REVIEW: THREE-MARTINI LUNCH, BY SUZANNE RINDELL

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They were all young and so full of hope, back in 1958. Students, writers, young radicals, and party seekers…they had the future before them, and they were eager to reach out for it. They hung out in Greenwich Village, but their partying took them all over the city.

The core group included Cliff Nelson, whose father was Chief Editor at a large publishing house. Cliff, however, had dropped out of Columbia and despite his life of entitlement and privilege, found himself rudderless when his father cut him off financially. Nevertheless, his background gave him a confidence and brashness that stayed with him for a while…but then his inability to launch his writing career had him scrambling to find another way. Flawed and unable to view his own qualities honestly, Cliff was an interesting character, but unlikeable in many ways.

Eden Katz had come to New York from Indiana, and with her eye on an eventual job as an editor for a publishing house, she brought with her two letters of introduction. How she uses the second letter forms a part of her story after she realizes that sometimes you can trust the wrong people.

Miles Tillman, a young black man and recent graduate of Columbia supports himself as a bicycle messenger while seeking more permanent work. A journey to San Francisco in search of his father’s mysterious journal from his war years leads Miles to unexpected connections. While he struggles to make sense of his life, he finds himself pondering a lifestyle that could cement his role as an outsider.

Hangers-on like Rusty Morrisdale, full of himself and his job working for a literary agent, found a peripheral role in the group, but his behavior was obnoxious. Others put up with him, believing he had something to offer. Then there was good looking Bobby who drew many to him, just because of his beauty and his charisma. These extraneous characters reveal themselves occasionally, but really add little to the story, except as cautionary reminders of what to avoid. Or as foils for the primary characters.

Can the characters reach their dreams? What will they have to do to make that happen? Will the past rear its ugly head and bring them down? What would be the eventual links between them that would last beyond those early years, and how would the events of their youth inform their lives? Then, as a final twist, the author fast-forwards to the 1980s to reveal some of the consequences in the characters’ lives.

Three-Martini Lunch was alternately narrated by Cliff, Eden, and Miles. Their antics, their dreams, and what they would do to achieve them resonates for those who have lived during those times. The author vividly paints the scenes, depicting the era with authenticity, bringing a nostalgic glimmer to those moments from the past. The typewriter as an instrument felt like a poignant reminder of what once was, for those who now enjoy the technology of computers and social networking, while the party scenes vividly show the reader what real life connections look like. 5 stars.

FEEDING MY BOOKWORM…AND THOUGHTS ABOUT CHANGES

 

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It has been such a short time since Bloggiesta, when I totally made over this site….and now, a little more than a month later, I’m at it again!

New theme, new header, new background.  New logo for Weekly Updates.

 

 

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Some of my obsessions include making over things, purging stuff, and rearranging my rooms. 

This week, I gathered up two handfuls of clothes from my closet.  Clothes I hadn’t worn in more than five years.  Now my closet looks very neat.  And I have lots of extra hangers!  LOL.

I will never again have a closet I love as much as the one in my A-frame house in the foothills.  In the last year I was there, my son did a lot of painting for me, added some ceiling fans, and put in California Closets for me.  I so loved it!

But this rented condo is not worth the time.  Already I have the bookshelves and DVD shelves he built…so that gives me a good feeling. 

 

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DVD shelves in late April

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Over at my Bookish Thursdays post, I ranted a little about losing my reading mojo…after finishing two books I loved.

A Desirable Residence and Fin & Lady were books I bought in 2014 from the Barnes & Noble bargain table.  I have tried numerous times to get into each of them.  I’ve even posted excerpts for various memes.  So I planned to read them during the Read-a-Thon…but spent all my time on The Obsession (which I loved!  Click title for my review).

 

 

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No luck!  I gave up on each of them after 50 pages, which is my minimum.  Sometimes I go 100 pages, but only if I can’t stop reading…which means I’ve engaged.

So these two books were tossed out with the recycling.  I’m sure they are great books, and it’s probably my fault that I couldn’t connect with the characters or the situations.

Or I could blame how much I loved the books I already read this week.

Now I’m alternating between two books…one on Pippa, and one print book.  More on those books another day.

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These are my Curl up and Read moments for the week…

What did your week look like so far?  Or how about your obsessions, changes, binge-watching, etc.?

 

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THAT’S A WRAP: READ-A-THON IS OVER!

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My very first Read-a-Thon went pretty well, I think.  Okay, I didn’t read the stack of books I had selected…but I did read one of them, a 453 page book, The Obsession.  (Click for my review).

 

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A great page-turner romantic suspense that kept me glued to the pages.

But here is how my day unfolded.

7:30 a.m.- Started reading…took occasional breaks and took photos of snacks, etc.  Visited some blogs and then resumed reading.

2:00 p.m. – Tired eyes…took a nap.

3:00 p.m. – Resumed reading.

5:00 p.m. – Dinner and reading

Then my charger on Pippa went out, so I had to hook it up to my laptop.  I couldn’t figure out how to read while it was charging…so I got online to write my weekly updates, check e-mails, and order a new charger.

10:00 – Resumed reading until 11:00 p.m.

Slept until 1:30, so I read until 3:00 a.m.  Went back to sleep.

Woke up at 6:30 a.m., finished reading and checked some blog posts.  That’s a wrap!

