HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: A DAY OF READING, ETC.

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Yesterday was a day for reading.  It started out very early—in fact, my whole week has started earlier each day than I would like!—because I had to take my car to the dealer to replace the airbags on the passenger side.  There was a recall, but I had been waiting a year for the repair!

So I wasn’t going to miss the appointment.

Since it was an all-day affair, I took the shuttle back home and curled up on my sofa (above).

I finished reading Friction yesterday (click for review)…and it was a good one to get my mind off of the waiting.

 

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Because I had been waiting…and reading, I didn’t go on my laptop until after I came home again.  So I was pleased (and surprised) to discover a new NetGalley book that I hadn’t even requested, but had been wanting.  Damaged, by Lisa Scottoline. (Release Date – 8/16).

 

 

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One boy. One lawyer. One chance for justice.

Ten-year-old Patrick O’Brien is a natural target at school. Shy, dyslexic, and small for his age, he tries to hide his first-grade reading level from everyone: from his classmates, from the grandfather who cares for him, and from the teachers who are supposed to help him. But the real trouble begins when Patrick is accused of attacking a school aide. The aide promptly quits and sues the boy, his family, and the school district. Patrick’s grandfather turns to the law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio for help and Mary DiNunzio is on the case. Soon Mary becomes Patrick’s true champion and his only hope for security and justice. But there is more to the story than meets the eye and Patrick might be more troubled than he seems. With twists at every turn and secrets about the family coming to light, Mary DiNunzio might have found the case that can make her a true protector, or break her heart…

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Before I came home, though, I stopped at The Elephant Bar for a bite…a nice outing after my day stuck in the house.  Pippa was my companion.

 

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What are you reading, doing, or looking forward to today?  My quirky doll (below) sits next to my books on the shelf in my office…and is now featured on my header.  I think she deserves a name.  What do you think?  Does she look like a Sasha?  A Natasha?  Or maybe Sophie.

 

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: PICMONKEY FUN!

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Good morning, and welcome to my quirky blog…and check out the fun I had on PicMonkey today!

My new header is the result of some of that fun…and the unexpected results, which, while not the “designer” kind of outcome, made me smile with delight.

Playing around with the “sketch” tool, the drawing tool…and then the shaping one resulted in what you see above.  Of course, I had to add some text and some creatures.

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Today I’ve written three posts, and that seldom happens.  But, for whatever reason, I’m in the mood to “play” on the computer, visit blogs, and enjoy that extra cup of coffee.

 

 

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I’m not avoiding my books, as I’m quite immersed in The Perfect Girl…and also checking out what I want to read next.  Intrusion, perhaps.  I need the occasional short book, and this one has 258 pages.

 

 

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Do I want to go out today?  I did go yesterday for a light dinner at Marie Callender’s, around the corner.  I took my book along.

 

 

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But it’s too hot to go out again….thinking I should stick close to home, curling up here….

 

 

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What are your Hump Day plans?  Staying cool?  Going out?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: LUXURIATING IN THE GOODIES….

Love Art in May 2016

Coming out of the sweetest weekend in a while, I am still luxuriating in all the goodies.  Unexpected ones, like the brunch in the mountains overlooking a lake. (Below), Heather and Noah enjoying the view…and a chat.

 

 

Heather & Noah - Mother's Day Brunch - Bass Lake

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Coming home, I hung the sweet little “love art,” as I’ve dubbed the hanging above…and here’s the entire wall with the newest addition.  I need to spend more time in this room, facing these hangings…

 

 

Family Wall in Office - 2016

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Usually I am facing inward to my laptop, etc.  The sofa, which you can see a part of in both pictures, is actually very comfy.

 

 

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The problem is the TV.  Yes, it needs updating!  That could be my next project…right?

 

 

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Or I could satisfy my viewing urges in one of the two other rooms that have flat screen TVs.

 

 

May 7 breakfast in bed with Netflix

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Yesterday, I started reading The Children, by Ann Leary.  I am sensing some sibling rivalry amongst the children/step-children of the patriarch, Whit Whitman. 

 

 

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Today I’m going to lunch with an old friend and former colleague.  We’re meeting up at the neighborhood Mimi’s, one of my comfy places.

 

 

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What does your Hump Day hold for you?  Reading, hanging out, redecorating your spaces?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WELCOME TO MY INTERIOR WORLD!

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Welcome to my Hump Day Potpourri, my time and place to share more of my obsessions…and tidbits.  As some of you probably know, the fairytale image above is one of several such images that march across my mantle.

 

 

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I started collecting these, and a few others that intermittently line my bookshelves, along with the books, when I first moved in here nine years ago!  Nine years!  I can’t believe it.

