WEEKLY UPDATES: RAIN, WIND, & SOME HAIL…

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.

 

We had lots of rainy days last week, some with scary winds that rattled the rafters.  There was also some hail on Friday.  Oooh.  Reading was good, though, and I managed to finish three books.  I watched a few movies on my DVR, including Season I of Big Little Lies, in anticipation of Season II soon to come.  I also enjoyed a Prime Video called All At Once (from 2016), that focused on some family issues after 9/11.  On Hallmark Murders & Mysteries, there are some new ones this month with Alison Sweeney (The Chronicle Mysteries).

My two granddaughters are celebrating birthdays this month:  Aubrey’s was 2/13 and Fiona’s will be on 2/21.  They are 22.  I barely remember that age!  LOL.

Let’s take a closer look at the week…but first, let’s all grab more coffee.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Not Here”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Habits, Old and New…

Rainy Day Reading…

Coffee Chat:  Rainy Days Again…

Bookish Friday: “I Invited Her In”

Review:  Daisy Jones & the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (NG-3/5)Review:  Not Here, by Genevieve Nocovo – (Author Review Request)Review:  The Making of Us, by Lisa Jewell (Library Book)

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox…but I received two NetGalley review books via my inbox.  I also downloaded two purchases.

The Perfect Wife (e-book), by J. P. Delaney – (NG 8/6)

Sunset Beach (e-book), by Mary Kay Andrews – (NG-5/7)

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Purchased Downloads:

The Silent Patient (e-book), by Alex Michaelides

Don’t Wake Up (e-book), by Liz Lawler

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WHAT’S NEXT?

I’ll soon start reading some NetGalley ARCs for books released in the the last part of March, but maybe not this week.  Instead, I’m pulling a couple of books from my shelves:

Late in the Day, by Tessa Hadley

 Come Find Me, by Megan Miranda

Then I will follow my moods….

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I also enjoyed some Tortilla Sedona Soup, with the ubiquitous Margarita and a book….

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COFFEE CHAT: RAINY DAYS AGAIN…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

 

Rainy days have kept me curled up and reading…and watching movies.  But I’ve also enjoyed some outings, like breakfast at Marie Callender’s this morning.  I was craving French Toast, so I took my book around the corner and ordered some.

  • I finished reading my Author Review Book, Not Here, by Genevieve Nocovo. (Click title for my review).
  • Earlier in the week, I read and reviewed Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, a NetGalley ARC.  The book will be released on 3/5.  (Click title for my review).
  • When Big Little Lies was shown as a miniseries last year, I had saved it on my DVR.  I watched it again, as Season II is coming, and there will be an unexpected new cast member: Meryl Streep, as Celeste’s mother-in-law.  Doesn’t that sound good?

  • I wonder what new issues will come along, and what the characters will still be addressing…
  • I haven’t been tempted to reread the book, though.  I tend to watch movies over and over, but rereading books is not on my to-do list.  I have a short stack of books I might like to reread someday, but I doubt it will happen.
  • Today is my granddaughter Aubrey’s 22nd birthday, and she is finishing out her senior year of college in May.  Last month, she and some friends took a vacation, which included a stop at this lovely spot.

  • Next Thursday is her “twin cousin” Fiona’s 22nd birthday.  I like this photo of her:  she always has interesting poses.

  • On the weekend, I enjoyed another Prime video that has been around for awhile (since 2016), but I had never seen it:  All At Once is the story of an artist who takes in the daughters of his friends after they are killed on 9/11.  They leave Manhattan and settle in Buffalo.
  • The story begins with one girl a teen, while the other is twelve.  They push back a lot, rebelling against their guardian’s choices.  Typical growing pains with extra angst.
  • Today I started reading my library book, The Making of Us, by Lisa Jewell.

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That was my week.  Did you enjoy any special adventures or really good books?

***

 

WEEKLY UPDATES: RAINY DAY READING, ETC.

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.

 

We have had some rain this week, but so far, not a lot of wind or damage.  Rainy days and nights are good for reading, but I only read and reviewed two books this week.  They were enjoyable, so that’s what counts, right?  I wrote seven blog posts. Movies I watched from Prime included a couple of oldies, like Still of the Night, with Meryl Streep and Roy Scheider;  one I had seen back in the 80s, but it almost felt like the first time for me.  Funny when that happens.  I also watched RBG, and loved it, too…and that led to my Amazon order of a mug…and a T-shirt.  LOL

This weekend, I really need to catch up on chores…although I dreamed I was dusting and vacuuming last night.  Does that count?  LOL.

Now I need to grab another cup of coffee and take a closer peek at the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Sparks:  Weekend Connections…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “She Lies in Wait”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Releases, Etc.

