WEEKLY UPDATES: HOLDING ON TO HOPE…

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.

 

Cooler days make for cozy nights curled up under favorite throws.  But outside, and lurking not that far away, are the wildfires.  And the smoky air that is part of our lives these days keeps us on alert.  Even though the wildfires are in other parts of the state (for now), we are hypervigilant..constantly aware of what could come.  Every part of our country has had disasters of one kind or another this year, and it is hard to fend off the sense of foreboding.

Reading, binge-watching shows and movies, and trying to connect with family and friends…these activities are signs of our hope and optimism.  I had an excellent reading week:  three books read and reviewed, and each one was a page turner.  I finished watching House of Cards Season 6 ( which I found disappointing, sigh), and yesterday, I started watching The Kominsky Method, starring Michael Douglas, Alan Arkin, and Nancy Travis…among others.  I enjoyed it so much that I’ve watched all episodes but one.  I saved that one for today.

Today is my eldest son’s birthday!  I won’t tell you how old he is, since that would age me as well.  LOL.  He is across the world in Prague…and I miss him and his wife Gabi.  Here they were three years ago when they visited.  So long ago!

I want to see Widows at the neighborhood theater…today, perhaps.  A great cast that includes Viola Davis and Liam Neeson, among others, “Widows” is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities.

I need to distract myself…and inside the theater, I’ll feel connected to something other than the frightening events in our lives.

Now…let’s grab another cup of coffee…and take a peek at the details of my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Treats, Reading, & Shoes…

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “The Family at No. 13”

WWW Wednesdays:  A Great Week So Far…

Coffee Chat:  Anticipating Pumpkin Day!

Bookish Friday:  “The Three Beths”

Review:  Her Pretty Face (e-book), by Robyn HardingReview:  Three Days Missing (e-book), by Kimberly BelleReview:  Winter in Paradise (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

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INCOMING BOOKS-(Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon):

One book that I purchased came in my physical mailbox!  Then I received a NetGalley ARC.  I bought two downloaded books to round out my week.

Becoming, by Michelle Obama

NetGalley ARC: Release Date – 2/5/19

The Winter Sister (e-book), by Megan Collins

Downloaded Books (Purchased):

Night of Miracles (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg

The Family at No. 13 (e-book), by S.D. Monaghan

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WHAT’S NEXT?

I flipped through my ever-present notebook today, hoping to find just the right “up-next books”…and it was hard to select them!  I have quite a few that I want to read, and soon.  But here’s a start:

Under My Skin (e-book), by Lisa Unger

From New York Times bestselling author and master of suspense Lisa Unger comes an addictive psychological thriller about a woman on the hunt for her husband’s killer.

Then…how about this one?

The Three Beths (e-book), by Jeff Abbott

A psychologically intense and emotionally gripping new suspense novel about a daughter’s desperate search for her missing mother-one that may lead her closer to home than she ever anticipated.

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So…that’s my week:  intense, cozy, and anxious…let’s focus on the cozy.  What did yours look like?  I usually share lunch or dinner foods, but today I’m feeling like breakfast.  I enjoyed French Toast one morning while I was running errands.

 

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REVIEW: WINTER IN PARADISE, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND

 

Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.

After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures.

 

My Thoughts: As the story opens with Irene enjoying her beautiful home and her job with Heartland Home & Style magazine, a feeling of foreboding tells us that everything she holds dear will soon be put to the test.

Meanwhile, her sons Baker and Cash are being challenged in their own ways: Cash is facing reversals in his business and Baker’s marriage is on the rocks.

The phone call that changes their lives takes them on a plane to the Virgin Islands, to a place they might have loved visiting under other circumstances.

How will Irene and her sons deal with the death of their husband and father? What will they discover about the secret life he was living?

In alternating narratives, we learn more about the islanders who are now part of Irene’s story: Huck, a ship captain and stepfather to Rosie, who now has become part of their lives; Ayers Wilson, Rosie’s best friend; and Maia, the twelve-year-old girl who has lost her mother.

Set against the backdrop of the island retreat, Winter in Paradise captured my heart with the sadness, the joy of the setting, the delicious foods that tease our taste buds, and the sense of betrayal dealt by Russell, who is no longer alive to explain himself.

