WEEKLY UPDATES: COOLER DAYS & A LITTLE RAIN….

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.

My week was definitely cooler, with temperatures in the 80s….and even a couple of rainy days.  I curled up in my nest and read…but I still only read three books.  My total for the challenge this week is now up to 82...since one of the books I read was a NetGalley ARC.

What did I do instead of reading nonstop?  Well, I am binge-watching Nurse Jackie again…and some shows and movies on my DVR.  Now I’m also looking forward to the fall TV season...and my reading may drop even more.  Or not.  I’ll be continuing to read my NetGalley ARCs.  I have one more to read by the end of September, and have two more in October.  An author review book is headed my way, and I also have an Amazon Vine review book to devour.

I had lunch with my daughter on Thursday…and then had a manicure.  The first time I left the house this week!

Next week, remember that Bloggiesta is coming!  9/21 through 9/24.

Let’s look at my blogging/reading progress, while we sip some more coffee.  Here’s where I curled up to read this morning.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monday Potpourri:  Weekend Stuff & Remembering 9/11

Tuesday Sparks:  “My Absolute Darling”

Creating Her Own Melodrama:  An Excerpt from “Web of Tyranny”

Hump Day Potpourri:  A Week of Reading…

Let’s Pour a Cup of Coffee…and Chat!

Bookish Friday:  “Little Fires Everywhere”

Friday Potpourri:  Searching for Memorabilia, Etc.

Review:  The Burning Girl (e-book), by Claire MessudReview:  The Best Kind of People (e-book), by Zoe Whittall – (NG – 9/19)Review:  A Stranger in the House (e-book), by Shari Lapena

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing came in my physical mailbox…in my inbox came approval for a NetGalley ARC.  I also purchased three e-books.

The Story of Arthur Truluv (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg (NG – 11/21)

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Downloads:

Our Souls at Night (e-book), by Kent Haruf

Little Fires Everywhere (e-book), by Celeste Ng

When We Were Worthy (e-book), by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Blackbird Season (e-book), by Kate Moretti – (NG – 9/26)

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And then….because the movie is coming to Netflix:

Our Souls at Night (e-book), by Kent Maruf

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That was my week.  What did yours look like?  Here’s what I had to drink on Thursday while waiting for my daughter to show up for lunch.

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REVIEW: THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE, BY ZOE WHITTALL

The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

My Thoughts: From the very beginning of The Best Kind of People, I felt drawn into the lives of the Woodburys, especially Sadie and Joan. Their reactions to the events that unfolded felt real and spoke to how one might experience being blindsided in such a way.

Multiple narrators, including Joan, Sadie, Andrew, and Kevin brought out the way a community and a family are impacted by an arrest of a beloved individual. How should any of them feel? Should the family give unwavering support to a man who might be guilty? Should all who knew him for years be immediately on his side? Would the media presence affect how they reacted?

Visiting George in prison was another shock to reality for those whose previous experiences did not prepare them for this new normal.

How does Kevin’s new novel change how others view him? Can Sadie find a way to interpret the betrayals she sees all around her? Will she find a way to deal with those who believe that her family is somehow tainted by her father?

The activists were the most disturbing aspect for me, as the tendency to blame feminism for the allegations of the girls struck a wrong chord with me. While I did not necessarily believe the girls, since, despite what the proponents of victims’ rights might claim, teenage girls do occasionally lie, I could not align myself with those who slapped such a label on their cause.

In the end, the trial seemed to happen off stage, just as much of George’s experiences seemed separate from what everyone else was going through. As a result, the outcome felt flat and tepid. I was no longer at all sure about what was true or how to feel. 4.5 stars.


***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

WEEKLY UPDATES: A COOLING TREND – THE 90S!

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.

The past week brought a cooling trend:  yes, down in the 90s, but better than triple digits.  Could we be on our way to fall?  Maybe not just yet, as the District Fair is coming in early October, and in all the years (46) that I’ve lived in these parts, it is always hot during the fair.  But knowing what to expect is better than not knowing.  I think.

It has been a week of reading, reviewing, and blogging.  Three books read, with my total for the Read the Books You Buy Challenge now at 80!

