MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — JAN. 9

 

Welcome to another Monday from the Interior, in which we share about the books we received in the mail (or bought), and talk about our bookish week, past and future.

Mailbox Monday is hosted through January by Alyce, At Home With Books; and What Are You Reading? is led by Sheila, at Book Journey.

 

MAILBOX MONDAY:

This week, I received one e-book as a contest win, and downloaded two more that I purchased.

1.  Creative Spirit, by Scott Nicholson, came from Books, Thoughts and a Few Adventures.

 

“Scott Nicholson explores the dark legends of the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain, a nightmare country that ends in Stephen King’s yard.”– Sharyn McCrumb, author of The Ballad novels

When artists gather at a remote Appalachian estate for a retreat, they are unaware that their energy is feeding something unwholesome. Sculptor Mason Jackson and dying parapsychologist Anna Galloway must uncover the dark secrets of Korban Manor before their spirits become trapped forever.

 

2.  Alice in Bed (e-book), by Cathleen Schine

Stricken by a mysterious malady, college sophomore Alice Brody has suddenly lost the use of her legs. How does a bright, beautiful, and now immobile young woman proceed with her passions? As she convalesces in a Manhattan hospital, Alice finds herself attended by a motley group of visitors: indifferent nurses, doctors both good and bad, divorcing parents, and eccentric relatives. But Alice is a creature of many charms, whose wit can enchant those bearing even the worst bedside manner. With a captivating heroine of great comic depth, Alice in Bed is balm for whatever ails you.

 

3.  Love in a Nutshell (e-book), by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly

Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she’s been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents’ summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene’s Harbor, Michigan. Kate’s plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.
Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane’s business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.
Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate’s family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart, and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun.
***
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
I’m loving these new arrivals.  Now let’s move on to talking about the books I read and plan to read, and the blogs I wrote:

So far this year, I’ve done some blog posts focused on New Year’s issues, and finished reading and reviewing three books- (Click Titles for Reviews):

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

INTERIOR DESIGNS:  EXPLORING CHARACTERS/EXCERPTS

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI:  NEW YEAR CHANGES

SUNDAY POTPOURRI — THOUGHTS ON A WINTER DAY

Review:      Brava, Valentine – Adriana Trigiani

Review:      One Voice Too Many – Paul Martin Midden

Review:     Room Swept White, A – Sophie Hannah

 

What’s Up Next?

1.  So Pretty It Hurts, by Kate White (Amazon Vine)

True-crime journalist and sassy amateur sleuth Bailey Weggins has scarcely begun her hard-earned weekend getaway when something comes up: a dead body, belonging to one of the world’s most glamorous supermodels. Now Bailey’s trapped at an upstate New York home amidst the glitterati—and any one of them could be a murderer. She’s determined to find out who’s responsible, but her investigation could provoke the killer into striking again… From Kate White, the New York Times bestselling author of Hush and the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, So Pretty It Hurts is an addictive addition to the Bailey Weggins mystery series, and the book that fans of If Looks Could Kill, Over Her Dead Body, and Lethally Blond have been waiting for.

2.  I’ve Got Your Number, by Sophie Kinsella (Amazon Vine)

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

3.  Hot Chocolate (e-book), by Dawn Greenfield Ireland (Review will be up 2/2/12 – blog tour- also watch for the guest post on 2/3/12)

Meet the middle-aged Alcott sisters: Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate fortune and mavens of Houston’s elite River Oaks.

Madge ambushes Lila Mae with Dorothea’s manipulative plea: she can’t care for Bernie, their 92-year old father, any longer. Lila Mae explodes in a hissy fit—she had warned Dorothea years ago that they should put Bernie in an assisted living center.

Robert, Lila Mae’s astrologer, warns of impending problems and he’s rarely wrong.

The sisters call a meeting with Walter Branson, their solicitor. They discuss Bernie’s nurse Bambi Chaline, a blonde bombshell who looks more like a hooker than a nurse.

Arrangements are made for Bernie to be transferred over to Lake Sides Assisted Living Center in the Uptown Galleria area and a severance package is drawn up for Bambi….

Watch for my review to find out what happens next….

***

What an intriguing first week of 2012!  I’m excited about the New Year so far, enjoying the challenges and whittling away at those TBR stacks.

What was your week like?  Hope you’ll stop by and share….

 

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — OCT. 17

Reading Corner

Every week, I say the same thing to myself:  I can’t believe it’s Monday again!

But in a good way.  Unlike the days when I went out of my home to work, Mondays are good.  I like the feeling of accomplishment, when reviewing what I’ve done in the past week.  And I love the clean slate of looking ahead to more exciting reads.

Mailbox Monday is hosted through October by Savvy Verse & Wit.

Sheila, at Book Journey, leads the It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? meme.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

I received NO BOOKS in the mail.  But I downloaded something for Sparky, my Kindle.

When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan, is a book I’ve been noticing, and considering my foray into more Margaret Atwood books, this continues that journey.

