TV Netflix Series Along for the Ride vs #Audiobook #AlongfortheRide by #Sarah Dessen – Teen & YA Fiction

TV Netflix Series Along for the Ride vs Audiobook Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

TV Netflix Series Along for the Ride vs #audiobook #AlongfortheRide banner

Goodreads Choice Award winner

Intro

ClipArt-When pigs flyI’m sure you are gasping or at the very least rolling your eyes. As you know, I don’t do Romance or Teen and YA Fiction and yet here it is, so things do happen when pigs fly.

So let me explain what happened. Have you ever been in a hurry to go get the shopping done but just finished your last audiobook? And then, this time of year with so much time spent in the garden—where’s my audiobook? So, no, I didn’t dump it right away and opt for something in more of an adult thriller (other than facing current grocery prices).

Okay, then…yeah, I got interested; sucked in with the character of Auden. She’s eighteen, just graduated, and has decided to spend the summer with her dad and his new (much younger) wife and new baby in their little beachside town of Colby. Auden’s mother is not exactly the clingy type; she’s intelligent, extremely independent, and cerebral surrounded by fellow literary types. She’s the more successful of the two parents, her father working feverishly on his second book and not doing so as well.

Yes, I know you’re with me so far as the book has been out since 2009 which also tells you how long it takes for something to finally hit the little screen. The book is one of many from this author in the same vein.

So here I am, innocently finishing up the audiobook when I see it’s just landed on Netflix and if nothing else, I am curious.

Netflix Series

Emma Pasarow-actress
Emma Pasarow
Belmont Cameli-actor
Belmont Cameli

Along for the Ride released on May 6, 2022 on Netflix. It was written and directed by Sofia Alvarez and stars Emma Pasarow, Belmont Cameli, Kate Bosworth, and Andie MacDowell, among others.

Of the film, Netflix says, “The summer before college Auden meets the mysterious Eli, a fellow insomniac. While the seaside town of Colby sleeps, the two embark on a nightly quest to help Auden experience the fun, carefree teen life she never knew she wanted.”

Auden is, after all, the daughter of a successful academic, a serious student who had not participated in typical high school activities, friends, or related experiences. She was held remotely, the younger child of the divorced couple. It seems she never wanted for money as much as time and attention.

On one of her nightly loner excursions, she meets Eli who, also an insomniac, rides his BMX bike in and around the Boardwalk.

I warmed up to Emma Pasarow as the lead character pretty quickly, took a little longer for the same with Belmont Cameli. And bless her heart, Andie MacDowell, one of my favorite actresses, is just too old to play Auden’s mother (looking more like her grandmother). Maggie holds back acceptance of Auden and then suddenly becomes overly solicitous to the point of disbelief. While the book discusses the situation of her dad’s marriage, her academic focus, and lack of a normal high school experience, it seems the latter is the focus of this Netflix interpretation. Suddenly it’s playtime and there are numerous scenes of dancing and parties (alcohol, no drugs).

Along for the Ride-filmHer father’s character is played well. This viewer took a dislike to him as quickly as the book version. He’s narcissistic, uninvolved with either his new wife or baby, and focused 150% on his book.

Of course there will be conflict—Auden and Eli, Auden and her father, Auden and her mother. There is a dawning awakening with her mother. Her stepmother is another character played well and doesn’t have nearly the clueless ineptitude with her baby as she does in the book. She does, however, look for help with the crumbling of her marriage to Auden’s dad with Auden’s mother. (Talk about fairy tales!)

Well, we have a short and poignant boohoo scene, another party scene, dad goes back to Heidi and their new baby, the fight with Eli works out and he’s off to Barcelona, while she and Maggie ride into the sunset to the university where they’ll be roommates.

What? Did I miss the whole conflict resolution? It all got worked out during the last party I guess. Or maybe it was when I got up to let the dog out. Things changed mighty quick.

My Thoughts

As my daughter used to say, “gag me with a spoon.”  So much of the development of Auden is lost in the Netflix version. She goes on a “quest” to do the fun things she’d formerly missed out on—as in teenage bucket list? To an extent, it did somewhat change that stilted visage we first saw. I never really did get Eli and didn’t see a lot of chemistry between them. He had a dark secret that was divulged pretty quickly and I couldn’t understand how her presence made the difference that fast.

On its own, if you haven’t read or listened to the book, you might very well enjoy.

