a cup of joe on a Sunday

Welcome to another view of my Interior World, the one that has lately involved various kinds of purging and rearranging.

You have watched me haul out boxes of books, and even empty bookshelves.  But today I took a stab at lightening up some of the knick-knacks on my favorite bookshelf in my living room.  Here are two views of the shelf…BEFORE.  Notice an arrangement of some of my Disney figurines….there is little room between them.




Here is another view of the full-length bookshelf with books and figurines:


entry way in feb-touched up




Now take a look at AFTER….I took away a few of the gorgeous creatures.  Not to worry, they are in a closet, and maybe they can be swapped out for the ones currently on the shelves…at some point.  (Below), note a close-up of a couple of the shelves, minus a few of my favorite things.





And here is another view:





A start, right?  I wonder when I will be satisfied?  I suspect that once I started this whole thing, I had unleashed a purging fury.

What do you think?


Meanwhile, I am reading a rather frightening story about a family living in an isolated home in the shadowy woods…and what happens when two escaped convicts invade their home.

As Night Falls, by Jenny Milchman…





Sandy Tremont has always tried to give her family everything. But, as the sky darkens over the Adirondacks and a heavy snowfall looms, an escaped murderer with the power to take it all away draws close.

In her isolated home in the shadowy woods, Sandy prepares dinner after a fight with her daughter, Ivy. Upstairs, the fifteen-year-old—smart, brave, and with every reason to be angry tonight—keeps her distance from her mother. Sandy’s husband, Ben, a wilderness guide, arrives late to find a home simmering with unease.

Nearby, two desperate men on the run make their way through the fading light, bloodstained and determined to leave no loose ends or witnesses. After almost twenty years as prison cellmates, they have become a deadly team: Harlan the muscle, Nick the mind and will. As they approach a secluded house and look through its windows to see a cozy domestic scene, Nick knows that here he will find what he’s looking for . . . before he disappears forever.

Opening the door to the Tremont home, Nick brings not only a legacy of terror but a secret that threatens to drag Sandy with him into the darkness.


A scary story helps keep me from obsessing about my interiors…LOL.  For a while, anyway. 

Do you find that books distract you from what is going on in the real world?






At long last, David and Ivy Rose are about to have their first child, after previous miscarriages. With the baby’s due date only weeks away, they are clearing out the attic of a previous owner’s belongings and having a yard sale.  They are eager to finish renovating their old Victorian in Brush Hills, MA.

In the furor of the sale, with all the comings and goings, Ivy is stunned to see a woman, also pregnant, approach and identify herself as Melinda White, an old high school friend.

Ivy knows that they were barely acquaintances, that Melinda was always on the fringes…and that she had probably longed to be part of the crowd.

Suddenly Melinda is going inside the house with David, having asked for a tour, and Ivy is consumed with other yard sale details.

What happens next will be like a nightmare that unfurls and changes everything about the life they thought they had….and with each day that passes, their lives will be reshaped by the events of that day. For Melinda White has been reported missing, and nobody can fill in what happened after she went into the house with David. Not even David.

There was evidence, including a blood-stained outfit Melinda had been wearing, stashed at their curb in a trunk they had placed out there for garbage collection. Why did the neighbor, Mrs. Bindell, report that she had seen Ivy at the trunk? How did fetal tissue get on the clothing? And why is David’s old friend Theo, who is also their attorney, acting suspicious?

Obsession, mental instability, and a very devious plan would all unfold, and as the suspense ratchets up another few notches, I was glued to the pages as it all started to make sense. Never Tell a Lie: A Novel of Suspense is a psychological thriller with characters I cared about…and an ending that I was eager to see. 5 stars.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today I am featuring a book from Hallie Ephron:  Never Tell a Lie.






Beginning:  Tuesday, Nov 4

Pregnant Woman Missing from Brush Hills

BRUSH HILLS, MA Police continue to search for clues in the disappearance of Melinda White, 33, who was last seen on Saturday.  Authorities yesterday issued a bulletin describing the pregnant woman as “at risk” and a possible victim of foul play.


56:  “Her sister reported her missing, and we located her car.  It was parked down the block.  There was a copy of the Weekly Shopper on the front seat, with your yard-sale ad circled.”


Blurb:   “[A] richly atmospheric tale. You can imagine Hitchcock curling up with this one.”
USA Today

Author Hallie Ephron’s fast paced and disturbingly creepy Never Tell a Lie is a page-turning thrill ride that maestro Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud to call his own. A descent into gripping suburban terror, this stunner by the Ellen Nehr Award-winning mystery reviewer for the Boston Globe has been called “a snaky, unsettling tale of psychological suspense” by the Seattle Times. Fans of Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, and classic gothic mystery will adore this supremely suspenseful and consistently surprising story of a yard sale gone terribly wrong.


I have read and LOVED two books by this author now…so I can’t wait to get into this one.  What do you think?






When Ella Flynn and Blake Hunter met in Watersend, South Carolina, they each had their own agenda, and they were each telling little white lies.

Ella, who was a resident of the town, had shared with Blake, who was calling himself Hunter Adderman and posing as a writer of history: “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.” She had no idea that “Hunter” had already begun following that particular piece of advice.

Maybe the little white lies were harmless. But before we can answer the question of what would happen to the two story tellers, we are shown how each of them manages to keep the truth out of things…until it was no longer possible.

Why would Blake Hunter, a screen writer from LA, tell such a fabrication? And why would Ella, whose husband left her for her best friend’s sister, want to make up her own version of events?

