18505817They had come to Los Angeles as dreamers, eager to imbue their lives with the magic of Neverland, and hoping to fulfill those dreams.

Gwendolyn Griffin, 25, has been putting herself through graduate school, and her job as a stripper was her way of paying for it. Living with Leo, the boyish man she had fallen in love with a few years before, she is now beginning to question her choice, as his perpetually stoned state leaves him no closer to his dreams as a musician and has put her in charge of paying the bills and keeping a tenuous grip on reality. A neighbor, a former nightclub crooner named Count Valiant, is slowly disappearing before their eyes as death marches toward him.

In Further Out Than You Thought: A Novel, we watch the slow crumbling of their dreams as they try to move forward, even while sliding backward. Then, on one explosive day as riots break out throughout the city after the Rodney King verdicts, we see events become a catalyst for change.

Poised to make a big decision about their futures, they take drastic actions. Will fleeing the city for an idyllic journey to Mexico help them find a new perspective? What will happen to them there that will put Gwendolyn’s choices in sharper focus? How will the trip clarify things between them all?

A dark, gritty story with poetic language that softens the harsh glare of their lives, I was totally engaged with what would happen to them, but mostly I connected with Gwendolyn, whose persona at the strip club is “Stevie.” Her narrative revealed much about her and her challenges and even as I questioned her choices, I could also understand how life sometimes throws curves that make logic and rational thought go out the window. By the end, I was rooting for her, even as I suspected that none of her future choices would be easy. This is not a book for those turned off by explicit sex and the harsh realities of lives gone wrong, but for those who do take it on, there is an opportunity to see how the downside of life can have rooting value. For me, this one earned four stars.


PicMonkey Collage-october weekly updates image

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.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.




What happened to this week?  All I know is that I continued my purging and rearranging, even going so far as to add a spit and polish to things…and then I enjoyed catching up on movies and TV shows on my DVR.  The reading was very intermittent…and so was the blogging.

On Thursday night, my granddaughter Fiona spent the night, and we rose early on Friday to take her to the train for her trip.

So that’s what happened to my usual activities.  But some weeks are like that, aren’t they?



fiona starting over




Guess What?  My Interiors Are In Flux Again!

Tuesday Potpourri:  Intros/Teasers – “Ruin Falls”

Hump Day Creativity:  Waiting for “A Small Indiscretion”

My Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  Savoring the Moments

Thursday Potpourri:  The Aftermath of the Purge

Review:  The Carrier, by Sophie Hannah (4 ****)

Review:  Accidents of Marriage (e-book), by Randy Susan Meyers (5 *****)



INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

The mailbox was alive and waiting with goodies this week, albeit only two gorgeous ones from Amazon Vine.  And then I downloaded an e-book, as Sparky was complaining about hunger again.





When We Fall, by Emily Liebert (Amazon Vine)






Ready for a fresh start, Allison Parker moves back to her hometown in the suburbs of New York. While she’d once savored the dynamic pace of city life, sadly, it lost its allure after her husband’s untimely death. Now, ready to focus on her art career accompanied by her ten-year-old son, Logan, Allison doesn’t anticipate that her past will resurface. When the wife of her husband’s best friend from summer camp takes her under her wing, things begin to spin out of control.



The Oleander Sisters, by Elaine Hussey (Amazon Vine)







An emotionally riveting tale of the bonds of family and the power of hope in the sultry Deep South

In 1969, the first footsteps on the moon brighten America with possibilities. But along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a category five storm is brewing, and the Blake sisters of Biloxi are restless for change. Beth “Sis” Blake has always been the caretaker, the dutiful one, with the weight of her family’s happiness—and their secrets—on her shoulders. She dreams of taking off to pursue her own destiny, but not before doing whatever it takes to rescue her sister.