2.5 stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

Nights have always been Auden’s time, her chance to escape everything that’s going on around her.
Then she meets Eli, a fellow insomniac, and he becomes her nocturnal tour guide.
Now, with an endless supply of summer nights between them, almost anything can happen. .
. .

My Thoughts

The audiobook as narrated by Rachel Botchan has a slightly high, immature quality, annoying at first although I’m sure meant to convey the voice of a teen. Once used to that, the character of Auden begins to take on an empathetic quality and if the reader can’t identify with her, can engage in her character at arms’ reach and enjoy the journey to discover the life that is her father’s—one that she has not previously understood.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen-KindleHer father is even more distant than her mother, so intent on his agenda he has no room left for her. Her stepmother is at her wits end with a screaming infant with no clue how to care for it. It’s written off as colic and nothing for it but to let her scream. Heidi is almost immediately sympathetic. She is exhausted and has literally no support, nor does she feel she wants to relinquish the care of the infant (described in the book as six weeks) to any help.

Eli is mysterious and in his own world, but he is a good listener and Auden learns there is much she missed—something Eli shared with others that was lost—and still is. Auden is being introduced to the world of peers, friends, fun times, and the haunts or secrets of their little town as well as the beauty of it. She is also introduced to the world of bike racing and jumping and is finally taught to ride, something she eventually does with Eli in her prom dress after she is stood up the second time by the same guy (not Eli).

“And the bottom line is, what defines you isn’t how many times you crash, but the number of times you get back on the bike.”

She is visited by her mother surveying the stepmother’s boutique and her brother, more than once, when he comes back to introduce his fiancé to the family. She is a total shock to their mother in particular, and a complete opposite to any her brother had previously dated.

The conclusion happened in the blink of an eye, no problem too big to handle. Eli comes to terms with the death of his best buddy and heads off to Barcelona (where does he get his money??!), her dad returns to his young family, her mother with her smitten stalker, and all the university angst is conquered.

3.5 stars 

Overall Impression

The Book

There is more going on in the book than the oft-vapid teenage world portrayed in the Netflix version. The characters of the book were somewhat developed though not complex, although if you were searching for a solid plot—forget it. It’s a YA platform—fun and games. These teens also played at working (so maybe there was some responsibility). I loved the daily “dance break” both in the audiobook as well as the Netflix version. Okay, yes! but it was cute. 

Netflix

The Netflix version left me flat wondering why I’d just sat through the whole thing—because I wanted to compare it to the book? The characters, the ones they used from the book, had little depth. They skipped much of the heart of the book. Auden learned she could have girlfriends. What else…Auden could party like the rest. Hmmm, Auden learned her mother wasn’t so bad but her father was worse?

The genre listed for the (audio)book is “Teen & Young Adult Fiction on Marriage & Divorce. Oops. That latter part was glossed over in a hurry.

Anyone else see a resemblance between the author and the lead character (Emma Pasarow)? Also, there was an interesting little interview with the two main leads on the Netflix Book Club, “But Have You Read the Book?” with Uzo Aduba that you might wish to check out.

Conclusion

This time my vote has to go to the author’s book. Fast, easy (or listen) read—look for it—there is a message.

Book Details

Genre: Teen & Young Adult Fiction on Marriage & Divorce, Teen & Young Adult Parents Fiction, Children’s Books on Marriage & Divorce
Publisher: Listening Library
ASIN: B002DN9I8M
Listening Length: 12 hrs 46 min
Narrator: Rachel Botchan
Audible Release: June 16, 2009
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Along for the Ride [Amazon]

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Sarah Dessen-author
Author Sarah Dessen

The Author: I’ve been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I’d sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, “She has such a wild imagination,” which usually meant “I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth.” I have a tendency to embellish: I think it’s just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it’s hard not to do it all the time.”The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. “As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden—although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive—-and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.”

©2022 V Williams

Cover attributes-info: Wikipedia

V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

Rosepoint Reviews – April Recap—Welcome May! (at last)

Rosepoint Reviews – April Recap

Rosepoint Reviews Recap - April

Spring bulbsFinally, the trees are blooming and the tulips and other bulbs have bloomed. Haven’t had a freeze for several nights, but as we’ve been taught, that can turn on a dime.