‘Hillary Jordan channels Nathaniel Hawthorne by way of Margaret Atwood in this fast-paced, dystopian thriller. Unputdownable’Valerie Martin, author of The Confessions of Edward Day‘Not only one of the best books of the year, but it’s everything the dystopian genre was made for . . . An instant classic for the 21st century’Publisher’s WeeklyPRAISE FOR HILLARY JORDAN:‘Hillary Jordan writes with the force of a Delta storm’Barbara Kingsolver‘Jordan’s tautly structured debut . . . confronts disturbing truths about America’s past with a directness and a freshness of approach that recalls Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.’The Times‘The winner of Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for a novel ‘promoting social responsibility,’ Hillary Jordan is happily a writer who puts her duty to entertain first’ The Independent…

***

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

It’s been a typical October week, with briskness in the air, a new reading corner for me that allows the breeze to drift over me, and a few great books.

Here’s what’s been happening on the blogs:

DANGEROUS CHOICES: AN EXCERPT

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI

FINDING MY MUSE

WEEKEND THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR

INTERRUPTIONS & RECONNECTIONS – AN EXCERPT

Review:  The Summer Before the Dark, by Doris Lessing

Review:  Still Missing, by Beth Gutcheon

Review:  Tall Pine Polka, by Lorna Landvik

What’s Up Next?

1.  Weekend Warriors, by Fern Michaels

2.  Payback, by Fern Michaels

3.  Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, by Helen Fielding

4.  Dumpster Dying, by Lesley A. Diehl

Still Reading:  Janeology, by Karen Harrington


***

So that’s my week!  Hope you’ll come on over and share yours.

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — OCT. 3

CURL UP AND READ!

Welcome to another Monday from the Interior.  Today’s Mailbox Monday (and for the month of October) will be hosted by Savvy Verse & WitWhat Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

I received no review books this week.

Unable to restrain myself, however, I purchased one from the bargain table at Barnes & Noble and two from Amazon.

1.  Last Light Over Carolina, by Mary Alice Monroe

From the bestselling author of Time Is a River and Swimming Lessons comes a serviceable novel set in present-day coastal South Carolina. The tale follows shrimp boat captain Bud Morrison, and his wife, Carolina, through one eventful day. Despite their ardent love for one another, and how wildly passionate their love affair began, after 33 years of marriage, imprudence, distrust, financial strain and poor communication have clouded their relationship. When Bud’s deckhand is a no-show for work, Bud decides to take his boat out alone, despite a fast approaching storm. After he’s injured in a boating accident, he begins to reflect on his life and love. Meanwhile, Carolina has had a premonition and spends her day reminiscing about her marriage and analyzing the missteps. Although the story is a frank and easy to relate to look at a long-term marriage, some maudlin passages and uninspired thematic work can make it feel borrowed from a Lifetime movie.

2.  Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier (a reread!)

Rebecca is a novel of mystery and passion, a dark psychological tale of secrets and betrayal, dead loves and an estate called Manderley that is as much a presence as the humans who inhabit it: “when the leaves rustle, they sound very much like the stealthy movement of a woman in evening dress, and when they shiver suddenly and fall, and scatter away along the ground, they might be the pitter, patter of a woman’s hurrying footsteps, and the mark in the gravel the imprint of a high-heeled satin shoe.” Manderley is filled with memories of the elegant and flamboyant Rebecca, the first Mrs. DeWinter; with the obsessive love of her housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who observes the young, timid second Mrs. DeWinter with sullen hostility; and with the oppressive silences of a secretive husband, Maxim. Rebecca may be physically dead, but she is a force to contend with, and the housekeeper’s evil matches that of her former mistress as a purveyor of the emotional horror thrust on the innocent Mrs. DeWinter. The tension builds as the new Mrs. DeWinter slowly grows and asserts herself, surviving the wicked deceptions of Mrs. Danvers and the silent deceits of her husband, to emerge triumphant in the midst of a surprise ending that leaves the reader with a sense of haunting justice.

3.  Jamaica Inn, by Daphne Du Maurier

Jamaica Inn is a true classic. After the death of her mother, Mary Yellan travels to Jamaica Inn on the wild British moors to live with her Aunt Patience. The coachman warns her of the strange happenings there, but Mary is committed to remain at Jamaica Inn. Suddenly, her life is in the hands of strangers: her uncle, Joss Merlyn, whose crude ways repel her; Aunt Patience, who seems mentally unstable and perpetually frightened; and the enigmatic Francis Davey. But most importantly, Mary meets Jem Merlyn, Joss’s younger brother, whose kisses make her heart race. Caught up in the danger at this inn of evil repute, Mary must survive murder, mystery, storms, and smugglers before she can build a life with Jem.

***

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

This past week has been full of blogging and reading.

Some of  My Blog Happenings:

Tuesday Potpourri – Mourning Soap Deaths

Thoughts From the Interior – Hump Day

Thursday Potpourri – The Never-Ending Search for Bookshelves

Plumbing the Interiors

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

(Review) Cat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood

(Review) Hot Property, by Michele, Samantha & Sabrina Kleier

(Review) The Most Dangerous Thing, by Laura Lippman

***

What’s Up Next?