In the neighborhood mall was a shop called Country Clutter, later renamed Apricot Lane…and I found all kinds of things to collect.

Nowadays, I have stashed a lot of these in bins in the garage….hoping to “declutter” a bit.

But today was also supposed to be about the image in my header:  the little house next to the Madeline Hatter doll.

 

 

Magical images

I bought this Mary Engelbreit cottage that mimics some of her own personal cottages, several years ago.  I was still living in the foothill house when I bought it, so it was sometime between 1994-2007.  Funny how I can’t remember exactly when I bought it…but I know that my eldest son used to walk by it and squeeze it, calling it Squishy House.  That made me smile.  And he only visited in the foothill house twice:  in 1994 and in 2006-2007.

Now it mostly lives here on my Baker’s Rack (bottom left).  On the top shelf, right, is another of ME’s cottages:

 

 

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That photo above was taken before some of my recent changes, I now notice…the Coca Cola jukebox is currently residing in my bedroom (below), where I made more changes last night, to connect my laptop to my TV via HDMI cable.  For watching Netflix in my bed.  The laptop will sit on the small chest next to the TV.  See my Thoughts from the Interior post here:

 

 

May 3 - more bedroom changes

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When I bought the HDMI cable yesterday, I also bought new sheets….they are so soft…and not the really high thread count kind, but they work for me:

 

 

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The table next to the bed was once across the room by the TV…the switcheroo happened to assist in Netflix viewing…so the laptop could rest on a larger surface (the chest pictured above this one).

As you can tell, I’m a bit obsessive about a few things:  my interiors, of course; my binge-watching and how to make it possible in as many places as I can arrange; and, my cozy bedroom, where I want to spend more time in the future. 

I picture Saturday or Sunday mornings lying in bed and watching Netflix….or Amazon Videos…or Hulu.

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What, if any, obsessions do you enjoy?  Do the small tidbits in your life keep you fascinated?  As you can tell, I don’t think of obsessions as mental health issues, but quirky characteristics that make life interesting.

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING FOR “THE HOPEFULS”

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

Every week, we search out upcoming book releases…and then gather around the blogosphere, sharing our thoughts and blurbs. Today’s spotlight is shining on The Hopefuls, by Jennifer Close, a brilliantly funny novel about ambition and marriage from the best selling author of Girls in White Dresses, The Hopefuls tells the story of a young wife who follows her husband and his political dreams to D.C., a city of idealism, gossip, and complicated friendships among young Washington’s aspiring elite.

Release Date:  July 19, 2016.

 

 

 

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When Beth arrives in Washington, D.C., she hates everything about it: the confusing traffic circles, the ubiquitous Ann Taylor suits, the humidity that descends each summer. At dinner parties, guests compare their security clearance levels. They leave their BlackBerrys on the table. They speak in acronyms. And once they realize Beth doesn’t work in politics, they smile blandly and turn away. Soon Beth and her husband, Matt, meet a charismatic White House staffer named Jimmy and his wife, Ashleigh, and the four become inseparable, coordinating brunch, birthdays, and long weekends away. But as Jimmy’s star rises higher and higher, their friendship–and Beth’s relationship with Matt–is threatened by jealousy, competition and rumors. A glorious send-up of young D.C. and a blazingly honest portrait of a marriage, this is the finest work yet by one of our most beloved writers.

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I’ve loved two other books by this author, so I’m eager to read this one, and I am also a fan of books set in Washington, D.C.  What do you think?  What are you sharing?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: PASSIONS, CHANGE, & THE COMFORT ZONE

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Good morning!  It’s my first Hump Day Potpourri in a while…the kind of event that focuses on my quirkiness…and the images that spotlight it.  Like my fairytale image above.  Those goats going over the bridge are on my mantle (below), along with a few other fairytale characters.  As you can also see, I have some quirky clocks above the mantle, too.

 

 

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I’ve changed the theme here, and also on Snow Sparks, to one called Scratchpad.  Check out the fun features.

Meanwhile, I’m loving Terrible Virtue, and I’m only pages away from the finish line.  As I gather my thoughts, I am drawn into a quandary, as this very admirable woman was definitely no saint.  But saints don’t usually interest me, anyway.

 

 

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Up next?  I think I will start reading Mother Knows Best, by Karen MacInerney, a story that shows that things aren’t going well for private investigator and mom Margie Peterson. Her husband, Blake, is claiming his taste for drag queens is “just a phase.” Her first-grade daughter isn’t fitting in at her new posh elementary school, Holy Oaks Catholic School. And her hippie mother has swept into town and replaced the family’s store of processed foods with seaweed snacks.