The squirrel wars--I'm losingStill, in my usual early spring exuberance, I started the seeds (indoors). They usually do fine right up until I try to harden them off in preparation for transplanting. I no longer have to start tomatoes—they volunteer now like crazy. The bulbs are blooming in the back flower bed too. The fairy garden is a total winter mess and still WAY too wet to venture down there. Like my son says, not a fairy garden, it’s a swamp. And the squirrel war? I’m losing.

April was a fun month with visitors—our son and his wife, our daughter and her SO, and my granddaughter, her other half, and our great-grandbaby, David, four months. He is WAY too sweet, too cute, and very mellow. It was sure a fun, whirlwind visit, doing the Chicago thing (I’m not a fan), as well as a number of other sites close by. We keep trying to talk them into moving east—closer to our family—but apparently not his.

Monthly cup giveaway winnerAnd, I received the cup that I won in the monthly Giveaway by the author Annabelle Lewis, who wrote and I read and reviewed back in January 2021, Dead Cat Run. I love my new large-capacity cup! And by the way, that book is a hoot. If you missed it, check it out here.

Despite all the excitement, prep, shopping, breakfasts and dinners, we did manage to read or listen to sixteen books in April, most from NetGalley. I’ll be working on that badge all year no doubt, but I’m getting closer with a current count of 448 and my ratio continues to be 95%.

Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman The Darkest Web by Kristin wright The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi Mining for Murder by Mary Angela A Life for a Life by Carol Wyer A Slow Ruin by Pamela Crane They Will Be Coming for Us by Kim Catanzarite Family Money by Chad Zunker - author The Lost by Jeffrey B Burton The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk-Berger Cold Snap by Marc Cameron Dark Sky by C J Box Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden

Lost Coast Literary by Ellie Alexander (blogtour)
The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman (CE review)
The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi (audiobook)
The Darkest Web by Allison Barton (CE review)
The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden (blogtour)
Mining for Murder by Mary Angela (blogtour)
A Slow Ruin by Pamela Crane (audiobook)
They will be Coming for Us by Kim Catanzarite (CE review)
Family Money by Chad Zunker (CE review)
A Life for a Life by Carol Wyer
The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James (audiobook)
Souvenirs from Kyiv by Chrystyna Lucyk Berger (CE review)
Cold Snap by Marc Cameron (CE review)
The Lost by Jeffrey B Burton
Dark Sky by C J Box (audiobook)
Dark Seas by Jerry Borrowman (CE review)

 

Reading Challenges

Reading Challenges

Okay, so I read and reviewed but didn’t get my challenges caught up. Soon come.  My challenges for 2022 are all listed and linked in the widget column on the right. You can check out the progress of my challenges by clicking the Reading Challenges page but so far I’m four books ahead on my Goodreads Challenge of 180 books at 63.

Kindle Spring Challenge

Kindle spring challengeHave you noticed this little zinger when you open your Kindle app lately? The challenge, in case you needed another, lists days read, books completed (broken into categories), and mysteries (also broken into categories). I achieved “Voyager.” But there’s more… I just achieved a “Perfect Month” a one-month streak. This was something that I was apparently volunteered for in 2021 and never noticed. Not sure what that’s going to achieve. Maybe an attagirl/boy? Have you noticed it before?

Book Club and Reading/Listening Update

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is winding down. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner will be next and we’re already voting on the one after that. If you’ve read The Lost Apothecary, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Soap Box Soap box

Okay, the gurus, in their infinite wisdom have gone through and reformatted most of anything I thought I’d conquered.

Yahoo mail.

Yahoo new email formatThey’ve been at me for some time to graduate to the “new and improved” or better yet—something I’ll have to pay for–email. Not choosing to do either, the new email as it comes out no longer works on my cell phone leaving my blog posts looking like Twiggy. I mean, really? This was a banner on my computer screen. The pics are ruined and the text is plain. Who wants to open that?

Goodreads

And the sign-in for Goodreads? Changed. Mine changed. Did yours? Did they get together with Yahoo?

And wait.

I finally downloaded several books to the NetGalley Shelf. And before I got to them all-expired? What? Seriously? A time limit on the Shelf books?

Is it truly a conspiracy? Has anyone else had a problem with either of these two innovations? Changes don’t work real well for non-techy seniors.

