firefly lane

Firefly Lane
By Kristin Hannah

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I was recently gifted a delightful afternoon to peruse our local Half-Price Books to my heart’s content so I decided to try and find some new authors to read.
I was drawn to this book because of the cover art. Who can resist the idea of a summer night filled with fireflies, friendship and serenity?
After reading the synopsis on the back, I decided to definitely give it a try. I love reading books about friendships between women and I was also delighted to see that the setting was in my own area of the Pacific Northwest.

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Love. Family. Friendship. Acceptance.

What everyone wants from life.

We first get to meet Kate and Tully as young teenagers who become fast friends during a time in each of their lives when they felt that they had no one.
Being a teenager is hard. Being a lonely teenager is even harder.

When I was a teenager, I had good friends. None of them ever turned into that deep connection, bosom buddies, through thick and thin type of friendship that lasts over 30 years. I always craved it, but now it is too late for that kind of relationship; the kind where you grow up together.
I now have some fantastic friendships; definitely the kind that I could see lasting the next 30 years and sitting in our rocking chairs on the front porch with our gray hair. It was bittersweet for me to read about the youthful friendship of Kate and Tully.

As I have said before, I like to be transparent with my reviews. There is a minute amount of language and a tiny amount of adult content but the majority of it is tasteful and can be skipped. 

These two women certainly had their ups and downs in their friendship. They each have a different type of personality, come from a different home life, and have different life plans and goals. Through it all, they stuck to their promise to each other to “always be best friends, no matter what”.

That’s the funny thing about writing your life story. You start out trying to remember dates and times and names. You think it’s about facts, your life, that what you’ll look back on and remember are the successes and failures, the time line of your youth and middles age, but that isn’t it at all. 
Love. Family. Laughter. That’s what I remember when it’s all said and done. For so much of my life I thought I didn’t do enough or want enough. I guess I can be forgiven for my stupidity. I was young. I want my children to know how proud I am of them, and how proud I am of me. We were everything we needed—you and Daddy and I. I had everything I ever wanted. 
Love. 
That’s what I remember. 

I pray that everyone is able to find a friendship in their life like TullyandKate; a friendship of love, anger, pain, family, growth, sweetness, bitterness, hatred, unconditional love and acceptance.

I highly recommend this book, especially as a wonderful summer-time read. Grab a floppy hat, a glass of iced tea, slather on some sunscreen and sit at the pool or on the beach and enjoy Firefly Lane.

There are additional novels that take place on Firefly Lane. From what I have read, only 2 of the stories are related.
The Kristin Hannah Collection: Volume 1: Firefly Lane, True Colors, Fly Away

Firefly Lane

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In the Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely Event
By Judy Blume

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How many of you women have fond memories as a tween girl, giggling with your friends at the latest slumber party, holding a dog-eared copy of the much loved Judy Blume novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.
I know that I do. A novel, treasured and coveted, that taught many life lessons within its pages.

Thank goodness for us, she now writes adult novels as well.

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A historical fiction novel, In the Unlikely Event visits the unusual and chaotic events of 3 separate plane crashes occurring in the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey in the 1950’s.

Judy Blume is able to lend some authentication within the pages of this novel because she happened to be a teenager living in Elizabeth when the events took place. The characters and their stories in the book are fiction, however Judy was able to lend authenticity to the emotions and repercussions of the accidents because she was there during that time.

I cannot even begin to imagine the fear that would run through a small town after not 1 or 2, but THREE airplane crashes; especially since aircraft was still a fairly new phenomenon.

Children had nightmares, families moved, women and men vowed to never fly on an airplane again and lives were changed forever after they witnessed the crashes along with the aftermath.

As we follow Miri, her family and friends through the impact these crashes had on their lives, we learn about first love, old love, anger, growing up, unexplained tragedy, mental illness, family and how secrets can affect not only your own life but those around you. We learn what it is like being a single mother, being an only child without a father, what it is like to be wealthy and what it is like to barely be able to pay the bills.
We learn that life does not always turn out how we imagine it or how we would like it to.

In true Judy Blume fashion, there is some adult content in the book; not a lot but enough that you need to be aware that it is in there.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read. I enjoy learning about historical events but still being able to lose myself in the fiction story of a novel. Judy Blume did a good job penning a work of fiction that you can get invested in all while intertwining the historical events during the early 1950’s. The book is not a work of amazing literature, but it would make a wonderful summer beach read.

“No,” Rusty said. “Enough is enough. She’s too young to understand. None of us can make sense of it–how can you expect a young girl to?”
“Not by sweeping it under the rug and pretending it didn’t happen,” Henry said.

In the Unlikely Event

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Monday Musings

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I have been selected to be on the launch team for the new book, More Than Just Making It by Erin Odom at The Humbled Homemaker!!!!!
I recently received my pre-launch book and I cannot wait to begin reading it. I will be posting quotes and tidbits on both my Instagram and Facebook pages; you can find my account info here. I am really excited to have my first “big break” as a book reviewer/book blogger.

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You can get $5 off a $15 purchase of books on Amazon now through 7/12! That means you can get More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated for as low as $6.59!!!!
Remember that pre-ordering on Amazon guarantees the lowest price between now and the book launch! In addition to the super low price, you can claim the bonuses by pre-ordering: More Than Just Making It

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I just planned 3 new books to start with each of my kids. I love reading aloud to them. I love the time I get to bond with them over books and I get to revisit some of my own childhood favorites. Sometimes, I get to read some amazing children’s books that I never had the chance to read as a child.

My 8 year old son and I will be reading Stuart Little. This is one that I have not read, although I know of the story. I hope that we will enjoy reading it together.

