COFFEE CHAT: A DAY AT A TIME…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

As I sip a cup of coffee in my apartment today, I am savoring the coziness around me.  All that isolation led to changes in my surroundings, which resulted in this cozy feeling. We continue to eat in the dining room on alternate days, and oddly enough, that is okay with me.  I don’t crave the full dining room and numerous residents around me.  Funny how that worked out!

  • Almost every day I receive some kind of package…or even my groceries from the local market, compliments of Instacart on my iPhone.  Today will be another grocery day, and I have my list ready.
  • My reading has been enjoyable this week.  Two books read and reviewed so far, and one of them was an ARC for a book that will be released on 7/14/20:  What You Wish For, by Katherine Center, which I loved!
  • I also enjoyed reading The Half Sister, by Sandie Jones.
  • I am currently reading The Swap,which is really good so far, and my new Kindle cover makes reading more enjoyable.  So does the coffee.

  • Of course I miss family and friends…and outings.  But if I stick to my day at a time routines, I manage.  I hope the rest of you are staying safe!
  • Some days, however, I want to jump on a Magic Carpet and find a New Normal that almost resembles the old one.  Hang in there!

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Enjoy your week, and stay safe!

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REVIEW: THE HALF SISTER, BY SANDIE JONES

 

Sisters Kate and Lauren meet for Sunday lunch every week without fail, especially after the loss of their father.

THE LIE

But a knock at the door is about to change everything. A young woman by the name of Jess holds a note with the results of a DNA test, claiming to be their half sister.

THE UNTHINKABLE

As the fallout starts, it’s clear that they are all hiding secrets, and perhaps this family isn’t as perfect as it appears.

As The Half Sister opens on a family event, we watch as a presumably happy family will unravel into a series of doubts, suspicion, and the unveiling of the family myths. We follow the story through alternating narratives and learn Kate’s side of things, Lauren’s perspective, and how each of them has misunderstood the family in which they were raised.

Will the secrets, lies, and mistrust change the lives they now live? Will Lauren find the courage to face the truth and change her own current family situation? Will Kate come to accept her relationship with Lauren and the possibility of the new “sister” Jess claims to be?

Twists and turns kept me glued to the pages, and I couldn’t wait to accept my own version of events. 4.5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: READING, VIEWING, & BLOGGING…

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.

 

Happy Fourth of July to those living in the states.  I am not sure what we can actually celebrate this year, with all that is happening in the world…and especially in a country that is so far behind flattening the curve that it seems like an impossible task.

But…we have to move forward, a day at a time, and take steps in our own communities to improve things.

For the rest of you, I hope you are all staying safe and doing better!

Meanwhile, I did enjoy my reading this week.  I just finished my third book, and that one was special, in that it was one of my backlog books from 2017.  I also read one of my NetGalley ARCs, a 7/7 release. 

I have continued enjoying my viewing:  Netflix, with Tales of the City; Amazon Prime, and assorted movies, including some old favorites; and Hulu, where I found nothing at all.

Let’s grab a favorite beverage, and take a closer look at the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Girl from Widow Hills”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Books & Bookish Things…

Goodbye to June!

It’s Hump Day!  What Are You Reading?

Searching My Backlog…

Coffee Chat:  A Cozy Breakfast & a Little Whining…

Happy Friday:  Adjusting Our Attitudes…

Bookish Friday:  “The Swap”

Review:  The Golden Cage, by Camilla Lackberg – (NG – 7/7/20)Review:  The House Guest, by Mark EdwardsReview:  Dead Letters, by Caite Dolan-Leach***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Three books arrived in my mailbox…and I downloaded three e-books.

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

True to Form, by Elizabeth Berg

Talk Before Sleep, by Elizabeth Berg (reread)

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Downloads: 

The Request, by David Bell

Friends & Strangers, by J. Courtney Sullivan

The House Guest, by Mark Edwards

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CURRENTLY READING;

The Half Sister, by Sandie Jones

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Next I need to focus on the rest of my July ARCs:

What You Wish For, by Katherine Center (7/14/20)

Playing Nice, by J. P. Delaney – (7/28/20)

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Below, check out my dinner, with red wine, served on my new rustic tray.

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COFFEE CHAT: A COZY BREAKFAST & A LITTLE WHINING…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

As I sit at my laptop, with my new breakfast tray behind me, I am feeling cozy and comfortable.  I have read and reviewed two enjoyable books so far this week.  My rearranging of my stuff is on pause for the moment, as I struggle with other issues.  Okay, something to whine about, but in a minute!  But first, here is my breakfast tray, a new one that arrived yesterday. Simple breakfast of oatmeal, juice, coffee, and French Toast.