Hump Day Reading…

Coffee Chat: Books, Movies, & Naps…

Thursday Sparks:  Igniting Our Connections…and Memories

Bookish Friday:  “The Making of Us”

Review:  Untouchable (e-book), by Jayne Ann KrentzReview:  The Best of Us (e-book), by Robyn Carr

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

Empty physical mailbox!  I did receive a library book from Libby, and one NetGalley review ARC came in my inbox.  Plus…I downloaded two new purchases.

Because You’re Mine (e-book), by Rea Frey – (NG – 8/6/19)

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey, the author who “brings to mind Jodi Picoult” (Booklist) and “will appeal to readers of Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen” (Sally Hepworth) is a novel about how the truth will set you free.

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The Making of Us (e-book), by Lisa Jewell (Library Book)

“compelling and heartbreaking” (Jojo Moyes) novel about three strangers who are brought together by the father they never knew.

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Purchased Downloads:

I Owe You One (e-book), by Sophie Kinsella

I Invited  Her In (e-book), by Adele Parks

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WHAT’S NEXT? 

Daisy Jones & the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid…a NG ARC of a book to be released on March 5.

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous breakup.

***

What did your week look like?  I went out to eat a couple of times…today I’ll share this lovely chocolate dessert from CPK last weekend.

***

COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, MOVIES, & NAPS…

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

 

As much as I dislike hearing Trump speak, I did record the SOTU address to watch afterwards…so I could FF through parts of it, as needed.  As it turned out, I didn’t use the FF button…I was fascinated with studying the audience, especially Nancy Pelosi’s dignified and polite disengagement.  I think that was what her body language told us.  The Congress women all in white were great, too.  My takeaway from it all:  it was an attempt from him to seem bipartisan, but with little digs and veiled threats.  For example:  If Congress wants legislation, they must give up their “ridiculous investigations.” 

  • This morning, I watched Stephen Colbert from my DVR.  He always cheers me up.
  • Today, for some reason, I was extremely tired.  Staying up past midnight to view the recording took a lot out of me.  I took a very long nap this afternoon, and then started reading The Best of Us, by Robyn Carr.  I do like the Sullivan’s Crossing setting.
  • Yesterday I finished reading Untouchable, by Jayne Ann Krentz, the third book in the Quinton Zane trilogy (click title for my review).
  • Today I finally got an e-book from the  library that has been on hold for ages, it seems:  The Making of Us, by Lisa Jewell:

  • On Prime, I watched RBG, and loved every minute of it.  Now I want some of the mugs and T-Shirts (Notorious RBG).

  • I had a microwaveable turkey dinner tonight that was almost tasteless.  Yuk!  Then I scrubbed the microwave.
  • This is one of the reasons I go out for dinner a lot!  On Monday, I had this pot pie with some wine…and a book.

  • I ran errands yesterday—some banking, some grocery shopping—reasons why I haven’t really accomplished a lot this week.
  • I spent a few hours changing my social networking text box on each blog, removing the Google+ code.  Is anyone frustrated by its removal?  I never actually used it, but had it in my blog sidebars.
  • Friday I am scheduled for my weekly hair styling…does this mean I am back on track after missing one week?
  • My manicurist has been in Florida for two months, so I’ve had substitutes at the salon…which is all right, except I like chatting with her and listening to her stories.  I will schedule a mani-pedi for when she gets back this month.

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What events/books/movies have engaged you this week?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: THIS & THAT…AND SOME BOOKS…

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.

 

 

As I sip my third cup of coffee and listen to the rain pattering on the roof, I feel good.  The world around us is still unsettled, with more chaos lurking, but I am diving into book after book.  I finished three again this week, and they all brought cheer to my life.  I wrote nine blog posts…yes, I went a little crazy.  I gave my smallest blog, Snow Sparks,  a complete facelift, and I’m loving the look of it, all sparkly and quirky.  Here, take a peek:

This week was full of movies from Amazon Prime and Netflix.  Among them were Disobedience, with Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdam; Stuck in Love,with Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly; and my lovely DVD version of The Wife, with Glenn Close.  On Netflix, I saw a movie called Deadly Switch, which was just scary enough to keep me wide awake throughout.

I did a little house cleaning…not so much that I lost sight of my true pleasures, like reading and eating out, both of which I enjoyed this week.  Today I had my weekly hair styling, which was supposed to happen yesterday…but didn’t.  I also missed last week due to my daughter’s illness.  But I’ll try not to comment on how the “weekly appointment” turned to “whenever” so quickly.  LOL.

So…let’s have more coffee…as if I need it!  And take a closer look at the week.

 

 

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  A Dilemma — Go Out or Stay In…

Giving in to the Book Lust…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Woman Inside”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Adding to My Shelves…

Reading on Hump Day…

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, Etc.

