Author Archives: Carrie

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

The Tombs

by Deborah Schaumberg

YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Book Description

Gangs of New York meets Cassandra Clare in this debut YA fantasy set in 1882 Brooklyn

New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.

You can purchase The Tombs at the following Retailers:

About the Author
Deborah Schaumberg was born in Brooklyn, not far from where her novel The Tombs takes place. She grew up renovating dilapidated old houses with her family. She and her father would walk the rooms, floor by floor, making up stories about the inhabitants that were filled with dark secrets, monsters, and, of course, ghosts. Deborah is a writer and an artist whose work always has an element of fantasy to it, and since she also studied architecture, settings are equally important. It was on a trek to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal that she imagined a girl with the ability to see energy, and the seed of The Tombs was planted. She collects old bottles, and her favorite holiday is, you guessed it, Halloween. Deborah lives with her family and two dogs in Maryland, just outside DC. Visit her at deborahschaumberg.com.
 

Photo Content from Deborah Schaumberg

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
 

– 5 Winners will receive a Copy of The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

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GIVEAWAY: Tea Tree Oil Face Wash & Cream by Era Organics

I have been using these products from Era Organics for a few weeks now and I can say they are working great for me! I love the face cream in particular.  It clears my skin while keeping it soft.  And I much prefer using tea tree oil to medicinal ingredients.

Tea Tree Oil has been know to be very beneficial. It well-known for its powerful antiseptic properties and ability to treat wounds. And for over seven decades, it’s been documented in numerous medical studies to kill many strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi. (Source)

It is becoming popular to help things like acne, clean your scalp, a household cleaner, and more. Era Organics has created a face cleaner and cream that is balanced, healthier and can clear your skin without harsh chemicals.

Introducing Era Organics Tea Tree Oil Cleanser made for oily, acne prone skin with 7 natural acne-fighting ingredients in one bottle.

Their pH balanced face and body wash is made for men, women and teens looking to fight pimples, back acne and oily skin with natural and organic ingredients proven to cleanse pores, reduce blemishes, soothe inflammation and reduce redness.

How It Works:

  • Wash away excess oils, dirt, build-up and dead skin cells while nourishing the skin.
  • Naturally antimicrobial to kill acne-cause bacteria.
  • Moisturize to the base of the skin while boosting its ability to heal and recover.
  • Soothe inflammation and redness while promoting healthy blood flow
  • Open clogged pores and shed dead skin cells to fight blackheads
  • Soften your skin while improving skin texture for balanced, more supple complexion.

Get Clearer, Healthier Skin You Can Be Proud Of or Your Money Back!
As a family owned company, results are everything. They take customer service and satisfaction quite seriously. That’s why they have a “Love Your Skin or Your Money Back” 60-day money back guarantee. Buy now with confidence and see what nature can do for you.

About ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser:

Whether You’re Fighting Acne, Oily Skin, Rosacea or Chronic Dry Skin – get healthier, smoother skin thanks to one of the most robust natural facial cleanser formulas on the market. Don’t Just Wash Your Face & Body – cleanse, soothe and nourish your skin thanks to powerful ingredients your skin will love, including: tea tree oil, goldenseal, burdock root, aloe vera, pomegranate seed oil, st. john’s wort and dandelion root.

It is safe and effective. The sulfate free cleanser is made with natural and organic, food-grade ingredients. Wash with confidence without chemicals, toxins, paraben free, perfume free and SLS free. Cruelty free, made in the USA.

Fight pimples, blackheads and breakouts in minutes a day. ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser moisturizing facial cleanser is made for all skin types to help balance oils, reduce redness, nourish to the base of your skin and help fight acne causing bacteria.

About ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cream:

Extra Strength Nourishing Formula- Most acne treatments are too harsh on the skin, leading to irritation, redness or dry skin. This facial cream is formulated to soothe, nourish and hydrate oily skin, dry skin or combination skin. Perfect for men, women and teens!

It has ingredients your skin will love. They combine powerful natural and organic ingredients to nourish and balance the skin, including: St. John’s Wort, Pomegranate Seed Oil, Salicylic, Zinc, Burdock Root, Dandelion Root & Goldenseal.

