WEEKLY UPDATES: ANOTHER ENGAGING WEEK…

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.

Here we are, halfway through August, and my reading and blogging are almost up to normal.  I read and reviewed three books, and I’m halfway through a fourth one. I wrote four posts.  I had no doctor appointments, but did need to go downtown for a business matter.  On Friday, my #2 son came for dinner on his way to Sacramento…and will come back through on Sunday.  I’m eating some yogurt as I type this, since my granddaughter just took me to the grocery store.  I didn’t feel like going to the dining room, so for those times, I needed to stock up on the items that I can enjoy here.

It’s too late in the day for coffee, but in anticipation of my first cup tomorrow morning, let’s take a peek at some…and at my blog details.  The photo below is a nice reminder of my previous residence…I do miss it.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Long Call”

Tuesday Potpourri:  New & Eagerly Anticipated Books

Coffee Chat:  Reorganizing My Topsy-Turvy Life…

Bookish Friday:  “Good Luck with That”

Review:  The Comforts of Home, by Susan HillReview:  My Ex-Life, by Stephen McCauleyReview:  Telephone Line, by Julie Mulhern (Country Club Murders #9)

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

One book came in my mailbox…and I received one NetGalley ARC.  I also downloaded three e-books.

At Home in the World, by Joyce Maynard, a book that somehow slipped away from me during the move…so I had to replace it.  It is definitely a  reread kind of memoir.

Synopsis:  In the spring of 1972, Joyce Maynard, a freshman at Yale, published a cover story in The New York Times Magazine about life in the sixties. Among the many letters of praise, offers for writing assignments, and request for interviews was a one-page letter from the famously reclusive author, J.D. Salinger.

Don’t Go Away Sad is the story of a girl who loved and lived with J.D. Salinger, and the woman she became. A crucial turning point in Joyce Maynard’s life occurred when her own daughter turned eighteen–the age Maynard was when Salinger first approached her. Breaking a twenty-five year silence, Joyce Maynard addresses her relationship with Salinger for the first time, as well as the complicated , troubled and yet creative nature of her youth and family. She vividly describes the details of the times and her life with the finesse of a natural storyteller.

***

Big Lies in a Small Town, by Diane Chamberlain – NG – 1/14/20

***

Downloads:

The Perfect Son, by Lauren North

Telephone Line, by Julie Mulhern (#9 – Country Club Murders)

The Object of My Affection, by Stephen McCauley

***

I’m halfway through The Object of My Affection...and then will tackle some September NetGalley ARCs.

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Last night, I enjoyed a delicious meal of salmon with family.

***

COFFEE CHAT: REORGANIZING MY TOPSY-TURVY LIFE…

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.

 

In the last three months, my life has been topsy-turvy, and as I resumed my reading and blogging activities, I barely wrote two or three posts a week and reviewed the same number of books.  Then I started looking at my blogs and my sidebars and decided that they needed some reorganizing.  When did we last have a Bloggiesta? Instead of waiting for that event, I did move a few things around.  That will have to do for now.

  • Today I have an appointment downtown and will be taking the Lyft all the way there.  It’s not a doctor appointment, but something to do with business.  I realized that I haven’t ventured there up until now.
  • Tomorrow night, my #2 son and his wife will be coming to visit…and then we’ll go to a nearby restaurant with my daughter and son-in-law.  I do love outings that take me out of this place.  Even though I like how my little apartment has shaped up, it can be confining.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Every day is a challenge, choosing foods that will assist in my readiness for the eventual surgery.
  • Books are helping, and so far this week I’ve read and reviewed The Comforts of Home, by Susan Hill, and My Ex-Life, by Stephen McCauley. (Click titles for reviews).  Both books had been languishing on my Kindle for up to a year.
  • Last night I started reading a book I just downloaded, the ninth in one of my favorite Cozy Mystery installments:  Telephone Line, by Julie Mulhern.  I like that the book will be a quick and light read, a good one to take on my journey today.

