WEEKLY UPDATES: BLOGGIESTA IS COMING!

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

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

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

 

The temperatures have consistently stayed in the 90s this week, with 80s predicted for the weekend.  Hooray!  Could fall be coming soon?  Knowing our history in these parts, however, I am sure there will be more hot weather before autumn is truly here.

I had a busy week, with lots of errands and beginning-of-the month activities.  On Wednesday, I had a relaxing “stylin’ session” with my daughter at the salon.

My Netflix obsession right now is LongmireOne of the characters I love to hate:  Branch Connally!

My books this week were engaging, with three read and reviewed.  I was going to post this later today after finishing the fourth book, but I decided to go ahead and share where I am so far.  In my Read the Books You Buy Challenge, I am totaling 57 to-date!

For those who participate in Bloggiesta:  it is coming again mid-month.  September 15-18.  Ready, Set, Go!

This past week, one of my blog posts spotlighted some of the books I have purchased for reread…if the time for them ever comes.  Have some coffee and let’s chat!  And for those in the States:  Happy Labor Day Weekend!

 

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Let’s Curl up and Muse About Books

Tuesday Sparks:  “This Must Be the Place”

Hump Day Reading:  Current, Past, Future Reads

Bookish Thursday #28:  Serendipitous Moments

Wrapping up August

My Interior World:  Vintage & Quirky Tidbits

Bookish Friday:  “I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places”

Review:  The Girls of August (e-book), by Anne Rivers Siddons

ratings worms 4-croppedReview:  Leave Me (e-book), by Gayle Forman (NetGalley – 9/6)

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Review:  This Must Be the Place (e-book), by Maggie O’Farrell

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  I did, however, download a couple of e-books.

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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (e-book), by Bryn Greenwood

 

 

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The Silver Linings Playbook (e-book), by Matthew Quick

 

 

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

Currently Reading:  I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline/Francesca Serritella

 

 

 

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Currently Reading:  It Ends with Us (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

 

 

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Then…more books from Pippa: So Many Possibilities!

 

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Today you’ll find me here in my Cozy Nook…join me for a chat!  What did your week look like?

 

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WEEKLY UPDATES: HOME AGAIN!

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

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

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

 

What a week I had!  I drove way north, where I found beaches and forests, and had a great time with my son and DIL.  My granddaughter tagged along and did some of the driving, although a teenager at the wheel is not relaxing.  LOL.

Not much blogging (only one post), which I wrote after I got back from my trip:  Out of My Interior World:  Family Time & Beach Time. 

We were gone from Monday through Thursday, with Monday and Thursday as driving days. (From 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday!).  But Tuesday and Wednesday were great days of exploring the sights, from beaches to forests.  The beach below had black sand…and I loved those footsteps marching along.  And someone created other marks in the sand.

 

 

August 2016 - footsteps in the black sand

Coming home is always good, though, but I think my laptop must have missed me, since it seems to be acting up today!  Or I’m out of practice on the bigger keys, having used my iPhone to comment on posts.

My coffee pot has protested my absence, too!  It would not deliver even one cup for me today, so I’ll be off to Target to get another one.  Coffee Pot Number 101?

I somehow managed to read two books while I was gone, and reviewed them yesterday:

 

Review:  The Melody Lingers On (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

Review:  The Girl You Lost (e-book), by Kathryn Croft

 

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Covers/Titles Linked to Amazon)

I haven’t even checked my mailbox, as yesterday was all about settling back into my home, watching shows on my DVR, etc.  (My mail comes to a P.O. box, so I have to drive to check it!).

I did download these books, though:

 

The Things We Wish Were True (e-book), by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen (Kindle Prime Free Book)

 

 

 

 

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Siracusa (e-book), by Delia Ephron

 

 

 

 

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It Ends with Us (e-book), by Colleen Hoover

 

 

 

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

 

Currently Reading:  Blood Defense (e-book), by Marcia Clark

 

 

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The Couple Next Door (e-book), by Shari Lapena (NetGalley – 8/23)

 

 

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And then my mood will select more from my trusty Pippa….or even one of the print books on my stack!

 

 

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What did your week look like?  I hope you had a great time!  While I was in Crescent City, I had this dinner one night.  (I had to take most of it home to the fridge, though!).

 

 

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WEEKLY UPDATES: WELCOME TO LIFE’S UNEXPECTED TREASURES

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

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

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

 

Welcome to my Serendipity blog, where I once wrote my very first Sunday Salon posts, back when it was an event on its own site.  Since those days, I have moved these updates between three of my sites (Rainy Days & Mondays, Curl up and Read, and Serendipity).

