THIRSTY THURSDAY & HUNGRY HEARTS: A GUILTY PLEASURES EVENT

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I’ve been itching to try this Thursday meme, hosted by Lexxie, at (Un)Conventional Book Views.  It fits nicely into my Guilty Pleasures feature, too, so here goes:

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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My excerpt is from The Hurricane Sisters, a book I just started, and one of the main characters is Maisie, a woman who just turned eighty, and whose dysfunctional family is celebrating the event with her.  For many of them, she is something of an annoyance, albeit a necessary one, which makes the celebration even more sweet.

 

 

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The cake was very pretty, all covered in marzipan hydrangeas of every color, just like the ones I grew.  All the waiters sang and my family sang along too.  Ivy and Ashley (her grandchildren) took pictures with their phones and the Glass and I smiled, thinking again I was very lucky to be surrounded by so many lovely people who cared about making me happy in that moment.

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I’m not really a cake person, but I do love the sound of this one!  What do you think?

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A GUILTY PLEASURES READ: “ALL THE STARS IN THE HEAVENS”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs.  Today, I am eager to feature another book from a favorite author.  I love spotlighting eagerly anticipated books on this blog, the place where I can shout out about my guilty pleasures.

 

Books by Adriana Trigiani are delectable, and so is her upcoming release, due on October 13:  All the Stars in the Heavens.

 

 

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Adriana Trigiani, the New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster epic The Shoemaker’s Wife, returns with her biggest and boldest novel yet, a hypnotic tale based on a true story and filled with her signature elements: family ties, artistry, romance, and adventure. Born in the golden age of Hollywood, All the Stars in the Heavens captures the luster, drama, power, and secrets that could only thrive in the studio system—viewed through the lives of an unforgettable cast of players creating magic on the screen and behind the scenes.

In this spectacular saga as radiant, thrilling, and beguiling as Hollywood itself, Adriana Trigiani takes us back to Tinsel Town’s golden age—an era as brutal as it was resplendent—and into the complex and glamorous world of a young actress hungry for fame and success. With meticulous, beautiful detail, Trigiani paints a rich, historical landscape of 1930s Los Angeles, where European and American artisans flocked to pursue the ultimate dream: to tell stories on the silver screen.

The movie business is booming in 1935 when twenty-one-year-old Loretta Young meets thirty-four-year-old Clark Gable on the set of The Call of the Wild. Though he’s already married, Gable falls for the stunning and vivacious young actress instantly.

Far from the glittering lights of Hollywood, Sister Alda Ducci has been forced to leave her convent and begin a new journey that leads her to Loretta. Becoming Miss Young’s secretary, the innocent and pious young Alda must navigate the wild terrain of Hollywood with fierce determination and a moral code that derives from her Italian roots. Over the course of decades, she and Loretta encounter scandal and adventure, choose love and passion, and forge an enduring bond of love and loyalty that will be put to the test when they eventually face the greatest obstacle of their lives.

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Doesn’t this one fit the “guilty pleasures” theme perfectly?  I know I am eager to read it.  What are you spotlighting today?

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SAVORING MY GUILTY PLEASURES: BOOKS & BRUNCH

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Welcome to My Guilty Pleasures feature, where I rave about things I love and things I am anticipating.

Upcoming book releases are always fun, and I’ve been drooling over this one for a while:

 

What She Knew, by Gilly MacMillan, will not be released until January 19, 2016, but some lucky people (yes, YOU, Patty, at Books, Thoughts, & a Few Adventures) has a copy.  So far, I haven’t found it.

 

 

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In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

Delicious, right?

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The other day, I thought about a book I had read back in the day.  Julia Roberts starred in the movie based on the book…and I once had it in my library.  Alas, one of my purges took it away.  But not one I’ve been doing lately…I think I had a mass market paperback copy, and I rid myself of most of those when I downsized.

Anyway…I ordered a hardcover version, really cheap, since it was published in 1987.  Sleeping with the Enemy...drum roll, please!  And for the Julia Roberts movie, DVD version, click the link.

 

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I’ve watched the movie numerous times, but haven’t read the book in ages.  Time to reread!

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On Wednesday, I treated myself to brunch, complete with a Bloody Mary, while reading my book One Moment, One Morning, by Sarah Rayner. (Click for my review).

Open face spinach and feta omelet, with strawberries…and the Bloody Mary.  Truly my guilty pleasures.

 

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What pleasures do you savor, especially with the weekend approaching?  Or what midweek delights capture you?

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A GUILTY PLEASURE: WAITING FOR “THE GOOD GOODBYE”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday event, hosted by Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Every week, we gather around the blogosphere and search out the upcoming book releases, sharing our thoughts and blurbs.  Today, I am eager to feature another book from a favorite author.  I love spotlighting eagerly anticipated books on this blog, the place where I can shout out about my guilty pleasures.

My discovery of Carla Buckley came when I received one of her books from the Amazon Vine program:  The Deepest Secret.  I was so hooked, that I had to keep reading her books, and I read The Things That Keep Us Here.

Now I am eagerly awaiting a new release from this author, coming on January 19, 2016:  The Good Goodbye.