Ruth’s Journey (e-book), by Donald McCaig (Purchased)






Authorized by the Margaret Mitchell Estate, here is the first-ever prequel to one of the most beloved and bestselling novels of all time, Gone with the Wind. The critically acclaimed author of Rhett Butler’s People magnificently recounts the life of Mammy, one of literature’s greatest supporting characters, from her days as a slave girl to the outbreak of the Civil War.

“Her story began with a miracle.” On the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue, an island consumed by the flames of revolution, a senseless attack leaves only one survivor—an infant girl. She falls into the hands of two French émigrés, Henri and Solange Fournier, who take the beautiful child they call Ruth to the bustling American city of Savannah.




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


Currently Reading:  Dear Daughter (e-book), by Elizabeth Little






Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is sly, stunning, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a high-society beauty known for her good works and rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie makes herself over and goes undercover, determined to chase down the one lead she has on her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the killer she’s looking for.



Ruin Falls, by Jenny Milchman





Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in.


Further Out Than You Thought, by Michaela Carter







Combining the eloquence and raw sensuality of Jeanette Winterson with the romantic, renegade spirit of Patti Smith, Further Out Than You Thought is a taut and erotically charged literary debut, set against the chaos of the 1992 L.A. riots, about three people searching for identity and meaning from award-winning poet and indie bookshop co-founder Michaela Carter.




And that’s all for the week, folks.  What are you all reading and blogging about?  What life moments are you sharing?











Ben and Maddy have been married for many years, and sometimes they seem to be going through the motions. Between his job at the public defender’s office and hers as a social worker, they are on automatic pilot.

There is one recurring theme in their relationship: Ben’s quick temper that sometimes seems to erupt with no warning. His impatience, his yelling, and the way he seems to be someone she doesn’t even know…these features to his personality have Maddy questioning everything about her life.

Their three children are showing the signs of the strain between them. Emma, 15, is increasingly out of control, and the younger two, Gracie and Caleb, are on the verge of following suit.

Then on a rainy day on a Boston freeway, as Ben rushes, after reluctantly picking up a stranded Maddy, there is a horrific accident. And yes, a tailgater is partially responsible, but Ben was driving too fast and too angrily…and now Maddy lies in a coma.

What will become of their family now?

The story is narrated by Ben, Emma, and Maddy.

It is a tale of Before and After, and it is a sad reminder of how driving while enraged can be just as devastating as driving while intoxicated. And Ben, who I would characterize as a Rage-a-holic, needs serious treatment. In many ways, his personality resembles that of a certain type of addict that those in the program call “King Baby.” Everything is all about him and his needs, and his rage is his very infantile reaction to not getting what he wants when he wants it.

I liked Maddy and empathized with her struggle as she tried to recover from a serious brain injury. Emma was struggling and carrying too much responsibility for a young girl, and even though other family members stepped up, there was really nobody there for Maddy. Ben’s efforts were almost pointless, coming as they did with his resentments on full view and delivered with heavy sighs.

A story that could have taken an easy way out, Accidents of Marriage: A Novel did not tie up all the issues with a pretty bow at the end, but I was left hoping that Maddy would make the choices that were right for her and for the children. Ben, on the other hand, was so unlikeable that I did not really care what happened to him. Wonderful read recommended for those who enjoy family drama and dysfunctional relationships. 5.0 stars.


PicMonkey Collage-october weekly updates image


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.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.




What a week!  I spent last Sunday afternoon at the movies, seeing Gone Girl, with my eyes riveted to the screen.  Powerful and intoxicating.  Over the next several days of this week, I spent time purging and organizing STUFF.  I have written some blog posts about the experience and some of my discoveries.  Meanwhile, I was suffering from a reading disorder that I can only describe as UNENGAGED.  None of the older books I was planning to read kept my attention, and I spent way too long trying to read them.  Hence, my overall reading week suffered.  But as a result, I came to some decisions….read about them in my Abandoning the Old Rules post.

Later today (or tomorrow), I hope to finally see the unveiling of what my daughter has been doing to the house she moved into…the one my son and his wife just vacated.  Fun times!

