Today’s review is in honor of Banned Book Week, led by Sheila, at Book Journey:  





Michael and Katherine met at a New Year’s Eve party during their senior year in high school. It wasn’t “love at first sight,” but very slowly they started to connect and began dating.

Like many books about young love, Forever was a story that showed the reader what the obsessive nature of first love looked like. The two of them progressed to the actual sex like most young people, gradually, with a lot of “making out” on the way to actual sex. While the sex scenes, when they happened, were explicit, they were tasteful; they actually unfolded awkwardly, as they would normally for young and inexperienced people. There was nothing crude or vulgar about the scenes, and it was easy to tell that the two of them were “in love.”

But, like most young romances, there would be obstacles to overcome. Would the tests of their love be too much? Would a brief separation during their first summer cement their bond, or be the tipping point for them?

Katherine’s parents handled the relationship between the two very well, mostly advising them about the challenges they would be facing; like most young people, however, they were even more determined to be together.

Michael and Katherine were realistic characters that I couldn’t help but root for, even though I knew that the odds would be against them. The story took me back to my own younger days and the feelings that seemed to define me back then. I believe that young people can relate to the story and learn about some of the issues they will face in their own relationships. 4.0 stars.

***Forever was banned from certain schools due to the sexual content, with some stating that the book lacked “aesthetic, literary, or social value.” The book, in most cases, was reinstated by the school boards.





Good morning, and welcome to my Interior World.

I love the desktop background above…I shot this one a while ago, featuring one of my favorite coffee mugs and the Fall images on the laptop.

Fall is my favorite season, and it’s not just because my birthday is in October.  Or because my second son’s birthday is on the 5th, and that I have several other family members born this month.

Maybe it’s the crispness of the air (I can ALMOST feel it here, but there is still a bit of warmth from summer).

As a kid, I remember the wonderful Fall feelings as I trudged to the school bus, eager to begin again.  I loved school, despite some of the annoying aspects like bullying, etc.  Yes, I was a bookworm, so I was fair game for some of the kids.

But at some point, I learned to deal with them.  I gave them a taste of their own medicine…and the bullying stopped.

Not everyone is so lucky, and these days, bullying has escalated and taken on forms previously unimagined, with viral messages and images.

I think I was born at just the right time….looking back on it, I think the times were kinder, in many ways…aside from the wars, the protests, etc.  LOL





Those were my college years, so it was only natural that I would be drawn to the message and the hope of a peaceful world.

We learned that protesting did little to change things, despite what some might believe.  Instead, I chose to try to make a difference in individual lives…and was drawn to a helping profession.


socialworkAfter thirty years of dedication, I was more than ready to turn to a different kind of life:  hence, the writing and blogging.


Speaking of blogging, I have been obsessed with trying new themes in my SIX remaining blogs, and also in my website.  After going back and forth between various “looks” for my website, I ended up back with this same theme, and this header:




It is Banned Books Week, and tomorrow, I will be posting here on the book I reviewed.  Sheila is leading the pack and sharing our posts throughout the week.  Head on over…and enjoy.  You might be surprised by some of the books that have been banned over the years.  Yes, some of my favorites!


Today I’m reading Rainy Day Sisters, by Kate Hewitt, and I have never read this author before, but I’m thoroughly enjoying this one.





I was drawn in by that gorgeous cover…coziness wins out every time!  And it’s a story of sisters who have been separated for years, and seemingly share very little.  But Juliet, the older sister, invites Lucy to her Bed and Breakfast in the Lake District after a very bad series of incidents occurred in Boston, where Lucy had been living.

Their ambivalence toward their mother Fiona is something they have in common.


What does your weekend look like?  Are you planning a getaway, or curling up with a good book or movie?  Enjoy!





In this new interior world of hers, Martha feels the loss of a luster she once took for granted.  Every day is a new chance to reinvent herself, however, so she begins:  one day at a time, in this excerpt from Interior Designs.


When I woke up, my thoughts sifted through my mind slowly, like pieces of a dream.  I could feel the sun through the spaces in the blinds, and I gradually saw my surroundings—my pink and white floral Laura Ashley spread, the matching shams, and other assorted pillows—and that normally blissful feeling started to descend.  And then something jarred me fully awake.  I sat up slowly, and the heavy cloak of despair fell down around my shoulders.  My now-familiar life began to take shape.