The natural face moisturizer is non comedogenic, cruelty free and vegan friendly. To make sure people with sensitive skin can use it, it’s also paraben free, non-toxic, no hormone disruptors and gentle – yet effective.

You can purchase many different products from ERA Organics on Amazon. The more you buy, the more you save:

  • Save 20% on Qualifying items offered by Era Organics when you purchase 2 or more. Enter code ERA20VAL at checkout. Here’s how (restrictions apply)
  • Save 25% on Qualifying items offered by Era Organics when you purchase 3 or more. Enter code ERA25VAL at checkout. Here’s how (restrictions apply)

Now for the giveaway! There will be 2 winners – each winner will receive the ERA Organics Tea Tree Oil Face Cleanser and Face Cream. This giveaway is open to residents of the US only. It will end on 3/1/18 at 11:59pm EST. Good Luck!

Enter below:

ERA Organics is responsible for fulfilling the prize.

**DISCLAIMER: I was sent these products by the manufacturer in exchange for an honest review.  My thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by this fact.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

Girl Unknown

by Karen Perry

Family Drama/Thriller

Book Description

David and Caroline Connolly are swimming successfully through their marriage’s middle years—raising two children; overseeing care for David’s ailing mother; leaning into their careers, both at David’s university teaching job, where he’s up for an important promotion, and at the ad agency where Caroline has recently returned to work after years away while the children were little. The recent stresses of home renovation and of a brief romantic betrayal (Caroline’s) are behind them. The Connollys know and care for each other deeply.Then one early fall afternoon, a student of sublime, waiflike beauty appears in David’s university office and says, “I think you might be my father.” And the fact of a youthful passion that David had tried to forget comes rushing back. In the person of this intriguing young woman, the Connollys may have a chance to expand who they are and how much they can love, or they may be making themselves vulnerable to menace. They face either an opportunity or a threat—but which is which? What happens when their hard-won family happiness meets a hard-luck beautiful girl?

MY THOUGHTS:

4 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Girl Unknown
by Karen Perry

Let me start by saying that this book has a very slow burn. Usually, I would have given up on a book in which the plot moves do slowly, but I could sense that the relationships between the characters were the main attraction here and what needed to be watched more than plot development. But if you’re expecting a lot of things to happen, this is not the book for you.

David and Caroline’s marriage was probably not hanging on by much anyway, by the time Zoe came into their lives. Zoe claims to be David’s daughter from a previous relationship, and Caroline, who has always known that Zoe’s mother was the real love of David’s life, is rocked to see such a reminder of his past back in their lives in the present. Add to this the fact of the children David and Caroline have and their not taking too kindly to this wisp of a girl, and the whole book simmers like a pot about to boil over.

From the first meeting between David and Zoe, I could tell something was up with here. It’s hard to believe David couldn’t see through her, but in my opinion he wanted that connection to his past so badly, he chose to see what he wanted to see when it came to Zoe. Zoe is not a good person and that is confirmed by multiple people throughout the novel, but she has a way with men and can usually get them to see her innocent persona when she needs them to.

As a woman I couldn’t help but feel for Caroline, though she was not entirely innocent through this story. She strayed from David, but who among us wouldn’t be hurt upon learning our spouse only married us as a second option? I don’t know if I ever really felt any love between the couple.

I would say the main problem I had with Girl Unknown is that only Caroline seemed to be able to see through Zoe’s flaky shield. She couldn’t get David to believe her, even when blatantly mistreated by Zoe, and this just put the nails in the coffin of their marriage. Zoe was able to way too easily manipulate so many people.

The final chapters of this book are amazing. They tell what unfolds from a distant third person point of view, and it’s chilling to see. I was not expecting anything that happened, and I was left in shock for the last few pages. Girl Unknown is a dreary but highly entertaining read that those who enjoy tales of family intricacies will love.

View all my reviews

photo by Edmund Ross Photography

About the Authors

Karen Perry is the pen name of Dublin-based authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. Together they wrote Girl Unkown.

