Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Firefly Lane & Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

Kristin Hannah is one of my all-time favorite authors!  Not only are her stories filled with characters that you can't help but feel connected to, but she also bases a lot of her books in the Pacific Northwest, which I simply love since I grew up in Seattle.  Now living in Nashville for the last 7 years, I've grown to appreciate her writing even more so, cause I'm reminded of all the wonderful places I once used to visit growing up. 

Firefly Lane and Fly Away share the story of two best friends, Tully and Kate and how they're friendship evolves over the course of their lives.  Most of us have that one friend we've had forever that we can relate to - the one that you've known since you were kids and have spent years experiencing so many "firsts" together.  My "Tully" is my best friend Tina.  She is the extrovert in our friendship and I've been the introvert.  She was "the coolest girl at school" to me and I was the nerdy quiet one.  Boy did this book parallel our friendship in many ways, and then in not so many ways too.  But even still, it was a wonderful ride to take with these two friends over the course of their lives - the men they fell in love with, the careers they pursued, the dreams they achieved and the heartaches they endured. 

Since my memory isn't the greatest, I was really glad I read these back-to-back.  I had owned Firefly Lane for a while and had wanted to read it so bad, and then when I received an Advanced Copy of Fly Away from St. Martins Press, it gave me the perfect opportunity!!  Seriously, there's nothing better than being able to read a sequel right away, rather then having to wait a year or so for the next one to come out. 

Fly Away comes out in stores TODAY!  So if you haven't read Firefly Lane yet, pick up both copies and get started, I promise you'll fall in love with these girls just as much as I did.

"Firefly Lane" Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

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.  

"Fly Away" Description:  

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 thirty 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.  

Rating: ****
Recommend: Definitely!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dream Country by Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice has some of the most swoon-worthy covers out there.  (yeah, I judge a book by its cover - so sue me).  So therefore, I'd been wanting to try out one of her novels for quite some time and had picked up Dream Country as I started working my way across one of the shelves on my bookcase. 

I'm SO glad I did too!!  See!  Picking a book by its cover can pay off! :-P

This story follows Daisy and her teenage daughter, Sage and their individual journeys of dealing with a tragic loss in their family.  There was some strange bits in this book with all the indian-new-agey stuff thrown in here and there, but overall I rarely could put it down and was surprised a time or two by twists I really didn't see coming!!  It had romance, suspense, drama and a little humor too.  It was a very well rounded light read and I very much enjoyed it! 

I will for sure be checking out some of her other novels!

Have you read Luanne Rice and if so, what books of hers would you recommend I try next?

Description: It was just an argument, one of hundreds Daisy Tucker must have had with her teenage daughter, Sage, over the years. But this one had ended differently, with Sage gone from their Connecticut home the next morning, leaving behind only a brief note: “I have to go.” Daisy tried not to overreact, tried to remind herself this was different from what had happened thirteen years earlier to Sage’s twin brother, Jake. This was different from a three-year-old boy disappearing in the canyons of Wyoming, never to be found. Sage was sixteen and resourceful. She would be found.

Years ago Daisy had traveled to Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains in search of inspiration for her art and had found a man with the wilderness inside him. James Tucker was a rancher, bound to the wild land he loved, and together he and Daisy created a small paradise for their family—until the day their little boy vanished without a trace. Now, as their daughter makes a dangerous cross-country pilgrimage to the father she longs for, Daisy will return to the place that took everything she had....

Filled with a wild and unpredictable beauty, Dream Country is a novel you’ll never want to end—even as you can’t wait to finish it.

Rating: ****

Recommend: Other than a love scene that was a bit too graphic for my liking, it was a great read!