SUNDAY POTPOURRI: READING, BLOGGING, & UNEXPECTED DISCOVERIES

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Sundays are the perfect day for reading, blogging, and movies. 

Eager to start the day by visiting weekly updates, I was ready to set up my tray; the one that I carry into the office and set next to the computer.  But then I groaned inwardly, realizing that in my laziness yesterday, I hadn’t gone to the store.  So there was no milk for cereal.

But then I remembered the K-Nourish hot cereals I had picked up a couple of weeks ago.  No milk required.  So I had one while visiting blogs.  Check out my Weekly Updates here.

 

 

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Now I am fed, caffeinated, and ready to go to the store.  But first, here’s what I am excited about for the rest of today.  I am reading The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford.

 

 

 

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And in the early pages, we find out where that title comes from…bet you’ll never guess!  LOL

Remember how I vowed to curtail the Vine reviews I requested?  And how I had two or three books, and then the number crept up to five?  Well, yesterday I ordered another one!  *Smacks hands*

 

The Secrets of Midwives, by Sally Hepworth, was just waiting patiently in my queue.  How unlikely is that?

 

 

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The Secrets of Midwives is women’s fiction at its finest. Sally Hepworth has written a wonderfully satisfying story about three generations of midwives. It’s touching, tender and obviously meticulously researched, giving the reader a fascinating window into the amazing world of midwifery. A delightful read.” —Liane Moriarty, author of The Husband’s Secret

“From the first page, I could not put The Secrets of Midwives down. Sally Hepworth delves into family secrets and family love in two different eras, adding mystery and plot twists at a breathless, exhilarating pace. I simply love this book!” —Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

 

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Yesterday, I found another box unopened from my move seven years ago…I thought it was my daughter’s, but recognized my handwriting on it, once I pulled it down from the top shelf.  As I hesitated, wondering what could be inside, I felt like a kid on Christmas.  Here is what I found: 

 

 

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I think I will put them in a bin…and ponder whether or not they can come out and show themselves.  What do you think?

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I want to go to the movies today, too, but as I gaze outside, I suspect rain might be coming.  Not that rain should stop me, though; after all, I AM RAIN!  Yes, that’s my nickname.

What is on your list for the day?  Reading, movies, whatever?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “THE POCKET WIFE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

I am delighted to shine the spotlight today on an ARC I received this past week:  The Pocket Wife, by Susan Crawford.

 

 

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Intro:  The ambulance is still miles away when Dana awakens to the near dark of evening.  It wails ribbon-thin in the smog over the highway as she opens her eyes where she lies sprawled across her couch in a suburb of Paterson, a stone’s throw from Manhattan but a different world entirely.  She wakes to a headache throbbing at the backs of her lids, a library book lying beside her.  She sits up and reaches for the book, marking her place with a tiny corner fold, giving it a little pat as she sets it on the coffee table.

Lately she can read a novel in two hours.  She has always been an avid reader, but these days she can read much faster.  The colors, the conversations, everything is much more vibrant and inclusive, as if opening a book releases genies trapped inside.  The scenes and people between their covers sometimes seem more vivid than real life, with their sunny pearl-toothed characters, the witty conversation, the handsome stranger squeezed into a subway car or knocking about on the street.  Sometimes, when she finishes a book at record speed, Dana feels a slight letdown, as if a good friend has hung up the phone in the middle of a conversation.

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Teaser:  It’s not entirely unpleasant, this restlessness, this energy, the sharpness of her thoughts, her swift responses, intuitive, clever.  The clarity will in time give way to chaos.  (p. 18).

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Amazon Description:  A stylish psychological thriller with the compelling intrigue of The Silent Wife and Turn of Mind and the white-knuckle pacing of Before I Go to Sleep—in which a woman suffering from bipolar disorder cannot remember if she murdered her friend.

Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.

Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

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I am very excited about this one, hoping to dive right into it next week.  What do you think?  Does it grab you?  Do you want to keep reading?

