Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: The Silent Sister–Diane Chamberlain


silent sister

About the Book: (from Goodreads.com)

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

About the Author:

Diane Chamberlain grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey and spent her summers at the Jersey Shore, two settings that have found their way into her novels. She attended Glassboro State College in New Jersey before moving to San Diego, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from San Diego State University. After graduating, she worked in a couple of youth counseling agencies and then focused on medical social work, which she adored. She worked in hospitals in San Diego and Washington, D.C. before opening a private psychotherapy practice in Alexandria, Virginia, specializing in adolescents. She closed her practice to write. 

Diane Chamberlain lives and writes in North Carolina. She lives with her significant other, John, a photographer, and two sweet Shetland Sheepdogs, Keeper and Cole. She has three grown stepdaughters, a couple of sons-in-law and four grandbabies.

My Review:   Riley MacPherson is a social worker, unsure where her life will lead as she ends of a long term relationship.  She returns home after her Dad dies to take care of his affairs.  Her only living family member is her brother, Danny who is dealing with PTSD after being in Iraq and is not much help to her.  As she begins to go through her father’s things, she slowly discovers family secrets surrounding the suicide of her sister, Lisa.  Riley begins to wonder if she really knew her father.  Danny and Riley were raised by parents that were living any parents worst nightmare, the loss of a child.  Danny is bitter about how his parents were after Lisa’s suicide.  He blamed Lisa and Lisa’s suicide for many of the things that went wrong in his life. 

The character development was very good. You really care about the characters.  I really connected  with Riles, being a social worker myself. I understood her need to fix things.   I loved Riley and wanted the best for her.  I was drawn to the characters and their emotional state of their lives.  The pace of the story builds to the end, making the end of The Silent Sister a real page turner. 

I found the book predictable as I had figured out how the story would unfold, well before it did.  I did not find this a distraction to my enjoyment of the story.   I still wanted to finish to understand the details, emotions and thought process of the characters.   The Silent Sister is told in parallel  story lines, the past and the present in which Riley is slow unearthing the secrets of the past. This was a very  effect style of writing for this story.   This is a very emotional read, so don’t do what I did and listen to it at work, very embarrassing.

My Rating:  4/5 – though very predictable, I really enjoyed The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.  I was listening to it at work and even had to go to the bathroom once as I was going to cry!  Definitely an emotional read, which I felt was worth the listen.   Silent Sister is an easy, enjoyable read that becomes a bit of page turner towards the end.  Even as I write this review I think of the characters and wonder  what will happen in their lives next. 

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

The Silent Sister was also reviewed on the following blogs: Novelicious, Chit Lit Plus, That’s What She Read and 

Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain was received from Audiobook Jukebox’s reviewer program and Macmillan Audio in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: April 13th, 2015

Menu

April 10th  -  April 28th, 2015

Friday, 10th – Meatball Subs, Simple Pasta Salad

Saturday, 11th – Rotisserie Chicken, Stuffing and Peas

Sunday, 12th – Garlicky Pork Chops, Cheddar Twice -Baked Potatoes (Bet Loves pg 499), Corn
Dessert:  Banana Pudding Dessert (Best Loved pg 428)

 

Monday, 13th - Sausage and Rice Casserole – Green Beans (Emeals A – 581)

Tuesday, 14th – (soccer) - Chicken Sandwiches, Fries

Wednesday, 15th – (FPU) - Flaky Chicken Pot Pie  (Mom’s Best Recipes pg 141)

Thursday,  16th – Easy Garlic Tortellini

Friday, 17th – Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, Veggies

Saturday, 18th - Thai Grilled Chicken, Asian Noodles, Green Beans

Sunday, 19th - Mom’s Roast Beef (Best Recipes 464), Over Roasted Potatoes, Country Green Beans (465) Chocolate Zuchinni Cake

 

Monday, 20th – (Grandpa’s Birthday)  Beef Stroganoff, Noodles and Peas

Tuesday, 21st – (Soccer) - Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes & Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Crispy Bacon and Mixed Fruit Bowl (Emeals A – 581)

