WEEKLY UPDATES: BOOKS, BLOGGING, & A LITTLE PAMPERING…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

This past week brought eight blog posts and two books read and reviewed.  Yesterday I went in to my daughter’s salon to get my hair styled as part of a new weekly schedule.  Now I feel pampered.  We had lunch afterwards at Mad Duck.

 

Last night I binge-watched half of Grace and Frankie’s Season Five on Netflix.  I always love that show!  Last weekend, I watched On the Basis of Sex at the neighborhood theater…and I enjoyed pre-movie lunch at Yard House nearby.

I can’t believe January is almost over…and right after it comes February, the month when I go to the accountant to have my taxes done.  Not my favorite activity!

Today I have errands and shopping to do.  So, before moving forward, let’s grab some coffee or tea…and take a closer look at the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Weekend Tidbits…

Tuesday Potpourri:  Rainy Days with Books…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Red Address Book”

Rainy Day Reading…

Coffee Chat:  Keeping the Darkness Away…

Serendipitous Moments:  A Look Back…

Thursday Potpourri:  Daily Routines…

Bookish Friday:  “The Liar’s Room”

Review:  Those Other Women, by Nicola MoriartyReview:  By the Book, by Julia Sonneborn

***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox….But I received two NetGalley Review ARCs, and downloaded two purchased e-books.

Me for You (e-book), by Lolly Winston – (NG – 3/12/19)

The Ash Family (e-book), by Molly Dektar – (NG-4/9/19)

***

Purchased Downloads:

The Liar’s Room (e-book), by Simon Lelic

Late in the Day (e-book), by Tessa Hadley

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg

***

I have a list of “up next” books that I will pick up…depending on my mood.  I have completed the February NG ARCs, and don’t plan to start the March ones yet.

So…that is my bookish week.  What did yours look like?  The other night, I enjoyed this baked potato soup with a margarita.

***

Advertisements

COFFEE CHAT: KEEPING THE DARKNESS AWAY…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

 

Another week is near its end, and the month is half over.  How did that happen?  I did go to the neighborhood Edward’s Theater on the weekend and saw On the Basis of Sex.  I loved it!  Since I went to the first showing of the day (a matinee, of course), the crowd felt like “my people,” in terms of age and other demographics, and at the end of the show, there was clapping and cheering.  My vow last weekend was to steer clear of negativity, as much as possible, and seeing that movie went a long way in that direction.

  • This week I have been reading “feel good” books that had been hiding out on Paige, my Kindle.  I need to stop avoiding books like that in favor of the fast-paced thrillers …as those that are “comfort food for my soul” can also help keep the darkness at bay.  I read Those Other Women, by Nicola Moriarty (click for my review).  And today I finished By the Book, by Julia Sonneborn (click to read my review).
  • Sometimes I feel uplifted just by looking at photos of family I only see on Facebook, like these step-great-grandchildren celebrating their Christmas in North Dakota.  They are Maddix, Lilly, and Bella…and new baby Molly.

  • I am looking forward to Season 5 of Grace and Frankie, available on Netflix on Friday!
  • I am reading a new book that I’ve heard really good things about:  The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg, follows 96-year-old Doris, who writes down the memories of her eventful life as she pages through her decades-old address book. But the most profound moment of her life is still to come…
  • Before last weekend’s movie, I went to Yard House to use one of my Christmas gift cards…and had these goodies: Chicken Tortilla soup…and Creme Brulee…

  • Tonight I will try to find something on Amazon Prime to watch.  I’ve already seen everything on my DVR.

***

How has your week worked out for you?  Reading, movies, adventures?

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: NEGATIVITY BEGONE!

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

Good morning, bloggers.  Are you enjoying your reading?  Are movies helping you through the boring and/or dark days?  I am doing the best I can to avoid negativity, which is not easy to do when it shows up on every news outlet and social networking site.  I could try to avoid those places…and when I am reading, I can actually blank them out.  If I am reading a book that completely captivates me.  I only read and reviewed two books again this week, but I did enjoy some movies, like A Simple Favor and a strange little family drama on Prime with Bill Pullman and Angelica Huston called Trouble.

When I get restless, bored, or feel distraught, I sometimes mess around with my blogs, so I changed a few blog headers this week.  I have a feeling that I’m not done.

