HOPE: MY ONE WORD THAT GUIDES ME…

Earlier today, I was revisiting some of my earlier blog posts, and realized that I haven’t talked about my One Word since May, when I wrote Hope:  More Important Than Ever.

And at that time, I was sharing about my allergic reaction to hair dye.  Well, that reaction happened again in July…so I have decided that I am done with dye.  All the hope in the world couldn’t keep the rash at bay.

But…here’s what I’m hoping now.  That there will be something great about going natural.  How bad could it be?  LOL.

Lately, I’ve been noticing gray hair on people I know or see around (I’m assuming that my natural hair is probably gray, but I have only seen hints of it over the years…hidden, under the dye, but making a brief appearance at times).

Meanwhile, I am enjoying my books, as usual, and hoping to read as many of my purchased books as possible by year’s end (for my Read the Books You Buy Challenge).  So far, I’ve read 71, and should have completed another by the end of the day.

I have a dwindling stack of print volumes, too.  The most recent stack is on my living room coffee table:

 

In my office, there are two short stacks with a total of 11 unread books (older ones than those on my living room coffee table).  Not bad.  There is HOPE that I will finish at least some of these.

Reading print volumes has turned out to be a challenge…occasionally.   Some of the nonfiction books, especially, have a tiny font, making reading them tedious.  I should check these things out before I buy…except, most of them came from Amazon.

I am hopeful that I will somehow rise to the challenge.

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What gives you hope and helps guide you through your days?  Do you find it in books?  People you know and love?  Or in your interior moral compass?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “HERE & GONE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is my current read:  Here and Gone, by Haylen Beck, is a gripping, wonderfully tense suspense thriller about a mother’s desperate fight to recover her stolen children from corrupt authorities.

 

Beginning:  The road swayed left then right, the rhythm of it making Audra Kinney’s eyelids grow heavier as each mile marker passed.  She had given up counting them; it only made the journey slower.  Her knuckles complained as she flexed her fingers on the wheel, palms greasy with sweat.

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56:  A pair of taut chains prevented the door from swinging back onto the floor, held it upright over the opening.  Louise stopped, planted her feet firmly on the wooden  boards.

“It’s too dark,” she said.

***

Synopsis:  It begins with a woman fleeing through Arizona with her kids in tow, trying to escape an abusive marriage. When she’s pulled over by an unsettling local sheriff, things soon go awry and she is taken into custody. Only when she gets to the station, her kids are gone. And then the cops start saying they never saw any kids with her, that if they’re gone than she must have done something with them…

Meanwhile, halfway across the country a man hears the frenzied news reports about the missing kids, which are eerily similar to events in his own past. As the clock ticks down on the search for the lost children, he too is drawn into the desperate fight for their return.

***

Would you rapidly turn those pages, trying to find out what happens next?  That has been my reaction.  A chilling introduction to a story that is bound to hold me captive.

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COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, NETFLIX, MOVIES, ETC.

Good morning!  It’s time to grab some coffee…and chat about Bookish/Not So Bookish things.  Link up at Bookishly Boisterous.

