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.


Happy Fourth of July to those living in the states.  I am not sure what we can actually celebrate this year, with all that is happening in the world…and especially in a country that is so far behind flattening the curve that it seems like an impossible task.

But…we have to move forward, a day at a time, and take steps in our own communities to improve things.

For the rest of you, I hope you are all staying safe and doing better!

Meanwhile, I did enjoy my reading this week.  I just finished my third book, and that one was special, in that it was one of my backlog books from 2017.  I also read one of my NetGalley ARCs, a 7/7 release. 

I have continued enjoying my viewing:  Netflix, with Tales of the City; Amazon Prime, and assorted movies, including some old favorites; and Hulu, where I found nothing at all.

Let’s grab a favorite beverage, and take a closer look at the week.


Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Girl from Widow Hills”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Books & Bookish Things…

Goodbye to June!

It’s Hump Day!  What Are You Reading?

Searching My Backlog…

Coffee Chat:  A Cozy Breakfast & a Little Whining…

Happy Friday:  Adjusting Our Attitudes…

Bookish Friday:  “The Swap”

Review:  The Golden Cage, by Camilla Lackberg – (NG – 7/7/20)Review:  The House Guest, by Mark EdwardsReview:  Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach***


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

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

True to Form, by Elizabeth Berg

Talk Before Sleep, by Elizabeth Berg (reread)



The Request, by David Bell

Friends & Strangers, by J. Courtney Sullivan

The House Guest, by Mark Edwards



The Half Sister, by Sandie Jones


Next I need to focus on the rest of my July ARCs:

What You Wish For, by Katherine Center (7/14/20)

Playing Nice, by J. P. Delaney – (7/28/20)


That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Below, check out my dinner, with red wine, served on my new rustic tray.



  1. Literary Feline

    I hope you are enjoying your 4th of July, such that it is. I am not sure we are doing anything today we wouldn’t have done anyway. It looks like you got some great sounding books! The Vanishing Half is one I am really interested in. What You Wish For sounds perfect for right now. I hope you enjoy all of your new books.

    Have a great week, Laurel-Rain. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy 4th! Although I agree, for me this year it seems kinda hard to celebrate. But you are right, we have to keep hope and move forward.

    Netflix has been a godsend for me this week. I just finished Deadwind, a Finnish crime show. I highly recommend it if you’re interested, quite awesome. Looks like you have some nice suspense books on tap this week to read. 🙂

    Have a nice week!


    1. I am enjoying it, Linda, although there are a slew of these books about newly discovered family members through DNA testing.

      Each one has a slightly different slant, so that makes them interesting. Enjoy your books!


  3. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I have been seeing The Vanishing Half everywhere and am half convinced to grab it myself. I hope you are staying safe. Happy July 4th.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gayathri, it is easier to feel safe in a facility like mine that has been locked down since March 11 and with very strict regulations. Luckily, I am enjoying my apartment and fixing it up…constantly. LOL.

      Enjoy your week, and I hope to read The Vanishing Half soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We ‘celebrated’ by focusing on our little family and activities at home but I absolutely agree it’s a difficult time and doesn’t seem worth the risk to celebrate any other way!
    I hope you enjoy your reads! Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope your 4th July went off well, Laurel. You have had a really good reading week and I hope you continue to enjoy your books – I love the cover for The Vanishing Half, as it’s so clever and colourful! Have a peaceful, safe week:)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All of your books look fantastic! I’m on the hold list at my library for the audio of The Vanishing Half – so much praise for that book lately. We had a small gathering of family (fewer than ten) for lunch yesterday. It was nice but we missed the usual parade and then fireworks in the park last night. That said, I couldn’t believe how loud the fireworks sound was going off in the surrounding neighborhoods – more than the park display! It didn’t bother me, just surprised me 😀 Your dinner tray pic looked wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary, I am enjoying that tray…and it makes meals in the apartment feel more festive.

      We had fireworks viewing here, and I stayed in my apartment. I didn’t actually like the loud noise. LOL.

      Enjoy your week, and now we have no more holidays until Labor Day…right?


    1. Thanks, Laura, your country and some others have the right idea. Stay safe and enjoy the quiet.

      I hope you enjoy Elizabeth Berg’s books. I really loved her book Open House, a few years older; it was an Oprah pick.


