HOPE: MY ONE WORD THAT GUIDES ME…

Earlier today, I was revisiting some of my earlier blog posts, and realized that I haven’t talked about my One Word since May, when I wrote Hope:  More Important Than Ever.

And at that time, I was sharing about my allergic reaction to hair dye.  Well, that reaction happened again in July…so I have decided that I am done with dye.  All the hope in the world couldn’t keep the rash at bay.

But…here’s what I’m hoping now.  That there will be something great about going natural.  How bad could it be?  LOL.

Lately, I’ve been noticing gray hair on people I know or see around (I’m assuming that my natural hair is probably gray, but I have only seen hints of it over the years…hidden, under the dye, but making a brief appearance at times).

Meanwhile, I am enjoying my books, as usual, and hoping to read as many of my purchased books as possible by year’s end (for my Read the Books You Buy Challenge).  So far, I’ve read 71, and should have completed another by the end of the day.

I have a dwindling stack of print volumes, too.  The most recent stack is on my living room coffee table:

 

In my office, there are two short stacks with a total of 11 unread books (older ones than those on my living room coffee table).  Not bad.  There is HOPE that I will finish at least some of these.

Reading print volumes has turned out to be a challenge…occasionally.   Some of the nonfiction books, especially, have a tiny font, making reading them tedious.  I should check these things out before I buy…except, most of them came from Amazon.

I am hopeful that I will somehow rise to the challenge.

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What gives you hope and helps guide you through your days?  Do you find it in books?  People you know and love?  Or in your interior moral compass?

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COFFEE CHAT: JURY DUTY, BIRTHDAYS, ETC.

Good morning!  Time to chat over coffee, and link to Bookishly Boisterous for Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

  • I wasn’t going to write a post today, as, after a week of calling in at night, I have been directed to report in for Jury Duty this morning at 8:30.  This means changing up everything about my morning routines.  I hate the drive downtown, and finding the Jury Parking.  I haven’t done this since the 1980s!  Up until now, I’ve managed to be “on call” only.
  • But…I couldn’t sleep until my alarm went off, so I thought I should try writing down a few thoughts while I eat breakfast.
  • Last night I watched Part I of The Story of Diana.  Mostly it was a repeat of a lot of the other shows I’ve seen lately.
  • Because I was setting the alarm and planning to rise early, I didn’t get a chance to watch Younger and The Sinner.  They are waiting on the DVR.
  • I finished watching Season I of Ozark…and resumed watching The Ranch.
  • On the weekend, I watched a movie on Amazon Prime that I had seen at the theater…and enjoyed it because it starred Debra Winger.  It was The Lovers.
  • Reading two books:  Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate, which is pretty good so far; and America’s Queen, by Sarah Bradford, which I will read in bits and pieces, as it has 444 pages…which isn’t that bad, except that the type is very tiny, making the pages long and sometimes tedious.  I found myself skipping over parts I’ve read in other books.
  • On Tuesday, I enjoyed a pre-birthday lunch with my daughter and her son Noah; we had a very adult-like lunch, with no barbs thrown or any sneaky mentions of the Elephant in the Room (Trump).  Probably because Noah was there.

  • On Sunday, her actual birthday, there will be a group brunch at a local restaurant, which I’ve never visited, but is close by:

  • She was born on Friday the 13th, in 1976, after 36 hours of labor…and finally, a C-Section!
  • I’m looking forward to seeing The Glass Castle this weekend!

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That’s it for today.  Come on by and share your own Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts.

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MY INTERIOR WORLD: BOOKS, COMFY SETTING, & MY NOOK….

Good morning, and welcome to my Interior World.  Today has been one of posting reviews, checking for new releases, and capturing photos of my office.  Like the one above, which is a view from the left side of the room.  Books, family photos, and a bulletin board crammed with memorabilia.  Not to mention filing cabinets and a comfy chair.

Below, catch a glimpse of my work station:  laptop; my coffee and my list of blogs to visit.

And a close-up of my work space, with coffee.  A Disney character taking pride of place with my quirky doll, and the mug I  bought a few years ago in Big Bear, while on vacation.

 

Then, check out the opposite side of the room:  my couch, my trunk, my shelf of TBR books, my TV….

 

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I do love working in this room, which has had a few makeovers in recent years.  All it took was switching some furniture around…creating that nook for my laptop, etc., and adding a flat screen TV.

Now I don’t ever have to leave this room.  But, of course, I will.

