WEEKLY UPDATES: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WEEK?

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 weekend already!  The week flew by, and I cannot tell you much of what happened…except that I read and reviewed FOUR BOOKS, bringing my Challenge total to 94…and wrote ELEVEN blog posts.  What was I thinking?  On Friday, we had a little rain.  Just enough to turn the fallen leaves soggy…and perhaps to clear some of the dust from the air.  Hopefully the rain that came to Northern California late this week will help contain the wildfires, but it feels like “too little too late.” 

As for TV viewing, it was great to have the Thursday lineup back...and I tried the Dynasty reboot on Wednesdays…but quickly dismissed it, deleting it from my DVR schedule.  It is nothing like the first series, except for some of the names of the characters.  If they are going to “pretend” that a show is a reboot, they really should create something that bears a slight resemblance to the original.  ‘Nuff said.

Let’s talk about the week, and in the photo (below), I’ll share my nod to the upcoming Halloween season:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Looking Back:  An Homage to Rainy Days….

Sunday Potpourri:  Curling up with Books, Etc.

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Lie to Me”

Serendipitous Tuesdays:  Collections, Tidbits, New Books…

Hump Day Serendipity:  Collections, Books, Family…

Hump Day Reading:  Engaging…

My Progress:  Compulsive Book Buying Disorder…

Coffee Chat:  From Books to Berlin…and In-Between…

Bookish Friday:  “Odd Child Out”

Friday Potpourri:  Family, Connections…

A Rainy Day Friday…

Review:  Her Last Goodbye (e-book, Morgan Dane #2), by Melinda LeighReview:  Lie to Me (e-book), by J. T. EllisonReview:  Keep Her Safe (e-book), by Sophie HannahReview:  Sleep Like a Baby (e-book, Aurora Teagarden Mystery), by Charlaine Harris***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing came in my physical mailbox…but I did receive a NetGalley review book.  Then I downloaded three e-books.

The Wife Between Us (e-book), by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen (NG – Release Date -1/9/18)

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Downloaded Purchases:

Cold As Ice (e-book, Country Club Murders #6), by Julie Mulhern

The Last Mrs. Parrish (e-book), by Liv Constantine

Seven Days of Us (e-book), by Francesca Hornak

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Odd Child Out (e-book), by Gilly McMillan

And then…wherever my moods take me!

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That was my week…what did yours look like?  On Friday night, I took myself to my favorite neighborhood spot, CPK, for soup and margaritas…and this delicious pumpkin cheesecake dessert, with Irish Coffee:

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REVIEW: LIE TO ME, BY J. T. ELLISON

 

They built a life on lies…

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

 

My Thoughts: Lie to Me opens with Ethan’s narrative, with him walking into the kitchen and finding a note from his wife. From that point on, everything he thinks is true turns out to be either a lie or a product of someone else’s lie. Which is it? When even the friends who had been so supportive to both Ethan and Sutton begin to distrust them, pointing fingers of blame, and then when it looks as if Ethan has done something horrific…we realize that nothing is at it seems.

At this point, the story switches to Sutton’s narrative. She is hiding out and has created a new life. But why? Did she set everything in motion, or is there another nefarious presence behind it all.

An anonymous third narrator drops little clues along the way, but we won’t discover the truth until almost the end. Then the pieces fall together and form a malevolent picture.

I could not stop reading until the last page, and even then, a final bread crumb was tossed at the reader. Definitely a 5 star read for me.***

HUMP DAY SERENDIPITY: COLLECTIONS, BOOKS, FAMILY…

Good morning!  It’s time to chat about Hump Day and enjoy the places where we love to curl up with our books, etc.  Above, I rearranged some things on my little table in my office, the one below my family wall of photos:  in addition to the Coca Cola lamp and the Minnie Mouse phone, I now have a cute mug that says “Bee Happy,” which I’ve had for a while, but it was previously in my bedroom.  And next to the phone is the new clock I ordered this week.  I did that after realizing I have NO CLOCKS in this room, since the one I had fell from the wall and broke.

I think the ghosts in my house were playing pranks on me!

Anyway, I love its colors.  It is a small clock, but it serves its purpose.  Here’s a close-up, from the product page:

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I read until late last night…in my bedroom, where I could curl up with fluffy pillows.  I am reading Lie to Me, by J. T. Ellison, and I’m loving it.  My review will go up later today.

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My TV watching last night was This Is Us, which I  really love, although sometimes I find the mother, portrayed by Mandy Moore, really annoying!  Especially in the episodes with her grown children.  She seems fake.  I don’t like Miguel, the guy she married after Jack, either.   Jack and Miguel were best friends.  It seems…wrong, somehow.  The kids seem to have problems with him, too.  I am curious about what will unfold.

