TV Netflix Series Firefly Lane vs #Audiobook Fly Away by Kristen Hannah and Susan Ericksen (Narrator) – Family Life Fiction – #TBT

Netflix series Firefly Lane vs Audiobook Fly Away Book 2 of the Firefly Lane series

 

Somewhere in my travels through buddy blogs or Netflix ads, I noticed the novel Firefire Lane and that the book had been picked up for a Netflix original series. I must admit to loving the challenge of listening to the audiobook and then making a mild comparison to the Netflix version. In the past I’ve noticed a radical departure from the original books (not quite so much with Longmire, but seriously rewritten in the Virgin River series).

The storyline by Kristen Hannah in Firefly Lane (Book 1) is about Kate Mularkey, who in the summer of 1974 meets Tully Hart. Kate is in the eighth grade and a doomed bottom feeder whereas Tully is “the coolest girl in the world.” But Tully lives a tenuous life with an addicted and aging flower child and she quickly assimilates into Kate’s family. The ensuing well-paced narrative chronicles the friendship, the bond between the girls through thirty years and several life changes.

Netflix Series

Firefly Lane follows Tully played by Katherine Heigl and Kate played by Sarah Chalke through their coming of age, young adulthood, and the rise of each in their chosen life path. They are BFFs, supporting each other through both the good times and bad into their 40s.

There are ten episodes in Season 1 with Season 2 promised some time in 2022. The actors, both the youths and adults, do an incredible job of selling their characters.

Katherine Heigl - actressKatherine Marie Heigl (born November 24, 1978) is an American actress, producer and former fashion model. She started her career as a child model. Heigl and her husband of 13 years — the singer Josh Kelley — have a 4-year-old son together, Joshua Bishop Kelley, Jr. They adopted their daughter Nancy Leigh, 12, from South Korea in 2009 and Adalaide, 8, who is Black, in 2012. [Wikipedia] She may best be known for her role in Grey’s Anatomy.

Sarah Chalke - actressSarah Louise Christine Chalke born August 27, 1976) is a Canadian actress and model. She is known for portraying Elliot Reid on the NBC/ABC comedy series Scrubs. Chalke is engaged to lawyer Jamie Afifi. The couple have a son, Charlie Rhodes, and a daughter, Frances. Her son was diagnosed at age two with Kawasaki disease. [Wikipedia]

My Thoughts

I love finally having female buddy films that women can identify with, enjoy. Of course, Thelma and Louise made some waves when it came out, but I don’t remember seeing a number of similar cinema offerings after. A League of Their Own? (“There’s no crying in baseball.”) First Wives Club? Not sure this isn’t apples and oranges and you no doubt can cite better or more current examples.

In this case, the often bawdy Netflix theme offers adult entertainment from violence and drug abuse to nudity and sex scenes. If that’s not offensive, then behind the restricted content comes the beautiful story of a powerful friendship that manages to survive jealousy, anger, triumphs, and betrayals. Life is a struggle, but the friendship and connection prevails.

Really, if you haven’t discovered this one yet, I recommend the series. Engaging, well-developed and portrayed characters. So far, a “feel good” series, although I understand that changes. 5 stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

The number one New York Times best-selling author returns to the characters in Firefly Lane in her next blockbuster novel, Fly Away. Once, a long time ago, I walked down a night-darkened road called Firefly Lane, all alone, on the worst night of my life, and I found a kindred spirit. That was our beginning. More than 30 years ago. TullyandKate. You and me against the world. Best friends forever. 

But stories end, don’t they? You lose the people you love and you have to find a way to go on…Tully Hart has always been larger than life, a woman fueled by big dreams and driven by memories of a painful past. She thinks she can overcome anything until her best friend, Kate Ryan, dies. Tully tries to fulfill her deathbed promise to Kate – to be there for Kate’s children – but Tully knows nothing about family or motherhood or taking care of people. Sixteen-year-old Marah Ryan is devastated by her mother’s death. Her father, Johnny, strives to hold the family together, but even with his best efforts, Marah becomes unreachable in her grief. Nothing and no one seems to matter to her…until she falls in love with a young man who makes her smile again and leads her into his dangerous, shadowy world. 

