REVIEW: GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, BY KRISTAN HIGGINS

 

Emerson, Georgia, and Marley have been best friends ever since they met at a weight-loss camp as teens. When Emerson tragically passes away, she leaves one final wish for her best friends: to conquer the fears they still carry as adults.

For each of them, that means something different. For Marley, it’s coming to terms with the survivor’s guilt she’s carried around since her twin sister’s death, which has left her blind to the real chance for romance in her life. For Georgia, it’s about learning to stop trying to live up to her mother’s and brother’s ridiculous standards and learning to accept the love her ex-husband has tried to give her.

But as Marley and Georgia grow stronger, the real meaning of Emerson’s dying wish becomes truly clear: more than anything, she wanted her friends to love themselves.

My Thoughts: Good Luck with That brings the reader into the challenging world of three young women who met as girls at a weight loss camp.

Each character alternately reveals her story, and we come to love, hate, or cringe at some of the others. Those who were thorns in their side, rudely reminding them of their weight issues at every turn.

I especially detested Georgia’s brother Hunter, and her mother, too. Their stories revealed more about each of them, but I never softened toward Hunter. His treatment of Georgia, as well as his own son Mason, bordered on bullying.

Food and body image were the prevailing themes, and how each of the characters navigated the storms in their lives kept me reading, rooting for them, and hoping for a resolution of those issues. An unforgettable story. 4.5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: WE GATHERED TOGETHER…

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.

 

Thanksgiving week flew by, with family and friends joining me for good eats.  First my #2 son, his three adult children, and three other grandchildren gathered at Yard House for a pre-holiday lunch.  We had lots of good conversation, laughter, and have this photo to remind us of our time together.

On the following day, I joined some friends for a traditional turkey dinner.  As we ate and shared our stories, we reminded ourselves of how many years ago we began these gatherings:  they started way back in the early 1970s.  Some years we missed along the way, but it was great to revisit old times together.

While my week was full of such events, I did finish reading and reviewing three books.  I also enjoyed some Amazon Prime shows, like Season 8 of Doc Martin, and I also began another season of Vera.

I wrote six blog posts…and my three reviews.

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

A Look Back:  Reshaping the Events of Loss

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Gone So Long”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Gathering Together Books, Family, & Friends

WWW:  A Week of Engaging Books…

Coffee Chat:  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Bookish Friday:  “Night of Miracles”

Review:  The Three Beths (e-book), by Jeff AbbottReview:  The Other Wife (e-book), by Michael RobothamReview:  Night of Miracles (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox!  I did receive one review ARC from NetGalley, and I downloaded four purchased e-books:

Things You Save in a Fire (e-book), by Katherine Center – (NG – 8/13/19)

Purchased e-books:

Emily, Alone (e-book), by Stewart O’Nan

After Nightfall (e-book), by A. J. Banner

The Comforts of Home (e-book), by Susan Hill

The Liar’s Wife (e-book), by Samantha Hayes

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Under My Skin (e-book), by Lisa Unger

Then I plan to grab books that call to me…

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I enjoyed this Pomegranate Press Martini while waiting for my family to arrive at Yard House.  It was delicious!

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FRIDAY CHAT: HOLIDAYS, FRIENDS, FAMILY….

Good morning!  It’s Friday, and we’re less than two weeks away from my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  The above collage is on my Facebook page, and it shows some of my favorite things about that holiday:  Turkey, stuffing, wine, and pumpkin pie.

I will be celebrating with family and/or friends.  I have invitations to two events, and this year, I’m going with the friends’ invite.  Not that I’m dissing family, but I like to change things up, and some of my favorite holidays have been celebrated with a group of assorted cohorts in this friend’s home.  We met in 1972, and over the years we have celebrated many holidays, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve!

 

I will also join with family on the following weekend, as my #2 son will be driving through our city, as usual, to gather around a table in a neighborhood restaurant.  Here we were last year.

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Today I found a photo I like of my daughter…and a special friend.