I went a little nuts with the “click to buy” feature on Amazon…and bought five books.

So…let’s grab some coffee and take a closer look at my week.  I met a friend for coffee at Barnes & Noble on Wednesday (she is facing us below).  We had a nice long chat along with the caffeine.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Winter Sister”

Tuesday Potpourri:  New Books and Other Distractions…

Rainy Day Reading:  WWW Wednesdays

A Look Back at New Year’s Eves of the Past…

Coffee Chat:  Post-Holiday Blues…

Bookish Friday:  “By the Book”

Capturing the Moments…

Review:  Forget You Know Me (e-book), by Jessica Strawser – (NG-2/5/19)Review:  The Winter Sister (e-book), by Megan Collins – (NG-2/5/19)

***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox…but I “clicked to buy” for downloads on Amazon.

A Simple Favor (e-book), by Darcey Bell

The Best of Us (e-book), by Robyn Carr

Untouchable (e-book), by Jayne Ann Krentz

Her One Mistake (e-book), by Heidi Perks

The Red Address Book (e-book), by Sofia Lundberg

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

My moods are dictating my reading, so I picked up a few books before settling on Those Other Women, by Nicola Moriarty.

I have some other Moriarty books on Paige, my Kindle…I may pick up one or more of them later.

***

That was my somewhat tepid week, but for the most part, I kept the negativity at bay.  What did your week look like?  I enjoyed some Red Velvet Cake & ice cream, with my coffee.  I took half the cake home to savor later.

***

COFFEE CHAT: POST HOLIDAY BLUES…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

Now that we’re sort of back to normal, post holidays, I am having a hard time mustering up enthusiasm for anything.  Probably because of all that is happening in Washington, and how powerless we are to change anything.  I am trying to avoid news items, but when I scroll through social media or even Google, it’s like a constant presence hovering over every page.

  • Today I escaped my depressing surroundings by joining a friend (below) for coffee at Barnes & Noble.  I like our get-togethers, a chance to chat and even vent a little.  And have some treats.

  • I’m trying to keep up with my reading, but I only finished two books last week, and one this week so far.  I enjoyed Forget You Know Me, by Jessica Strawser (click for my review).
  • Currently I am halfway finished with The Winter Sister, by Megan Collins, a NetGalley ARC.  The book will be released on 2/5.
  • I watched A Simple Favor on Amazon Prime last night…and liked it so much that I downloaded the e-book, too.

  • While I was celebrating New Year’s last week, my No. 2 son texted this photo of him and his fiancee from their getaway in Hawaii:

  • Speaking of books, I went a little crazy with “click to buy” behavior…and downloaded FIVE e-books.  I started with two, settled back, and then, almost accidentally, found myself clicking some more.  Sigh.
  • I am eagerly awaiting the newest season of Grace and Frankie, coming to Netflix on January 18.
  • I am avoiding the unpleasant housework that seems to be calling out to me.  Now that the Christmas decorations are all tucked away in bins…I need to return to some semblance of my regular routines.  Where is the maid when I need her?  LOL.
  • Seriously, though, I think I will capitulate to the urge for a housekeeper to come at least once a month.   If I don’t, this will be what I look like, minus the 1950s style apron and dress:

 

***

So…that was my week, a few good things and a lot left to do.  What did yours look like?

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: A NEW YEAR & A BIRTHDAY…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

Another event-filled week just flew by, starting off with New Year’s Eve on Monday, with reading, movies, etc.  The biggest moments were during First Book of the Year, which featured my chosen book.  I read all day on January 1 and finished it!  You’ll see my review listed below.  After the momentum of my first (and only two) books read this week, everything kind of fizzled.  I got through 117 pages of Sadie, which started out okay…and then I kept setting it down, distracted, turning to other things…until I finally gave up.  I hate to DNF books, but one of the rules I make for myself these days is to move on when necessary.  So next I turned to an ARC, which has kept my interest.

I’ve enjoyed watching old movies (not 1930s-40s OLD, but 1980s, et. al., like When Harry Met Sally).  That’s a movie that needs to be viewed on New Year’s.  I think I know the dialogue by now.  I also enjoyed re-watching Shadowlands, since I just downloaded a book with the characters in it.  And last night, I started watching Evening, with Vanessa Redgrave, Toni Collette, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Wilson, etc.  I occasionally do this:  watch for a while, stop the DVR, and return to the movie later.  I’ve seen it a few times, so I don’t lose anything in this process.