No Netflix viewing this week.  I did watch some old and favorite movies (feel good movies) like Julie and Julia.  I love that one!  I also watched Jackie again.  I guess I needed comfort viewing.  However, I also watched The Sinners, and the season finale episodes of The Fosters and The Bold Type.  Cliff hangers, of course.

I have a few movies still on the DVR for this weekend…and maybe I’ll see what I can find on Netflix.  Later in the month comes a movie starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford:  Our Souls at Night.  I can’t wait!

I’ve been seeing previews for this movie all week, so I must go to the neighborhood theater and see it!  Home Again, with Reese Witherspoon, etc.

Let’s grab some coffee and look back at the week.  The mug is a favorite, and reads:  Just for Today, Be Happy.  I like that sentiment.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

A Journey Through My Shelves…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Burning Girl”

A Week of Reading….

A Journey Through Some of My Treasures…

Thoughts on a Thursday….

Bookish Friday:  “I’ll Have What She’s Having”

Friday Potpourri:  Saying Goodbye to Summer….

Review:  The Truth We Bury (e-book), by Barbara Taylor SisselReview:  Lies She Told (e-book), by Cate Holahan – (NetGalley – 9/12)Review:  Z:  A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One Vine Review Book came in my mailbox!  And like a crazy person, I purchased five downloads.

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, by Agnes Martin-Lugand

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Downloads:

The Heirs (e-book), by Susan Rieger

Lie to Me (e-book), by J. T. Ellison

Genuine Fraud (e-book), by E. Lockhart

The Summer That Made Us (e-book), by Robyn Carr

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And the final download is a re-read…I used to have this book, and I think it went out the door during one of my purges.  Sigh.  This week, I watched the movie again (I have the DVD) starring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley, and I always cry at the end…so I just had to read the book again.  I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it, but I like that it’s there, waiting.

House of Sand and Fog (e-book), by Andre Dubus III

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Burning Girl (e-book), by Claire Messud

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Then I have another NetGalley review book to read this week:

The Best Kind of People (e-book), by Zoe Whittall (Release Date – 9/19)

And maybe this one:

I’ll Have What She’s Having (e-book), by Erin Carlson ( I love this cover, and I’m a big fan of Nora Ephron and these movies).

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That’s my week.  What did yours look like?  I had a different kind of repast at Mimi’s one night this week.  Quiche says fall to me.  And, of course, I had my book companion.

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A JOURNEY THROUGH SOME OF MY TREASURES….

My compulsion to reinvent my blogs via my headers, themes, etc., has led to the one you see here now, and (above in this post).  In the header, you can see the blog title and tagline.  A favorite thing available in this blog theme, it is also tricky when creating the header, as sometimes the title is off center…and I have to go back to the drawing board.  But it’s fun…for me.

This one was created from photos of objects in my home.  I have the Alice in Wonderland doll, and also a collection of Disney figurines, some of which you see standing next to Pippa, my Kindle.

On my favorite bookshelf, which my youngest son built, I have a potpourri of these figurines, mixed in with my books.  To see some of my other book receptacles, visit A Journey Through My Shelves.

Since the tagline of this blog is all about “life’s unexpected treasures,” it seems appropriate to share some of the physical “treasures” that constitute my collection.

In my dining room, I have more collections, like the Peter Pan images on a country cupboard filled with trinkets and books:

And then there is my Baker’s Rack:

 

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So thanks for joining me on this journey.  Do you have collections?  Do they feel like treasures because of a sentimental connection, or just because?

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REVIEW: THE TRUTH WE BURY, BY BARBARA TAYLOR SISSEL

 

On the outside, Lily Isley’s life seems perfect: a wealthy husband, a ritzy gated community in Dallas, and a handsome son, AJ—a decorated marine about to be married to his love, Shea. But when a bridesmaid is murdered in AJ’s apartment and he can’t be found, Lily’s world collapses and a long-held family secret is at risk of exposure.

Dru Gallagher’s life took a different course. After her ex-husband, suffering from post-traumatic stress, threatened her and her daughter, Shea, with a shotgun, Dru was forced to leave her marriage and forge ahead as a working-class single mom. Now, the anger she sees in war veteran AJ’s eyes is heartbreakingly familiar—and makes Dru deeply afraid for her daughter’s safety…especially after Shea’s best friend and maid of honor is found dead.

