REVIEW: HOT MILK, BY DEBORAH LEVY

I have been sleuthing my mother’s symptoms for as long as I can remember. If I see myself as an unwilling detective with a desire for justice, is her illness an unsolved crime? If so, who is the villain and who is the victim?

Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant–their very last chance–in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.

But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia’s mother’s illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia’s role as detective–tracking her mother’s symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain–deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.

MY THOUGHTS:
Sofia’s meandering ruminations lead us through Hot Milk, and sometimes we can flow along with her, and at other times, her ramblings are annoying and boring.

At the heart of the story, however, is the conflicted relationship between Sofia and her mother Rose. Does Sofia seem too enmeshed with Rose? Does she feel guilty because Rose was left by Sofia’s father? What is the meaning of Rose’s strange symptoms that seem intermittent and almost imaginary?

Then we realize that, with Rose at this new clinic in Spain, Sofia has an opportunity to go out on her own a bit and explore some of her hidden desires. She meets a strange young woman named Ingrid. Why does the somewhat pushy Ingrid fascinate Sofia so much? The fact of her aggressive behaviors that push and pull at Sofia take us through their “relationship,” and arouse some questions in Sofia about identity and desire.

I liked this excerpt:

“Am I self-destructive, or pathetically passive or reckless or just experimental, or am I a rigorous cultural anthropologist, or am I in love?”
Reconnecting with her father in Greece turns into an unsatisfactory few days, after which Sofia must now return to Spain and her mother…and look at what is left in her life. Will her mother’s condition find a diagnosis? Will Sofia be able to plan her own life, free of her mother’s control? 4 stars.
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WEEKLY UPDATES: THE SCARY WINDS CAME CALLING….

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.

When I talked about the lovely spring weather last week, I should have known.  Yes, this week has also had great sunny days…and then yesterday came.

Wind that was so strong that I had to fight my way through it to run my simple errands.  So strong that my (wait for it!) skylight cover came down in the kitchen…again!  This time it didn’t break, and I put it back up.  But now I am very leery of entering the kitchen.  Eyes trained upwards, I slink along, hoping to get whatever I need—coffee, food, etc.—without angering the Skylight Gods.  But to be fair, it’s the wind and rain that have been playing havoc here.

After living here for ten years, this year has been the first to bring down that stupid skylight cover THREE times now.  Or has it been four times?  I’m losing track.  Is this a sign?  That I should move?

Okay, let’s not be hasty, right?  Meanwhile, the rest of my week was awesome.  I actually read and reviewed FIVE books (one was pretty short);  and I wrote eight blog posts.  My total for the Read the Books You Buy Challenge 36 books!

My coffee table book stack dwindled this week, after I had read a few…so naturally, I had to add to it with more books from the office.  The migration pattern is this:  books begin their stacked life on the trunk in my office, and then they move to the coffee table in the living room (or reading room).  The unread books in this “new” stack start with America’s Queen, near the bottom, and move upwards to my Vine review book on top.  Two books on this new shelf were on the previous one…they will surely get read very soon.

 

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After not watching much Netflix this week, I suddenly found myself binge-watching #GIRLBOSS.  I have always enjoyed the star, Britt Robertson.  Expect to read that I’ve watched all of Season I by the end of the weekend.  My favorite thing?  The San Francisco setting.  It takes me back to my younger days when I lived there.

So…enough, already.  Let’s talk about last week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Sparks:  “The Roanoke Girls”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Books, Netflix, Etc.

Hump Day Reading:  It’s Been a Pleasure!

Let’s Share Some Coffee & Photos…

Thursday Potpourri:  Odd Tidbits, Etc.

A Bookworm’s Journey:  Keeping Track…

Bookish Friday:  “Sweet William”

How My Blogging Journey Began….

Review:  The Housekeeper (e-book), by Suellen DaintyReview:  The Princess Diarist, by Carrie FisherReview:  I Found You, by Lisa JewellReview:  Wait for the Rain (e-book), by Maria Murnane (Author Review RequestReview:  Sweet William (e-book), by Beryl Bainbridge***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!

I downloaded two purchased books this week…I couldn’t resist.

The Red Hunter (e-book), by Lisa Unger

 

 

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The Affair (e-book), by Amanda Brooke

 

 

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Roanoke Girls (e-book), by Amy Engel.

 

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Then…should I be optimistic and list all the ones I WANT to read this week…or should I be realistic?

How about this one:

 

A Separation (e-book), by Katie Kitamura

 

 

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This one has been resting on Pippa for a while…

A Mother’s Confession (e-book), by Kelly Rimmer

 

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Vivian in Red (e-book), by Kristina Riggle (because I love the author…and this cover!)

 

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Maybe this one from Amazon Vine: (at the top of my book stack)

 

What’s Become of Her, by Deb Caletti

 

 

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That was my week…a little sunshine, a scary wind, and lots of books and blog posts…so my optimism about next week stems from these happenings.  What did your week look like?

Check out last weekend’s delicious soup with my trademark Pomegranate Martini.

 

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REVIEW: WAIT FOR THE RAIN, BY MARIA MURNANE

 

Daphne White is staring down the barrel of forty—and is distraught at what she sees. Her ex-husband is getting remarried, her teenage daughter hardly needs her anymore, and the career she once dreamed about has somehow slipped from her grasp. She’s almost lost sight of the spirited and optimistic young woman she used to be.

As she heads off to a Caribbean island to mark the new decade with her best friends from college, Daphne’s in anything but the mood to celebrate. But when she meets Clay Hanson, a much younger man, she ignores her inner voice warning her that she’s too old for a fling. In fact, this tropical getaway might be the perfect opportunity to picture her future in a new sun-drenched light.

With the help of her friends, Daphne rediscovers her enthusiasm for life, as well as her love for herself—and realizes that her best years are still ahead.

MY THOUGHTS:

Another delightful girlfriend outing is brought to us in Wait for the Rain. The three college friends, Skylar, Daphne, and KC, felt like old friends to me, too, after reading about them in “Bridges.”

Never having been on a Caribbean vacation, I thoroughly enjoyed joining them on the island getaway, and from the descriptions of the setting, the food, and the activities, I could almost have been there with them…vicariously.

It was fun to watch Daphne’s foray into enjoying her single life. I could relate to her testing the waters, having been almost her age when I tried single life again, back in the day. Her insecurities and the tentative way she connected with Clay, the younger man, felt real to me.

On the island, the little bursts of rain that happened frequently throughout their stay reminded Daphne of the cleansing power of rain…and how the adventure had given her the opportunity for a fresh start. Now she knew that her homecoming would reveal her whole life with fresh eyes. 5 stars.

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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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