 

 

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For fans of Jodi Picoult comes an enthralling domestic thriller about the lies we tell, and let ourselves believe, in the name of love.
 
The first thing you should know is that everyone lies. The second thing is that it matters.

On her way to her nineteenth wedding anniversary celebration, Natalie Falcone leaves the struggling restaurant she owns with her brother-in-law, Vince. She doesn’t speak to him on her way out; they haven’t spoken in months. But out on the sidewalk, she gets a phone call every mother dreads: It’s from the emergency room where her daughter, Arden, attends college. Arden’s been in a fire, along with Natalie’s niece, Rory—Vince’s daughter and Arden’s best friend.

Natalie rushes to the hospital and learns that both Arden and Rory lie unconscious, and that another student has died in the blaze. The police suspect arson.

As the investigation mounts, Natalie struggles to piece together the elusive details of Arden’s and Rory’s freshman year. Growing up, Rory was charming, popular, and charismatic, while Arden was artistic, perceptive, and reserved. They were different yet inseparable, more like sisters than cousins. But the case unearths a different portrait—of a complex friendship, a love triangle, a fight, and a girl who was struggling more than anyone realized. To discover what really happened that tragic night, Natalie’s and Vince’s families must confront the one truth that ultimately emerges: Nothing is ever exactly what it seems.

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Because I am thoroughly addicted to thrillers, to stories about secrets and lies, and especially the domestic dramas that we find in our books, as well as in life, I am including this post, and subsequent posts like it, under my new feature:  My Guilty Pleasures.

All books, and other things that fall under this category will be linked on that new page.  Enjoy!

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: REVISITING THE PAST

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Good morning, and welcome to another Sunday Potpourri post.  To see what my week looked like, visit my Weekly Updates post at Rainy Days and Mondays.

In that post, I mentioned my latest bookshelf clearing project, and in another post, I talked about my “head count” of the physical books remaining (from 1435 to 630), in Bookish Friday.

So, considering all of that, you might think that I would curb my impulses…and not buy anything, at least for a while.  And not any actual physical books.  Kindle book buying is fair game, as “out of sight, out of mind.”

But then I saw a title on someone’s blog….Sleeping with the Enemy.  And my mind flitted to the past and a book by that name, as well as the Julia Roberts movie.

The blogger was referring to a different book by that title, but I had to do a search.  And found it, published in 1987.  I used to have it, I’m sure, but it was probably a mass market paperback, as I purged most of those when I downsized eight years ago.

Naturally I had to order it…in hardcover.  The price was right.  Sleeping with the Enemy, by Nancy Price.  Loved it back then!  Hope to love it again.

 

 

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Do you ever buy books from your past, books that you actually eliminated from your stacks at some point?  I did that a couple of years ago with another one of my old favorites:  Domestic Pleasures, by Beth Gutcheon.  And Still Missing, by that author.

 

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When I did my latest purge, I made sure to keep these, adding them to one of my shelves in my office.

What does it mean when I want to revisit the past, via books read and loved long ago?  I suspect that I am recalling a time when my reading was a slow savor….while now, I seem to be speeding through the books, reviewing them, and then moving on.

I have a small stack I’m accumulating of favorite reads from long ago.

Do you ever reread?  Or long to reread some books you loved?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: CHANGING UP MY SPACE

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Good morning!  It has been weeks (or even months!) since I wrote a Sunday Potpourri post, but now that I’m reclaiming my “normal,” or at least my “new normal,” I suddenly feel the itch.  To write.  To chat.

When my house guests left to head up north (for cooler climes), I did what I always did back in the day.  When college kids went back to school, leaving empty spaces to fill…I always moved stuff around, cleaned closets, etc.

This time, I rearranged the office and dining area, since those areas were once inhabited by my guests.

Not to purge the rooms of their presence, but to reclaim them as mine…until their return.  Rinse, Repeat.

One of the things I realized about my dining area when guests were in my somewhat small space…it felt a little crowded.  So I decided to move one of the cupboards to another wall (the green one now centered on the back wall); bring the Coca Cola jukebox into my bedroom; and the dining table and chairs could scoot over, leaving a clear path.  With all the moving around, things got dusted and purged, too, adding little trinkets to my bins in the garage.  Funny how that works!

 

 

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Here is a view of the space from the kitchen:

 

 

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In the bedroom, check out the jukebox (and Minnie Mouse, the only one using the exercise bike!).

 

 

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And the office…well, it has been revealed in other blog posts, but check it out again:

 

 

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Looking at the bookshelves in the left corner…I’m wondering if they are due for a purge?  LOL

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What keeps you busy on a Sunday?  Reading, movies, eating out?  I hope to go out for lunch and then see the movie Ricki & the Flash.

 

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Have a great Sunday!

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTS FROM “THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTER”

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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 A Daily Rhythm.

Good morning!  I am getting off to a late start today, but I’m eager to feature one of my NetGalley downloads:  The Murderer’s Daughter, by Jonathan Kellerman.  It will be released on August 18.

 

 

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Intro:  Five-year-old Grace lived with two strangers on the fringes of a desert.  Biology and the law labeled them her parents but Grace had never found them other than alien.  As best she could tell, they felt the same way.