I’ve also been watching several episodes of The Menendez Murders.  I love that Edie Falco is portraying Leslie Abramson, the boys’ attorney.  She has a rather harsh demeanor, but it works in this role, IMO.

Okay…enough said.  Back to reading.

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After yesterday’s Release Day, I didn’t end up downloading any of the other books released yesterday.  Not yet, anyway.  Seven Days of Us was one of them, and it’s on my list…but the reviews were so mixed.  I will wait a while.

I might have to read it, though.  I love family dysfunction…in a movie or book.  Not in real life.  Maybe my reluctance to dig into this one is how close to home the themes feel to me.  My own family, and the in-laws I accrued over the years, were reminders of all that can be annoying about family.  LOL.

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So…what does Hump Day bring to you?  Books, adventures, etc.?

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SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAYS: COLLECTIONS, TIDBITS, NEW BOOKS….

When I recreated my blog header here, I brought my Madeline doll over by the bookshelves, and set her next to some of the Disney figurines for her photo op.  She needed to shine.

 

Normally she sits on the hall tree with other friends:  I love the big Mary Engelbreit doll on the right.  Behind her and behind Madeline on the left are Red Ridinghood and the Wolf…which I found in a neighborhood shop a few years ago.  I like how the mirror reflects my bookshelves.  I also collect quirky handbags with Elvis, Betty Boop, and Marilyn Monroe images, along with one from Mary Engelbreit.  In the center, a big Boyd’s Bears goose with a bear atop it.

Sometimes I move them around…they’ve been atop my sofa table, too, but I prefer them at the front door, greeting guests.

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So…good morning, and let’s talk about Tuesday events. Amazon Book Release day, of course.  I’ve been over there downloading a couple of books that I had bookmarked:

Cold as Ice (e-book), by Julie MulhernBook Six in the Country Club Murder Series

I’ve heard that this one is the best of the lot!  But since I’ve loved all of them so far, I didn’t need to read that to know I’m eager to dive into this one.

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The Last Mrs. Parrish (e-book), by Liv Constantine

The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy “golden couple,” from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.

Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.

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I’m currently reading and loving Lie to Me, by J. T. Ellison.  Lots of interesting twists, and numerous perspectives.

Today I featured this book in my Rainy Day Excerpts.

What does your Tuesday look like?  New books?  Interesting memes?

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WEEKLY UPDATES: READING, BLOGGING, & MOVIES…

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 week flew by, with lots of errands and various activities, and a nice visit with my granddaughter Fiona yesterday when she came over to use my computer.  I even sent her The Rules of Magic for her Kindle app.  I love this photo of her.

I wasn’t that focused on the temperatures this week, as my mind was with the wildfires in Napa, Santa Rosa, and the Bay Area north of here…and horrified by the devastation.  What a year we all have had, with hurricanes, wildfires, and mass shootings!

Great books saved me, as I read and reviewed 3 enticing ones, bringing my Read the Books You Buy total to 90.  One of the books I read was a review book, and it was just what I needed:  a feel-good story with great characters.  The others were a mystery and a drama centered around secrets and lies.

I did get in some exercise….and did some shopping, including a trip to the phone store where I upgraded my iPhone.  I’m enjoying it.  At Barnes & Noble, I used a gift card won during Bloggiesta…thanks, Laurie, at Bay State Reader’s Advisory.

I also binge-watched Big Little Lies, and seeing the episodes one after the other was powerful.  I even saw some things I didn’t quite catch the first time of viewing.  Nothing on Netflix this week, but I did enjoy some movies from my DVR, some of them “oldies,” like Sea of Love with Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin.

So…let’s grab some more coffee and talk about the week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Thoughts on a Monday…

Tuesday Potpourri:  “Keep Her Safe”

Another Great Hump Day of Reading…

Hump Day Sparks:  Armchair Traveling

Coffee Chat:  Savoring the Good…

Bookish Friday:  “Her Last Goodbye”

Review:  When We Were Worthy (e-book), by Marybeth Mayhew WhalenReview:  Cardinal Cabin, by Joanne DeMaio – (Review Book)Review:  Say You’re Sorry (e-book, Morgan Dane #1), by Melinda Leigh

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing came in my mailbox!  I did download FOUR e-books, all of which I had seen on blogs this week.  Thanks!

Sing, Unburied, Sing (e-book), by Jesmyn Ward

Best Day Ever (e-book), by Kaira Rouda

Unraveling Oliver (e-book), by Liz Nugent

And then…a FREEBIE from Prime’s Kindle First:

The Unremembered Girl (e-book), by Eliza Maxwell

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Her Last Goodbye (e-book, Morgan Dane #2), by Melinda Leigh

Then…

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

Keep Her Safe (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

Next…wherever my moods take me.