One more (off the soapbox) observation: Wordle is now heavily messing with my morning wake time. Supposed to be a calm time with my mocha—not frantically trying to find the word before I give up yet another streak (two now!). Remember how I took up Pokémon to see what all the fuss was about? Will I never learn? Are you playing? Are you doing as well as the US VP? 100%?! Gawd! I’m competing against my daughter and daughter-in-law. Yeah—I’m masochistic.

I hope you are all doing well, excited for your own version of spring. Welcome to my new followers and a hardy thank you to those who continue to read, like, share, and comment. I do so appreciate you!!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Chill--It's Sunday

Rosepoint Reviews – March Recap—It’s Spring? Did we miss the memo?

Rosepoint Review Recap-March-Hello April!

March is typically a radical mix of warm to freezing with another blast of snow. I’m content to look out the window and note the grass is turning green again, the trees are trying to bud out. The deer came in and I swear they must have sat on my Magnolia tree, broke the main trunk and branches back to about a foot tall (it was just over 3). Damn does.

April will be very busy with a visit from my daughter, granddaughter, and new great-grandbaby boy. So excited to see the little guy, born last November and already teething. Mercy! My daughter was later than that but walking at nine months. (She skipped the crawling phase; once she pulled herself up it was all over.) We’ll be exchanging visits to southern Illinois and they up here, so we are very excited to see them.

March, of course, #readingirelandmonth22, and I participated with a number of selections, many suggested by the host of the all things Irish celebration, Cathy at 746Books. You will find a wealth of titles to investigate.

Between the CE and I, we read and/or listened to seventeen books for March, some from NetGalley, but more from my local library as that is where I get most of my audiobooks.

The Paris Network by Siobhan Durham The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Chasing Time by Thomas Reilly Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter Wolf Catcher by Anne Montgomery Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann Walking with Ghosts by Gabriel Byrne Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly Hope Island by Jackie Elliott Poison Pen by Sheila Lowe Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry Citizen K-9 by David Rosenfelt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham (audiobook)
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (a CE review)
Chasing Time by Thomas Reilly (CE review-Reading Ireland Month)
 Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles (Reading Ireland Month)
Pieces of Her (vs audiobook) by Karin Slaughter
Second Chance by Mike Faricy (Reading Ireland Month)
Wolf Catcher by Anne Montgomery (Reading Ireland Month)
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan (Reading Ireland Month)
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (audiobook-Reading Month)
The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan (a CE review-Reading Ireland Month)
The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly (Reading Ireland Month)
Hope Island by Jackie Elliott
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne (audiobook-Reading Ireland Month)
Poison Pen by Sheila Lowe (a CE review)
Walking with Ghosts by Gabriel Byrne (audiobook-Reading Ireland Month)
Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry (audiobook-Reading Ireland Month)
Citizen K-9 by David Rosenfelt (audiobook)

 

Reading Challenges

March, so much going on but think I’ve about got my challenge page caught up.  My challenges for 2022 are all listed and linked in the widget column on the right. You can check out the progress of my challenges by clicking the Reading Challenges page but so far I’m four books ahead on my Goodreads Challenge of 180 books at 48. Slow progress on the NetGalley Challenge in March as I participated heavily in the #readingirelandmonth22 challenge with eleven novels by Irish authors, of Irish ancestry, or about Ireland.

Book Club and Reading/Listening Update

As I mentioned last month, the second reading choice of the year is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, also a Goodreads Choice Award nominee an all-round awesome Historical Fiction, and a favorite of mine last year. Since I’ve already read it and participate in discussion, I’m waiting now for the next one, which will be The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, published in March 2021, and another Goodreads Choice nominee. Have you read this one? I confess, first time I’ve seen the title. LMK if you liked it, please.

The first quarter flew by and I’d resolved to try and narrow down my favorites this year. I had several in January, including The Golem and the Jinni, a couple in February including The Lincoln Highway, and several again in March, including A Ladder to the Sky (audiobook for March). And the winner for the first quarter:

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

Kept me glued to my earbuds, stunned by the prose, shocked by the cunning morality of the protagonist. Resonated well after I shut off the audio.

I hope you’ve seen a title here that beckons to you and I’d love it if you let me know in the comments. Welcome to my new followers and a hardy thank you to those who continue to read, like, share, and comment. I do so appreciate you!!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Short Stack of Suggestions for Reading Ireland Month

Short Stack of Suggestions for Reading Ireland Month

Short Stack

Reading Menu

Good Morning Friends! I’m excited about the review lineup I have for Reading Ireland Month22 and thought I’d share. It’s a full list of varied genres, so hang on–my short stack may turn into a full menu of great reads!

