WEEKLY UPDATES: GREAT READING, A FUN SPA DAY, ETC.

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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.

 

What a week!  Some rain, but mostly sunshine…and a lot of wind.  With a jury summons hanging over my head, I tried to plan the week without missing out on things I wanted to do.  In the end, I requested and was granted a postponement.

Reading and reviewing FOUR engaging books brought my total in the Read the Books You Buy Challenge to TWENTY-ONE.

Some of my week’s activities included a spa day, with more silver added to my hair…after a very relaxing massage.

I also obsessively changed up some lamps in my space.  I  now enjoy this one that stands atop my desk, smaller and giving just enough light:

 

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On Thursday, I signed my tax documents…and have only a small additional amount to pay to the IRS…and a tiny refund from the state.  Hopefully I won’t have to wait for six months this time!

In my evenings, I enjoyed some of my favorite shows, like How To Get Away with Murder’s Season Finale...and a movie I found On Demand, which has been nominated for an Oscar:  Manchester by the Sea.  It was wonderful!

No time for Netflix this week…maybe this weekend.  I will record the Oscars, as I have discovered that the boring parts are best viewed afterwards, when I can fast-forward sections I do not enjoy.

Let’s lift our cups of caffeinated (or sparkling beverage) and chat about the week.

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

TBR Patrol:  Are My Numbers Dictating My Life?

Monday Sparks:  Musing About Bookish Scents…

Happy Birthday!  The Many Faces of Fiona….

Tuesday Potpourri:  “The Good Daughter”

Hump Day Potpourri:  Puddles, Hair Magic, & Postponed Jury Duty…

Hump Day Sparks:  Book Hopping…

Coffee Chat:  Tick-Tock, the Time Is Flying….

Bookish Friday:  “Heartbreak Hotel”

Weekend Potpourri:  Looking Back…

Review:  Right Behind You (e-book), by Lisa Gardnercropped-again-5Review:  The Trophy Child (e-book), by Paula Daly – (NetGalley – 3/7/17)cropped-again-5Review:  The Best Awful, by Carrie Fisherratings-worms-4-croppedReview:  Rainy Day Women (e-book, Book 2), by Kay Kendallratings-worms-4-cropped

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AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE:

Debbish Tells Us:  Why I Don’t Read Romance

Lexxie, at Up Close & (Un)Conventional Shares:  Why I Read Romance

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No mailbox books or review book downloads…BUT, I did purchase three downloads.

A Separation (e-book), by Katie Kitamura

 

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The Mother’s Promise (e-book), by Sally Hepworth

 

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A Piece of the World (e-book), by Christina Baker Kline

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Never Let You Go (e-book), by Chevy Stevens (NetGalley- 3/14/17)

 

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Then…a series of possibilities, like these:

How Will I Know You?, by Jessica Treadway (Amazon Vine Review)

 

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The Good Neighbor (e-book), by A. J. Banner

 

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And that was my week.  What did yours look like?  I hope to take my reading over to one of my favorite restaurants…and relax.  Maybe this one:

 

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REVIEW: RAINY DAY WOMEN, BY KAY KENDALL

 

Kay Kendall’s RAINY DAY WOMEN is the second book in the Austin Starr Mystery series. In 1969, during the week of the Manson murders and Woodstock, the intrepid amateur sleuth, infant in tow, flies across the continent to support a friend suspected of murdering women’s liberation activists in Seattle and Vancouver. Then her former CIA trainer warns that an old enemy has contracted a hit on her. Her anxious husband demands that she give up her quest and fly back to him. How much should Austin risk when tracking the killer puts her and her baby’s life in danger?
My Thoughts: Having enjoyed Book One in this series, I was eager to rejoin amateur sleuth Austin Starr. Following along in her adventures in Vancouver, I loved how the reader is introduced to the early feminist struggles via a women’s group.

As a backdrop to Rainy Day Women, the vernacular of the 60s, the music, and the Woodstock festival, along with the Sharon Tate murders, offer up a real taste of what life was like back then.

Austin is an interesting character, determined and skilled at following clues. She was also a little bit naïve, but she made up for it by pushing ahead fearlessly. Her husband, David, opposed to her activities, seemed to take on the thoughts and feelings of a lot of men back then, worried and overly-protective.

Larissa, the daughter of a Russian immigrant, Professor Klimenko, was different in this outing. Previously, while in Toronto, she had been awed by Austin, but in this setting, and probably because she was a suspect in her friend Shona’s murder, she seemed brusque and irritable.

