions (Kopp Sisters #3) by Amy Stewart

Divider

Something To Look Forward To – Week of November 27th, 2017

November 27, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 0 Comments

Here’s what’s releasing this week: a blend of YA, Adult and the occasional Middle Grade. Something for everyone to look forward to! All book purchase links go to their respective Amazon page.
Help support this blog and use the purchase links to get your copy!

_________________________________________________

Week of November 27th, 2017

Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Tor Books

Final Fall (Lock & Mori #3) by Heather W. Petty [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Ready to Fall by Marcella Pixley [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)

R.I.P. Eliza Hart by Alyssa B. Sheinmel [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Scholastic Press

Fix Me by Lisa M. Cronkhite [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Flux

The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Simon Pulse

Run Away With Me (Come Back to Me #3) by Mila Gray [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Simon Pulse

The Brightest Embers (Broken Destiny #3) by Jeaniene Frost [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Harlequin Books

Darkness Falling (Andromedan Dark #2) by Ian Douglas [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Harper Voyager

The Man in the Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

What Remains True: A Novel by Janis Thomas [Purchase]
Expected publication: December 1st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing

19 1/2 Stories by Demetri Martin [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Grand Central Publishing

A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Atria Books

Winter in Wonderland (Ingrid Winter Misadventure #2) by J.S. Drangsholt [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by AmazonCrossing

Past Perfect by Danielle Steel [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts #2) by Alisha Rai [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Avon

It’s Hard Out Here for a Duke (Keeping Up with the Cavendishes #4) by Maya Rodale [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Avon

_________________________________________________

Divider

Waiting on Wednesday – The Last Hours by Minette Walters

November 22, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Last Hours by Minette WaltersThe Last Hours by Minette Walters
Published by Mira on August 7th 2018
Pages: 544
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Goodreads

For most, the Black Death is the end. For a brave few, it heralds a new beginning.

When the Black Death enters England through the port of Melcombe in Dorseteshire in June 1348, no one knows what manner of sickness it is or how it spreads and kills so quickly. The Church cites God as the cause, and religious fear grips the people as they come to believe that the plague is a punishment for wickedness.

But Lady Anne of Develish has her own ideas. Educated by nuns, Anne is a rarity among women, being both literate and knowledgeable. With her brutal husband absent from Develish when news of this pestilence reaches her, she takes the decision to look for more sensible ways to protect her people than daily confessions of sin. Well-versed in the importance of isolating the sick from the well, she withdraws her people inside the moat that surrounds her manor house and refuses entry even to her husband.

She makes an enemy of her daughter and her husband's steward by doing so, but her resolve is strengthened by the support of her leading serfs … until food stocks run low and the nerves of all are tested by continued confinement and ignorance of what is happening in the world outside. The people of Develish are alive. But for how long? And what will they discover when the time comes for them to cross the moat?

Compelling and suspenseful, The Last Hours is a riveting tale of human ingenuity and endurance against the worst pandemic known to history. In Lady Anne of Develish - leader, saviour, heretic - Walters has created her most memorable heroine to date.

About Minette Walters

Minette Walters (born 26 September 1949) is a British mystery writer. After studying at Trevelyan College, University of Durham, she began writing in 1987 with The Ice House, which was published in 1992. She followed this with The Sculptress (1993), which received the 1994 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She has been published in 35 countries and won many awards.

The Sculptress has been adapted for television in a BBC series starring Pauline Quirke. Her novels The Ice House, The Echo, The Dark Room, and The Scold's Bridle have also been adapted by the BBC.

It probably says a lot about me that my first response to reading the blurb was “It’s about the black death!” with a face like:

Image result for excitement gifborder24

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

bonnie blog signature
Divider

Something To Look Forward To – Week of November 20th, 2017

November 20, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 0 Comments

Here’s what’s releasing this week: a blend of YA, Adult and the occasional Middle Grade. Something for everyone to look forward to! All book purchase links go to their respective Amazon page.
Help support this blog and use the purchase links to get your copy!

_________________________________________________

Week of November 21st, 2017

Siege of Shadows (Effigies #2) by Sarah Raughley [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Simon Pulse

The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Sky Pony Press

The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Delacorte Press

The Passion of Cleopatra (Ramses the Damned #2) by Anne Rice & Christopher Rice [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Anchor

The Naked World (Jubilee Cycle #2) by Eli K.P. William [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Talos

Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Saga Press

Killing Pace by Douglas Schofield [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Minotaur Books

Poison: A Novel by Galt Niederhoffer [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

The Whispering Room (Jane Hawk #2) by Dean Koontz [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Bantam

Moon Hunt (North America’s Forgotten Past #24) by W. Michael Gear & Kathleen O’Neal Gear [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Forge Books

Secrets of Cavendon (Cavendon Hall #4) by Barbara Taylor Bradford [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Left to Chance by Amy Sue Nathan [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic #1) by Molly Harper [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Gallery Books

Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 21st 2017 by Atria Books

_________________________________________________

Divider

Waiting on Wednesday – The Mermaid by Christina Henry

November 15, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Mermaid by Christina HenryThe Mermaid by Christina Henry
Published by Berkley on June 19th 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Alice, Red Queen, Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook

From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum's American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.

Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.

P. T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he'd heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.

Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he's determined to hold on to his mermaid.

About Christina Henry

CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE duology, ALICE and RED QUEEN, a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.

ALICE was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2015. It was also a Goodreads Choice Award nominee in Horror and one of Barnes & Noble’s Bestselling Science Fiction and Fantasy novels of 2015.

She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

I absolutely loved what Henry did with Alice in Wonderland and I can’t wait to see what she does with this interesting sounding tale (tail? hahahaha)

border24

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

bonnie blog signature
Divider

Something To Look Forward To – Week of November 13th, 2017

November 13, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 0 Comments

Here’s what’s releasing this week: a blend of YA, Adult and the occasional Middle Grade. Something for everyone to look forward to! All book purchase links go to their respective Amazon page.
Help support this blog and use the purchase links to get your copy!

_________________________________________________

Week of November 13th, 2017

No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Soho Teen

Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

Flashtide (Flashfall #2) by Jenny Moyer [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Into the Black (Beyond The Red #2) by Ava Jae [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Sky Pony Press

Runebinder (The Runebinder Chronicles #1) by Alex R. Kahler [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Harlequin Teen

Good and Gone by Megan Frazer Blakemore [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by HarperTeen

Seriously Hexed (Seriously Wicked #3) by Tina Connolly [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Tor Teen

Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Candlewick Press

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Farrar Straus Giroux

Lily’s Mountain by Hannah Moderow [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan (Addison Cooke #2) by Jonathan W. Stokes [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Philomel Books

Goldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by HarperCollins

Penelope March Is Melting by Jeffrey Michael Ruby [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Delacorte Press

Whichwood (Furthermore) by Tahereh Mafi [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

Artemis by Andy Weir [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Harper

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Orbit

The Eterna Solution (Eterna Files #3) by Leanna Renee Hieber [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Tor Books

After the End of the World (Carter & Lovecraft #2) by Jonathan L. Howard [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Tor Books

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Harper Voyager

Dark Deeds (Keiko #3) by Mike Brooks [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Saga Press

Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Tor.com

The Nine (Thieves of Fate #1) by Tracy Townsend [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Pyr

Beyond the Empire (The Indranan War #3) by K.B. Wagers [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Orbit

The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Tachyon

A Season to Lie (Detective Gemma Monroe #2) by Emily Littlejohn [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

American Drifter by Heather Graham & Chad Michael Murray [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Forge

The Inside Out Man by Fred Strydom [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Talos

The Savage by Frank Bill [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by FSG Originals

Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales by P.D. James [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group

Hardcore Twenty-Four (Stephanie Plum #24) by Janet Evanovich [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

The Walworth Beauty by Michèle Roberts [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Strangers in Budapest: A Novel by Jessica Keener [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Algonquin Books

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy [Purchase]
Expected publication: November 14th 2017 by Harper Perennial

_________________________________________________

Divider

Book Review – The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson #12) by Darynda Jones

November 10, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson #12) by Darynda JonesThe Trouble with Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #12
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 31st 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Second Grave on the Left

four-stars

Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the twelfth installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.

Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidently trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.

Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?

Charley Davidson series

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) [Purchase – Review]
For I Have Sinned (Charley Davidson #1.5) [Purchase – Review]
Second Grave on the Left
 (Charley Davidson, #2) [Purchase – Review]
Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson, #3) [Purchase]
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson, #4) [Purchase – Review]
Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson, #5) [Purchase – Review]
Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, #6) [Purchase – Review]
Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, #7) [Purchase]
Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson, #8) [Purchase]
The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9) [Purchase – Review]
The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10) by Darynda Jones [Purchase Review]
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson #11) by Darynda Jones [Purchase Review]

*spoilers to follow from the previous installments*

“I’ll tell you what’s wrong with society. No one drinks from the skulls of their enemies anymore.”