Paul Perry is the author of a number of critically acclaimed books. A recipient of the Hennessy Award for New Irish Writing, he teaches creative writing at University College, Dublin.

Karen Gillece is the author of several critically acclaimed novels. In 2009 she won the European Union Prize for Literature (Ireland).

Connect with them on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

 

GIVEAWAY: 5 Non-Candy Easter Gifts for Kids

I don’t know about you, but every year I try to make sure that my kids get other things besides sugary treats in their Easter baskets. They do end up with a lot of candy of course, because of grandparents who love to indulge them, but as for myself I like to include toys, books, and other little trinkets. Here are a few ideas for non-candy gifts this year.

Every year we have the same dilemma…what to buy the kids for Easter. While there are many different types of Easter Candy available (all that are very delicious) I always like to have a few non-candy gifts to add to the kids Easter Baskets. SmitCo sells a ton of products for kids. So I wanted to highlight a few of their kid jewelry options they have available so you can add a few non- candy gifts to your Easter Baskets. They also have fun journals available too!

Stretch Butterfly Necklace, Ring, Bracelet Set

This set is made of strong elastic with small and light beads that will fit easily over the heads of kids. Most girls love jewelry so go ahead make her day with this fun non-toxic wooden bead set for kids 2 through 8 year old! (Look for the $1 off coupon)

 

Bear Stretch Necklace, Ring And Bracelet Set

The necklace and bracelet costume jewelry sets are easy to put on and remove by children because of the elastic and no clasps to fasten which makes it great dress up or play jewelry for girls when they need to change their accessories

 

Pink Stretch Bow Necklace, Ring, Bracelet Set

This set is super cute and made of strong elastic with small and light beads fitting for kids.

Silver Tone Rhodium Plated Hypoallergenic Studs For Toddlers or Kids

Unlike some other earrings that will make your little girl’s ears become infected, this set is nickel and lead free. which means it is HYPOALLERGENIC and safe for little ears of toddlers and kids. The earrings measure 1/2 inch in length and they are adorable!


Blue Stretch Play Necklace and Bracelet Set

Most girls love jewelry so go ahead make her day with this fun non-toxic wooden bead set for kids 2 through 8 years old!

The more you buy, the more you save! Check out these coupons available:

  • Save 15% each on bow jewelry set for little girls offered by SmitCo LLC when you purchase 3 or more. Enter code EH3U3P8U at checkout.
  • Save 10% each on Bow Jewelry Set For Little Girls offered by SmitCo LLC when you purchase 2 or more. Enter code S9WCJWH3 at checkout.

Candy is always part of Easter baskets but if you need a few non candy gift ideas for Easter baskets, you know they will love jewelry. Plus everything is right around $10!

Giveaway Details:

Ends March 3, 2018 at 1159pm EST

US Residents Only

Entry-Form

4 Innovative Home Design Trends to Watch Out For in 2018

Home design trends are integral to the work of an architect; clients will always be influenced by the homes they see on interior design blogs, so it’s important to stay aware of the latest movements. This year, layouts, features, and systems are evolving to suit the growing needs of the modern day homeowner, relying on both technological advances and ancient building practices to transform the architectural landscape.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the building sector consumes nearly half of all the energy we produce in the United States, so the lean toward sustainable design comes as no surprise. Whichever way you look at it, the future of architecture is going to be spectacular. Here are four innovative trends to watch out for this year.

Organic Architecture

Perhaps one of the most notable design trends for 2018 is the move toward earthen living. Over the years, home design has become increasingly energy efficient, but environmentalists think we can do better. Cue the development of organic architecture: a reliance on ancient building techniques and biodegradable, earthly materials that take us back to our roots. Despite having been built from dirt and stone, today’s “earth houses” are far from primitive, with structures proving comfortable, strong and beautiful. It is estimated that 50% of the world’s population lives in earthen architecture – and this is something Western countries are starting to pay attention to.