Wednesday, 22nd – (FPU) - Philly Cheese Steak Sandwiches, Wavy Chips and Dill Pickle Spears (Emeals A – 581)

Thursday, 23rd - Mac and Cheese and Brats

Friday, 24th – (MACMH – Jen Out of Town) – Tater Tot Hotdish

Saturday, 25th -  (MACMH – Jen Out of Town) – Pot Pies

Sunday,26th - (MACMH – Jen Out of Town) – Grilled Pork Chops

Monday, 27th - (MACMH – Jen Out of Town) – Make Your Own Sandwiches

Tuesday, 28th - (MACMH – Jen Out of Town) - Pizza

FUTURE MEALS
Parmesan Pork Chops with Spinach Salad and Oven Roasted Potatoes (Taste of Home – April/May 2015 pg 31)
Inside Out Ravioli (Mom’s Best pg 149)
Beefy Mexican Casserole, Seasoned Black Beans and Ranch-Avocados Salad (Emeals A – 580)
Chicken Noodle Casserole with your favorite vegetable
Elegant Stuffed Cornish Hens (Best 496)Bacon Squash Saute, Orange N Red Onion Salad and Banana Cream Pie

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie and participate in Menu Plan Monday.  Need help getting started menu planning – Emeals is a great solution.  Many meal plans to choose from at a very affordable price.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

 


WeAreNotOurselves

Title: We Are Not Ourselves

Author: Matthew Thomas

Narrator: Mare Winningham

Unabridged Length: 20 h, 51 m

Published by Simon & Schuster Audio, 2014

Genres: Adult Fiction, Literary

Source: Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program

 

About the Book: (from Goodreads.com)

Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed.

When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit. They marry, and Eileen quickly discovers Ed doesn’t aspire to the same, ever bigger, stakes in the American Dream.
Eileen encourages her husband to want more: a better job, better friends, a better house, but as years pass it becomes clear that his growing reluctance is part of a deeper psychological shift. An inescapable darkness enters their lives, and Eileen and Ed and their son Connell try desperately to hold together a semblance of the reality they have known, and to preserve, against long odds, an idea they have cherished of the future.

Through the Learys, novelist Matthew Thomas charts the story of the American Century, particularly the promise of domestic bliss and economic prosperity that captured hearts and minds after WWII. The result is a riveting and affecting work of art; one that reminds us that life is more than a tally of victories and defeats, that we live to love and be loved, and that we should tell each other so before the moment slips away.

Epic in scope, heroic in character, masterful in prose, We Are Not Ourselves heralds the arrival of a major new talent in contemporary fiction.

Related Media:

Matt Thomas About Author: Matthew Thomas was born in the Bronx and grew up in Queens. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he has an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His New York Times-bestselling novel WE ARE NOT OURSELVES has been shortlisted for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. He lives with his wife and twin children in New Jersey.



CLUBHOUSE 

About Narrator:   Mary Megan "Mare" Winningham is an American actress and singer-songwriter. She is an Academy Award, Tony Award and eight-time Emmy Award nominee, winning Emmys in 1980 and 1998. Winningham began her acting career in the late 1970s on television.


My Review:   We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas is the story of Eileen and Ed a married couple and parents of Connell.  Eileen and  Ed seem like a typical couple, with their ups and down and hopes for a better future.   As Eileen begins to look at homes in a new neighborhood in pursuit of the American Dream, the family is tested.  Though I questioned Eileen’s feelings for Ed initially, once their relationship was tested, Eileen  was there for Ed.  Her life changes as it become evident that Ed’s condition will progress  and not improve.   Ed’s condition certainly tested their love for each other as well as his relationship with his son, Connell.   The family is forces to learn what really matters most in life.  I was  touched by Eileen’s choices regarding Ed’s care and to maintain his dignity as long as possible. 

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas in Audio Version is 18 CD’s long.  In all honesty, the plot is doled out very slowly, which I struggled with.   Had this not been a review book, I am not sure I would have finished We Are Not Ourselves.    I was not initially invested in Eileen and Ed’s relationship, which makes it hard to continue a initially slow read.    In retrospect,  I am glad I finished the book as I really enjoyed the last half of the book.  

