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Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  and Book Journey, for  Weekly Updates.

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

Grab some coffee (or a pot of tea!), and let’s talk about our weeks.





I had a nice quiet New Year’s, and today went shopping with Fiona, my granddaughter, to get a new iPhone.  I have moved on up technologically…LOL

Here’s what is happening in my Blog World:


A Quiet New Year’s Eve: Another Way to Chase Away the Blues

Creative Tuesday:  Intros – “One Step Too Far”

Monthly Wrap-Up:  Goodbye to 2014

New Year’s Eve Thoughts:  On Book Buying, Purging, & a Clean Slate

My First Book of the Year:  2015

I Couldn’t Help Myself:  Book Buying Already!

Friday Potpourri:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “The Cinderella Murder”

Come Monday, I’ll Be Ready for a New Week

Bookish Saturdays:  Planning My Reads

Review:  The Matchmaker (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

Review:  Lillian on Life, by Alison Jean Lester

Review:  Everything I Never Told You (e-book), by Celeste Ng

Review:  The Cinderella Murder, by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke (First Book of the Year)

Review:  One Step Too Far, by Tina Seskis



INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

There were no books in my mailbox!

But I downloaded three e-books for Sparky.

Watermelon (e-book), by Marian Keyes




February the fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me…I can only assume the two events weren’t entirely unrelated.

Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he’s leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he’s in for a bit of a surprise.


Garden Spells (e-book), by Sarah Addison Allen





In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….


Last Night at the Viper Room (e-book), by Gavin Edwards





Acclaimed author and journalist Gavin Edwards vividly recounts the life and tragic death of acclaimed actor River Phoenix—a teen idol on the fast track to Hollywood royalty who died of a drug overdose in front of West Hollywood’s storied club, the Viper Room, at the age of 23.

Last Night at the Viper Room explores the young star’s life, including his childhood in Venezuela growing up under the aegis of the cultish Children of God. Putting him at the center of a new generation of leading men emerging in the early 1990s— including Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage, and Leonardo DiCaprio—Gavin Edwards traces the Academy Award nominee’s meteoric rise, couches him in an examination of the 1990s, and illuminates his lasting legacy on Hollywood and popular culture itself.



WHAT’S UP NEXT? (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)


Currently Reading:  I Love You More (e-book), by Jennifer Murphy






A Small Indiscretion, by Jan Ellison (Vine review)





Betrayed (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline
And that’s my week…and what my new week will look like.  I decided not to join any challenges this year, except for the Goodreads Challenge, and I lowered my books to 100.  Last year was 150, and the previous one, 200.  I exceeded the goals, but I am wanting to lower the pressure.What challenges, if any, are you doing?  What does the New Year look like for you?***










  1. You have a great line-up of books! I have been wanting to try a Marian Keyes book and this is first in a series, so good choice. I also want to pick up The Matchmaker (love Hilderbrand!) and Garden Spells (I thought I read this one last year, but I didn’t, oops).


    1. I am very excited about these, too, Rita….and I decided to get Garden Spells because I’ve pre-ordered First Frost, and there are characters from Garden Spells in that book.

      I also love getting a book that is first in a series. Thanks for visiting.


    1. Thanks, Kimba, and I am looking forward to both those books. As for technology, I was so happy to have my teenage granddaughter Fiona with me to help select it, and she did a little “training session” with me afterwards…LOL.


  2. fangswandsfairy

    Garden Spells was a magical book for me. The next couple of SAA’s books were not so well-received by my brain. Commented on your NYE post! Good tips!


  3. Have fun with your new iPhone!

    I’ve had Watermelon on my TBR for a long time…way back when I used to read physical books. LOL I should get it for my Kindle. I Love You More looks really good. Enjoy! Have a great week!


    1. I do enjoy my Kindle…and it is so easy to carry around the “library” that way…LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by, Yvonne, and I look forward to Watermelon, and I Love You More is an interesting story.

      The iPhone will take some getting used to, but it’s fun so far.


  4. Watermelon sounds amazing, Laurel-Rain! I love that the MC had some help from her loving but quirky family to help her when her husband left her the day their daughter was born – and that he’ll have to grovel a lot if he’s going to win her back. Definitely adding that one to my TBR.
    Have fun with your new iPhone! I love mine so much 🙂
    This year, I am doing several challenges, just to help motivate me to read the books I own, and also to clear out my e-reader a little better.
    Thanks for stopping by earlier. Happy reading 🙂


  5. I have Garden Spells somewhere on one of my unorganized book shelves! I really do want to read that.

    No challenges for me this year either. I do plan on participating in short-term events like RIP or read-alongs or the readathons. I look at the Goodreads challenge as more of a goal, which I set at 100 books per year. Because listen to so much audio, two books a week is achievable.


    1. Yes, that’s how I see the Goodreads Challenge, too…a goal. I am definitely looking forward to a more relaxed year…and to enjoying my books, like Garden Spells. Thanks for stopping by, Leslie.


  6. I’m hoping to get to Marian Keyes and Garden Spells this year. Both have been on my wishlist for far too long. I kind of went overboard on challenge signups this year even though I really intended to only do a couple. I do intend to be more organized about them this year though! Have a great week and enjoy your new books!


