WEEKLY UPDATES: BINGE-WATCHING, ETC…..

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.

 

Warmer days have been conducive to staying indoors, but I didn’t read more.  Only TWO books read and reviewed this week.  One was a review book, and one was a book from my purchased stacks, bringing my Read the Books You Buy Challenge total to 48 books.

The Summer Mini-Bloggiesta is coming next weekend, and, of course, I have already started making changes on my target blog:  An Interior Journey.

There was a bit of rearranging of my interiors again this week, in response to last week’s new addition:  the office TV.

Netflix and Hulu kept me busy binge-watching.  I finished Season 5 of House of Cards, watched another episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, and started Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.

Morning hours might find me outdoors on the patio, cool enough for reading and breakfast.

 

Let’s take a look back at the week….

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Changing the Interiors….

Tuesday Potpourri:  My Ever-Changing Stacks…

Tuesday Sparks:  “Sycamore”

Hump Day Sparks:  What Was Your Week Like?

My “New” Interior World:  Thoughts…

Bookish Friday:  “Every Last Lie”

Friday Potpourri:  Home & Family….

Review:  The Swallow’s Nest, by Emilie Richards (Author Review Request)Review:  One Good Thing (e-book, Book 5), by Wendy Wax

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INCOMING BOOKS (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  But…I downloaded three newly released e-books.

You’ll Never Know, Dear (e-book), by Hallie Ephron

 

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The Summer House (e-book), by Hannah McKinnon

 

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The Sunshine Sisters (e-book), by Jane Green

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Every Last Lie (e-book), by Mary Kubica (NetGalley Review – 6/27/17)

 

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And then…perhaps:

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

 

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Watching the Detectives (e-book, Book 5), by Julie Mulhern

 

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The Beach Inn, by Joanne DeMaio (Author Review Request)

 

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And that was my week.  What did yours look like?  On Wednesday, I enjoyed this lunch with a friend at the Cheesecake Factory….

 

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE RED CAR”

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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 better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent download:  The Red Car, by Marcy Dermansky, is a wildly imaginative, rebellious, and tender tale of independence.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

It was a surprise to open The New York Times in my parents’ kitchen and see a picture of Jonathan Beene.  He had won an award for business innovation.  They give awards like that.  He was the founder of an Internet tech company that allowed individuals to fund other people’s art projects, taking a small percentage of each donation.  The company gave a generous share of its profits to women in the third world who wanted to start businesses.

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56:  In the airport, I was surprised by how little it took to make me feel happy again.  I bought an Interview magazine which featured a French actress that I loved being interviewed by an American actress that I loved.  They were both starring in the same movie directed by a Polish director whose movies I also loved.

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Synopsis:  Leah is living in Queens with a possessive husband she doesn’t love and a long list of unfulfilled ambitions, when she’s jolted from a thick ennui by a call from the past. Her beloved former boss and friend, Judy, has died in a car accident and left Leah her most prized possession and, as it turns out, the instrument of Judy’s death: a red sports car.

 

Judy was the mentor Leah never expected. She encouraged Leah’s dreams, analyzed her love life, and eased her into adulthood over long lunches away from the office. Facing the jarring disconnect between the life she expected and the one she is now actually living, Leah takes off for San Francisco to claim Judy’s car. In sprawling days defined by sex, sorrow, and unexpected delight, Leah revisits past lives and loves in search of a self she abandoned long ago. Piercing through Leah’s surreal haze is the enigmatic voice of Judy, as sharp as ever, providing wry commentary on Leah’s every move.

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I am not quite sure what to think of this one.  What about you?  Does it grab you?  Make you want to keep reading?  I suspect that I might find something that resonates with me in the pages, specifically how one can be jolted out of reality by a tragedy.  A jolt that changes everything.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “UNTETHERED”

Married to Books-BOOKISH LOGO

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 better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is from an Amazon Vine ARC called Untethered, by Julie Lawson Timmer.

 

 

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Beginning:  Char slumped low in the pew, fretting about the casket.  It took her brother, Will, a moment to realize what she was doing.  Like everyone else, he had risen with the priest’s invitation and was waiting, a hand extended, to help her up and walk her to the social hall.

