AN UPCOMING CHANGE: MOVING WEEKLY UPDATES

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Good morning!  Friday is here already, and it feels as though I blinked and the week flew by.

Here’s a little heads-up for those who visit my Weekly Updates.  This coming week, and for the foreseeable future, I will be returning to my Serendipity blog for that post.

I like to change this event around, just so readers can see my other blogs.

I’m on my third book this week, which is not as great as last week (with four books), but I’ve been loving all my books, and savoring this one, The Beauty of the End, by Debbie Howells.

 

 

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I try to avoid the Amazon Vine page, since I don’t want to over stuff my stacks with review books, but today I found a book that I was going to buy anyway…so, of course I requested it.

Falling, by Jane Green, is  a novel about the pleasure and meaning of finding a home—and family—where you least expect them…

 

 

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So now I’m curling up with my current read…and hoping to finish by day’s end.  Enjoy your weekend!

 

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BLOG WHACKING: WHAT I DID WITH MY SURPLUS….

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Wednesdays are a good day to curl up and consider my blog world.  I have been purging my home interiors, ridding myself of much of the book hoard….and someone posed the question of taking a look at my numerous blogs.  Just a thought.  Thanks, Patty, @Books, Thoughts, & a Few Adventures...LOL.

The fun I had with my HUGE number of blogs has diminished over time, although I don’t think I will ever have just one.  I do like my eclectic, quirky sites.  But I could examine a few of them.

So that’s what I did. 

After Bloggiesta finished, I especially zeroed in on my one remaining Blogger site, and an e-mail from Amazon Associates about major changes in widgets, links, etc., propelled me forward.  My only reason for remaining in that site was the advantage of those widgets.  So…without too much thought, but after examining my posts and changing links to any reviews on that site (there were only two!), I deleted it.

Yes, Story Corner went bye-bye earlier this week.  Even though it was my first blog.  And there was a little tug of sentimentality, but most of what I wrote there could easily be created elsewhere.

 

 

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Next I took another look at my ten remaining sites, all on Word Press.  No, Chocolate & Mimosas is still a lot of fun, even though I don’t post there very often.  Snow Chronicles, my writing journal, is still functional.

So that left…Going out on a Limb.  Yes, I loved it for a while.  And when I pulled up the book review category, there were LOTS of reviews posted there.  Pages, in fact.  What to do?  Well, the only site that linked to them was this blog, Curl up and Read, and the reviews were all in 2010-2013.  So my ruthless decision?  Delete those pages on this blog, and keep only 2014-2015.  Everything I review is on Goodreads, anyway.

 

 

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Done!  Now I need one of these, as a reward for the hard work:  LOL

 

 

saturday lunch, with drinks

 

I will be going to lunch with a friend later, and then we’re going to see the movie I’ll See You In My Dreams, with Blythe Danner, et. al.

 

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So that’s how my day is going so far….lots of grunt work, followed by a lovely reward.  What are you up to on this Hump Day?

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IT’S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Good morning, it’s time for one of our favorite Monday memes, hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey.

Here’s our chance to get together, from all over the blogosphere, to celebrate the past week’s reading, to talk about what’s up this week, and to network with other bloggers.

My past week was not exactly stellar, in terms of reading accomplishments, but I did enjoy what I read.

I did a little bloggy stuff, like combining my now defunct Snow Impressions with Connections to make Snow Connections and Impressions.

 

As for the reading, here’s what I accomplished:

Reviewed Last Week:

1)  Guest House, by Barbara K. Richardson (Click title for Review)

2)  The Position, by Meg Wolitzer

Ongoing:

1)  Fly Away Home, by Jennifer Weiner

2)  Give Me Your Heart, by Joyce Carol Oates

What’s Planned for This Week:

1)  Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives, by Josie Brown (an Amazon Vine read).

Here’s a tidbit from Amazon:

Just in time for summer, Brown’s novel offers an enjoyable, if predictable, take on suburban California family life, complete with mommy cliques, rebel teenagers, and, of course, lots of adultery. Lyssa is a pushover mom striving for approval from her judgmental peers as well as her three active kids and overworked husband. She befriends Harry, a recently divorced half of the untouchable “perfect couple” of Paradise Heights, and in the process makes trouble for her family, but also finds some freedom from the pressures of wealthy suburbia. This is a town where kids have names like Tanner, McGuyver, and Temple; women meet daily at Starbucks to measure themselves against each other; and facials and pedicures are scheduled around school pickups. It’s unfortunate that the narrator, Lyssa, is no more accessible or intelligent than any of her peers, and it’s sometimes hard to root for her. However, these women inside their fishbowl are fun to peer in on despite being caricaturish, and the momentum of Brown’s writing and plot keeps the pages turning. –Annie Tully

2)  As Husbands Go, by Susan Isaacs.

