REVIEW: THE PRINCESS DIARIST, BY CARRIE FISHER

 

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford. 

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes.  Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

My Thoughts: A thoroughly enjoyable foray into the past, The Princess Diarist showed the author’s trademark humor, self-deprecatory descriptions, and the skill of the wordsmith that have followed her in all of her work. Additionally, the photos were some I had never seen before.

I liked how she tastefully revealed the love affair that had been a secret for years. I felt as though I could see into her heart as she revealed her anxieties about that relationship, while also allowing us to enjoy the thrill she felt, most precious because she also knew that it was a temporary thing.

Those insecurities came out most in the diary entries, written by her younger self. She was nineteen at the time, while Harrison Ford was in his thirties. Her anecdotes of their short relationship, which she has characterized as a three-month one-night stand, reveal much about their personalities then…and later, too.

Her thoughts forty years later were also typically witty, even about very emotional topics. While she honestly revealed her thoughts and feelings, she was also able to mask the pain with her wit.

I especially enjoyed her anecdotes about the Princess Leia iconic images and the ongoing fan reactions, especially as time went by. Were her portrayals of Princess Leia her most defining moments? Must she constantly be confronted by the images, including dolls that commemorated her youthful life? Then again, without those reminders, would the fame have faded?

Fortunately, other movies and her bestselling novels added to her legacy.

Sadly, since Carrie Fisher’s passing in December 2016, we all must confront the reality that we will forever be looking into the rear view mirror when we think of her. I cherish the books and movies I own, and especially enjoyed this last memoir, the one she was celebrating at the time of her death. 5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: BEAUTIFUL SPRING DAYS….

 

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.

Great, sunshiny days came along this week, and so far it isn’t hot, either.  This perfect balance won’t last that long.  In the meantime, I am luxuriating in this little spring bubble.

My reading took a spike upwards this week, with FOUR books read and reviewed.  My blogging fell off, however, with only FIVE posts.  I guess when one thing goes up, the other goes down.  My total Read the Books You Buy Count so far:  32.

I spent some time watching Netflix(13 Reasons Why) and Amazon Prime(Bridget Jones’s Baby & La La Land); enjoyed some movies on my DVR; and played around with my blog headers (and then changed them again!).  I suffer from Restless/Compulsive Blog Designing/Changing Syndrome.

I did get a mani/pedi this week, to honor spring and sandals.

I was on Facebook earlier this week, and they had posted some “memories” to share.  I found this one from a few years back…the neighborhood library had featured one of my novels (click to my Amazon page).

 

My patio is buried under mounds of leaves that the gardeners regularly propel in with their leaf blowers…what is the sense of that?  I used to sweep them out regularly, but it was hopeless when the rains were turning them into a soggy mess.  But now that it’s spring, I need to prepare the patio for relaxing days ahead.

While I ponder that, I’ll have another cup of coffee…and talk about my week.

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Reading, TV Shows, & Movies….

Tuesday Potpourri: “The Widow of Wall Street”

Hump Day Reading:  Immersed in Books….

Coffee & Thoughts….

Bookish Friday:  “Woman No. 17”

Review:  The Widow’s House (e-book), by Carol GoodmanReview:  The Secrets You Keep (e-book), by Kate WhiteReview:  The Arrangement (e-book), by Sarah DunnReview:  Woman No. 17, by Edan Lepucki – (Amazon Vine Review)

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One Amazon Vine Review book came in my physical mailbox, and a NetGalley Review came to my Kindle.  Additionally, I purchased two more downloads…because I couldn’t resist!

What’s Become of Her, by Deb Caletti (Vine).

 

 

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Downloads:

He Said/She Said (e-book), by Erin Kelly – (NetGalley – 6-6-17)

 

 

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Downloaded Purchases:

Any Day Now (e-book), by Robyn Carr

 

 

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Fallout (e-book, VI Warshawski), by Sara Paretsky

 

 

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Housekeeper (e-book), by Suellen Dainty

 

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And then….

The Roanoke Girls (e-book), by Amy Engel

 

 

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Wait for the Rain (e-book), by Maria Murnane

 

 

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Today I feel like going to Barnes & Noble (below) to browse for books…and have some of their coffee.  I have some coupons!

 

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REVIEW: THE SECRETS YOU KEEP, BY KATE WHITE

 

What would you do if you realized that your new husband, a man you adore, is keeping secrets from you—secrets with terrifying consequences?

Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning. 

