MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — APRIL 15

books, etc.-monday memes

Good morning, and welcome to my Monday Memes.  For those who participate in Mailbox Monday, click for Mari Reads in April; and, as usual, Book Journey is hosting What Are You Reading?

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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This week, I received two review books and one purchase from Amazon.

1.  Tapestry of Fortunes, by Elizabeth Berg (My gift to myself!)

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In this superb new novel by the beloved New York Times bestselling author of Open House, Home Safe, and The Last Time I Saw You, four women venture into their pasts in order to shape their futures, fates, and fortunes.

Cecilia Ross is a motivational speaker who encourages others to change their lives for the better. Why can’t she take her own advice? Still reeling from the death of her best friend, and freshly aware of the need to live more fully now, Cece realizes that she has to make a move—all the portentous signs seem to point in that direction.

She downsizes her life, sells her suburban Minnesota home and lets go of many of her possessions. She moves into a beautiful old house in Saint Paul, complete with a garden, chef’s kitchen, and three housemates: Lise, the home’s owner and a divorced mother at odds with her twenty-year-old daughter; Joni, a top-notch sous chef at a first-rate restaurant with a grade A jerk of a boss; and Renie, the youngest and most mercurial of the group, who is trying to rectify a teenage mistake. These women embark on a journey together in an attempt to connect with parts of themselves long denied. For Cece, that means finding Dennis Halsinger. Despite being “the one who got away,” Dennis has never been far from Cece’s thoughts.

2.  Drinking with Men, by Rosie Schaap (Amazon Vine)

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A vivid, funny, and poignant memoir that celebrates the distinct lure of the camaraderie and community one finds drinking in bars.

Rosie Schaap has always loved bars: the wood and brass and jukeboxes, the knowing bartenders, and especially the sometimes surprising but always comforting company of regulars. Starting with her misspent youth in the bar car of a regional railroad, where at fifteen she told commuters’ fortunes in exchange for beer, and continuing today as she slings cocktails at a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn, Schaap has learned her way around both sides of a bar and come to realize how powerful the fellowship among regular patrons can be.

In Drinking with Men, Schaap shares her unending quest for the perfect local haunt, which takes her from a dive outside Los Angeles to a Dublin pub full of poets, and from small-town New England taverns to a character-filled bar in Manhattan’s TriBeCa. Drinking alongside artists and expats, ironworkers and soccer fanatics, she finds these places offer a safe haven, a respite, and a place to feel most like herself. In rich, colorful prose, Schaap brings to life these seedy, warm, and wonderful rooms. Drinking with Men is a love letter to the bars, pubs, and taverns that have been Schaap’s refuge, and a celebration of the uniquely civilizing source of community that is bar culture at its best.

3.  Finding Lily, (e-book), by Lisa Ellis (Virtual Author Blog Tours)

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When her newborn baby Lily dies suddenly, Claire Edwards runs away to live in a lighthouse she had fallen in love with as a young child. The lighthouse is reputed by some to have magical powers, but Claire isn’t looking for a miracle. She just wants an escape from her husband Jim’s colder way of grieving, and from their apartment filled with the tiny clothes and stuffed animals they had collected over the past few months. But once Claire is situated in the lighthouse, it begins to illuminate things for her in a new way and she’s suddenly forced to rethink her views on life, death, and her marriage.

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Welcome to our weekly bookish place where we share our adventures in reading.  Come along and join us as we explore other blogs and feel a community spirit.

My week brought lovely weather and some fabulous reads.  Not much blogging, however, except for some memes and my Saturday Snapshot post, along with my Sweet Saturday Sample (an excerpt from Defining Moments).

I am looking forward to the five-year blogoversary for my very first blog, Story Corner.  Check in later next week (April 21 is the date of the event) for details about the giveaway.

When you have a lot of blogs, as I do (eleven!), you only celebrate a few of the blogoversaries.

So now, let’s talk about books!

Books Read (Click Titles for Reviews):

1.  The Summer of France, (e-book), by Paulita Kincer (Fellow blogger!)

2.  Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes

3.  The Banks of Certain Rivers (e-book), by Jon Harrison (Review Book)

4.  Glory in Death, by J. D. Robb (Sequel Challenge)

What’s Up Next? (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)

1.   Oodles of Poodles, by Linda O. Johnston (Cozy/Sequel Challenges)

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2.  Backseat Saints (e-book), by Joshilyn Jackson (Sequel Challenge)

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3.  Heart Like Mine (e-book), by Amy Hatvany

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And that’s my week!  Come on by and let’s chat.

 

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — APRIL 8

books, etc.-monday memes

Good morning, and welcome to my Monday Memes.  Today I’ve returned to this blog for my weekly update.  For those who participate in Mailbox Monday, click for Mari Reads in April; and, as usual, Book Journey is hosting What Are You Reading?

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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I received ONE review book in the mailbox this week; from an author.