1.  Still Reading To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf (not loving it so far!)

2.  Girls in White Dresses, by Jennifer Close

3.  Watch Me Die, by Erica Spindler

4.  Buried Memories, by Irene Pence (from my TBR Stacks!)

***

And that’s it for this week!  I wonder what exciting books the rest of you have chosen (and read)?  I hope you’ll stop by and share.

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — SEPT. 26

LET'S CURL UP AND TALK BOOKS!

Good morning and welcome to another Monday—the last one in September.

It’s time to reflect on our reading, our blogging, and other bookish things.  We can share about the books we received in the mail (or purchased).

Mailbox Monday is hosted through September by Amused By Books; What Are You Reading?  is from Sheila, at Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

I received three books in the mail:  one review book, and two purchases.

1.  Girls in White Dresses, by Jennifer Close (Amazon Vine)

Girls In White Dresses is a dark, funny, intimate romp through boyfriends, first apartments, and great friendships–but beneath the surface lurks the jealousy, disappointment, and love that didn’t quite end up the way you thought it would. Jennifer Close’s brilliant, deadpan humor made me laugh so hard my own roommate thought I was nuts.” —Margot Berwin, author of Hothouse Flower

“If Elizabeth Bennet were post-collegiate, hungover, lovelorn and living on the Upper West Side, she would definitely be rooming with the Girls in White Dresses. This debut is hilarious, warm-hearted and wise, and I couldn’t put it down.” —Holly LeCraw, author of The Swimming Pool

2.  Wrecker, by Summer Wood

A page-turner…a literary exploration of how love breaks us and heals us…told in highly crafted prose that wastes not a word and is infused with sensitive insight.  Wrecker is an unforgettable novel.” New Mexico Magazine

“Summer Wood’s remarkable novel carves its way, sentence by gorgeous sentence, into the great complexity of love and family and community.  Her dialogue is so natural and full we feel as though we are illicitly eavesdropping on these complex, flawed, and full-hearted characters.  Wrecker is a tender, stunning novel.” — Meredith Hall, author of Without a Map
3.  The Summer Before the Dark, by Doris Lessing
Nobel laureate Doris Lessing’s classic novel of the pivotal summer in one woman’s life is a brilliant excursion into the terrifying gulf between youth and old age.As the summer begins, Kate Brown—attractive, intelligent, forty-five, happily married, with a house in the London suburbs and three grown children—has no reason to expect that anything will change. But by summer’s end the woman she was—living behind a protective camouflage of feminine charm and caring—no longer exists. The Summer Before the Dark takes us along on Kate’s journey: from London to Turkey to Spain, from husband to lover to madness, on the road to a frightening new independence and a confrontation with herself that lets her finally and truly come of age.
***
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
This past week has been a pleasurable excursion into my reading and blogging worlds.
On the Blogs – Posts/Book Reviews
Space, by Emily Sue Harvey (review)
Love Walked In, by Marisa De Los Santos (review)
The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken, by Mari Passananti (review)
***
What’s Up Next?
Still ReadingCat’s Eye, by Margaret Atwood
1.   Hot Property, by Michele, Samantha & Sabrina Kleier
2.  The Most Dangerous Thing, by Laura Lippman
3.  To the Lighthouse (e-book), by Virginia Woolf
So that’s it for the week.  I also plan to hop around, checking out the Banned Books Week posts…and I’ll continue reading my own banned book The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
Hope you’ll all stop by and share your reading weeks.

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — JUNE 27

Journeying Through Those Old TBRs

 

Here we are on another Monday, reading to participate in Mailbox Monday, hosted by Bluestocking this month; and What Are You Reading, hosted by Book Journey.

 

MAILBOX MONDAY:

 

This week, I received no review books, but I did receive an e-book for my Kindle.

Heat Wave, by Nancy Thayer, is one I preordered awhile back.

Unerringly perceptive, superbly written, every page packed with the warmth and compassionate wisdom that have become Nancy Thayer’s trademark, Heat Wave tells the moving story of a woman who, after her seemingly perfect life unravels, must find the strength to live and love again.

Making the startling discovery that her family finances are in dire straits is only the latest shock endured by Carley Winsted after her husband’s sudden death from a heart attack. Resisting her in-laws’ well-meaning overtures to take in Carley and her two daughters, the young widow instead devises a plan to keep her family in their beloved home, a grand historic house on the island of Nantucket.

The solution is right at Carley’s front door: transforming her expensive, expansive house into a bed-and-breakfast. Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable—especially not Carley’s mother-in-law. Further complicating a myriad of challenges, a friend forces Carley to keep a secret that, if revealed, will undo families and friendships.

When her late husband’s former law partner keeps showing up at the most unexpected times, Carley must cope with an array of mixed feelings. And then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family will be forever changed in entirely unexpected ways….

 

***

 

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 

 

This past week was somewhat complicated by computer issues and my sudden impulse to merge a few more blogs.  You can read about that on my Weekend Potpourri — The Vanishing Blogs post.

Then, my current writing challenge ended Round Two, so focusing on that kept me busy.  On that same note, I did some excerpting over at Snow Chronicles.

Now for some book talk.

Books Read & Reviewed-Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  Dismantled, by Jennifer McMahon

2.  Daughters of the Revolution, by Carolyn Cooke

3.  Maine, by J. Courtney Sullivan

 

Still Reading:

The Magnolia League, by Katie Crouch

 

What’s Up Next?