  • I had planned to read The Lady in the Lake next, as I enjoy Laura Lippman, but I barely got three pages into it when I decided it wasn’t the perfect book for me for today.
  • My NetGalley ARCs have been whittled down to four, all releasing in September and October…so I didn’t hesitate when offered a new one that will be coming out in January: Big Lies in a Small Town, by Diane Chamberlain.  I can never resist her books!

***

That’s my week so far.  What does yours look like?

***

REVIEW: MY EX-LIFE, BY STEPHEN MCCAULEY

 

David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her seventeen-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices?

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to re-pair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago—they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

 

My Thoughts: My Ex-Life brings together the past and the present as its characters try to sort through the pieces of their lives out of the detritus of their mistakes.

On the West Coast, David had been loving his little rented carriage house, but there was definitely something missing from his life. When his ex-wife Julie calls, needing help preparing her daughter Mandy for the right college, he sees an opportunity to use his career to help her, and perhaps a chance to heal some of the broken pieces of their past together.

Alternating storylines reveal what life looks like in the present for Julie, living near Boston and trying to get past her divorce to her second husband Henry, who seems to be in a punishing frame of mind. With a plan in place, David hopes to finally overcome the loose ends of his first marriage to Julie by helping her with the present issues in her life.

I enjoyed the writing style that added humor and insight to the characters’ discoveries as they spend time sorting through their past choices.

I had high hopes that the previous partners, David and Julie, would rediscover their former friendship and could help each other during a difficult time. Until the very end, I wasn’t sure they could overcome the past, but I was happily rooting for them. I loved how the story ended. 5 stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: MOVING ALONG…

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.

It is finally happening!  A week with NO doctor appointments and some extra reading and blogging time.  I read and reviewed THREE BOOKS, and actually enjoyed some time on the computer.  My hand seems almost back to normal…I don’t want to speak too soon, though.  Also, I’m still waiting for my surgery, which might not be scheduled for a couple of months.

Coffee is back on the menu for me, but morning only.  So let’s grab another cup and take a peek at my week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Careful What You Wish For”

Tuesday Potpourri: How Things Have Changed

Coffee Chat:  Ongoing Journey

Bookish Friday:  “My Ex-Life”

Review:  Dear Wife, by Kimberly BelleReview:  Someone We Know, by Shari LapenaReview:  Careful What You Wish For, by Hallie Ephron

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

One book came in my mailbox!   I also downloaded an e-book.

The Kennedy Heirs, by J. Randy Taraborrelli

 

A unique burden was inherited by the children of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his celebrated siblings, Senators Robert and Ted Kennedy. Raised in a world of enormous privilege against the backdrop of American history, this third generation of Kennedys often veered between towering accomplishment and devastating defeat. In his revelatory new book, acclaimed Kennedy historian J. Randy Taraborrelli draws back the curtain on the next generation of America’s most famous family.

***

Careful What You Wish For, by Hallie Ephron

***

Currently Reading:  The Comforts of Home, by Susan Hill

A book that has been languishing on my shelves since November 2018:

Susan Hill—the Man Booker Prize nominee and winner of the Whitbread, Somerset Maugham, and John Llewellyn Rhys awards—returns with a hair-raising new novel, the ninth book in one of the most acclaimed mystery series of our time. Featuring the enigmatic and brooding chief police inspector Simon Serrailler, this intricate and pulse-pounding series follows a collection of grisly crimes plaguing the city of Lafferton—and The Comforts of Home is the most chilling and unputdownable installment yet.In this gripping new thriller, Simon, eager to be back at work after recovering from a near-fatal injury, takes on a cold-case review for the Lafferton police about a girl who disappeared some years before. Meanwhile, his family adjusts to changes of its own; namely his sister’s marriage to Chief Constable Kieron Bright. But when events take an unfavorable turn for the Chief Constable and an arsonist goes on a deadly rampage in Lafferton, Simon’s personal and professional lives intertwine in more complex and devastating ways than ever before.In the tradition of the fabulous mysteries of Ruth Rendell and P.D. James, The Comforts of Home is Susan Hill’s best work yet—a heart-pounding new addition to a highly-applauded and “elegant†? (The New York Times) series.