As Austin accompanied Larissa to the women’s lib group, she met other friends of Shona’s, and also a few rivals in the group. How did Shona’s former roommate Mia fit into what happened to her? Were her brashness and her violent ups and downs a factor? How does Becky, another woman in the group, recently separated from her controlling husband, add to the questions Austin has? Did Shona’s ex-boyfriend Jack have a motive to have killed her? Or would the answers lie closer to home in the chemistry lab, with the graduate students?

I did enjoy watching Austin zero in on the killer, and in an exciting finale, bring justice for her friend and the other women in the group. In the end, there were also unresolved threads in the form of an ex-US Senator who had been tailing her. I can see a Book Three on the horizon. 4.5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE BEST AWFUL, BY CARRIE FISHER

 

When we left Suzanne Vale at the end of Carrie Fisher’s bestselling Postcards from the Edge, she had survived drug abuse, rehab, and Hollywood celebrity. The Best Awful takes Suzanne back to the edge with a new set of troubles—not the least of which is that her studio executive husband turned out to be gay and has left her for a man.

Lonely for a man herself, Suzanne decides that her medication is cramping her style, and she goes off her meds—with disastrous results. The “manic” side of the illness convinces her it would be a good idea to get a tattoo, cut off her hair, and head to Mexico with a burly ex-con and a stash of OxyContin. As she wakes up in Tijuana, the “depressive” side kicks in, leading Suzanne through a series of surreal psychotic episodes before landing her in a mental hospital. With the help of her movie star mom, a circle of friends, and even her ex-husband, she begins the long journey back to sanity.

My Thoughts: What I enjoy most about Suzanne Vale is her fierce desire to move beyond life’s disappointments. Certainly she finds herself up to her neck in alligators after the disappointment of her marriage. Even her joy at having her daughter Honey does not quite take the edge off of how much she hates being wrong about her ex-husband.

She has done pretty well at staying off the drugs, until…Yes, going off of the bipolar medication is a familiar tale for those with the illness. Life seems less wonderful when the journey turns flat and joyless.

How does Suzanne’s quest for a new man, while enjoying the ups and downs she experiences without the medications, turn into disaster? How does she find herself sliding down the surreal rabbit hole once again?

The Best Awful is a fictionalized tale filled with some of the author’s own experiences. As a result, we are gifted with an authentic journey through the meltdowns, the chaos, and life in a mental hospital. Fisher knows firsthand what her protagonist is going through, and we are rooting for Suzanne as she struggles. I enjoyed this book, although it wasn’t my favorite from the author. 4.5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: LOTS OF RAIN & A BIT OF SUNSHINE…

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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.

Good morning, and welcome to another weekend of chatting about books and blogging.  My week was pitiful, as I only finished reading and reviewing TWO books, but both qualified for the reading challenge…now totaling 18 books read and reviewed.

I spent some time watching Scandal on Netflix, and also saw a movie based on a book I’d enjoyed:  American Pastoral. (That one was On Demand).

On Friday, I was a bit bored and not wanting to read any more…so I created some new blog headers for my Serendipity site…and changed them about three times…LOL.  Here’s what I ended up with:

 

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We’ve had a lot of rain, but Monday started out with a sunny day, which my granddaughter and I celebrated with lunch and shopping.  She was visiting for the week from her training program in San Jose.  Every time I see her, she has a “new look.”  Ouch, right?

 

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I had errands to run and a tax appointment with my accountant…which ended better than expected.  So, what a relief!

After my appointment, I relaxed into an early dinner at Marie Callender’s.  Chicken Pot Pie and Caesar Salad…and a book.

 

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LET’S CHAT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED ON MY BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Routines & Changes….

Monday Potpourri:  Exciting New Read!

Let’s Curl up with “The Trophy Child”

Hump Day Serendipity:  Luxuriating in Books…

Hump Day Potpourri:  Books, Food, & Fun…

Coffee Chat:  A Morning of Books, Taxes, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Right Behind You”

Serendipitous Moments:  Blog Headers, Decor, & Nostalgia…

Weekend Potpourri:  Creative Changes…

Review:  My Husband’s Wife (e-book), by Jane Corrycropped-again-5Review:  The Vanishing Year (e-book), by Kate Moretticropped-again-5

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

I received one review book in my mailbox…and downloaded a review book from NetGalley. Then I purchased THREE  FOUR downloads…I couldn’t resist.