Besides reading this  week, I’ll be going over the WIP (Interior Designs) that I got back from the Beta reader.  That might take awhile.

Then I’ll be reading these books, hopefully.

1.  Seducing the Demon, by Erica Jong (from my old TBRs)

In four discursive essays and an introduction, Jong (Fear of Flying; Any Woman’s Blues) ruminates on the elements of her writer’s life. Most notable is sexuality: pursuit of the muse has often meant pursuit of a demon lover, a man utterly wrong for her. She walks away from Ted Hughes in the 1970s, but not from many other wrong men. Jong has had four husbands, one child and 20 books in the past four decades. Now in her 60s, she’s well-read, well-traveled, therapized, happily married and sexually satisfied. Her memoir in vignettes asserts that without writing, Jong would go crazy, drink well beyond the excesses of her past and be miserable. Writing has propelled her forward into a fulfilled life….

 

2.  Black Girl White Girl, by Joyce Carol Oates (Another one from the old TBRs)

 

In 1975, racial tension still runs high at Genna Meade’s mostly white Schuyler College in Pennsylvania. Her outcast black roommate, Minette Swift, is a D.C. preacher’s daughter; Genna is descended from the college’s founder. Minette misses home desperately; Genna, in contrast, avoids her “hippie” mother’s phone calls while yearning for a visit from her absentee father, activist lawyer Maximilian Meade. Despite their differences, the girls muster an effortful friendship, due to the near-fetishization of black culture that Genna’s parents have inculcated in her. When racist incidents begin to plague Minette, Genna tries to protect her, but Minette lapses into an antisocial, dangerous depression. Meanwhile, Genna has her own problems—she’s gradually piecing together clues to a mystery whose solution may lie far too close to home for comfort. Eventually, Minette’s downward spiral prompts a shocking epiphany for Genna that will alter the course of her family’s life. Oates bravely grapples with the fallout of the Civil Rights movement, the early ’70s backlash against Summer of Love optimism, and the well-intentioned but ultimately condescending antiracist piety of privileged white liberals, but this anecdotal novel feels slight compared to her best work….

3.  Repairing Rainbows, by Linda Fishman (e-book)

At thirteen years old, Lynda’s life comes to a disastrous halt when her mother and two younger sisters are killed in a plane crash. Her father, overcome by despair, simply continues to exist, in a state devoid of hope. After burying a wife and two young children at the age of 44, the overwhelming responsibility of raising a daughter alone completely immobilizes him.

Teetering on that tender brink between childhood and adolescence, Lynda faces the responsibility of a father in a complete state of shock, a house to take care of and hundreds of decisions about how to proceed with their shattered lives.

In Repairing Rainbows she candidly describes the agonizing memories, deafening silence and endless hardships that are the fallout of incredible loss. As we follow her through marriage, motherhood and her own spiritual journey, Lynda reveals her complex feelings of hope, anger, pity and determination. Most importantly, she learns the crucial difference between “truly living” and the existence that is so often mistaken for being alive.

 

I hope that I manage all of these activities this week.  What are the rest of you planning?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….

 

 

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — MARCH 28

MONDAY MEMES

...Welcome to the last Monday Memes for March.

Mailbox Monday, our celebration of books we’ve received into our homes (bought or acquired for review, etc.), is hosted one more time by I’m Booking It.

What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey. In this event, we describe our past reading week, blogging, and our upcoming reads.

MAILBOX MONDAY:


I received two books in the mail:  one is an Amazon Vine review book, and the other is a wish-list purchase.

1.   Waiting for Spring, by R. J. Keller (Amazon Vine)

A recently divorced woman trudges out of one small, Maine town and into an even smaller one, hoping to escape her pain. Instead she finds herself surrounded by people who are trudging on, just like her. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for spring. Waiting For Spring takes readers beyond the lighthouses and rocky beaches tourists visit and drops them instead into a rural Maine town that is filled with displaced factory workers who struggle with poverty and loss, yet push onward with stubbornness and humor….

2.  Night Road, by Kristin Hannah

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers.  When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude.  Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend.  Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way.  It has always been easy– until senior year of high school.  Suddenly she is at a loss.  Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives.  In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything.  In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive….

That’s it for this week, but I’m very happy about these two books.

****

WHAT ARE YOU READING?


Some blogging adventures this week:

FINAL ROUND OF ROW 80 CHALLENGE

SATURDAY SNAPSHOT – MEMORIES

Check in Wednesday for an Author Interview with Carol Crigger, at Dames of Dialogue (my group blog).

Reading Week – Click Titles for Reviews:

1.   The Four Ms. Bradwells, by Meg Waite Clayton

2.   How to Save Your Own Life, by Erica Jong

3.    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman

Still Reading:

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

What’s Up Next?

1.  Found, by Jennifer Lauck (Amazon Vine)

In her third memoir, Lauck relates her gradual realization that her problems with normal social relationships stem from her lack of a strong sense of self caused by the loss of her mother at birth. She was, after all, whisked away by nurses without ever feeling her mother’s touch. When giving birth to her own first child, Lauck says she was “jarred from her amnesia” and began to catch glimpses of her first moments of life and the early years with her first adoptive family. She struggles to find inner peace, first in motherhood, later by taking up Buddhism and attending meditation retreats, until she reaches the momentous decision to try and find her birth mother.