When had my world morphed into this despair that seemed to follow me into every waking moment?  Why did my sleep bring my only peace these days?

Just as the self-pity threatened to turn my day gray, I jumped out of bed and headed for the shower.  No time for dark thoughts.  I still had a daughter to care for and a business to run.  Nothing could turn my world completely upside down—just because I’d been abandoned by the man I’d thought would be mine forever….

Stop those thoughts, I told myself, and tried to find something positive in the beautiful surroundings.  Usually I found serenity in the carefully constructed world I had designed for myself, just as I did for my clients every day of my life; today would be no different.  My gaze swept the room, noting with satisfaction that everything seemed orderly.  I was one of those housewives—oops, wrong term these days!—who joyfully cleaned and restored order, if only to bring back the original design I had envisioned.

When things are askew, nothing looks beautiful….Were those my mother’s words?

I laughed, hoping the sound would remind me that my life wasn’t over.

In the shower, I allowed myself to enjoy the hot pulsating massage of the water, feeling the steam gradually taking away the cloak of despair, while my mind slowly filled up with thoughts of the beauty I could create in the world around me.

Someone had told me once, a long time ago, that pleasing visual images could do wonders for the mood.

I had barely finished my shower, wrapping myself in the luxurious toweling robe, when ten-year-old Meadow’s voice outside my room brought me back to reality.  “Mommy, where’s my blue sweater?  You knew I wanted to wear it today!”

Was that an accusatory tone in her sweet voice?  When had she turned so shrill?

“It’s in your armoire,” I called out in what I hoped was a cheerful tone.  “Just a minute and I’ll help you look.”

A few moments later, we had uncovered the missing sweater, settled Meadow’s backpack and other school supplies on her shoulder, and descended the stairs together.

Normally I was in the kitchen ahead of her, but lately, my days seemed to force their own mold around me.

My coffee had trickled its last drops into the pot and the aroma guided me toward the room.  Turning on lights, I looked around, as if to mentally review my surroundings, and thus my life.  I loved this room, which had been the center of my world for many years.  Okay, so it had lost some of its luster, but I could change that.  Wasn’t I the Domestic Diva?  I chuckled to myself, my mood almost restored by my rediscovered sense of humor, and briskly put together Meadow’s breakfast.




Front Cover-resized again





(Above) – These are the stacks of books I took to the library for donation today.   They are the result of some bookshelf clearing I have been doing recently, and (below) are some of the bedroom shelves I cleared this week.  In a previous post, you can see some thinning out in the living room:






And (below), note some cleared shelves in the office:





The Office Nook has given up some books for donations, too:



another office shelf - sept 29


As you can see, there are still a lot of books, between the shelves on this page and in previous posts…but this latest giveaway was substantial.  Do you find that when you start purging, there seems to be no end in sight?  Do you keep going, or do you stop for a while?







Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today, after flailing about and picking up one book after another, I finally settled down with The Spectacular Now, by Tim Tharp, a book that I downloaded in February 2014.  I had seen the movie and was eager to read the book.  So now I’m galloping along through it, wondering why it took so long to start reading it.





Intro:  (Sutter) So, it’s a little before ten a.m. and I’m just starting to get a good buzz going.  Theoretically, I should be in Algebra II, but in reality I’m cruising over to my beautiful fat girlfriend Cassidy’s house.  She ditched school to get her hair cut and needs a ride because her parents confiscated her car keys.  Which I guess is a little ironic considering that they’re punishing her for ditching school with me last week.

Anyway, I have this sweet February morning stretching out in front of me, and I’m like, Who needs algebra?  So what if I’m supposed to be trying to boost the old grades up before I graduate in May?  I’m not one of these kids who’s had their college plans set in stone since they were about five.  I don’t even know when the application deadlines are.  Besides, it’s not like my education is some kind of priority with my parents.  They quit keeping track of my future when they divorced, and that was back in the Precambrian Era.  The way I figure it, the community college will always take me.  And who says I need college anyway?  What’s the point?


Teaser:  (The night Sutter meets Aimee Finecky).  It takes about another hour to finish throwing her papers, and I keep her spirits high most of the time, but both of us lose a little enthusiasm toward the end, mostly because we know time is running out.  She’ll have to go back to her empty house, and I’ll have to go back to meet the wrath of Mom and Geech. (p. 76).


Blurb:  This National Book Award Finalist is now a major motion picture — one of the most buzzed-about films at Sundance 2013, starring Shailene Woodley (star of The Fault in our Stars and Divergent) and Miles Teller (star of Whiplash).