On Amazon, this blurb enticed me:

She may not be as brainy as her famous Manhattan plastic-surgeon husband, Jonah, nor as proper as his snooty rich parents. And she may be clueless about mothering, thanks to her wildly deficient Brooklynite parents (picture schlumpy, depressed Roz Chast characters), but nonetheless Susie loves her triplets, three rambunctious four-year-old boys. She also takes unabashed pleasure in her happy marriage, her floral design company, her humongous Long Island home, and her designer wardrobe. She may be shallow, as she’s the first to admit, but she does have heart. And ethics, even though she’s not sure what that means. And so when her husband is found stabbed to death in a prostitute’s apartment, Susie is devastated, skeptical about the open-and-shut case touted by the district attorney and her impossible in-laws, and determined to unearth the truth about Jonah’s killer. Her best ally turns out to be her glamorous renegade grandmother Ethel, a woman so cold she abandoned her daughter. But maybe Ethel is due for a thaw as these two queens of chutzpah and couture conduct a brazen investigation. Isaacs’ latest Jewish-gal-in-distress adventure purrs along perfectly––sharply funny, all-knowing, and marvelously diverting. –Donna Seaman

When I combine these new reads with those ongoing, I should be very busy this week.  What do you have planned?  And what did you finish?  I hope you’ll come on over and share.

IT’S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?

Good morning and welcome to this wonderful meme hosted by Sheila, of Book Journey.

I’m very excited about this past week, as well as the upcoming one.

In the blogging world, I posted an interview on Wednesday with a fascinating paranormal author, Denise Verrico.

Then, today I’ve reviewed a wonderful mystery and posted an interview with the author, Lauren Carr.

Books Read This Week (Click Title for Review):

1)  Beachcombers, by Nancy Thayer

2)  It’s Murder, My Son, by Lauren Carr

3)  Guest House, by Barbara K. Richardson (Review will be up later today)

Books On the List for This Week:

1)  The Position, by Meg Wolitzer

Here’s a titillating tidbit from Amazon:

Wolitzer’s novel of sexual politics and family farce continues in the dark comic vein that she mined in “The Wife.” In the nineteenseventies, at the height of the sexual revolution, a married couple, aptly named Mellow, publish a liberated sex manual that features pictures of themselves and includes a sexual position—”Electric Forgiveness”—that they claim to have invented. The manual becomes an epochal best-seller. The publication, decades later, of a new edition of the notorious classic is a catalyst for a plot that examines the effects of this legacy on the adult children of the Mellows, who are now divorced. These effects are variously hilarious, disabling, painful, embarrassing, and, ultimately, empowering. Wolitzer’s comic timing never wavers, and she has an astute grasp of the way one generation’s liberation inspires the next generation’s pity.

2)  Give Me Your Heart, by Joyce Carol Oates (Short Story Collection)

A blurb from Amazon:

The need for love—obsessive, self-destructive, unpredictable—takes us to forbidden places, as in the chilling world of Give Me Your Heart, a new collection of stories by the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates.

3)  Fly Away Home, by Jennifer Weiner

A snippet:

“Unflappably fun… Hilarious… In Jennifer Weiner’s luscious new novel, Fly Away Home, a political wife’s predicament is the catalyst for a highly entertaining story… The message is choosing to live an authentic life. As always, Weiner gives us a woman who stands taller, curvier, and happier when she does just that.” —USA Today

“This is summer reading at its best: entertaining and full of insight into relationships and how they change” — People (3.5 out of 4 stars)

“Fresh, nuanced… Weiner wryly and sensitively shows the trade-offs we all make to maintain our relationships.” —Parade

I’m very excited about the upcoming week, with these delightful books awaiting me.  And I’ve really enjoyed this past week, too.

Hope you’ll stop by and share your own plans for the week.

IN PURSUIT OF THE BIG BAD WOLF — A Review of “The Big Bad Wolf”

When Alex Cross first joins up with the FBI, he is assigned to a big case. One involving the kidnapping of men and women in broad daylight–who then disappear completely. The victims are being bought and sold, and the shadowy figure behind it all is a Russian predator dubbed The Wolf.

Every time the agents have a lead, they are stymied. They find and arrest several participants in this ring, but everywhere they turn, The Wolf eludes them. Each time they think they have finally identified him, they come up short.

Meanwhile, Alex’s family life is taking a hit, too. His youngest son, Alex, given up by the mother, Christine Johnson, in his infancy, is now the subject of a new custody battle. It seems that Christine is pulling out all the stops and stating that Alex Cross is a lightning rod for danger, which puts his son at risk.

This is a very exciting tale, between the FBI pursuits, bureaucratic hijinks, and various near misses…while on the periphery, the shadow of the custody battle looms.

Until the very last page, I wasn’t sure how this would end up, but I knew I had to keep reading. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this particular Alex Cross adventure,The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross), it wasn’t one of the best. Therefore, the four star rating.

SECRETS IN AN ALL-GIRLS SCHOOL — A Review of “Unfinished Desires”

An elderly retired nun, formerly headmistress at an all-girls’ school in the mountains of North Carolina, has taken on an important task.  Although nearly blind, Mother Suzanne Ravenal is dictating tapes in order to write a memoir.

She first came to Mount St. Gabriel’s as a student, considering a “vocation.”  Her best friend Antonia is also considering becoming a nun, but at the last minute, something happened between the two girls that resulted in Suzanne’s early admission and a rift between the two.  Soon Antonia is no longer in the picture.