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REVIEW: NORA ROBERTS LAND, BY AVA MILES

91UxRlZpifL._SL1500_She grew up believing in happily-ever-after, and at her mother’s knee, she learned to love Nora Roberts’s novels and how each one seemed to follow a pattern of finding out that dreams can come true and love conquers all.

But grown-up journalist Meredith Hale, a New Yorker, has just been dumped and divorced by her husband, Richard Sommerville, another journalist, now interested in a political career. And he has lashed out at her about how her belief in Nora Roberts’s view of the world had ruined their marriage.

Determined to prove to herself that love like that does exist, Meredith heads to her home town of Dare, Colorado, to find her hero and then write about it. There she works for the family newspaper.

Meanwhile, Richard has blackmailed one of his journalists, Tanner McBride, previously a war correspondent, into taking on a project that will definitely sabotage Meredith’s plans…and hopefully keep her from using information she has about him.

What will happen to Meredith and Tanner when they finally connect? Will the instant attraction between them lead to more? What unexpected events will seemingly derail whatever they have between them? And what will be Meredith’s final conclusions about her premise?

Nora Roberts Land (Dare Valley Series, Book 1) mimics the famous author in its basics: vulnerable girl meets hunky man and they rise about a series of conflicts and finally begin a relationship. Throw in a few obstacles that they overcome and you have true love. Add in necessary ingredients, like sheer determination (by the woman) and gutsy moves by both man and woman, and you have a combustible mix and interesting characters.

The only thing that really saved this predictable novel was that I realized, despite the copycat notions, that there were a few fun and suspenseful elements that kept me reading. Otherwise, I would have had to say that this story was merely a copy of the originals created by Nora Roberts. But I was happy to conclude that the ride was a fun one, and fans of Nora Roberts will probably enjoy this book. 3.5 stars.

SATURDAY POTPOURRI: SPOTLIGHTING FAMILY

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

Today’s photos will showcase family moments….

 

Here is Fiona, my 17-year-old granddaughter, who loves clearing out her closet and finding things to wear that she had forgotten about:

 

 

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Here is a shot of some very cuddly children:  Fiona’s nephew and nieces, Maddix, Lilly, and Bella:

 

 

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And here is another set of offspring:  two of Fiona’s nephews and a niece, Lexi, Logan, and Lane:

 

 

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Now let’s head to Berlin, where my eldest son, Craig, the photographer, is impersonating someone familiar to us, who also happens to love donuts: (Dunkin Berliner is one of Craig’s blogs).

 

 

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Now let’s take a look back several years, when Craig was visiting some of our family in LA.  Some of you may recall photos of the Three A’s over the years:  Alec, Aubrey, and Aaron.

Here they are, disguised as monkeys, tumbling over Craig.  He calls this photo “A Barrel of Monkeys.”

 

 

Craig & A Barrel of Monkeys

 

And while we’re looking back, here is a photo I found while clearing out an old trunk; it is my daughter Heather, at age fourteen.  I love this one!

 

 

heather at age fourteen

 

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That’s my Saturday, with the spotlight shining on the present and the past.  What are you sharing today?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “INTO THE DARKEST CORNER”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

I love this Tuesday event, a chance to spotlight current or upcoming reads.  Today’s featured book:  Into the Darkest Corner, by Elizabeth Haynes.

 

 

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Intro:  (Thursday 21 June 2001)

As far as days to die were concerned, the longest day of the year was as good a day as any.

Naomi Bennett lay with her eyes open at the bottom of a ditch while the blood that had kept her alive for all of her twenty-four years pulsed away into the grit and rubble beneath her.

As she drifted  in and out of awareness, she contemplated the irony of it all:  how she was going to die now—having survived so much, and thinking that freedom was so close—at the hands of the only man who had ever really loved her and shown her kindness.  He stood at the edge of the ditch above her, his face in shadow as the sun shone through the bright green leaves and cast dappled light over him, his hair halo-bright.  Waiting.

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Teaser:  (Friday 27 February 2004)

He took me straight home, which was both good and bad.  I didn’t even know what it was I wanted anymore.  (p.198)

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Blurb:   Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell.