Ardis Normand Blades was twenty-eight years old, tall, reedy, long-haired, and patchily blond-bearded, with a sliver of morose face dramatized by jug ears.  Those bat-like appendages notwithstanding, he was semi-decent-looking in a greasy, vaguely dangerous way.  Only semi because some of his God-given looks were long eroded by dope and alcohol and a near perfect record of bad decisions.

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Teaser:  Women of a certain type were drawn to Ardis’s easy smile and good bone structure.  Dodie Funderburk was one of those.  Her academic achievements rivaled Ardis’s and helped cement a shallow rapport. (2%).

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Blurb:  A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

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I am intrigued by these excerpts and the blurb.  Normally I have been drawn to the Alex Delaware series by this author, but this stand-alone novel has captured my interest.  What do you think?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: EXCERPTS FROM “THE NEW NEIGHBOR”

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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 A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an e-Galley from NetGalley:  The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart.

 

 

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Intro:  Where before there was no one, suddenly I, Margaret Riley, have a neighbor.  I went out on the back deck this morning like every morning, and there she was.  Across the pond, sitting on her own back deck.  I was startled.  That house has been empty a long time.  My first impulse was to go back inside, as if I’d come upon something shameful, or embarrassed myself.  As if I were out there naked, which of course I wasn’t, and even if I had been she was too far away to see.  But I am braver than that.  I put my coffee cup on the table, as usual, and then I went back inside for my book, which is by P. D. James, a remarkable woman, as ancient as I am and still creating mysteries.  I have to make two trips because I need one hand for the cane.  Sometimes I try to manage cane and book and coffee all at once, and the result is always coffee stains, or burns, or at the very least a wet book and a diminished cup of coffee.  Every morning I’m frustrated anew by the need to make two trips.  Impatience and age are not compatible.

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Teaser:  I was surprised, when she was gone, by a twinge of loneliness.  How silly.  I am always alone.  Sometimes days go by in which the only other people I see are on TV.  This house is in the woods between two small towns—villages, really—on a mountain in Tennessee. (2%).

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Blurb:  In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life.

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.

In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own.

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I have been eager to read this book for a while.  Perhaps the draw for me is the reference to Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal…or maybe it’s because an aging woman living alone is suddenly stunned to have a neighbor, and I am curious about what will unfold.  What will she do about this new fact? 

Would you keep reading?

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SUNDAY POTPOURRI: A BLACKOUT DURING “BREAKING BAD”…YIKES!

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I was happily immersed in the Series Finale of Breaking Bad, only minutes away from the dramatic conclusion, when….oh, no!  Everything went black!

Yes, I am spoiled.  Power outages do not happen often here, and they usually occur during a storm…but also during very hot weather, when everyone is using the air conditioning.

I was at that point in the show where the intensity was great…but then again, when isn’t it?  Then I remembered my iPhone, Phoebe.  Yay, Phoebe, where I had downloaded the Netflix app.

Yes, small screen, but I could still watch.  Minutes later, the power was back on and I was watching on my TV again.

 

 

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Today, I plan to start watching House of Cards.

 

 

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But I also want to resume reading Things You Won’t Say, by Sarah Pekkanen, which I got from NetGalley.  I am loving it so far!

 

 

 

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Once the power was back on, and after I had finished watching Breaking Bad, I got restless…and created a new blog header for Rainy Days & Mondays.

 

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Next weekend is a Mini-Bloggiesta, and I will be making over my Serendipity blog.

What do you do during power outages?  And afterwards, do you have a renewed energy?

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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: CELEBRATING….

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Welcome to another Weekend Potpourri, and the celebration of all good things that came from this week.

 

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Today I am linking up the West Metro Mommy Reads, for Saturday Snapshots.

The purges of the past few months have been numerous, and while it may seem as if my mantra is “everything must go,” nothing could be further from the truth.  Above, note the addition of a new device:  my Blu-Ray player, on which I can now play Netflix…and down the road, my Amazon Videos.

There were a few glitches after its installation, but the AT&T service rep came out and upgraded my modem, my cables, and everything is now in great working order.  I have been bingeing on Breaking Bad every night, instead of only on the weekends.

And yesterday I took a load of books to the library….(see the bookshelf full of them in the garage):

 

 

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Now my garage is purged….with bins filled with collections to store until I decide what to do with them.  And the empty bookshelves now belong to my daughter.  She hauled them away, along with all of her stuff that I had been storing!  The garage is mine again….

 

 

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We are celebrating all kinds of things this weekend….last week, my granddaughter Aubrey graduated high school, with lots of fun events to top things off.  Here she is, below, with two of her brothers and her dad.  Why the lei?  Well, for a senior trip, she was off to Hawaii.  What fun, right?

 

 

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Next week, my other granddaughter Fiona will be graduating.  More pictures to come!

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And before they all existed, these beautiful grandchildren, there were my three sons in this picture from 1971, five years before I also had my daughter.  Remember the snapshot of me in the mid-sixties with poofy hair?  Well, we went from that to the plainer version.

 

 

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What are you featuring this weekend?  I hope you’ll stop by and share.

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