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56:  Char gasped and covered her mouth with one hand while she reached out with the other, holding the towel to Morgan.  Morgan snatched it, wrapped herself in it, and ran to the bathroom.  As the bathroom door closed, the sound of the teenagers’ voices and footsteps rose from the staircase.

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Synopsis:  When Char Hawthorn’s husband dies unexpectedly, she is left questioning everything she once knew to be true: from the cozy small town life they built together to her relationship with her stepdaughter, who is suddenly not bound to Char in any real way. Untethered explores what bonds truly form a family and how, sometimes, love knows no bounds.

Char Hawthorn, college professor, wife and stepmother to a spirited fifteen-year-old daughter, loves her family and the joyful rhythms of work and parenting. But when her husband dies in a car accident, the “step” in Char’s title suddenly matters a great deal. In the eyes of the law, all rights to daughter Allie belong to Lindy, Allie’s self-absorbed biological mother, who wants to girl to move to her home in California.

While Allie begins to struggle in school and tensions mount between her and Char, Allie’s connection to young Morgan, a ten-year-old-girl she tutors, seems to keep her grounded. But then Morgan, who was adopted out of foster care, suddenly disappears, and Char is left to wonder about a possible future without Allie and what to do about Morgan, a child caught up in a terrible crack in the system.

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What do you think?  Does this family novel with its complex issues resonate with you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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RAINY DAY READING: CURLING UP WITH BOOKS & NETFLIX

When I woke up this morning, I peered out the window, as I usually do…and I was surprised to see the rain.  Yes, it was a little cloudy yesterday, but I hadn’t actually realized it might rain.

 

But…it’s okay!  I planned to stay home today and curl up and read…and one of my favorite Netflix shows has added Season II today (Grace and Frankie).

 

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My viewing station in the bedroom is all ready…because of my changes this week, with several switcheroos.  Check my Shake-ups post, or the one that started it all, Favorite Places:

 

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But I have reading to accomplish first….I’m currently reading What We Find, by Robyn Carr…Book One in the Sullivan’s Crossing series.

 

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Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a lawsuit—and experiencing levels of anxiety she’s never faced before. She knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can think to do that is Sullivan’s Crossing.

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I’m loving the setting and the characters…hope to finish this one today!

I changed the theme and header here last night….I always love making changes, whether they are in my home interiors…or on my blogs.

What do you enjoy fixing or changing?  Or do you like things to remain the same?

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REVIEW: THE SUMMER WIND, BY MARY ALICE MONROE

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Their final summer at Sea Breeze on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, continues, with some new challenges for the three half-sisters.

 
Mamaw (Marietta Muir) is firm in her support, albeit still planning to sell the summer estate.

 
Dora is in the midst of settling the divorce issues and helping little Nate with his grief over the dolphin’s injuries earlier in the summer.  A health crisis causes big changes in how she faces her life.

 
Carson is instrumental in helping her nephew heal, by taking him to Florida to the treatment center where children and injured dolphins heal together.  But her own unexpected life change leads to moments of facing her fears.

 
Harper plants a garden and deals with her own issues.  Secretly she writes on her computer, but shares nothing with the girls or her grandmother.

 
Like the summer winds that come along toward the end of the story, with a big storm that resembles their own challenges, the three women will move a little closer to their own resolutions.

 
I enjoyed The Summer Wind and reconnecting with the characters.  The support and advice of Mamaw and their old maid Lillian felt like the kind of true strength offered by a close family.  I also loved how the author painted a picture of the lowcountry, making me feel as if I were right there with them.  The story concluded without an “end” to the conflicts and challenges, but a feeling of moving in that direction.  There were sad moments, but also a stronger bond between the women.  I am looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.  4.5 stars.

REVIEW: HERE, HOME, HOPE, BY KAIRA ROUDA

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Kelly Johnson begins to find herself in the dentist’s chair, and from there, her life changes will form. She uses a lot of Post-it notes, placed strategically everywhere in her home and in her car, which she has named Doug.

Her husband Patrick is her best friend, and he proves to be very supportive as she begins to change her life that summer, while her two sons, David and Sean, are at summer camp.

All around her, life is changing. Her friend Kathryn drops off her anorexic teen daughter Melanie, hoping for the help she herself cannot provide, while she is finding herself in Montana.