  • I do love the rustic look of the tray, and while there were several colors, rusty red is a favorite of mine.
  • Books read and reviewed so far:  The Golden Cage, by Camilla Lackberg, a NetGalley ARC, release date – 7/7/20; and The House Guest, by Mark Edwards.
  • The problem I will share is about Facebook…and my Rainy Days and Mondays blog.  I have had that very blog since 2009, and pretty regularly link my posts on Facebook.  But when I tried to link my Hump Day (WWW post) this week, and then the review of The House Guest, FB removed the posts from my FB site and said the posts were reported as “abusive.”  Of course I am disputing this—because why now?  The content was bookish!  I’ve discovered that others have encountered this problem with FB.  So…what to do?
  • So far, I haven’t run into this issue with my other blogs, or even with my FB page for that blog.  Weird, right?
  • Now…I have laid it on the table.  Ideas?  Suggestions?  Stop going to Facebook?  LOL
  • I am excited about my new Kindle cover.  My old one was getting a little beat up, so this new one arrived yesterday.  What a great day of deliveries I had!

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That was my week so far.  What was yours like?  Enjoy, stay safe, and watch your step on FB, LOL.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: ANOTHER WEEK FLEW BY…

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 flew by almost seamlessly, but my reading was lackluster.  Only two books read and reviewed.  They were good ones, though, and I can only blame my compulsions for other things.  I did write six blog posts, however.  At least I am not writing this update late in the evening.  I will be heading to the dining room shortly for our “socially distanced” dinner.

I also found a miniseries to enjoy on Netflix:  Tales of the City.  Set in SF, it is based on the books by Armistead Maupin.

I finished fixing up my closet this week.  I had moved the Jelly Cupboard into the entry way, arranged all my clothes in the closet (some of them had been folded away and others had been on my hall tree).  The final piece of the task was hanging a curtain on a rod to conceal my wardrobe. 

Now let’s take a closer look at the week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Golden Cage”

Tuesday Potpourri:  A Bookish Journey

A Hump Day of Reading…

Adding Another Book from the Backlog…

Bookish Friday:  “The Half Sister”

Coffee Chat:  Reading & Reshuffling…

Review:  You Can’t Catch Me, by Catherine McKenzieReview:  The Guest List, by Lucy Foley

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INCOMING BOOKS:

One book came in my physical mailbox, and another came from NetGalley.  I also downloaded two e-books.

Open House, by Elizabeth Berg – (Replacement Copy for Reread)

Take It Back, by Kia Abdullah (NG – 12/8/20)

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Downloads:

The Girl from Widow Hills, by Megan Miranda

The Swap, by Robyn Harding

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CURRENTLY READING:  I am just beginning to read a NetGalley ARC for a book coming out on July 7.  The Golden Cage, by Camilla Lackberg.

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That was my week. What did yours look like?  And because restaurant dining is still a future event, I found another photo from the past that I am savoring.  Three years ago, I enjoyed this corn chowder and a cocktail at Mimi’s.

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COFFEE CHAT: READING & RESHUFFLING…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

My Coffee Chat is late again this week, but I am eager to talk about what has been happening so far.  This morning I am waiting for my Instacart Order, which is turning into a regular event.  Goodies are headed my way from Save Mart!The dining room continues to serve better food on the days we eat there…which is still every other day.  I am adjusting.

  • I am currently reading The Guest List, by Lucy Foley; an enjoyable read so far, but as sometimes happens, I am easily distracted by other events.  Movies, rearranging my space (compulsively!), and enjoying the time in the dining room, socializing six feet apart.
  • I am also exercising regularly in the activity room.
  • This week I read and loved You Can’t Catch Me, by Catherine McKenzie.
  • On Netflix, I discovered a miniseries based on some books I have enjoyed: Tales of the City; books by Armistead Maupin.
  • I finally finished changing up my closet, with my cupboard moved into the entry way.  A new curtain covers the opening to my wardrobe space.

  • Have I finally finished fiddling around with my stuff?  Probably not, but I think I’ll be okay for a while.  I will add books to my bookshelf as they come in.

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How are you handling the crazy world in which we now live?  Hopeful for the future, or taking things a day at a time?  Stay safe!

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A BUSY 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.

How did the week fly by so quickly, with so little reading to show for it?  Probably because I was easily distracted by other things, like rearranging my space…again.  And movies and shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime.

In the end, I did read/review two books:  one fairly long (474 pages) and the other one pretty short at 240 pages.

I did a major overhaul of my closet, removing the jelly cupboard so more clothes can fit in the space…and changing up my entry way to accommodate the “recycled” furnishings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The closet is not yet finished.  I ordered a curtain and a rod, coming on Tuesday.  Meanwhile, here is what it looked like this morning when I had coffee at the table, speculating on what to do next.