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I am sharing a favorite cocktail and soup from days gone by:  A margarita with Tortilla Soup:

***

REVIEW: CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, BY HALLIE EPHRON

 

Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.

Like other professionals who make a living decluttering peoples’ lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, she makes clear that the client is only allowed to de-clutter his or her own stuff. That stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years. She’d love nothing better than to toss out all her husband’s crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.

Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour when, after too much wine, the women end up fantasizing about how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses.

But the next day Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her to clean up. Careful what you wish for, the old adage says . . . now Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage . . . and possibly her life.

My Thoughts: I loved how Careful What You Wish For began immediately with Emily’s process of “sparking joy,” and I could visualize the delightful videos she created for her clients to motivate them in their own journeys.

Of course, once Emily took on her two newest clients, one of whom had questionable items in that storage unit, I knew we were in for some darkness ahead. Now it was not so much about sparking joy, but about staying out of trouble and even staying alive. I was also worried about the newest client and where her odd behavior would take them.

Could Emily turn the focus of the cops away from herself and on the path to solving the mysteries? Frank’s bossy actions made me dislike him intensely, so I kept turning the pages and rooting for Emily’s success. 4.5 stars.

***

COFFEE CHAT: ONGOING JOURNEY

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.

 

Three months ago I began this strange new journey.  A journey to reclaim my health and transition to a different way of living, from my residence to the routines I have created.  I have fought against some of these changes, but overall, I am beginning to refocus my attitude.  This way of living was not one I had imagined for myself, but sometimes we can be surprised by how we can embrace new things, even those that we initially reject.

  • I am still waiting for my body to be ready for the surgery that should have happened almost three weeks ago…but didn’t.  While I wait, I am starting to read and blog more.  I get out and about with old friends and new friends.  I look ahead to family and friend events.  My #2 son and his wife, as well as my daughter and her husband, are planning a dinner out with me on August 16.  My son will see my new place for the first time.
  • My granddaughter Aubrey has started the first leg of her New Zealand adventure.  Here she is hanging out with two of her brothers on the beach at Jalama before taking off.

  • This week I have read and reviewed Dear Wife, by Kimberly Belle, and Someone We Know, by Shari Lapena. (Click titles for reviews).
  • Last night I started reading Careful What You Wish For,  by Hallie Ephron.
  • On the weekend, I binge-watched the seventh and final season of Orange is the New Black...and Season 7 of Wentworth.
  • I’ve been going through the smaller collection of DVDs that I brought to my new apartment…watching and enjoying…

  • My #1 son, who lives in Prague, is impressed and has elevated my residence here up a notch for bringing in one of his favorite entertainers.  (My son has done a little Elvis impersonating himself, in Europe).

***

So, on to another day and then another weekend.  What have your days and nights been like?

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: STILL SLOGGING ALONG…

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.

Here I am, late again with my post.  I spent most of the weekend binge-watching Season 7 of Orange Is the New Black (the final season!)  And then I watched half of Season 7 of Wentworth.  Another happy fact:  the newest season of Aurora Teagarden started last night, too.

This week was another series of days reading, not much blogging, and trying to find just the right foods to eat.  Then the arthritis in my left hand flared up and one of the nurses came by to help wrap and ice it.  Sigh.

I did enjoy two books this week, and wrote one blog post.  Let’s take a peek:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monthly Wrap-Up

Review:  The Missing Years, by Lexie ElliottReview:  Our Little Lies, by Sue Watson

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty mailbox, but I downloaded one e-book.

Someone We Know, by Shari Lapena

“No-one does suburban paranoia like Shari Lapena–this slowly unfurling nightmare will have you biting your nails until the end.”
–Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

 

***

Currently I’m reading Dear Wife, by Kimberly Belle.

 

A riveting new novel of suspense about a woman who, in a fight for survival, must decide just how far she’ll go to escape the person she once loved

Beth Murphy is on the run…

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?

***

REVIEW: OUR LITTLE LIES, BY SUE WATSON

 

Marianne has a life others dream of. A beautiful townhouse on the best street in the neighbourhood. Three bright children who are her pride and joy.