2.  Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run, by Lucy Adams (review book)

“Pour a tall glass of sweet iced tea, sit back and relax on the front porch and savor the down-home humor of Ms. Adams, but be warned, the tea’s just as cold coming out through your nose.” – Rick Rantamacki, author of Mental Notes – From the Brink of Reality

“Reading anything written by Lucy Adams is like solving the problems of the world, particularly the world of family life, over a cup of coffee with your best girlfriend. Her prose takes the mundane, morose and maddening things that are part of everyday life and weaves them into stories that will have you laughing, crying and mostly realizing that yes, you are pretty much like everyone else.” – Karin Calloway, editor, Augusta Family Magazine and author of Quick Cooking with Karin Calloway

3.  Untied, by Meredith Baxter (a memoir)

Meredith Baxter is a beloved and iconic television actress, most well-known for her enormously popular role as hippie mom, Elyse Keaton, on Family Ties. Her warmth, humor, and brilliant smile made her one of the most popular women on television, with millions of viewers following her on the small screen each week. Yet her success masked a tumultuous personal story and a harrowing private life. For the first time, Baxter is ready to share her incredible highs, (working with Robert Redford, Doris Day, Lana Turner, and the cast of Family Ties), and lows (a thorny relationship with her mother, a difficult marriage to David Birney, a bout with breast cancer), finally revealing the woman behind the image….

4.  My Hollywood (e-book), by Mona Simpson

With the publication of novels like Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’s The Nanny Diaries (2002) and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (**** Selection Jan/Feb 2010), there is no shortage of books about women and their domestic employees. Even so, Simpson’s pragmatic and delightfully observant nanny Lola shines in this story of contemporary child rearing. Critics did find Claire, with her privileged lifestyle and chronic self-doubt, a slightly less compelling character. And, in stark contrast to all other critics, the Philadelphia Inquirer reviewer found the novel disorganized, repetitive, and filled with exasperating characters. While a few readers may not find My Hollywood to their liking, most should find it an entertaining and heartfelt addition to Simpson’s body of work….

That’s it for this week!  I think my list is ambitious, since I’m starting the week still reading one from last week.  But we’ll see how it goes….

What about the rest of you?  What are you reading, what did you get in the mail, and what are your blogging plans?  Hope you’ll stop by….

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — MARCH 21

MONDAY MEMES

Welcome to our Monday memes in which we celebrate our past and upcoming weeks in reading, blogging, etc.

Mailbox Monday is hosted through March by I’m Booking It.

What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:


This week has been one of purchases made (3) and one (1) book received for review.

1.  Love You More, by Lisa Gardner (purchased)

Review – Publishers Weekly:

Near the start of Thriller Award–winner Gardner’s gripping fifth novel featuring Boston PD Sgt. Det. D.D. Warren (after Live to Tell), D.D.’s former partner and one-time lover, Det. Bobby Dodge, of the Massachusetts State Police, asks her to look into what appears to be a clear-cut homicide case. The evidence suggests that Tessa Leoni, a state trooper colleague of Bobby’s, shot and killed her abusive husband, Brian Darby, who may have kidnapped her six-year-old daughter, Sophie. But Tessa won’t talk about her bruises, her husband, or what might have happened to her child. D.D. examines every detail about the family, while Tessa uses her skills to manipulate the investigation. From Tessa’s point of view, we learn about her and Brian’s courtship, his affection for Sophie, and how the marriage began to disintegrate. Gardner sprinkles plenty of clues and inventive twists to keep readers off-kilter as the suspense builds to a realistic, jaw-dropping finale…

2.  Janeology (e-book), by Karen Harrington

College professor Tom Nelson has it bad in the wake of a devastating tragedy: the death of his son at the hands of his own wife, Jane, who evaded punishment by being declared insane. Tom, on the other hand, might not get off so easy. The prosecutors, believing that Tom should have known his wife’s tendencies and shielded his children, are charging him with “failure to protect.” As Tom wallows in his misery, his mother hires him an attorney, Dave Frontella, who adopts some unusual defense strategies, arguing that Jane’s genealogy is to blame for her problems and that no husband could have predicted her actions. He even goes so far as to hire for his defense team a woman with “retrocognition,” that is, the ability to use a person’s belongings to re-create his or her past. Although the psychic-powers element might turn skeptical readers off, Harrington begins with a fascinating premise and develops it fully. In addition, Tom and his wife emerge as compelling, complexly developed individuals. This debut novel is as much a character study as a legal thriller.

3.  A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

The wild young years of the Lost Generation in Paris.

4.  Mothers and Daughters, by Rae Meadows (Review book)

“Rae Meadows has written a richly textured novel of three generations of mothers and daughters who by finding each other, find themselves. In these beautifully interwoven stories of birth and death, love and loss, Violet, Iris, and Samantha explore the genetic threads that connect each to the others. Mothers and Daughters is a powerful novel of women’s secrets and strength.” – Sandra Dallas, New York Times best-selling author of Prayers for Sale and Whiter Than Snow….

