WEEKLY UPDATES: A POTPOURRI OF EVENTS…

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.

 

 

The weather is heading upward to the 90s this weekend.  I guess I should prepare the AC…just in case.

I read and reviewed four books this week, and they were a mix of NetGalley review books (2), a library book, and one purchased book.  There was a bit of mystery, a nonfiction book, and vicarious traveling to lovely settings.

The last episode of Scandal aired…and I’m sad to see the characters go.  But in some ways, I liked putting the political dirty dealings behind me.

Next Wednesday, The Handmaid’s Tale returns to Hulu for its second season.  And on Sunday, there will be another Season II episode of The Good Fight.  Loving it!

This week, Son #2 is in Louisville, Kentucky, working with a small crew producing an indie film.  Below, see stars:  Jason Patric, on the left; and Toby Kebbell, right…

So…those are some tidbits from my week.  Grab some coffee, and let’s chat about the details.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Enjoying Cozy Books and Moments…

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “The Female Persuasion”

My Bookish Journey Through Review Books…

Hump Day Reading…

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Let Me Lie”

Review:  Paris Ever After (e-book), by K.S.R. Burns – (NG-5/1)Review:  A Nantucket Wedding (e-book), by Nancy Thayer – (Library)Review:  True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness (e-book), by Christine LahtiReview:  The High Tide Club (e-book), by Mary Kay Andrews  – (NG – 5/8)

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One book came in my mailbox, an author review book!  I received one NG review book; one library book; and one purchased download.

Beach Bliss, by Joanne DeMaio (Author Review Request)

NetGalley Review:

The Dream Daughter (e-book), by Diane Chamberlain – (10/2)

Library:

Sisters Like Us (e-book), by Susan Mallery

Purchased:

Housekeeping (e-book), by Marilynne Robinson

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Let Me Lie (e-book), by Clare Mackintosh

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Then I’ll follow my moods…and pick up some review books.  That’s my week.  What did yours look like?  The other day, I had apple pie a la mode with my book.

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COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, MOVIES, ETC.

Good morning!  It’s time for another Coffee Chat, a sharing of our bookish and not-so-bookish thoughts.

The week started off with a beautiful book that transported me to Paris bistros and soirees with characters that kept me engaged.  Some were annoying and others were fascinating.  Paris Ever After, by K.S.R. Burns, is a NetGalley book that will release on 5/1.  (Click title for my review).

  • Next, I lost myself on Nantucket Island with A Nantucket Wedding, by Nancy Thayer, which reminded me that families bring a lot of baggage to even the most beautiful settings and events.
  • Yesterday I quickly read a short memoir from Christine Lahti, one of my favorite actresses.  The title is a tongue twister; click for my review.  True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age.
  • For dinner last night, I went to Marie Callender’s and enjoyed a pot pie with a Caesar Salad…and a glass of wine.  Sigh, so relaxing.

  • The rest of the week was filled with errands and assorted activities.
  • I also watched one of Christine Lahti’s movies, Housekeeping, which I found on Amazon Prime.  I had watched it years ago, but for some reason, it especially struck me this week.
  • While I was at it, I downloaded the Kindle book by Marilynne Robinson.
  • One of the side effects of reading a memoir about an actress:  I usually want to see more of her movies.  My favorite movie from Christine Lahti was an oldie called Running on Empty, from 1988.  I have it on DVD, of course.  In addition to Lahti, the film starred River Phoenix, who died too young.

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Life throws unexpected curves, and late last night I got some devastating news about the death of a young person in my extended family:  the stepdaughter of my youngest son.  As I mourn the loss, I will try to remember to fully enjoy family and cherish the moments.

Have a blessed day!

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REVIEW: PARIS EVER AFTER, BY K.S.R. BURNS

 

Can Amy’s rocky start in Paris turn into a happy ever after? Amy didn’t realize how stale her life was until she jetted off to Paris without telling a soul—not even her husband—and had the adventure of a lifetime. Now as she tries to establish herself in the City of Light, she finds that despite a fun (and quirky) group of friends and the ability to indulge in French pastries whenever she wants, reinventing her life is much harder than she imagined.