We had another hot week with a few slightly cooler days, but it was a week that felt like it sped by.  Every day had something going on, mostly with too many days when I had to use the alarm clock.

So last night, I went to sleep very early (10:00 p.m.!), and hoped for a nice long sleep.  But then a cricket woke me up!  Wow, I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I went out to the living room, and a little later, there it was again.  I captured it, however…and finally slept again.

Meanwhile, I did enjoy reading and reviewing three books, and I now have 40 books completed for my Read the Books You Buy Challenge.

Not much Netflix viewing this week….maybe this weekend.  Let’s grab some coffee and chat.

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Weekend Potpourri:  Landlines, Etc.

Sunday Potpourri:  Celebrating Special Moments, Past & Present

Read the Books You Buy Challenge:  Mid-Year Check-In

Happy Fourth of July:  Remembering the Past, Enjoying the Present

Tuesday Potpourri:  “Must Love Dogs:  New Leash on Life”

Hump Day Potpourri:  A Day of Reading, Etc.

Hump Day Reading:  Current, Past, & Anticipating

Thursday Potpourri:  Naming & Other Tidbits

Bookish Thursday #21:  Serendipitous Moments

Bookish Friday:  “In Twenty Years”

An Upcoming Change:  Moving Weekly Updates

Review:  Friction (e-book), by Sandra Brown

Review:  Clouds in My Coffee (e-book, Book 3), by Julie Mulhern

Review:  The Beauty of the End, by Debbie Howells (Amazon Vine)

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books in my mailbox!  But I downloaded an e-ARC from NetGalley, and purchased an e-book.

Damaged (e-book), by Lisa Scottoline (NetGalley – August 16)

 

 

 

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The Melody Lingers On (e-book), by Mary Higgins Clark

 

 

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

Currently Reading:  Dear Carolina (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

 

 

 

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I have several other possibilities for this week…so I’ll choose from them depending on my mood. 

 

Flight Patterns (e-book), by Karen White

 

 

 

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My Husband’s Wives (e-book), by Faith Hogan

 

 

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What did your week look like?  Join me in toasting another good one….

 

 

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FRICTION, BY SANDRA BROWN

 

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Ranger Crawford Hunt is one of those legendary heroes who jumps into whatever fray he faces, saving the day. But some consider his behavior dangerous and even risky. Which is why, after his wife’s death four years before, his daughter Georgia ended up in the custody of her maternal grandparents, Joe and Grace Gilroy. Now Ranger is about to begin the fight of his life as he seeks custody of his daughter. A hearing that will bring out all the bad feelings between him and the Gilroys.

Judge Holly Spencer was appointed to her judicial role after the death of the previous judge, and now faces an election to make her job permanent. Her role to decide custody in the matter of little Georgia had brought her to the court room that day—a day that would change everything in her life.

Before the hearing is scarcely underway, a masked man in a strange uniform bursts into the courtroom, shoots the bailiff, and seems about to shoot the judge. Crawford jumps in, just as he tends to do, and saves Holly, and also, at the same time, kicks the man’s knee out from under him. But the man escapes, and later is cornered on the roof and killed.

Or so they thought.

The case becomes complicated when the shooter of the bailiff and the man on the roof turn out to be two different people. Who is the shooter? Why was he targeting Holly Spencer? Or was someone else the target?

Friction kept me turning the pages eagerly, hoping to find out more about the motivations for the crimes, and staving off my angst at the annoying characters that seemed hell-bent on focusing on Crawford as the one behind the events of that day.

Detective Neal Lester seemed to have a particular blind spot when it came to Crawford, to the point that his investigation continued down very strange pathways.

Joe Gilroy, the grandfather, was combative with Crawford, denying him visits, and taking out a restraining order based on something the inept Neal Lester had said.

I like a story that gets my ire up, though, as it keeps me going even when I’ve been reading far too long. I had some concerns about how things might work out in the end, especially between Crawford and Holly, for whom a romantic relationship seemed to be developing. In the end, things were wrapped up almost too quickly, after the mystery was solved and the criminals were dealt with. But I enjoyed this 4.5 read.

REVIEW: INTRUSION, BY MARY MCCLUSKEY

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Scott and Kat Hamilton are still grieving the loss of their teenage son Christopher, each in their separate ways. The closeness they once felt is slowly disappearing as the loss engulfs them.