Just below the surface is the sense of a mystery, and as Irene reminisces about her life with Russell, she tries to piece together what signs she might have missed along the way. At the very end, however, another tidbit of information from the authorities adds a startling conclusion. Since this book is number one in a new series, I look forward to more from these characters. 5 stars.

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COFFEE CHAT: ANTICIPATING PUMPKIN DAY!

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 great Pumpkin Day is coming!  Meanwhile, I have been enjoying various pumpkin desserts…and decor, just to get in practice for the Big Event.

This week has been a busy one, with errands, another dental appointment (the final bridge installation is on Monday!), and a better than normal reading week, since I’ve already zipped through two books.  When a week starts out like that, I am ready for fantastic numbers.  I loved Her Pretty Face, by Robyn Harding (click title for my review).

  • Since I quickly flew through those pages, the next one was even faster, and I couldn’t put it down.  Three Days Missing, by Kimberly Belle, was fast-paced with lots of intensity. (Click for review)
  • Currently I am reading Winter in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand…and continuing my slower read of What Happened, by HRC.
  • After finishing Brothers & Sisters on Amazon Prime, I started on House of Cards, Season 6.  I have only watched four episodes so far.
  • On Monday, my youngest grandson marched in the local Veterans’ Day Parade:  (Noah, Center)

  • Since this week was pretty busy, I couldn’t stay asleep on Monday night…and woke up at 2:00 a.m. to read.  Because the book was impossible to put down, I kept going and never caught up on my sleep.  So Tuesday night, I went to bed even before This Is Us aired…and it’s a favorite!  (I’ll catch up on the DVR later). I woke up at 7 a.m., feeling rested…finally.
  • Today’s mailbox brought the lovely Becoming, by Michelle Obama, and a new and very soft heating pad from Amazon.  So cozy!
  • As I sip my coffee, I am feeling in tune with my books and my anticipation of the holidays.  And loving some of the election results!
  • When I did my reading this week, I curled up in this reading chair in a corner of my bedroom.
  • I am looking forward to next week and some family/friends get-togethers.
  • This week has been the first time that I needed the heater!  I like the coziness of it, curled up in the covers and feeling the warmth that doesn’t come from hot days.

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How is your week shaping up?  Are you eagerly anticipating the holidays ahead?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: ANTICIPATING GOOD DAYS AHEAD…

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.

 

 

Last week was so chaotic that I planned to cocoon with books and movies this week.  However, there were errands to run, voting to do, and on Wednesday, I met a friend for coffee.  Then I finally immersed myself in books and binge-watching Brothers & Sisters until I finished all five seasons.  As a result of this fixation, which felt like becoming part of the Walker family, I only read and reviewed two books.  And now my eyes are so tired that I can barely type!  Through all of my reading and viewing, I managed to savor the results of the election. 

Since Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, I’ve been planning for that occasion, and enjoying the anticipation.

Let’s grab some more coffee, which I need desperately, and chat about the details of my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Glitches, Changes, Moments…

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Heaven Adjacent”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Errands, Voting, & Books To Love…

Hump Day Reading:  Slogging Along…

Coffee Chat:  What a Week!

Friday Chat:  Holidays, Friends, Family…

Bookish Friday:  “Nine Perfect Strangers”

Review:  In Her Bones (e-book), by Kate MorettiReview:  The Island House (e-book), by Nancy Thayer

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INCOMING BOOKS – (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon):

Empty physical mailbox…but I received one NetGalley ARC, and downloaded one e-book.

The Escape Room (e-book), by Megan Goldin – (NG-8/6/19)

Downloaded Purchase:

You Don’t Own Me (e-book, Under Suspicion Novel), by Mary Higgins Clark/Alafair Burke

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WHAT’S NEXT:

Still Reading:  What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Started Reading:

Her Pretty Face (e-book), by Robyn Harding

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That was my week.  What did yours look like? In between errands, I enjoyed this soup with a margarita.

 

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FRIDAY CHAT: HOLIDAYS, FRIENDS, FAMILY….

Good morning!  It’s Friday, and we’re less than two weeks away from my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  The above collage is on my Facebook page, and it shows some of my favorite things about that holiday:  Turkey, stuffing, wine, and pumpkin pie.