Then on Amy’s thirtieth birthday, two unexpected visitors leave her wondering if she will soon be saying au revoir to Paris and the new life she’s struggled to build. Her estranged husband, Will, shows up—but is he interested in reconciliation or separation? And a young woman who arrives on Amy’s doorstep unleashes chaos that could push Amy out into the street.

As Amy’s Parisian dream starts to fall apart, she must decide: return to the stability of Will and Phoenix (if that’s even still an option) or forge her way forward in Paris? Amid secrets and surprises, set in enchanting gardens, cozy cafés, and glittering Parisian streets, Amy must choose between two very different worlds. And each has a claim on her heart.

My Thoughts: In our first look at Amy Brodie in Paris Ever After, she is still reeling from the death of her best friend Kat. The death that sent her flying off to Paris on a trip that she and Kat had planned, but was derailed by her death. But then, after just a few weeks, Amy returned to Phoenix…to a bitter fight with William that catapulted her back to Paris. On her second day, she meets an older woman named Margaret, who offers a room, and in a short time she begins to feel at home.

Her life is now full of beautiful café lunches; soirees at Margaret’s, with her two friends Herve and Nanu; and a new pregnancy with baby daughter Catherine. Just before she left Phoenix that last time, William gave her a parting gift. He does not know, however, and now she faces a dilemma.

Can she share her news with him and see if there is anything left of the marriage? What will her future hold: Paris or Phoenix?

A lovely book full of scenes that I loved, some characters that were wonderful, and others that were not. Secrets come out and an unexpected reunion between Margaret and someone she thought she had lost would upend Amy’s plans. Where will she belong now? As the story drew to an end, I was hoping for a sequel so that I could spend more time with these characters. 5 stars.


***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

WEEKLY UPDATES: MOVIES, BOOKS, & YUMMY 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.

 

 

What a week!  It started off brilliantly, with one book read quickly.  Then the second book (a library book) seemed to slog along, even though it was also very much a page turner.  I kept getting distracted, with errands, etc., and also having coffee with a friend on Monday.  Eventually I finished it…and then went on to read two more, one of which was a Vine review book.  A total of four, but I finished the fourth one on Saturday.

I’m still trying to rely more on library books and review books, but I couldn’t resist three purchases this week.  NetGalley came through for me, too, with 4 new books!

Last weekend, I went to the movies and enjoyed Chappaquiddick.

I’m going to grab another cup of coffee and chat more about the week.

Let’s take a closer look at my week…

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Books, Movies, & Dreams…

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Raspberry Danish Murder”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Adding to My Shelves…

A Bookish Week…

Hump Day Sparks:  Thoughts of Spring…

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, & Other Tidbits…

Bookish Friday:  “Mrs.: A Novel”

Friday Potpourri:  Past & Present…Family & Obsessions…

Review:  A Turn for the Bad (e-book, County Cork #4), by Sheila ConnollyReview:  The Darkness Gathers (e-book), by Lisa Unger (Library Book)Review:  Go Ask Fannie, by Elisabeth Hyde (Amazon Vine Review)Review:  The Unexpected Mother (e-book), by Susan A. Ring

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty Physical Mailbox!  I did receive four NetGalley review books; one library book; and downloaded three purchases.

Not Her Daughter (e-book), by Rea Frey (NG – 8/21)

Shadow Dancing (e-book, Country Club Murders), by Julie Mulhern (NG – 6/19)

Lies (e-book), by T.M. Logan – (NG-9/11)

Bring Me Back (e-book), by B. A. Paris (NG- 6/19)

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Library Book:

A Nantucket Wedding (e-book), by Nancy Thayer

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Purchases:

The Female Persuasion (e-book), by Meg Wolitzer

The New Neighbors (e-book), by Simon Lelic

Tangerine (e-book), by Christine Mangan

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WHAT’S NEXT?

