REVIEW: JUST SAY YES, BY ALYSSA GOODNIGHT

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Jade Moran is a web designer and a single mom to thirteen-year-old Evie; the two of them are managing without a man in their lives. Evie isn’t so sure she is all in for that, however, and she sets in motion a whole new era when she persuades her mom to visit a new restaurant, The Pantry, and introduces her to Opal, the woman who believes in the magic of food. A “kitchen witch.”

Max Gianopoulis has taken up residence in The Pantry at his own table where he works as if it is his office. He, of course, is a hunk…and he happens to be a contractor. Jade needs a new kitchen remodel, as she is sick of the 70s style appliances and vibe in her own.

Somehow they connect on this issue, at least, and before long, more is going on. Predictably, the two are hot for each other.

Fun characters included Max’s grandmother, Yia Yia Cleo, and his younger sister Tessa, who is a roller derby girl.

I liked that Evie wasn’t a belligerent teen, as so often seems to happen in books. She had her own mind and had her ways of working her mom, with the little “say yes” game they had going on. But she was not working to undermine her, so that felt good to me.

Set in Austin, Texas, there was a great Southwestern feel to the story, and the food definitely fit in nicely, too. In some ways, Just Say Yes felt a little too smooth, so I liked when an obstacle presented itself in the form of Jade’s ex-husband. Watching everything play out afterwards was very satisfying. A 4 star read.

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: FAIRYTALES, MAGIC, & GUILTY PLEASURES

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Madeline Hatter (above, and in my new header) recently joined my family of dolls and assorted fairytale images, and I know that I did a little post about her a few weeks ago, when I wrote about A Quest for Alice, my Wonderland doll who has taken up residence in my bins….but obsessions like these seem to rear up every now and then.

 

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Why the obsession with fairytales?  Is it more than just a “second childhood” for me?

I loved fairytales as a child, but my only exposure to them came when I wandered through the connecting orchards that separated my childhood home from that of my aunt and uncle.  My aunt had lovely, richly illustrated fairytale tomes, and I was allowed to leaf through them at will.

There was a certain freedom in being able to just take off and wander…and I don’t think my parents thought there was anything worrisome about these travels of mine.  They didn’t have the time (or patience, I suspect) to yield to my quest for fantasies such as fairytales.

And for me, the little quests were even more gratifying due to their secrecy.  Perhaps I wouldn’t savor them so completely now, if I had had free rein to pursue them then.

Who knows?  At any rate, my doll and fairytale collections are a way to enjoy what was forbidden in the past.

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In the present, I also savor little jaunts to neighboring malls and restaurants to enjoy a lunch with an old friend.  We visited The Cheesecake Factory, where we talked and ate for hours.  I had a Hibiscus Martini and some bread while I waited for my friend to arrive.

 

2-4 martini, etc.

My salad came later….This salad in the photo looks HUGE, but it was actually a miniature one…lol.

 

 

2-4 salad

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When I got home, I looked around, as I usually do, taking in the various collections that I enjoy…

 

 

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And resumed reading this captivating book, about a single mom with a teenage daughter…who meets a handsome contractor who will renovate her 70s-style kitchen.  Just Say Yes, by Alyssa Goodnight, is delightful so far.

 

 

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He’s just what she needs…

Single mom Jade Moran isn’t ready for any big changes in either her horrible ’70s kitchen or her romantic life. Her ex did a number on her, and she isn’t interested in getting hurt again. But when she meets a super-hot contractor, she wonders if avocado appliances are on the way out and romance is on the way in.

Max Gianopoulis doesn’t have a clue why he’s so enchanted by Jade. She’s almost as big a mess as her kitchen, and he’s a guy who likes to keep things simple. He let himself get involved with a previous client, and he’s not interested in repeating the experience. But Jade has turned up the flirty heat – and he can’t keep his hands off her.

With everything moving too fast and coming too easy, Jade’s insecurities kick into high gear. She’s not sure she can trust another man again – and she definitely doesn’t believe in magic.

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Ah, magic…fairytales…is there a theme here?  What are your guilty pleasures?

Filed under My Guilty Pleasures.

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THURSDAY POTPOURRI: MY NETFLIX OBSESSION, ETC.

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Welcome to a celebration of life’s tidbits and obsessions….and anyone who has visited me here (or at any of my blogs) realizes that Netflix shows are my favorites to binge-watch.

When I watched Breaking Bad for weeks on end, I came to really enjoy the Saul Goodman character, so I was already waiting for the Better Call Saul show to appear.  This week, I got the announcement!

Only one season so far, but, of course, I had to watch the whole thing…in two nights.

It is like a prequel, and we get to see how that character evolved.  It was fun, let me tell you!  But now I want Season II…and I want it now!

