FRIDAY POTPOURRI: TIME FOR A GARAGE SALE?

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Good morning!  I really wasn’t planning on purging again today, but as I stared at my closet shelves, and then at the pile of newspapers that would make perfect packing material, I had to do it.

The shelf (above) is now almost empty, as I cleared away many of the Disney figurines that were there…along with a few stuffed animals (bears, etc.)

Here is what some of my shelves in the garage look like now…the latest bin is on the top (right).

 

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And now I have one empty bin to fill (below)…and I’m trying to decide what should go in there.

 

 

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Many of the shelves are not tall enough for my bins…so I moved one piece of luggage to these thinner shelves.  I have space for one more bin on the top of the previously shown shelf.

I think it’s time for a garage sale, don’t you?

Meanwhile, I am reading…and almost finished with Black-Eyed Susans, which is awesome!

 

 

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I went to Vine again to find a new book to read…as the last two were disappointing…sigh.  Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave, sounds like just what I need now.

 

 

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There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…

Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.

But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.

Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…

Bestselling author Laura Dave has been dubbed “a wry observer of modern love” (USA TODAY), a “decadent storyteller” (Marie Claire), and “compulsively readable” (Woman’s Day). Set in the lush backdrop of Sonoma’s wine country, Eight Hundred Grapes is a heartbreaking, funny, and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect.

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I love wineries and family secrets.  And I adored this author’s book, The Divorce Party.  So I am sure this one will be a treat.

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What does your Friday look like?  Plans for the weekend?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “THE SHORE”

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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 ARC from Amazon Vine, called The Shore, by Sara Taylor.

 

 

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Intro:  (1995 – Target Practice)

When news of the murder breaks I’m in Matthew’s, buying chicken necks so my little sister Renee and I can go crabbing.  There isn’t much in the way of food in the house, but we found a dollar and sixty-three cents in change, and decided free crabs would get us the most food for that money.  Usually we use bacon rinds for bait, but we’ve eaten those already.

I’m squatting down looking at the boxes of cupcakes on a bottom shelf when a woman steps over me to get to the register.  Matthew’s is small and the shelves are crowded in; when Mama brought us with her to get food Renee and me would have contests to see who could get from the front door to the grimy meat counter at the back in the fewest hops—I could do it in seven.  She’s a big fat woman, with more of an equator than a waist; she steps heavy, all of her trembling as she does, and for a moment I’m worried she’s going to fall and squish me….

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Teaser:  It’s a little house, our house, one room downstairs and two rooms upstairs and a porch for each, and according to the phone company and the electric company and the taxman it doesn’t exist. (p 4)

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The Shore: a group of small islands in the Chesapeake Bay, just off the coast of Virginia. The Shore is clumps of evergreens, wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, and dark magic in the marshes. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place that generations of families both wealthy and destitute have inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian’s bold choice to escape an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her, to a brave young girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, the characters in this remarkable novel have deep connections to the land, and a resilience that only the place they call home could create.

Through a series of interconnecting narratives that recalls the work of David Mitchell and Jennifer Egan, Sara Taylor brings to life the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all.

Spanning over a century, dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, THE SHORE is a breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished work of fiction by a young writer of remarkable promise.

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Does it resonate with you?  Would you keep reading?  I hope you’ll stop by and share your own excerpts.

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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: MORE TIDBITS ABOUT MY OBSESSIONS

 

Welcome to my Sunday Potpourri event, a place for sharing those little tidbits and obsessions in my life.  Yesterday, I had one of my favorite lunches at Mimi’s, where I ate and read a book…one that I finished and reviewed later, (click for review):  Little Black Lies.

 

 

 

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Today has been one of immersing myself in something I love to do….binge on Netflix.

I started watching Season I of Grace & Frankie, which is the only season available so far…and ended up watching all 13 episodes!  Some yesterday, and the rest today.

 

 

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It was truly addictive, especially since there were so many “old” favorite stars, like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston.