Dorothy Hart – the woman who once called herself Cloud – is at the center of Tully’s tragic past. She repeatedly abandoned her daughter, Tully, as a child, but now she comes back, drawn to her daughter’s side at a time when Tully is most alone. At long last, Dorothy must face her darkest fear: Only by revealing the ugly secrets of her past can she hope to become the mother her daughter needs. 

A single, tragic choice and a middle-of-the-night phone call will bring these women together and set them on a poignant, powerful journey of redemption. Each has lost her way, and they will need each one another – and maybe a miracle – to transform their lives. 

An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. 

Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day. Includes a Reading Group Guide Read by Kristin Hannah  

My Thoughts

[Spoiler alert—Book 2 revelations]

Well, damn, try as I might, could NOT get the first book, Firefly Lane, which would have thoroughly supplied the background that Fly Away appears lacking. After a friendship spanning thirty years, Kate dies.

Fly Away by Kristen HannahThere has been a rift between the two, but Tully drops her very successful daytime TV show to spend the rest of the time she and Kate have left together. Tully promises Kate she will be there for her children. The problem, of course, is that Tully has devoted her life to attaining stardom on television. She never marries, doesn’t have children. Has no clue how to play devoted aunt to Kate’s twin boys and sixteen year old Marah.

What follows is a sub-plot involving Marah and her attempt to turn on, tune in, drop out. And there is an intense story in which the reader (or listener) gets the full low down on Dorothy Hart (Cloud—Tully’s flower child mother). Her story is heart-breaking and familiar to many of the older generation.

And finally, Tully’s failed attempt at reconciliation with her world, the cost and the redemption and ultimately a conclusion that somewhat settles the heart.

The narrative is long-toothed on retrospection, coulda, woulda, shouldas. A review of the highlights of the thirty years—the good and the bad. The romances, their families. Overall, I felt it rather morose, sad, not an audiobook to read with depression or happy for that matter—it’ll bring yah down. (And here again, I did not care for the narrator). Really, a rather unfortunate wrap-up for what is otherwise a celebration of a relationship few are privileged to experience. 2 stars

Overall Impression

Sometimes I discover I prefer the (audio)book, sometimes it’s the Netflix version. The Netflix version is usually a compromise of adult material, softened somewhat, or not. Character events are switched, or a major plot-twisting event occurs—not as originally written but what works best for the TV version. In this particular instance, the character that stuck out for me the most from the book that Netflix nailed is Dorothy (Cloud), who eventually looks at least ten years older than her real age. The story of Tully is tragic, really, and although obvious in the Netflix version, concentrates on the stark reality of her childhood and the life-long battle that forges in the Tully character.

I’m all over Netflix Firefly Lane Season 1, but if Season 2 follows Fly Away, I’m out.  

Book Details

Fly Away: Book 2 of the Firefly Lane series
Genre: Family Life Fiction, Friendship Fiction, Women’s Sagas
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B000V77082
Listening Length: 16 hrs 4 mins
Narrator:  Susan Ericksen
Audible Release: April 23, 2013
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Fly Away Book 2 [Amazon]

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Kristin Hannah - authorThe Author: Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. It was also named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week. In 2018, The Great Alone became an instant New York Times #1 bestseller and was named the Best Historical Novel of the Year by Goodreads.

The Four Winds was published in February of 2021 and immediately hit #1 on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Indie bookstore’s bestseller lists. Additionally, it was selected as a book club pick by the both Today Show and The Book Of the Month club.

The Nightingale is currently in production at Tri Star, with Dakota and Elle Fanning set to star. Tri Star has also optioned The Great Alone and it is in development. Firefly Lane, her novel about two best friends, was the #1 Netflix show around the world, in the week it came out. The popular tv show stars Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke and Season Two is currently being filmed.

http://www.kristinhannah.com

©V Williams V Williams

The Pilot’s Daughter by Meredith Jaeger – #BookReview – #HistoricalWWIIFiction

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

The glitzy days of 1920s New York meet the devastation of those left behind in World War II in a new, delectable historical novel from USA Today bestselling author Meredith Jaeger.