I will be celebrating with family and/or friends.  I have invitations to two events, and this year, I’m going with the friends’ invite.  Not that I’m dissing family, but I like to change things up, and some of my favorite holidays have been celebrated with a group of assorted cohorts in this friend’s home.  We met in 1972, and over the years we have celebrated many holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve!

 

I will also join with family on the following weekend, as my #2 son will be driving through our city, as usual, to gather around a table in a neighborhood restaurant.  Here we were last year.

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Today I found a photo I like of my daughter…and a special friend.

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What are your holiday plans?  Family, friends, or both?

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COFFEE CHAT: WHAT A WEEK!

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.

How is it Thursday already?  What a week!  Errands, voting, paying bills, and binge-watching Brothers & Sisters..still.  But I’m halfway through the final season.  I was lax on the reading front and finished my first book of the week last night…and then went to sleep before writing the review.  Which is why I woke up to write and post it first thing this morning. In Her Bones, by Kate Moretti (click for review) was fascinating…but sometimes tedious.  

  • Right afterwards, I checked my emails and found a NetGalley review book waiting for me:  The Escape Room, by Megan Goldin.  I almost didn’t download it—it would be my sixth ARC still unread—but its release date is 8/6/19, so I’ll have plenty of time to get to it.
  • I started reading The Island House, by Nancy Thayer, a book that has been waiting patiently on my Kindle for…TWO years!  I should have read it during the summer.  But I am intrigued, so I’m ready to dive in.  Why did I forget about it?  I love Thayer’s books.

  • I have five more days before I return to the dentist and, hopefully, get my permanent bridge.  I am so tired of chewing on one side only!
  • Halloween slipped right on by me this year.  No decorations and no Trick or Treaters.  That works for me.  The time changes, though, not so much.  But we may be able to have permanent Daylight Savings Time here in California, thanks to the election.
  • I love my Mary Engelbreit calendars…and this November one cheers me up when I enter the kitchen.  It is now time to search for 2019 calendars.  I usually buy them at Barnes & Noble around the corner.

 

 

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How is November treating you so far?  Are you loving your books and your not-so-bookish events?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A PARALLEL UNIVERSE…

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.

 

What a morning I have had!  I turned on my computer and found a message that my security had been breached…and long story short, went through a very lengthy process to get everything cleaned up…and new security installed.  For a while, I felt like I was in a parallel universe.  But now I’m up and running…but not entirely caffeinated.  And I still feel a bit stunned by it all.

I read and reviewed three books this week, so that was an improvement.  I’m watching Brothers & Sisters on Prime…and added Homecoming to my Watch List.  I am eager to view House of Cards Season 6.

I am not looking forward to the Fall Back in time tomorrow.  But let’s grab more coffee and take a closer look at my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Shell Game”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Photos & Books…

Hump Day Potpourri:  A Week of Reading…

Hello, November!  Monthly Wrap-Up

Coffee Chat:  Welcome to November!

Bookish Friday:  “Try Not To Breathe”

Review:  The Neighbors, by Hannah Mary McKinnonReview:  Open Your Eyes, by Paula DalyReview:  A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  I did download one e-book:

Winter in Paradise (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

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WHAT’S NEXT?

This morning I started reading a hardcover book that I have had for a while.  I couldn’t use Wi-Fi while the security issues were being corrected, which meant no Kindle, either.

What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, was sitting on a stack, just waiting.  Now that we have midterm elections next week, it seemed appropriate to read this book.

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What was your week like?  Mine was good…until this morning, when it turned surreal.  I will self-soothe with memories of this dessert I savored at one of my birthday celebrations.

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REVIEW: A SPARK OF LIGHT, BY JODI PICOULT

 

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

My Thoughts: A crisis, a cast of numerous characters, and the defining moments that brought them together form the core of A Spark of Light.

The alternating narratives begin near the end of the explosive events, and as the story takes us back in time, we learn about each of the characters in depth, from their flaws to their hopes and dreams.

Wren, a fifteen-year-old girl who turns out to be the daughter of Hugh, the hostage negotiator, was there for an entirely different reason than some of the others. And Janine, another hostage, had a secret goal on that day, one that could mark her as the enemy.