  • My “Reading” Coffee Mug is joining us.
  • Take note of the diminishing stack of print books on my coffee table.  Of course I have a couple of hardcover books on my nightstand…and ELEVEN older books in my office.  But it’s getting better…right?
  • Lately I’ve noticed that some of these books, which also have 400+ pages, have TINY print…which makes it hard for these seasoned eyes to read.  So I only read them in bits and pieces.  The biographies especially are “guilty” of these qualities.
  • I’m spoiled by reading on Pippa, my Kindle, where I can change the font.
  • Currently I’m reading and LOVING The Identicals, by Elin Hilderbrand.  Twin “girls,” approaching forty, living on adjacent islands:  Nantucket for one, and Martha’s Vineyard for the other.  They were separated as teens: one went with the father, the other with their mother, after a divorce.  Then something happened to further estrange them.
  • I finished reading and reviewing The Secrets She Keeps, by Michael Robotham; a five star read for me that kept me glued to the pages.  Click for my review.
  • I have been out and about a few times this week, probably because the temperatures have “dropped” to the 90s.  But what a difference a few degrees can make!
  • On Sunday, a group of us joined to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.  Bottomless mimosas and really delicious food, which surprised me, as buffets don’t always deliver.  My daughter is on the left side, five from the front, with the “tatts” and curly hair.  I’m four down on the right.
  • On Saturday, I had lunch with an old friend, a former colleague, who lives in Northern California and had come down to visit friends (including moi, of course).  After I had retired from my career position for the county, I went to work at a private foster family agency, and met a great group of social workers.
  • Having that lunch reminded me of how the group of us that worked together from 2002-2005 was close, like hostage victims, as our CEO was a real tyrant given to temper tantrums and narcissistic ravings.  Sound familiar, anyone?
  • After the lunch, I went to see The Glass Castle, which was an awesome movie with a great cast;  the author of the book was involved with the production, and there were scenes at the end showing her and some family members.
  • My Netflix viewing this week:  I finished the available episodes of The Ranch, which ended on a cliffhanger…more episodes, please!  I started watching Friends from College, which I’m enjoying so far.
  • So…today?  I was thinking of another manicure, but after checking my nails, I think they can wait a week.  I’m feeling too lazy to go out.  Do you ever just want to hole up in your house and read, or watch the shows on the DVR?  I went to sleep before watching Younger and The Sinners.

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So…that’s it for today…what are you chatting about?  Come on by….

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE IDENTICALS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a great looking summer read from Elin Hilderbrand:  The Identicals.

Beginning:  (Nantucket)

Like thousands of other erudite, discerning people, you’ve decided to spend your summer vacation on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. You want postcard beaches.  You want to swim, sail, and surf in Yankee-blue waters.  You want to eat clam chowder and lobster rolls, and you want those dishes served to you by someone who calls them chowdah and lobstah.

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56:  Even stranger and more unsettling was that, after the divorce, Aunt Harper had gone with Billy and Tabitha had stayed with Eleanor, a custody agreement that seemed to have been borrowed from The Parent Trap.  The Frost family had split right down the middle, like one of those photographs torn in half—Billy holding one twin, Eleanor the other.

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Synopsis:  Identical twin sisters who couldn’t look more alike…or live more differently.

Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She’s inherited her father’s rundown house on Martha’s Vineyard, but she can’t hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking.

Two beautiful islands only eleven miles apart.

Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She’s also inherited her mother’s questionable parenting skills–Tabitha’s teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode–and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion.

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands–and lives–to save what’s left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they’d outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.

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I’ve been looking forward to this one…it sounds like just what I need to relax into my sofa, all curled up with glasses of iced tea.  What do you think?

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COFFEE CHAT: JURY DUTY, BIRTHDAYS, ETC.

Good morning!  Time to chat over coffee, and link to Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • I wasn’t going to write a post today, as, after a week of calling in at night, I have been directed to report in for Jury Duty this morning at 8:30.  This means changing up everything about my morning routines.  I hate the drive downtown, and finding the Jury Parking.  I haven’t done this since the 1980s!  Up until now, I’ve managed to be “on call” only.
  • But…I couldn’t sleep until my alarm went off, so I thought I should try writing down a few thoughts while I eat breakfast.
  • Last night I watched Part I of The Story of Diana.  Mostly it was a repeat of a lot of the other shows I’ve seen lately.
  • Because I was setting the alarm and planning to rise early, I didn’t get a chance to watch Younger and The Sinner.  They are waiting on the DVR.
  • I finished watching Season I of Ozark…and resumed watching The Ranch.
  • On the weekend, I watched a movie on Amazon Prime that I had seen at the theater…and enjoyed it because it starred Debra Winger.  It was The Lovers.
  • Reading two books:  Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, which is pretty good so far; and America’s Queen, by Sarah Bradford, which I will read in bits and pieces, as it has 444 pages…which isn’t that bad, except that the type is very tiny, making the pages long and sometimes tedious.  I found myself skipping over parts I’ve read in other books.
  • On Tuesday, I enjoyed a pre-birthday lunch with my daughter and her son Noah; we had a very adult-like lunch, with no barbs thrown or any sneaky mentions of the Elephant in the Room (Trump).  Probably because Noah was there.