 

 

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Talk about quirky!  And that cover…well, it makes me smile.

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Now that Spring has really sprung here, we are also having a taste of summer, with 90 degree weather outside.  What a dilemma!  What happened to mild days?  Days that would invigorate me and take me outside to stroll?

Well, I should know better, since here we seem to have Long Hot Summer, Brief Fall, a Little Bit of Winter…and almost nonexistent Actual Spring.

I’ve lived in these parts for forty-four years, so I should know how it goes here.  We came here in 1971 from Sacramento, which is just slightly better than the Central Valley, but we landed in the west part of this county where fog banked us in for most of the winter.  So moving 70 miles from there seemed like a good trade off. (Below), here we are living in the desert part of the county, in a small mobile home.  I felt stuck…check out the three small children.  LOL.  Back then, television wasn’t anything like it is now…we had three channels and rabbit ears, and when it was foggy or stormy, nothing came in.

 

 

 

Rain & three sons

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I could move from here now…but I still have one (adult) child here and three grandchildren.  So…yes, the city where I now live is so much better than where I started in these parts.  I live in the Northern part of the city in the middle of a thriving neighborhood with malls…and the TV is wonderful!  Amazon Prime, Netflix, movie channels, DVRs….what more could I want?

Okay…I am just not a fan of moving.  In the 1970s, I moved fourteen times, mostly in this area, but it was a major upheaval every time.

Could I move across the state, or even out of the state?   Is my comfort zone really about comfort?  Or fear of change?

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What are your obsessions about these days?  What are you reading, doing, or thinking about?

 

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: WAITING FOR “FALLING”

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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’s spotlight is shining on Jane Green’s upcoming release, July 19, 2016: Falling.

 

 

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Blurb:  When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.

But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.

In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

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I love Jane Green’s books, and her newest sounds like my kind of read.  What do you think?  What are you sharing today?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: MY MORNING WORLD & OTHER TIDBITS

an ordinary hump day in March

Enter my Morning World…coffee and my Laptop, Louisa May, enjoying the discoveries that greet me in that world.

Like today being one of my paydays!  I always forget that March 31 is Cesar Chavez Day here in California, which means that my county pension arrives one day earlier.  How could I forget such an important event?  Well, I do like being surprised….

Now…if only my State tax refund would show up!  It will be four weeks tomorrow since I filed…and usually it takes one or two weeks.  But…I’ve heard that the State is “running late” this year, whatever that means.

Meanwhile…I have plenty on which to focus today, like a task that involves shredding some old paperwork that was clogging up my desk area.  This is as far as I’ve gone, a stack of paperwork and a trash bag….the black trash bag is ready for me to empty the shredder, and I dread this every time.  Somehow, the bits and pieces from inside manage to spew forth onto the carpet. 

 

 

March decluttering

In looking at this photo, I see the blinds are still askew from being broken this summer by my clumsy son…LOL.  When they were staying here, he wanted to close the blinds a little more, and got overly zealous.  I hesitate to call the management, as I have had several broken things over the years…is there a limit?  Will they disapprove?  Ha.  I’ve been a pretty good tenant for these nine years, the longest I’ve ever lived in a rental condo.  So I should just bite the bullet and call.

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On a brighter note:  the twins, Lilly and Bella, just celebrated their second birthday.  I haven’t even met them yet, these two adorable step-great-granddaughters.  They live in North Dakota, and I only see them on Facebook…sigh.

 

 

Lilly & Bella - Two!

Here’s one of them:  I don’t know which one this is.  I sent the question to the mom, Colleen, and haven’t heard back yet:

 

Twin 1 or Twin 2 - which

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Meanwhile…my second son (living in LA) had a nice spring break with his three kids:

 

My Awesome son & Three A's

Now that the two oldest ones are away at college (Alec, right, at Berkeley; and Aubrey, left, at San Diego State University), they are hard to pin down.

Aaron, middle, is a senior, and will also be away next year.

How did they all grow up so fast?  Just the other day, it seems, they were these three, here at my mom’s house with their dad, a rare occasion:

 

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Here I am, procrastinating….I’m not getting that shredding done by playing on this post.  But maybe it can wait until this afternoon.  Right?

Tomorrow I have errands to run…and then a hair appointment with the lovely Heather, a time of more than styling.  A time to chat.  Here she is on Mother’s Day, with Noah.

 

Heather and Noah - Mother's day 2

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Today I’m reading Virgin River, a book that’s been on Pippa for a while (since September 2014).  I’m loving it so far!  A small town in the mountains that is a combination of unsettling and cozy for a girl from LA.