Currently Reading:  The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan, which I’m loving.  The MC, a librarian named Nina, has been let go from her librarian position in Birmingham, and struggles to find a way to use her love of books in a new way.  A trip to Scotland, the purchase of a van, and she’s good to go.

 

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What does your interior world look like?  Do you have favorite spaces?  Do your books keep you engaged?

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COFFEE MORNING ON SATURDAY: REMINISCING…

Nothing tastes better than morning coffee, and I love having mine in this little office nook, with the new TV playing nearby…

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On Thursday, I wrote a post called Coffee Morning:  Hot Day Ahead, and I mused about how I’ve lived in these parts for almost 46 years.

I wanted to share another photo from back in those early days, but couldn’t find it anywhere!  Which reminds me that I really need to better organize my online photos…by date, at least.  I’m doing that now, but the older ones were missing those vital details, so despite searching through endless folders, I couldn’t find the one I wanted.  What do you bet that I’ll find it now?  LOL

Meanwhile,  I went to the source of the photo:  the album.  I have a stack of old albums on a closet shelf.  I found and scanned this picture…to spotlight the three boys, with the youngest one in his ORANGE backpack.  We were spending the day in Roeding Park, where they have Storyland, the zoo, boat rides, etc.  This photo was snapped in May 1972.

 

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I never go to that park anymore.  It has run down a bit…although I did read that the zoo was undergoing some improvements.

Back then, we were living in one of the outer small towns, 70 miles from the city…and I hated that town!  It was always surrounded by fog and tumbleweeds.  It reminded me of that town in Texas, the setting for the movie The Last Picture Show, which, incidentally, was playing then in the dust-filled theater in that town.

 

I couldn’t wait to get out…and we actually did move from there a few months later.  To the city with this park and a few other amenities I enjoyed.

A peek at the interior world back then….before we moved to the city.  Posters and beads…and leopard print pillows.

 

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Avocado green was another favorite color back then…and note the stacking plastic bins.  They were old Carnation containers for products.  We got them from a dairy in Northern California before we moved.  We also used them for the kids’ toys.

 

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Back to reality, the 21st Century.  I’m still reading The Sunshine Sisters, having finished Good Me, Bad Me yesterday (click title for review).

 

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Earlier today I discovered an upcoming release from another favorite author:  Diane Chamberlain.    The Stolen Marriage is an emotionally captivating novel of secrets, betrayals, prejudice, and forgiveness. It showcases Diane Chamberlain at the top of her talent.

One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever. It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working at there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love— and the life—she was meant to have?

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I love finding upcoming releases from old and new favorite authors.  What have you discovered lately?  What are you reading?

What moments in the past remind you of who you once were?

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WELL-LOVED TREASURES FROM THE PAST….

Today I have been thinking about sentimental treasures.

Some of my treasures are those I have had since childhood.  In the photo above, note the two very well-worn books to the left:  Cornelli, by Johanna Spyri, and Elsie Dinsmore, by Martha Finley.  I first wrote about these books on my Potpourri blog in April 2011.

These book treasures came to me from my mother, who received them when she was a child in 1921.  I read them as a child, too; in fact, I read them over and over.

They became quite shabby and the bindings were coming undone, so when I happened upon a job in a library, between high school and college, I took them to be repaired.  I had learned how to fix bindings in the course of my work there, so I was proud to be able to complete this task.

When my mother gave them to me to keep, about a year before she died, she remarked upon my repairing them all those years ago, which told her how much the books meant to me.

They now hold pride of place next to my own creations and a few other books.

They are raggedy again…they could use another repair.  In the meantime, I like that they look loved.

Let’s check out the interiors.  The first shows an illustration from Elsie Dinsmore:

 

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Another one from the same book:

 

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From Cornelli:

 

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An illustration from Cornelli:

 

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I hope that my children or grandchildren pass these treasures on…and maybe they will even read them.

Or perhaps they will not be as sentimental as I am about the books.  I enjoyed reading them and pretending that the little girls in the books were my friends.

Do you have special treasures from your childhood?  Or books handed down from your mother or father?

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COFFEE CHAT: A MORNING OF BOOKS, TAXES, ETC.

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Good morning, Bloggers!  It’s time to have another cup of coffee…and chat.

Today’s chat will be about my Bookish/Not So Bookish Thoughts, and I’m linking to Bookishly Boisterous, where others meet to share their thoughts.

