Little Fires and a Curse So Dark and Lonely

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Synopsis- 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.
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood--and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Thoughts- This has been a very popular book. It's won lots of awards. So it most likely will be the unpopular opinion when I say I didn't love it. I liked it.. it was a very good book with a strong subject matter but I still didn't love it. For those of you who haven't read it.. nor have you watched the show (I didn't and don't plan on it either) to me the book was about the question 'what makes a good mother?'. If you are wealthy and send your kids to the best school, the nicest vacations and cater to their every material need? Or should you be fun and open, less rules. Is being a biological mother enough, even if you can not provide for that child, have limited resources and no partner to share the load. Will an adoptive mother always be a second mother and not a child's real mother? There is no one answer and crazily enough you can be a perfect mother and your children can hate you or you can be a mess and manage to have brilliant children who love you despite your faults. There is no right or wrong answer, which is the scariest part of parenthood. So while all these brilliant points were touched upon in the book I didn't like the characters. So many of them more ungrateful and selfish.. I felt no connection.

I would love to hear your thoughts? Have you read it? 

A Cruse So Dark and Lonely by Brgid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

SynopsisIt once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.
A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Thoughts - This book is a contemporary retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast was my least favorite Disney movie growing up, so why would I want to read a retelling? Idk! It had good reviews. It ended up on my bookshelf via paperbackswap and I ignored it for months. And then I picked it up and oh shit.. I devoured this book in two days.. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this and yes they break the curse.. not really a spoiler but the journey was such fun. The last time I read YA fantasy was The Hunger Games a decade ago and I was just as obsessed. I couldn't even wait for paperback to deliver the second installment.. I went straight to the library and read the second one just as fast.. but there's a twist.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brgid Kemmerer

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis - The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.
Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen--until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

Thoughts - Arrgh! This was such a frustrating book. I can't really say much without giving away details in case you do plan on reading this but I hated this book. Well maybe not hated because I read this one in two days as well.. and they are fat 500 pages books. But it took all the characters and painted them in a different light.. And I felt this switch in tone was less for the sake of the characters growth or lack thereof but more to get people riled up and sell more copies of the third installment. Drama for the sake of drama. Yes there is a third installment coming out in January. And honestly I can't wait to get my hands on it.. even though I am pretty sure it will disappoint me and I will have to throw it out a window after stomping on it a thousand times.. argh! 

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Jennifer said…
I watched Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu. I really want to read the book now!

Curated by Jennifer
I really liked the book Little Fires but could not get into the series. Thank you for your book reviews!
Kelly said…
I've actually talked to more folks who didn't care for Little Fires than did. Just from some of what you've shared about it, I don't think it's one for me. I don't think I knew there was a TV adaptation, but I'm seldom into those anyway...
Jeanie said…
Thank you for saying you didn't love Little Fires. I couldn't get into it.
Christina said…
I haven't read any of these three books. I have looked at the Little Fires book a few times but it never appealed to me enough to actually pick it up. I am an adoptive mother as well as a birth mother and I struggle with motherhood sometimes. It is probably best if I stay clear of this book :-)
Samantha@WLABB said…
I have enjoyed Kemmerer's contemporaries, but have yet to read her latest series. One of these days I will cave and give them a look, because everyone seems to love them. Though, I have seen many share your frustrations with the second book too.
Thank you so much for these thoughtful reviews.
I am a character driven reader so I do understand your reservations about the first. And if only parenting did come with a manual...
No I have not read this or seen the show had not heard of it. From what you describe I think it would probably annoy me. I just finished rereading Paint it Black same author as White Oleander. She is a very visual writer that deals with dark relationships with mother figures.

Everyone has been talking about Little Fires Everywhere the series. I tried to watch but it didn't really get me going. Maybe the book would be better? Thanks for sharing!
Emmylou said…
Oh my gosh! I must've been living under a rock coz I've never heard of Little Fires before! Anyhoo, thanks for the review. The Brigid Kemmerer book sounds more for me:)
Stefanie said…
LOL, love how you read fantasy! I haven't read the first one. I know it was very popular and has a show.
Little Fires Everywhere is such a wonderful read. I want to watch the Hulu series now. I loved the first book in Kemmerer's series, but I'm so nervous to read A Heart So Fierce and Broken. I keep seeing so many mixed reviews for it.
I haven't read Little Fires Everywhere, although I've been tempted, which reading the synopsis I am yet again. But perhaps it's its huge popularity that keeps putting me off, which often happens when a book is in the bestsellers list. Perhaps I will buy it when I see it in a charity shop and give it a go. Fantasy isn't my cup of tea, so I doubt I'll ever read the other books. xxx
Rach said…
I read Little Fires Everywhere and I thought it was good. I do agree that the characters are unlikeable and very selfish. Personally, the book is way better than the Hulu series. Hulu made some changes that I think takes away why the character developed the way they are.
R's Rue said…
I need to read more.
You're not alone when it comes to Little Fires Everywhere. I started it several times and couldn't manage to get through it. The characters are really so inherently unlikable and it was hard to connect.
karen said…
I liked little fires a lot. I guess I loved how crazy each mom was in their own way and how they thought it was justified.
awhite said…
I haven't read Little Fires Everywhere but I am super interested in your opinion and think I might just feel the same- and not connecting to the characters would really keep me from loving a book, for sure!

Le Stylo Rouge
Little Fires Everywhere is so good! And, I loved the show... such good actresses in it!

E said…
I'd like to read Little Fires Everywhere!

District of Chic
That is a bummer you didn't like the first book. It is the one that was made into a series with Reese Witherspoon right?
Gemma said…
Thanks so much for sharing the reviews.
Have a great week.
Gemma x
I did not see the movie/show? but I did listen to the audiobook and loved Little Fires Everywhere. I am most curious about Kemmerer's books and want to try them.
I haven't read any of these. I appreciate your honest book reviews. It often happens to me that I don't like books that are popular nowadays. Just because a book is a bookseller and has good reviews, it doesn't meant it is well written. Some books have great advertising and agents behind them.
I read Little Fires Everywhere and enjoyed it but I haven't' watched the show yet.

Jill - Doused in Pink

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