Walled-In, by J. Elke Ertle

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In this true story, two obstacles threaten the freedom and autonomy of a young girl born and raised in postwar West Berlin: The Berlin Wall and the harsh rules her uncompromising parents impose. J. Elke Ertle recounts the mounting East-West tension that leads to the Berlin Blockade, the Berlin Airlift, and the construction of the Berlin Wall. But the brick-and-mortar monstrosity is not the only insurmountable barrier Elke comes to know intimately. As the only child of uncompromising parents, she is brought up to unquestioning obedience. When she rebels against their unrelenting rules, the ensuing parent-daughter conflict parallels in intensity the Cold War between East and West. Elke finds herself incarcerated behind walls as impenetrable as the one that divides her city. On her 21st birthday, a startling and unexpected revelation strengthens her determination to opt for freedom and to immigrate to the United States. Interweaving history with her personal experiences, Elke takes the reader on a remarkable journey into her closely supervised, yet happy childhood, her youthful disillusionment, and her deliberate, albeit difficult decision to choose freedom.

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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This week has been full of a variety of activities.   I cleared off a lot of dolls from the tops of my bookshelves in the bedroom (all the shelves used to have dolls on them; now, only some of them do!)….and then swept through my office.  To read more about it, check out  Saturday Potpourri:  Editing the Collections.

On Monday, I mused about A Book I Had to Buy.

Tuesday found me looking back at Iconic Times, Images, & Poignant Moments (with an excerpt)

On Wednesday, I announced my upcoming Five-Year Blogoversary at Story Corner (there will be a giveaway!).

Also, on Wednesday, I interviewed Author Colby Marshall, at Dames of Dialogue.

I had a spring moment on Friday and chatted about Gifts of Rainy Days:  April Showers Bring May Flowers.

My Sweet Saturday Sample revealed a Y2K moment for my MC in Defining Moments, in Taking a Leap of Faith.

Now for the Reading-Click Titles for Reviews:

Midnight Sacrifice, by Melinda Leigh

Life After Life, by Jill McCorkle

The Time of My Life, by Cecelia Ahern

Naked in Death (e-book), by J. D. Robb

What’s Up Next? (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)

The Summer of France,(e-book), by Pauline Kincer (Still reading from last week)

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Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes

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The Banks of Certain Rivers (e-book), by Jon Harrison (Review book)

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And if I have time, I want to grab this e-book that’s been sitting on Sparky too long!  For the Mt. TBR Challenge:

Children of the Fog, by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

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That’s my week!  I hope you’ll come by and share thoughts about yours!

Coffee Cup

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — MARCH 25

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in March by Chaotic Compendiums;and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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I received NO books in my mailbox, but downloaded a preordered purchase to Sparky; and received a review book via download, too.

1.  Heart Like Mine (e-book), by Amy Hatvany (Purchased)

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Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again. But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover that there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.

2.  The Banks of Certain Rivers (e-book), by Jon Harrison (Review book)

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Neil Kazenzakis is barely holding his life together: ever since an accident left his wife profoundly disabled, he’s been doing his best as a single dad and popular high school teacher. He’s also been dealing with Lauren Downey, his sort-of girlfriend of the past two years who’s pushing for a commitment—and for Neil to finally tell his son Christopher about their secret relationship.

Neil’s carefully balanced world begins to fall apart when some questionable footage of him is anonymously posted to YouTube…just as Chris learns about Lauren in the worst possible way. Doubting his own recollection of the events in the online video as he’s threatened with the loss of his job and the ability to care for his wife, Neil must find a way to prove the truth to his family, his community, and himself as he struggles to regain the splintered trust of his son.

Heartbreaking, poignant, and written with devastating humor and warmth, The Banks of Certain Rivers is a shattering story of memory, loss, and just how far a man will go to show the people closest to him the meaning of love.

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Welcome to another bookish week.  For those of you who participated  in Bloggiesta this weekend, how did the party work out for you?

I had a lot of fun making over my blog Curl up and Read.  I tend to work on my blogs pretty regularly, but during this event, I go all out.  And I love visiting the other blogs, discovering new things to add to my list after seeing what they’re doing.

There are mini-challenges, and one of mine was Getting to Know You, in which I featured blogger Alexis, from Reflections of a Bookaholic.

Even with all this going on, I managed to put together a Checkpoint for my Mt. TBR Challenge, and realized that I am almost halfway to my goal for the year.

And here is my Bloggiesta Finish Line post.

Earlier in the week on the blogs:

I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and wrote:  A Guilty Pleasures Nod to St. Paddy’s Day

My Hump Day Potpourri post:  Taking Inventory

Saturday Potpourri:  Blogging Activities & Reading

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Juvenile Probation (An Excerpt from Defining Moments, a WIP)

Row 80 Check-In Post

My Reading Week: (Click Titles for Reviews)

I was distracted early in the week, as Noah was sick and staying with me; I was worried.  Then he got better, and everything picked up, moving along nicely.  But I abandoned one of the books on my list for the week and added a couple of different ones.  An unpredictable reading list.