I love my Happy mug (above).  There is a story to it, of course.  When I moved into this condo after living for several years in a bigger place in the foothills, I got rid of a lot of my old stuff.  I was going for the minimalist look.

But that’s not me…so slowly, but cautiously, I started adding a few things to fill in my new spaces.  I found this Baker’s Rack in a shop that was going out of business….I had always wanted one, so I thought:  why not?

 

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On display near the rack I had just purchased were assorted dishware, including these “happy” mugs, bowls, and saucers.  Of course I had to have them, and let me tell you how much joy they bring to my ordinary meals!  I love using colorful dinnerware, even when I am eating alone.  Maybe especially when I am enjoying a solitary meal.

 

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They mostly show up at breakfast, on my tray.

 

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Which brings us to my office, where I now am blogging away, chatting over another cup of coffee.

Today’s read is A Vanishing Year, by Kate Moretti, and I am loving it!  I’ve had my share of thrillers in the last few months, but this one is a bit different.  A “dark, twisty, edge-of-your-seat suspense” (Karen Robards), The Vanishing Year combines the classic sophistication of Ruth Rendell and A.S.A. Harrison with the thoroughly modern flair of Jessica Knoll. Told from the point-of-view of a heroine who is as relatable as she is enigmatic, The Vanishing Year is an unforgettable new novel by a rising star of the genre.

 

 

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Basically, it’s a story of a woman who fled her life in California, landing in New York with a new identity.  But can she put the past behind her?  Will the secrets she is keeping ruin the life she is building?  And will her wonderful new husband turn out to have a very dark side?

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I will finish it this morning, I hope.  But I do have an appointment with the accountant this afternoon, to deal with taxes.  My least favorite thing.  I always feel anxious, with knots in my stomach…ever since the year when I owed an additional $2,000.  I’ve taken steps to make sure that doesn’t happen again…but I am never secure about it until after the appointment.

 

 

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Next I hope to read The Best Awful….before starting a series of review books.  It is Carrie Fisher’s sequel to Postcards from the Edge.

 

 

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I think that was my last cup of coffee, so I’m off to read some more.  I also need to ponder cleaning up this place…but that can wait until tomorrow.  Right?

What are your random thoughts today?

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COFFEE & FAMILY MOMENTS: SAVORING THEM…

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Good morning, bloggers!  Do you have some coffee nearby?  Let’s lift those mugs and celebrate reading, coffee, mimosas…and special family memories.

Today I found some photos from the past…they are a bit blurry, but that’s okay.  Like the velveteen rabbit, they have been LOVED a lot.

First…

My second son, Brett, cuddling with his three kidlets, whom we called the A-Tots, back in the day.  L to R:  Aaron, Alec, and Aubrey.  Alec will be 22 in June; Aubrey will be 20 this month; and Aaron will reach 19 in June.

 

 

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In this photo, they are a little bit older:

 

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A photo of my eldest, Craig, and his lovely wife Gabi, when they were still living in Berlin.  This shot was snapped in 2010…so they weren’t yet married.  The wedding took place in 2013, and now they live in Prague.

 

 

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I found a more recent photo of Gabi:

 

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My youngest son and his wife (left and center) live in beautiful Crescent City, CA…and here they are, with a friend:

 

 

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Check out their beautiful surroundings:

 

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Back in the Central Valley, my granddaughter Fiona and her mom played with some face goop:

 

 

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In our nearby mountains, my youngest grandson is enjoying Nature…

 

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In a world that seems to have gone mad in recent days, I cling to the family moments…and hope that our lives (and our dreams) will survive.

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And I take pleasure in my books.  My current read:

The Bad Things (e-book), by Mary-Jane Riley, a darkly compelling psychological thriller, full of twists and turns, perfect for fans of THE WICKED GIRLS by Alex Marwood and THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT by Kate Hamer.

 

 

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I’m enjoying it so much, that last night I downloaded Book 2:  After She Fell.

 

 

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As you sip your coffee, reflect on your moments…and let’s share!

I’ll be linking to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

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A COFFEE MORNING ON SUNDAY: BLOGGIESTA, READING, & CHANGES…

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Good morning!  It is Sunday, and time for another Coffee Morning…in which we chat about life’s treasures, our goals, and what is happening in the week ahead.

Since next weekend is a mini-bloggiesta, I am busily creating new blog headers for the site I plan to focus on…Serendipity.

I have created eight possible headers, with five favorites.  I will be nailing one of them down…soon.