I’ll be doing some mood reading…and also starting my May NetGalley list, like Paris Ever After and The High Tide Club.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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That was my week…what did yours look like?  Last weekend, I enjoyed this lunch before the movies…Sesame Shrimp and a Blushing Geisha Martini…

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COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, MOVIES, & OTHER TIDBITS…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat…sharing bookish and not so bookish thoughts.

Speaking of coffee…and chatting, on Monday I met a friend at Barnes & Noble, to catch up and enjoy the brew.  It had been a while since our last get-together.

  • Back at home afterwards, I curled up with The Darkness Gathers, by Lisa Unger, one of her earlier books; the previous day, I had finished a very quick read:  A Turn for the Bad, by Sheila Connolly, and the 4th book in her County Cork Mystery. (Click for reviews).
  • Now I am reading an Amazon Vine review book, and I’m loving it.  A story of family, with narratives that take us back to the past and also show us the present, Go Ask Fannie, by Elisabeth Hyde, reminds us of the usual squabbling between siblings…and the strength of those family ties, too.

  • I’m still requesting e-books from the library, and so far I’ve finished three books from that source.  This week I got another!  A Nantucket Wedding, by Nancy Thayer.  Gorgeous cover, right?

  • Now I am in a quandary.  What should I read next?  One of my NetGalley May review books…or this library book?  Or even one of the books I’ve purchased, some of which have languished on Pippa for a while.  Sigh.
  • It is Thursday, so tonight we get to watch the TGIT lineup...which is shorter than usual, with How To Get Away With Murder on hiatus.  I didn’t add Station 19 to my DVR…I watched one episode, and it just didn’t grab me.
  • I recorded some older movies to watch this week, some of which I even have on DVD…but I was too lazy to go through my shelves to find them…

  • I watched Single White Female...I’ve probably watched it ten times over the years…and I always get scared in the final moments.

  • Next I’ll be watching Fatal Attraction again…I also have the DVD.
  • Sometimes the older movies (from the 1980s and 1990s) are more captivating because of the reminders of my own past life, when I first saw the movies.  Like when I lived in this townhouse in the 1980s…and my kids were young….the “kid” on the right is my eldest son, Craig, who is now a writer/photographer in Prague.  On the left, Heather was a pre-teen…and she hates these photos.

  • Speaking of older movies, there are scenes in Single White Female in which the characters are watching movies from the 1930s, etc…..
  • Cell phones are absent in these movies, too, which heightens the suspense, since it is harder to call for help when you’re not next to a landline or pay phone.
  • Books with detectives who don’t have technology are more interesting to me, too, like the Sue Grafton books.  Kinsey Millhone has to use a pay phone now and then.  I recently bought a Grafton book that I had missed over the years:  K is for Killer.

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So…as you can tell, my week has been full of rambling thoughts and activities, and I’m eager to keep going.  What does your week look like so far?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A RAINY DAY…AND READING…

 

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.

 

After last week’s great reading (five books!), it was inevitable that the following week would be less than impressive.  I only read  and reviewed TWO books, and I’m into the third one, which I may finish today.  But I’m savoring the books.

Also…the week included a series of outside activities, like a mani-pedi on Tuesday and hair styling on ThursdayBelow, left, I’m relaxing over a movie (Motherhood), with Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, and Anthony Edwards.  On the right…see my new hair style sprinkled with more purple than last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So…is it any wonder that the reading came in second place?  I also tackled some long overdue “spring cleaning.”

Today I’m finishing up some tasks…and then, because it is raining, I may curl up on my office sofa, where I feel so cozy.  Let’s grab some coffee and chat about the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “The Affliction”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Borrow, Buy, & Request…

A Week of Savoring My Books…

Coffee Chat:  Random Bits of My Life…

Bookish Friday:  “The Garden of Small Beginnings”

Friday Potpourri:  Celebrating Spring…and Family…

Review:  Sometimes I Lie (e-book), by Alice FeeneyReview:  Saints for All Occasions, by J. Courtney Sullivan (Library book)

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!