1.  The Sixes, by Kate White

2.  Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs), by Jacqueline Winspear (Sequel Challenge)

3.   3rd Degree (Women’s Murder Club), by James Patterson (Sequel Challenge, Women’s Murder Club Challenge)

4.  Ctrl Z (e-book), by Danika Stone (Review Book)

What’s Up Next?  (Click titles/covers for more info)

1.   2nd Chance, by James Patterson (Another one for the Sequel/Women’s Murder Club Challenges)

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2.  The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult

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3.   The Night Swimmer (e-book), by Matt Bondurant (Mt. TBR Challenge)

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That’s what last week and my upcoming one look like.  I hope you’ll come on by and chat.

Coffee Cup

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — MARCH 18

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in March by Chaotic Compendiums;and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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This week, nothing came in the mail!  At all….but I downloaded a book for Sparky; a book that I can use in my Sequel Challenge.

Backseat Saints, by Joshilyn Jackson

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Rose Mae Lolley’s mother disappeared when she was eight, leaving Rose with a heap of old novels and a taste for dangerous men. Now, as demure Mrs. Ro Grandee, she’s living the very life her mother abandoned. She’s all but forgotten the girl she used to be-teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol-until an airport gypsy warns Rose it’s time to find her way back to that brave, tough girl . . . or else. Armed with only her wit, her pawpy’s ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas, running from a man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did.

Starring a minor character from Jackson’s bestselling gods in Alabama, BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with its stunning portrayal of the measures a mother will take to right the wrongs she’s created, and how far a daughter will travel to satisfy the demands of forgiveness.

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Welcome to another week of bookish fun, sharing our thoughts about our book and blogging adventures.   Enter the community of book bloggers to find out about books you will want to add to your stacks.  Enjoy the interaction.

Here’s Some of My Blogging Stuff for the Week:

Drooling & Musing Over Upcoming Reads

Hump Day Potpourri:  Stuff I’ve Been Putting Off….

Thursday Sparks:  Mood Reading

Guilty Pleasures:  Living With No Regrets

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Teen Rebellion (An Excerpt from a WIP)

A Creative Journey is Often a Lengthy One:  Row 80 Update

Books Read/Reviewed-Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  The View from Penthouse B, by Elinor Lipman (Amazon Vine)

2.   While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, by Wendy Wax (Publicist Request)

3.  The Tin Horse, by Janice Steinberg (Amazon Vine)

4.  The Lion Is In, by Delia Ephron (Library book)

What’s Up Next?  (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)

1.  The Sixes, by Kate White

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2.    Harbinger of Evil (e-book), by Meb Bryant

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3.  Messenger of Truth, by Jacqueline Winspear (Sequel Challenge)

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That’s what my past and upcoming weeks look like.  I’d love to chat with you about your adventures.

Coffee Cup

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — MARCH 11

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in March by Chaotic Compendiums;and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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This week, I received one book in the mail:  a contest win from Dollycas Reviews; and I downloaded one free e-book and an e-book for review.

1.   Oodles of Poodles, by Linda O. Johnston (from Dollycas)

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Shelter manager and pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver once again takes on the role of amateur sleuth when there’s a murder on a film set . . .

Has Hollywood gone to the dogs? Pet rescuer Lauren Vancouver is observing production on a new movie called Sheba’s Story. The title character—a white Miniature poodle—is played by many similar-looking poodles, and to make sure no animals are harmed, Lauren’s friend, veterinarian Carlie Stellan, and Grant, a handsome representative from the American Humane Association, are on location. But when the film’s director is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run after arguing with Carlie about animal safety, it’s up to Lauren to clear her friend’s name and catch a killer before someone else ends up in oodles of deadly trouble.

2.  Mrs. Lieutenant (e-book), by Phyllis Zimbler Miller

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What W.E.B.Griffin’s BROTHERHOOD OF WAR series does for Vietnam-era active duty military personnel, MRS. LIEUTENANT — a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist — does for Vietnam-era military spouses.

“Miller captures the freshness and naiveté of those women, all transplanted to an environment that forced them to deal with new challenges.”–Dr. Cathy Goodwin, Top 500 Amazon Reviewer

“I loved MRS. LIEUTENANT. Reading it brought back for me, a military wife, memories of the Vietnam War era, when so many of our young men were in uniform due to the draft, and memories of what it was like being in the sub-culture of the military as a new Army wife.” –Mary Raynor

“This book should be required reading for every contemporary military spouse, the families of our servicemen and women, and civilians who want to understand the lifestyle of our men and women in uniform. The military isn’t just a job or career, it is a WAY OF LIFE that can’t be fully understood by those who haven’t lived it. Phyllis Zimbler Miller’s MRS. LIEUTENANT makes it clear–this is a life she understands at the deepest level.” –Bonnie Bartel Latino, co-author of “Your Gift to Me”

“Phyllis Zimbler Miller’s MRS. LIEUTENANT is one of those stellar reads that keep you engaged from the first word to the last, and how long or how short the book is doesn’t concern you at all. Keep a box of tissues handy, because you’ll need it; I certainly did, and more than once.” –George Polley, author of “Grandfather & the Raven”

When newly married Sharon Gold suddenly finds herself in the unfamiliar culture of the U.S. Army during the unpopular Vietnam War, she quickly realizes she must adapt to this alien world. If she does not learn to “fit in,” the consequences could have a severe impact on her husband’s military career and even his life.