Would the perfect love story Blake believes he has discovered put him back on the top, after two movie flops? Could Ella find love again, or must she settle for just the idea of it?

The Idea of Love: A Novel was a charming but somewhat superficial tale about all the things that can go wrong with love, and how trying and persevering can make all the difference. Along the way, we get to watch Ella redefine what she wants in life, including a life in which she is a wedding dress designer. She gets to reassess everything she thought she knew and believed about love…and friendship. The story was a fun and quick read. 4.0 stars.



Here I am, enjoying a cup of coffee and pondering what to write about on my trusty laptop, Louisa May.   I do name all of my devices, of course.

But that is a topic for another day.  Today I am pondering how one action can start a chain of events and lead to something totally unexpected…serendipitous, even.

Above my office desk was a basket on the wall that was stuffed with greeting cards and various mementos.  See below, I drew a square around the basket.




I had decided that it needed a purge—you know how much I have been purging lately—and this was an untapped spot in need of some work.

When I took it down and started sorting, I was surprised to find some photos, too, so I had to scan one of them.  This one was taken in the winter of 1979, in the apartment I had rented after my divorce.  It was a place for starting over.



1979-lrs starting over


And seeing the photo reminded me of the apartment, and the few things that I enjoyed about it.  So I grabbed a photo album from that time period, and scanned a few more.

BelowI remember enjoying the arched doorways and the slightly Mediterranean architecture…and in the background, to your left, you can see the wicker fan on the wall.  For those who were around during those times, back then, you could go into a Pier I or a Cost Plus store (now World Market) and see them everywhere.  I lived in this apartment from 1979-1980.



1979 - starting over



The rust colored chairs…and the similarly colored sofa (below) were also remnants from those times.



1979-starting over -another view4


I had this furniture for several years afterwards, until I was living in my townhouse a few years later (1988-94), when it became too worn and scruffy to be seen.

I love seeing it again, all bright and new, in these photos.

Note the table between the wing back chairs, in the second photo above:  that is the ice cream table that I still have. (See below)



And here is the ice cream table (below) behind the rust-colored couch, circa 1980.  I lived in the apartment pictured below from 1980-1983.



1980-ice cream table

I do love hanging onto things, and sometimes I forget the various incarnations  of each piece.  All of my interiors have showcased the old favorites, as well as a few new things along the way.


What is the point of showcasing these moments from the past?  Well, in a sense, I am traveling backward in time and reminding myself of where I’ve been.

And this all happened today because I decided to clear out the basket of mementos in my office.

Do you ever find yourself traipsing through your past, studying and sometimes scanning the evidence of the many homes and belongings you have enjoyed?  Do you get there unexpectedly, just because you were clearing out a room, or a drawer, or a basket?






Cassie Carter has been struggling to work her way out of the dark hole her life has become. Escaping her abusive marriage would lead her toward a new life at last. She and her twelve-year-old daughter Amiee long for a home of their own, the kind of place that Cassie thinks about when she remembers happier times. Memories of the childhood games of hide-and-seek and calling out “last one home is it” shine through, reminding her that she can move forward and create her own family.

It has been thirteen years since Cassie has seen her sisters, Karen and Nichole, and sometimes the pain is almost unbearable. Her parents died a few years before, and their loss is a constant reminder of broken ties.

Because she ran away with Duke, leaving behind her family and her scholarship, her sisters have been unable to forgive her.

But nowadays, Cassie has hope. She has her cosmetologist’s license, a growing clientele, and there is a promise of a new home ahead, as she has been approved for a Habitat for Humanity house.

Can Cassie’s dream of a home really happen? Will she and her daughter finally heal from the past? Will Cassie be able to reconnect with her sisters, rebuilding the broken relationships? And finally, can there be love again?

Last One Home: A Novel is an inspirational story that reminds us of hope, dreams, and starting over. Another enjoyable read from this author. 4.0 stars.





They met at university in Santa Cruz, CA, in the 1990s. Following the adventures and misadventures of Anna Fury, Kate Smirnoff, and George Leoni through the more than twenty years following their beginnings was a little bit like a rollercoaster ride, and the author’s narrative style adds to this sensation. The journey jogs from Santa Cruz, to St. Louis, to Boston…and to many points in between.

How to Start a Fire veers back and forth in time and place, almost raucously, resembling the lives they led. Sometimes it was challenging to remember what had happened in previous visits to each time period, as the story would pick up again a decade or two later, and not in any sequential way.

But then I lost myself in trying to learn all I could about each of these fascinating characters, watching with horror sometimes, as each seemed to be her own worst enemy.

Anna’s brilliance in her premed years and in her brief time as a doctor was overshadowed by her addictions. In some ways, her blackouts seemed to be a way to distance herself from her own behavior. What was she trying to escape?

Kate’s inertia, compounded by the way she ran away from her problems emotionally, was a precursor for a different kind of running away. What hid beneath Kate’s unique quest through the heartlands?

George was fascinating in her physical impressiveness and her outdoorsy way…and unfortunate in her choices of men. How did the events in her life lead to these choices?

An array of assorted secondary characters fill in as backdrop to the primary ones…and add depth to them. Due to the jumping around between time periods, we very slowly grow to see the whole picture. Throughout, we witness how friendships are tested, and we also see that what remains is often enough to sustain them. Themes of fire, how it is created, the damage it can do, and the metaphorical essence of it remind us of how nothing is ever just one thing or with just one meaning, and in its various forms, it can still provide warmth and hope. A sometimes frustrating tale, due to the leaps and jumps, I still could not stop reading it. 4 stars.