First, in case you missed posted March reviews: (Titles are linked to Amazon; covers are linked to my reviews.)

The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham

The Paris Network by Siobhan DurhamMy audiobook review of a WWII Historical Fiction based on true events, the determination and many ways the women of the resistance provided support. Powerful, emotional statements of war heroes and my hearty recommendation. I gave 4.5 stars

Chasing Time by Thomas Reilly

Chasing Time by Thomas ReillyA CE review of a medical thriller with a touch of fantasy. A talisman slips through time enhancing the lives of various individuals through two thousand years until one man’s desperate mission to save his wife. He gave 5 stars.

Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles

Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare BroylesMolly is a former private detective, now a mother and married to policeman Daniel. She would love to work with Daniel on the current murder mystery and befriends a new Irish immigrant.  Good for fans of the successful historical and cozy mystery series.

Second Chance by Mike Faricy

Second Chance by Mike FaricyA tried and true Jack Dillon Dublin Tales, Book 12, an international mystery and crime, cozy mystery read and reviewed by the CE. He gave 4.5 stars.

Wolf Catcher by Anne Montgomery

Wolf Catcher by Anne MontgomeryThis Native American literature is split into a dual narrative spanning nine hundred years from the tribe that buries a magician to the current storyline of the looting of archeological artifacts. Gripping; I loved it—5 stars.

And Still to come: (Blurbs in Italics)

(Titles are links to Amazon. Covers are links to Goodreads.) 

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCannIn the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in best-selling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly

The Law of Innocence by Michael ConnellyOn the night he celebrates a big win, defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a former client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is immediately charged with murder but can’t post the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge.

Mickey elects to represent himself and is forced to mount his defense from his jail cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles. All the while he needs to look over his shoulder—as an officer of the court he is an instant target, and he makes few friends when he reveals a corruption plot within the jail.

But the bigger plot is the one against him. Haller knows he’s been framed, whether by a new enemy or an old one. As his trusted team, including his half-brother, Harry Bosch, investigates, Haller must use all his skills in the courtroom to counter the damning evidence against him.

Even if he can obtain a not-guilty verdict, Mickey understands that it won’t be enough. In order to be truly exonerated, he must find out who really committed the murder and why. That is the law of innocence.

The Murder Rule by Dervla McTiernan

First Rule: Make them like you.

Second Rule: Make them need you.
Third Rule: Make them pay.
They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.
They think I’m working hard to impress them.
They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.
 They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.

Walking with Ghosts by Gabriel Byrne

Walking with Ghosts by Gabriel ByrneAs a young boy growing up in the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination among the fields and hills near his home, at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Born to working class parents and the eldest of six children, he harbored a childhood desire to become a priest. When he was eleven years old, Byrne found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. Four years later, Byrne had been expelled and he quickly returned to his native city. There he took odd jobs as a messenger boy and a factory laborer to get by. In his spare time, he visited the cinema where he could be alone and yet part of a crowd. It was here that he could begin to imagine a life beyond the grey world of 60s Ireland.

He reveled in the theatre and poetry of Dublin’s streets, populated by characters as eccentric and remarkable as any in fiction, those who spin a yarn with acuity and wit. It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would change his life forever and launch him on an extraordinary forty-year career in film and theatre. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame.

Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Small Things Like These by Claire KeeganIt is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man, faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery that forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church. 

Already an international bestseller, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically lauded and iconic writers.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder to the Sky by John BoyneMaurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for fame. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent—but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.

Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.

Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall. . . .

Sweeping across the late twentieth century, A Ladder to the Sky is a fascinating portrait of a relentlessly immoral man, a tour de force of storytelling, and the next great novel from an acclaimed literary virtuoso. 

Okay, the short stack turned into a whole meal! But what do you think? Have you already read one (or several?) or have I enticed you into putting one of these on your #tbr? Let me know, please.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix Series Pieces of Her vs #Audiobook Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and Kathleen Early (Narrator) – #thriller

TV Netflix Pieces of Her vs Audiobook by Karin Slaughter

TV Netflix Series Pieces of Her vs Audiobook Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter 

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Intro

After having listened to the audiobook that I then learned would be a Netflix original, I patiently waited for this one to debut, which it did on Friday, March 4. Again, I’m flummoxed by the difference between the original story and the Netflix series.