So here goes with my LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Sparks:  Intros/Teasers – “The Bookseller”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Dealing with the Stuff of My Life

Taking a Risk:  Waiting on “Those Girls”

My Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  Sorting & Eliminating

Creative Friday:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “The Carrier”

New Beginnings:  An Excerpt from “Interior Designs”

Weekend Potpourri:  Abandoning the Old Rules

Saturday Sparks:  Starring Grandkids & Great-Grandkids

My Newly Configured Interior World

Review:  The House We Grew Up In (e-book), by Lisa Jewell

Review:  The Bookseller, by Cynthia Swanson




INCOMING BOOKS:  (Covers/Titles Linked to Amazon)





TWO review books came in my mailbox…and I received one review book from the author via download.  Then I purchased one downloaded book.


Ruin Falls, by Jenny Milchman (Amazon Vine)






In a suspenseful follow-up to her critically acclaimed Cover of Snow, Jenny Milchman ratchets up the tension with this edge-of-your-seat story of a mother determined to find her missing children.



Further Out Than You Thought, by Michaela Carter (Amazon Vine)






Combining the eloquence and raw sensuality of Jeanette Winterson with the romantic, renegade spirit of Patti Smith, Further Out Than You Thought is a taut and erotically charged literary debut, set against the chaos of the 1992 L.A. riots, about three people searching for identity and meaning from award-winning poet and indie bookshop co-founder Michaela Carter.


Trail Mix (e-book), by Paulita Kincer (From the Author)






In the tradition of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, comes a novel of two suburban women who decide to hike the Appalachian Trail, escaping their lives as moms and wives in search of nature, adventure, and the ultimate diet plan.



Lila (e-book), by Marilynne Robinson (Purchased)





Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.
Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church—the only available shelter from the rain—and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.




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


The Carrier, by Sophie Hannah (Amazon Vine)






When Gaby’s plane is delayed, she’s forced to share a hotel room with a stranger: Lauren, who is terrified of her. But why is she scared of Gaby in particular? Lauren won’t explain. Instead, she blurts out something about an innocent man going to prison for murder. Gaby soon suspects that Lauren’s presence on her flight isn’t a coincidence, because the murder victim is Francine Breary, the wife of the only man Gaby has ever truly loved.



Accidents of Marriage (e-book), by Randy Susan Meyers






Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids—which works to keep a fragile peace—until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.



I am looking forward to a week of savoring my two books…and if I find the time, I have SIXTY-SEVEN other e-books resting on Sparky.  All purchased this year!





And for more activities this weekend, I plan to watch more Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

What does your weekend look like?  What are you planning next week?





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.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.




With cooler weather here, I am totally feeling the fall ambience.  My laptop background is all about autumn leaves, and so are my table vignettes.  Here is one from last year:




This week’s reading helped make a dent in my TBR Piles…and here’s what happened:



Tuesday Potpourri:  Intros/Teasers – “The Corn Maiden”

Monthly Wrap-Up for September

My Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  Celebrating Family

Take a Risk Friday:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “Dance the Eagle to Sleep”

Creative Saturday:  Remembering

Review:  Crooked River, by Valerie Geary

Review:  Hello from the Gillespies, by Monica McInerney

Review:  Dance the Eagle to Sleep, by Marge Piercy (Mt. TBR Challenge)

Review:  The Corn Maiden, by Joyce Carol Oates (Mt. TBR Challenge)



INCOMING BOOKS (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Three lovely books arrived in my mailbox…I purchased one book at the bookstore and I downloaded three e-books for Sparky.


The Bookseller, by Cynthia Swanson (Amazon Vine)






The Carrier, by Sophie Hannah (Amazon Vine)






House of Wonder, by Sarah Healy (Purchased)










A Good Marriage (e-book), by Stephen King






Dream of the Blue Room (e-book), by Michelle Richmond





The House of Memories (e-book), by Monica McInerney







In this next week, I plan to mix old and new books for a hopefully satisfying exploration…

UP NEXT:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)


The House We Grew Up In (e-book), by Lisa Jewell (Currently Reading)






The Girl Who Played with Fire, by Stieg Larsson (Mt. TBR)





By Myself and Then Some, by Lauren Bacall  (Mt. TBR)








And here is another Autumn Vignette, just created….from my house to yours….