But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a meticulous escape.

Four years later, Lee is behind bars and Catherine—now Cathy—compulsively checks the locks and doors in her apartment, trusting no one. But when an attractive upstairs neighbour, Stuart, comes into her life, Cathy dares to hope that happiness and love may still be possible . . . until she receives a phone call informing her of Lee’s impending release. Soon after, Cathy thinks she catches a glimpse of the former best friend who testified against her in the trial; she begins to return home to find objects subtly rearranged in her apartment, one of Lee’s old tricks. Convinced she is back in her former lover’s sights, Cathy prepares to wrestle with the demons of her past for the last time.

Utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, Into the Darkest corner is an ingeniously structured and plotted tour de force of suspense that marks the arrival of a major new talent.

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I love books about obsessions and compulsions.  This one should keep me turning those pages!  What do you think?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: LATE EDITION

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It’s too late in the day to call this one a Sunday Potpourri post, but after bingeing on Gilmore Girls all day, I felt the need to write a post.  I carried my camera around and snapped some boudoir changes. 

The chair (above) was once in the entry way/dining area, but now fits into a spot here.  I love the Ireland photos on the walls in this photo:  the angel, on the far right near the bed, is from a cemetery in Ireland.  On the left are some boys in Dublin, and the one in the center, scarcely visible, is an old man next to a statue.  Also in Dublin.

Lots of red hat stuff, too; a framed text in between the Ireland photos is the Red Hat Society mantra, entitled “When I Am Old”:

It begins: 

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.

I have always loved this poem, ever since the time when I could even conceptualize getting older…and typed it in red text to frame next to some of the Red Hat stuff.

Now I don’t belong to the society…I consider myself too “young,” LOL. 

Here is another view of the bedroom (more Red Hat stuff on the bookshelf on the right, and above the TV, a photo of two old men in an Irish pub).

 

 

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And here are more Irish photos and figurines on my desk in the bedroom – (the Coca Cola lamp is a remnant from the dining area, where most of these things live):

 

 

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And finally, another view of the entry way:

 

 

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And now that I have finished my Netflix for the day, I’ll be back to reading The Last Letter from Your Lover, by Jojo Moyes:

 

 

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And then I will be watching The Good Wife…love that show!

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Are you enjoying your Sunday?  What have you been reading/watching/or doing?

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REVIEW: TRAIL MIX, BY PAULITA KINCER

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Jess and Andi had met years before when their daughters were taking ballet classes. Something clicked between them, and their friendship had continued, even as now their children are entering adulthood. The teenage years have presented challenges for them, and the empty nest is looming.

Andi has always exercised, while Jess avoids it, but counts calories and watches carbs. But neither woman feels good about her physical condition. Each would love to lose weight and tone up her body.

So when Andi finds out about a hike up the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine, she is determined to do it. But first she has to persuade Jess.

Not at all interested, Jess finally wavers and agrees. She wants to leave her troublesome daughter Meaghan for a while, and her younger daughter Sydney is going to France on a trip.

Andi is proud of her son Liam, but reluctant to discuss Taylor, who is behaving like a spoiled brat. Getting away now seems like perfect timing.

Leaving behind their children and husbands, they begin a journey that will change their lives in unimaginable ways. Jess’s husband Mike is opposed and not at all supportive; Andi’s husband Rex is more amenable. None of the children seem at all interested, being typically self-absorbed.

What will Jess and Andi learn about themselves as they challenge their bodies? Will they discover that their friendship is tested by their very different goals? How will they overcome the conflicts between them? And how will their journey end?

At times, I really could not stand Andi, often sprinting ahead and leaving Jess behind to struggle. Sometimes it seemed as though Andi only cared about her own needs. Her competitive nature seemed to dictate her choices.

However, as some issues were resolved between them and as they realized what the other could contribute, they learned a lot about how to overcome challenges. A delightful read that was so much more than a story about hiking, Trail Mix was a book I could not put down. 5.0 stars.