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Until then, I’ll settle for Season 4 of House of Cards!

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Earlier today, I participated in another of my obsessive expressions….changing the blog header here.  I love the ladybug on the header, and the “potpourri” of them in the background.  Quirky!

 

 

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What are you celebrating/obsessing about today?

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MONDAY POTPOURRI: MUSINGS

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Welcome to a Monday Potpourri in which I muse along with Jen at A Daily Rhythm.

Check out some possible topics:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

 

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What do you do with your books once you’ve read them?

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I mostly read e-books, so when I finish them, I send them to the “cloud.”  No worries, they aren’t on shelves cluttering up things.

I do have some print books, and now that I’ve purged hundreds of those books in the past few months, they go on the shelves.  Here is my latest purged shelf, happily showing off a few books and some fairytale figurines.

 

Bookshelves, Madeline Hatter, etc.

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I am currently reading The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths, Book One in the Ruth Dalloway series.  Loving it already!

 

 

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Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties. She lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants—not quite earth, not quite sea. But her routine days of digging up bones and other ancient objects are harshly upended when a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson calls Galloway for help, believing they are the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing a decade ago and whose abductor continues to taunt him with bizarre letters containing references to ritual sacrifice, Shakespeare, and the Bible. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives a new letter—exactly like the ones about Lucy.

Is it the same killer? Or a copycat murderer, linked in some way to the site near Ruth’s remote home?

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What are you musing about today?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: FANTASIES/REALITY

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Welcome to my Hump Day Potpourri of Fantasies.

I love beautiful interiors, and most of the time, I am happily cozy in my own.  Rearranging things obsessively, of course, trying to put a new spin on things.  But I am also an avid collector of Pinterest images, so today is all about some of my favorites.  Like that bathtub above.

This office has long been a favorite, too, with the art on the walls, the comfy couch nearby, and the orange telephone.

 

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Then there is my love of vintage, and while I can’t imagine actually living with this kitchen, I do love looking at it. 

 

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The splashes of red are my favorites, though.  Remember my stuff?  From fantasy to reality, just for a minute….I love those dishes in the front, (below) which I use (Franciscan Apple), and the ones in the back belonged to my mother and are for show.  My coffee pot and toaster cheer me up in the mornings.

 

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And from the dining room, you catch a glimpse of these images…my Coca Cola ice bucket is where I stash tea bags, Sweet ‘n’ Lo, etc., and then there is my Crockpot.  The “rolling” island, jutting out, is extra counter space. 

 

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The Coca Cola table invites me to sit a spell….

 

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My real life fits in nicely with my fantasies, as you can see.  I enjoy both.

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Today I’m reading a book that has been seen around the blogosphere for a while:  A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman.    I like this quote:  ““If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down” (Booklist, starred review).”

 

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The Swedish part captured my interest, (my maternal grandparents grew up in Sweden), but then BLOGGER?  Okay, now I definitely love it already.

Here’s a funny image that may or may not remind you of me:

 

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I just finished reading the second book in Mary Alice Monroe’s “Summer” trilogy, The Summer Wind.  (Click for my review).  The two old women in the books are inspirational in their strength and philosophies on life.

 

 

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What does your Hump Day look like?  What are your plans for the week ahead?

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THIRSTY THURSDAY & HUNGRY HEARTS: “THE GOOD LIAR”

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Welcome to another Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts, hosted by Lexxie, at (un)Conventional Bookviews.

The idea of Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts is to share a quote with food or drinks that showed up in a recent read, as well as if it’s something you think you’d like or not. Please share the title of the book it happened in, as well as the character who ate or drank the special little something you discovered between the pages of a good read. Please link up beneath, and visit other bloggers who are participating in Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts as well.

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Today’s feature is an ARC I am just starting:  The Good Liar, by Nicholas Searles.  A con artist, Roy, meets and seduces women, with an endgame in sight.  On this night, he is meeting Betty, whose name online is Estelle…and his is Brian.  They are having a meal, which may or may not end well.

 

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They order their food, she a vegetarian pasta, he steak, egg, and chips.  Between mouthfuls of plastic conchigliette smeared with processed baby-food vegetables and a stringy cheese sauce she considers him more fully.  He is indeed tall and broad-shouldered, with a shock of white hair swept back from a florid face on which the tributaries of blood vessels map a complex topography.  The hair is tamed with hair cream and plastered down neatly behind the ears.  His eyes are striking, alarming almost, the light blue of the irises set in their ovoid milky frames against the sea of reddening skin, watchful, darting even as they focus on her face.

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What do you think?  The descriptions of the food seem tame in comparison to the descriptions of him…doesn’t he sound a bit smarmy?  The food doesn’t sound very appetizing, either, does it?