The Pilot's Daughter by Meredith JaegerIn the final months of World War II, San Francisco newspaper secretary Ellie Morgan should be planning her wedding and subsequent exit from the newsroom into domestic life. Instead, Ellie, who harbors dreams of having her own column, is using all the skills she’s learned as a would-be reporter to try to uncover any scrap of evidence that her missing pilot father is still alive. But when she discovers a stack of love letters from a woman who is not her mother in his possessions, her already fragile world goes into a tailspin, and she vows to find out the truth about the father she loves—and the woman who loved him back.

When Ellie arrives on her aunt Iris’s doorstep, clutching a stack of letters and uttering a name Iris hasn’t heard in decades, Iris is terrified. She’s hidden her past as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl from her family, and her experiences in New York City in the 1920s could reveal much more than the origin of her brother-in-law’s alleged affair. Iris’s heady days in the spotlight weren’t enough to outshine the darker underbelly of Jazz Age New York, and she’s spent the past twenty years believing that her actions in those days led to murder.

Together the two women embark on a cross-country mission to find the truth in the City That Never Sleeps, a journey that just might shatter everything they thought they knew—not only about the past but about their own futures.

Inspired by a true Jazz Age murder cold case that captivated the nation, and the fact that more than 72,000 Americans still remain unaccounted for from World War II, The Pilot’s Daughter is a page-turning exploration of the stories we tell ourselves and of how well we can truly know those we love.

His Review:

This excellent book shows the contrasts of women’s lives between the 1920’s and the second world war years. First Lieutenant William A. Morgan went down with his plane in the Adriatic Sea. His daughter Ellie received the dreaded letter from the War Department and subsequently his belongings. She was in denial regarding his death and felt he was more probably missing in action.

The Pilot's Daughter by Meredith JaegerWhile checking through the box of his effects she comes upon a packet of letters addressed to Ms. Lillian Dell. The letters allude to their daughter and love for each other! Ellie is flabbergasted to think that her father may have had another family in New York! She and her aunt Iris set out for New York to solve the mystery. Iris had been one of the headliners in the Ziegfield Follies in the early twenties. Iris had left the city and returned to San Francisco after a very dangerous entanglement with a married man.

The author melds the experiences and lives of both ladies with the hand of an artist. I appreciated the experiences of both Ellie and her aunt Iris. They have a very close family bond while Ellie and her mother are not close at all. The trip to New York is exciting and holds some danger for aunt Iris. The diving back between the experiences of the 1920’s and mid 1940’s provides a clear view of the change of respect that women received before and after WWII.

CE WilliamsI highly recommend this book as a treatise on the social change that occurred in this country as a result of the war and the need to have women more closely involved in the development and production of aircraft and weapons during the war. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction, Women’s Detective Fiction
Publisher: Dutton
ISBN: ‎ 0593185897
ASIN: B08VWZP9PJ
Print Length: 351 pages
Publication Date: November 2, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Pilot’s Daughter [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Meredith Jaeger - authorThe Author: Meredith Jaeger is the USA Today bestselling author of THE PILOT’S DAUGHTER, BOARDWALK SUMMER and THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY. She’s a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was raised by a Swiss father and an American mother. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Meredith wrote her debut novel, THE DRESSMAKER’S DOWRY, while working for a San Francisco startup.

THE PILOT’S DAUGHTER has been called “unputdownable” (NYT bestselling author Sally Hepworth) “stirring and powerful” (NYT bestselling author Fiona Davis) and “historical fiction at its finest” (NYT bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman).

Meredith lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, their young daughter and crazy rescue dog.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Crossing Lines: A Spellbinding CIA Romantic Suspense Thriller by Adrienne Giordano – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers – #tuesdaybookblog

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

 Book Blurb:

CIA operative Elizabeth Aiken is on her own. After a rescue operation in Venezuela goes south and her cover is blown, Elizabeth barely escapes the country with her life. Set adrift by the Agency and with a price on her head, she seeks out the only person who can help her disappear.

