Happy Halloween, and welcome to another edition of Monday From the Interior, in which we celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted for the last time this month by Savvy Verse & Wit; and What Are You Reading?, led by Book Journey.




My mailbox was nice and full this week with three review books, one book I purchased, and I found still another one at Barnes & Noble.  Finally, a preordered download came for Sparky, my Kindle!

1.  Inseparable, by Dora Heldt (Amazon Vine)

Still reeling from her recent divorce, Christine, the beloved protagonist of Dora Heldt’s uproarious Life After Forty, is sure that yet another birthday is the last thing she needs. But here it comes nonetheless, the big 4-4, in all its lonely mid-life glory. Making matters worse is Christine’s fear that, throughout her life, she has relied too heavily on the support of her girlfriends. As the big day nears, she begins to think that none of those women can understand just what she is going through. Alarmed by Christine’s growing despair, her best friend and sister hatch a plan to prove her wrong: they will gather together all of Christine’s old friends from the various stages of her life and throw a surprise party the likes of which she has never seen. Of course finding all of those women turns out to be easier said than done! Nonetheless, the final result proves to be a priceless gift, a moving and laugh-out-loud funny portrait of one woman’s life as told through the stories of her friendships.

2.  The Sisters, by Nancy Jensen (Amazon Vine)

In the tradition of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, a dazzling debut novel about the family bonds that remain even when they seem irretrievably torn apart

Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong. A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.

What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by unspeakable secrets. As the sisters have daughters and granddaughters of their own, they discover that both love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem.

3.  Armed, by Elaine Macko (Author)

Alex investigates murder in a mannequin factory. When Alex Harris, owner of the Always Prepared temporary agency, stumbles over the body of Mrs. Scott, nothing will ever be the same. And when the police investigation leads right back to her, Alex decides that it’s time she took matters into her own hands before the real murderer strikes again and really ruins Christmas. Along with her sister and partner, Samantha Daniels, and their assistant, Millie Chapman, the Winston Churchill-quoting, M&M-popping Alex probes and plods through red herring after red herring uncovering a lot more than murder. Investigating with a bulldog tenacity that would make Winston proud, Alex doesn’t let anything interfere with her sleuthing. Not even a midnight caper in the factory and an attack from a mechanical mannequin gone berserk can keep her from finding out the truth to the deadly deeds lurking within. In this, the first Alex Harris Mystery, follow our heroine to Christmas night and the murderer’s home where Alex unravels the secrets in Mrs. Scott’s past, and manages to get clobbered in the bargain!

4.  The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides

It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.

As Madeleine tries to understand why “it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France,” real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old “friend” Mitchell Grammaticus—who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.

Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.

5.  You Are My Only (e-book), by Beth Kephart

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the “No Good.” One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.




During this week, there were some blogging moments, like these:





10-30 CHECK-IN – ROW 80

REVIEWThe Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

REVIEW:     Beautiful Children, by Charles Bock

REVIEW TO BE POSTED:    The Grief of Others, by Leah Hager Cohen



1.  Bogey Nights, by Marja McGraw

2.  Wrecker, by Summer Wood

3.  The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by Joshilyn Jackson

And…if I’m having a good reading week, I hope to get to this one:

4.  When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan


What an exciting week this could be!  Hope you’ll come and tell about yours!


  1. MY ONE AND ONLY sounds like a real page-turner. I can’t imagine coming home to find my child missing. So heartbreaking! Enjoy your reading week. Looks like you’ve got a few good books lined up.


    1. I wasn’t planning to buy a book in Barnes & Noble last week (The Marriage Plot), but I’ve been drooling over it for awhile.

      And I love the preorder function at Amazon. On my birthday, You Are My Only was there!

      Thanks for stopping by, Serena.


  2. Nice mailbox. They all look and sound so interesting. All that I would enjoy with personal interactive dynamics. Since there are a few, will wait to see which ones you recommend highly to put on my “hopefully tbr in my lifetime list”


    1. I read the book before Inseparable (Life After Forty) and enjoyed it. So I will already feel connected to the characters.

      When She Woke had been calling to me for awhile….

      Thanks for visiting, Sheila. Have a great week!


    1. I do, too, Kim. I read the first book (Life After Forty), so I’m looking forward to more about the characters.

      The Girl Who Stopped Swimming has been calling out to me…I think I’m going to like it also. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Hi Laurel-Rain,
    It looks as though you have a serious ‘readathon’ planned for yourself this week, to go alongside your full mail box.

    I particularly like the sound of ‘The Sisters’, ‘Armed’ and ‘Bogey Nights’.
    ‘Bogey Nights’ sounds like a great cozy read and it seems to be doing the review rounds right now, so I shall be looking out for someone to post their thoughts about it.

    Enjoy your great haul


  4. Wow your mailbox must have had indigestion lol. I enjoyed You Are My Only, Beth’s writing is lovely. I love the cover & synopsis of The Sisters and I’m curious about The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.
    Have a great week and happy reading 🙂


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