With a killer on the loose and time running out, Lily and Dru, two very different women, unite in a single goal: to save their precious children from scandal, even from death. But will the mothers’ protection be enough, or will the fateful secret they expose—and the truth it reveals—destroy every hope of love?

My Thoughts: Our alternating narrators in The Truth We Bury take us from the present to the past, reminding us that buried secrets often have a way of surfacing.As the police search for a killer, their primary focus seems to be A. J. Will they ignore other possibilities and go for the easy target?

As the story unfolds and secrets emerge, everyone in the small town is affected, and life will never be the same.

It would be easy to point out the missteps of the police, but the killer has set events into motion to point them in a particular direction. The stunning revelations at the end changed everything that Lily and Dru had believed, but when all fell into place, the characters were left with no choice but to pick up the pieces. A poignant and unexpected ending kept me turning pages as a new normal began to emerge. 4 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: VISUALIZING FALL….

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.

Turning the calendars in my house to September was a cheery thing.  I love fall, and I am now visualizing it.  Isn’t visualizing a thing you want a good way to get it?   Or not, since it is still triple digits here.  But that’s okay, as I know that falling leaves signal the upcoming crispy season.  Now I’m also visualizing apples, pumpkins, and cooler weather.

My reading was all over the place this week, as I picked up print books from my nightstand, and then turned to my Kindle for more, a peripatetic cycle that finally led to the completion of three books.  My Read the Books You Buy Total:  78.

My purchased books for the month of August exceeded the numbers in previous months, totaling 17 books, my highest number since January when I bought 19 books!  I had been patting myself on the back for decreasing numbers in May, June, and July...but then I went wild.

Today I plan to curl up and read some of my books…and stay off the Amazon site.  LOL. 

On TV, I continued watching The Sinner; caught another show about Princess Diana; and started a new series on Netflix with Kathy Bates:  Disjointed.  I added a show called What Happened to Monday to my queue.  I may settle down with a few of these over the weekend.

Now…while we grab some coffee, let’s take a closer look at last week.

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “A Stranger in the House”

My Reading Week:  Current, Past, & Future…

Upcoming Events, Etc.

Wrapping up August!

Reprising a Review:  Midwives, by Chris Bohjalian

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, & Obsessions…

Bookish Friday:  “Y is for Yesterday”

Remembering Family & Friends…

Review:  The Good Daughter (e-book), by Karin SlaughterReview:  Home, by Harlan CobenReview:  Heartbreak Hotel (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

I received ONE purchased book in my physical mailbox…and downloaded three e-books.

Did You See Melody?, by Sophie Hannah

Downloads:

My Absolute Darling (e-book), by Gabriel Tallent

The Burning Girl (e-book), by Claire Messud

I’ll Have What She’s Having (e-book), by Erin Carlson

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Z:  A Novel of Zelda, by Therese Anne Fowler

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Then…

The Truth We Bury (e-book), by Barbara Taylor Sissel

Lies She Told (e-book), by Cate Holahan (NetGalley – 9/12)

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That was my week…what did yours look like?  Check out my salad and margarita, from a few days ago….Pippa was enjoying the ambience of the restaurant.

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REVIEW: THE GOOD DAUGHTER, BY KARIN SLAUGHTER

 

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville’s notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…


My Thoughts: Living in a small Georgia town populated by angry residents who turn to crime more often than not, the Quinn family stands out. Mostly because they are not like the others, but also because Rusty Quinn defends some of those angry people, to the detriment of his family.

The Good Daughter brings out Charlie’s story first, as she has stayed in Pikeville to help her father, even though she has a separate practice and does not see eye-to-eye with him. But it is easy for the townsfolk to paint them both with the “liberal” brush, which does not endear them to the residents, especially the cops.

When something horrific happens one day, and when Charlie is caught up in the middle of it all, Sam is called back to town. Living in New York for several years, she is still trying to put the past behind her, especially the day of the devastating attack on her family. She still suffers from the aftermath of the events.

What is happening in Charlie’s marriage and personal life that has turned her into an angry person? How are Sam’s lasting injuries adding to the stress she feels when she faces the town again? What will Sam learn about the alleged perpetrator in the recent violence that will change how she and her father approach the case? What unexpected revelations will finally release them from the past?