I’m very happy with my mailbox this week…except for the part about adding to the TBR stacks!  LOL

****

WHAT ARE YOU READING?


This past week has been busy with wonderful reading, some enjoyable blogging, and life moments.

Here are some blog posts you may have missed:

APPROACHING THE FINISH LINE – ROW 80

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MARJA MCGRAW

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI — TAG

Books Read and Reviewed – Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  The Easter Parade, by Richard Yates

2.  Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough, by Ruth Pennebaker

3.  Now You See Her, by Joy Fielding

4.  These Things Hidden (e-book), by Heather Gudenkauf

What’s Up Next?

1.  The Four Ms. Bradwells, by Meg Waite Clayton (Amazon Vine)

Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters (2009), has created another tale about a group of female friends that tells the stories of many women. Mia, Lainey, Betts, and Ginger become best friends at law school in 1979, at the cusp of the feminist movement. Now Betts is navigating a Senate hearing to confirm her Supreme Court appointment, and she and her friends have reunited. When a long-buried, dark story from their shared history is dug up, the four escape the media at Ginger’s family’s home on a remote island, which is also the scene of the controversial event. There the women reflect on their past, their relationships with each other and their mothers, and how societal norms led them to hide shocking sexual abuse. Clayton unfolds the story through flashbacks and present-day narration in each woman’s voice. Despite some clunky exposition, this is a stirring and compelling novel about women’s changing roles….

2.  How to Save Your Own Life, by Erica Jong (TBR stacks)

Erica Jong–like Isadora Wing, her fictional doppelganger–was rich and famous, brainy and beautiful, and soaring high with erotica and marijuana in 1977, the year this book was first published. Erica/Isadora are the perfect literary and libidinous guides for those readers who want to learn about-or just be reminded of-the sheer hedonistic innocence of the time. How to Save Your Own Life was praised by People for being “shameless, sex-saturated and a joy,” and hailed by Anthony Burgess as one of the ninety-nine best novels published in English since 1939.

3.  In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote (TBR stacks)

 

A nonfiction novel by Truman Capote, tells the story about the killings of four members of the Clutter family.

4.  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt (e-book) by Beth Hoffman

Hoffman’s debut, a by-the-numbers Southern charmer, recounts 12-year-old Cecelia Rose Honeycutt’s recovery from a childhood with her crazy mother, Camille, and cantankerous father, Carl, in 1960s Willoughby, Ohio. After former Southern beauty queen Camille is struck and killed by an ice cream truck, Carl hands over Cecelia to her great-aunt Tootie. Whisked off to a life of privilege in Savannah, Ga., Cecelia makes fast friends with Tootie’s cook, Oletta, and gets to know the cadre of eccentric women who flit in and out of Tootie’s house, among them racist town gossip Violene Hobbs and worldly, duplicitous Thelma Rae Goodpepper. Aunt Tootie herself is the epitome of goodness, and Oletta is a sage black woman. Unfortunately, any hint of trouble is nipped in the bud before it can provide narrative tension, and Hoffman toys with, but doesn’t develop, the idea that Cecelia could inherit her mother’s mental problems. Madness, neglect, racism and snobbery slink in the background, but Hoffman remains locked on the sugary promise of a new day….

That’s my reading week, past and upcoming…

I’d love to see what the rest of you are reading, have read, and plan to read….

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 21

MONDAY MEMES

Welcome to our Monday Memes, in which we reflect on our past week in books and blogging, and plan for the next one.

Mailbox Monday is hosted in February by Library of Clean Reads.

What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

 

MAILBOX MONDAY:


 

I was very excited by the books I received this week, all purchases I made.  Some were print books and some were e-books.

 

1.  A Widow’s Story, by Joyce Carol Oates

Here’s a blurb on Amazon:

Brutal violence and catastrophic loss are often the subjects of Oates’ powerful novels and stories. But as she reveals in this galvanizing memoir, her creative inferno was sequestered from her joyful life with her husband, Raymond Smith. A revered editor and publisher who did not read her fiction, Smith kept their household humming during their 48-year marriage. After his shocking death from a “secondary infection” while hospitalized with pneumonia, Oates found herself in the grip of a relentless waking nightmare. She recounts this horrific “siege” of grief with her signature perception, specificity, and intensity, from epic insomnia and terrifying hallucinations to the torment of “death-duties,” painful recognitions of confidences unshared and secrets harbored, and a chilling evaporation of meaning….

2.  The Easter Parade, by Richard Yates

A Snippet from Amazon:

In The Easter Parade, first published in 1976, we meet sisters Sarah and Emily Grimes when they are still the children of divorced parents. We observe the sisters over four decades, watching them grow into two very different women. Sarah is stable and stalwart, settling into an unhappy marriage. Emily is precocious and independent, struggling with one unsatisfactory love affair after another. Richard Yates’s classic novel is about how both women struggle to overcome their tarnished family’s past, and how both finally reach for some semblance of renewal….