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That was my week…what did yours look like?  And, to tempt you, here’s a dessert I enjoyed while out shopping on Wednesday:  Key Lime Pie and Irish Coffee….

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REVIEW: WHEN WE WERE WORTHY, BY MARYBETH MAYHEW WHALEN

 

A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

My Thoughts: In alternating perspectives, the characters in When We Were Worthy reveal their own truths in bits and pieces, including their secrets and fears.

Marglyn is the grieving mother of Mary Claire, and her biggest regret is that she let her daughter leave that night with harsh words between them. Afterwards, she has dreams and visions in which she and her daughter try to communicate.

Ava, the wife and substitute teacher of one of the girls, feels neglected and alone in this small town where she does not belong. That’s how she feels, anyway. And when something scandalous is brought to light, I empathized with how alone she felt when her husband, in-laws, and townspeople did not believe her; did not give her the benefit of the doubt.

Darcy, as the mother of the boy who probably caused the accident, is also lost and alone. Who does she turn to? Someone who has also gone through something…but could she be making a dreadful mistake?

The only cheerleader who did not go that night, and who is therefore alive, is Leah. Her secret about why she didn’t go was held close to her heart. But she struggled with what she needed to reveal; something that could help Ava.

How would the secrets and lies emerge? Who would be left standing, and who might sink further into the depths of despair? While I figured out a part of Leah’s dark secret, and the one that would make all the difference to Ava, I kept expecting something more shocking. So, in fact, the secret was a bit underwhelming. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story. 4.5 stars.***

WEEKLY UPDATES: NOT MY BEST WEEK….

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.

 

This week was sad, and chaotic, and not a good one for reading.  Monday started us off with the horrific events in Las Vegas…and then the aftermath.

My first book of the week was compelling enough to distract me…but then I couldn’t stay absorbed in anything else.  Eventually I finished the second book, a NetGalley review book.  The first book added another number to my challenge, bringing the total to 88.

We had 70s and 80s all week, which was a relief.  I ran errands, got my flu shot, and watched a lot of TV.  I also haunted FB pages…distractions again!  My second son celebrated his birthday on Thursday, so I had to create some funny GIFs on his page.

Somehow I did get a little blogging done, but I pulled a couple of my posts from my Archives, as thinking about past events felt comforting.

So…now let’s have some coffee and look at what happened.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Cardinal Cabin”

Tuesday Potpourri:  A Frenzied Morning….

A Reading Week….

Setting Off Some Sparks…

Coffee Chat:  Distractions…

Tiptoeing Into the Past

Bookish Friday:  “Exposed”

Friday Time Travel…

Review:  Little Fires Everywhere (e-book), by Celeste NgReview:  The Rules of Magic (e-book), by Alice Hoffman (NG-10/10)***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books came in my mailbox!  But I downloaded two e-books.

Odd Child Out (e-book), by Gilly Macmillan

Without Merit (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

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WHAT’S NEXT?

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

And…because my moods are dictating my choices, I am unsure about what else I’m reading this week…except this one.  This author’s books always make me feel good, and I LOVE the cover, too.

Cardinal Cabin, by Joanne DeMaio (Review Book)

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That was my week!  What did yours look like?  To finish off the week on a positive note, I went out for dinner on Thursday and enjoyed my usual soup…plus this complimentary birthday cake; I felt like celebrating early, and the coupon was good for the whole month.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: HELLO OCTOBER!

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 wonderful week of reading, reviewing, and blogging, with cooling temperatures in the 70s and 80s…but with a couple of days in the 90s.  I read and reviewed four books, with one of them an ARC and the other three adding to my Read the Books You Buy Challenge which now totals 87 books.

I’ve had a great reading month, too, totaling 15 books in all.  Check out my Monthly Wrap-up.

I enjoyed the Netflix movie Our Souls at Night, with Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.  It was as wonderful as the book on which it was based.

Returning fall shows, like Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away with Murder kept me glued to the TV this week.

Let’s take a look at the month…and let’s grab some more coffee.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Mini-Bloggiesta:  Finish Line Post….

Tuesday Sparks:  “The Stolen Marriage”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Curling up with Books, Etc.

Hump Day Reading…

Early Morning Coffee, Books, & TV Shows…

Friday Potpourri:  Continuing a Journey…

Bookish Friday: “Say You’re Sorry”

When Objects Find New Homes:  Re-purposing Furnishings…

Review:  The Stolen Marriage (e-book), by Diane Chamberlain – (NG – 10/3)Review:  Open House, by Amanda Pays & Corbin BernsenReview:  I’ll Have What She’s Having (e-book), by Erin CarlsonReview:  A Dangerous Crossing, by Rachel Rhys

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Two review books came for me this week:  one in my physical mailbox, and the other in my virtual one.