But…I did get one library book…and downloaded two e-books (purchased)

Library Book (via Libby @ Overdrive):

The Darkness Gathers (e-book, Lydia Strong #2), by Lisa Unger

Purchases:

Before I Let You Go (e-book), by Kelly Rimmer

True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness:  A Feminist Coming of Age (e-book), by Christine Lahti

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  A Turn for the Bad (e-book, County Cork #3), by Sheila Connolly

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And then…I want to read my other library book before time runs out on it (The Darkness Gathers), and next I can start my May NetGalley ARCs, like:

Paris Ever After (e-book), by K.S.R. Burns (NG – 5/1)

Then wherever my moods take me.

That was my week…what did yours look like?  Last night I enjoyed one of my favorite comfort foods:  French Pot Roast.

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COFFEE CHAT: RANDOM BITS OF MY LIFE…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, featuring our bookish and not so bookish thoughts, hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

After such amazing reading last week (five books read and reviewed, see my Weekly Updates), I’m off to a slow start, slogging along.  I did finished Sometimes I Lie, by Alice Feeney, which I enjoyed (click for my review), and I am reading bits of Saints for All Occasions (a library book), but I keep setting it aside to do other things. 

  • Then I spent some time browsing my Libby Overdrive app, putting books on hold…and checking out my wait list to see the status of those already on hold…Yes, a bit obsessive…
  • Perhaps I need a respite from reading.
  • Yesterday I had a mani-pedi, and I loved the pampering…

 

 

 

 

 

  • Afterwards…I stretched out on the couch (see my pedi!) to watch a movie called Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards, and Minnie Driver.  It came out in 2009, and I had never seen it.  The characters were living in NY, in the Village.  It was fun, although I was exhausted watching the “mom” character multi-task.  “Raising kids is never easy. Eliza, a stay-at-home mom of two, hilariously finds this out in a seemingly endless day where she must plan a birthday party, deal with her scatter-brained husband, save her car from being towed, and write an essay for a parenting magazine before the fast-approaching deadline. Starring Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards and Minnie Driver. “

  • Tomorrow I’ll visit my hair stylist (daughter)…and then we’ll have lunch.  It has been a while since we had a get-together.  I am no longer dyeing my hair due to the allergies I’ve developed, so we’re just styling, trimming, and putting in another purple streak (I think).
  • How did this week pass so quickly, with so little accomplished?  Although I guess pampering myself is doing something…LOL
  • I have been collecting photos of family and friends…and sharing them occasionally.  I love this one of my great-niece Margaret, who looks like she is having a cup of coffee…but I’m sure it’s hot chocolate.

  • And then I had fun adding this one of my youngest son, who lives on the beach…he created this interesting background for the shot:

  • Tonight, one of my sort-of enjoyable sitcoms will be returning:  Famous in Love
  • Earlier in the week, I settled in with Season 3 of Better Call Saul, which I had already seen on the AMC network…but I liked binge-watching it, in preparation for Season 4…which will be streaming by summer, I think.

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So…these are the random tidbits of my week.  What did your week look like?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: LOTS OF READING…& SOME SUNSHINE…

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 great week!  Not only did we have lots of sunshine, but I read and reviewed FIVE books.  Strange, since my reading is usually best when it is raining.  Three of the books were NetGalley ARCs, so that felt good.  Two were library books, using my new Libby Overdrive app.

Finished Bloggiesta ….click the link to see what I accomplished.

Not much else going on, though;  the reading consumed me.  I did watch some TV, and a little Netflix (Life Unexpected), and Season II of Doctor Foster.   On CBS-All Access, I am regularly watching episodes of The Good Fight.

Today looks like a nice sunny day…time for a good walk.  Or not.  LOL.

Let’s grab some coffee and talk more about the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Her Every Fear”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Curtailing Some Impulses…

A Great Hump Day:  Savoring the Books…

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Saints for All Occasions”

Monthly Wrap-Up:  March Is Gone!

