FRIDAY POTPOURRI: THE QUEENS OF TIDBITS & OBSESSIONS…

As those who read this blog know, I tend to gravitate toward the quirky.  These images in my latest header are an example of that.  The doll on the left is one I actually own:  Madeleine Hatter.  Notice that she shows up in my blog button and several other images I display at times.

The lady on the right…well, I’m not sure who or what she is, but she is definitely quirky.  If you look closely, those are books surrounding her head a la her hairstyle.

I have decided to dub these two The Queens of Tidbits & Obsessions.

Now that we’ve settled that issue, I am looking forward to a day of reading, movie watching, and a few TV shows.  As for movies at the theater, I don’t see anything that is pulling me there this weekend.  But next weekend, I am eager to see The Glass Castle, starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson.  And, of course, it is based on the book by Jeannette Walls.  I read the book a few years ago.

On TV, I am excited about the return of Chesapeake Shores on the Hallmark Channel.  I remember when this channel was not available from my provider…and I complained about it.  Not long afterwards, there they were, both versions of the channel.  Could my complaint have helped?  Or was it coincidence?

Probably the latter.  But I realized that complaining made me feel better, and how magical I felt when my wish came true.  LOL.

Right now, I’m reading two books, a print version and a hardcover:

The Other Girl (e-book), by Erica Spindler (NetGalley – 8/22)

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, by Chris Bohjalian

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Yesterday, I got a new mani….and tried a kind of glittery blue color.

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I have to find my fun with my mani/pedis these days, since hair dye is a thing of my past.  Sigh.

I am also curious, however, as to what my natural hair color is these days.  I haven’t seen it in many years.  LOL.

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What do your weekend plans look like?  Adventure?  Cozy moments?

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HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: THE EXTERMINATOR IS COMING!

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It’s Hump Day, and I’ve been visiting blogs and enjoying my coffee.  I’ll be vacating the premises soon, as the Exterminator is coming to spray.  Even though I only SAW two crickets in the past few weeks, I heard a chorus of them in the laundry room.  So…that’s it, guys!

He’ll arrive some time between 8:00-11:00 a.m., and then I will have to leave for a few hours.  Luckily, I have books to read….and an appointment with my stylist daughter, Heather.  The bear, below, sits at her station.  I haven’t named the bear, which I gave her for graduation….which is odd, right?  What does she look like to you?  Holly?

 

heather's bear

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On Monday, I got my carpet cover from Amazon.  It was delivered on Saturday, but since the post office closed at 2:00, I wasn’t able to retrieve it.  It was easy to move the stuff out of my nook and slide it in.  I am happily rolling around on the slick surface.

I’m reading One True Loves, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and enjoying it.

 

 

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On Netflix, I am addicted to a series that is new to me:  The Last Tango in Halifax is a British show that I love.  The protagonist is played by Sarah Lancashire, who also starred in Happy Valley,  another engaging series.

I am on Season 3, with only four episodes left, and I’m already missing these characters!  Their lives are so messy, they are so flawed, but I love them all!  Except maybe the ex-husband to Caroline (below), who hangs around with hangdog eyes.

 

 

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This sweet couple (below) meet again after 60 years, and realize they never stopped loving each other.  But they also face many challenges.

 

 

sweet couple in halifax

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So now I must get ready to gather my things about me and vacate…once the exterminator arrives!

More later!

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: MY QUIRKY OFFICE, ETC.

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Good morning!  Welcome to another peek into my world of Tidbits, Obsessions, Etc.

I spend a lot of time in my office (pictured above), and recently that room, along with several others, went through a slight makeover.  Nothing major.  But I wrote about some of the unexpected discoveries I found along the way in My Interior World:  Echoes of the Past.

The blogs also go through various makeovers during the regular Bloggiesta events that come along:  the major ones, and then there are the mini-bloggiestas, like the one coming in June.

Because I have eleven blogs (yes, crazy, right?), I work on a different one each time.  Although during the major events, I sometimes dabble on several.

The upcoming event will see me working on Serendipity, as, well, it’s time for a new look.  I have a folder of new headers that I am creating.

Meanwhile, I grabbed the camera the other day and snapped some photos of this room: 

 

 

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Even though I am ruthlessly purging throughout my home, this space will retain a bit of clutter.  I love having the dolls, the bulletin board full of memorabilia, and the family photos layering the walls.  But I have cleaned it up a bit.  Notice that my TBR stack of print books is pretty small.