In the beginning, Bryn’s husband Guy couldn’t have been more supportive. But after moving into a new house together, disturbing incidents occur and Guy grows evasive, secretive. What the hell is going on, she wonders? Then, a woman hired to cater their dinner party is brutally murdered.

As Bryn’s world unravels—and yet another woman in town is slain —she must summon her old strength to find answers and protect her own life. Her nightmares may in fact hold the key to unlocking the truth and unmasking the murderer.

My Thoughts: What an exciting premise! I was captivated by the unfolding scenarios in The Secrets You Keep. There were so many characters to distrust that it was impossible to pinpoint who might be a murderer. But in the midst of it all, we also learned a lot more about some past events: the night of Bryn’s car accident and what her colleague, Paul, was trying to tell her, leading to understanding the disturbing elements of her nightmares.

From the beginning, I didn’t like Guy. He was too mercurial, with charming overtures that rapidly turned sullen; lashing out at the slightest questioning was another familiar reaction.

Eve, the caterer, was also blatantly unlikable, making her a target for my suspicion. There were also a handful of characters that I didn’t like, but who turned out not to figure into the murder mystery.

I was a little surprised that one of the annoying characters turned out to be the perpetrator, but I like not being able to guess everything right away. I would have enjoyed a closer look into Bryn’s world as an author, so I gave this one 4.5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: THE WEEK SLID BY….

 

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

Another week slid by while I wasn’t even doing all that much.  But here we are, ready to total up the memorable moments.  I did read and review THREE books this week.  Two were review books:  one an author review request, and the other from NetGalley.  I read one book from my own purchases, bringing my Read the Books You Buy Challenge total to  29 books!

I started watching another show on Netflix:  13 Reasons Why.  Has anyone else seen it?  On regular TV, I’m watching Season III of Better Call Saul.  After having binge-watched five seasons of Scandal on Netflix, I’m now enjoying Season 6 on ABC.

This weekend, I plan to scroll through titles on Amazon Prime Videos…and some more on Netflix.  And I’ll read some, too.

For fun, my daughter shared some photos:  On the left:  Heather at fourteen next to a photo of her son Noah at fourteen:

 

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They do seem to be related…LOL.  My eldest son had fun playing with Photoshop, and put a fringe and long hair on Noah’s photo (below), after which he apologized to Noah profusely:

 

As you can tell, we have a quirky sense of humor in our family.

Nowlet’s take a look at last week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Sparks:  “Slightly South of Simple”

Tuesday Potpourri:  What’s Great About Tuesdays?

Hump Day Reading:  A Great Week….

Thoughts on a Thursday….

Bookish Friday:  “The Widower’s Wife”

Well-Loved Treasures from the Past….

Weekend Potpourri:  After “The Fast”….

Review:  The Perfect Stranger (e-book), by Megan Miranda – NetGalley – 4/11Review:  Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey – (Author Review Request)Review:  The Widower’s Wife (e-book), by Cate Holahan

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books came in my mailbox!  I did purchase three downloads.

The Widow of Wall Street (e-book), by Randy Susan Meyers

 

 

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The Night the Lights Went Out (e-book), by Karen White

 

 

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The Dark Flood Rises (e-book), by Margaret Drabble

 

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Widow’s House (e-book), by Carol Goodman

 

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And then…some more of the books I’ve purchased, such as these:

The Secrets You Keep (e-book), by Kate White

 

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The Arrangement (e-book), by Sarah Dunn

 

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That was my week….and here is something tasty to think about:

 

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REVIEW: SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE, BY KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY

 

I am always eager to dive into a good book about family, especially one with Southern charm to add the topping on my day.

When Ansley Murphy moved her family to Peachtree Bluff, Georgia, due to financial losses discovered after her husband’s death, she made an independent life for herself and turned her love of interior decorating into a successful design business.

Slightly South of Simple shows the reader each of the well-developed characters through alternating narratives, but we primarily see them through the perspectives of Ansley and her oldest daughter Caroline. For a variety of reasons, all three sisters descend upon their mother’s house at the same time.

Pregnant with her second child, Caroline is devastated by her husband’s affair with a supermodel. She and their daughter Vivi take off for Peachtree Bluff, to heal and figure out what to do next. Caroline has some issues besides the advanced pregnancy and her separation from her cheating husband. We learn more about Caroline, as the story takes us from the present to the past and back. We feel Caroline’s present predicament, but are also gifted with a glimpse of the time back in college when she first met and fell in love with James Beaumont, whom she married only nine months later.

The other sisters are not as front and center in the story, but we do see them through the eyes of Ansley and Caroline. Emerson, an actress, seems to be overly absorbed in being extremely thin. What could be driving this behavior?