By sharing the unique perspective of these women alongside their men in uniform, MRS. LIEUTENANT provides a compelling look inside the military during a turbulent time in U.S. history (with many parallels to today).

 

3.   Ctrl Z (e-book), by Danika Stone (Author Request)

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Indigo Sykes has spent years trying to forget where she came from. She has a degree, a new life, and a quiet existence. Everything she ever wanted… But all of this comes to a screeching halt when an unexpected meeting with computer hacker, Jude Alden, changes her plans. Romance blooms between the mismatched duo, even while entanglements from Indigo’s past threaten to pull the two of them apart.

Dogged by a history of running, Indigo’s hard-won security is shattered when Jude’s illegal activity drags both of them into a dangerous game. As the net of hacking and underworld crime tightens around Jude and Indigo’s dark history is exposed, the two of them must find a way out or risk bringing the consequences down on them both.

 

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Welcome to our special event in which we share about our week in reading and blogging.  I especially enjoy the camaraderie and the community spirit that comes with sharing and chatting about our bookish things.

On the Blogs:

A Monday of Musing:  Come Chat With Us

Spring Forward: Or The Times They Are A-Changing

Thursday Potpourri: Random Thoughts & Bookish Things

Saturday Potpourri:  Nostalgia, Movies, & Books

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Coping

Sunday Check-In Post (Row 80)

Blog Tour Stop:  Review of Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans – Rainy Days and Mondays

Books Read-Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

2.  The Day After Yesterday, by Kelly Cozy

3.  Half Broke Horses (e-book), by Jeannette Walls (Mt. TBR Challenge)

4.  Promises to Keep, by Jane Green

What’s Up Next?  (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)

1.   The View from Penthouse B, by Elinor Lipman.  (Review Book-Amazon Vine)

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2.   Midnight Sacrifice, by Melinda Leigh (Review Book)

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3.  While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, by Wendy Wax (Review Book)

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That’s my week….now I’m eager to see what the rest of you are reading/blogging about.

Coffee Cup

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — MARCH 4

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in March by Chaotic Compendiums;and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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You know how one week you receive no books?  And then the next week, the books just flow…Well, that’s what happened here.  I received four review books in the mail; one book I purchased; and then I downloaded one e-book onto Sparky.

1.  While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, by Wendy Wax (From Publicist)

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FROM THE AUTHOR OF TEN BEACH ROAD AND OCEAN BEACH, A NEW NOVEL OF FOUR FRIENDS—AND A SHARED PASSION THAT COULD CHANGE THEIR LIVES.

When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…

Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.

Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.

And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.

2.  Midnight Sacrifice, by Melinda Leigh (From Author)

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The chilling sequel to Midnight Exposure

One by one, people are mysteriously disappearing from a small Maine town.

Four months ago, a ruthless murderer killed two people and kidnapped three more, including Danny Sullivan’s sister, who barely escaped. Unfortunately so did the killer, vanishing without a trace into the vast wilderness. When the police fail to find his sister’s captor, Danny returns to Maine to hunt him down.

He begins his search with another survivor, bed and breakfast owner Mandy Brown, but her refusal to cooperate raises Danny’s suspicions. What is the beautiful innkeeper hiding?

Mandy Brown has a secret. But sexy Danny Sullivan, his relentless questions, and the desire that simmers between them threaten to expose the truth. A revelation that puts her family in danger. As more people disappear, it becomes clear the killer is planning another ritual…and that he’s circling in on Mandy.

3.  The Tin Horse, by Janice Steinberg (Amazon Vine)

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In the stunning tradition of Lisa See, Maeve Binchy, and Alice Hoffman, The Tin Horse is a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bond sisters share and the dreams and sorrows that lay at the heart of the immigrant experience.

It has been more than sixty years since Elaine Greenstein’s twin sister, Barbara, ran away, cutting off contact with her family forever. Elaine has made peace with that loss. But while sifting through old papers as she prepares to move to Rancho Mañana—or the “Ranch of No Tomorrow” as she refers to the retirement community—she  is stunned to find a possible hint to Barbara’s whereabouts all these years later. And it pushes her to confront the fierce love and bitter rivalry of their youth during the 1920s and ’30s, in the Los Angeles Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights.

Though raised together in Boyle Heights, where kosher delis and storefront signs in Yiddish lined the streets, Elaine and Barbara staked out very different personal territories. Elaine was thoughtful and studious, encouraged to dream of going to college, while Barbara was a bold rule-breaker whose hopes fastened on nearby Hollywood. In the fall of 1939, when the girls were eighteen, Barbara’s recklessness took an alarming turn. Leaving only a cryptic note, she disappeared.

In an unforgettable voice layered with humor and insight, Elaine delves into the past. She recalls growing up with her spirited family: her luftmensch of a grandfather, a former tinsmith with tales from the Old Country; her papa, who preaches the American Dream even as it eludes him; her mercurial mother, whose secret grief colors her moods—and of course audacious Barbara and their younger sisters, Audrey and Harriet. As Elaine looks back on the momentous events of history and on the personal dramas of the Greenstein clan, she must finally face the truth of her own childhood, and that of the twin sister she once knew.