And on my coffee table/trunk, you can see that my “up next” reads seem manageable.

 

 

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Of course, most of my new books now go on Pippa, my Kindle…but that’s okay.  Out of sight, out of mind…it’s all good.  Right?

 

 

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Speaking of Pippa, today I am reading The Hypnotist’s Love Story, by Liane Moriarty…and it is sooo good!  That author never lets me down.

 

 

 

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We have two narrators:  Ellen, the hypnotist, and the “stalker,” who turns out to be closer than we think.  I can’t wait to get back to it!

Meanwhile, yesterday, I finished a lovely book from NetGalley, The Lake Season, by Hannah McKinnon.  (Click for my review).

 

 

 

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How is your day shaping up?  What obsessions or tidbits inform your life today?

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TUESDAY POTPOURRI: INTROS/TEASERS – “ONE PLUS ONE”

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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 Should Be Reading.

Today’s featured book is from JoJo Moyes, one of my new favorite authors.  One Plus One is the story of a single mom, a chaotic family, and one quirky stranger.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – Ed)

Ed Nicholls was in the creatives’ room drinking coffee with Ronan when Sidney walked in.  A man he vaguely recognized stood behind him, another of the Suits.

“We’ve been looking for you,” Sidney said.

“Well, you found us,” Ed said.

“Not Ronan, you.”

Ed studied them for a minute, then threw a red foam ball at the ceiling and caught it.  He glanced sideways at Ronan.  Investacorp had bought half shares in the company a full eighteen months ago, but Ed and Ronan still thought of them as the Suits.  It was one of the kinder things they called them in private.

“Do you know a woman called Deanna Lewis?”

“Why?”

“Did you give her any information about the launch of the new software?”

“What?”

“It’s a simple question.”

***

Teaser:  (Chapter One – Jess)

Jess Thomas and Nathalie Benson slumped in the seats of their van, which was parked far enough away from Nathalie’s house that they couldn’t be seen from inside.  Nathalie was smoking.  She had given it up for the fourth time six weeks ago. (p. 4).

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Blurb:  One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

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What do you think?  Does this one grab you?

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SATURDAY POTPOURRI: NOSTALGIA, MOVIES, & BOOKS — MARCH 9

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I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, so I scrolled through my albums again and found these photos from way back in the day….and created this collage for Facebook.

The first shot is of my four children in 1977:  Easter.  We were living in an English stucco house in one of the quirkiest neighborhoods in our city.  I remember loving the house, but soon bored of the neighborhood.

The second shot was later that year, taken in Solvang.  Loved that little village.

And here’s an earlier shot of me with my daughter:  October 1976.

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That was another shot in the English stucco house.  There was a bay window in the dining room and French doors leading out to a side porch.  There was also a huge attic that we always planned to turn into a bedroom/playroom, etc.

But moved on before we did anything to it.

Watching movies is another thing I do when I’m feeling nostalgic, and nothing takes me back more than Hitchcock movies.  And I’d been wanting to see this new one about Hitchcock and his wife, and the making of Psycho.  So I watched it last night.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren were really good.

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Today I’m reading another Jane Green book:  Promises to Keep.  Her books always manage to captivate me…so I’m eager to get back to it.

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Over at my Saturday Snapshot post today, I featured my visit to a cozy library that is in the suburb where I used to live….Here’s a glimpse:

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What does your day look like?  A getaway, cozy dinners, movies?

EVERYONE DESERVES A HAPPY ENDING — A REVIEW

 

 

In a world of “happily ever after,” there might just be more to the story.

Or so Delilah believes when her strange obsession with a fairytale turns into something totally unexpected. First of all, what fifteen-year-old girl reads fairytales, she wonders? But in a world where she doesn’t quite fit in, Delilah has found her niche with this particular book and feels a special connection to the character of Prince Oliver. So when one day she hears his voice, and begins an ongoing dialogue with him, everything changes. Especially when Oliver asks her to help him escape from the pages.

Between the Lines is a fast paced story that leads the reader into the imaginary world of a book within the book, narrated by Oliver, followed by Delilah’s perspective. We get to see how each of them are inexplicably drawn to each other and the “ever after” they have envisioned.