Today is my youngest grandson’s 16th birthday.  Where did the time go?  I have five twenty-something grandchildren who are also very busy with their own lives, and only one of them lives in this city.  But today I’ll be picking this teenager up at my neighborhood mall where he is hanging out with friends…and will take him to his home where we plan to have a celebratory dinner.  Here he was, on his first birthday, when his family lived next door to me in my guesthouse in the foothills:

 

Now…let’s grab some more coffee and take a closer look at the week.  Note that my Christmas decorations are still up…but I think they’re coming down today.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monthly Wrap-Up at Year’s End…

First Book of 2019:  Continuing a Tradition…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Our Little Lies”

Hump Day Reading…The First of 2019

Coffee Chat:  Launching 2019…

Bookish Friday:  “Those Other Women”

Curling up to Read…Seeking Normalcy!

Saturday Potpourri:  Out with the Holidays…

Review:  You Don’t Own Me (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark/Alafair Burke – First Book of the Year!                                                                               Review:  Sophie Last Seen (e-book), by Marlene Adelstein – Author Review Book

***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One purchased book came in my physical mailbox…and I downloaded another book.

Wallis in Love, by Andrew Morton

Download:

Becoming Mrs. Lewis (e-book), by Patti Callahan

***

WHAT’S UP NEXT?

My plans for the week will be loose…I am trying that on for size.  I am currently reading (and loving so far) Forget You Know Me (e-book), by Jessica Strawser – a NetGalley ARC.  A “twisty, emotionally complex, powder keg of a tale” (bestselling author Emily Carpenter) about the wounds of people who’ve grown apart. Best, friends, separated by miles. Spouses, hardened by neglect. A mother, isolated by pain.

 

***

So…that was my week.  What did yours look like?  I am hoping for a good week.  I plan to bring my home back to normalcy, Christmas decorations binned in the garage.  Reading, movies, and special foods that comfort me will be a priority.  Here’s what I had on New Year’s Day.

***

COFFEE CHAT: LAUNCHING 2019…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

Happily, the holidays are behind us.  I enjoy them, even love them, but by the time the New Year rolls around, I am missing my normal routines.  So it is befitting that the climactic moment—once we had rung in the New Year—was the First Book of the Year event.  I enjoy it so much that I usually make my book choice in November.  I did the same this year, and after I had participated and posted my kick-off, I then read all day and finished the book, You Don’t Own Me, by Mary Higgins Clark/Alafair Burke.  (Click for my review).

  • Earlier in the week I read and reviewed Sophie Last Seen, by Marlene Adelstein (click for my review).
  • Today I started reading Sadie, by Courtney Summers.
  • When I visited blogs, I added some more titles to my list, since these events do tend to inspire us to buy or borrow more books.  I downloaded Becoming Mrs. Lewis, by Patti Callahan…and tonight I watched Shadowlands on Amazon Prime.  I had seen the movie years ago, but I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in it.  Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger were as excellent in their roles as I had recalled.
  • Earlier today, I scrolled on Facebook and found a photo of one of my two granddaughters.  I thought Aubrey looked gorgeous in this one.  She is in her senior year at San Diego State University, and last year, she spent a semester in Prague.  I think her experiences have been memorable:

  • So…what will happen in the rest of 2019?  I hope that I read more of the books that have been lingering too long on my Kindle…and even on my shelves, although I don’t have that many unread “real books.”
  • To celebrate New Year’s Day, I went around the corner to Mimi’s and read while eating this turkey dinner.  I brought half of it home for today’s lunch.

***

How did 2019 begin for you?  Special events?  Movies?  Reading?  Happy New Year to all.

***

REVIEW: YOU DON’T OWN ME, BY MARY HIGGINS CLARK/ALAFAIR BURKE

 

When we last saw Laurie Moran, she had recently become engaged to her show’s former host, Alex Buckley. Since then, the two have been happily planning a summer wedding and honeymoon, preparing for Alex’s confirmation to a federal judicial appointment, and searching for the perfect New York City home for their new life together.