Sometimes her past still hurts: losing her mother, growing up in foster care. But her husband Simon is always there. A successful surgeon, he’s the envy of every woman they’ve ever met. Flowers, gifts, trips to France – nothing is too good for his family.

Then Simon says another woman’s name. The way he lingers on it, Caroline, gives Marianne a shudder of suspicion, but she knows she can’t entertain this flash of paranoia.

In the old days, she’d have distracted herself at work, but Marianne left her glamorous career behind when she got married. She’d speak to a friend, but she’s too busy with her children and besides, Simon doesn’t approve of the few she has left.

It’s almost by accident that Marianne begins to learn more about Caroline. But once she starts, she can’t stop. Because what she finds makes her wonder whether the question she should be asking is not ‘should she be jealous’, but… ‘should she be scared’?

 

My Thoughts: It didn’t take very long for me to hate Simon, with his criticisms, his bullying, and his crazy-making behavior, but Marianne was so damaged and so beaten down from this behavior and from her childhood that she was also difficult to endure.

Our Little Lies is a journey into the dark dynamics of a truly toxic marriage, and sometimes I just wanted one of these characters to step up and make some changes.

On the edge of my seat, I rapidly turned pages and wondered which of them would truly go nuts and do whatever they had to do to stir the pot until it boiled over.

The back and forth between the two marital partners grew more and more tedious, for me, as I couldn’t believe that they could sustain that level of animosity without doing grave harm to each other…or to someone else. Finding out what would ultimately happen did keep me reading. 4.5 stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: DISAPPOINTMENTS, 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.

 

What a week!  First of all, I’m late to the party.  But the week was supposed to begin with a gall bladder surgery, only that didn’t happen.  A laparoscope inserted along with a camera revealed inflammation (still!), even though all indications were that the antibiotics had done their tricks earlier.  So…I continue to have the gall bladder, but also had anesthesia, a breathing tube, and now have four incisions that still hurt!  I’m now very much afraid of what the actual surgery will feel like.  If they ever do it!

As you might guess, I didn’t get a lot of reading or blogging done…and as I type this, I realize that I’m long overdue for a manicure, as my nails are hitting all the wrong keys!  LOL.

I’m also off coffee for a couple of weeks, so I won’t tempt us with a cup of Joe as we discuss the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Potpourri:  Changes…

Coffee Chat:  Back to the Drawing Board…

Review:  The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi WaxmanReview:  Things You Save in a Fire, by Katherine Center – (NG-8/13)

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty mailbox! 

I did download one e-book.

The Lady in the Lake, by Laura Lippman

The revered New York Times bestselling author returns with a novel set in 1960s Baltimore that combines modern psychological insights with elements of classic noir, about a middle-aged housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman.

***

Currently, I’m reading The Missing Years, by Lexie Elliott

The French Girl captivated readers with a twisting tale of psychological suspense. Now author Lexie Elliott heads to the foothills of the Scottish Highlands, where a woman’s tangled family history comes back to haunt her…

An eerie, old Scottish manor in the middle of nowhere that’s now hers.

***

That was my week…what did yours look like?  No interesting foods for me, since a bland diet is the new normal.  But I still dream of the goodies of the past, like this margarita:

***

COFFEE CHAT: BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD…

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.

 

Some of you may have read about my disappointing surgery outcome…a non-event, except that I had several little incisions, a sore throat from the breathing tube, and assorted discomfort from anesthesia.  The laparoscope camera revealed a risky landscape in my interior, so it is now back to the drawing board.  Sigh.

  • Now I am choosing to consider the days ahead as an opportunity to finish more books…and some other items on my to-do list.
  • This morning, I went to downtown Clovis to have coffee with a friend at La Parisienne cafe, a cute little bakery-cafe.

  • I loved viewing the final episode of Season II, Big Little Lies, but now I’m hoping for another season.
  • Yesterday, my daughter brought over a small case with several of my favorite DVDs (from the hallway shelves on the far right that held around 800 of them at my former place ):

  • Here are around 100 of them, old and new:

  • I do love binge-watching favorite movies.

***

That was my week so far.  What did yours look like?  Now I’m going to watch today’s episode of General Hospital on Hulu.

***