How do Oliver and Delilah accomplish the impossible task? What unexpected twists does their story take in their effort to spring Oliver from the book? And why does Delilah end up on Cape Cod meeting someone who is surprising and crucial to bringing the story to its rightful conclusion?

I wasn’t at all sure that I would enjoy this book, as I’m not a YA fan. But I did like that I could suspend my disbelief just enough to feel empathy for the characters—both the ones in the fairytale and those in the “real” world part of the book. I would recommend it for young people who are struggling with issues of not fitting in, as well as anyone who enjoys a good unexpected tale. Four stars.

WEEKEND POTPOURRI: NEW PERSPECTIVES, NEW BOOKS — OCT. 19

Yesterday I snapped the photo above…I seldom take shots from the other side of this room, and I wondered why.

What is missing from the photo is the vignette that rests on the top….

It’s like seeing something new when we capture a different version of a room.  So today I sat in the chair facing this cupboard, which has its own story.  I found it in a favorite shop in an adjacent village well-known for its fabulous antiques section.  While this cupboard wasn’t an antique, it captured my interest.  It had a quirkiness.  Plus, it had a small crack in the side (which I’ve covered with that banner), and I got 30% off.

The crack doesn’t affect its function, or even its appearance, with that cute banner hiding the flaw.  And in a condo short of cabinet space in the kitchen, I could display some of my fun stuff.

As you probably know, I have lots of cabinets in this dining room; they encase little trinkets, as well as some of my books.

I like reading at this table in the morning.  Today I finished Blackberry Winter here, while eating my yogurt. (Click link for review).

Next I’ll be reading Tuesday’s Gone, the sequel to Blue Monday.  A grisly thriller.

This morning, after reading for awhile, I made the mistake (perhaps!) of going on Facebook; in the news feed, I saw a link to an Erica Spindler novel that I’d missed.  So naturally, I had to check it out.  And almost with a mind of its own, it downloaded itself onto Sparky…lol

Killer Takes All is another mystery.  It’s about The White Rabbit, who beckons you to follow him, down the rabbit hole, into his world. He’s a deceiver, a trickster. You won’t know what is truth and what is a lie. He aims to best you. Beat you. And when he does, you die.

Now, of course I didn’t NEED this book…but somehow I couldn’t resist.  That’s what happens when my Sparky begs to be fed.

What exciting events are happening in your world?  Books?  Interior design?  Quirky things?

TUESDAY INTROS/TEASERS: OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION — MAY 22

 

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Just grab your book and share the opening lines; then find another excerpt that “teases” the reader.

I just received this book in the mail last week, and since this blog is about obsessions, collections, etc., it seems fitting to celebrate it here.  Objects of My Affection, by Jill Smolinski, tells a story about a personal organizer who tries to reform a “hoarder.”

Book Description:

In the humorous, heartfelt new novel by the author of The Next Thing on My List, a personal organizer must somehow convince a reclusive artist to give up her hoarding ways and let go of the stuff she’s hung onto for decades.Lucy Bloom is broke, been dumped by her boyfriend, and had to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.

While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s  rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding: she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

Laugh-out-loud humor, heartfelt writing, relatable characters, and a charming premise all come together to make Objects of My Affection the next read for the fans of Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, and Allison Winn Scotch.

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First Chapter/First Paragraph Intro: 

I remind myself as I enter the coffee shop that it’s actually a good thing I sold my house and, for that matter, almost everything in it.   Sure, some may find my situation pitiful—a thirty-nine-year-old woman reduced to sharing a bedroom with her best friend’s preschooler daughter.  But  for purposes of this particular job interview—I pause to look around to see if anyone is looking around for me—it makes me even more of an expert.  Will Meier is going to be downright impressed that the woman he’s thinking of hiring to clear out his mother’s home barely has a possession left of her own.

Not that I’ll mention anything about it to him.

A man at the counter orders one of those ridiculous coffees that sound as if you should get a cake with several people around it singing “Happy Birthday” rather than something in a paper cup.  Then he turns his attention to me.  “You must be Lucy Bloom.”

This is my guy.  “Hi, and you’re Will Meier!  Nice to meet you,” I say, shaking his hand.  He’s tall, fortyish, clean-cut, and wearing a business suit with the sort of ease that makes it clear he doesn’t usually waste his mornings hanging out in coffee shops.