 

My Rating: 3/5 – Having experienced the loss of a loved one to the same condition, many of the emotions in We Are Not Ourselves resonated with me.  The decline of the person is a slow process that you try to tell yourself is not really happening.  I think Matthew Thomas portrayed the feelings of loss, grief, guilty and love very well in the later half of the book.  We Are Not Ourselves gives readers a good look into the life of a caregiver and how life can change in a moment. 

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

We Are Not Ourselves was also reviewed on the following blogs:  Books and Movies, That’s What She Read, Booking MamaPopcorn Reads, and Lit Lovers.

Happy Reading!

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**Disclosure – We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas was received from Simon and Schuster in exchange for a fair review.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: March 30th

Menu

March 30th -  April 12, 2015

Friday, 27th – Fish Sandwiches and Fries

Saturday, 28th – (Gala) – Pizza

Sunday, 29th – Beef Enchiladas and Spanish Rice
Dessert:  Mexican Rice Pudding

Monday, 30th – (Off) - Parmesan Pork Chops Oven Roasted Potatoes with Stir Fried Broccoli and Carrots (Emeals A –577 – 55 minutes)

Tuesday, 31st – (Off) - Open Faced Cheese Tuna Melts, Fruit and Chips (Emeals578)

Wednesday, 1st – (Off) - Pancakes / Bacon / Eggs

Thursday, 2nd - Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Friday, 3rd - Meatless Spaghetti – Garlic Bread

Saturday, 4th – Korean Beef with rice and broccoli or string beans

Sunday, 5th – (Easter) Ham, Garlic –Butter Green Beans (Best Loved 463), Roasted Herb Potatoes
Dessert: Mom’s Apple Pie (Recipe in Emails)

 

Monday, 6th (Working Late) – Tater Tot Hotdish

Tuesday, 7th - Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich and fruit salad or orange juice

Wednesday, 8th – (FPU Preview Night) – Spring Greek Pasta Salad, Sandwich for a Crowd (Best Loved - pg. 653)

Thursday, 9th - Chicken Noodle Casserole with your favorite vegetable

Friday, 10th - Meatball Subs, Simple Pasta Salad (Emeals579)

Saturday, 11th – Rotisserie Chicken, Stuffing and Peas

Sunday, 12th - Garlicky Pork Chops, Cheddar Twice -Baked Potatoes (Bet Loves pg 499), Corn
Dessert:  Banana Pudding Dessert (Best Loved pg 428)

 

Future Meals:
Chicken & Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese (Taste of Home/S&D – April/May 2015 -39)
Crispy Honey Pork Tenderloin
Thai Grilled Chicken
Garlic Herb Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Corn on Cob, and Fruit
Easy Sesame Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables
Roasted Green Beans
Balsamic Pork Chops – Carrots and Roasted Asparagus (Emeals 482)
Creamy Angel Hair with Spinach and Sausage
Chicken Pesto Linguine/Garlic Bread/Zucchini (EmealsA- 577- 35 minutes)
Quiche with Hashbrown Crust
Easy Beef Macaroni and Cheese

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

For more Menu Planning inspiration stop by and visit Laura at Organizing Junkie and participate in Menu Plan Monday.  Need help getting started menu planning – Emeals is a great solution.  Many meal plans to chose from at a very affordable price.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!!

Happy Cooking!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

REVIEW: Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester

gooseberry

Title: Gooseberry Island

Author:  Steven Manchester (author website)

Publisher: Story Plant, The; Reprint edition (January 6, 2015)

Pages: 300 pages

Source: From Author

About the Book: (from Goodreads.com)

They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?


Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers.

My Review: Gooseberry Island is set on Gooseberry Island and in Afghanistan.  The authors description of  Gooseberry Island is so relaxed and small town, a great place for a vacation.  The authors description of Afghanistan is very emotional, detailed and stressful.  I think he conveys the feel of both of the environments very well.  They are as different as night and day.