I will be reading The Secret Garden with my 11 year old daughter. I read this as a young girl and loved getting lost in the beautiful story. I hope she will love it as much as I did.

My 13 year old son and I began reading through the Harry Potter series when he was 9. I have read every single word aloud to him from the first 6 books and we have watched all 6 movies together. Because of various life situations we have not been able to read the 7th book yet,Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows . Part of it might be that I am holding back about ending this time of ours together. We have bonded over this series and found a mutual love for Harry and his magical world. But alas, it is time to bring this chapter to a close.

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I would love to hear what some of your recent favorite books are or what Must-Read books are on your list. I am always looking for new books to try and ways to get out of some of the ruts I get in.

I am working on a review for a book I recently finished. I have almost completed my book club book for the month. I have a book that I am reading for fun. I have a book that I have been very slowly working through for personal Christian Development.

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all of the books that I not only want to read, but the ones I think I should read. Anyone else have this small panic attack occasionally?
Then I read a article on Book Riot titled You will NEVER Read All The Books – And That’s a Good Thing; and then I felt a wee bit better. I won’t ever read all the books and it is okay. If I do not read every single “classic” literature book that was ever written, it will not be the end of the world. Books are meant for enjoyment and knowledge; if it is not something I enjoy reading, I will not gain knowledge from it.
So, it is okay that I only read the books that I want to read and that I have the time to read.

What books are you currently reading? What is currently on your stack of books?

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What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot
By Liane Moriarty

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Alice has just been moving along through life; 3 children, impending divorce, fitness aficionado, and trying to make her mark on the world. Busy, busy, busy. Then one day while at the gym, she falls and hits her head which results in the loss of her memories from the last 10 years of her life.

Can you imagine losing 10 years of your life? Can you imagine living in a world where everyone is telling you all about your current life situations but all you can remember is how it was 10 years ago? Can you imagine how strange and difficult that would be to wrap your head around?

How different would your life be if you could go back to your youth when you still had some innocence left and a fresh outlook on life? What would you do differently? What would you change about your current life? What about going back 10 years but having the maturity and knowledge that you have gained?

As you follow Alice through the book trying to regain her memories, confused and unhappy with the person she has become, it makes you reflect and ponder your own life and the choices you have made.
Are you the same person you were 10 years ago? Have you become the person you had hoped to be? What led you to the season of life that you are currently in?
Would you change anything at all if you could?

One of the reader questions in the back of the book is “What would surprise your younger self most about the life you’re currently leading? What would disappoint you?”
Please leave your response in the comments; I would love to hear your answers.

 

Now it seemed like she could twist the lens on her life and see it from two entirely different perspectives. The perspective of her younger self. Her younger, sillier, innocent self. And her older, wiser, more cynical and sensible self.

 

I highly recommend this book. It is a fantastic read that gets you thinking and reflecting on your own personal life choices and how your decisions can and have affected your future self. Liane Moriarty does a wonderful job of creating a fiction story that gets you working on your own personal development. I hope to be able to read more of her books in the future.

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 What Alice Forgot

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Harry Potter

Harry Potter
By J.K. Rowling

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I feel like THE worst bibliophile and Harry Potter fan on the planet!
Apparently, yesterday was the 20th Anniversary (that makes me feel super old, by the way) of the release of the very first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I did not do a single post about it.

I can still remember the excitement of reading that very first book in the series; cracking it open and smelling the pages of a fresh book. I also remember the anticipation and dread when we had to wait for the next book in the series to arrive; it always felt like an eternity.
I was not always able to go to the midnight release of the next book, but I did go to a few of them. How about you? Did you attend any midnight release parties?

Those that have never read the books just cannot seem to understand the culture that has developed around Harry Potter.
Yes I am old. By society’s standards, I should not be so infatuated with a youth fiction book series. However, when I first began reading them, I was not, by any means, considered “old”. I grew up with Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hagrid. It led me to a whole unexplored genre of literature. And now, I have passed that world down to my oldest son. We have read every single Harry Potter book together, me reading aloud to him. After each book was completed, we watched the corresponding movie together. It has been a wonderful bonding time for us and it has given me some common ground to stay connected to my teenager.

Harry Potter has created memories for people, bonded families over shared literature, and helped children delve into reading when they otherwise would have had no interest. Harry Potter has provided an escape from real life for those whom need it, created a shared culture for those who may have never known such fabulous people existed, and opened up a love of reading for many that never saw reading as enjoyable.

Yes, there has been some controversy, but is that not what makes a book great?

I have read each book multiple times (too many than I will admit to) and each time I still feel that wonderful flutter that happens when you open a book for the first time; a book that you know is going to be incredible.

The Harry Potter Movies were never as good as the books; movies never are. There really is just not enough time to capture the true heart of the story or to develop the unmistakable essence of each character in a 2-3 hour movie. Overall, the movies were decent. My only complaint was that they completely changed some of the story-line. I can understand that there is not room to put everything into the movie, but I do not understand why it is necessary to change the original story.

For fun, here are some Harry Potter websites you can peruse to relive some of those favorite moments, 20 years later.

Pottermore
Why Harry Potter Matters 20 Years Later

84 Magical Facts about Harry Potter

25 Harry Potter Facts That Will Knock You Off Your Broomstick
8 Books J.K. Rowling Recommends
Reading Harry Potter with My Older Brother
A Magical Harry Potter Wonderland
Harry Potter Snowflakes
20 Years of Harry Potter
Harry Potter: 10 Most Highlighted lines on the Kindle

I would love to hear in the comments how Harry Potter has touched or changed YOUR life or the lives of your children.

Harry Potter

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