HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: SEASONAL TREATS, BOOKISH & NON-BOOKISH

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Good morning, and welcome to another Hump Day.  An October morning is crisp and beautiful, with just enough coolness in the air to make me feel fully alive.

I loved setting up my breakfast tray on the pub table (above), decorated with a few of my Halloween goodies.

What a great week it has been so far!  I just finished my second book of the week, Ruin Falls, (click for my review),

 

 

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and jumped right into Further Out Than You Thought.

 

 

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The first chapter did not engage me, and I started to get that feeling…you know the one:  Oh, no, what have I signed on for?

But then I started the second chapter, sped right through it, and on.  Now I am starting to feel the characters.  In the beginning, we see their “make believe” world, with pseudonyms, and then we begin to know who they really are.  Their dreams, their struggles.

But what I am eager to get to is this part:

 

When the city explodes in violence after the Rodney King verdict, the chaos becomes a catalyst for change. Valiant is invigorated, Leo plans a new stunt—walking into east L.A., naked, holding a white flag—and Gwen, discovering she is pregnant, is confronted by troubling questions. Can Leo become a good, dependable father? Can she leave the club life behind, or will the city’s spell prove too seductive?

Combining poetry and sensuality with an edgy urban sensibility, Further Out Than You Thought is a celebration of life and a haunting story of love, friendship, and one woman’s quest for redemption.

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Now THAT’S what I want to get into.

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Meanwhile, despite my vows to curtail the books I requested from Vine, I have two more on my stack and two headed my way.  Coming soon:

 

The Rosie Effect, by Graeme Simsion

 

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The previous book, The Rosie Project, (click for my review) was the first book I read this year.  So I am definitely curious about where this book will take us.

Meanwhile, a new Jane Green book will soon show up in my mailbox, and I can’t wait!  Saving Grace.

 

 

 

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Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity.  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.
Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.
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Oh, no, watch out for those mood swings…and those interlopers!  This one sounds impossible to put down.  I had bookmarked it as a download for Sparky, but then it came up on the Vine list…and I couldn’t be more excited. Thanks for the heads-up, Patty!
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Do you have books you can’t wait to read?  Books you are bookmarking, buying impulsively, or requesting?  Do you feel more energized in the fall season?  I know that I do!
Enjoy!
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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: COZY MOMENTS

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Today has been a very cozy day…and so was yesterday.  So we can appropriately dub these days as Cozy Weekend Moments.

Both days have seen me before this set-up (below) binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

 

 

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I am now on Season III.  Unlike some people, I have never watched all the episodes in all the seasons.  Until now, there were random episodes (first on SoapNet, which is no more), and then on ABC Family.  Again, currently running, but not all the episodes are shown.

 

 

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Have I mentioned how much I am loving this show?  Definitely addicted.

But now I am done for the weekend…and off to continue reading Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little, an interesting story of a woman named Jane who was just released from prison after spending ten years inside.  Because she was released on a technicality, many believe she is guilty…still.  Her goal is to find out who really murdered her mother…if there is another possible someone.  Jane is not sure about anything at this point.

 

 

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And then I am looking forward to some more favorites on tonight’s TV line-up, including The Good Wife.  Another show I am addicted to.  Yes, I have serious issues…LOL.

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What has your weekend been like?  Do you have special books, movies, or TV shows you are eagerly awaiting?

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THURSDAY POTPOURRI: THE AFTERMATH OF THE PURGE

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In the aftermath of my purging, rearranging, etc., my rooms still have more collections and books than some people enjoy.

But I am the one who lives here, so I guess I get to decide that!  LOL

Here are some changes on the hearth:

 

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Yes, some of the goodies are now resting comfortably in garage bins that had space freed up after the purge.

I’ve also been tackling some closets, including the nook in my office.  You won’t believe what I found in some of the big, stackable boxes that seem to be purely decorative (see below under the bear), but contained computer floppy discs from the days when those were usable.  Out those discs went!

 

 

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Books are still coming into the house, but as new ones come in, some older ones are going out to the library collections box in the garage.  The garage, by the way, is looking much better!