How Will I Know You?, by Jessica Treadway (Amazon Vine)

 

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One Perfect Lie (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline (NetGalley – 4/11/17)

 

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Downloads I Purchased:

Vivian in Red (e-book), by Kristina Riggle

 

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Heartbreak Hotel (e-book, An Alex Delaware Novel), by Jonathan Kellerman

 

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Eeny Meeney (e-book, Helen Grace #1), by M. J. Arlidge

 

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And…one I almost forgot about!

The Good Daughter (e-book), by Alexandra Burt

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Right Behind You (e-book), by Lisa Gardner

 

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Then…maybe these, or wherever my mood takes me….

The Trophy Child (e-book), by Paula Daly (NetGalley – 3/7)

 

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Rainy Day Women (e-book), by Kay Kendall

 

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That was my week….what did yours look like?  Let’s share a Cup of Joe…and perhaps a mimosa.

 

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REVIEW: THE VANISHING YEAR, BY KATE MORETTI

 

 

Zoe Whittaker is living a charmed life. She is the beautiful young wife to handsome, charming Wall Street tycoon Henry Whittaker. She is a member of Manhattan’s social elite. She is on the board of one of the city’s most prestigious philanthropic organizations. She has a perfect Tribeca penthouse in the city and a gorgeous lake house in the country. The finest wine, the most up-to-date fashion, and the most luxurious vacations are all at her fingertips.

What no one knows is that five years ago, Zoe’s life was in danger. Back then, Zoe wasn’t Zoe at all. Now her secrets are coming back to haunt her.

As the past and present collide, Zoe must decide who she can trust before she—whoever she is—vanishes completely.

 

My Thoughts: From the first pages of The Vanishing Year, I was caught up in Zoe’s world, both the current charmed life and the one she escaped. I could visualize the criminals who might be pursuing her, even now.

As Zoe begins to experience moments in her present life that collide with the past, we learn more about who she really was…back then. About her adoption by Evelyn, about her birth mother, and the most shocking secret of all that comes when she meets her birth mother.

In her present life, there is her friend Lydia, with whom she worked in a small flower shop…before Henry.

Then there is Cash, a journalist who wrote an article about an event she produced…and who has turned into someone she trusts. Someone who is helping her. But he is someone Henry hates.

How do the strange and frightening events happening in her new life connect with the old one? Who has decided to target her and terrify her all over again? Why does Henry seem to monitor her every activity, and why is he enraged when she questions him?

I had my own ideas about who was behind a lot of what was happening to Zoe…and when the truth started to unfold, I realized that it was all a lot more convoluted than I had imagined. A book I could not put down, I give this one a resounding 5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A MOSTLY UNREMARKABLE WEEK….

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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.

 

We had some rain this week, but on other days, the sun made an appearance.  Then the clouds hung overhead, like a foreshadowing of more rain to come.  I stayed in most of the time, though, but only read and reviewed THREE books this week, bringing my challenge total up to SIXTEEN.

I did manage one outing on Monday to the Passport Place, at the university,  where they now handle passport applications and renewals.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years already!  That day was so windy that I felt like I was flying across the parking lot.

I didn’t even connect to Netflix this week, but enjoyed the return of some of the shows I like:  The Fosters, Switched at Birth, and the TGIT lineup.

So…what next?  I must have done more this week, since I only read three books…but obviously the events were not that remarkable.   Oh, right, I did change up the theme, background, and header here…and the header over at Serendipity.  If that counts.

Grab some coffee…and a mimosa, and let’s chat.

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Potpourri:  “Things We Didn’t Say”

Hump Day Potpourri:  Bingeing on Coffee and Books….

Hump Day Sparks:  Impulse Reading…

Hump Day Obsessions:  From Blog Posts to Headers…

Bookish Thursday #40: (After a Short Break)…

Thursday Potpourri:  Distractions, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Behind Her Eyes”

A Ditty Playing in My Head:  Monday’s Child, Etc.

Let’s Chat Over Coffee:  Family Moments…

Review:  Pretty Little World (e-book), by Melissa DePino, et. al.ratings-worms-4-croppedReview:  Behind Her Eyes (e-book), by Sarah Pinboroughratings-worms-4-croppedReview:  Things We Didn’t Say (e-book), by Kristina Riggleratings-worms-4-cropped

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

My mailbox had TWO books I had purchased, and I downloaded ONE from Amazon.

The Girl:  A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski, by Samantha Geimer

 

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Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler

 

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Download:

The Fifth Letter (e-book), by Nicola Moriarty

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Currently Reading:  My Husband’s Wife (e-book), by Jane Corry

 

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Then, maybe….