Review:  Map of the Heart (e-book), by Susan WiggsReview:  The Good Liar (e-book), by Catherine McKenzie – (NG – 4/3)Review:  Other People’s Houses (e-book), by Abbi Waxman – (NG – 4/3)Review:  Her Every Fear (e-book), by  Peter Swanson Review:  After Anna (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline – (NG – 4/10)

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing in my mailbox!

A Vine book came on Saturday!

Vine Review:

Go Ask Fannie, by Elisabeth Hyde

Library Book:

Saints for All Occasions (e-book), by J. Courtney Sullivan

Download:

The Garden of Small Beginnings (e-book), by Abbi Waxman

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Sometimes I Lie (e-book), by Alice Feeney

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Then…my May ARCs…plus my library book, Saints for All Occasions.

***

That was my rather stellar reading week…I don’t anticipate the same this week, since it was kind of a fluke.  Today I want to run errands…and maybe grab something good to eat…like this:

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REVIEW: AFTER ANNA, BY LISA SCOTTOLINE


 

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she’d lost forever, her only daughter Anna. 

Maggie and Noah know that having Anna around will change their lives, but they would never have guessed that everything would go wrong, and so quickly. Anna turns out to be a gorgeous 17-year-old who balks at living under their rules, though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble brewing in a once-perfect marriage and home. 

Events take a heartbreaking turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused and tried for the heinous crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her daughter, but the realization that Anna’s murder may have been at the hands of a husband she loves. In the wake of this tragedy, new information drives Maggie to search for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined. 


My Thoughts: Alternating narratives take the reader back and forth in time through the riveting pages of After Anna.

How could their lives have turned upside down so quickly? And how could they have seen any of it coming? Is Maggie in denial about her husband…or about her daughter? Has Noah made some foolish choices that have come back to haunt him?

As I rapidly turned the pages, I came to my own interpretation of events, some of which I took away from years of working with dysfunctional families and with people who have completely opposing versions of the truth. In this case, there are at least two sides to the truth…but then there can also be an unexpected player in this family tragedy.

From the beginning, I did not like Anna, but understood how Maggie could be fooled by her. After all, she was suffering from the guilt of having lost her child in infancy. Now she has to make up for their losses, which means that she has blinders on and misses all the red flags.

Noah did not do himself any favors when he failed to share his own qualms…but then again, a man in this scenario is often unaware of the manipulations going on around him.

Just when we thought all was settled, albeit not very happily, we are thrown off course by some startling revelations that changed everything we thought we knew. As a result, we enjoyed a very satisfactory conclusion. 5 stars.


***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, MOVIES, ETC.

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, featuring our bookish and not so bookish thoughts, hosted by Bookishly Boisterous.

The weather has turned mild again, with 70-something temperatures.  No rain for several days, but while we had the rain, I found my reading mojo again…and so far this week, I’ve read and reviewed three books and I’m well into my fourth.  Two were NetGalley ARCs:  The Good Liar, by Catherine McKenzie and Other People’s Houses, by Abbi Waxman; (click for my reviews).  The third was a library book:  Map of the Heart, by Susan Wiggs (click for my review).

  • Now I’m reading and loving another library book:  Her Every Fear, by Peter Swanson.
  • I’m slowly learning the ins and outs of navigating Libby @Overdrive.  Figuring out how long I have to wait for each book.  So far, I’ve already downloaded three books as “loans.”
  • Son #2 took a road trip this week with his three kids, Alec, Aubrey, & Aaron; here’s a shot of them at the Grand Canyon…beautiful setting!

  • Here are Brett and two of the kids taking selfies:

 

  • I thought my youngest grandson (age 15) would be spending the weekend, but he’s going to his dad’s instead.  That works, as now I won’t have to scramble to arrange activities during the Easter weekend.
  • Speaking of Easter, I loved finding adorable photos of my great-grandniece, Margaret, who looks ready for spring in this one:

  • And doesn’t she look grown up in this shot?  Is that hot chocolate?

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How is your week shaping up?  Do you have plans for the weekend?

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