WEEKLY UPDATES: COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS…

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 was full of activities:  coffee with a friend on Monday; running around to complete and send out docs to finally relinquish my ownership of my time share; home to write some blog posts and read some books...total books read and reviewed:  Three.  Read the Books You Buy Challenge Total:  Purchased Books read so far in 2017 – 116.

On Thursday, I enjoyed some pampering at the nail salon, and changed up my color:

New episodes have arrived on Netflix for The Ranch.  I hope to settle in and binge-watch this weekend.  I did finish The Crown earlier this week.

What else?  Well, let’s grab some coffee and take a look.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Musing Mondays:  Experiencing My Reading…

Tuesday Sparks:  “Sing, Unburied, Sing”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Release Day, Tidbits, & Obsessions…

Curling up with Good Books…

Coffee Chat:  At Home and Abroad…

Thursday Sparks:  Forever Connected….

Bookish Friday:  “Snap Judgment”

A Morning of Coffee Mishaps…

Review:  Little Broken Things (e-book), by Nicole BaartReview:  A Season to Lie (e-book), by Emily LittlejohnReview:  A Hundred Small Lessons (e-book), by Ashley Hay

***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  But…I downloaded four (purchased) e-books:

If You Only Knew (e-book), by Kristan Higgins

Cruel Winter (e-book, County Cork Book 4), by Sheila Connolly

I Am Watching You (e-book), by Teresa Driscoll

These Violent Delights (e-book), by Victoria Namkung

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Sing, Unburied, Sing (e-book), by Jesmyn Ward

***

And then, more possibilities:

Snap Judgment (e-book, Samantha Brinkman Book 3), by Marcia Clark

Dead of Winter (e-book, Lily Dale Mystery), by Wendy Corsi Staub

***

That was last week…and a peek at next week.  What does yours look like?  Let’s hope you’ll settle in, enjoy the upcoming holidays, and savor something delicious.  I found a photo of last year’s Christmas cookies.

 

***

Advertisements

REVIEW: A SEASON TO LIE, BY EMILY LITTLEJOHN

 

On a cold dark night in February, as a blizzard shrieks through Cedar Valley, police officer and new mother Gemma Monroe responds to an anonymous report of a prowler at the local private high school, The Valley Academy. In her idyllic Colorado small town, Gemma expects the call was just a prank by a bored teenager.

But there in the snow lies the savaged body of a man whose presence in town was meant to be a secret. And a disturbing message left by his killer promises more death to come.
This is only the beginning . . .

Nothing is as it seems in Cedar Valley and stories, both fact and fiction, ensnare Gemma as her investigation moves from the halls of an elite academy to the forests that surround Cedar Valley.

My Thoughts: On her first day back at work after her maternity leave, Gemma Monroe is eager to delve into whatever cases are presented to her. So, in the opening lines of A Season to Lie, we find her heading out to Valley Academy in response to an anonymous tip. A prowler has been spotted. The situation seems simple enough, but before the night is done, Gemma and her partner Finn will be trying to solve a murder, and the victim is a well-known author. Someone who has slipped into town in disguise, hoping to have some quiet to write his memoirs…and do some guest lectures at the school.

The suspects range from students to teachers, from bullies to nefarious construction workers…and even a stalker called The Rabbit Man.

The author’s friend Lila Conway, who invited him to visit, suffers from extreme social anxiety, so she seems to have nothing to contribute. But is she keeping secrets? Is she telling lies? What is the truth behind her relationship to the author?

When Gemma grows closer to the answers, I was fascinated by the threads that led to many possibilities…and then seemingly nowhere. Until the final reveal. A captivating read. 4.5 stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: READING, BLOGGING, & NETFLIX…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

 

Another week has sped by, and while my reading has remained pretty even (three books read and reviewed), my blog posts have dropped…to seven.

In my reading challenge, I’ve now read and reviewed 113 books that I’ve purchased…and  my grand total read, combining review books and purchases, is 165.  So far.

My Netflix bingeing sky-rocketed this week when I discovered The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel…and I watched all of Season I.  I hope more will come, as I LOVED this one.  Yesterday I started watching Season II of The Crown...and while I’m enjoying it, I only watched two episodes so far.

On Tuesday, I had a hair styling appointment with my daughter…and she “silvered” my hair.  I still get a jolt when I look in the mirror.

My youngest grandson is coming to spend the weekend…and I’m trying to stock up on teenage food.  Yikes!  He will come equipped with his X-box, so, judging from past occasions, he will be holed up in the bedroom…and even food will not sever the bond between him and his device.