In The Tin Horse, Janice Steinberg exquisitely unfolds a rich multigenerational story about the intense, often fraught bonds between sisters, mothers, and daughters and the profound and surprising ways we are shaped by those we love. At its core, it is a book not only about the stories we tell but, more important, those we believe, especially the ones about our very selves.

4.  The View from Penthouse B, by Elinor Lipman (Amazon Vine)

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Two sisters recover from widowhood, divorce, and Bernie Madoff as unexpected roommates in a Manhattan apartment

Unexpectedly widowed Gwen-Laura Schmidt is still mourning her husband, Edwin, when her older sister Margot invites her to join forces as roommates in Margot’s luxurious Village apartment. For Margot, divorced amid scandal (hint: her husband was a fertility doctor) and then made Ponzi-poor, it’s a chance to shake Gwen out of her grief and help make ends meet. To further this effort she enlists a third boarder, the handsome, cupcake-baking Anthony.

As the three swap money-making schemes and timid Gwen ventures back out into the dating world, the arrival of Margot’s paroled ex in the efficiency apartment downstairs creates not just complications but the chance for all sorts of unexpected forgiveness. A sister story about love, loneliness, and new life in middle age, this is a cracklingly witty, deeply sweet novel from one of our finest comic writers.

5.   The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult (My Purchase)

 

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Some stories live forever . . . Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions.

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?

In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.

6.  Obsolete (e-book), by C. T. French

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In a dystopian future, an epic battle between the sexes will determine who lives and who dies.

After the Blue Pox pandemic wipes out 99.99 percent of males and 99.95 percent of females,18-year-old Madison is lost and alone. She joins forces with Katherine, a former anthropologist, in search of a safe place to live, and the two find a group of women gathered on the campus of a small college in East Tennessee. Katherine quickly establishes herself as leader and under the influence of Callie, a former prison guard, begins to imprison men for what Madison perceives can only be nefarious reasons. When the prisoners start mysteriously disappearing, Madison suspects Callie and her band of deputies are killing them. Then Callie and Katherine devise a procreation policy, mating the younger women with the male prisoners, and Madison must make a decision to either stay and become puppet to their plans or make her way alone in a desolate, violent world.

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Welcome to the first Monday in March.  Let’s gather around our cups of coffee and chat about February…and last week.  Let’s also plot the week to come.

First…let’s look at what happened on my blogs:

Musing & Ranting About Guilty Pleasures, New Reading Habits, & Bookish Love

Author Interview with Alan S. Blood

Author Interview with Kimberly S. Young & Review of The Eighth Wonder

Hump Day Potpourri:  Collections & Bookish Anticipation

Wrapping up February:  Lots of Good Books!

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Mother/Daughter Conflicts

Count Down to the End of the Round

Reading-Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  The History of Us, by Leah Stewart

2.  Blast from the Past, by Lauren Carr (Sequel Challenge)

3.  Knit Two, by Kate Jacobs (Mt. TBR & Sequel Challenge)

4.   Her:  A Memoir, by Christa Parravani

What’s Up Next? (Click Title/Cover for More Info)

1.  Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

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2.   The Day After Yesterday, by Kelly Cozy (Review book)

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3.   Half Broke Horses (e-book), by Jeannette Walls (Mt. TBR Challenge)

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***

That’s it….unless I finish them all, in which case, I have stacks and stacks of them waiting.  What are you planning this week?  Come on by and share….

THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 25

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in February by Unabridged Chick; and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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No books came in the mail this week!  No downloads, either.  I walked right past the bargain table at Barnes & Noble.  I am strong!  lol

I did receive some lovely swag this week from Tif Talks Books...for my participation in Bloggiesta.

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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Welcome to another week of sharing our blogging and reading adventures, as well as the great time we have every week visiting other blogs and chatting about stuff we love.

Since the Oscars are on Sunday night, and because I’m writing this on Sunday, I haven’t yet watched them.  By the time we gather around our blogs on Monday, we’ll know who the winners are.

Do any of you enjoy watching the Oscars?  What movies have you loved this year?

It took me awhile to watch the movie that I’ve been eager to see…but I saw it yesterday on my On Demand lineup.  Argo!  Yes, I vividly remember the angst of those days when the hostages were held in Iran.

And I wasn’t aware of this underlying story that came through so intensely in this film.

But meanwhile, back at the ranch….Or in my house, there was some blogging and reading this week.

Blogging:

Monday Sparks:  Musing About Bookish Things

Tuesday Potpourri:  A Morning with Books, Coffee, & the DVR

Thursday Potpourri: Fiona Through the Years — Happy Birthday!