  7. Susan

    Hi Laurel, hope you had a nice 4th. All we can hope for is getting the occupant out of the WH in November — pronto. You received some good books: I’ll be reading The Vanishing Half this week too — and Friends & Strangers looks good. I listed a couple new July movies on my site you might be interested in : Summerland and maybe Greyhound. Have you seen Hamilton? I havent yet but the movie version is out. Enjoy your week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t wait until he leaves the WH. Even after November, though, he’ll occupy the space until January. Sigh.

      I am looking forward to my books…and I am hearing good things about Hamilton, the movie. My second son and his wife saw the theater version in NY in 2018, I think.

      I’m going to check out Summerland and Greyhound, too.


  8. Sorry to hear that you don’t have much to celebrate this 4th July, but I hope you are able to stay safe and continue to enjoy your reading and viewing. I have also had a quiet weekend, as it is not a holiday here in the UK, but lots of people have been out as many more businesses were allowed to start reopening yesterday, including barbers, hairdressers and pubs! I just enjoyed a cheeky class of read at home instead, with my homemade chilli today. Take care and happy reading. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My husband and I spent a quiet 4th, choosing to stay in and avoid any possibilities of crowds. He’s off 3 days next week so we’re planning to get out and do some hiking (masks at the ready) then. Such a weird time we’re living in. Enjoy your week and your books!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Glad you had a good week. I’m reading The Vanishing Half now and enjoying it very much. Looking forward to Friends and Strangers, too. It’s been a long time since I read Elizabeth Berg. Her books were always so good, not sure why I drifted away. It’s been a very quiet holiday weekend around here… more of the same coming up this week. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often drift away from old favorites when new authors show up….like forgetting about Jonathan Kellerman until I am reminded how much I enjoy his books.

      Hope to love The Vanishing Half. Have a great week. Stay safe.


    1. Almost every country has done better than the US…and we know why. So many mixed messages and poor handling of the virus here.

      Hopefully your country stays in control of it. Thanks for visiting, Heather.


  11. I’m glad you enjoyed your books this week! And I hope you had a nice 4th of July too even if covid has hampered celebrations.

    I look at the spikes all over the US with ever-increasing horror… Here in the UK (well, England more specifically), they’ve just decided to open bars, restaurants and non-essential retail and I can almost see the tide pulling back ready to rush back in and swamp us. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The numbers hadn’t even gone down much when they opened the businesses here in the states. Things are not as bad in the Central Valley, but LA should not have moved ahead.

      I hope you stay safe. Even when businesses open, we can still take precautions.

      Thanks for visiting, Nicci.


    1. I hope so, Kathryn; and while I can probably put up with the isolation for as long as there are books around, it would be great to have contact with friends and family…other than telephone calls and video chats.

      Enjoy your week, and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think we did flatten the curve but then many just ignored the directives to continue with safe practices. It is frustrating to watch.

    I am glad you are gaining some more movement outside.
    I have been eyeing The Request. I hope you enjoy that and all of your reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Martha, it is definitely frustrating when people ignore the directives, since that behavior affects every one else around them!

      I guess we can only take care of our own side of the street, but it is definitely worrisome.

      Enjoy your week. I hope to read The Request soon.


    1. It is tragic and challenging that we, as a country, are not on the same page, and the leaders are definitely somewhere else.

      We do have to make our individual choices, and hopefully enough people will eventually find a way through this.

      Enjoy your week, Erin, and stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful tray! Doesn’t that make everything a little more beautiful?!

    I am eager to read the new Katherine Center book. I can’t wait to hear what you say about it.

    America is a work in progress, I think. Let’s hope we can keep everyone educated and thoughtful and reflective (and well!) and we have a chance to do well with this experiment we call the USA.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A lot of your books are already on my TBR list, but I especially want to read The Vanishing Half! I have some ARCs from NetGalley that I need to start reading, too. We made the mistake of going to a family cookout where not everyone took the social distancing guidelines seriously on the 4th. Very stressful to see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have the same problem; not as many books read. But some weeks are better than others.

      We are all dealing with fear and uncertainty, so that does get in the way of enjoyment. I do best when I focus on a day at a time.

      Thanks for visiting, Cheryl.


  15. Great selection of books! I’ve really enjoyed the Katherine Center books I read, this one sounds good too. And I’m hoping to read The Half Sister too.

    Have a great week, stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

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