But then Laurie is approached by Robert and Cynthia Bell, parents of Dr. Martin Bell, a famously charming and talented physician who was shot dead as he pulled into the driveway of his Greenwich Village carriage house five years ago. The Bells are sure that Martin’s disgraced and erratic wife, Kendra, carried out the murder. Determined to prove Kendra’s guilt and win custody over their grandchildren, they plead with Laurie to feature their son’s case on “Under Suspicion,” ensuring her that Kendra is willing to cooperate.

Kendra has lived under a blanket of suspicion since Martin’s death, with the tabloid media depicting her as a secretive, mentally unstable gold-digger. Laurie’s show is a chance for her to clear her name. But unbeknownst to the Bells, Kendra has already refused once before to go forward with a re-investigation of her husband’s murder, and her statements to the contrary only add to the appearance of guilt.

But once Laurie dives into the case, she learns that Martin wasn’t the picture-perfect husband, father, and doctor he appeared to be and was carrying secrets of his own. And what does the web of lies ensnaring the Bell family have to do with a dangerous stranger, who gazes at Laurie from afar and thinks, She is actually quite a lovely girl, I’m sure she’s going to be missed…?

 

My Thoughts: As Laurie Moran plans the next production of her TV show Under Suspicion, we are swept up amidst a cast of characters that will eventually help us decide the truth of a murder.

Just as we suspect, the facts begin to line up in one direction, and then suddenly veer off along a completely different path. Who is the man following Laurie, plotting her demise? What is going on between Kendra and a man she once met in a dive bar called the Beehive? Why is she taking bundles of cash from her ATM to hand over to him? Is she paying off a hit man, or is he up to something else?

It didn’t take long to figure out that the two strangers have nefarious connections to the case, but what are those connections? By the end, we are stunned to learn that the least likely person was behind most of what had happened.

My favorite parts of You Don’t Own Me were the occasional glimpses into the relationship between Alex and Laurie, and their quest for the perfect new post-wedding residence. Happily, they get to plan their new home once the case has been solved. A 5 star read.  (FIRST BOOK OF THE YEAR – 2019)

***

FIRST BOOK OF 2019: CONTINUING A TRADITION…

It is time to celebrate our First Book of the Year tradition, hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey.

I have participated since 2014, and have a page here dedicated to all of my First Books.

My pick for 2019 continues the series I started featuring in 2015, the Under Suspicion Novels, by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke:  You Don’t Own Me.

 

Here I am, holding my Kindle copy:

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:  When we last saw Laurie Moran, she had recently become engaged to her show’s former host, Alex Buckley. Since then, the two have been happily planning a summer wedding and honeymoon, preparing for Alex’s confirmation to a federal judicial appointment, and searching for the perfect New York City home for their new life together.

But then Laurie is approached by Robert and Cynthia Bell, parents of Dr. Martin Bell, a famously charming and talented physician who was shot dead as he pulled into the driveway of his Greenwich Village carriage house five years ago. The Bells are sure that Martin’s disgraced and erratic wife, Kendra, carried out the murder. Determined to prove Kendra’s guilt and win custody over their grandchildren, they plead with Laurie to feature their son’s case on “Under Suspicion,” ensuring her that Kendra is willing to cooperate.

Kendra has lived under a blanket of suspicion since Martin’s death, with the tabloid media depicting her as a secretive, mentally unstable gold-digger. Laurie’s show is a chance for her to clear her name. But unbeknownst to the Bells, Kendra has already refused once before to go forward with a re-investigation of her husband’s murder, and her statements to the contrary only add to the appearance of guilt.

But once Laurie dives into the case, she learns that Martin wasn’t the picture-perfect husband, father, and doctor he appeared to be and was carrying secrets of his own. And what does the web of lies ensnaring the Bell family have to do with a dangerous stranger, who gazes at Laurie from afar and thinks, She is actually quite a lovely girl, I’m sure she’s going to be missed…?

***

I’ll be reading this book within the next two days, and will be back here to post my review.  I’d love to hear more about your first books.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: LET’S MAKE NEW CONNECTIONS…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

For a holiday week, I got a lot done.  Well, sort of.  LOL.  I finished my third book of the week this morning, and as I savored the moments with the MC, I realized how much I enjoy that kind of book.  I love my thrillers, but I am inspired by novels that I can sink into and connect with the characters. 