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Meeting Evan

Sunday Check-In Post:  Row 80

Sunday Potpourri:  A Little Irish

Reading/Reviewing-Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  Evil at Heart, by Chelsea Cain (Sequel Challenge)

2.  Emancipating Alice (e-book), by Ava Winder

3.   Plum Spooky, by Janet Evanovich (Sequel Challenge)

4.  After the Rain (e-book), by Karen White (Sequel Challenge)

5.  The Art of Men, by Kirstie Alley

What’s Up Next?

1.   The History of Us, by Leah Stewart

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Sometimes home is the hardest place to go.In the newest novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me (which Claire Messud called “poignant, fierce, and compelling”), three grown siblings return to their childhood home and face a family secret that forces them to reexamine their relationships to each other—and to the aunt who took them in as children.

Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives a devastating phone call. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take their three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire, out of the hands of her own incapable mother. She moves back into her mother’s century-old house and, after her mother leaves, pours her own money into its upkeep.

Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house with now-grown Theo, Josh, and Claire, still thinking about the career and life she left behind, even as she pushes the kids to get a move on. With Claire leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally sell the house and start a life that’s hers alone. But when her mother creates a competition for which of them gets the house and Claire turns out to have a life-changing secret, their makeshift family begins to fall apart.

The History of Us is a heartrending story of loss, sibling relationships, and the life you make in the path not taken.

 

2.  Knit Two, by Kate Jacobs (for Sequel & Mt. TBR Challenges)

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The Sequel to the Beloved #1 New York Times Bestseller The Friday Night Knitting Club

The sequel to the number-one New York Times bestseller The Friday Night Knitting Club, KNIT TWO returns to Walker and Daughter, the Manhattan knitting store founded by Georgia Walker and her young daughter, Dakota. Dakota is now an eighteen-year-old freshman at NYU, running the little yarn shop part-time with help from the members of the Friday Night Knitting Club.

Drawn together by the sense of family the club has created, the knitters rely on one another as they struggle with new challenges: for Catherine, finding love after divorce; for Darwin, the hope for a family; for Lucie, being both a single mom and a caregiver for her elderly mother; and for seventy-something Anita, a proposal of marriage from her sweetheart, Marty, that provokes the objections of her grown children.

As the club’s projects—an afghan, baby booties, a wedding coat—are pieced together, so is their understanding of the patterns underlying the stresses and joys of being mother, wife, daughter, and friend. Because it isn’t the difficulty of the garment that makes you a great knitter: it’s the care and attention you bring to the craft—as well as how you adapt to surprises.

 

3.  Blast from the Past, by Lauren Carr (Review Book) (Sequel Challenge)

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In this fourth mystery on Deep Creek Lake; Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs with mobsters and federal agents. After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday! Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

 

4.  Her:  A Memoir, by Christa Parravani (Review Book)

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A blazingly passionate memoir of identity and love: when a charismatic and troubled young woman dies tragically, her identical twin must struggle to survive

Christa Parravani and her identical twin, Cara, were linked by a bond that went beyond siblinghood, beyond sisterhood, beyond friendship. Raised up from poverty by a determined single mother, the gifted and beautiful twins were able to create a private haven of splendor and merriment between themselves and then earn their way to a prestigious college and to careers as artists (a photographer and a writer, respectively) and to young marriages. But, haunted by childhood experiences with father figures and further damaged by being raped as a young adult, Cara veered off the path to robust work and life and in to depression, drugs and a shocking early death.

A few years after Cara was gone, Christa read that when an identical twin dies, regardless of the cause, 50 percent of the time the surviving twin dies within two years; and this shocking statistic rang true to her. “Flip a coin,” she thought,” those were my chances of survival.” First, Christa fought to stop her sister’s downward spiral; suddenly, she was struggling to keep herself alive.

Beautifully written, mesmerizingly rich and true, Christa Parravani’s account of being left, one half of a whole, and of her desperate, ultimately triumphant struggle for survival is informative, heart-wrenching and unforgettably beautiful.

***

And that’s my week!  What are you planning?  What did last week look like?  Let’s chat.

 

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 18

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in February by Unabridged Chick; and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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This week brought two review books in the mail…and a free download for Sparky.

1.  The Day After Yesterday, by Kelly Cozy (From the Author)

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The events of a single night can change a life forever, as musician Daniel Whitman discovers when he loses his family and home. Overwhelmed by grief, unable to find solace in his music or accept comfort from his friends, he flees up the California coast. Daniel thinks he’s leaving everything behind, but his journey will take him to the places and people that will help him find his way back. The Day After Yesterday is a story of hope, friendship, and the redemptive power of music.

2.  Her, by Christa Parravani (Publisher)

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A blazingly passionate memoir of identity and love: when a charismatic and troubled young woman dies tragically, her identical twin must struggle to survive

Christa Parravani and her identical twin, Cara, were linked by a bond that went beyond siblinghood, beyond sisterhood, beyond friendship. Raised up from poverty by a determined single mother, the gifted and beautiful twins were able to create a private haven of splendor and merriment between themselves and then earn their way to a prestigious college and to careers as artists (a photographer and a writer, respectively) and to young marriages. But, haunted by childhood experiences with father figures and further damaged by being raped as a young adult, Cara veered off the path to robust work and life and in to depression, drugs and a shocking early death.

