Tag: Contemporary

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Firefly Lane
Author: Kristin Hannah

Published: February 5, 2008
479 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

Kim’s Review:

Welp, it made me ugly cry and poor Ivan had to deal with me. It was a quick read and kept me engaged and entertained. The story was filled with crazy ups and downs and just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I didn’t and something else happened. I decided to give 4 stars since I did enjoy reading the book and I’m glad I read it.

However, I will say that I severely disliked most of the characters in this book. Tully was insufferable from the beginning. I hated the way she bullied everyone into giving her whatever she wanted and then dared to play the victim. She also completely ignored Kate’s authority as mother when dealing with Kate’s kids. Kate thankfully wasn’t quite as bad and I identified with her more. She was Tully’s shadow and support and spent her life knowing she was just second best. But she spent a lot of that time just being a doormat.

How Hannah wrote an entire book based on such a toxic relationship, I’ll never know. I also disliked how we never saw certain portions of their lives. It’s like Hannah got tired of writing so she just put “a few years later …” and then left it at that. Overall, I’m glad I read Firefly Lane, I actually enjoyed it … but if I ever meet women like Tully and Kate, I’m running the other way!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Trapped by Michael Northrop

Trapped
Author: Michael Northrop
Published: February 1, 2011
232 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 2-6, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive. . . .

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision. . . .

Jessica’s Review:

Trapped is a short and quick read that I enjoyed until it abruptly ended.  Were the last few chapters accidentally left out of my copy?  Nope, that was it!  Who lives, who dies, and what’s going to happen next?  I will have to decide that on my own…

I was pulled in from the beginning wondering what was going to happen.  I knew it was going to be a bad storm, but the snow just would not stop!   These poor kids just kept getting worse off as the novel progressed.  For a YA novel that has boys and girls stuck alone together, there surprisingly was not much teenage drama: They were focused on survival. 

If you like quick YA reads, give Trapped a try. Our narrator is a boy, which is a rarity in YA novels.  *Disclaimer*:  Going in keep in mind that the novel ends with no conclusion/ epilogue.

Northrop wrote another novel which interests me called Surrounded by Sharks.   It is similar to Trapped in that it deals with survival, but I doubt I will read it.  It is about the same length as Trapped and I am afraid that there will be no conclusion, and my thinking is this:

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

If you have actually read Surrounded by Sharks, I would love to know if there is a conclusion to that novel!

Other than the lack of conclusion, Trapped would be perfect to read while it is snowing: I just hope you don’t end up in a blizzard like our poor teens!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Published: April 1, 2014
Audiobook 

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: December 15-23, 2019

Book  Description:

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

Jessica’s Review:

Poor AJ Fikry has had a difficult time in his life lately:

His wife has passed away, his bookshop is not making sales like it should and now a prized possession is stolen!  Life can’t possibly get any worse can it?  No, in fact it can go in a complete 180! 

This was a very enjoyable audiobook. At first AJ is not likeable at all, but over time he and his story grow on you.  Maybe there are second chances after all.

If you are a bibliophile like me, you will enjoy this book as it is set in a bookstore! (Books  Galore!) I would stay away from other reviews and even other book descriptions, as they give away what this mysterious package is. The book description that I first read did, and I wish I had not known. Go into this book knowing as little as possible and you will be sure to enjoy it! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US  
Amazon UK  

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