I am ready for First Books of the Year!  I have my book, and I’ve sent off my photo.  On Tuesday morning, I will publish the post that reveals all.  I love this event!  Thanks, Sheila.

Earlier this week, on Christmas morning, I enjoyed brunch with family and friends.  Quiche, coffee cake, fruit, and Mimosas…the perfect way to celebrate.

For the rest of the week, I have stayed indoors except for necessary shopping…and curled up with my books.

I did write some blog posts:  seven of them.  And I enjoyed Netflix, finishing Season 3 of Wanted and allowed myself to be terrified by Bird Box.

As we grab another cup of coffee or beverage, let’s take a closer look.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Discovering the Spirit of the Holidays…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Sophie Last Seen”

Merry Christmas from My Interiors to Yours…

Enjoying My Book Treasures…

Coffee Chat:  Transitioning to a New Year

Bookish Friday:  “Sadie”

Favorite 2018 Books:  Let’s Curl up and Read…

Review:  The Adults (e-book), by Caroline HulseReview:  The Affliction (e-book), by Beth GutcheonReview:  Emily, Alone (e-book), by Stewart O’Nan

***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  I did download one new e-book.

Our Little Lies (e-book), by Sue Watson

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m currently reading Sophie Last Seen, a review book by Marlene Adelstein.

And my First Book of the Year will be unveiled on 1/1/19, right here on this blog.

***

That was my week…and with a New Year ahead, I am eager to make changes in my reading, as well as in following my One Word (Connect), which was almost an epic fail this past year.  Yes, I maintained my online connections, and tried to stay in touch with family and friends…but I didn’t join a book club as planned, nor did I develop new connections.

What did your week (and year) look like?  Here is a delicious brunch I had earlier this week:  Pain Perdu with mixed berries, from Mimi’s.  And a delicious Mimosa.

***

COFFEE CHAT: TRANSITIONING TO A NEW YEAR

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

 

The holidays have been great!  I am tired, though, and I plan to sleep more in the upcoming days.  Yesterday I went to my daughter’s house for brunch, where she served Quiche, one of my favorites, and some assorted coffee cake and fruit.  Mimosas, too, of course.  She always has an interesting combination of old and new friends joining us. She specializes in both small and large parties; the small ones, like this one, are better for conversation.  Noah snapped this shot. Heather and David are to the right.  

  • Here’s the photo with Noah in it.

  • It was fun to see how much Noah has grown since a month ago when I saw him last.  He is just a tad short of 6′ tall, and he’ll be 16 in January.  We have a lot of tall guys in our family…and I once was taller than I am now.  LOL.
  • I saw my other family members via text messages and on FB. Sigh.
  • Here is a photo of one of my oldest friends and her grown children.  We met in 1972.

  • It feels like I have just now decorated for Christmas, which I was reluctant to do, BTW.  So I guess I’ll leave the decorations up until New Year’s…or longer.
  • I am enjoying The Affliction, by Beth Gutcheon, and finished The Adults, by Caroline Hulse, earlier in the week. (Click title for my review).
  • I’ve been savoring Netflix this week.  First, there was Bird Box.  Wow, I held my breath throughout.  I’m also watching Season 3 of Wanted, about two women staying ahead of the law in Australia.  They were innocent in the beginning, but the longer they’re out there trying to stay alive, the more likely they are to commit serious crimes.
  • Today I am happily ensconced in my office on the computer, or in the living room on my sofa, reading and watching movies.  I have nothing planned for the day!
  • On Facebook, I found some cute things, like this little note written by my great-niece America.  Don’t you love her name?

  • And I love this photo of my niece Amy with America:

  • I keep meaning to drive up to visit them.  They live in the mountains northeast of here, in a little town called Twain Harte.
  • New Year’s Day brings First Books of the Year.  Check in here to find out more, and head to Sheila’s to see all the participants.

***

So…New Year’s Eve is ahead, and then a whole new year stretches out like a blank page.  What are your plans?  Do you make resolutions?  I pick One Word for the year, but since this year was not that successful with my word (Connect), I will hang onto it and keep trying.

***