 

Here are some Amazon Vine books I’ve received: 

 

When We Fall, by Emily Liebert

 

 

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Ready for a fresh start, Allison Parker moves back to her hometown in the suburbs of New York. While she’d once savored the dynamic pace of city life, sadly, it lost its allure after her husband’s untimely death. Now, ready to focus on her art career accompanied by her ten-year-old son, Logan, Allison doesn’t anticipate that her past will resurface. When the wife of her husband’s best friend from summer camp takes her under her wing, things begin to spin out of control.

 

And The Oleander Sisters, by Elaine Hussey

 

 

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An emotionally riveting tale of the bonds of family and the power of hope in the sultry Deep South…set in the 60s.

 

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I am looking forward to both of these…and am loving Accidents of Marriage, which I am reading now.  What are you enjoying on a Thursday?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “RUIN FALLS”

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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.

Tuesdays are great!  Don’t you love them?  The week is in full swing, and it’s our opportunity to visit blogs and read excerpts.  Today I am sharing one of my review books, an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Ruin Falls, by Jenny Milchman.

 

 

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Intro:  The children had never been this far from home before.  Liz had spent most of yesterday driving around, hunting for no-mess Crayola coloring books, praying they weren’t too juvenile to keep a six- and eight-year-old occupied in the car, then running up and down the supermarket aisles in search of bars and snack pouches in case they couldn’t find food on the road.  Or in case they did find something, and Paul wouldn’t allow the kids to eat it.

Now the hours had ticked by, four of them, and it seemed they were no closer to their destination than they had been when they left home.  Descending from the mountains of Wedeskyull had presented a stark contrast and it felt like they were really traveling.  But the view outside the windows ever since had been made up of little besides cornfields.  Liz wouldn’t have believed how bleak acres and acres of green could appear when the crop was so unvarying.  The road they were driving on hadn’t dipped or risen for thirty minutes.  It was a flat length of asphalt, inky mirages always shimmering just ahead.

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Teaser:  In the few moments she’d been able to attain unconsciousness last night, her rest had been overrun by what she’d learned on that website Paul had visited.  Or what she hadn’t learned.  Letters danced through the shards of her dreams.  P’s and E’s and W’s. (p. 123).

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Blurb:  Liz Daniels has every reason to be happy about setting off on a rare family vacation, leaving behind her remote home in the Adirondack Mountains for a while. Instead, she feels uneasy. Her children, eight-year-old Reid and six-year-old Ally, have met their paternal grandparents only a handful of times. But Liz’s husband, Paul, has decided that, despite a strained relationship with his mother and father, they should visit the farm in western New York where he spent his childhood.

On their way to the farm, the family stops at a hotel for the night. In the morning, when Liz goes to check on her sleeping children, all her anxiety comes roaring back: Ally and Reed are nowhere to be found. Blind panic slides into ice-cold terror as the hours tick by without anyone finding a trace of the kids. Soon, Paul and Liz are being interviewed by police, an Amber Alert is issued, and detectives are called in.

Frantic worry and helplessness threaten to overtake Liz’s mind—but in a sudden, gut-wrenching instant she realizes that it was no stranger who slipped into the hotel room that night. Someone she trusted completely has betrayed her. Though she knows that Ally and Reid are safe, Liz will stop at nothing to find them and get them back. From her guarded in-laws’ unwelcoming farmhouse to the deep woods of her own hometown, Liz follows the threads of a terrible secret to uncover a hidden world created from dreams and haunted by nightmares.

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Doesn’t this sound intense?  I am so looking forward to it.  Would you keep reading?  What are you sharing today?

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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: ABANDONING THE OLD RULES

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After a flurry of purging and rearranging, my office (above) now seems like a peaceful place to hang out.

Yes, that is ONE book on my coffee table/trunk:  a review book from Vine.  I received one other book this week, but it is still hanging out on the computer table.  And I am currently reading another one, The Bookseller.

 

 

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An interesting story about alternative lives…in dreams and in reality.