So if it’s well-received as a book title or audiobook, did it also translate well to the small screen? If you’ve caught a few of my previous audiobooks versus Netflix series, you’ll note my continued bewilderment. Is this actually better? Or worse. A radical departure from the Virgin River while a faithful reproduction of Longmire. (And I really loved the characters on Longmire.)

As you’ve no doubt read or heard by now, Pieces of Her is the story of a daughter who is just discovering that her mother hasn’t always been the person she thought was her mom.

Pieces of Her the Netflix thriller was developed by Charlotte Stoudt and Lesli Linka Glatter. The director for all episodes (and there are eight in the first series) is Minkie Spiro who directed Downton Abbey and Better Call Saul and while I’ve not watched the former, a solid fan of the latter, so I was excited.

Netflix Series

Toni Collette - actressPieces of Her (in the co?) leading role is Toni Collette as Laura Oliver with Bella Heathcote as Andy Oliver (her daughter). There are a number of other actors, of course, my favorites being Omari Hardwick as Gordon Oliver and Gil Birmingham as Charlie Bass. There is a lineup of actors portraying Laura as a child and as an adolescent.

The series is adapted from the novel (same name) by Karin Slaughter who is also acting as a producer on the show.

Bella Heathcote - actressAndy (Andrea) is celebrating a 30s birthday out with her mother, Laura, in beautiful coastal Belle Isle when the quiet serene atmosphere suddenly turns tragic. While Andy freezes in horror, Laura springs to action in the protection of her daughter and is soon forced to make a deadly decision.

That split-second automatic reaction to the situation changes their lives immediately and forever.

Laura is hurt but following triage medical attention clams up and refuses to speak to anyone; not to the police, her ex (Gordan), or to Andy. To Andy, however, she barks quick instructions to speak to no one and leave. She is handed some money, a burner phone, and car keys but no explanation. YAY! So far, so good.

Well, but Andy hasn’t been doing so well with her life though; aimless, living off her mother’s generosity in her mother’s garage apartment. So I’m not sure how she can be trusted to follow the instructions.

And she doesn’t.

My Thoughts

But now, is it just me? Or did the Netflix version veer into it’s own interpretation? The constant flashbacks crippled somewhat the timeline from Laura’s childhood to the present situation, introduction of all the backstories, new characters and twists that spins wildly with 70s US history. Indeed, at times spun completely out of coherence, forcing the viewer to catch up and make connections in later scenes.

While Toni Collette (Laura) made a heroic effort at portraying a horrific history and her effort at escape, her wretched persona got a bit tiresome. Andy, what can I say about poor, dear Andy; not the brightest daughter ever to be delivered from a pseudo-protest child.

3 starsthree stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

The number-one international best-selling author returns with an electrifying novel of devastating secrets and hidden lives that probes the fraught relationship between daughters and mothers and the lengths we go to protect those we love.

Pieces of Her by Karin SlaughterWhat if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all? Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows Laura has spent nearly her whole life in the small beach town of Belle Isle, Georgia; she knows Laura’s never wanted anything more than to lead a quiet, normal life in this conventional community; she knows Laura’s a kind and beloved speech pathologist who helps others; she knows Laura’s never kept a secret in her life. Andrea knows that Laura is everything she isn’t – confident, settled, sure of herself. Feeling listless, with no direction, Andrea, unlike Laura, struggles to find her way.

But Andrea’s certainty is upended when a visit to the mall is shattered by an act of horrifying violence that reveals a completely different side of Laura – a cool woman who calmly faces down a murderer. It turns out that before Andrea’s mother was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly 30 years she’s been hiding from the woman she once was, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The assailant was a mentally troubled, teenaged scion of Georgia law enforcement royalty, and now the police want answers about what really happened in those terrifying moments at the mall. Though she’s being scrutinized at every level of the criminal justice system and her innocence is on the line, Laura refuses to speak to anyone, including her own daughter. She pushes Andrea away, insisting it’s time for her to stand alone and make a life for herself. To save her mother, Andrea embarks on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. Andrea knows that if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for her mother…or her.

Filled with intriguing turns, surprising revelations, and a compelling cast of characters, Pieces of Her is Slaughter’s most electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful novel yet.

