WEEKLY UPDATES: GREAT BOOKS & GOOD FOOD…

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 great reading/blogging week, with three books read and reviewed and five blog posts written. My bookshelves are filling up…and I am happily arranging/rearranging the books.

On Netflix, I have been watching What If...and grabbing the occasional Prime movie. 

Today I celebrated granddaughter Fiona’s 23rd birthday at California Pizza Kitchen…

...after which they took me to the grocery store.  My fridge is now stocked up again.

Let’s grab some coffee/tea and take a closer look at my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Red Lotus”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Love…

My WWW Post…

Coffee Chat:  Celebrations, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Dead to Her”

Review:  You Are Not Alone, by Greer Hendricks/Sarah Pekkanen – (NG-3/3/20)Review:  Perfect Little Children, by Sophie HannahReview:  The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

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INCOMING BOOKS:

One book purchased as a replacement copy came in my physical mailbox…and I received a review ARC from NetGalley.  Then I downloaded one purchase.

White Oleander, by Janet Fitch (replacement copy, Oprah’s Book Club)

 

Big Summer (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner – (NG-5/19/20)

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Purchased Download:

The Other Mrs., by Mary Kubica

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CURRENTLY READING:  Dead to Her, by Sarah Pinborough

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Today I celebrated lunch with Birthday Girl Fiona and her boyfriend Dylan (above), and I had my favorite Baked Potato Soup.

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COFFEE CHAT: CELEBRATIONS, ETC.

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

Another great week!  I’ve been reading and blogging…and even mailed off my ballot for the Primary Election.  Friday is my other granddaughter’s birthday, and we’re planning a dinner out on Saturday.  A friend’s birthday is Saturday, and we will have lunch on Monday.    Twenty three years ago, Fiona was born on a Friday, on the same day as a lunch for my friend whose birthday we’ll celebrate on Monday.  I was at the hospital nearby for Fiona’s scheduled C-section birth, waiting to meet her.  That was quite a day!  The photo below was taken a few days later.

  • Two books read and reviewed this week so far.  You Are Not Alone, by Greer Hendricks/Sarah Pekkanen; and Perfect Little Children, by Sophie Hannah.  Next I’ll be starting in on The Wives, which I have in print format.
  • Last night we had another party in the dining room…and I forgot to take photos!  It was Italian Night with food and wine to match.  I had Spaghetti and Meatballs, which I was worried about, followed by Tiramisu.  And yes, I did get a little sick later.  Sigh.  Usually I don’t have any after effects if I have only bits of one offending item.  Will I never learn?  Well, I wanted to feel normal.  I think it was worth it, since the food was delicious.  So was the wine.  Here are images from the DiCicco’s page:

  • I’m still savoring the delicious flavors…lol
  • This morning, I stayed in my apartment…not ready to try food again.  I spent the time sipping tea and reading my book.
  • Today I’m expecting some Amazon packages…another replacement book:  White Oleander, by Janet Fitch; and a couple of kitchen items.

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This has been my week so far.  What does yours look like?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: SLEEPLESS ON A SATURDAY, ETC.

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.

Here I am at 4:13 a.m…. and SLEEPLESS ON SATURDAY.  Yes, I had to take a jab at that “Sleepless in Seattle” movie title, one of my favorite Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan flicks.  Why am I wide awake when I should still be curled up in my bed?  I am not quite sure, but I suspect that my thoughts are still caught up in recent political events that are disturbing to me…and upcoming primary elections that might (hopefully) right some of the wrongs.  I have a growing file here on my desk with primary election information and my official ballot that recently arrived in my mailbox.  So...instead of tossing and turning, I am writing this post about my week and the great books I enjoyed.

I actually read three books again this week, all of which were really awesome.  My mailbox was overflowing with new books (both physical and one NetGalley ARC), and I downloaded some purchases, too.

In the residence, our dining room table is overflowing with people who want to join us.  Why?  I suspect that our chatter and laughter are a draw.  Good, right?  We have had some lively conversations, not always agreeable, but there is nothing passive about us, that’s for sure.  I am reminded (almost) of the days in the university student union.  Hmm.

Anyway…let’s grab some coffee and take a closer look at the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Perfect Little Children”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Acquisitions…

Curled up with Books on a Hump Day…

Bookish Friday:  “The Janes”

Review:  Losing You, by Nicci FrenchReview:  American Dirt, by Jeanine CumminsReview:  Becoming, by Michelle Obama

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INCOMING BOOKS:

Two books arrived in my physical mailbox (my bookshelf for print books is growing!); and I received one NetGalley ARC.  Of course I also had to download three purchases.