Flexible Floor Plans

On the other end of the spectrum, the world continues to move toward a more seamless, technology-driven existence. This means our homes are becoming more adaptable to our needs, paving the way for sliding partition walls and flexible floor plans. Adaptable design will allow rooms to transform into other rooms and living spaces to change along with our changing lifestyles. A large home office could, for instance, be divided into two rooms to accommodate a nursery; or else a dining room could flow seamlessly into the kitchen for family mealtimes, but become a smaller, more intimate space for dinner parties.

Adaptable “Bonus” Rooms

Dedicated living and dining rooms could also be replaced by large, adaptable multi-purpose spaces. While this trend accommodates our growing need for flexibility, it also remains conscious of the environmental and societal impact of larger homes. The trend towards minimalism and the Tiny House Movement of 2017 means many people are thinking of ways they can downsize or make the most of their existing spaces. Some modern homes also include private “bonus” rooms that can be adapted to suit a variety of needs.

Outdoor Living

This year will also see a trend towards the great outdoors, with many homeowners designing their backyards to accommodate everyday living. We’ve already seen outdoor lighting and garden decor soar in popularity over the past couple of years, but 2018 is set to take the design trend one step further. Expect to see bigger and bolder porch ceiling lights in modern homes, like the statement pendants and outdoor chandeliers available from YLighting, as well as sofas that look like they belong inside, wooden nesting tables and even tapestry rugs.

All in all, 2018 is set to be a dichotomous year for home design. While we continue to rely on technology to adapt our homes to our changing needs, there is also an increased sensitivity toward the environment and a need to return to more primitive times.

 

Fun Winter Activities You Can Do With Your Kids

One thing that many parents hate about winter is the cold temperatures. When the temperature drops, you’ll likely find that your kids spend more time inside as they play video games or sit in front of the television because they don’t want to deal with the ice and snow. As a parent, you can set a good example for your kids and show them how fun winter can be. Some of the best winter activities are those that you can do inside and out with your kids.

Go Sledding

As long as you have a hill nearby, you can plan a sledding day with your kids. You can pick up an inexpensive sled from almost any big box store. If you plan ahead, you’ll find cheap sleds at thrift stores, secondhand sporting goods stores and even yard sales. Kids can also have fun trying different things out as sleds like a trash can lid or the top to a plastic storage box. When using those items, just make sure that the hill has a softer slope that won’t cause them to fall off.

Plan a Ski Trip

Many parents don’t think about taking a ski trip because they assume that these vacations cost too much. While you may not have money in your budget to stay at a four-star resort, you may have enough cash to plan a day trip to a local resort. Some of these resorts offer specials for those who come on weekdays or those who come in a small group. You can even sign up for family classes or lessons that teach you how to snowboard or ski together. With Little Hotties hand warmers in your pockets, you and your little ones will stay warm on the slopes.

Make Real Hot Chocolate

Take a break from the cold weather outside to make some real hot chocolate together. Anyone can heat up some water and pour in a packet of powdered drink mix. Making hot chocolate from scratch helps you bond as a family and make a delicious treat that you can share. All you need is some chocolate, milk and a little sugar. Bring the milk to a gentle boil before adding the chocolate and the sugar. You can experiment with different flavors like cinnamon and vanilla and top each mug with some real whipped cream.

Try Maple Candy

Teach your kids how to make a simple but delicious snack that they’ll want to share with their friends with just a few simple things. Use a bowl to gather some fresh and clean snow. You’ll then pour a small amount of real maple syrup onto the snow. With a wood craft stick, carefully twist and turn the syrup to mix it with the snow. This creates a small piece of candy with an intensive maple flavor that kids and adults will love. It may even become a family tradition in your home.

Just because winter brings some cold temperatures to your area, that’s no excuse for spending every day in front of the television or away from your kids. You can create a new tradition with your kids that they’ll look forward to every year. Consider making hot chocolate and maple candy or going skiing or sledding together.

COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: Something of Substance by Tia Souders

Something of Substance

by Tia Souders

Contemporary YA

Expected publication: March 28, 2018

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Grace Michaels is determined to be thin, even if she dies trying.