Viper.

Crossing Lines by Adrienne GiordanoUnfortunately, the devastatingly attractive former operative wants nothing to do with her or the cartel-backed Venezuelan president who wants her dead. Worse still, if Elizabeth’s not careful, she’ll end up losing her heart instead of watching her back…and there’s no room for mistakes with assassins hot on her trail.

Helping her could destroy everything he’s worked for.

  • Former Marine-turned-CIA operative.
  • Current bar owner.
  • All-around badass.

Shane “Viper” Quinn has spent years constructing the perfect cover, and he’s not about to sacrifice it for a woman he barely knows. Even if she is strong and beautiful and makes him long for sultry nights that could destroy his carefully crafted life.
Still, Shane is forced to fight his growing attraction to the fearsome ex-agent while keeping her in one piece. Elizabeth’s enemies are now his enemies—and they aren’t going to stop until everyone who stands against them is eliminated. Will having the deadly Viper by her side be enough to save her?

His Review:

Killing, even in self-defense, is not always an acceptable activity. When the father of the victim is the president of a South American country, running and anonymity is the only answer. Elizabeth Aiken has changed her name and gone underground. A world class assassin is on her trail with a large bounty for her demise. Once made, an operative is no longer useful and the CIA has left her on her own!

Crossing Lines by Adrienne GiordanoShane Quinn is an ex-CIA operative in basically the same position. He started a business in Chicago and is staying below the radar to survive. He takes a liking to Elizabeth and decides to help her. She is a small but hardly diminutive woman who has spent her life in self-supporting roles. Her dark eyes captivate this blue-eyed hunk of a man. Yes, he tries to shake her, but desperation keeps her around like a dirty shirt on a camping trip.

The South American dictator knew his son was a psychopathic killer and enjoyed torturing his captives, but is that any reason to kill him? One of his life’s goals is to capture this bitch and inflict a slow and painful death and running can only get an ex- agent so far. The paychecks are no longer coming from the government and Liz is on her own. Surely it is only a matter of time before her painful death will be gratifyingly completed.

The author builds a budding romance between Shane and Liz. Thrown together by the desperate need of the young woman and her Sir Galahad, this story is very entertaining and brisk. Shane tries every trick in the book to conceal Liz’s whereabouts and save her from a painful death. His background and history make this a very dangerous endeavor. Can he save her, be her knight in shining armor, and keep her alive?CE Williams

This well-developed story is very entertaining and will keep you on the edge of your seat–-or sofa. There are no dragging chapters and I feel this author will become one of your favorites as well. 5 stars – CE Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Political Thrillers & Suspense, Women’s Adventure Fiction
Publisher: ALG Publishing
ASIN: B099X99MXY
Print Length: 376 pages
Publication Date: To be released September 14, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Crossing Lines [Amazon] 
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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Adrienne Giordano - authorThe Author: Adrienne Giordano is a USA Today bestselling author of over thirty romantic suspense and mystery novels. She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her ultimate supporter of a husband, sports-obsessed son and Elliot, a snuggle-happy rescue. Having grown up near the ocean, Adrienne enjoys paddleboarding, a nice float in a kayak and lounging on the beach with a good book. For more information on Adrienne’s books, please visit www.AdrienneGiordano.com.

 

©CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

The Harp and the Rose: The Queenstown Series Book 3 by Jean Grainger – #BookReview – #historicalfiction

Rosepoint Rating: Five Stars 5 stars
#1 Best Seller Historical British Fiction

Book Blurb:

Queenstown, County Cork. 1920

The Harp and the Rose by Jean GraingerFor twenty-year-old Harp Devereaux, life should be idyllic. At university, she feels for the first time in her life that she belongs, her mother Rose is running the Cliff House as a successful business, and her childhood sweetheart JohnJoe is by her side, but the storm clouds of war grow ever darker.For eight hundred years Ireland has made numerous bids for her freedom but now, at last, liberation from British rule is tantalisingly close, if the men and women of the revolution can just hold on.
Harp, her family, and her friends find themselves in the thick of the fight, but the Crown Forces are not the only enemy. A sinister force from the past is lurking and will stop at nothing to exact his revenge.