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My optimistic reading goals included these books, 2 print versions and a couple more on Pippa:

 

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WEEKLY UPDATES: A READ-A-THON & MORE

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Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

It has been a good week for reading, and today I’ve joined in for Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  I started out fairly late this morning, around 7:30 a.m., and I’ve been going at it pretty steadily.  I’ve taken some breaks to blog and visit sites, have snacks, and even some dinner.  My original plan was to read two or three small books, but instead, I started on one with 454 pages…and kept going with it because I love it.  I should be finished soon.

I haven’t done a lot of movie watching this week, and nothing on Netflix.  Usually that’s a weekend thing, but now I’ve got the reading thing going on.  Here’s my reading with dinner.

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Let’s Chase Away the Blues & Muse About Books

Tuesday Sparks:  Excerpting “Terrible Virtue”

Reminiscing Childhood Moments:  Excerpted from “Web of Tyranny”

Bookish Hump Day: “The Beauty of the End”

Hump Day Potpourri:  Passions, Change, & the Comfort Zone

Bookish Thursdays #10:  A Potpourri of Events

Bookish Fridays:  “The Obsession”

Snow Sparks:  The Eyes, Etc.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon:  Morning Launch

Read-a-Thon:  An Engaging Story & a Snack

Review:  A Fatal Grace (e-book), by Louise Penny

Review:  Terrible Virtue (e-book), by Ellen Feldman

Review:  Mother Knows Best, by Karen MacInerney (Vine)

Review:  June, by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore (Vine)

 

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books in the mailbox!  But I bought one print book at Barnes & Noble, and downloaded an e-book.

The One & Only, by Emily Giffin

 

 

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My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (e-book), by Fredrik Backman

 

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT? (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Currently Reading:

The Obsession (e-book), by Nora Roberts

 

 

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Have No Shame (e-book), by Melissa Foster

 

 

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A Thirty-Something Girl (e-book), by Lisa M. Gott

 

 

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There are more books on my stacks, of course, and I will follow my whims to see what comes after these.

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That’s my week.  What did yours look like?  Enjoy….

 

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READ-A-THON: AN ENGAGING STORY & A SNACK

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It is almost Hour Four for me, and I just prepared a light snack of apples and peanut butter…with my caffeine.

I’m still reading The Obsession, avoiding the short books for this captivating read.  I’m now on P. 100.

 

 

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After struggling through the aftermath of her father’s crimes, Naomi is trying to start over.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

I’m loving the main character, Naomi Carson (previously Naomi Bowes).  After a troubling time in Washington, D.C., and then in New York, Naomi has taken up residence in Sunrise Cove, Washington.  I am loving the renovations she is making on the beautiful home that faces water.  A photographer, Naomi has an artist’s eye, and the descriptions make me feel…well, as if I’m there with her.

How are you doing on this journey?

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DEWEY’S 24 HOUR READATHON: MORNING LAUNCH

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Good morning, blogging world!  Today will be my first time participating (officially) in this Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon.

I am getting a late start, but here is a peek at some of the books on my stack today, which include some print books and several on Pippa, my Kindle, atop the stack.  The popcorn is an added incentive:

 

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I chose some books that have been on my pile for a while, but I have some newer ones to attack on Pippa.

I am blogging here from Fresno, CA, and have been part of the blogosphere for eight years this month!

My first blogging year was a wash, as I had no clue…and then, suddenly, I started finding other bloggers, joining events and memes, and connecting!

Now I’m off to read…but I will be back occasionally, and will do a wrap-up when I’m finished.

Have fun!  Here’s my reading spot….

 

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REVIEW: TERRIBLE VIRTUE, BY ELLEN FELDMAN

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Margaret Higgins Sanger grew up in a small town in New York (Corning), and in Terrible Virtue, the fictionalized tale of her life and her quest, we come to understand more about what drove her.

A hard-drinking father and a worn-out mother who had given birth to thirteen children would set the stage for the pursuits she followed. Escape from the small town life and from the destiny she would face if she chose to follow her mother’s path, Margaret’s obsession to help women choose when and how many children to have kept her outside the norm in many ways.

For in the early twentieth century, birth control was still illegal, and only the wealthy had the privilege of finding ways around the laws.

When Margaret began her nursing career, she also launched her studies of contraception, and set out to enlist those who could aid in her research and help her bring the knowledge to those who were downtrodden and impoverished.

Along the way, she met and married Bill Sanger, they had a brief time as an “ordinary” couple, and they had three children…but Margaret’s overriding passion would take her away from her husband and children on a regular basis.

Not only did she have a passion for her work, she was drawn regularly into sexual liasons, which set her apart from those around her as well. Her path crossed with the thinkers of the day, some of whom were also passionate about sexual quests. We see her meet up with John Reed, Emma Goldman, and ultimately, Havelock Ellis, who some would say was the love of her life.

How would Margaret reconcile her work with her family life? How would her losses fuel her passions? Would jail and fighting the establishment stop her, or spur her on? And how would one loss continually haunt her?

Narrated in Margaret’s first person voice, hers is joined by the occasional letters and thoughts of others, rounding out the tale for the reader. I could not put this book down, and while I thought I knew a bit about the movement, now I know a lot more.

These stories take me back to my own early days, after the pill and Planned Parenthood. In the 70s, volunteering in a clinic, there was still so much more to be done. We counseled women and girls in rooms no larger than a bathroom. I remember putting my clipboard across the sink while I filled in forms. We have come a long way! But even now, there are those who would take away some of our rights. Let us not forget the long hard journey. 5.0 stars.