Part of the in-crowd at Providence High, she is steps away from being asked out by the most desired guy at school, winning a prom queen nomination, and her parents’ approval. If she can just get skinny enough, be pretty enough, and popular enough.

But Grace is thin on the outside and fat on the inside. No amount of weight-loss ever seems enough. Convinced the melting pounds will solve her problems, every pound lost brings her closer to her goals. But flesh and bone can only hide the weight of her secret for so long before it kills her.

 Fans of the emotional and thought-provoking contemporary YA fiction, such as Before I Fall, Tell Me Three Things, and All The Bright Places will fall in love with Souder’s heart-wrenching novel, SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE.

I count the days until prom like I count calories. Ninety-eight days. Thirteen hundred calories.

I almost puke at the number.

Thirteen hundred. Maybe. I’m not even sure, which scares me more than the weight of the number.

How could I not keep track? And how could I go over? Do I really have no self-control? If I keep this up, I’ll be right back where I started—fat and unpopular.

My forehead beads with sweat and my fingers twitch, as I glance at my alarm clock—only three a.m. I turn on my side, then get up, knowing there’s no falling back asleep now. Not with all the numbers running through my head. Not with the fat I must’ve stored throughout the night resettling on my thighs like it found its way back home.

I tip-toe away, out of bed, afraid someone might hear me, which is unrealistic since my mother’s snore rivals a bass drum and my father sleeps like the dead. As for my sister, Kelly, she couldn’t care less what I do.

When I come to a stop in front of the full-length mirror on my bedroom door, I don’t even take the time to assess my silhouette in the moonlight. Instead, I lift the soft cotton of my t-shirt. My eyes home in on my ribs, barely visible under a layer of fat, then move to the paunch above the drawstring of my pajama bottoms. I poke at the skin there and grimace at the cushion I find. All I see are the two cookies I ate at Cara’s house last night and I wonder how many calories were in each bite. Fifty? Twenty-five? I have no idea and my ignorance scares me. I had fun and felt too safe, too included. I let those feelings cloud my judgment and lull me, blanket me into false security, where I allowed myself to lose control.

Stupid.

As I lower my shirt, I silently berate myself, then drop to the floor and lie on my back. With closed eyes, I cross my arms over my chest and start sit-ups. I count as I go. One. Two. Three. I do this until the memory of the cookie fades and my abdomen aches. When I can do no more, I stand back up and bend forward in a deep lunge. I ensure my knee touches the ground each time, my legs at perfect ninety-degree angles. Ten laps around my room, I tell myself, then I’ll try and go back to sleep.

I once read sleep burns more calories than lying awake, something about your body recalibrating your metabolism. I don’t buy it. Regardless, there’s no way sleep burns more than lunging, so as my thighs begin to burn and catch fire, I allow the sensation to ease the fluttering in my chest and the rise of bile in my throat.

Right lunge. It will be okay. Left lunge. I’ll be okay.

I won’t gain ten pounds from two cookies.

But I could gain one.

When I finish, slightly sweat-damp and out of breath, but feeling a tiny bit better, I get back under the covers of my bed. Though I’m too hot with the thick comforter pulled up tight under my chin, I leave it there because it will make me sweat. And while perspiring won’t burn excess fat, it might help me lose water weight, giving me the tiniest bit of peace to help me relax into the mattress and slip off into a light slumber.

 

About the Author

Tia Souders is the author of bestselling women’s fiction novel, Waiting On Hope and the upcoming award-winning young adult novel Better Than This (formerly titled Freedom Road). When she isn’t writing, she’s likely renovating their century home. She’s a wine-loving, coffeeholic, with a sweet tooth and resides on a farm in rural Ohio with her husband and children.

 

Author Links:

 Website | Facebook | FB Street TeamInstagram

 

Win a signed ARC paperback of Something of Substance.

Click here to enter!

 

Be notified when SOMETHING OF SUBSTANCE releases – Subscribe to Tia’s mailing list: http://eepurl.com/deIqg5

 

How To Take Your Garden To The Next Level

Having a garden is one thing, but transforming it into an idyllic piece of land is another. You need to take pride in your outdoor space, especially if you love to host parties and events. Having a garden that’s so-so, lacking in color and vibrancy, as well as full of weeds and dying plants isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you need to find ways to make it stand out and improve its attractiveness.

