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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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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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “WHERE THEY FOUND HER”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Happy Friday!  Today I am spotlighting an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Where They Found Her, by Kimberly McCreight, the story of an idyllic suburban town, a mysterious find, and a free lance journalist determined to find the truth.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Prologue)

It isn’t until afterward that I think about the bag or the bloody towels stuffed inside.  They’re too big to bury, but I can’t just leave them behind.  Maybe I should have been better prepared.  Thought more about the details.  But it’s hard to be ready for something you never imagined you’d do.

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56:  (Ridgefield Reader – Comments)

(Anonymous) – Because they’re lazy a-holes, that’s why.  All they want is to sell ad space.  What the hell do they care what happens to the people who read their garbage?  And that’s what this is:  Total garbage.  The whole point is to freak us out.  So that we come back here and click, click, click away for more!

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Blurb:   An idyllic suburban town.

A devastating discovery.

Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever.

At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town’s prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she came to be found among the fallen leaves. But for the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist and recent Ridgedale transplant Molly Sanderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town’s local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried hard to bury. But the disturbing history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation reveals a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale’s white picket fences.

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This one is just the kind of read that keeps me glued to the pages.  What do you think?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “AMHERST”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Amherst, by William Nicholson.

 

 

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Beginning:  The screen is black.  The sound of a pen nib scratching on paper, the sound amplified, echoing in the dark room.  A soft light flickers, revealing ink tracking over paper.  Follow the forming letters to read:

I’ve none to tell me to be thee

The area of light expands.  A small maplewood desk, on which the paper lies.  A hand holding the pen.

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56:  He formed his face into a smile and entered the room, prepared to be lighthearted.  At once the laughter died.  All eyes were on him, apprehensive.

“Don’t let me spoil the fun,” he said.

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Blurb:  Alice Dickinson, a young advertising executive in London, decides to take time off work to research her idea for a screenplay: the true story of the scandalous, adulterous love affair that took place between a young, Amherst college faculty wife, Mabel Loomis Todd, and the college’s treasurer, Austin Dickinson, in the 1880s. Austin, twenty-four years Mabel’s senior and married, was the brother of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson, whose house provided the setting for Austin and Mabel’s trysts.

Alice travels to Amherst, staying in the house of Nick Crocker, a married English academic in his fifties. As Alice researches Austin and Mabel’s story and Emily’s role in their affair, she embarks on her own affair with Nick, an affair that, of course, they both know echoes the affair that she’s writing about in her screenplay.

Interspersed with Alice’s complicated love story is the story of Austin and Mabel, historically accurate and meticulously recreated from their voluminous letters and diaries. Using the poems of Emily Dickinson throughout, Amherst is an exploration of the nature of passionate love, its delusions, and its glories. This novel is playful and scholarly, sexy and smart, and reminds us that the games we play when we fall in love have not changed that much over the years.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in?  Pique your interest?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “JUBILEE’S JOURNEY”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Happy Friday!  I am eager to share my featured book…and then visit all of you, to see what you’ve got.  Mine is a book I have had on my shelves for a while, a contest win:  Jubilee’s Journey, by Bette Lee Crosby, Book Two in the Wyattsville Series.  I still haven’t read Spare Change, Book One, so that is on my list, too.

 

 

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Beginning:  (As It Was…)

On an icy cold November morning in 1956, Bartholomew Jones died in the Poynter Coal Mine.  His death came as no surprise to anyone.  He was only one of the countless men forever lost to the mine.  They were men loved and mourned by their families, but to the world they were faceless, nameless people, not worthy of mention in the Charleston Times.

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56:  The tiny shoes were still where they had fallen when Olivia removed them before carrying the child to bed.  From where she sat Olivia could see a small hole in the bottom of one shoe.

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Blurb:  When tragedy strikes a West Virginia coal mining family, two children start out on a trek that they hope will lead them to a new life. Before a day passes, the children are separated and the boy is caught up in a robbery not of his making. If his sister can find him, she may be able to save him. The problem is she’s only seven years old, and who’s going to believe a kid?

Jubilee’s Journey, Book Two in the Wyattsville Series, is the story of discovering lost family and finding love that reconnects readers with Ethan Allen and the other heart-warming characters of SPARE CHANGE.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts capture your interest?  I hope you’ll share your comments…and links.

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “MIDNIGHT BETRAYAL”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s feature is a review book I just started reading, from the fabulous Melinda Leigh:  Midnight Betrayal.