I’ve added this one to My Guilty Pleasures page.

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: A QUEST FOR ALICE

Alice in Wonderland, etc., 2008

Fairytale characters are the centerpiece of my home, or they were.  Some of them, like all those in the photo above are now residing in bins in the garage.  I have a parade of pieces on my mantle (below), and they mimic some of the characters above, plus more.

 

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Here are some close-ups:

 

 

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A few months ago, when I was purging my bookshelves, I also “binned” a few of my dolls and bears.  But I didn’t label the bins…sadly.

So when I got this Madeline Hatter doll from Amazon Vine recently (below), I wondered about my other friends from the Alice in Wonderland series.

 

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I searched through my bins, but in order to find the dolls, etc., a more extensive quest is required.  One with helpers, like my granddaughter Fiona.  She’s usually up for something like this.

 

Fiona in Jan

Then I thought I would search my photos, but I have a LOT of them.  I even searched my archives here.  Finally, last night I realized that my photo albums, those with photos that are not yet on the computer, might be a likely place….and I found the picture that is now gracing the top of this blog.

I would still like to find the REAL Alice in Wonderland doll, but that is a journey for another day.

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What journeys or searches do you obsess about?  Or do you avoid the stress of obsessions?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: BINGEING ON BOOKS, ETC.

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Welcome to another Sunday Potpourri. 

I’ve been on my blogs all morning, and responding to e-mails.  In a little while, I’m going to try to make the Twitter Chat for Bloggiesta.  I always seem to miss it!

I just put another pot of coffee on…I hardly EVER do that!

 

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Yesterday, I read Missing Pieces in one sitting…well, I did get up and move around occasionally.  (Click link for my review).

 

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Today I am reading What Was Mine, and I’m already having a hard time setting it down.

 

 

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The story has alternating narrators, from the woman who steals the baby from the shopping cart to the woman whose child has been stolen.  And some other voices are heard, too.  Very gripping.

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I hope to do some binge-watching on Netflix today, too, as I’m intrigued by a show that is new to me:  Wentworth.  An Australian Orange is the New Black.

A nice change of pace from the political shows I’ve been watching.

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What does your Sunday look like?  Do you read, watch movies or shows, or just relax?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: CHALLENGES & CHANGES

Welcome to Hump Day Potpourri, a time and place to share those odd tidbits of life.  Like the fact that I changed the theme here again…and the background, which suggests spring.  Could I be longing for spring?

This weekend’s Bloggiesta has me thinking…CHANGE!

My primary site to work on is Curl up and Read, but I’ve also made some changes at Serendipity, Rainy Days and Mondays, my website….and HERE, of course.  See some screenshots below.

 

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website screenshot - jan

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Today would be a perfect day to curl up and read all day long…but I have a dental appointment this afternoon, which means I need to do a few things first.  Sigh.

Last night I started reading Gloria Steinem’s Life on the Road, and I’m loving it so far.

 

 

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I bought this one in the hardcover version, so it will be a keeper.  Not one that will go the way of the purged books of last year.  And I’m done purging…for a while, anyway.  LOL.

The only challenge I joined this year, other than the Goodreads one, is the Read the Books You Buy event (check out my page), hosted by Kathryn, at the Book Date.

The rules allow us to read books we purchased from June 2015 on, as well as books we buy this year.

So far, I’ve read four books from the allowed lists.

For the purposes of the Goodreads Challenge, I have completed SIX books, which include review books.

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Are you participating in challenges this year?  Do you join in the Bloggiesta fun?

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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: THE FIRST OF 2016

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Welcome to the first Saturday of 2016, in which I am eager to share tidbits and obsessions.  The doll shown above is Madeline Hatter, a part of the Alice in Wonderland collection.

I have several dolls and collectibles from this story…but most of my others are in garage bins.  I had done a major sweep through my home this past year, not purging, but gathering them up until a time when I might spotlight them again.

Madeline is a doll I got from Amazon Vine.  I usually add books from that site, but what fun it was to get something different.  And how could I be a hoarder if I didn’t buy it?  LOL

Before I spotlighted the doll, I put away all of my Christmas decorations.  I knew that my “less is more” vow this year would come in handy!  It took about five minutes to stash everything in the bins.

After collecting this doll from my mailbox, I had lunch at a neighborhood bar & grill, using one of the gift cards my three LA grandkids sent me.  They are all so grown-up now!

 

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While I enjoyed my lunch, I continued reading The Black Widow, by Wendy Corsi Staub.  There is a creep factor going on in this story, which alternates between narrators.

 

 

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Now I’m going to watch some movies…and perhaps I’ll take a nap.  What does your First Weekend of 2016 look like?

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