Learn about the impact landscape architecture has on an area like this one, and how paying attention to this concept will elevate the charm of your space. Take your garden to another level by investing time and money into making it look nice. Pay attention to the details and see what other people are doing to get a feel for what you like before you get started.

Plants & Greenery

Take care of your landscaping and hire a professional to help make your vision a reality. Include a lot of unique and attractive plants and trees, and add elements of surprise like a fountain or sculpture. Make people forget where they are when they enter your garden and create a lush environment to enjoy. A green scene has a way of putting you in a good mood and makes you appreciate nature and all its beauty.

Lighting

While natural lighting is ideal, it’s not going to get you through all hours of the day. If you have a roof of some kind, then hanging lights from it can be a wonderful and quirky way to make a statement while providing a means of seeing during nighttime. If you want to create a funky yet elegant design, then installing a unique Sputnik Chandelier can create such an atmosphere; such futuristic lighting can create a truly remarkable environment for all to enjoy. When lighting your space, think big and bold. After all, you want to design something out of the world and truly unique, and lanterns and fairy lights are nothing when compared to daring alternatives.

Seating

Make sure there’s plenty of seating in your garden. Think large, comfortable couches, benches or crates flipped upside down and covered with a boho cushion. This is your chance to shop around for modern solutions that offer a striking element to your garden. Think of how seat cushions can add a pop of color to the space too.

Bar & Refreshment Area

Build a bar and offer drinks and snacks in your garden and patio area. This way you don’t have to go inside when someone’s hungry or thirsty. Build the bar that’s facing the entertainment area, and where everyone will be sat socializing; stock it with many refreshments to limit trips inside. This is another area you should take time to decorate. Consider adding lighting under the countertop and reflective mirrors behind the bar. Have plenty of modern stools placed along the bar too.

Conclusion

Add greenery and modern décor to your garden and watch how quickly it transforms into a masterpiece. Make sure you attend to the details and take your time. Use this project as a way to improve your design and decorating skills. When it’s all done be sure to enjoy it and appreciate all your hard work.

REVIEW: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

by Celeste Ng

Literary Fiction

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Book Description

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.

4fleur

MY THOUGHTS:

4 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS


Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

With a novel with a great number of characters and such a sweeping plot as this book has, it’s hard to know where to begin when it comes to a review. Little Fires Everywhere can be thought of as a thick rope, in which each strand of twisted nylon is intricately woven into the whole, and each strand has something important to offer when it comes to contributing to the overall story.

As its’ basis, it’s a story of how two very different families become intertwined in each other’s lives one year in the late 90’s, in prim and proper Shaker Heights, Ohio. There’s much to be said about the town being a character of its’ own; the setting and all the reader comes to know about it play an integral part of how the plot plays out.

The Richardson family is well off and has been a part of Shaker Heights since its’ founding. The father is an attorney and isn’t actually present that much, and the mother Elena is a journalist working on small pieces for the local newspaper. Elena is proud and thinks herself kind and giving, but I could tell from the beginning that her kindnesses didn’t come without later-to-be-named stipulations. Oldest daughter Lexi is a senior and Ivy League bound. Son Tripp is a sports star, attractive and beloved by all the girls. Younger son Moody is sensitive and speculative, and youngest daughter Izzie is a rebellious spitfire who is always at odds with her mother’s meticulously planned life.

The Richardsons come to know the Warrens when they move into their rental duplex. Mia is young, an artist with a wandering spirit who only holds down menial jobs because they pay for her art supplies. Pearl is her daughter, quiet and bookish but longing for a sense of home. Pearl and Moody become immediate friends, and before long the Warrens and the Richardsons are getting involved in each other’s lives in intimate and irreversible ways.