  7. I like how you spend the holidays, some time with families as well as time spent watching shows. Hope you had a great New Year, and I like your movie choices. Urban Cowbo… 🙂


  8. thebookdate

    I’ve just finished First Frost so I smiled at your buying Garden Spells before reading First Frost. I enjoyed both. Enjoy that iPhone, wonderful technology!


    1. Thanks, Kathryn…I am still figuring out some features on the phone…I must name it soon, so I won’t take my frustration out on the device…LOL.

      I am glad that I found out about Garden Spells, as First Frost is coming soon! Thanks for stopping by.


    1. Oh, I know, Laura…I do get tempted, as it’s fun having all these challenges to meet…but the pressure mounts, and that’s not fun. Thanks for stopping by, and I am looking forward to all the new books.


  9. Happy New Year! That’s a great selection of books, the Marian Keyes one sounds great. She’s an author I’ve not read yet but I keep meaning to.
    Good luck with your reading challenge too.


  10. You’ve certainly been busy, I’m impressed by how much blog writing you’ve achieved in just a week! Some interesting books on your list, I’ve only heard of a couple. I’ve yet to read anything by Sarah Addison Allen (I’ve got one of her books and it seems like everyone I know loves her stuff).

    Happy new year!


  11. Enjoy getting to know the iPhone. They are amazing little machines 🙂
    I did the same thing with the Goodreads challenge last year and again this year – 100 books even though I read more I don’t need added pressure. I do one other challenge: The Finish the Series challenge. There’s a Goodreads page for it.
    Have a good week, Laurel.


    1. Thanks, Mary, and I think it’s good to step back from things now and then, like challenges. Lowering my numbers on the Goodreads one seemed a way to go.

      I hope that my iPhone and I get acquainted soon, because I will enjoy it more after we are “friends.”


  12. Teddyree

    I’m an apple girl, enjoy your new iPhone 🙂 Loved Garden Spells and I’m hoping to enjoy First Frost just as much. I’m wishing now that I had lowered the Goodreads challenge a little, good idea having less pressure. Have a great week and happy reading 🙂


    1. Thanks, Teddyree, and I hope you enjoy your new week, too.

      I am struggling a little with some of the iPhone features…but I’m going to my daughter’s house tonight. She is hard to pin down, so busy all the time, but maybe she can give me another lesson.

      Fiona did well with it, but she had to go home. If she moved in, it would be better…LOL.


  13. Anxious to see what you think of Watermelon. I read it in 2012, just after I retired. I also want to read Garden Spells. I really liked Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. I would not have picked up Last Night at the Viper Room until I read the blurb. Now I want to read it. Thanks for sharing your busy week.


    1. Yes, definitely an intriguing cover. And I remember being intrigued by Garden Spells when I first heard of it…so now I’m glad to have it. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy, and enjoy your New Year, too.


  14. I have been in some challenges in Goodread but I have not updated them much in the past year. I am enjoying my own pace to update them and work on them if I ever do. I am in the Goodreads Challenge like the last couple of years since 2012. I am working on a challenge that I want to host this year on my Blog. I sure hope you enjoy your week. If you have the time, would you please vote in my poll: https://plus.google.com/106671740027571728549/posts/M84EfC14FiT to help me out with getting the word out and the votes so I can be ready to work on the Level Banners this month. Thanks, My Monday Mailbox post is up as well.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lindsay, and sometimes I like having personal goals rather than participating in challenges…but the Goodreads one is easy, and they keep track of the books for me. LOL.

      Not that I need that, since I also track and link to my reviews on one of my blogs.


  15. Garden Spells looks good. It is disappointing when no books come, but sometimes it is good. 🙂

    I received Betrayed in my mailbox.

    ENJOY all your books and your reading week.

    Trying out my new WordPress commenting. Keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

    Happy Reading!!

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Mailbox Monday


      1. I am so glad! And as for the phone, which I am calling Phoebe, I think I’ll keep it…LOL. I was frustrated for a while…and then I ordered a stylus (actually, a set of them), so I’m hoping the texting will be easier. I have big thumbs and fingers…LOL.

        I have been using the camera and sending photos to family members, for practice.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. swright9

    Yeah no Challenges for me either, but perhaps the Goodreads Challenge / tracker. I don’t like pressure either. It seems you’re off to great new year Laurel. Enjoy your new reads.


    1. I am slowly learning how to navigate “Phoebe,” or iPhoebe, which is what I’ve named the phone. It took me four years to upgrade…LOL. Thanks for visiting, Nise, and I am not sticking to the “not buying” thing at all.


  17. I love Sarah Allen Addison and Marian Keyes – great picks! There have been some great prices on Kindle books at Amazon US over the holidays, I was so disappointed I couldn’t take advantage of any of them since Australians don’t get the same pricing structure 😦

    I hope you have a great week – and enjoy your new iphone!


  18. I loved Garden Spells (and anything by that author). I hope you enjoy it! Also, I’ve found that quiet holidays are often the best holidays. It was just me and my husband for Christmas this year. It was nice. We stayed in our PJs all day and loafed around on the couch.


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