“I recognized you by your book.”  He points toward the copy of Things Are Not People that I’m clutching.  “What can I get you to drink?”

“Coffee, black.  Thanks.”

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I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book, so this opener tells me that I’m going to enjoy it.  The narrator sounds like someone trying to make the best of her changed circumstances, even finding a bit of humor along the way.

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Teaser #1:  (After the interview, the client takes Lucy to meet his mother).

Will starts to unlock the front door, then turns to me.  “I feel I ought to say something to prepare you for this.”
“Don’t worry about it.  I’ve seen messy places before.  I have a teenager.” p. 7

Teaser #2:  I’m braced for what I might see, but what hits me before anything else is the smell.  Although that’s probably because it’s so dark that relying on my sense of sight is pointless.  The smell isn’t horrible.  We’re not talking rotting corpses or anything.  It smells…dense.  As if I need to breathe in deeper to get enough air.  I wonder how long it’s been since anyone’s drawn the drapes and thrown open the windows.  p. 9

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Okay….now I’m really ready to dive in.

What are the rest of you spotlighting today?  I can’t wait to see!

THE CHARM OF SMALL TOWN LIFE WEARS THIN — A REVIEW

Lily Davis, single mom and Manhattan dweller, is worried about her teen son. On impulse, she moves them to Sakonnet Bay, a picturesque town on the Long Island Coast. She hopes that small town life will be simpler, calmer, and will keep her son safer.

Renting a house, finding a job, and merging their lives with other villagers happens seamlessly. But just when Lily thinks that everything is going great, a series of incidents, beginning with a freaky dog bite, catapult her life into a complex drama. Suddenly she is reminded of everything she enjoyed most in Manhattan.

But because she also likes the quirky charm of the town, and has a new best friend, she hangs in. And her interest is piqued by a handsome cop who has his own appeal and helps her want to stay.

But when things start to heat up, and when a murder investigation, along with the irate protesters who are fighting about the deer in the village, bring Lily and her column into the center of it all, she begins to wonder if everything she has done lately was a big mistake.

In the process of sorting it all out, what will Lily learn about herself, her son, and what she needs? How will the gossip mill help turn the tide for her and lead to some defining moments?

The narration was fun and quirky; there were enough laugh-out-loud moments to keep me turning pages; but other aspects of the book just didn’t live up to my hopes. I would recommend it for those who enjoy a light read with funny dialogue, but don’t expect Ephron’s trademark style in Big City Eyes. I’m giving this one 3.5 stars.

HUMP DAY POTPOURRI: MUGS, MEMORIES, & BOOKISH THOUGHTS — APRIL 4

Welcome to another Hump Day.  Midweek musings and thoughts today stemmed from a couple of things:  a blog tour stop at Rainy Days and Mondays for Whole Latte Life; and a discussion about coffee cups inspired by Sheila, at Book Journey, in Meet the Real Coffee Cup.

Therefore, coffee cups are the centerpiece of today’s post.  In Joanne DeMaio’s book (see my review and author bio at the link above or click on the book cover), the characters meet regularly at a coffee shop they hold dear.

The story is all about friendship and connections.  Beautifully celebrated over coffee.  And about self-discovery, frayed connections, and healing.

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Now…in Sheila’s blog post, she described an inspiring story about a blue coffee cup, which then reminded me of special mugs in my life.

Naturally I had to grab three of them and spotlight them in a photo.  Here they are, and there’s a story attached to each of them.

Special Mugs

In the middle is a mug gifted to me by my son and his wife a few months after my first grandson Alec was born.  That was in 1995, and that mug has been through some house moves without breakage.  I’m afraid to use it for coffee, so it sits on top of one of my country cupboards.

On the left is a mug “created” by three of my grandchildren a few years later (one of whom was the baby in the center mug).  It also regularly “lives” on a country cupboard (see below).  The one on the right is a quirky mug I bought in Big Bear Lake one year, just because it was something I connected to….

Speaking of mugs, I regularly drink my coffee from a Coca Cola mug that I also feature on blogs sometimes, both in the headers and in my posts.

What does all of this mean?  I guess there’s a big sentimental core in me that attaches wonderful memories to objects.

Do you have special connections to things you own?  Things that remind you of special people or events in your life? 

Thanks to Sheila, I’m going down this memory trail today.