Now, the first chapter of the book will tell you what the immediate consequences were, and then the story unfolds from the beginning to tell you how the characters got to where they are. There are also several flashbacks to the pasts of a lot of characters, so if you don’t like non-linear storytelling, I would say Little Fires Everywhere is not for you. I happen to like a good deal of background information as long as it is relevant to the plot, and the flashbacks here only enrich the story further.

The conversations and the way events unfolded in the novel felt so natural to me; I could really see and hear each character in my mind. I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and I’m glad I did because I am sometimes a skip ahead reader ( :O ) and getting ahead of myself in this book would have made the whole thing not come together as beautifully as it did, in my opinion.

The Warrens and the Richardsons couldn’t be more different, and that’s why the two families coming together ultimately leads to dissension. There really wasn’t too much interaction between the two mothers in the story until the end, and I was waiting for this because I knew when it happened it would be disastrous. But the story ended quietly, with not as many fireworks as I had hoped for.

I enjoyed Little Fires Everywhere a great deal, but the ending did let me down a little bit. I was both sad at the way things worked out, and frustrated that the entire truth did not get revealed to everyone. I feel like reviewing this book doesn’t do more than give you a broad picture of what the plot is about, so I’ll say it’s worth a read just so you can see a masterpiece in story weaving, because that’s what the author has accomplished here.

View all my reviews

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About the Author

Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You, which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s #1 Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications. Everything I Never Told You was also the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, the ALA’s Alex Award, and the Medici Book Club Prize, and was a finalist for numerous awards, including the Ohioana Award, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award.

Celeste grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio, in a family of scientists. Celeste attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan), where she won the Hopwood Award. Her fiction and essays have appeared in One Story, TriQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, the Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere, and she is a recipient of the Pushcart Prize.

Currently, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her second novel, Little Fires Everywhere, was published by Penguin Press in fall 2017.

3 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

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Buying a house is a huge investment both financially and emotionally. Choosing where to live is no easy decision, you must consider a number of factors and mark each one against your lifestyle. You want your chosen neighborhood to have good transport links to be accessible for work, have an abundance of amenities, good schools, public spaces, and so the list continues. Once you have narrowed down your options, and selected areas on which to focus your search, you can then begin to look for a property that satisfies your needs.

It can be easy to be put off properties by their current condition, but to find a home that you can add real value to, you need to look beyond the cosmetic condition. As long as the property is structurally sound, and ticks your accommodation requirements, you have an opportunity to grow your investment while putting your own design style on it. Here are the top 3 ways to add value to your home.
The Kitchen
Kitchens are no longer just a functional necessity for the home. Kitchens are now multi-use spaces that families spend a lot of time in. If the property you are considering has a kitchen that needs attention, do not despair! While you are viewing it, try and establish whether the walls of the room are loadbearing; if they are not, they can easily be removed to make the room bigger. When it comes to the design for your new kitchen, choose durable flooring that will be easy to maintain, and adequate storage solutions so that counters can be kept clutter free to maximize the feeling of space.
The Bathroom
Bathrooms are the one room in the house that can provide a solitary sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life. Updating your bathroom will allow you to create an environment that you can relax and unwind in. While the bathroom furniture you select needs to be functional, this does not have to be at the expense of style. While trends come and go, a safe yet stylish option would be to incorporate contemporary bathroom products into your design. For example, the Duravit collection of bathroom furniture will give a contemporary update to your bathroom with its earthenware pieces. Even the smallest of bathrooms can be given a luxurious upgrade, just remember to choose furniture that retains visibility of the floor space to create the illusion of space.
The Curb Appeal
People often concentrate on the interiors of their home to add value, but is important to pay attention to the curb appeal of your property. Your outside space provides the backdrop to your home, and is an opportunity for you to show your design flair too. If gardening isn’t your thing, choose low maintenance options for the garden’s design. Remember, that you look out of your windows into this space, so you want it to be optimized for your enjoyment from inside, just as much as when you are outside.
You will hopefully have many happy years in your new home, and while cosmetic updates do cost money to fulfill, by choosing wisely this money will be returned to you when you come to sell the house. You don’t have to do all the updates at once, make a list of what you would like to change, and prioritize the rooms as you see fit.