My Review:

The third in the Queenstown series and it is a hard-hitting, high impact narrative that relates Ireland’s long struggle for freedom from the British in an entertaining novel that tells the continuing story of Harp Devereaux.

The Harp and the Rose by Jean GraingerHarp and her mother Rose have turned the Cliff House mansion where her mother worked into a thriving B&B. Now at twenty, she has a special beau in JJ, along with characters from the previous entries to the series. She is currently home from university and working undercover with the Devlin sisters in aid of the freedom movement.

Harp has recently met Marianne, a young bride given to British General Beckett most recently from Shimla, India to help stamp out the IRA organization currently causing havoc across Ireland. Marianne was given to the much older Beckett by her family and she feels lost and alone and quickly forms a friendship with Harp.

Amazing how the author develops characters sure to mirror those of the time, fleshing them out, making them real, sympathetic. The stories are heart-felt, she is passionate about her Irish history and the love of her home in Cork shines through the prose. The novel is compelling, strongly engaging and hard to put down as the pace never waivers.

The climax developed into a most satisfying conclusion and certainly as this reader hoped, but there is an epilogue that sets up an unsettling scenario with Henry’s brother, Ralph, that is obviously to be a story for another time. ARGH! Ralph is a miserable person, a despot! This can’t be good!

I have read many books written by this prolific author, some as standalones, as well as other series: Robinswood, The Tour, and the Conor O’Shea series. The Star and the ShamrockReturn to RobinswoodTrials and Tribulations, and The Homecoming of Bubbles O’Leary. The latter was particularly poignant. Her characters are always engaging and relatable, the stories entertaining, and most unique in their plots and pacing.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts.

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical British Fiction, Historical Irish Fiction
ASIN: B096M8FXLV
Print Length: 217 pages
Publication Date: Just released August 23, 2021
Source: Author
Title Link: The Harp and the Rose [Amazon]

Jean Grainger - authorThe Author:  JEAN GRAINGER

USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR

SELECTED BY BOOKBUB READERS IN TOP 19 OF HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS.

WINNER OF THE 2016 AUTHOR’S CIRCLE HISTORICAL NOVEL OF EXCELLENCE

Hello and thanks for taking time out to check out my page. If you’re wondering what you’re getting with my books then think of the late great Maeve Binchy but sometimes with a historical twist. I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971 and I come from a large family of storytellers, so much so that we had to have ‘The Talking Spoon’, only the person holding the spoon could talk!

I have worked as a history lecturer at University, a teacher of English, History and Drama in secondary school, a playwright, and a tour guide of my beloved Ireland. I am married to the lovely Diarmuid and we have four children. We live in a 200 year old stone cottage in Mid-Cork with my family and the world’s smallest dogs, called Scrappy and Scoobi..

My experiences leading groups, mainly from the United States, led me to write my first novel, ‘The Tour’. My observances of the often funny, sometimes sad but always interesting events on tours fascinated me. People really did confide the most extraordinary things, the safety of strangers I suppose. It’s a fictional story set on a tour bus but many of the characters are based on people I met over the years.

[Truncated]…

My current series, The Queenstown Series, centres on twelve year old Harp Devereaux and her mother Rose and the first book opens on the day Titanic sails from Queenstown, Co Cork on her last fateful journey. It is a bestselling series and people really seem to connect to the precocious Harp and her hard-working mother as they battle to survive in a society where conforming and playing by the rules was paramount. It is so far a three book series, The West’s Awake, and The Harp and the Rose being the next two books but I’m currently writing book four.

Many of the people who have reviewed my books have said that you get to know the characters and really become attached to them, that’s wonderful for me to hear because that’s how I feel about them too. I grew up on Maeve Binchy and Deirdre Purcell and I aspired to being like them. If you buy one of my books I’m very grateful and I really hope you enjoy it. If you do, or even if you don’t, please take the time to post a review. Writing is a source of constant contentment to me and I am so fortunate to have the time and the inclination to do it, but to read a review written by a reader really does make my day.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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