What does my revamped office mean?  Are my book piles banished?

Well, after much reflection, I have abandoned my Mt. TBR Challenge, unfinished.  I completed 32 out of the 36 I had promised to read…mainly because every one of the remaining unread books purchased prior to 2014 (the target of the challenge) failed to engage me.

There were only nine books left.  And all I had to do was read four more of them.  But I’m done!  No more reading of books I don’t wish to read.  No more reading challenges!

I want to focus on the NEW books on my stacks and on Sparky.  Below, note the new books I purchased or won from other blogs.  On the far right are books I purchased to reread:  Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Jamaica Inn…to name a few.

On Sparky, there are quite a few.  I would like to concentrate on those as well.

 

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I like the feeling of freedom that comes with this decision.  Who says I have to read books that no longer appeal to me?  I have a starter box in the garage where I am putting books I am done with…for the library collection drive.

Usually I only put in books I have already read…but who made that rule?

Do I seem rebellious?  As if I have gone off the rails?  Or am I finally sane?  What do you do when you are fed up with “must-reads” and obligations?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: DEALING WITH THE “STUFF” OF MY LIFE

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With October in full swing and Halloween just around the corner, I am relishing the decor that sits patiently in my hall closet during the rest of the year.  And I am pleased to bring it out for the season.

I think that I am pretty organized with my collections, but after reading The House We Grew Up In, (click for review), I felt that niggling tug.

 

 

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I was reminded of the STUFF in my garage.  Yes, neatly crammed into see-through bins (or perhaps not so neatly!), those items have been tugging at me lately.  And I know that I must start dealing with them.  Here’s the next bin on my stack:

 

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Here are some of the other bins I must go through…sorting and deciding what to toss and what to keep.

 

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It’s the paperwork that plagues me.  I can’t just toss everything.  I have to sort through and remove for shredding those items with identifying information, account numbers, etc.

I started the task a few weeks ago, and have plugged away at it periodically.

But who am I kidding?  Once I’ve dealt with the paperwork, the dolls, bears, and other collectibles must come under scrutiny.  Do I need or even want these things?  When was the last time that I actually rotated any of these items into the house for display?

And inside my house, if a favorite item continues to reside on my tables and cupboards, am I kidding myself about how much I need or want it?

And then there is my Book Nook, as I fondly call this closet-turned-bookish-mess.  Sometimes I gaze upon it as something I enjoy looking at now and then.  As if it says something good about me.

I have removed a few of the books…sending them off to bloggers, or putting them into the library collection box.

Next comes the file cabinet.  Notice it under the DVDs?  I have gone through some of the files and tossed (shredded) a few things.  But there is still too much stuff!

 

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Why am I suddenly feeling panicky about it all?  Perhaps I should stop reading books about hoarding, since they don’t really apply to me…right? 

How did we (I?) come to this place of being controlled by the stuff around me?  Is it possible to live a minimalist life?

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REVIEW: DANCE THE EAGLE TO SLEEP, BY MARGE PIERCY

3277As an admirer of Marge Piercy’s volume of work, from novels to memoirs, I was eager to read this earliest novel, Dance the Eagle to Sleep: A Novel.

In her iconic style, she zeroes in on the young during an exploratory time in their lives, as they seek to free themselves from the strictures of ordinary society, to escape from the “boxes” in which they reside and the stilted mantra their parents perpetuate.

Our MCs are four teens caught up in a revolutionary fervor, and the story spotlights them one by one, in alternating perspectives, from Shawn (previously Sean) the rocker to the Native American Corey. Runaways are drawn to this fledgling group that expands as the zeal increases. Like Jill (Joanna) or Billy. As we examine their inner thoughts and feelings, through these individuals we come to understand their stories and their causes.

Through music, through dance, and ultimately through experimenting with their own structures, including a farm commune, they become their own persons.

Piercy is great at showing us what the “revolutionary world” of the sixties and seventies was all about. I enjoyed some of her later works a lot more, like Small Changes. But I also liked this glimpse of her beginnings. 3.5 stars.