Every episode had another favorite crop up, like Christine Lahti (haven’t seen her in ages!), and Mary Kay Place…haven’t seen her since Big Love went off the air.

The story is interesting to me, in that four old friends (the men more so than the women, which has an unexpected twist), who have had 40 year marriages, raised children, and now, just when they are in the middle of their Golden Years, the men announce that they are in love with each other and have been for 20 years.

The setting is San Diego, CA, and there are lovely houses to divide.  The women end up in a La Jolla beach house…and we get to watch the women try to start over, set boundaries, and learn to nurture themselves (and each other).  But not in the way you might be thinking.  No, they don’t go there.

The ending was a kind of cliffhanger, so I hope this means there will be another season.

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Now I am going to try to read some…I started Bittersweet last night, and it’s good.

 

 

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On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted:  friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.
But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

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So far, I am not liking the rich girl, Genevra, at all.  She snarls and scowls too much, IMO, and even when she is offering invitations into her privileged life, she seems condescending.  But that’s me.  And maybe there is more to her story.

How has your weekend been shaping up?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “BITTERSWEET”

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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.

It is time for more fun with our Tuesday memes.  The book I have chosen to feature is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Bittersweet, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.

 

 

 

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Intro: (February – The Roommate)

Before she loathed me, before she loved me, Genevra Katherine Winslow didn’t know that I existed.  That’s hyperbolic, of course; by February, student housing had required us to share a hot shoe box of a room for nearly six months, so she must have gathered I was a physical reality (if only because I coughed every time she smoked her Kools atop the bunk bed), but until the day Ev asked me to accompany her to Winloch, I was accustomed to her regarding me as she would a hideously upholstered armchair—something in her way, to be utilized when absolutely necessary, but certainly not what she’d have chosen herself.

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Teaser:  But whether Aunt Jeanne had changed or my eye had become considerably more nuanced in the intervening years, what I discovered that first December of college was that I’d rather shoot myself in the head than become her.  She lived in a dank, cat-infested condo and seemed puzzled whenever I suggested we go to the Smithsonian. (p. 11).

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Blurb:  Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.
On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted:  friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.
But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

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I am eager to begin this book, one which I have only heard good things about.  What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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WEEKEND POTPOURRI: COOLING DOWN, ETC.

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Good morning!  Welcome to another Weekend Potpourri, an event that I haven’t featured in a while.

I love this teapot (above), but now it is iced tea weather here.  So it stays on its tray atop the microwave in my kitchen, while I move on to summer things.  Yes, it is technically spring, but the temperature has been creeping upwards every day.  Today the anticipated high is 86 degrees…but right now it is 69.  But give it time…it is only 9:00 a.m.!

 

 

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Yesterday I purged some more and rearranged some shelves.  Removing one whole shelf from my bedroom to the garage, along with some books to donate.  I did some initial shots over at my Bookish & Non-Bookish Saturday, but since then, I have tweaked the shelves and wall hangings a bit more.  Before, three shelves were crammed together, and now (below), you can see how it looks minus one shelf.  And with a different grouping of dolls, along with the shamrock hanging instead of the Red Hat one….

 

 

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Across the room (below), I have rearranged these shelves with a spillover from the one shelf…and here’s the Red Hat hanging….and atop one shelf, is the Red Hat figurine….

 

 

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Now I have two large bags of books in the garage that will eventually make it to the library…or to some other charitable organization.  I can’t believe how ruthlessly I took away the books….and some of my family photos on the shelves are in a desk drawer.

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Perhaps I would feel a little angst over the books that have departed…if I took the time to examine them closely.  I did manage to keep some favorites….and that’s a good thing.

Do you find yourself purging ruthlessly?  Or do you carefully consider each book toss?  Do you enjoy rearranging your spaces?

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Today I am reading another suspense thriller from Hallie EphronNever Tell a Lie.