First Month of the Year:  Wrapping Up…

Bookish Friday:  “Come Find Me”

Sparking Some Memories…

Review:  The Liar’s Room (e-book), by Simon LelicReview:  The Suspect (e-book), by Fiona BartonReview:  The Woman Who Kept Everything (e-book), by Jane Gilley

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books in my physical mailbox!  I received one review ARC…and I did download two e-books.

Review ARC:

Not Here:  A Dina Ostica Novel, (e-book), by Genevieve Nocovo (author review request)

Purchases:

Come Find Me (e-book), by Megan Miranda

The Woman Who Kept Everything (e-book), by Jane Gilley (click title for review)

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Daisy Jones and the Six (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (NG-3/5)

***

So that was my week.  What did yours look like?  Last night I enjoyed dinner at Marie Callender’s, with comfort food: meat loaf with a glass of wine…and my book.

***

REVIEW: THE WOMAN WHO KEPT EVERYTHING, BY JANE GILLEY

 

79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, cardboard boxes and endless knick-knacks that are stacked into every room of her home, and teeter in piles along the landing and up the stairs.

She hasn’t left the house in years, but when a sudden smell of burning signifies real danger, she is forced to make a sudden departure and leave behind her beloved possessions.

Determined she’s not ready for a care home, Gloria sets out to discover what life still has to offer her. It’s time to navigate the outside world on her own, one step at a time, with just one very small suitcase in tow…

 

My Thoughts: Gloria was a delightful character, even while she was surrounded by her hoards of possessions. I liked her feisty and stubborn ways, which helped her deal with what happened after her domineering son Clegg removed her from the house, set her up in a nursing home, and then planned to discard her, along with her possessions.

But Gloria found a way to turn life’s lemons into lemonade, and it was so inspiring to follow her along as she found her own way in her new reality.

My favorite parts: when she recovered her “voice” and told Clegg off, I was cheering.

I kept turning the pages of The Woman Who Kept Everything as Gloria rediscovered adventure and developed her own plan for her future. I liked that, despite having lost many of her friends, there were still a few who were there for her.

As a senior citizen, I love discovering how people who have been tossed aside by their families find a way to reinvent themselves. It helps if they are basically healthy and have a pension. A clear-minded persona can rise from the depression and move forward. Cheers to Gloria!

On the downside, the changes in Gloria came about from a startling incident that forced her to look at her life. Her moving forward happened rather quickly, but I enjoyed the process nevertheless. Sometimes we do want life to be like a movie, solved within a two-hour period. So, despite these minor “flaws,” I thoroughly enjoyed Gloria’s journey. 4 stars.***

COFFEE CHAT: BOOKS, MOVIES, ETC.

Welcome to another Coffee Chat, in which we share bookish and not so bookish thoughts.  Head on over to Bookishly Boisterous to add your link.

 

Every week, I ask myself this same question:  how has the week passed so quickly?  The days seemed to accumulate into huge piles of activities; books, movies, and odds and ends seemed to hold me captive.  I ordered a new Kindle cover for Paige last week…I wanted a different color, and I am loving the merlot.

  • I watched some movies on Prime this week:  Disobedience, with Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdam;  and Stuck in Love, with Jennifer Connelly and Greg Kinnear.  I also got a DVD of The Wife, with Glenn Close, and watched it as soon as I got home from the mailbox. After I had ordered the DVD, I discovered that it is also available for purchase on Prime.
  • I read and reviewed The Liar’s Room, by Simon Lelic (click title for my review).
  • I am half-finished with The Suspect, by Fiona Barton; I am enjoying it.
  • I stayed home all last weekend, so I went out on Monday to shop.  After I found some new tops and a few other items, I stopped at CPK to have this pea soup with a margarita.

  • One day, I was restless and a little bored, so I did some housework.  That’s how desperate I was.  LOL.  I got over that quickly, though.
  • My granddaughter Aubrey, below right, took a road trip with some friends a couple of weeks ago.  They drove north as far as Seattle.  As university seniors, they are having a little more fun before they have to settle into the post-graduation work grind.

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What did your week look like?  Books, movies, or even a road trip?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A FEW GOOD THINGS…

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.

 

Another week has flown by, but this time I read and reviewed three books!  Am I getting back on track?  To top off this good news is the feeling I had with the books I chose.  Brilliant and captivating novels that swept me along to the end of each one, and on to the next book.  The week brought some good movies, including one with Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe:  Boy Erased, on Amazon Prime.

I found a movie on Prime starring Molly Ringwald.  Remember her?  Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, etc.  The 80s were full of her work, movies mostly produced and directed by John Hughes.  Now she is starring in a film about marriage and family, in which Molly and Brian D’Arcy James play a couple in a tumultuous relationship, struggling to stay together while trying to parent two teens: All These Small Moments, with Brendan Meyer, who stars as one of the teens.