In this short story collection of seven suspenseful tales, Joyce Carol Oates takes the reader along on various journeys into the psyche of evil, while also showing us the naivete and innocence of the victims in each piece.

In the opening title story, The Corn Maiden, we are greeted first with the oddly deranged voice of the thirteen-year-old perpetrator, Jude Trahern, a child of privilege and a fellow student, who has captured Marissa Bantry, eleven years old, whom she has dubbed “The Corn Maiden” because of her long silky blond hair. Under her thumb are two other girls, her assistants. But Jude is the Master Mind. Torture follows, and we then see what is happening outside the torture chamber: Marissa’s mother Leah, morose and concerned that she will be blamed for allowing her child to go home alone after school, and worries about how she will be perceived.

Another player in the tale is a male computer consultant, blamed by an anonymous eyewitness.

As readers, we can share the angst of the mother and the “innocent” suspect, knowing all the while who is behind the events. Why has Jude captured this sweet young girl? What is in it for her?

Like so many other stories by this author, evil seems to have no explanation, but the reader can speculate.

In Helping Hands, near the end of the collection, a shy middle-aged widow believes she has found potential companionship in the charity thrift shop where she takes some of her deceased husband’s effects, only to discover that she has sadly miscalculated the troubled young man who waits on her and seems so friendly and helpful.

As with many of her other short stories, I enjoyed the well-written prose, but I was happy to close the final page of The Corn Maiden, and told myself that I was relieved to be set free from them. Others might enjoy the macabre suspense, but for me, this one earned 3.5 stars.




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.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.




I find myself writing this post much earlier than usual this weekend.  The hours ahead will be full of family time, a get-together that is a celebration of new beginnings.  My youngest son and his wife are moving farther north, and my daughter will be moving into their house here.  We will be lifting our glasses to what lies ahead!

Meanwhile, here’s a quick nod to last week…


Bloggiesta Finish Line:  Success!

Tuesday Potpourri:  Intros/Teasers – “Hello from the Gillespies”

Reprising My Review of “The Banks of Certain Rivers” – Paperback Release

Hump Day Potpourri:  Waiting for “Unbecoming”

Reshuffling the Interiors:  A Touch of OCDD

My Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  Reshuffling, Renewing

Serendipitous Friday:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “Friendswood”

From the Interior:  My Seven Deadly Sins

Creative Expressions on a Saturday:  Saturday Snapshots

Meadow Returns:  An Excerpt from “Interior Designs”

Review:  Quiet (e-book), by Susan Cain (For Mt. TBR Challenge)

Review:  Safe Keeping, by Barbara Taylor Sissel (Amazon Vine Review)

Review:  Friendswood, by Rene Steinke (Amaon Vine Review)



INCOMING BOOKS (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books came in the mailbox!  But Sparky is happily feasting on the three downloads I found.

Leaves (e-book), by Michael Baron







Owen’s Daughter (e-book), by Jo-Ann Mapson









River Road (e-book), by Jayne Ann Krentz









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

Currently Reading:  Crooked River, by Valerie Geary (Amazon Vine Review)







Then I hope to read these books…and maybe more; we shall see!


Hello from the Gillespies, by Monica McInerney  (Vine Review)






Dance the Eagle to Sleep, by Marge Piercy (From Mt. TBR)






The Corn Maiden (and Other Nightmares), by Joyce Carol Oates (From Mt. TBR)








With only a few more days left in September, I am feeling the fall…finally.  The temperature has slid down to the eighties and even mid-seventies on occasion.  I pulled some pumpkin and other autumn tidbits from the closets.  I am ready!