 

 

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“[A] richly atmospheric tale. You can imagine Hitchcock curling up with this one.”
USA Today

 

Author Hallie Ephron’s fast paced and disturbingly creepy Never Tell a Lie is a page-turning thrill ride that maestro Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud to call his own. A descent into gripping suburban terror, this stunner by the Ellen Nehr Award-winning mystery reviewer for the Boston Globe has been called “a snaky, unsettling tale of psychological suspense” by the Seattle Times. Fans of Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, and classic gothic mystery will adore this supremely suspenseful and consistently surprising story of a yard sale gone terribly wrong.

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Happy Weekend!

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING ON “BLACK-EYED SUSANS”

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Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday, our special day for sharing upcoming book releases.  Hop on over to Breaking the Spine to find out what everyone else is excited about.

Today’s featured book is from Julia Heaberlin, a new favorite suspense author, whose book Playing Dead kept me riveted.  Black-Eyed Susans is an electrifying novel of psychological suspense.  Release Date:  July 28, 2015.

 

 

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Blurb:  I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.

As a sixteen-year-old, Tessa Cartwright was found in a Texas field, barely alive amid a scattering of bones, with only fragments of memory as to how she got there. Ever since, the press has pursued her as the lone surviving “Black-Eyed Susan,” the nickname given to the murder victims because of the yellow carpet of wildflowers that flourished above their shared grave. Tessa’s testimony about those tragic hours put a man on death row.

Now, almost two decades later, Tessa is an artist and single mother. In the desolate cold of February, she is shocked to discover a freshly planted patch of black-eyed susans—a summertime bloom—just outside her bedroom window. Terrified at the implications—that she sent the wrong man to prison and the real killer remains at large—Tessa turns to the lawyers working to exonerate the man awaiting execution. But the flowers alone are not proof enough, and the forensic investigation of the still-unidentified bones is progressing too slowly. An innocent life hangs in the balance. The legal team appeals to Tessa to undergo hypnosis to retrieve lost memories—and to share the drawings she produced as part of an experimental therapy shortly after her rescue.

What they don’t know is that Tessa and the scared, fragile girl she was have built a  fortress of secrets. As the clock ticks toward the execution, Tessa fears for her sanity, but even more for the safety of her teenaged daughter. Is a serial killer still roaming free, taunting Tessa with a trail of clues? She has no choice but to confront old ghosts and lingering nightmares to finally discover what really happened that night.

Shocking, intense, and utterly original, Black-Eyed Susans is a dazzling psychological thriller, seamlessly weaving past and present in a searing tale of a young woman whose harrowing memories remain in a field of flowers—as a killer makes a chilling return to his garden.

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What are you excited about today?  I hope you’ll stop by and share….

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: BOOKS & WHIMSY….

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Good afternoon! (Or evening, depending on where you live).  It is late in the day for a Hump Day Potpourri, but I have been having such a good week.  And after my last week, I am basking in it.

I just finished reading and reviewing my first NetGalley e-ARC:  The Children’s Crusade, by Ann Packer.  (Click for my review on my blog).

 

 

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And I have already started another one from NetGalley:  Inside the O’Briens, by Lisa Genova.

 

 

 

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Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease.

Huntington’s is a lethal neurodegenerative disease with no treatment and no cure. Each of Joe’s four children has a 50 percent chance of inheriting their father’s disease, and a simple blood test can reveal their genetic fate. While watching her potential future in her father’s escalating symptoms, twenty-one-year-old daughter Katie struggles with the questions this test imposes on her young adult life. Does she want to know? What if she’s gene positive? Can she live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?

As Joe’s symptoms worsen and he’s eventually stripped of his badge and more, Joe struggles to maintain hope and a sense of purpose, while Katie and her siblings must find the courage to either live a life “at risk” or learn their fate.

 

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I’m trying not to go crazy with the requests….and so far, I have received only nine books from NetGalley since I got Pippa, my new Kindle.

 

 

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I’ve also had a little fun playing with blog design here….the new header appeals to that whimsical part of me.

 

 

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What do you enjoy doing to celebrate your whimsical or quirky side?  What kinds of books appeal to you?

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