 

 

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Enjoy your Hump Day!  What are you up to today?

 

Married to Books with Friend

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: AN ORDINARY DAY & A WEEK OF CHANGES

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The photo above was taken by iPhone today…Yes, Phoebe has been put to work.  On the bookshelf, I rearranged a few things, like my copy of Heartburn, which I wrote about in a post yesterday over at An Interior Journey, an homage to Nora Ephron.

It’s an ordinary Hump Day here, but all through the blogosphere, others are participating in something called A Day in the Life.  I didn’t write about mine yet…the host, Trish, says it’s not too late.  Maybe Friday.  Check out some of the posts at her site.

So far this week, I’ve been making changes, both visible and behind the scenes, due to Bloggiesta.  Curl up and Read has been the primary target of my efforts.

I’ve also changed a few headers and/or backgrounds here and there:  An Interior Journey, here, at Potpourri, and even over at Serendipity.  Nothing escapes me during this week long event.

I spent a lot of time at my primary target blog going back to early posts and correcting broken links.  When you merge or delete blogs, like I have done, you are bound to find some you weren’t aware of.  Sigh.

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Last night, I watched another episode of the OJ Miniseries, and I’m really annoyed by Cuba Gooding’s portrayal.  I wonder why he was chosen?  He bears no resemblance (physically, or in mannerisms) to the real OJ we have seen on our TVs or in the news…and it is distracting to watch him.

I keep viewing it, however, enjoying the Marcia Clark character and the occasional sightings of the real Dominick Dunne, who loves writing about real-life events…and he wrote about this case:  Another City, Not My Own.

I read it a few years ago…but downloaded the e-book for a reread.  I know, when will I have time to reread anything?

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Today I’m reading two books, a rare event, but I also did it last week:

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin, and Somewhere Out There by Amy Hatvany:

 

 

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So far, I’m keeping them nice and separate in my head, as they are very different books.  The only way reading more than one book works for me.

On my coffee table sits a hardcover book that I might also try…it’s a memoir, and very different too, and I’ve had it for a while:  Born with Teeth, by Kate Mulgrew.  I love when I go to the Amazon page and it tells me when I purchased a book:  this one was purchased on May 5, 2015!

 

 

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I have enjoyed the author’s portrayals in various movies, but most recently, she has captivated me in how she inhabits the role of “Red” on Orange is the New Black.

When I visit my Netflix page and look at my queue, I am reminded that I haven’t binge-watched anything for a couple of days.  Most recently, I have been immersed in Broadchurch.

A murder mystery, with a focus on the townsfolk and the DCs who are investigating.  Set somewhere in England.

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What does your Hump Day look like?  How is your week shaping up?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: FEBRUARY THOUGHTS….

Anne & Heidi dolls

February is ending in just a few days, so I am ready to really dig down into my TBR stacks, which mostly consist of books on Pippa, my Kindle.  I like hanging out at one of the neighborhood restaurants for lunch, a martini, and my books.  The Reading the Books You Buy Challenge is going pretty well, with 13 books completed so far.

I think there would be more, but I’ve also been reading my NetGalley downloads…as usual, I enjoyed reading a few while hanging out with Pippa (and a martini!).

 

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The rag dolls (at the top of the post) are my little homage to my daughter and granddaughters:  one daughter, two granddaughters.  These dolls were Heather’s, but Fiona (who lives nearby) enjoyed playing with them, too.  Fiona and Aubrey had birthdays in February, turning nineteen.  How did that happen?

It is hard enough to realize that my daughter, my BABY, is grown up.

 

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She looks intense in the photo above, primarily because she was cooking for a group of us last summer, when my eldest and his wife were visiting.

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Okay, on to the bookish topic.  Books I had bookmarked on Amazon have been downloaded today and yesterday….

Under the Influence, by Joyce Maynard, was released yesterday, but I had pre-ordered it in November!  That’s how eagerly I have been anticipating this one.

 

 

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The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship.

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

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Today I downloaded The Ramblers, by Aidan Donnelley Rowley, a book I’ve been eyeing throughout the blogosphere.

 

 

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For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Claire Messud, and Emma Straub, a gorgeous and absorbing novel of a trio of confused souls struggling to find themselves and the way forward in their lives, set against the spectacular backdrop of contemporary New York City.

Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village—The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled.

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I also got one of the NetGalley e-ARCs that I had requested earlier:  The Girls, by Emma Cline:  Release Date – June 14.

 

 

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Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

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This one takes me back…and knowing how everything unfolded, I am eager to read it.

What are your bookish/non-bookish thoughts as February comes to an end?

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