3.  Now You See Her, by Joy Fielding

Amazon Blurb:

Fifty-year-old Marcy Taggart is in Ireland celebrating her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary with one notable absence, that of her husband, who recently left her for the female golf pro at their country club. Ever since the mysterious disappearance of her daughter, Devon, two years ago, Marcy has been suffering one long nervous breakdown. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband and her sister are convinced that Devon, who had bipolar disorder, committed suicide. But Marcy believes Devon ran away to start a new life. When Marcy takes a break from her relentless sightseeing in Cork, she catches sight of Devon through a window, and so begins her reckless odyssey to reclaim her missing daughter….

Then I received a $20.00 gift certificate in a contest win from Book Journey, which led to my downloading these e-books.

Thanks, Sheila!

4.  Every Secret Thing, by Laura Lippman

Two 11-year-old children-good girl Alice Manning and bad girl Ronnie Fuller-wander homeward in Baltimore after being kicked out of a friend’s pool party. They discover a baby in an unattended carriage by the front door of a house and steal it away. The reader watches in horror, knowing what will come next. The baby dies, and Alice and Ronnie are imprisoned for seven years. The mystery involves which girl did the killing, and which was the dupe….

5.  The Tapestry of Love, by Rosy Thornton

A warm and uplifting story of how a woman falls in love with a place and its people: a landscape, a community and a fragile way of life. A rural idyll: that’s what Catherine is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains. With her divorce in the past and her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and her dream is to set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you’re no longer just here on holiday. There is French bureaucracy to contend with, not to mention the mountain weather, and the reserve of her neighbours, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. And that’s before the arrival of Catherine’s sister, Bryony…

6.  The Lake of Dreams, by Kim Edwards

When Lucy Jarrett returns to her childhood home in Lake of Dreams, N.Y., she learns that her brother, Blake, who’s gone into the family business, and his girlfriend hope to drain a controversial marsh to construct a high-end property. Meanwhile, Lucy, who remains haunted by her father’s death in a fishing accident years earlier, reconnects with her first boyfriend, Keegan Fall, now a successful glass artist. But when she sees something familiar in the pattern of one of his pieces, and discovers a hidden note in her childhood home, Lucy finally digs into her family’s mysterious past. Unfortunately, the lazy expository handling of information mutes the intrigue, and readers will see the reignited spark between Keegan and Lucy coming for miles….

 

What a treasure trove of books!  I’m loving each and every one.

***

 

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 

In the past week, I’ve enjoyed my blogging and reading.

Here are some of my blog posts:

WEEKEND POTPOURRI — TAXES

READING, SPARKY TREASURES, ETC.

SATURDAY SNAPSHOT — EUROPEAN IMAGES

ROW 80 UPDATE — THE TORTOISE & THE HARE

 

Books Read and Reviewed – Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  Ladybird, by Grace Livingston Hill

2.  Married:  A Fine Predicament, by Anne Roiphe

3.  The Long Road Home, by Mary Alice Monroe

4.  My Passion for Design, by Barbra Streisand

 

What’s Up Next?

1.  The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

The fictional story brings Hadley Richardson Hemingway out from the formidable shadow cast by her famous husband. Though doomed, the Hemingway marriage had its giddy high points, including a whirlwind courtship and a few fast and furious years of the expatriate lifestyle in 1920s Paris….

2.  The Book of Tomorrow, by Cecelia Ahern

“A veritable modern-day Gothic, Ahern’s engrossing new novel is filled with family secrets, intrigue, and magic aplenty.”

3.  Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen (I’ll probably be reading this one awhile)

Franzen’s second novel is a wrenching, funny, and forgiving portrait of a Midwestern family (from St. Paul this time, rather than the fictional St. Jude). Patty and Walter Berglund find each other early: a pretty jock, focused on the court and a little lost off it, and a stolid budding lawyer, besotted with her and almost burdened by his integrity. They make a family and a life together, and, over time, slowly lose track of each other….

 

So that’s it…finally!  It’s going to be a very busy week.  What about you?  I’d love to read about your books, etc…..

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 14

MY READING & BLOGGING JOURNEY

It’s that time again!  Time to share about the books we’ve bought or received, and the books we’ve read last week and plan to read this week.

Mailbox Monday is the place we share our acquisitions, and is hosted in February by Library of Clean Reads.

What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

 

MAILBOX MONDAY:

This week I bought two books, a print book and an e-book.

1.  My Passion for Design, by Barbra Streisand…I’ve had my eye on this one ever since she appeared on Oprah to talk about this fabulous journey designing her gorgeous homes, filled with lots of pictures.

On Amazon, I read this blurb:

A lavishly illustrated personal tour of the great star’s homes and collections.

For nearly five decades Barbra Streisand has been one of the singular figures in American entertainment. From the cabaret to the Broadway stage, from television and film stardom to her acclaimed work as a director, from the recording studio to the concert hall, she has demonstrated that the extraordinary voice that launched her career was only one of her remarkable gifts.

Now, in her first book, Barbra Streisand reveals another aspect of her talent: the taste and style that have inspired her beautiful homes and collections. My Passion for Design focuses on the architecture and construction of her newest homes, the dream refuge that she has longed for since the days when she shared a small Brooklyn apartment with her mother, brother, and grandparents….