My Thoughts

Okay, by now the well-plotted storyline has been laid out more than once. When Andy witnesses her mother in action, she is both stunned by her actions and also suffering from the disastrous circumstances that forced her mother’s reaction. She is not capable of applying what she knows about her mother with the person who so deftly ended the appalling scene. It’s shocking.

Pieces of Her by Karin SlaughterI was hooked by those opening scenes, narrated well by Kathleen Early. I quickly compared many of the headlines of the 70s to the circumstances dibbled out in little dabs, building the tension and whipping the listener from mother to daughter. As the old saying goes, make no conclusions until all the facts are disclosed, but mercy, that could be sooo slow sometimes.

Mainly told in Andy’s POV, there are the backstories, flashbacks revealing another tiny morsel of truth. Or was it the truth? Who can you trust?

The truth, the reveal, when it finally came, came as a knowing relief and combined several theories in the complex plot meant to throw the reader/listener off.

The setting is beautiful, the characters’ depths varied, most not wholly sympathic, the dialogue often blue. I listened to False Witness last year, my introduction to the author and her graphic writing style, but had to try one more. Perhaps I’ll try one in her signature series next time, rather than a standalone thriller.

4 stars  4 stars

Overall Impression

While I enjoyed the book, the tension, drama, and thrill of discovery, there were times when I lost all faith in Andy, finding her making questionable decisions more than once. I had too early formed an opinion of the circumstances, having lived through those years and headlines, and was shocked at the jaw-dropping reveal when it came. Still, I questioned some of Laura’s early handling of Andy and wondered how that might have been better.

The Netflix series, usually following their well-received formula, took a slightly different tack this time, throwing in Andy’s quick romantic interest (not unusual), but making a hash of the flashbacks. They generally work to create an equitable R-rated series, but missed building the tension this time like the book did.

This time my vote has to go to the author’s book—and it’s been out for some time–and can be found at your favorite retail outlet.

Book Details

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Police Procedural Mysteries
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ASIN: B07CLKPDWL
Listening Length: 16 hrs 5 mins
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Audible Release: August 21, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Pieces of Her [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

 

Karin Slaughter - authorThe Author: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is in development with Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.

http://www.karinslaughter.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarinSlaughter/

Instagram http://www.instagram.com/karinslaughterauthor/

Twitter @SlaughterKarin

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

Info attributes, photos, and covers:
Netflixlife.com
Actress photos: Looper.com

 

February Rosepoint Review Recap—Welcome March! (Finally…)

Rosepoint Reviews February Recap

Rosepoint Reviews-February Recap

We finally got our snow, although still under the norm. Warmer temps are forecast finally though that will go back and forth for the most part of March. I am still setting up 2022 folders as I need them and now searching for Irish authors, Ireland related books, or other fun Ireland related possible posts in March for Reading Ireland Month where Cathy has some great author and book recommendations. The first book review for March will be The Paris Network by Siobhan Curham on March 4. I got the audiobook from NetGalley, a powerful and emotional Historical Fiction and one I heartily recommend.

Between the CE and I, we managed fifteen book reviews for February, most from NetGalley, audiobooks (local library and now more from NetGalley), a few from author requests as well as one blog tour. (Links to our reviews below.)

February reads

Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘em Dead by Elle Cosimano
Trapped by Sigmund Brouwer (A CE review)
The Doomsday Medallion by Avanti Centrae (A CE 5* review)
Moment in Time by Suzanne Redfearn
To Die But Once by Jacqueline Winspear
Silencio by Mike Faricy (A CE review)
The Darkest Place by Phillip Margolin (A CE review)
The Unveiling of Polly Forrest by Charlotte Whitney
The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Spencer Quinn
The Conversos by VEH Masters (A CE 5* review)
Every Little Secret by Sarah Clarke (A CE review)
The Art of the Decoy by Trish Esden
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
DoubleBlind by Libby Fischer Hellmann (A CE 5* review)
The Bucharest Dossier by William Maz (A CE review)

 

Reading Challenges

Reading Challenges

A short month, February, and so much going on have not gotten the challenge page updated. My challenges for 2022 are all listed and linked in the widget column on the right. You can check out the progress of my challenges by clicking the Reading Challenges page but so far I’m four books ahead on my Goodreads Challenge of 180 books at 32. And, I’m excited to mention that I’m over the 420 mark on the Readometer for NetGalley that I’ve posted in the widgets column!