A few years after Cara was gone, Christa read that when an identical twin dies, regardless of the cause, 50 percent of the time the surviving twin dies within two years; and this shocking statistic rang true to her. “Flip a coin,” she thought,” those were my chances of survival.” First, Christa fought to stop her sister’s downward spiral; suddenly, she was struggling to keep herself alive.

Beautifully written, mesmerizingly rich and true, Christa Parravani’s account of being left, one half of a whole, and of her desperate, ultimately triumphant struggle for survival is informative, heart-wrenching and unforgettably beautiful.

3.  The Summer of France (e-book), by Paulita Kincer (From Book Blogger Paulita, at An Accidental Blog)

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When Fia Jennings loses her job at the local newspaper, she thinks she’ll have the chance to bond with her teenage twins. As she realizes she may be too late to create the perfect family, she’s saved by a phone call from her great Uncle Martin who runs a bed and breakfast in Provence. Uncle Martin wants Fia to venture to France to run the B&B so he and his wife Lucie can travel. He doesn’t tell Fia about the secret he hid in the house when he married Lucie after fighting in World War II, and he doesn’t mention the people who are tapping his phone and following him, hoping to find the secret.
After much cajoling, Fia whisks her family to France and is stunned when Uncle Martin and Aunt Lucie leave the same day for a Greek cruise. She’s thrown into the minutiae of a running the B&B without the benefit of speaking the language. Her dreams of family bonding time fade as her teenagers make French friends. Kasie joins a local swim team, riding off to practice on the back of a scooter each morning, hips tucked next to the 18-year-old French boy who teaches her to smoke brown cigarettes and drink red wine. West accompanies a pouty French teenager around the city, playing his guitar in the town squares to earn spending money. Fia’s husband Grayson begins touring the countryside with a pretty French woman, and Fia resists the distractions of Christophe, a handsome French man. Why the whirlwind of French welcome, Fia wonders after she comes home from a day at the beach in Nice to find someone has ransacked the B&B.
Fia parses Uncle Martin’s obscure phone calls, trying to figure out this WW II hero’s secret. Can she assuage Uncle Martin’s World War II guilt and build the family she’s always dreamed of?

***

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Here we are in a new week, contemplating what has come before…and what lies ahead.  Eagerly ready to meander around the blogosphere, finding lovely books to add to our stacks, we bring our coffee and our conversation.

Last Week in My Blogging World:

On Monday, I wrote a Monday Potpourri:  Musings post about some of my reading habits.  Then I traipsed over the Story Corner to share A Lazy Monday:  Books, Movies, & Creative Pursuits.

My Thursday Potpourri: Valentine’s Tidbits was obviously a nod to that day.

Over at An Interior Journey, I had winners at the 100 Followers Giveaway.  And at Curl up and Read, there was a winner for the February Bookshelf Clearing Giveaway.

My Sweet Saturday Sample launched excerpts from another WIP, Defining Moments: 

Finally…Saturday Potpourri:  Quiet Reading, Feeding Sparky, and Surfing the Net.

Reading-Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  The Year of the Gadfly, by Jennifer Miller

2.  Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans, by Joanne DeMaio (Review will be up on 3/11 for blog tour stop – Rainy Days and Mondays)

3.  Sign of the Times (e-book), by Susan Buchanan

4.  Autobiography of Us, by Aria Beth Sloss.

What’s Up Next?  Click Titles/Covers for More Info:

1.  Emancipating Alice (e-book), by Ada Winder (review book)

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2.  After the Rain (e-book), by Karen White (Sequel Challenge)

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3.    Evil at Heart, Chelsea Cain (Sequel Challenge)

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***

And that’s all I’m planning…but in case I have time on my hands, I have many more books on the stacks!  I hope you’ll stop by and chat….and bring some coffee.

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 11

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in February by Unabridged Chick; and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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This week’s mailbox consisted of one review book and one book I downloaded for Sparky.

1.  Blast from the Past, by Lauren Carr (Review book)

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In this fourth mystery on Deep Creek Lake; Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs with mobsters and federal agents. After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday! Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

And for my download, I decided I needed to start this J. D. Robb series…..

2.  Naked in Death (e-book), by J. D. Robb

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In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line–between seductive passion and scandalous murder…

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all–and knows her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire–and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about–except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

***

WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Welcome to another great week of reading, blogging, and basking in the community spirit that thrives in the blogosphere.

What is on the agenda for today?  For this week?  We can study last week and draw up a plan, I think.

Last weekend’s Bloggiesta had a great finish for me:  Finish Line: A Great Party.

Afterwards, I decided to take advantage of the energy and posted a 100 Followers Giveaway at An Interior Journey.

Hop on board!  We still have four followers to add before the party there is over.

Moving along to some of my other blogs, I posted Tuesday Potpourri:  Is Love in the Air for You? (In honor of Valentine’s Day, of course).

On Wednesday, I hosted Rebecca Graf in a Guest Post over at Rainy Days and Mondays.  And on the previous day, I reviewed Deep Connections, her novel, now released.