 

 

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Beginning:  (Two weeks ago)

She died faster than I’d expected.  In fact, the whole abduction and killing scheme was easier than I’d anticipated.  I’d allowed several hours for tonight’s task but finished well ahead of schedule.

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56:  But the simultaneous disappearances of the replica knife and two young women tainted his pleasure.  There were too many twisted connections in the events with Louisa, her intern, and the museum for Conor’s comfort.  Something was brewing.

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Blurb:  Curator Dr. Louisa Hancock left behind Maine and her troubled past for Philadelphia and a job at a prominent museum. Just when it seems that Louisa’s new life is safe from her dark secrets, the body of a museum intern is found—the victim of a brutal and baffling murder.

Louisa realizes this is no random crime. And when another intern goes missing, the abduction is linked to the only man who has ever tempted Louisa’s heart—Conor Sullivan, the sexy owner of a Philly sports bar. Louisa’s past has taught her to be wary, but her heart refuses to believe Conor is guilty.

Now Conor and Louisa must dodge a police investigation—and their growing desire—as they race to find the real killer before another girl turns up dead. But trusting Conor could be deadly, especially as the evidence against him mounts…and as a merciless killer targets Louisa as the next victim.

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I love this series, and this newest book promises to be a wonderful addition.  What do you think?

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FRIDAY POTPOURRI: TIDBITS, CHANGES, & NEW BOOKS

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The little woven container with pockets (above) is a place to display mementos.  It has hung on numerous walls over the years, usually in my various offices.  On the very bottom right, is a backstage pass for a Soap Opera Awards Show from 1999, hosted by Dick Clark (for whom my second son worked at the time) and Soap Opera Digest magazine.

At the top is my author badge from BEA 2008, which was in LA…and where I signed copies of Chasing Stardust.

To the right, just below, is a ticket stub from the Chippendale’s show in Las Vegas (2008), attended by my daughter and me.

The black pin-on name tag (Lorre Frost, Editor) was mine from 1980, when I edited a newsletter for a group dedicated to helping divorced people adjust.  That was the name I used back then…LOL. (Get it?  Lorre Frost, Laurel-Rain Snow).

Odds and ends….tidbits.  Like much of what I share on this blog.

To continue on in this vein, today was about more odds and ends, like me getting the sudden urge to move some cabinets in the dining room.

I swapped out the green and burgundy cupboards…and here are some views of the finished arrangement:

 

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The burgundy cupboard on the back wall (on the left) was once in the middle.  This is the view from the kitchen.

 

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View from the entry way.

 

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Close-up of the two rearranged cupboards.

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Why do I do these things?  I was very hot and tired afterwards, as I did it this afternoon, when the outside temperature was 101…and despite the air conditioning indoors, I felt as though I were out in the heat.

Once I had cooled down, I savored the three new Vine books that came in the mail today.

 

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty

 

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Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . . .

A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly?

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads…

 

 

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Small Blessings, by Martha Woodroof

 

 

 

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Tom Putnam has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. An English professor in a sleepy college town, he spends his days browsing the Shakespeare shelves at the campus bookstore, managing the oddball faculty in his department and caring, alongside his formidable mother-in-law, for his wife Marjory, a fragile shut-in with unrelenting neuroses, a condition exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess a decade earlier….

Then, one evening at the bookstore, Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the shop’s charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to their home for dinner, out of the blue, her first social interaction since her breakdown. Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon, a feeling confirmed upon his return home, where he opens a letter from his former paramour, informing him he’d fathered a son who is heading Tom’s way on a train.  His mind races at the possibility of having a family after so many years of loneliness. And it becomes clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not.

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Katwalk, by Maria Murnane

 

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Katrina Lynden has always walked a straight line in life, an approach that has resulted in a stable career and pleased her hard-nosed parents but that has also left her feeling unfulfilled—and miserable. When her best friend suggests they quit their Silicon Valley jobs and embark on two months of adventure in New York City, Katrina balks at the idea but ultimately agrees, terrified yet proud of herself for finally doing something interesting with her life. But when her friend has to back out at the last minute, Katrina finds herself with a tough decision to make. Much to her surprise, she summons the courage to go alone, and the resulting journey changes everything. Along the way she makes new friends, loses others, learns what is really important to her, and finds a way to grow up without leaving herself behind.

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I think I am in for a treat with these….meanwhile, I am reading a book on Sparky that has been waiting patiently since last year.  Sheltering Rain, by JoJo Moyes, is the story of three generations of women in a family, which takes us from the 1950s in Hong Kong to the 1990s in London and Ireland.

 

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What was your Thursday like?  Are you eagerly planning your holiday weekend?

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