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What are your holiday plans?  Family, friends, or both?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: ENJOYING THE ANTICIPATION OF FALL…

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.

 

 

 

Welcome to another September weekend!  As I sit in my office sipping coffee, I am pondering the busy week I had.  Four books read and reviewed, and eight blog posts!  Whew!  I most have found some energy.  Could it be the slightly cooler days?  Well, “slightly” is the key word, since it will be in the upper 90s again today.  My book haul is huge this week, too, with THREE new NetGalley ARCs, a new library book, and some purchases.  Just so you know:  I am loving Paige, my new Oasis.

On Netflix, I’m enjoying Season 6 of Wentworth and Season 2 of Ozark.  I haven’t made much progress on either…probably because of all my reading and blog posting.

On Wednesday, I had coffee with a friend, and we chatted for a few hours about life, books, and the daily annoyances in the world that we are trying to ignore.  As always, we felt supported and refreshed.

So…what else?  Well, grab some more coffee, and let’s take a closer look.

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  A New “Toy,” & Sunday Tidbits…

Tuesday Potpourri:  Finding Treasures…

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Hungry Heart”

Hump Day Reading…

Thursday Potpourri:   Traipsing Down Memory Lane…

Coffee Chat:  A Mix of Good and Less Good…

Bookish Friday:  “Good Luck with That”

Curl up with New Review Books!

Review:  Now That You Mention It (e-book), by Kristan HigginsReview:  Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (e-book), by Gail Honeyman – (Library Book)Review:  The Other Woman (e-book), by Sandie JonesReview:  Lush (e-book), by Kerry Cohen

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox!  But…I received THREE NetGalley ARCs and one library book.  Then I purchased THREE e-books.

An Anonymous Girl (e-book), by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (NG – 1/8/19)

Forget You Know Me (e-book), by Jessica Strawser – (NG – 2/5/19)

A Year of Extraordinary Moments (e-book), by Bette Lee Crosby – (NG – 10/16/18)

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Library Book:

The President Is Missing (e-book), by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Downloads:

Good Luck with That (e-book), by Kristan Higgins

The Golden State (e-book), by Lydia Kiesling

 

Cross Her Heart (e-book), by Sarah Pinborough

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WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m planning to start the library book, The President Is Missing, since it has 513 pages.

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So…that was my week…what did yours look like?  The other night, I had my usual pot pie at Marie Callender’s…and took home this slice of pumpkin pie to eat at home while reading on Paige.  I am ready for fall!

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

15408329-banquet-table-with-roasted-chicken-close-up-thanksgiving-day

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the U.S.  May we summon up our gratitude, despite recent events…and especially may we find peace and harmony.

As the turkey bakes and family and friends gather, let’s take a peek of a collage of last year’s Thanksgiving, which includes an event that some of us enjoy every year a couple of days after Turkey Day.

 

 

picmonkey-collage-thanksgiving-collage-2015

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Enjoy the upcoming weeks until Christmas!

 

o-christmas-tree-at-heathers

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A JOURNEY SOUTH OF THE BORDER

Mexican flag

The flag flying against the blue of the sky was a beacon for those on the cruise last week.

My daughter’s birthday was Saturday, the thirteenth, and two days before, she and a group of friends headed to Ensenada on a cruise ship.

Today I’m sharing some of the photos.  Below, my daughter Heather and her friend Jessica are heading down to Long Beach to catch the boat.  These two have been friends since they were teenagers, and I enjoyed watching them both grow through those challenging years.

 

 

Heather & Jessica - Cruise, Day 1

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The group of them in a formal shot, before all the heavy partying starts….

 

A Friends Photo

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Catching some rays….

 

Cruise - Sunbathing

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Hi, Kitty Kat!

 

Heather  Tiger

 

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I think the party has started….

 

 

Heather & friends - cruise

 

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On dry land for a bit….

 

 

Mexican beer

 

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A formal shot of the engaged couple, Heather and David….

 

 

A birthdayengagement portrait

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An interesting view….

 

Another view

 

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And here’s another….