SUTTER KEELY. HE’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go
forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.


What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading, just to find out what happens to these two lost individuals?  I know I can’t wait to keep going.





With my son’s help, I cleared out the top shelves of this bookcase….but today, I went further, and see (below), here is the evidence of even more clearing.  Note the second, third, and bottom shelves, almost “empty” of books, with the figurines shuffled around a bit:




The total number of books cleared out today:  FIFTY-SIX!

Can you believe it?  I was ruthless, not clinging to what I might otherwise have hung onto.  Why?  I asked myself if I would ever read them again, and the answer was “no.”  So off they went to the bookcase in the garage.  Soon they will go to the library donation bins.

So that was my purging for the day.


I haven’t read much today, mostly watching movies from my DVR.  It is almost cleared out, too.  I am getting ready for all the shows that will be on the DVR with the new season offerings, especially the ones for next Sunday!

Madame Secretary, The Good Wife, The Leftovers, and The Affair, to name a few.

I am still reading The Good Neighbor, by Amy Sue Nathan.





Single mom, school counselor, and blogger….and why is she lying on her blog?

Of course there will probably be a dramatic reveal, and she will be shunned by the blogging world.  Just guessing!

Has anyone read it?


Off to read some more.  Have a great new week!




Good morning!  It is Friday, and it’s time to ponder the weekend.  As I sip my third cup of coffee and visit various blogs for my Bookish Friday event, I luxuriate in my interior world…even as I plan to escape into the world outside.

Before I go, however, let’s take a look at some close-ups of my reconfigured dining room: (Below), this country cupboard I discovered in an old shop in Clovis, our neighboring village, which I filled with quirky things.  The colorful tumblers on the top shelf are reminiscent of the same vintage tumblers we had in my childhood.

The bowls and mugs with vintage cereal images (Cornflakes!), also take me back.  Then, of course, catch a glimpse of the Coca Cola sign on the wall…and the dining room table that is actually not vintage, but looks like it is.




From the opposite side of the table (below), you can see this cupboard, which I found in another shop a few years ago.  I had it in my previous home, as well.  Only recently, I swapped positions:  this cupboard with the previous one (above)….to make more space available in the area.  This one is crammed with some favorite books, memorabilia, and Mary Engelbreit dolls and art.  On the right hand side of the photo, you can see lamps, etc., from the living room.




All of my furniture, etc., are collections I have found over the years.  Some things I have given away and others are stored away.  My various purges over the previous months have left my dining room still filled with the most “stuff.”  I like the feeling of the collections surrounding me, even as I pare down other parts of my house.


Now…on to my planned outings for the weekend:  The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway, Robert DeNiro, Rene Russo, etc., is playing at our neighborhood theater.




I like to arrange my movie viewing so that I can have lunch beforehand…and a cocktail, usually at Dai Bai Dang, since it is just steps away from the theater.



dai bai dang in sept



I always love to take a book with me to the restaurant…and today I’m still reading House of Glass, by Sophie Littlefield…but before the weekend is over, I hope to begin The Good Neighbor, by Amy Sue Nathan (from NetGalley).







Since Pippa will accompany me, there will be no problem switching over between books:





Next week is Banned Books Week, hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey. I will be reviewing my choice here, on October 3.  I downloaded a book that I have never read, but I have read several books by the author, Judy Blume, so I know I will enjoy it.  Forever is one of the books banned because of sexual content.





You’ll never forget your first time…reading Forever, Judy Blume’s groundbreaking novel about teen sexuality, as an ebook.

When you build up something in your mind—really imagine it, wish for it—sometimes, when it actually happens, it doesn’t live up to your expectations.
True love is nothing like that.
Especially not for Katherine and Michael, who can’t get enough of each other. Their relationship is unique: sincere, intense, and fun all at the same time. Although they haven’t been together all that long, they know it’s serious. A whole world opens up as young passion and sexuality bloom.
But it’s senior year of high school, and there are big changes ahead. Michael and Katherine are destined for another big “first”: a decision. Is this the love of a lifetime, or the very beginning of a lifetime of love?


So….from my interiors to my outside world, and then back into the world of books…I love it!  A great mix of activities for me…and keeping busy helps fill in the missing places where my son and DIL were for most of the summer.

What captures your interest for the weekend?