I had a mani this week…and went out to eat and read twice.   I spent a lot of time on my laptop:  blogging, changing up blog headers, etc.

Good things to distract me from the chaos in Washington.  And yes, the shutdown supposedly ended…but for three weeks?  I shudder to think of what will happen next.

So…I will focus on my books, movies, and grab another cup of coffee while we take a closer peek at my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Tidbits…

Monday Potpourri:  Anniversary Memories…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Untouchable”

Hump Day Reading…

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, & Angst…

My Creative Journey:  An Excerpt…

An Escape from Tyranny:  An Excerpt…

Bookish Friday:  “Late in the Day”

Review:  The Red Address Book (e-book), by Sofia LundbergReview:  The Family at No. 13 (e-book), by S. D. MonaghanReview:  Verity (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books in the mailbox!  But I downloaded three purchased e-books.

She Lies in Wait (e-book), by Gytha Lodge

The Suspect (e-book), by Fiona Barton

The Woman Inside (e-book), by E.G. Scott

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently reading:  The Liar’s Room, by Simon Lelic

And then…perhaps I’ll start on the March NetGalley ARCs.

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Enjoy the upcoming week, and I’ll leave you with my foodie moments:  Corn Chowder, Salad with Bleu Cheese, and a margarita, of course.  I ate while finishing up the delightful book Verity.

***

REVIEW: VERITY, BY COLLEEN HOOVER

 

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My Thoughts: Verity began with a stunning accident on a Manhattan street, which Lowen witnesses and is almost caught up in. Covered with blood, she is assisted by a kind man, who helps her sort herself out, even lending her his shirt.

Cleaned up and headed to her scheduled meeting across the street, Lowen finds herself once again in the presence of the kind man, who turns out to be a part of her meeting. Thus begins a serendipitous leap into her new writing job which takes her to Vermont to stay with that same man and his family. For he is Verity’s husband.

Jeremy Crawford and his son become part of Lowen’s new world, but as she sorts through Verity’s office and tries to organize her thoughts to write the next books in the series, the manuscript Lowen finds and can’t resist reading—just to get into Verity’s head space—changes her perspective, her life, and everything afterwards.

Can we say “bumps in the night”? Is she imagining the very strange happenings in the gorgeous house, or is something very frightening going on? Just when Lowen begins to put together the pieces of her new life, she is also finding herself drawn more and more to Jeremy. At the same time, she is terrified of Verity. Narrated in Lowen’s first person perspective, we are thrust into her head and feeling the moments with her.

What disturbing secrets will be revealed? Is someone a Master Manipulator? Is the truth a flip of a coin that on one side, tells a truth, but on the other, shows a different truth? My head was spinning by the end.

A book I couldn’t put down, I finished it in one day…and then wanted to reread it. 5 brilliant stars.

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AN ESCAPE FROM TYRANNY: AN EXCERPT

Today’s excerpt is from Chapter One of Web of Tyranny, my fifth published novel which chronicles the tale of an abused child whose primary goal in life is to escape the tyranny of her childhood home and find freedom and fulfillment.

In this excerpt, our MC Margaret (Meg) tries to identify and label the strange new feelings overwhelming her…and put them in some sort of context.

***

Later in her life, Margaret would remember the summer of 1956 as that time when she’d still had illusions about what life could be.

Even with the backbreaking, seemingly endless chores, there was still that camaraderie amongst the workers. Even Lucy helped keep things light, chattering away about her plans for the evening. Margaret listened and pretended she had Lucy’s life with Lucy’s parents. Uncle Joe and Aunt Noreen laughed a lot. They even had a television set and when Margaret had the good fortune to visit at their house, hanging out with Lucy’s younger sister Nanette, the whole family sat around on the couch eating their dinner on TV trays and laughing along with the I Love Lucy show. Sometimes Margaret thought that Aunt Noreen, who was Father’s sister, must have grown up in a different family. They were total opposites. Father was all stern and uptight, while Aunt Noreen laughed and joked and seemed to enjoy being with her kids. Just like Father’s other sister Molly, who had all those stories to tell. Even Uncle Victor and Aunt Janice seemed so different from Father.

Margaret couldn’t figure any of it out back then. Later she would come to believe that it all had something to do with Father being the eldest child in his family. The one who had to drop out of school to work the farm. The one who had to give up his own fun and lightheartedness to help bring in the crops.

But in her tenth year of life, Margaret Elaine Graham only knew that the father who had once loved her had turned on her. And her life had somehow shaped itself into Before and After. First there had been love and acceptance. Then there was coldness and disapproval. And fleeting moments of secret fun and freedom meted out in small portions, to be grasped and cherished. As rare and unexpected as a stash of jewels. And just as precious.

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