Charley always seems to have a crazy amount of stuff to deal with but I think in Twelfth Grave she managed to surpass herself. After Reyes escapes from the Hell dimension she accidentally trapped him in, she’s having to deal with his new feral nature and trying to figure out if the God side of him has won over the human side or not. And the actual God has given her a timeframe to fix it, or else. She’s having to actually cover up a murder in order to save a friend. Cookie’s daughter Amber and Quentin have decided to open their own detective agency after someone starts stealing office supplies and Charley says she’d help them out to find the culprit (and to keep them out of trouble). Add to that, the Vatican is asking a lot of questions about Charley’s daughter, Beep, who is still in hiding from the dangerous entities that wish to cause her harm. Oh, and did I mention that Charley can’t sleep? Every time she closes her eyes she’s visited by this new godly version of her husband and the visits are becoming increasingly disturbing. Charley’s running on nothing but fumes and an ungodly (ha) amount of coffee.

“But noooo. The man with the balls had to go in because he’s manly with manly balls and a penis to guide him. And now he’s all savage and wild, but he still has his balls. That’s all that’s important, by God. His man parts.”

The penultimate book! Gah. I know that this series is due to end with the thirteenth book but man, I could read the hilarious antics of Charley Davidson forever. We’re finally getting pieces of the mythology behind Charley and the origins of her creation, of Reyes’ purpose in it all, and of course Beep. It’s fascinating although at times it can feel a little rambling since we’re missing all the connecting pieces still. But with only a final book left, I fear we have a lot to cover still but I remain hopeful that Jones is going to knock it out of the park. Her writing has maintained throughout this entire series to be consistent in delivering exciting, non-stop thrills. She continues to heighten the intensity in the final pages, leaving enormous cliffhangers, routinely leaving us readers in the midst of an existential crisis.

Image result for cliffhangers gif

Existential crisis or not, I’ll take all that I can get. Fingers crossed this includes a spin-off Beep series. The countdown to the release of book 13 on October 30, 2018 begins. 354 days to go.

Image result for sobbing gif

Divider

Book Review – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

November 9, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017 6 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste NgLittle Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Published by Penguin Press on September 12th 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Everything I Never Told You

three-half-stars

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned -- from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors 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 teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

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

“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.”

In Shaker Heights, Ohio, the residents believe themselves to live in a pseudo-bubble of perfection. The garbage trucks collect trash in alleys so as to not create an eyesore on the streets, their children are all raised to be productive members of society, and any hint of wrongdoing is always brushed off as an impossibility. Mia Warren, a “starving artist” single mother, and her teenage daughter Pearl move to this small town surrounded by an air of mystery, peaking the inquisitiveness of the town’s inhabitants. The duo has lived a nomadic existence since Pearl was born, but they find something in Shaker Heights that they hadn’t found before: a reason to stay. Pearl befriends the Richardson children, whose mother is actually their landlord, and their friendship to Pearl is something that she had never experienced before. Pearl and Mia’s presence, in turn, is a curiosity to the children, not having witnessed anything less than a perfect family before. The secrets of Mia and Pearl’s past and the underlying tension when a family tries to adopt a Chinese-American baby will inadvertently leave an unending change in this community.

Little Fires Everywhere opens with, well, little fires everywhere. Months after Mia and her daughter have moved to town, Mrs. Richardson wakes to find her house on fire, with small fires having been started on each of her children’s beds. Izzy, her youngest, has always been the rebel of the family and is the only one missing and is, therefore, the likely culprit. But no mystery is ever that simple, and figuring out what led up to it is the best part. Flashback to Mia and Pearl’s arrival in her VW Rabbit with their only possessions contained within, they breeze into town much like the obscure Vianne and her daughter, Anouk, breezed into that small French town in Chocolat. They’re looked upon as outsiders, but they quickly make themselves at home in this sequestered community. But when the McCulloughs decide to adopt a Chinese-American baby that was abandoned at a fire station, Mia Warren begins to involve herself in the spectacle for more reasons than one. The sole issue I had with this story was that the topic of race is clearly meant to shine a spotlight on the intricacies of the situation but ended up becoming too simplified in order to achieve an “end” to the storyline. This is also clearly meant to be the main storyline but it’s muddied by Mia’s own story, even when its inclusion was meant to show a reasoning behind her involvement.

Celeste Ng’s sophomore novel proves herself to be incredibly perceptive at bringing contemporary America to life. The foundation of her plot is based on simple legitimacy without the unnecessary addition of drama making her stories feel wholly genuine. Her stories never lack for complexity with Little Fires Everywhere tackling race, class, adoption, abortion in addition to the intricacies of motherhood and the everlasting weight of secrets. Contemporary has never been my favorite genre, but Ng makes it so incredibly appealing that I’m not sure I’ll ever stop seeking out her stories.

Divider