So when an old former friend from the UK shows up as head of a company that Scott has signed as his client, Kat is stunned. But trying hard to be forgiving for Sarah Cherrington’s betrayal twenty years before.

But Kat’s sister Maggie is not so forgiving and urges Kat to be careful. However, Sarah, now the widow Harrison, is Scott’s client, so she has to try. Right?

When Sarah seemingly shows a generous side, offering support, gifts, and invitations to her gorgeous homes in Ojai and Malibu, Kat is unable to turn her away. Even though Sarah shows up repeatedly, “just for a moment,” inserting herself into their lives, her apparent generosity is hard to resist.

When Sarah offers Kat the key to her Sussex cottage, the one that has such fond memories for Kat, the alarm bells should have gone off. But they didn’t….at least not right away.

Intrusion is a chilling portrayal of a woman hell-bent on revenge, taking down all who have seemingly wronged her so many years ago. Will Kat and Scott be her latest victims?

Of course, in the blurb, we are forewarned about Sarah and her intentions, but even if we hadn’t been, I could see her manipulations and her intrusiveness from miles away. I wanted to shout at Kat to stop allowing this woman to control her, but sometimes, nothing gets through until the last possible moment. I couldn’t stop turning those pages until the very end. 5 stars.

REVIEW: WILDE LAKE, BY LAURA LIPPMAN

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They seemed like royalty, the family of State’s Attorney Andrew Jackson Brant, when they settled in Columbia, Maryland. But like many people elevated in the minds of those around them, they had feet of clay. And many secrets from the past. Would those secrets ultimately destroy them?

When Luisa (Lu) Brant took over the office of State’s Attorney, she looked up to her father, his legacy, and how he had done the job. Her first murder case after her election would take her back to the past, some secrets, and some stories that turned out to be untrue. Would Lu find out how dark that past was, and would it be too late? Would it change how she lived her life afterwards?

Wilde Lake was a page-turning story that was more about family than legal cases. How Lu, as a widow, is raising her twins as a single mother in her childhood home, while juggling motherhood and career. The story of what happened to Lu’s mother, and which would only begin to unfold many years later, would have a deep impact on Lu…and on her brother A.J., as well as her father, because of how they kept the secret.

But the biggest secrets of all would be about a fateful night in 1979 and how the actions of some, spurred on by the perceived actions of others, would turn into an event that would inform all of their lives decades later.

Can the secrets and lies be justified? Could the flawed memories of those who participated be counted on in the present? I could not stop reading, as, like other books by this author, I was immersed in the stories and the secrets…until the very end. 5 stars.

REVIEW: I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU, BY TERRY MCMILLAN

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Dr. Georgia Young is bored with her life. Some might say it’s a good life, since she lives in a lovely home in the SF Bay Area. She is an optometrist with a good practice. And her two daughters are grown. Sort of.

But Georgia is getting older, and she is pondering her lack of a love life, while at the same time, reflecting on the choices she has made. Why did she pick her two husbands, whom she later divorced? What made her fall in love with the men she did pick, and what, if anything, did she learn from them?

I Almost Forgot About You is narrated in Georgia’s first person voice, and she is hilarious. Her self-deprecating humor kept me smiling, and I also loved the dialogue between her and her two best friends, Wanda and Violet. Her mother, Early, an octogenarian living in Bakersfield, where Georgia grew up, is feisty and outspoken.

Her two daughters, Frankie and Estelle, were annoying brats, and just because they were old enough to be grown didn’t mean they had managed to accomplish that feat. Later in the story, they grew on me, and I came to understand their behavior.

The author’s characters reminded me of people I’ve known, and their personality flaws and foibles are definitely familiar to any woman who has reached a midpoint in her life.

When Georgia plans to sell her house and take a train ride around Canada, while searching for old lovers, will her plan go off without a hitch? Or will life get in the way? What astonishing surprises will change her direction to something unexpected?

A lively and colorful story that kept me reading, and which will appeal to women of any age who are pondering their life choices. 4.5 stars.

REVIEW: BETTER OFF WITHOUT HIM, BY DEE ERNST

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It was just a normal April when Mona’s husband of twenty years, Brian, announced rather casually that he was moving out and wanted a divorce. He has fallen in love with a younger woman.

Their three teenaged daughters, Miranda, 16, and 14-year-old twins Lauren and Jessica, had just left for school, and Mona had settled in to think about writing her next novel. A best-selling romance novelist with the pen name Maura Van Whalen, she had decided to switch from historical romance to something contemporary.