Another friend, Charlotte, who is a realtor, persuades Kelly to help stage a home she has on the market…and from that point on, Kelly is swept up into a new business of her own. Staging turns into an exciting venture, even as she is caught up in the chaos of her friends’ marriages.

Here, Home, Hope took off slowly for me, but from the moment that Kelly began planning for her home staging career, I was drawn in and very intrigued.

I enjoyed the characters, each of whom felt real to me, from the self-absorbed Charlotte and her new love Bruce, to the sulky teen Melanie, who started to grow on me after a while. Her mother Kathryn was absent for most of the story, but when she reappeared, she seemed like a “new person.” Even the dog Oreo felt like a real “person.” I could definitely picture the annoying Rachel White, whom I dubbed Queen of Negativity…and the suburban community that featured each of the characters and homes. I liked Kelly’s narrative voice, a self-deprecatory tone that slowly changed to a more optimistic one. A fun read, earning 4 stars from me.

WEEKLY UPDATES: FALL DISTRACTIONS & CHANGES

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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 welcome Kathryn, our new leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at The Book Date.

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My week was spent mostly reading ONE book, although I then went on to finish another.  The book I spent so much time on was more than 500 pages and awesome, but I was distracted by other things.  Like prepping for carpet cleaning next week.  Who knew prepping could be so time-consuming?  Here is the preliminary Graveyard of my Stuff in the garage (below)….there will be more.

I also caught up on some TV shows returning from hiatus:  The Leftovers, The Affair, and How to Get Away with Murder.  (Did anyone read Tom Perrotta’s book The Leftovers?)  I loved it!

 

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It rained this week, and while I usually love reading in the rain, I was annoyed…because of the thunder.  I was worried about a power outage.  But it didn’t happen!  Yay!

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

A Serendipitous Mood:  Musings

Sparks Fly in “Smoke”

Enter My Interior World: My Office

Curl up with a Page Turner: “Missing Pieces”

Hump Day Potpourri: A Pivotal Day

Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts:  Angry Eating

Bookish Friday: Excerpting “Who Do You Love?”

My Interiors: Getting Ready!

Let’s Spark Some Family Moments

Review: The Lake House (e-book), by Kate Morton (NetGalley – Release Date 10-20-15)

Review: Catching Air, by Sarah Pekkanen

 

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No review books in the mailbox!  One book I purchased arrived, however, and I downloaded TWO books.

Cherry, by Mary Karr (Last week, I bought The Liars’ Club by this author).

 

 

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Downloads:

Truth Be Told (e-book), by Hank Phillippi Ryan

 

 

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The Girl with No Past (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

 

 

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AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE:

Sheila, at Book Journey on “Passing the Baton”

Trish, at Between My Lines: Updates & How to Prepare Like a Boss for a Readathon

Kathryn, at The Book Date: Accepting the Baton from Sheila at Book Journey

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

Currently Reading:  Snow Deer & Cocoa Cheer, by Joanne DeMaio (Review Book)

 

 

 

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Smoke (e-book), by Catherine McKenzie (NetGalley – 10/20/15 Release Date)

 

 

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Corrupted (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline (NetGalley – 10/27/15 Release Date)

 

 

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Who Do You Love (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner

 

 

 

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That’s what my week looked like…what about yours?  Picture me here (below) in my newly reconfigured Office Space.

 

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REVIEW: WE NEVER ASKED FOR WINGS, BY VANESSA DIFFENBAUGH

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When Letty Espinoza took off in her car to stop her mother from going to Mexico, she had left behind her two children, alone in the apartment.

Hers had truly been an act of desperation. She had given birth to her fifteen-year-old son Alex when she was just a teenager, and her mother, Maria Elena, had taken over the responsibility of raising him. Letty worked three jobs to support the family, and when she had her second child, Luna, now six, she had hoped to try again to be a parent. But it was too easy to allow Maria Elena to continue in this role, and Letty felt incapable of the task.

Would she now be forced to try her wings as a parent? Before she could move ahead, though, there would be a final plea in Mexico, and then she would head home. But an accident along the way would derail her plan.

How would Letty finally learn to step up as a parent? How could she make up for her virtual abandonment for the past fifteen years? And how would Alex’s father Wes change her plans for the future?