 

 

Cruise - Water View

 

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This post is linked to West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

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REVIEW: KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, BY PAULA DALY

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Just who is Eve Dalladay? To Natty, she is an old friend from university days, when the two of them were best friends, a connection seemingly maintained over the years. But is there more to Eve’s story? Natty begins to wonder about that when Eve, like a conniving interloper, inserts herself into the perfect world she has constructed with her husband Sean and their two daughters, Alice and Felicity. How did Eve manage to so quickly seduce Sean into a life together and topple the world that Natty has counted on for all these years?

Secrets, like a sleeping giant who awakens, have a way of coming out. Especially when someone like Eve has a plan and a purpose. And around every corner is a new piece of Eve’s plan, while she innocently watches Natty’s world crumble.

Our story begins when Natty rushes off to France where her daughter Felicity has taken ill and is in critical condition. Eve just happens to be there visiting and offers to stay and help. But soon we learn that Eve’s plan is so much more, and as we watch the train wreck of their lives, emotions are intense and I couldn’t stop turning those pages with bated breath, wondering what new discovery would come next.

Interesting characters include the calm, yet somewhat tricky detective, Joanne Aspinall. What is her story, and how is she somehow connected to this family? Then there is Jackie, Natty’s father’s girlfriend, who is a breath of fresh air, with her directness and advice. As we get to know each character and how they connect, we still have to wonder what happened back during university days, when Natty and Eve first met; and how will something Natty later recalls from that time lead to a pivotal moment near the end of Keep Your Friends Close?

Our first person narrator is Natty, but the perspective alternates between multiple characters, and the pacing and timing of each narrative is designed to intensify the impact of each revelation. A story for all those who enjoy a psychological thriller or a story replete with fascinating and mysterious elements. 5.0 stars.

REVIEW: STILTSVILLE, BY SUSANNA DANIEL

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It was a sunny time in 1969 when Atlanta native Frances Ellerby attended a wedding in Miami and met a group of people who would become the center of her life for decades.

The community of houses built on pilings in Biscayne Bay would also be a part of their lives. Stiltsville: A Novel is the story of that life and those times, and the journey follows them as they change, as the world around them morphs into something quite different from what they knew in the beginning.

Hurricanes, racial tensions and violence, and the ebb and flow of relationships remind us all that life can be unpredictable, but at its core are certain blessings that can remain, even after loss.

The story was narrated in the first person voice of Frances, and we can feel the bonds she develops and sustains over the years: with Dennis, whom she marries; with Marse, the friend she met at the wedding, and an assorted cast of characters that feel real and substantial, including Margo, the beloved daughter who would enrich their lives.

In some ways, the story was revealed in a linear fashion over the years and the decades, but then there were the occasional flashbacks and anecdotal tidbits that helped fill out the moments. In the beginning, it was like a very slow opening of a flower, with not much action. Just the ordinary moments in life. I came to love the characters and feel a connection to them. I laughed and cried with them. The story is one I won’t forget. Five stars.


A HOLLYWOOD STAR’S JOURNEY WITH THE MEN IN HER LIFE — A REVIEW

13260192In Kirstie Alley’s newest memoir, The Art of Men (I Prefer Mine al Dente), she fills the reader in on her relationships with the men in her life, and sets each of these stories within the context of her life growing up, as well as during her journey as an actress.

She fills us in on her first love, as well as the “crushes” she had along the way. Her friendships with men, as distinguished from her lovers, sometimes bordered on more, but for various reasons, did not morph into lover mode. Like her relationship with John Travolta. At some point, the two of them decided that their friendship was more important than taking the relationship further. As a result, they have been good friends for many years.

To sum up some of Ms. Alley’s “rules” for love, she tells us about the lines she won’t cross and how that has worked out for her.

She doesn’t spend much time talking about her famously notorious weight battles, but her frank and sometimes bawdy “voice” in this book is a reminder of her very human side, as well as her comic genius.

The book was entertaining and felt like a conversation between friends. I didn’t learn a lot that I hadn’t already read about, but I liked what I did learn. I give this one four stars.