And on Saturday:

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Closure; and Saturday Potpourri:  Friendship, Love, & Road Trips.

Then…Sunday brought a Check-In Post for ROW 80.

 

My reading week was quite diverse and enjoyable.  Check it out!

Reading:  Click Titles for Reviews:

1.  Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline (Amazon Vine Review)

2.  Family Pictures, by Jane Green (Amazon Vine Review)

3.  Out of Circulation (e-book), by Miranda James (Cozy Mystery/Sequel Challenges)

4.  Big Cherry Holler, by Adriana Trigiani (Sequel Challenge)

5.  Sizzling Sixteen, by Janet Evanovich (Sequel Challenge)

What’s Up Next?  Click Titles/Covers for More Info:

1.  The Year of the Gadfly, by Jennifer Miller

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2.  Blue Jeans & Coffee Beans, by Joanne DeMaio (Review will be posted on 3/11/13)

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3.   Sign of the Times (e-book), by Susan Buchanan

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***

And that’s my week….so far.  I have several other books on tap in case I finish these.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been listing three to read and finishing four; or in last week’s case, five.  So it’s working for me!

Come on by and let’s chat!

MONDAY FROM THE INTERIOR: MAILBOX MONDAY & WHAT ARE YOU READING? — FEB. 4

books, etc.-monday memes

Welcome to another week of bookish fun.  Join in with those who celebrate Mailbox Monday, hosted in February by Unabridged Chick; and What Are You Reading?, hosted by Book Journey.

MAILBOX MONDAY:

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This week, my only “mailbox” books were for my Sparky, where I downloaded one review e-book and two purchases.

1.  Emancipating Alice (e-book), by Ada Winder (Review book)

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Now that her husband George is dead, middle-aged homemaker Alice Owens thinks his oppressive reign over her life has ended–but she is wrong. George thwarts her attempts at freedom, mentally and physically, from beyond the grave.

2.  Out of Circulation (e-book), by Miranda James

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Everyone in Athena, Mississippi, knows Charlie Harris, the librarian with a rescued Maine coon cat named Diesel. He’s returned to his hometown to immerse himself in books, but when a feud erupts between the town’s richest ladies, the writing on the wall spells murder.

The Ducote sisters are in a tiff with Vera Cassity over the location of this year’s library fundraising gala, and Charlie would rather curl up in a corner than get into the fray. It seems everyone–even his housekeeper Azalea–has it in for Vera. And at the gala, she gives them good reason, with a public display of rancor aimed at anyone who gets in her way.

But those bitter words wind up being her last. When Charlie discovers Azalea standing over Vera’s dead body, it’s up to him–with a little help from Diesel–to clear Azalea’s name, and catch a killer before his last chapter is finished.

3.  Starlet’s Web (e-book), by Carla J. Hanna

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A-list actress, 17-year-old Liana Marie Michael struggles to find herself when Hollywood’s obsession with youth and power threatens to destroy her future.

Liana is dating Hollywood’s hottest heartthrob while filming her seventh motion picture with sexy co-star Byron. Surrounded by a culture of casual sex and adult responsibilities, Lia feels lost and confused. With her film soon to wrap, her acting contracts up for renewal, her high school graduation looming and growing tension between her and smart student athlete, Manuel, life feels overwhelming. Will Lia find the courage to share her love for Manuel, a guy unimpressed with Hollywood? In the eternal quest for youth, what life-shattering secrets has Lia’s mom been keeping from her? Can Manuel accept Lia’s role in Hollywood’s web of lies?

STARLET’S WEB is not only a love story. With fast-paced narrative that reflects Hollywood’s hyper-drive lifestyle, Ms. Hanna transports the reader into an actor’s daily life and demonstrates how difficult it is for young adults to break free from a path created by someone else – even when it is a successful one.

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Welcome to another great week of reading, blogging, and basking in the community spirit that thrives in the blogosphere.

I’ve been busy this week with my reading and blogging.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the sad fate of Sparky, my Kindle.  Saturday Potpourri:  Kindle Woes had a happy ending, though.

Yes, indeed!  My Kindle case broke, but I found a new one!

Now for the rest of the week:

The Interior World of Martha Cummings is an excerpt from my WIP Interior Designs.

Hump Day Potpourri:  A Plethora of Books is about a treasure trove of recent acquisitions.

Sweet Saturday Sample:  Love is in the Air (Another Excerpt)

January Reading Wrap-Up

February Bookshelf Clearing

Check-In Post – ROW 80

Mini-Bloggiesta Starting Gate

Reading/Click for Reviews:

1.  Smash Cut, by Sandra Brown (Another one toppled off of Mt. TBR!)

2.  Restless Souls, by Alisa Statman with Brie Tate (Another from Mt. TBR)

3.  Thread on Arrival (e-book), by Amanda Lee

What’s Up Next? (Click Titles/Covers for More Info)

1.  Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline  (Vine Review)

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2.  Family Pictures, by Jane Green (Vine Review)

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3.  Out of Circulation (e-book), by Miranda James

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***

That’s my week!  Come on by and let’s chat…..