2.  These Things Hidden (an e-book), by Heather Gudenkauf

A tantalizing blurb from Amazon:

Gudenkauf’s scintillating second suspense novel (after The Weight of Silence) opens with the release of 21-year-old Allison Glenn from prison, where she has served five years for an unspecified but particularly horrible crime. Allison is reluctant to enter a halfway house in her hometown of Linden Falls, Iowa, where “even a heroin-addicted prostitute arrested for armed robbery and murder would get more compassion than I ever will….”

I can’t wait to dive into these!

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?


My reading and blogging week has sped by, and some of my thoughts can be found in these blog posts:

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

TRYING TO ESCAPE THE PAST — AN EXCERPT

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR/ARTIST KRISI KELEY

My Reading Week:  Books Read & Reviewed – Click Titles for Review:

1.  Where Angels Fear, by Sunny Frazier

2.  The Blue Bistro, by Elin Hilderbrand

3.  Lancelot’s Lady (e-book), by Cherish D’Angelo

4.  The Enchanted Barn (e-book), by Grace Livingston Hill

Now…What’s Up Next?

1.  The Long Road Home, by Mary Alice Monroe

Amazon Snippet:

Her husband’s suicide left Nora MacKenzie alone, and his shady Wall Street dealings left the Manhattan socialite penniless. By a miracle she’s held on to their mountainside farm—and she’ll keep holding on, no matter what. The property is Nora’s one chance to wring some dignity out of the sham she’s been living.

The Vermont locals think she’s a city girl on a nature kick, but she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Nora’s serious about learning the farming business…if she can figure out where to begin. Against the locals’ skepticism, she has only one ally: Charles “C.W.” Walker.

C.W. is hardworking, gentle with the animals and a patient teacher of the hundreds of chores Nora needs to learn. Slowly she starts to believe she’ll survive in her new life, even flourish. She might even be willing to open her heart again. But she won’t return to a life of lies…and the truth about C.W. may be more than Nora’s fragile heart can bear….

2.  Married:  A Fine Predicament, by Anne Roiphe (On my TBR Stacks!)

A Blurb on Amazon:

Readers disgusted by sugarcoated, mushy sentiments will welcome this latest installment from the prolific Roiphe (Up the Sandbox; Fruitful). Neither antiromantic nor hopelessly giddy, Roiphe’s book takes an honest look at what happens after couples say “I do,” and asks why the institution has survived at all….

3.  Ladybird, by Grace Livingston Hill (a library book)

A tale of hardship, abuse, and an escape to a better life.

4.  My Passion for Design, by Barbra Streisand

A lavish exploration of the star’s homes and the journey toward their completion.  Gorgeous photos!

****

So that’s my week in review.  Hope you’ll stop by and share your own experiences.

MONDAY MEMES: MAILBOX & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 7

My Reading and Blogging Week

Welcome to our Monday Memes, in which we celebrate all things bookish.  Mailbox Monday is hosted this month by Library of Clean Reads.  What Are You Reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY


This week, I received two review books in the mail from Amazon Vine, and ordered two additional books from Amazon.

Then I ordered two e-books.  I know…I’m now addicted to Whispernet.

Books Received:


1.  The Three Weissmanns of Westport, by Cathleen Schine

2.  Pictures of You, by Caroline Leavitt

3.  The Long Road Home, by Mary Alice Monroe (Amazon Vine)

4.  The Book of Tomorrow, by Cecelia Ahern (Amazon Vine)

My e-books:

The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown

Left Neglected, by Lisa Genova

That’s it for my mailbox.

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

This past week has sped by so quickly that I’m surprised to have accomplished anything at all.  But I’m looking forward to the week ahead.  Meanwhile, here are some of last week’s accomplishments.

Some blog posts from the past week.

Meet Sparky — A Kindle Sequel

Cheryl K. Tardif – Guest Post

Saturday Snapshot

A Bit of Me (Me) – Colors of the Rainbow

Books Read & Reviewed – Click Title for Review

1.  A Ticket to Ride, by Paula McLain

2.  Wild Child:  Girlhoods in the Counterculture, by Chelsea Cain

3.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

Currently Reading:

Where Angels Fear, by Sunny Frazier

What’s Up Next?

1.  The Blue Bistro, by Elin Hilderbrand

Hilderbrand sets her sophisticated romance novel against the glamorous backdrop of Nantucket Island, as she has done in previous novels (Nantucket Nights, 2002; Summer People, 2003). Adrienne Dealey is anxious to put Aspen behind her, for it was the scene of her latest disastrous romance with a man of dubious character. Her previous stint as a concierge lands her a job as hostess at an upscale oceanfront restaurant. Charming, boyish owner Thatcher Smith has put the multimillion-dollar property up for sale and intends to close the Blue Bistro for good by summer’s end.

2.  Lancelot’s Lady, by Cherish D’Angelo

A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

3.  The Enchanted Barn, by Grace Livingston Hill

The story of an impoverished family, rendered homeless by circumstances, and how, with the help of friends, they transform an old barn into their new home.

That’s my reading and blogging week.  What is on your list this week?  Hope you’ll stop by and share.