The Best Awful, by Carrie Fisher

 

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The Vanishing Year (e-book), by Kate Moretti

 

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And…that was my week.  What did yours look like?  Here’s a dessert I enjoyed last weekend….Key Lime Pie and Coffee with Jameson…

 

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REVIEW: THINGS WE DIDN’T SAY, BY KRISTINA RIGGLE

 

 

In her novel Things We Didn’t Say, the acclaimed author of Real Life & Liars and The Life You’ve Imagined (an Indie Next Notable Book) explores the messiness of life’s love stories, especially those involving teenage almost-stepchildren, a unreliable ex-wife, and the words no parent ever wants to hear: “Your child is missing.” A poignant, honest, and unforgettable novel that fans of Katrina Kittle and Elin Hildebrand will take into their hearts, Things We Didn’t Say is exactly the sort of well-written, complex relationships story that women love to read, discuss, and share with their friends.

My Thoughts: As our story begins, we meet Casey, who is engaged to and living with Michael, the father of three children. Two of them are teens: Angel and Dylan, and Jewel, the youngest, is sweet enough to make up for the issues with the other two.

Except that Casey has just about had it. Angel is sullen, lashes out, and because she recently read Casey’s journal, she is taunting her.

Just as Casey has packed a bag and is preparing to leave, a phone call from the school reporting that Dylan is missing changes her direction. For a while, anyway.

As the family goes through the drama of figuring out what has happened to Dylan, we are thrust into the melodrama of Mallory, the ex-wife, who hates Casey and has no qualms about expressing those feelings. She and Angel almost seem like twins in their behavior, with matching verbal taunts.

What will happen to each of them in the hours that Dylan is missing? Will the crisis give them an opportunity to reexamine what they thought to be true? Can they learn something important for their lives going forward? Will Casey decide to finally share the secrets of her past?

Michael also struggles with his job as a journalist, and is overwhelmed by his father’s disappointment in his career choice. A heart specialist, Dr. Henry Turner has no problem sharing his opinions. Will something happening at the newspaper take the choice out of Michael’s hands?

Narrated alternately by each of the characters, Things We Didn’t Say shows us in great detail what chaos can ensue when individuals do not say what is really on their minds. Instead, these characters gunny-sacked their issues and showed everyone their rage, their jealousy, and their fear in emotional outbursts, or, in the case of Casey and Michael, through passive-aggressiveness. An extreme incident forced them all to take another look at their behavior.

I enjoyed how the story unfolded, and I always love this writer’s style and how she tackles the issues. I disliked Mallory, Angel, and even Michael some of the time; I felt empathy for Casey, and I rooted for her. Dylan showed a surprising strength at the end, at which point I had started to feel some hope for them all. 4.5 stars.

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A DITTY PLAYING IN MY HEAD: MONDAY’S CHILD, ETC.

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Have you ever had a song playing in your head until you can’t stop hearing it?  The one I’ve been thinking about, and which I wrote a post about a couple of years ago, is a kind of nursery rhyme about the days of the week.

I’ve been thinking about it lately because of the Monday theme here on this blog, and how we sometimes think of Mondays as “blue days,” perhaps because that day signals the end of a lovely weekend.

But on this blog, we have an antidote to the blues, even if we dread the end of the weekend.  Because…books chase away the blues.

Here’s the ditty:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

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My first child, the son who visited from Berlin a year ago, was born on a Thursday; my second came on a Saturday.  My third son almost made his appearance on a Monday, but managed to stall and showed himself early on a Tuesday morning. 

Then there was my daughter, whose labor began on a Wednesday.  After 36 hours, followed by a C-Section, she came on a Friday.  And despite the temporary negative effects of that labor, she is definitely “loving and giving.”

Even the fact that she came on Friday the 13th did not diminish the joy.  First and only girl, and what a gift she was…and is.

Yes, we have the Mother/Daughter issues…but I love getting her little texts when least expected…and she styles and colors my hair every month.  What more could I want?

Each child has brought something special to my life…and the day on which each one was born is probably not predictive of anything…but I see something in the descriptions of their birth days.  Here are all four of them captured one fall day in 1991…at a rare event that assembled all of them together in one place.

 

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BTW…I was born on a Sunday…And here is a doll I bought a while ago to “honor” that day of the week ( I am noticing in this close-up that she has “messy hair.”)  Like me, I guess:

 

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WEEKLY UPDATES: RAINY DAY READING…

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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.

