Happy Saturday readers! I hope your weekend is going well so far. I had Friday afternoon off yesterday and spent time with my daughter. I’m now at work and thought I would catch up on my blog since it is not busy. I spent time this week going through my Goodreads to-read list. I deleted books that I know I’m never going to get around to reading and also tried to list one book per author so my list isn’t so overwhelming. You can follow me at https://www.goodreads.com/bschick
I have two books today that I am going to review and they are what I would label as coming of age. These type of books usually get mixed reviews. Some readers really enjoy them while others do not. I can understand both sides. My first book is Without Merit by Colleen Hoover and the second isFirefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Most of you have probably heard of Firefly Lane. I have read this book twice-once as a young single woman and just recently as a married mom of a daughter.
I can tell you that I spent most of my childhood reading, which I am sure is not surprising to any of you that know me well outside of the blog. My mom would drop me off for a few hours at the local library in 4th/5th grade and I would spend hours reading. Connie, the children’s librarian, would always talk to me and recommend books that I might like to read. I don’t regret spending a lot of time reading. I think it helped me in school and helped me learn about the world around me. I remember reading the Nancy Drew series (still one of my favorites), the Ramona series, Babysitters Club, Trixie Belden mystery series, Judy Blume novels, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I was so obsessed with reading that I would take my literature textbook home and read all the stories in it. My 4th grade teacher read Harriet the Spy outloud to us in class and I asked for her copy to take home so I could read it. It’s another one of my all time favorite novels.
If you are a fan of Colleen Hoover, then you may have heard of Without Merit. The ladies that I am in a FB group with recommended Hoover as an author to read. I love her writing and can’t wait to read more novels written by her.
Title: Without Merit
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2017
Length: 385 pages
Merit is overwhelmed by all the emotions that come with being a teenage girl. She lives with her dad, stepmom, and two teenage siblings. The family lives in a church converted to a home with the basement being used as a separate living quarter for her biological mom that nevers leaves due to a severe anxiety disorder. She doesn’t understand the real reason behind her parent’s separation, why her brother always acts so weird and Merit has a strained relationship with her teen sister, Honor, the one child in the family that seems to always have her act together. Merit meets a guy she likes, but is unsure of starting a relationship with him. She has a breakdown due to all the emotions running through her which leads to all family secrets being revealed.
Without Merit is a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I thought Colleen Hoover did a great job of capturing what it feels like to be a teenager and not being able to process adult situations at times. Her emotions cause her reality to be skewed. The characters have quirky names which I thought added to the book. The book is a little edgy, which I like. If you are a fan of YA fiction, you will love Without Merit.
Favorite quote from the book: “Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness.”
About the author
From the author’s website:
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of nineteen novels and novellas. Hoover’s novels fall into the New Adult and Young Adult contemporary romance categories, as well as psychological thriller.
Colleen Hoover is published by Montlake Romance and Atria Books. Colleen also has several indie titles, including her most recent novel, Verity.
In 2015, Colleen’s novel CONFESS won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance. That was followed up in 2016 with her latest title, It Ends With Us, also winning the Choice Award for Best Romance. In 2017, her title WITHOUT MERIT won best romance.
Her novel CONFESS has been filmed as a series by Awestruck and is available on Go90.com. Katie Leclerc and Ryan Cooper star in the series.
Learn more at www.colleenhoover.com
Title: Firefly Lane
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 2008
Length: 479 pages
I recently read Firefly Lane for the second time. The novel first captured my attention as a young adult because of the close friendship between Kate and Tully. They spent time sneaking out of their houses and riding bikes together. I had close friends that I grew up with and some of my favorite memories are of us riding bikes together. There was a creek behind the neighborhood I grew up in and I would ride my bike over it to visit a best friend. We remain close today even though our lives have taken us different places.
Kate and Tully are close friends and go through several stages of life together. Tully betrays Kate and the friendship becomes strained, but Kate is able to forgive even though she still feels a little insecure around Tully. Tully remains single and focuses on her successful career as a reporter. Kate begins her life after college working for the same news station as Tully and finds love at work. She marries and becomes a stay at home mom.
I view the novel differently as a woman in my thirties than I did as a young woman in my twenties. I appreciate the relationship between Kate and Tully so much more. Friends go through different seasons of life and the ability to remain close to each other takes work. They both show an amazing amount of forgiveness to each other and support each no matter the consequence. Both women are so strong in their own ways. Each time I have read the book, I thought Tully needed more development as a character. She came so far in the novel by escaping her difficult past and becoming successful. I thought she needed her own successful relationship with a man in the novel as well. I started the sequel, Fly Away, but haven’t finished. I’m glad that Hannah decided to further develop Tully’s character.
Favorite quote from the book: “To make real friends you have to put yourself out there. Sometimes people will let you down, but you can’t let that stop you. If you get hurt, just pick yourself up, dust off your feelings, and try again.”
Firefly Lane is being developed as a Netflix series and will be released in 2020.
About the author
From the author’s website:
Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane.
Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures, which also optioned her novel, The Great Alone. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.
Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal and The Week. Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.
Learn more at www.kristinhannah.com
What I’m watching now…
Virgin River is based on the romance novel series by Robyn Carr. A nurse practitioner moves to a rural town in California to start life anew. Available to stream on Netflix.
A documentary about Navarro College cheerleaders in Corsicana, TX and their fearless coach, Monica Aldama, whose Navarro cheer squads have won Grand Nationals 5 times and 14 National Cheer Association Junior College National Championships. Available to stream on Netflix.
Safe is a British mini-series created by author Harlan Coben. A surgeon’s daughter goes missing one night in an affluent neighborhood after a teen party. What he learns about his community is shocking. Available to stream on Netflix.