David is an Army  Ranger and getting ready to leave for Afghanistan when he meets Lindsey just before his going away party.  A romance is sparked, which sustains David through his time in Afghanistan.  In the beginning both characters are very relatable.  David and Lindsey keep up a long distance relationship.  While David witnesses the horrors and loss of war. 

The real meat of the story takes place in Afghanistan.  You realize very quickly that war changes people and the price of war.  There is a price for war for the soldiers as well as the family left at home.  I got very swept up in the authors detailed description in regards to David’s time in Afghanistan.   The scene that stayed with me was of David on the rooftop in Afghanistan.  As a reader I felt the tense emotions of the scene and felt like I was on the rooftop with David.

Being a social worker, I was most interested in the authors portrayal of David’s journey through PTSD when returning from his time in Afghanistan.  So many times our soldiers are not treated for those invisible wounds.  As David did, many soldiers self medicate to get through life.  David had a very hard time adjusting upon his return.  Here is where Lindsey became un-relatable to me.  Her reaction to David after they see each other the first time when David returns really disturbed me. 

My Rating: 4 – The emotions of Gooseberry Island will stay with you long after you read the last page.  Gooseberry  Island gives the reader insight into the lives of returned serviceman and struggles they face each day.  Steven Manchester is a new author for me.  Steven has a way with capturing emotions.   I am not a fan of romances, but Gooseberry Island is so much more than a romance.  I definitely will be checking out a few more books by Steven Manchester.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Gooseberry Island was also reviewed on the following blogs: Turner’s Antics, Advicesbooks, My Book Retreat and Read, Run, Ramble.

Happy Reading!

Jen C

**Disclosure – Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester  was received from the author in exchange for a fair review.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman

Illumination night

Title:  Illumination Night

Author: Alice Hoffman
(Author Website) (Facebook)

Genre: Adult Fiction

Narrator: Suzanne Toren

Publisher:  Blackstone Audio,  June, 2014

Length: 7.8 hours

Source: Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program

About the Book: (From AliceHoffman.com)

Set on Martha’s Vineyard, here is a stunning novel that brings that beautiful island to vivid life – a novel that weaves together the lives of a little boy who can’t grow, an elderly woman who needs to save someone before she passes on, a blond giant, a young couple, a teenaged girl looking for trouble. Lives of intense erotic longing, of quiet understanding, of willful determination. It is a novel of magic and mystery, and a literary event that confirms Alice Hoffman as one of our finest and most compelling writers.

Related Media: – Grand Illumination Night on Martha’s Vineyard

An Island tradition since 1869, Grand Illumination takes place on the third Wednesday of August. It starts with a band concert by the Vineyard Haven Band followed by a community sing, the lighting of the first lantern, and the lighting of all of the other lanterns.

About the Author:

hoffmanbiophoto

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing.  She currently lives in Boston.

Hoffman’s first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff’s magazine, American Review.

About the Narrator:

Suzanne-Toren

 

2009 Best Voice in NONFICTION & CULTURE: Suzanne Toren brings a distinguishing warmth and power to her narrations. Her talents extend to both fiction and nonfiction, and in her recording career of 30-plus years she has given listeners heart-wrenching memoirs, lively history, engaging light fiction, and involving mysteries. Her skill with European and Middle Eastern languages and a degree in French literature also help her provide an essential believability to the characters she portrays.

 

My Review: Illumination Night is set on Martha’s Vineyard in present time.  Alice Hoffman description of the island and the interesting collection of characters are wonderful.  I have only read a few books by Alice Hoffman, but I am always impressed with her writing, beautiful and flowing.

Vonny and Andre are the parents of little Simon.  Vonny progresses through agoraphobia, she is trapped by a fear and inner turmoil in her house.  Ultimately her agoraphobia actually brings her closer to her husband.  I love how the relationship between Vonny and her neighbor Elizabeth Renny ultimately helps both women to heal.  Simon experiences tragedy and your heart breaks for this little boy. He is unsure of himself and concerned by his short stature.  I did find the beginning a little slow, but soon I couldn’t wait to put my headphones on to hear about Vonny and the others.