 

We had quite a bit of rain again this week, and yesterday it pounded so hard that I kept checking the skylight in the kitchen…so far, so good!  It was a good week for reading, though, and I read and reviewed FOUR books.  I have now added THIRTEEN BOOKS to my Read the Books You Buy Challenge.

Today I am going to find a place to have a new passport photo taken…the ten years have gone by, and it’s time to renew!  How did that happen?  It seems as though I just got it.

I settled down last night to watch some Netflix, but kept skipping from show to show, not finding anything I wanted to binge-watch…and then I remembered my Amazon Videos, some of which I added this week.  I started watching Z:  The Beginning of Everything, and several hours later (1:00 a.m.) I had finished!  Whew.  Since it is based on the novel Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler…I grabbed my iPhone and ordered it!  Yes, I am impulsive like that.  I’ve read other “Zelda” books, but none that were set in the early years.  Looking forward to reading it!

 

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But I woke up late this morning, as a result…and I’m not yet fully caffeinated.  Here’s a photo that might help!

 

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Let’s look at the past week….

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monday Sparks:  Musing About Books…

Let’s Curl up with “Pretty Little World”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Celebrating with Books…and a Martini?

January Wrap-Up:  A Great Reading Month

Hump Day Sparks:  A Delightful Week So Far…

Bookish Friday:  “Rainy Day Women”

Coffee & Family Moments:  Savoring Them…

Weekend Potpourri:  A Switcheroo…

Review:  The Red Car (e-book), by Marcy Dermanskyratings-worms-4-croppedReview:  The Dry (e-book), by Jane Harpercropped-again-5Review:  Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (e-book), by Kathleen Rooneycropped-again-5Review:  The Bad Things (e-book), by Mary-Jane Rileyratings-worms-4-cropped

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing in my mailbox this week…but I downloaded four books.

A review book came on Saturday!

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

 

 

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Downloads:

 

Right Behind You (e-book), by Lisa Gardner

 

 

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Behind Her Eyes (e-book), by Sarah Pinborough

 

 

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My Husband’s Wife (e-book), by Jane Corry

 

 

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After She Fell (e-book, Alex Devlin Book 2), by Mary-Jane Riley

 

 

 

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Now…what’s up next?

Currently Reading:  Pretty Little World (e-book), by Melissa DePino & Elizabeth LaBan

 

 

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Then….who knows?  Maybe one of these…

 

The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher

 

 

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Rainy Day Women (e-book, Book 2), by Kay Kendall (I love this cover!)

 

 

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That was my week…what did yours look like?  Here’s a tease from midweek….a breakfast at Mimi’s…with a Bloody Mary and an omelet.

 

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “RAINY DAY WOMEN”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Wow, Friday already!  I’m excited to celebrate with a fairly recent download:  Rainy Day Women (e-book), (Austin Starr #2),  by Kay Kendall.   “An exciting jaunt back to the days of flower power and Women’s Lib, Kay Kendall’s RAINY DAY WOMEN explores serious issues that still resonate today, nearly fifty years later. “

 

 

 

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Beginning:  I stood, careful not to make any noise, afraid to waken the sleeping ogre.  If his constant twitches were any indication, he was only dozing.  If he woke up, he’d be a real beast and leave me no peace.

My bare feet inched along the floorboards.  I knew where the squeaky spots lurked and avoided them.

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56%:  A tear trickled down my left cheek.

“Are you okay, Austin?”  Mia’s voice was gentle.  “What’s bringing you down? You seemed happy and spunky only minutes ago.”

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Blurb:  Kay Kendall’s second Austin Starr mystery will have you believing it’s 1969 all over again. In a book where the musical references mean you’ll find yourself humming tunes now known as “classic vinyl,” Kendall peppers her work with references to the times which make the decades disappear – and she respects her readers enough to not overdo it. Her sense of place as she allows the mystery to unfold within Vancouver’s University of British Columbia, beset by the rain for which the “wet” coast is known, is pitch perfect. Hot diggity – a thoroughly enjoyable read. Now I’m off to dig out my Bob Dylan albums and find an old bra I can burn.”
– Cathy Ace, Author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries

“Feminism, the ’60s, murder, and a friend in big trouble. Austin Starr is back to help, leaving her husband behind but bringing her baby along. Rainy Day Women is an entertaining and fast-paced mystery set in a turbulent time. Right on!”
– Bill Crider, Anthony Award-winning author of The Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery Series

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What do you think?  Would you like a flashback to the 60s?  Do the “changin’ times” resonate with you?

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