  • On Sunday, her actual birthday, there will be a group brunch at a local restaurant, which I’ve never visited, but is close by:

  • She was born on Friday the 13th, in 1976, after 36 hours of labor…and finally, a C-Section!
  • I’m looking forward to seeing The Glass Castle this weekend!

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That’s it for today.  Come on by and share your own Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “CLOSE YOUR EYES, HOLD HANDS.”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a hardcover version I found recently:  Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, by Chris Bohjalian.

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Beginning:  I built an igloo against the cold out of black plastic trash bags filled with wet leaves.  It wasn’t perfect.  The winds were coming across the lake, and the outside wall that faced the water was flat—not like the igloos I had seen on TV somewhere or I guess in a book.  It looked like the wall on the inside of a cave:  flat and kind of scaly.

***

56:  The way the teen shelter worked was pretty simple:  If you were under eighteen, you had to have your parents’ permission to be there.  Otherwise, the staff had to call family services, and you’d probably wind up in a foster home.  So, I had been lying from the second I arrived.

***

Synopsis:  Emily Shepard is on the run; the nuclear plant where her father worked has suffered a cataclysmic meltdown, and all fingers point to him. Now, orphaned, homeless, and certain that she’s a pariah, Emily’s taken to hiding out on the frigid streets of Burlington, Vermont, creating a new identity inspired by her favorite poet, Emily Dickinson.

Then she meets Cameron. Nine years old and with a string of foster families behind him, he sparks something in Emily, and she protects him with a fierceness she didn’t know she possessed. But when an emergency threatens the fledgling home she’s created, Emily realizes that she can’t hide forever.

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I have read and loved some of this author’s more recent books, so I was thrilled to find this older one on the bargain table at Barnes & Noble.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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MY INTERIOR WORLD: COFFEE, BOOKS, DREAMS, ETC.

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, linked to Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • I’ve read and reviewed two books so far this week, and I’m almost finished with the third one.  They are all fabulous!  Emma in the Night (click titles for reviews) was a great domestic thriller; Sunday Morning Coming Down was probably the last (seventh) installment of the Frieda KIein series; and The Bookshop on the Corner, set in Birmingham and parts of Scotland, is a wonderful story of a librarian without a library.
  • The other day I reprised a review from a favorite author:  A Baby Boomer’s Coming of Age Tale (about Joyce Maynard).
  • Last week, I posted A Young Girl’s interior World:  Excerpting “Web of Tyranny.”
  • My former daughter-in-law (Fiona’s mother) had a great gathering for all of her grown kids…and the grandchildren.  Her oldest son Spencer and his family came all the way from North Dakota.  Here are some of them enjoying the pool:

  • Below, Spencer’s kids from North Dakota:  Twins Lilly and Bella, with Maddix…

  • I was so tired yesterday, and the days before, probably because I scrubbed the floors last weekend (LOL), that I went to sleep at 9 p.m.!  Right after I had watched the recorded Broadchurch.  As a result, I still haven’t watched Younger. 
  • I’ve watched half of Season I of Ozark, and parts of it remind me of Breaking Bad, with the strange and loathsome characters and the morally bent protagonists…doing what they feel they have to do.  I am a Jason Bateman fan, so I’m glued to the show.  Laura Linney plays the wife of Bateman’s character….and I don’t like her character at all.  She sneakily seems to undermine him, sort of like the wife in Breaking Bad.
  • After that whole “floor scrubbing” event, I think it’s time to get another “mani” today, even though I didn’t chip the nails.  I plan to call for an appointment after they open, although you can walk in.  But I like having an appointment.
  • I am ready to change my color again (I have red nails now), and last night I dreamed I got blue ones…not the dark navy blue I have done before, but a slightly lighter shade.  Maybe like these, without the glitter:

  • I often have the weirdest dreams, and what is even stranger…if I get up during the night for the bathroom, and go back to sleep, the dream continues!  As if I had paused a movie.  Odd, right?
  • So now…I’ve had two cups of coffee and I’m ready to resume reading my book about the Scottish librarian…I’m eager to find out what will happen to her after her new landlord sells the property where she is renting a cute little cottage….

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What is happening in your world, interior or exterior?

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MY INTERIOR WORLD: BOOKS, COMFY SETTING, & MY NOOK….