Obstacles arise with Alex and his new girlfriend, who has complex issues that none of them could foresee. Changing schools to improve Alex’s chances for a better future might be just what he needs, but could it also lead to a gigantic misstep that would leave all of them floundering?

The characters in We Never Asked for Wings: A Novel were believable and easy to root for. Mistakes were made by everyone at one point or another, but the beautifully rendered story brought to light timely themes of motherhood, undocumented immigration, and how striving to reach the American dream can lead to unexpected outcomes. 5 stars.

CHATTING ABOUT BOOKISH/BLOGGING THINGS

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It’s time to share our musings and/or ramblings.  Check in at A Daily Rhythm to see what others are doing.

Here are some prompts to get you going:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you have a favorite book from childhood? What is it?

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Okay, I don’t know if “super excited” is the expression I would use for today’s topic, but I have come from a weekend of blogging makeovers, and here is my Bloggiesta post, Finish Line.  I worked primarily on my Serendipity blog, but I also made over some blog headers, including the one here.

After the bloggiesta was officially finished, I then went on to do something really drastic.  Are you ready?  I deleted the first blog I ever created, back in April 2008.  You are probably thinking “are you crazy?”

But let’s review.  It was my one remaining Blogger site.  I hardly ever posted there, and the last straw was getting an e-mail from Amazon Associates about major changes coming with the links and widgets…and it sounded like a major overhaul was in store.  Now my only reason for retaining that one site was for those widgets…so, it was a no-brainer for me.  That blog is gone!

I did check all my review links, which I have on my Curl up and Read site….and discovered only two that linked to the Story Corner blog.  I changed the links to my Goodreads site…and voila!  Done and done.

Yes, I did spend some time rereading blog posts, and nothing I found there was worth moving to one of my other blogs.  Sad, but true.  I also had to change my list of blogs on all of my other sites.

I still kept my Blogger profile, even though I have no blogs left there.  It helps with commenting, etc.

I did love my header there, though…saving it, just in case I can use it somewhere else.  Changing the text, of course.

 

 

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So, now, ready?  I am down to TEN blogs!

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I think my favorite book from childhood was Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, but I don’t have my own copy.  I reread it several times as a child, and then again after I started blogging.  I am thinking of buying a copy for my library.  What do you think?  I love this cover.

 

 

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What are you chatting about today?  Come on by and let’s talk….

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MY BOOKISH (AND NOT SO BOOKISH) THOUGHTS: SAYING GOODBYE!

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Welcome!  It is Thursday, and that means we should check in over at Bookishly Boisterous, and then share a few tidbits about our Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts.

Last night, while I was propped up in bed with all the pillows and cushions available, I was reading.  But I kept getting distracted as I studied the room.  Yes, my bookish and cozy room that has been under fire lately.

There once were five bookshelves stuffed with books…and I started whittling away at them, removing shelves until there were four left. 

Suddenly I found myself out of that cozy bed and tossing books into a basket to carry them to the garage donation shelf (one of the empty shelves that now lives there!).

 

 

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And now there is another empty shelf…on the other side of the garage.  And here are some views of what my room looks like now. (Below).  There was another full shelf where you now see the exercise bike and the stack of boxes under Minnie Mouse.  Before, the exercise bike was right next to my bed and I stumbled over it regularly…LOL.

 

 

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Here is a close-up of the bike and the remaining shelf.

 

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And a view of the other shelves. (Below):  Number Two Shelf Remaining.

 

 

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Below:  Shelf Number Three:  And I had that fan blowing the whole time, as I was SWEATING like crazy.

 

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Of course, I could not go to sleep!  And I had to take two pills for my sore muscles…LOL.

I watched Hot in Cleveland, with the story of how the show came to pass, and some of the actors’ favorite moments while filming.  I am going to miss that show!  Series finale is next week.

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Then I continued reading Daughters-in-Law, by Joanna Trollope, another fun family story that peeks behind the facades….

 

 

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I have loved reading two other books this week, too; The Liar, by Nora Roberts, and The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Liane Moriarty. (Click for my reviews).

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Mini-Bloggiesta is coming in June (13th and 14th)…and I’ll be participating.  I love these events, as they give me the opportunity to play with one or more of my blogs.

What has your week brought for you?  I hope you’ll come on by and share….

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