When the author introduced the character Eddie, a gentle giant,  I was thinking, “Yeah, Right”.   But as unlikely of a character, Eddie grows to be one of my favorite character.  He is flawed and a product of his past, but ultimately is a tender hearted young man, who found and lost love. 

Narration by Suzanne Toren is wonderful and captures the emotions of the characters.  I think the narration had a lot to do with my being draw to Vonny.  She sounded like a friend I wanted to keep in touch with.  Characters were distinct, though one of the male voices bothered me at first, but grew on me as the story progressed.   Which fit perfectly with the storyline.

My Rating: 4 – Illumination Night is a story that will stay with you due to the wonderful characters.  I still wonder what will happen to them next.  Alice Hoffman is a talented story teller with great character development.  She has a way with words that really captures you and she has an ability to create sympathetic characters. The story does seem to have a number of story lines going on at the same time, but I did not find that confusing.  The story of Eddie left me wanting for more.    Themes in Illumination Light include, family dysfunction, fidelity, fear and Agoraphobia, and desperation.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Audio book Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman was received from Blackstone Audio in exchange for a fair review.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng


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Title:  Everything I Never Told You

Author: Celest Ng
(Author Website) (Facebook)

Genre: Adult Fiction

Narrator: Cassandra Campbell

Publisher:  Blackstone Audio,  June, 2014

Length:  10 hours

Source: Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program

About the Book: (from Good Reads.com)

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest of the family—Hannah—who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened.

A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another

Book Trailer for Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

About the Author:

Celeste

Celeste Ng is the author of the novel Everything I Never Told You (June 2014, Penguin Press). She 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, with her husband and son, where she teaches fiction writing at Grub Street and is at work on a second novel and a collection of short stories.

About the Narrator:

Campbell_C_D

Cassandra Campbell is an actress, director, and teacher as well as an accomplished voice-over artist. Voice credits include numerous books on tape, documentaries and commercials in both Italian and English. As an actress she has performed in New York at the Public Theatre, the Mint Theatre, and the Clurman as well as many others. Regional work includes StageWest, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Millmountain Theatre, and The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she a faculty member at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

 

 

 

My Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng is the story of a Chinese/American family in the 1970’s in small town Ohio.  James and Marilyn meet in college and start a relationship despite their different cultural backgrounds.   Marilyn falls pregnant and the couple gets married.  Marilyn gives up her dream of becoming a Dr for her growing family.  This is a sacrifice that Marilyn had a hard time move past. James is always wanting to fit in with their community in Ohio.  He wants his children to have a different childhood than he did. He wants them to feel accepted by their school peers and community. 

The novel starts out informing the reader  that “Lydia is dead”.  While the reader knows this fact, the family does not.  The reader is there as the parents discover the fate of their eldest daughter, the child they each had aspirations for.  The reader is along on the journey as the family unravels at the lose of a child.   Celeste Ng’s telling of the story of Lee family from the point of the death of their child, through the emotional aftermath, is a great structure for this type of story.  Ng develops the characters in Everything I Never Told You in great detail.  I would have like if the  development of Lydia would have been  as detailed.   At the end I was left  wanting to know more  about the final moments and thoughts of Lydia.

The author does a wonderful job of delving into the various ways in which James and Marilyn as parents deal with Lydia’s death as well as how Nath and Hannah deal with the death of a sibling.   The reader begins to understand the family’s fragile dynamics.

The narration of Everything I Never Told You by Cassandra Campbell was very enjoyable.  She keeps a good pace and gives each character their own voice in a natural sounding way. 

My Rating: 3.5 – I would rate Everything I Never Told You higher if I found the ending more satisfying.  Everything I Never Told you is a cautionary tale about the danger of projecting your unfilled needs and dreams upon your children.  Celeste Ng skillfully addresses themes such as expectations, dreams, lost chances, family secrets and cultural isolation.  I applaud the author for a decent debut novel and look forward to checking out additional publications by Celeste Ng.

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Everything I Never Told You was also reviewed on the following  blogs: River City Reading, S.Krishna’s Books, and She Treads Softly

Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Audio book Everything I Never Told You was received from Blackstone Audio in exchange for a fair review.