I’m getting an early start on this post…as the weekend will not be my usual blogging, reading, etc.  So…let’s grab some coffee and talk about the past week.

 

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Swept Back to a Time and Place…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “The Girls in the Picture”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Bookish Anticipation…

Bookish Love on a Hump Day…

Coffee Chat:  Movies, Reading, & Hair Styling…

Bookish Friday:  “A Season to Lie”

Let’s Ignite Some Sparks on a Saturday…

Review:  A Bella Flora Christmas (e-book, Ten Beach Road Novella), by Wendy WaxReview:  The Wife Between Us (e-book), by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen – (NetGalley – 1/9/18)Review:  Fragments of the Lost (e-book), by Megan Miranda

***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

One Purchased Book Arrived in my Mailbox…and I downloaded one e-book (also purchased).

The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood (Mailbox!)

Download:

An Early Wake (e-book, County Cork #3), by Sheila Connolly

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Little Broken Things (e-book), by Nicole Baart

***

Then…

A Season to Lie (e-book, Detective Gemma Monroe Novels), by Emily Littlejohn

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

***

That was my week…what did yours look like?  And…because I can’t resist, here is the delicious soup I had on Thursday evening – Tomato Basil Bisque (with a margarita, of course)…

***

REVIEW: THE WIFE BETWEEN US, BY GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN

 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.
Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

Read between the lies.

 

My Thoughts: My initial experiences in The Wife Between Us felt like looking through a kaleidoscope, the images shifting and surreal. The story seemed to tell different versions of reality from the perspectives of the wife and the girl friend. But as I turned the pages, I could see that nothing was shaping up the way I had imagined it to be. Through my confusion, I slowly began to glimpse the many ever-changing layers of the story, constantly in flux.

What do we really know about Richard? How could someone who seemed to be caring and loving one minute turn dark and dangerous? How do Vanessa’s experiences inform what happens to Emma, and how did their choices come about because of Richard’s actions? Then I wondered if I could be wrong. Should I go back and start again, with a fresh perspective? The authors have a way of keeping the reader slightly off-balance throughout, thinking one thing is true, only to discover the subtleties of reality.

Would Vanessa risk everything to bring out the truth? How would she manage to turn the tables on Richard, keeping him in the dark until she had finished what she’d set out to do?

Veering between the past and the present, the story is like a giant 1000 piece puzzle with numerous intricacies and deliberately shifting borders. Just when you have it all pieced together, another player dumps it out and you have to start again. This pattern continued through the final page, when still another shocking surprise popped up and I was thrown back to the beginning, awed by the serendipitous events that had transpired. 5 stars.*** My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

WEEKLY UPDATES: BOOKS, MOVIES, & CHRISTMAS ANTICIPATION…

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.

 

I am up very early to write this post, since I have a busy morning:  a hair appointment, the movies (hopefully); and shopping.  I wanted to get a head start, and also needed to write a review.  Now I’m done with that and can report that I’ve read and reviewed three books this week.  Yeah, not as good as last week, but that’s okay.  My Challenge Total:  111 of my own books read this year so far.

This week I finished the second season of Wanted, an Australian show, and now it’s a waiting period until the next one comes.  But on December 8, Season II of The Crown is coming!

As we wind down to Christmas, we are all sure to be very busy.  So…let’s grab a beverage (coffee for me!) and reflect on the past week.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Whimsical Thoughts…

Rainy Day Excerpts:  “Little Broken Things”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Anticipation…

It Is Hump Day…and Time to Share Bookish Love…

Coffee Chat: In the Mood for Christmas…

Bookish Friday:  “The Unexpected Mother”

It’s a Wrap!  Goodbye, November…

Friday Potpourri:  Nostalgic Christmases…

Review:  Moral Defense (e-book, Book 2 Samantha Brinkman), by Marcia ClarkReview:  Without Merit (e-book), by Colleen HooverReview:  The Cruelest Month (e-book, CI Gamache Mystery), by Louise Penny

***

INCOMING BOOKS:  Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  But I downloaded two purchased e-books.

A Hundred Small Lessons (e-book), by Ashley Hay

Snap Judgment (e-book, Book 3 Samantha Brinkman), by Marcia Clark

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  A Bella Flora Christmas (Ten Beach Road Novella), by Wendy Wax

***

And then…Finally:  The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks & Sara Pekkanen (NetGalley – 1/9)

***

That was my week!  What did yours look like?  Enjoy the weekend…and check out the treat I brought home to share with my Christmas Friends…

***

REVIEW: THE CRUELEST MONTH, BY LOUISE PENNY

 

Welcome to Three Pines, where the cruelest month is about to deliver on its threat.