Brian’s announcement and actions swept her off course a bit, but even after considering what a divorce would mean in her life, and not liking the upheaval, she had to admit that she wasn’t actually broken-hearted. In fact, wouldn’t it be a perfect novel to write about a woman in her forties who is dumped by her husband, and finds her happily-ever-after without a man?

Better Off Without Him was a delightful book about starting over, making better choices, and learning how to be who you want to be. Some of those choices included dating again, but with men who were already friends. Practice dating, as her daughters called it. A summer at the Long Island Shore house, which Mona had bought years before with her own money, would offer some opportunities to find men to date. And back at home in New Jersey, there was Ben the plumber, who was handsome, a good friend, and surprisingly available. So even though Mona plans to design her life to suit herself, does that mean she can’t fall in love again…someday?

I enjoyed the story, the dialogue, which was full of funny tidbits and movie references, and Mona’s humorous first person narrative. Brian was a despicable character who, predictably, thought he could still come and go in the house whenever he wanted. I liked how Mona was able to put him in his place. 4.5 stars.

REVIEW: THE RAMBLERS, BY AIDAN DONNELLEY ROWLEY

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The three of them have a history, and now they represent a kind of New Yorker that is facing challenges, struggling against the past, and hoping for a future. They are college graduates pursuing their professions while also finding what they need in their personal lives.

Clio Eloise Marsh is an Ornithologist, a bird watcher, and a professor. She has a past that includes a mentally ill mother who sucked up all the air in the world around her, and then, took away any kind of hope for a future. Can Clio’s new beau Henry, a hotelier who is somewhat older than she, help her face her emotional past and give her hope for the future?

Smith Mae Anderson came from wealth and privilege, and she is Clio’s best friend from college and current roommate. But Smith’s past also tugs at her confidence, since the parental expectations are high and she is struggling to create a niche for herself, doing what she loves with her business called The Order of Things, a way of helping people to declutter their lives. She sees the process as a way of being in control of her inner and outer life.

Tate Pennington, also a student with Clio and Smith, created a software company that sold for a lot of money. Now he is pursuing his passion of photography, and may pursue an MFA to enhance his technical skills. Tate is still struggling to get past the dearth of his marriage to Olivia, while also finding himself drawn to Smith.

The Ramblers is all about what happens to these friends, and each of them alternately narrates the story. As we follow along with them individually, from their past to their present, we also get to visualize the world they see every day, from the oasis of The Ramble in Central Park to the world inside some gorgeous apartments and hotels.

I must admit that I loved when each of the characters’ narratives revealed their interior thoughts, from what they feared to what they loved and dreamed about. Watching how each of them moved slowly beyond what they most feared in their past lives to the hopeful futures kept me turning the pages. The story had a slow pace, which did not engage me quite as much as a faster paced book does…but the meandering story did offer the opportunity to feel a depth of understanding for the characters. 4 stars.

REVIEW: THE CHILDREN, BY ANN LEARY

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Lakeside Cottage in Harwich, Connecticut, had been a part of the Whitman family for generations. Whit Whitman, whom we met early on in The Children, when he was just a child, would figure largely in the story, but primarily as a legendary character. His marriage to Joan, who had two young daughters, Sally and Charlotte, would launch a whole new blended family that included Whit’s sons from his marriage to Marissa: Perry and Philip (Spin).

His death would set events in motion and unleash issues that would stay buried for years, but in one long hot summer, all would surface with a vengeance. Could the division of trusts and the cottage figure into the trouble? Whit had left Lakeside Cottage to his sons, a trust fund to Joan, as well as to his sons, with the understanding that Joan would stay in the cottage as long as she wished to do so. But maybe everything wasn’t as smoothly settled as they thought.

Our first person narrator is Charlotte, who some believe is agoraphobic, but she simply feels more comfortable in the cottage attic room writing her “fictitious” mommy blog. She makes quite a bit of money from advertisers, and all is well on that front…until it isn’t.

The first ripples of trouble appear when Spin brings his fiancée Laurel Atwood home to the cottage. She seems wonderful on the surface. Charming, in fact, and clearly she is beautiful. But Sally, who has some mental health issues, can seemingly see below the surface. Why does nobody believe her? But who would believe Sally when she “gets like that”? Frenetic and manic, she escalates quickly.

I loved this story. I wanted to stay with the characters well beyond the final pages, and I held my breath while experiencing the story as it unfolded, only releasing my breath when I finally learned the fate of the characters. A 5 star read for me.

*** My e-ARC was received from the publisher via NetGalley.