Sloane, the middle sister, is trying hard to support her military husband who is deployed more often than he is home, while raising their two sons on her own.

Ansley reconnects with her first love, Jack, just before her daughters all join her at the old home she inherited from her grandmother. Renovating that home helped her launch her business, and now she is fixing up Jack’s old boat.

I was intrigued by what had happened between Ansley and Jack all those years ago. He was her first love, but what had ultimately driven them apart? And what other secrets might they be holding onto? There were hints along the way about those secrets, and I knew that if they came out, nothing would ever be the same. A dilemma for Ansley, but moving forward might require the revelations that had kept them mired in the past. A fascinating peek into a family full of quirky charm and a propensity for telling it like it is with a dash of Southern gentility, I could not stop turning the pages until the very end. 5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: FINDING MY “NORMAL” AGAIN…

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.

 

Coming back home after the wedding weekend found me trying to get back into my routines, but not doing too well at it.  I had something scheduled every day this past week…until Thursday, when I finally settled into my reading.  I only read and reviewed TWO books this week, but they were both review books, and deadlines were looming.  Plus, they were both awesome!

I had started out the week by having lunch with an old friend at The Cheesecake Factory…and while I was waiting for her, I had this lovely drink, aptly named a Blood Orange Martini.

 

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On Wednesday, I had a spa day, and my daughter changed up my hairstyle with what she calls an A-line cut…and then curled it.  I think I just might like it!

At night, I did some more Netflix bingeing and finished Season III of Grace and Frankie.  I love that show!

So…without further ado, let’s take a look at last week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Potpourri:  “One Perfect Lie”

Hump Day Reading:  Current, Past, and Future

Interior Thoughts:  Bookish & Not So Bookish….

Bookish Friday:  “Beach Breeze”

Rainy Day Reading….

Weekend Potpourri:  A Wedding at the Beach….

Review:  One Perfect Lie (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline – (NetGalley – 4/4/17)Review:  Beach Breeze, by Joanne DeMaio – (Author Review Request)

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One purchased book arrived in my mailbox; I received two e-ARCs from NetGalley; and I downloaded two purchased e-books.

My Life to Live, by Agnes Nixon (Purchased)

 

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NetGalley Reviews:

The Bookshop at Water’s End (e-book), by Patti Callahan Henry – (7/11 Release)

 

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Every Last Lie (e-book), by Mary Kubica (6/27 Release Date)

 

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Purchased Downloads:

All By Myself, Alone (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

 

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Miss You (e-book), by Kate Eberlen

 

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SO WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Perfect Stranger (e-book), by Megan Miranda (NG – 4/11)

 

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And then, perhaps:

Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey (Author Review)

 

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I am ready to curl up and start reading…and maybe I will also watch something more on Netflix or Amazon Prime.  I think I’ll have some more coffee, too.

 

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REVIEW: BEACH BREEZE, BY JOANNE DEMAIO

After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat. When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave. Gathering over an intimate meal in a coastal diner, the friends make a solemn pact to lean on each other and not make any more rash decisions.

Which is all well and good, until each friend wavers–testing relationships, commitments, and especially love in the little beach community of Stony Point. But can the magic of the weathered boardwalk, whispering lagoon grasses, and sweet salt air cure what ails them?

My Thoughts: Reconnecting with the residents of Stony Point brought this reader back into all of their lives during a huge loss that seemingly took them each off course.

Jason Barlow was especially impacted by the sudden death of his new friend Sal DeLuca, who had become like a stand-in for Jason’s lost brother Neil. Struggling with his walled-off feelings, he takes to the road without a backward glance. But then he is brought up hard by the swell of his feelings, and calls his wife. Maris and her sister Eva join him, and for a bit, it seems as though Jason might have reached a defining moment.

But more will happen in the days and weeks ahead that will remind them all that sadness and sorrow are not easily forgotten.

Each member of the community is affected by Sal’s loss, and his mother Elsa shows just how much she is changed by it when she suddenly decides not to continue the beach inn renovation. A decision that will hit Jason hard, especially, as he was counting on the work, as were his employees. From one rash decision to another, the friendships are slowly unraveling, and their desperate effort to make changes leads to a pact. One that might curtail future wrong moves.

But will their pact help them move on, or will they have to take drastic steps to right the wrong choices they are making?

A beautifully written story that showed the strength of their bonds in the wake of tragedy, Beach Breeze carried me through to the final moments of an unforgettable summer…and earned 5 stars.

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