It’s spring in the tiny, forgotten village; buds are on the trees and the first flowers are struggling through the newly thawed earth. But not everything is meant to return to life. . .
When some villagers decide to celebrate Easter with a séance at the Old Hadley House, they are hoping to rid the town of its evil—until one of their party dies of fright. Was this a natural death, or was the victim somehow helped along?

My Thoughts: As we stroll down the streets of Three Pines, in The Cruelest Month, we meet several of the town’s residents: Olivier, from the Bistro; Monsieur Believeau, the grocer; Myrna, who runs the bookstore and acts as a therapist; Ruth, the old poet; and Clara, a local artist. Some are already thinking about Easter, and the wooden eggs they will hide. The children will trade the wooden ones they find for chocolate eggs.

Soon we will meet others, especially Hazel and her best friend Madeleine. Hazel’s daughter Sophie is due to arrive from university.

It sounds like a lovely gathering of friendly people…so how did the festivities turn so dark? It started with a dinner at Clara and Peter’s, where they talked about having a séance, just for fun, since a psychic named Jeanne Chauvet is visiting. But after the dinner, they decide they need something more appropriate, like the Old Hadley House. Abandoned and creepy, it does sound like the perfect setting.

Everything goes bad at that house when someone dies in a horrific death. Who would want to kill this lovely woman? And why?

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache arrives in town with his team, and over the course of days, they begin to unscramble the clues and put together some suspects. Like many mysteries, there are lots of red herrings and people to overlook, and then Gamache, in his inimitable style, zeroes in on the culprit. Amidst the mystery solving, there are some inner workings at the Surete Headquarters back in Montreal, as someone is trying to discredit Gamache and ruin his life. As much as I enjoyed this book, I struggled with the numerous characters and names in French, mixing some up occasionally, which meant I had to take copious notes and pay attention. However, I did enjoy this captivating read that earned 4 stars from me.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: ANOTHER FAMILY EVENT…

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!  Errands, shopping, Thanksgiving dinner, movies, books.  Four books read and reviewed, bringing my Challenge total to 108.

On Netflix, I watched Season 6 of Longmire, all the way through…and then I started Season II of Wanted Today I’m watching old movies on my DVR, like Urban Cowboy.  I do love the music!  I used to have an album…yes, vinyl.  One of my kids took all the albums when I downsized ten years ago.

Saturday noon:  a get-together with assorted local family members joining in a celebration with my LA son and his youngest son.  Everyone else is spread out throughout the state…and two are in Prague.  Here is a peek at the group:

 

So…before we take a closer look at the week, grab another cup of coffee with me:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Dead of Winter”

Tuesday Potpourri:  Book Release Day…& Quirky Reading Tidbits…

Anticipating My Bookish Journey in 2018…

Curling up with Good Books…

Coffee Chat:  Happy Thanksgiving!

Bookish Friday:  “The Wife Between Us”

Friday Potpourri:  Reviewing the Holiday…

Review:  Young Jane Young (e-book), by Gabrielle ZevinReview:  Merry & Bright (e-book), by Debbie MacomberReview:  Bonfire (e-book), by Krysten RitterReview:  Play It as It Lays (e-book), by Joan Didion***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing came in my physical mailbox…BUT I received an e-ARC from NetGalley!

Anatomy of a Scandal (e-book), by Sarah Vaughan (NG – 1/23/18)

Downloads:  (Purchased)

Little Broken Things (e-book), by Nicole Baart

A Season to Lie (e-book, Detective Gemma Monroe Mystery), by Emily Littlejohn

The Unexpected Mother (e-book), by Susan A. Ring

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

Currently Reading:  ROOM (e-book), by Emma Donoghue (I’ve had this e-book since February 2016).  I thought it was long overdue to be read.

***

  And then?  I have a lot of books waiting patiently on my stacks (and on Pippa).  I will not even guess what comes next.  I’m going to follow my mood!

***

That was my week.  What did yours look like?  I’m sharing a peek of my Thanksgiving pie:

***

REVIEW: BONFIRE, BY KRYSTEN RITTER

 

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago, involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game”—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

 

My Thoughts: Bonfire was a captivating story of environmental poisoning; mean girls who played a horrible Game; and how the past never stays in your rear view mirror.

Abby Williams is an environmental lawyer revisiting her past when her team goes to Barrens, Indiana, to investigate Optimal, a company that seems to control everything about the town.