Just when I thought I had everything figured out, more secrets are revealed and an astonishing denouement makes all the difference for the two sisters. A 5 star read for me.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: AUGUST IS WINDING DOWN….

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 hot week!  The occasional dip to the 90s never lasted long enough to offer much relief, so the heat goes on.  I did more blogging than usual, but my reading has suffered.  Only two books read and reviewed, although I’m halfway finished with two other books I finished a THIRD book.  I continue to read bits and pieces of another book.  So perhaps I will have more to add by the end of the weekend.  My total for the Read the Books You Buy Challenge = 75.

If you are here reading this post, you have found my new venue for Weekly Updates.  I like to change things up now and then.

On  Netflix, I started a new show called Deep Water, an Australian series that seems promising.  On TV, I’m following the mini-series called The Sinner.  I also watched the A & E production, in two parts, of The Murder of Lacy Peterson.  Since it all took place in the Central Valley, just two hours from where I live, I remember well the ripple effects.  Amber Frey, who played a large role in events, including the trial, lived in Fresno…the city I call home these days.

Let’s grab some coffee and talk about our weeks.

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Monday Potpourri:  Quirkiness, Etc.

Tuesday Potpourri:  New Release Day!

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Good Daughter”

Personal Journeys:  Excerpting “An Accidental Life”

The  A-Frame House:  The Story Behind the Story

Hump Day Reading….

Coffee Chat:  Reading, TV Viewing, & a Birthday…

Moving My Updates to Serendipity – Effective 8/27/17

Bookish Friday:  “Watch Me Disappear”

Review:  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (e-book), by Taylor Jenkins ReidReview:  The Lying Game (e-book), by Ruth WareReview:  After She Fell (e-book), by Mary-Jane RileyStill Reading:  Home, by Harlan Coben

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing in my physical mailbox!  I did download two books, and the titles both begin with the letter “Y.”  Fun, right?

Y is for Yesterday (e-book), by Sue Grafton

Young Jane Young (e-book), by Gabrielle Zevin

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UP NEXT:

I will continue reading the ones listed above…and also hope to start these:

The Good Daughter (e-book), by Karin Slaughter

Heartbreak Hotel (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman

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And that was my week.  What did yours look like?  Check out my dinner from last night, which is all too familiar…I tend to choose this pea soup and the strawberry margarita on a regular basis.

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REVIEW: THE LYING GAME, BY RUTH WARE

 

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

My Thoughts: There is something disturbing about a group of young girls, drawn together by circumstances, who find amusement in a game that involves lying. Especially when the goal of the lying is to hurt others, to put them in their place.

They must know that the practice of lying will come back to bite them, if not now, later in life. Or perhaps, in their immaturity, they do not care.

Kate is really at the heart of the lying game, in my opinion, and as much as I could see her need to control her friends through this game, since she has had much sadness in her life, I wished that the girls could have found a way to tell her no.

Isa, whose narrative voice draws us into The Lying Game, has a lot to lose by going along with Kate’s games…and so does Fatima.

Perhaps they did not foresee the consequences when they started the game. But surely they could have stopped at some point, before it all turned dangerous and horrific. Why is Kate able to crook her little finger and bring them all to her side? Ultimately, why does she have so much control over them, and what is she keeping from them? Is she breaking their one rule not to lie to each other?

I thought I knew how the story would unfold, so there were some stunning surprises that I realize, in retrospect, were hiding out in dark corners, waiting to be revealed in the most tragic way possible. 4.5 stars.

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THE A-FRAME HOUSE: THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY….

It has been a while since I’ve written about my A-frame house in the foothills, the setting for the creation of my first novel…the one with themes from my life and my career, which you can find in detail in  A House That Inspired a Story.

An Accidental Life portrays characters whose lives just seem to happen to them…almost accidentally.  I acquired the house almost accidentally, too, when funds appeared unexpectedly.  The A-frame is depicted on the cover of the book with the face it wore back then, a redwood brown.  I later painted the house this sage green color (above).

 

 

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To revive the images, I created a blog button today that mimics the shape of the A-frame house, wearing an approximation of its final color….

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Do you sometimes choose your path accidentally, or does life seem to happen while you’re making other plans?  Perhaps you can relate to some of these characters.

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