Now…let us take a closer look at my week…

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Stranger in the Lake”

Tuesday Potpourri:  A Bookish Day…

Hump Day Books…

Bookish Friday:  “Swan Song:  An Odyssey”

Coffee Chat:  Sidetracked…

Review:  Pretty Things, by Janelle BrownReview:  Swan Song, by Lisa Alther

***

INCOMING BOOKS:

Empty physical mailbox!  I did download three e-books.

The Half Sister, by Sandie Jones

Always the Last To Know, by Kristan Higgins

 

A Million Little Lies, by Bette Lee Crosby

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CURRENTLY READING:

You Can’t Catch Me, by Catherine McKenzie

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  As I think about the meals I’ve enjoyed from the past, here is one from Early Pandemic times when they served something delicious:  Turkey, stuffing, and pie.

***

REVIEW: PRETTY THINGS, BY JANELLE BROWN

 

Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.

Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.

Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.

Pretty Things is a story about dreams, identity, and the fears that drive our journey. How Vanessa and Nina originally connect is at the heart of the story. Nina was a young girl exploring love and searching for her place in the world and struggling to separate from her con artist mom. That girl is tossed aside by the Leibling family, which fuels her rage and her resentments.

Vanessa, feeling unloved unless she is the star of her own dream world, creates fantasies and then believes they are her reality. But disappointments, loss, and rage lead her to seek revenge against Nina.

Nina and Vanessa’s stories are told in alternate sections, and as we begin to really know them, we think we have a handle on what they will do next. But there are just enough twists that we are not sure if we are being conned, or if we might trust the picture they are painting for us.

Throughout the journey, I felt empathy for each of them at different times, but never lost track of the damages at the heart of them. A core of vulnerability, mixed with the hardness created by time and numerous life injuries, made them intriguing…and potentially dangerous. Could either woman redeem herself? I kept reading, hoping to find out. 4.5 stars.

***

COFFEE CHAT: SIDETRACKED…

Good morning!  Let’s gather around with our caffeinated beverages to chat about our weeks, our books, and our perspectives.  Join our host at Bookishly Boisterous to see what others are sharing.

My reading week has been slow.  Instead, I am doing my usual rearranging of my space, and this time, it is a little more drastic.  When I moved in here, I turned the closet into a combination closet/shelf area.  But my clothes outgrew the space, which led to moving the little cupboard out and into the entry way.  Of course, everything else had to reshuffle, too.

  • Here is my new look in the entry way, with the jelly cupboard relocated and standing in for the hall tree:

  • And the hall tree is opposite the new cupboard placement:

  • My closet is now dedicated to clothes…Let’s take a look at how it is progressing.  I will add a curtain and rod to cover the opening:

  • As I mentioned, my reading has been slow.  I am enjoying Pretty Things, by Janelle Brown, and hope to finish it today…or tomorrow.
  • Then I plan to start a new book tonight…Swan Song:  An Odyssey, by Lisa Alther, an author whose books I began reading in the 1980s.  And then didn’t see anything from her again until recently.

***

What has your Thursday brought?  What is coming up next?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A GREAT WEEK FOR READING & BLOGGING…

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 great week for reading!  Four books, read and reviewed, each as great as the last one.  Blog posts seemed to grow on their own, ending up with seven of them.  Viewing movies and shows on Hulu, Prime, and Netflix are keeping me happy when I’m not reading…and Marcella, Season 3 on Netflix, starts on Sunday.

The alternating days in the dining room are working out better than when we went every day.  I am liking a slow movement back to whatever the “new normal” will be.

As I write this post, I keep noticing the message in the sidebar that says “the Block Editor is ready when you are.”  I am taking that to mean it is optional.  I definitely don’t want to use it!

Let’s take a closer look at my week…and maybe you would like to be caffeinated, so here goes:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Remain Silent”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Books & Moments…

Hump Day Potpourri:  Reinventing My Space…

Hump Day Reading…

Another Book from the Backlog…

Bookish Friday:  “You Can’t Catch Me”

Coffee Chat:  Reading, Purging, & Living in the Moment

Review:  The Flatshare, by Beth O’LearyReview:  This Is How I Lied, by Heather GudenkaufReview: The Closer You Get, by Mary TorjussenReview:  A Week at the Shore, by Barbara Delinsky

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INCOMING BOOKS:

One book came in my physical mailbox…and I downloaded 3 e-books:

This Is Big, by Marisa Meltzer

You Can’t Catch Me, by Catherine McKenzie

Stranger in the Lake, by Kimberly Belle

Swan Song, by Lisa Alther

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CURRENTLY READING:  Pretty Things, by Janelle Brown

Two wildly different women—one a grifter, the other an heiress—are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.

***

That was my week. What did yours look like?   Since we no longer get to go out to restaurants, I scroll through photos of my favorites from previously normal times.  Here I was enjoying lunch with my granddaughter Fiona.

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