At first it seemed as though the poisoning in the water was the worst that could be uncovered, but what the company had done to hide its darker secrets gradually unfolded, as Abby kept digging, even when some members of her team had wrapped up their quest.

I enjoyed Abby’s shifting memories of the past, and how their darkest parts slowly came to her in the end, and how even some of the people she thought she could trust turned out to be the most evil. The scent of bonfires on the horizon seemed to hover just on the edges of her mind whenever a new memory would surface. The past and present collide during one dark night when Abby is facing horrific danger that she didn’t see coming. Engaging and slowly revealing how the past informs the present, I give this one 4.5 stars.

***

WEEKLY UPDATES: DEVELOPING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE…

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.

 

As I sit at my laptop in my cozy office, I am enjoying the warmth from the heater…it is on for the first time this season!  For a while, I thought summer heat would go on forever…then the cooler days arrived, and for a little while we were in that limbo between hot and cold.

But now that I am snuggling under the covers at night, and today felt chilly for the first time, I took the leap and turned the system on.  I like the first heated morning as it takes the chill off.  I will snuggle up on my sofa in the office and read…and watch TV.  And practice my attitude of gratitude.

For now, let’s talk about last week.  I read the three books I had planned to read!  It has been a while since that happened.  First I read an e-book that I had downloaded several months ago, which brought my challenge total to 104...and then I grabbed two NetGalley ARCs and inhaled them.  They were sooo good.

But…then I started picking up books, reading a few pages, and tossing them aside.  Until I remembered a little book I’d been wanting to read forever.  In fact it had been on Pippa for three years!  So I started reading…and a few hours later, I was done.  Now that’s how it should be!

So…as for the rest of the week, I started a new series on Netflix called Wanted.  I watched movies and shows from my DVR…and then yesterday, I learned that Longmire has a sixth season available.  So I’ll be watching it today…or tomorrow.

I also want to see the movie Lady Bird, with Saoirse Ronan.  Earlier in the week, I had lunch with a friend and we saw Murder on the Orient Express.  So it has been a week of books and movies.

Grab your coffee, and let’s take a closer look at the week.

***

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  How Cozy Turns Annoying…

Tuesday Excerpts:  “Wonder Valley”

It’s Tuesday!  New Release Day…

Loving the Reading!…WWW

Coffee Chat:  Time to Enjoy Family…

Bookish Friday:  “Fragments of the Lost”

Friday Potpourri:  Vicarious Travels…and Books

Review:  All the Best People (e-book), by Sonja YoergReview:  Poison (e-book), by Galt Niederhoffer – (NetGalley -11/21)Review:  The Story of Arthur Truluv (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg – (NetGalley – 11/21)Review:  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (e-book), by Gabrielle Zevin

***

INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing came in my physical mailbox…but I received a NetGalley ARC!  Then I downloaded two e-books (my purchase).

The Great Alone (e-book), by Kristin Hannah – (NetGalley – 2/6/18)

Downloads:

Fragments of the Lost (e-book), by Megan Miranda

A Bella Flora Christmas (e-book, novella), by Wendy Wax

***

WHAT’S NEXT?

After loving The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, I am starting with the author’s newest book:

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

***

Then…maybe…

Merry & Bright (e-book), by Debbie Macomber

Play It as It Lays (e-book), by Joan Didion

***

That was my week…what did yours look like?  And…in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving, enjoy my Pumpkin Cheesecake with Irish Coffee.

***

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: POISON, BY GALT NIEDERHOFFER

 

Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass’ two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Seattle—a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

 

My Thoughts: In the beginning of Poison, their lives looked perfect from the outside, and everything seemed to be falling into place according to plan. But when Cass begins to find evidence of her husband’s cheating, everything starts coming unglued.

A nanny who seems too good to be true; a neighbor who appears to be kind, offering assistance; and very strange physical symptoms in Cass that start after Ryan has cooked a tuna dish.

Just when it seems as though she has figured out what is happening, the real battle begins. Proving that Ryan is out to harm her. Finding out who in her world she can trust. Everyone begins to look suspicious, which is dangerous, since Cass learns what she has always known, underneath, that the system is designed to cater to the words of men and to reduce those of women to labels such as hysteria, paranoia, and delusions.

It will take a lot for Cass to finally discover the answers…following her journey kept me captive throughout this book as I could totally relate to how women and victims are treated, even in this day and age. I was on the edge of my seat until I turned the last page, hoping for a resolution. Hoping for justice. A brilliant five star read!***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

***