I enjoyed watching as the author peeled the hours back to the very beginning, revealing much and offering a chance to understand all points of view. It is sometimes impossible to understand another person’s perspective on an issue until faced with circumstances that bind them together in life-and-death moments. If people could learn to listen and try to understand each other without having to come to this point, there might be less anger and fewer violent episodes. This story shone a light on the author’s trademark issues: controversy, conflict, and multiple perspectives set against a violent stand-off.

In the end, we are gifted with a sense of resolution as we watch how the day ends for the characters. And in a surprising twist, we learn about some unexpected connections. 5 stars.

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COFFEE CHAT: WELCOME TO NOVEMBER!

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.

 

Good morning, and welcome to my first Coffee Chat of November.  Did everyone get through Halloween okay?  In the eleven years I’ve lived in this condo, I’ve never had Trick or Treaters stop by….except for when my daughter used to bring my grandson over.  And that was years ago.  So I stopped buying the candy, since I didn’t want sacks of it around for me to eat.  I just turn out the porch light and huddle up quietly.  Although I did continue watching Brothers & Sisters, which I love.  I watched it all years ago, but it felt new to me in parts.  I’m almost on Season IV.

  • What a week…what a month!  I think I have finally worked out the quirks on my new laptop, and I’m pretty comfortable with it now.  With help from blog visitors, who noticed some of my comments, I’ve stopped the leaping and flying cursor…just a click or two in the settings.  Yay!
  • Yesterday I wanted to upload photos from my Old School digital camera, and it didn’t work the usual way…which required a chat with the online Geek Squad.  Now it’s ready to go.  I use my iPhone for photos most of the time, but I still like the regular camera.
  • Reading…sigh.  My numbers were down:  only 9 books read and reviewed in October!  But this week I’ve read two so far:  The Neighbors and Open Your Eyes (click titles for my reviews).
  • I am currently reading A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult, and I’m loving it.  Although I have been watching more TV than I have been reading!
  • I love this photo that my son Brett texted of him and his daughter Aubrey.  She is a senior at San Diego State University.  She is the granddaughter I don’t see as often, being way down there.  We’ll get together at Thanksgiving, though.

  • I don’t see my other granddaughter as much as I once did, and she lives here in the same city.  She is going to school and working.  Occasionally I see her photos on Facebook, like this one:

  • The two girls were born in the same month and year, so they are my “twin granddaughters.”
  • Today I think I’ll stay home and read.  All week, I’ve had various things to do out in the world…errands, etc.  I am looking forward to being cozy again.

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What does your week look like so far?  Enjoy!

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A CELEBRATORY WEEK…

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.

 

A lovely autumn week brought serene days, with birthday celebrations, blogging, and some reading.  I only read and reviewed two books, but they were both wonderful.  I wrote six blog posts, so I made up for the previous week when I had no laptop. Today I am pondering what I should do…probably more reading, but I’ve also been captivated by a series I loved a few years ago, now on Amazon Prime:  Brothers & Sisters, with Sally Field as the matriarch.  I’m on Season II.

I haven’t gone to the theater lately.  I’m still waiting for movies that will draw me there, as I no longer go for just any movie. 

So…let’s grab some coffee and chat about the details of the past week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Under My Skin”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Books, Chaos, & Recovery

A Week of Engaging Books…

Coffee Chat:  A Week To Celebrate…

Thursday Potpourri:  Celebrating Autumn & Birthdays…

Bookish Friday:  “The Neighbors”

Review:  In Pieces, by Sally FieldReview:  Day of the Dead (e-book, Freda Klein Novel), by Nicci French

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox!  I did receive a NetGalley review ARC, and then I downloaded two purchased e-books.

Daisy Jones & the Six (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid (NG-3/5/19)

Purchased Downloads:

The Three Beths (e-book), by Jeff Abbott

Gone So Long (e-book), by Andre Dubus III

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WHAT’S NEXT?

The Neighbors (e-book), by Hannah Mary McKinnon

Open Your Eyes, by Paula Daly

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I celebrated with two birthday lunches…here’s one of them, with two of my “daughters” (bio daughter on the left, and honorary on the right):  I had Quiche.

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