Good morning, and welcome to my Interior World.  Today has been one of posting reviews, checking for new releases, and capturing photos of my office.  Like the one above, which is a view from the left side of the room.  Books, family photos, and a bulletin board crammed with memorabilia.  Not to mention filing cabinets and a comfy chair.

Below, catch a glimpse of my work station:  laptop; my coffee and my list of blogs to visit.

And a close-up of my work space, with coffee.  A Disney character taking pride of place with my quirky doll, and the mug I  bought a few years ago in Big Bear, while on vacation.

 

Then, check out the opposite side of the room:  my couch, my trunk, my shelf of TBR books, my TV….

 

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I do love working in this room, which has had a few makeovers in recent years.  All it took was switching some furniture around…creating that nook for my laptop, etc., and adding a flat screen TV.

Now I don’t ever have to leave this room.  But, of course, I will.

Currently Reading:  The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan, which I’m loving.  The MC, a librarian named Nina, has been let go from her librarian position in Birmingham, and struggles to find a way to use her love of books in a new way.  A trip to Scotland, the purchase of a van, and she’s good to go.

 

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What does your interior world look like?  Do you have favorite spaces?  Do your books keep you engaged?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “EMMA IN THE NIGHT”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a NetGalley ARC that I am reading:  Emma in the Night, by Wendy Walker.   “Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators.” –Booklist, Starred Review

 

Beginning:  (CASSANDRA TANNER—DAY ONE OF MY RETURN)

We believe what we want to believe.  We believe what we need to believe.  Maybe there’s no difference between wanting and needing.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that the truth can evade us, hiding behind our blind spots, our preconceptions, our hungry hearts that long for quiet.  Still, it is always there if we open our eyes and try to see it.  If we really try to see.

***

56%:  Abby drew a long breath and leaned back in her chair.  She was buying time before answering the question.

“Sometimes people do things like that to escape emotional pain.  Extreme things that cause them to focus their attention away from the cause of the pain.”

***

Synopsis:  One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

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What do you think?  Do the snippets grab you?  Make you want to keep reading?

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A BABY BOOMER’S COMING OF AGE TALE…

I’ve been a fan of Joyce Maynard for many years.  Recently I read and LOVED her memoir, The Best of Us (click for my review).

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Then I searched through my Archives, and came up with an article I wrote on this blog eight years ago (July 2009), which reminded me once again why I love reading this author:

LookingBackIn 1972, an eighteen-year-old girl from New Hampshire wrote an essay for the New York Times, entitled “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life.”  Within days of the article’s publication, many letters came pouring in – requests for other articles, offers to go on television, and offers to meet with editors. One offer culminated in Looking Back: A Chronicle of Growing Up Old in the Sixties – an expansion of the article she had written for the “Times.”

In this memoir, the young woman, Joyce Maynard, wrote about her experiences growing up in a time when the world was changing dramatically – a world shaped by political activism, war, drugs, and women’s liberation – and how such events, plus the constant media presence, dictated how a generation perceived the world.

Speaking as one person affected by these complex changes in our culture, Ms. Maynard describes coming of age in such a time as “growing old.”  Perhaps a kind of cynicism, or world-weariness from the constant barrage of images from television impacted her view of the world – and the  view shared by many of her peers.

Nevertheless, she also illustrates her growing-up years with the “normal” kinds of experiences – the same insecurities and fears – that shadow most young people. She also points out in her foreword that she does not consider herself to have been “representative” of the typical experience of youth in her time. In fact, she states that the act of writing about these experiences in a way “sets a person apart from the territory of which she speaks.”

It is impossible for me to read this book, however, and not relate to it as someone having lived through similar experiences. Not the experience of living in New Hampshire or having written a book at a young age, but the commonality of fears and insecurities that hound most young people in any time, but especially in an age (such as the sixties) when change was  dramatic and constant.

I had read this book many years ago, but in rereading it recently, I still could relate to it. Ms. Maynard’s fiction is compelling, as well, including the novel To Die For…But her memoirs (another is At Home in the World: A Memoir), are erudite studies of growing up female in the Baby Boom generation.

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Do you sometimes search your Archives for your distant thoughts…and realize that you still feel what you were feeling then?  Or do you wonder “what was I thinking?”

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