FROM MY AMAZON MAILBOX:

The Housekeeper, by Natalie Barelli

Catch and Kill, by Ronan Farrow

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NetGalley:

Don’t Look for Me, by Wendy Walker – (9/15/20)

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Purchased Downloads:

Dead to Her, by Sarah Pinborough

Been There, Married That, by Gigi Levangie

All the Best Lies, by Joanna Schaffhausen

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CURRENTLY READING:  I just started reading the NetGalley ARC:   You Are Not Alone, by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (3/3/20)

Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.

Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better.

Shay would die for them to like her.
She may have to.

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That was my week.  Was yours exciting/adventurous/content?  Let’s take a peek at this delicious treat I recently enjoyed: (I think I have shared this before…but we had it again!).

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REVIEW: BECOMING, BY MICHELLE OBAMA

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

As an iconic woman who has redefined the meaning of First Lady by her behavior, her ideals, and her ability to rise above the challenges she faced as part of the First Black Presidential Couple, Michelle Obama showed us even more as we watched their eight years in the White House. But as I read Becoming, I loved glimpsing an insider’s view of her life growing up and becoming the woman who showed us an example of how to lead and serve as a role model.

A smart and savvy woman, Michelle revealed much about how to compromise and see the best in those who criticized her, showing her own ability to perform with those qualities.

In the end of this impressive story of one woman’s journey, I liked how she left the reader with these thoughts: “For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end….

“It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done….

“It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

A five star read from a truly authentic woman.  Read for the 2020 Nonfiction Reading Challenge.

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REVIEW: AMERICAN DIRT, BY JEANINE CUMMINS

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?


There was something captivating about Lydia Perez in American Dirt. She and her young son Luca suffer the horrific killing of their family in their own backyard during a birthday party, and in spite of the trauma and the stunning aftermath, she finds a way forward. Carefully, since she doesn’t know who might present new and ever-present dangers to her and her son, so she must be cautious. Not trusting anyone.

Along the way, Lydia and Luca meet other immigrants headed for “el norte,” forming a kind of family unit, while keeping a wary eye out for the dangers along the way.

Learning to travel on the tops of freight trains; connecting to a “coyote” who might help them cross over; but never forgetting for one moment that each day could bring new dangers…the intense journey kept me engaged throughout, even though I always knew that there would never be a “happy ending.”

The story does end on a hopeful note, but realistically, I realized that their hardships were just beginning. I did like that a feeling of hope helped them move forward, but also felt a sadness for what they would still encounter in their new lives. This book had a plodding quality to it, but, like the journey itself, the pace seemed appropriate. 4.5 stars.

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COFFEE CHAT: FEBRUARY THOUGHTS & MEMORIES…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

What a week!  I’ve been slogging along with tedious tasks.  I’m reading two books that are good, but for whatever reason, they are taking a long time to finish!  I did read and review one book so far:  Losing You, by Nicci French.  Very good!

  • Yesterday was my appointment with the tax accountant…and I don’t owe additional money!  That’s always good news.
  • Today is my granddaughter Aubrey’s 23rd birthday!  The other granddaughter, Fiona, has her 23rd birthday on the 21st!  Here they are at age seven, in a February in 2004.

  • Here are some more recent photos of them: (Aubrey, a year ago…not so recent!  And Fiona here in town)…

  • As I scrolled through my photo files, I realized that these girls have been almost too busy to take photos!  Aubrey has been spending the year in New Zealand, and Fiona is working long hours as a massage therapist.
  • A few days ago, my daughter and son-in-law enjoyed a cruise to Mexico…

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So…that was my week so far.  What did yours look like?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: REGULAR BLOGGING/READING/& VIEWING…

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.

Today I had a shopping adventure and bought two pairs of new pants, followed by lunch and a margarita in the same shopping center.  Now I’m back in my apartment, pounding out my updates.  I only read and reviewed two books this week, but wrote eight blog posts.  I am very happy that the Impeachment Hearing is over, even though the results didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.  I knew they wouldn’t, of course.  But I will put it all behind me.  And I’m glad that regular TV shows are back!

To soothe myself during these frustrating times, I watched Dirty John and The Laundromat on Netflix.

As I type, my desk lamp is on and my wicker chair is positioned correctly…it is so much more comfy!  Here is what my desk/chair looked like, before (left) and after (right).

Grab some coffee or tea, and let’s take a closer look at the week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sparking Some Fun on a Saturday…

Revisiting the Past Sparks Memories…

Sparking Some Memories:  Redux…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “When You See Me”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Filling My Shelves…

Hump Day Reading:  WWW

Coffee Chat:  Collections, Books, & My Interiors…

Bookish Friday:  “American Dirt”

Review:  The Country Guesthouse, by Robyn CarrReview:  Deep State, by Chris Hauty

INCOMING BOOKS:

Three books arrived in my physical mailbox…and I downloaded two e-books.