While I was busily creating them, I had another look at my pictures folders, and how untidy the whole thing has been.  Images all over the place, not organized at all.

So I spent some time rearranging everything yesterday.  I deleted the ones I’m not using anymore, and named each cover by the book title…so now they are arranged alphabetically.  Why didn’t I think of it sooner?  LOL.

I also sent some older files to my Dropbox…so they are no longer taking up space here.

A New Year is definitely the time to be organizing things.

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Meanwhile, my reading for this week is off to a good start.  I’m loving The Woman in Cabin 10, and beginning to see where this mysterious story will take us.

 

 

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After I had already posted my Weekly Updates...I got these two books in my mailbox.

 

 

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Becoming Queen Victoria, by Kate Williams

The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher

 

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Enjoy your coffee, and let’s have a Sunday Chat.  What does your day look like?

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HUMP DAY THOUGHTS: FROM THE FOOTHILLS TO THE CITY…

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Welcome to Hump Day Thoughts….check out the mimosa above.  That was Sunday, but I think I still have some of the ingredients (champagne, orange juice).

When I first brought out my bins with Christmas decorations, the tree above was still hiding on a shelf, so one night, I dragged it out and borrowed some ornaments from one of the other miniatures.  It is a tree that doesn’t require much, so it’s all good.

The little A-frame cabin was one my youngest son sent to me three Christmases ago, and it is reminiscent of the house I had in the foothills for thirteen years….except that A-frame house had a coat of green paint in the photo below.

 

 

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Surrounded by oak and pine trees, it created a feeling of respite from the urban world.  And it brought my four children together on several occasions.

Nowadays, they are all over the place, from Prague, to LA, and to Crescent City.  One remains here in this city, and so do two of the grandchildren.  But we all stay in touch, and sometimes, they come back.  The photo below was taken in 1994. (I think).

 

 

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While we were living there, we hosted some Thanksgiving events, and I enjoy remembering the grandchildren playing on this Tree Fort:  Left to Right, Alec, Aaron, Fiona, and Aubrey.  They are all grown up now (legally, anyway).

 

 

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This photo (below) depicts one of our last Christmases there.  I loved that view from the dining room window, and to the left of what you see here was my computer station, where I created five of my novels.

 

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Creative Corner, way too crammed with STUFF!  LOL:

 

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I like my current creative station:

 

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Reading has gotten off to a slower start this week, but I did finish a short story and one fairly short novel.  My current reads:  The Mothers, by Brit Bennett, and The Sleepwalkers, by Chris Bohjalian.

 

 

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Visiting blogs this morning, I found a book that I had to add to my list…and promptly requested it from NetGalley:

The Perfect Stranger, by Megan Miranda, author of All the Missing Girls which I loved this past summer.  The new book is coming in May 2017.

 

 

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Synopsis:  In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls—a “fiendishly plotted thriller” (Publishers Weekly)—a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.

Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later.

Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend’s life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah’s credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey—and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name.

Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide—including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?

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My morning thoughts have swept me from the past, with memories in the A-frame house, to the present, in my new little office nook and all the books I love…and those I want.

What are your thoughts today?  Christmas plans?  Upcoming reads?

I’m linking up to West Metro Mommy Reads for Saturday Snapshot.

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THANKFULLY ANTICIPATING….

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Thanksgiving is coming soon!  My favorite holiday…So here are some photos from last year, which bring the nostalgia.  They also bring the comfort of that special celebration, as it wraps itself around me.

Below, check out some of last year’s post-Thanksgiving guests, at the gathering we enjoy a couple of days after the Big Event.  So many changes…new partners, new hairstyles, etc.

 

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Check out a collage, that showcases the various 2015 celebrations…

 

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What will this year look like?  Stay tuned for those photos.

Meanwhile, as the year comes to a close, I’m taking a closer look at my TBR Stacks over at Curl up and Read.

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My current read is Two If By Sea, by Jacquelyn Mitchard…

 

 

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, an epic story of courage and devotion that spans three continents and the entire map of the human heart.

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And…the news is now out (my daughter posted it on Facebook!):  She and her fiance got married on November 1.  Just a small ceremony at the courthouse…I think they’re still planning the big event in April.  We’ll see.

I was there for this event, and it was sweet.

 

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Reading has become a solace, a place to hide, and a reminder of how characters face their challenges.  Inspirational moments come through reading.

What does your reading look like these days?

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