Subsequently, Antonia marries Henry Vick, an architect, but on their honeymoon, a tragic accident takes her life.

What transpired between the two girls forms the crux of this tale of secrets, betrayals, and future events with students in one fateful year dubbed “the toxic year.”

That year—1951—ninth graders in attendance at the school where Ravenal is now the headmistress have formed alliances.  First there is Tildy Stratton, whose mother Cornelia is Antonia’s twin sister; then there is Chloe Varnes, niece of Henry Vick and daughter of now deceased Agnes, who also attended this school.  Then comes Maud Norton, whose once-tight friendship with Tildy is now defunct.

All is set up for melodrama, which ensues rather quickly.  But it is only at the end of ninth grade that something happens while the girls are performing a play—a traditional play—and everything crumbles.

What secret has set the tone for this “toxic year”?  What relationships and alliances have threatened Mother Ravenal so much that she takes drastic steps?  And what will be the aftermath of these events?

This rather lengthy tome was intriguing, and at times, I almost gave up on it.  But it was fascinating enough that I kept plugging away.  The author very skillfully weaves the past and present, but at times, this task seemed unwieldy.  And, despite the artful literary nature of this book, I found it tedious, which led to awarding it 4 stars.  Perhaps 4.5.

A GOLDEN ERA

It was a memorable time in history—the 1980s in America—and dreams of financial success seemed within reach.

But sometimes dreams turn into nightmares, and after riding high, the crash is even harder.

Such are the lessons learned by Joe Stratford and friends, in this wonderful novel by the incomparable Jane Smiley, Good Faith.

This one was not technically part of my TBR stacks, as I got it and “The House on Tradd Street” from the library.

 

WHEN THE PAST RISES UP — A Review of “U is for Undertow”

When a potential client visits Private Detective Kinsey Millhone’s office, he has a somewhat preposterous story to tell. When he was six years old, he was visiting a friend; bored, he wandered out to the wooded area behind the house, where he describes seeing two men burying something.

Now the client, Michael Sutton, believes that they were burying a child who’d gone missing from that neighborhood two days before.

However, when Kinsey persuades a police detective friend to get a search warrant, they dig up a dead dog.

In the weeks that follow, we watch Kinsey trying to make sense of the story and piece together clues and explanations that might lead to the answers. Meanwhile, the author offers us a peek into the past as she alternates Kinsey’s efforts with the stories of an assortment of characters that were living in the neighborhood during the time in question.

Compelling tale that provides the suspense I enjoy, along with snippets of Kinsey’s daily life that add that cozy, down-to-earth element, I found myself reading late at night until I turned the final page.

Now I can’t wait for the next alphabet read! U is for Undertow (Kinsey Millhone Mystery) definitely gets a five-star vote from me.

DESIGNING WOMEN — A Review of “The Way Men Act”

When Melinda LeBlanc returns home to Harrow after years away and approaching thirty, she is almost licking her wounds. Life after her high school popularity hasn’t turned out the way she’d hoped. She has moved in with her mother and started a career as a designing florist—but working for her cousin and his wife.

This last part sticks in her craw, but she relishes her creativity and popularity as a designer, and the venues she enjoys—weddings, etc.—and her proximity to a certain musician offer some consolation. While he is not The One, he is certainly Mr. Right Now.

Then she enjoys a one-night-stand with an old high school athlete and next-door businessman, Dennis Vaughan, but even though she wants more from their relationship, it doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

Add to the mix her old high-school friend Libby Getchel, whose vintage dress design shop is next door, and there would supposedly be friendship and commiseration in large quantities. But not so much.

When disappointing events turn out to be devastating for her career and seemingly for her love life, Melinda has to reinvent herself as a designer. But unexpectedly, love turns out to be right in front of her.

What seemingly negative events turn into a positive for Melinda? And what confrontations lead to freedom?

The Way Men Act: A Novel was a surprisingly fun and quick read, earning five stars for humor, drama, and unexpected happenings.

MURDER IN A COZY NEIGHBORHOOD — A Review of “Perfect for Framing”

Power struggles, small town characters, and breath-taking North Carolina scenery add just the ingredients to keep the reader turning the pages in this compelling whodunit.

A woman with zero popularity is found dead and, of course, the list of suspects is long. Jemma Chase, who loves a mystery and happens to be dating the detective on the case, finds herself smack in the middle of the adventures. Not only does she love searching out clues, she is a talented carpenter/cabinet-maker and photographer to boot. She gives new meaning to the word Renaissance woman.

Perfect for Framing (An Appalachian Adventure Mystery) is a cozy, sometimes humorous story that hooks the reader, even as the clues begin piling up. But just when I thought I had it all figured out, a new clue would surface and I would end up back at square one.

Sprinkle in a cast of quirky and homey characters that make up the membership of the Property Owners’ Association, and you not only have a list of potential killers but possibly the guest list for your next neighborhood party. Even when you’re considering that many of these people could have killed the victim, you find yourself hoping against their guilt because they’re all so likeable…well, most of them, anyway!

This book is one in a series with some of these characters, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Five stars for this read!