Book Club and Reading/Listening Update

As the Page Turns Book Club finished The Song of Achilles and thinking the next would be The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, listened to that too. But no, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson, a Goodreads Choice Award nominee and all-round awesome Historical Fiction was chosen. It’s also a NYTimes bestseller, a USA Today bestseller, a Los Angeles Times bestseller, and a PBS Book pick. Not bad, indeed! (Also one I’d overwhelmingly recommend.) I will be posting my review for The Henna Artist on Thursday, March 31. In the meantime, I’ll be reviewing in audiobook form Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann on Thursday, March 17 (perfect day for an audiobook for Reading Ireland Month) and from my local library whichever I can get by Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Barry, or Dervla McTiernan (as recommended by Cathy at 746 Books (thank you, Cathy).

Welcome to my new followers and a hardy thank you to those who continue to read, like, share, and comment. I do so appreciate you!!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Rosepoint winter graphic

January Rosepoint Review Recap—Hello Frigid February!

Rosepoint review recap-January banner

No Christmas snow or the most part of January, but here is February and with it our heaviest snow period in the area this season. This week promises to be a douzy with a foot of snow forecast. The CE has prepared his snowblower with fresh gas and assured himself that it will start. In our mini-banana-belt, however, we may or may not get that accumulation.

This time of year has me looking at the blog and thinking of housekeeping the ole website from opening new (2022) folders to gathering old lists to archive. Seems like it’s a yearly learning process and takes me a while. I’ve opened up a couple new menus that I hope will make for easier or faster navigation.

The CE meanwhile is content to crank out most every book I send his way and is happily engaged in reading. He’s doing well with his reviews and I appreciate the help!

Between the two of us, we managed seventeen book reviews for January, most from NetGalley, several from audiobooks (local library and NetGalley), a couple from author requests as well as one blog tour. (My reviews in the links below.)

Rosepoint Review Recap-January

The Silent Sisters by Robert Dugoni
Talk by Greg W Peterson
Going There by Katie Couric
Head Shot by Otho Eskin
Diary of an Angry Young Man by Rishi Vohra
Where There’s a Will by Roland Sinclair
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Enter a Wizard by Connie diMarco
A Valiant Deceit by Stephanie Graves
Roaring Liberty by Jean Grainger
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Texas Job by Reavis Z Wortham
Red Buring Sky by Tom Young
Hidden Agendas by D Marshall Craig
Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski
The Berlin Exchange by Joseph Kanon
Murder on an Irish Farm by Carlene O’Connor

 

Reading Challenges banner

As mentioned above, my reading challenges have all been updated and the older challenge years archived in the drop-down menu. The new challenges are all listed and linked in the widget column on the right. I hope you’ll join me in a Challenge or two! Which do you routinely join yearly? Will you join a new challenge this year? (I’ll be adding Ireland Reading Month in March.) You can check out the progress of my challenges by clicking the Reading Challenges page. (Goodreads has upwards of three million participants this year with an average challenge of 46 books. That’s impressive, huh!)

Book Club and Reading/Listening Update

As the Page Turns Book Club is well into The Song of Achilles and it appears that The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, a Goodreads Choice Award nominee as well as a Reese Witherspoon Book of the Month back in May of 2020 is next. Reese was one of the Celebrity Book Clubs I blogged about looking into during the first burst of Covid. She has a very lively and active digital book club as well as Instagram account. The moderator of our local club works hard to entice participation, but so far for those who joined, it’s the usual few that contribute. I wonder if one of the problems is that she proposed one book a quarter rather than one a month. I’m already well into the audiobook (once again gained from my local library for Overdrive); much too soon.

(Kindle) Reading StreakKindle is one of the sneaky little entities gathering your reading history and from time to time I get these little updates to my values. Obviously, I missed a day (or two) when we were traveling by RV in remote areas as I have successful Goodreads Challenge badges (except 2015) from 2013 with no way to include those years on my list in the widgets.

Audiobooks

I finally landed my first two audiobooks from NetGalley and discovered a few small problems with skipping or blanking dialogue. Not significant enough to lose the thread, but a glitch I’ve not encountered with the audiobooks from my library. Do you also download books from NetGalley through their NetGalley Shelf app? Have you noted any problems?

Thank you again for joining my community if you are new and much appreciation to my established followers for shares, likes, and comments. It’s not a blog without you!

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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