Blind Spot, by Sue Miller

The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher

Lost in the Forest, by Sue Miller (Purchased as a Replacement Copy)

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Downloads:

Perfect Little Children, by Sophie Hannah

The Janes, by Louisa Luna

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CURRENTLY READING:  Losing You, by Nicci French

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That was my week….what did yours look like?  Today I had a delicious lunch of soup and a margarita after my shopping adventure, and enjoyed this dessert:

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REVIEW: DEEP STATE, BY CHRIS HAUTY

Recently elected President Richard Monroe—populist, controversial, and divisive—is at the center of an increasingly polarized Washington, DC. Never has the partisan drama been so tense or the paranoia so rampant. In the midst of contentious political turf wars, the White House chief of staff is found dead in his house. A tenacious intern discovers a single, ominous clue that suggests he died from something other than natural causes, and that a wide-ranging conspiracy is running beneath the surface of democracy itself. Allies are exposed as enemies, once-dependable authorities fall under suspicion, and no one seems to be who they say they are. The unthinkable is happening. The Deep State is real. Who will die to keep its secrets and who will kill to uncover the truth?

From the very first pages of Deep State, the reader is caught up in intricate plots and nefarious characters. Throughout the story, Hayley Chill, a military veteran with impressive intellectual skills grabbed my attention. Her abilities kept me busy trying to keep up with her planning and her actions.

The author kept us on track, while also giving us glimpses of the future for some of the characters, a clever device that kept my interest.

Just when I thought I had all the conspirators sorted out, and knew what Haley’s end game was, we were gifted with a stunning reveal that took us behind the scenes to how the game started years before. A tale that resonates in these dark political times. 5 stars.

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COFFEE CHAT: COLLECTIONS, BOOKS, & MY INTERIORS…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

Another week of reading and blogging, and a sad but not unexpected end to the so-called Impeachment Trial.  But we shall move on, still hopeful about the future and what might come in the next few months.

  • This week I read and reviewed The Country Guesthouse, by Robyn Carr, another visit to Sullivan’s Crossing.  I am currently reading Deep State, by Chris Hauty, and hope to finish it today.
  • Books continue to arrive in packages from Amazon, like Blind Spot, by Sue Miller, and The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher.
  • More mugs have been added to my collection, and I am placing them in various spots, trying to find the perfect places for each of them.  Here are a couple of them on my desk.

  • Then I posed the newest RBG with my “fanciful” one:

  • Earlier in the week, I wrote about “finding the light” when I realized I needed to turn on the desk lamp to see the keyboard better…LOL.  Well, I also realized that I needed to reposition the desk chair so I could type better. Previously, my chair was placed at an angle to the desk (left).  Why?  Who knows?  But now it is much better (right).

  • It apparently takes a few months for me to sort out my surroundings.  LOL.

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: WHEW! WHERE DID THE MONTH GO?

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.

 

How is it possible that another week has flown by?  And that we are now in February?  As I sit here at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, I am also wondering why I am not yet comfortable working on my computer in my office nook.  Then I look up at my desk…and notice that I have another lamp I can turn on that will illuminate the keyboard more completely!  Duh.  In all of these months (eight, now!) I have had the overhead light on, but not the lamp.  Of course I have other issues with my computer, with the mouse and my cursor.  But having more light should be an immediate “go to” solution for some of my problems.  LOL.

Meanwhile…this week brought some good books for reading and to fill my shelves.  I completed a book for my Nonfiction Book Challenge…and read/reviewed three books in all.  I finished 14 books for January.

Two books came in my mailbox, I received a NetGalley ARC…and I downloaded one new one.  I also got another cute mug:

Now I need another beverage (coffee, tea?) while we look at the details of my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “All the Little Liars”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Adding To My Shelves…

Hump Day Reading/WWW

Coffee Chat:  Good Things in Unexpected Places…

Bookish Friday:  “Deep State”

January Wrap-Up:  Now Let’s Curl up with February Books…

Review:  America’s Reluctant Prince, by Steven M. GillonReview:  The Vanishing, by Jayne Ann KrentzReview:  All the Little Liars, by Charlaine Harris

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INCOMING BOOKS:

Two books arrived in my mailbox…and I downloaded a NetGalley ARC.  I also purchased a new e-book.

Physical Mailbox:

Guilt by Association, by Marcia Clark

Losing You, by Nicci French

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NetGalley ARC:  Release Date – 5/19/20

On Ocean Boulevard (e-book), by Mary Alice Monroe

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Purchased e-book:

When You See Me (e-book), by Lisa Gardner

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CURRENTLY READING: 

The Country Guesthouse (Sullivan’s Crossing #5), by Robyn Carr

I am also reading from Becoming, by Michelle Obama…

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That was my week…whew!  It flew by, and I did get a few things done.  I didn’t get out to CPK this week…but I might go today, after a mani.  I would like to eat this:

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