Cardinal Cabin, by Joanne DeMaio

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Poison (e-book), by Gail Niederhoffer (NG – 11/21)

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Purchased Downloads:

Her Last Goodbye (e-book), by Melinda Leigh

Sleep Like a Baby (e-book), by Charlaine Harris

The Surrogate (e-book), by Louise Jensen

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WHAT’S NEXT?

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

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My mood-reading is all over the place, so I will be adding more books to my stack this week.

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What did your week look like?  I enjoyed a dinner of Shepherd’s Pie this week…while reading from Pippa.

 

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REVIEW: THE STOLEN MARRIAGE, BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN

 

One mistake, one fateful night, and Tess DeMello’s life is changed forever.

It is 1944. Pregnant, alone, and riddled with guilt, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life, unable to live a lie. Instead, she turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows her no affection. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry but see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain. When one of the town’s golden girls dies in a terrible accident, everyone holds Tess responsible. But Henry keeps his secrets even closer now, though it seems that everyone knows something about him that Tess does not.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess knows she is needed and defies Henry’s wishes to begin working at there. Through this work, she begins to find purpose and meaning. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love—and the life—she was meant to have?

My Thoughts: I was immediately caught up in the story of Tess and Vincent; I felt her pain when one mistake led to impossible choices.

Her pregnancy and marriage to wealthy Henry Kraft would take Tess outside her comfort zone. No longer living in Little Italy in Baltimore, she struggled to fit into her new life in Hickory, North Carolina.

But even as she tried to settle into her new life, Henry’s behavior toward her was puzzling, and the hostility she felt from all the townspeople, including her mother-in-law, made her adjustment almost impossible. Would she ever unravel the secrets Henry held deep within?

When Tess finished her licensing for her R.N. and, despite her husband’s objections, began working as a volunteer nurse during the polio epidemic that had hit the town, she started to regain her feelings of self-worth and confidence.

When an unexpected person from her past gives her new hope, she suddenly and unexpectedly finds just the power she needs to regain her life. And a mysterious journey leads her to treasures she had never anticipated. The Stolen Marriage was a beautiful story that kept me rapidly turning pages. 5 stars.

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

WEEKLY UPDATES: LOVELY WEATHER & LOTS OF READING…

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.

What a great week!  The temperatures even dipped into the 70s, but mostly we had pleasant 80s.  Not even a drop of rain.  Did the weather help me curl up and read FOUR books this week?  Two were review ARCs and two others added to my Read the Books You Buy Challenge, bringing the total to 84.

We’re in the midst of Bloggiesta…check out what I’ve done at my Sign-up and Starting Line post.

I’ve done a lot of Netflix bingeing this week, finishing up Nurse Jackie and the seventh season of Offspring.  I started a new series, called The Five.

I’m excited that the TGIT shows are coming this Thursday (at least two of them: Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder).

Next Friday, a Netflix movie based on a book I read this week, Our Souls at Night, will star Jane Fonda and Robert Redford.  I may have shouted out about this upcoming movie once or twice already.  LOL.

What did my week look like?  Grab some coffee, and check it out.  This photo, below, shows off my coffee…and one of my new books this week:  a coffee table book with lovely photos.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Our Souls at Night”

A Week of Great Reading…

Hump Day Serendipity:  Creating My “Happy Moments”

Coffee Chat:  Books, Movies, & Vicarious Travels

Bookish Friday:  “The Heirs”

Friday Potpourri:  From Nesting to Vicarious Traveling…

Review:  The Blackbird Season (e-book), by Kate Moretti – (NG – 9/26)Review:  Our Souls at Night (e-book), by Kent HarufReview:  Happy People Read & Drink Coffee, by Agnes Martin-Lugand (Amazon Vine)Review:  The Heirs (e-book), by Susan Rieger***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One (purchased) book arrived in my mailbox; I downloaded three e-books.

Open House:  Reinventing Space for Simple Living, by Amanda Pays & Corbin Bernsen

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Downloads:

White Bodies (e-book), by Jane Robins

Keep Her Safe (e-book), by Sophie Hannah

The Last Move (e-book), by Mary Burton

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WHAT’S NEXT?

The Stolen Marriage (e-book), by Diane Chamberlain (NG – 10/3)

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And then I will pick books according to my whims…and try to read more from my TBR pile.

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I haven’t gone out this week…but last weekend, I had this brunch at Mimi’s.

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