REVIEW: THE SUMMER HOUSE, BY HANNAH MCKINNON

 

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.

No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves.

My Thoughts: In alternating narratives, we meet each of the family members as they approach their final summer in the Rhode Island vacation home. At the beginning of their week together, none of the adult children know of their parents’ plans to sell the house. They approach the week as one of many, remembering summers in the past and envisioning more in the future.

Clem is still suffering from her loss; Sam and Evan struggle with the adoption issues that might not work out for them; and Paige is worried about how distant her husband David has been. Then there are Paige’s teen children, Emma and Ned, each behaving in ways that signal trouble ahead.

As the week unfolds, with the party approaching, we wonder if they would have different thoughts on the lives they took for granted, once they know what their parents have planned. Will their memories and feelings seem more precious to them in light of the upcoming change?

Before their awareness, however, they interact like the siblings that grew up together: fierce, competitive, and sometimes brash. But when forced to consider the alternative of never spending the summers in the house, they seem to mellow out, calm down, and come up with a solution. The Summer House was a somewhat predictable, yet still engaging family story that kept me wondering how they would deal with the changes ahead. 4.5.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

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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.

 

The week flew by, but I enjoyed my books; I also did some binge-watching of Happy Valley and The Newsroom on Netflix and Amazon Video.  I am also watching Grace and Frankie, now that Season II is out.

To celebrate my weekend, I’ve rearranged some things in my bedroom so I can watch there via my TV/Laptop hook-up (HDMI cable).  I watch via the Blu-Ray in my living room.

I only finished reading and reviewing two books, but they were both really good.  I’m halfway through the third book.

I got an early Mother’s Day delivery today…a balloon, a bear, and these gorgeous edible treats:

 

 

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LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Serendipitous Musings:  I Can’t Wait to Get a Copy!

Tuesday Potpourri:  Excerpting “The Excellent Lombards”

Serendipitous Wednesdays:  Waiting for “Siracusa”

Thoughts from the Interior:  Favorite Places

Hump Day Potpourri:  Welcome to My Interior World!

Interior World Shake-Ups:  When Will I Stop?

Bookish Thursdays # 12:  Serendipitous Moments

Bookish Fridays:  Excerpting “The Other Typist”

Rainy Day Reading:  Curling up with Books & Netflix

Saturday Sparks:  Spotlighting Interior & Exterior Moments

Review:  Lies & Other Acts of Love (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Review:  Don’t You Cry (e-book), by Mary Kubica –(NetGalley – 5/17)

 

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AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE:

From Kristilyn, at A Little Time to Read:  Bullet Journaling:  One Month In

From Lexxie, at Up Close & (un)Conventional – Memes

 

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

No books in the mailbox!  I did receive two review ARCs from NetGalley…and downloaded four purchased e-books.

Ink & Bone (e-book), by Lisa Unger  (NetGalley – 6/7)

 

 

 

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All the Missing Girls (e-book), by Megan Miranda – (NetGalley – 6/28)

 

 

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Purchases:

Dear Carolina (e-book), by Kristy Woodson Harvey

 

 

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The Blue Bath (e-book), by Mary Waters-Sayer

 

 

 

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Wilde Lake (e-book), by Laura Lippman

 

 

 

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I Let You Go (e-book), by Claire Mackintosh

 

 

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

Currently Reading:  What We Find (e-book), by Robyn Carr

 

 

 

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Next:  My Name Is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

 

 

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There will be others from my stacks, depending on my mood and available time….What did your week look like?  Come on by and chat, sharing your comments and links.

 

Coffee, Mimosa, & reading - 2

 

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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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REVIEW: THOSE GIRLS, BY CHEVY STEVENS

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The three sisters were bound together by the cruelty of the life they lived, with an alcoholic father who turned violent and often went missing, and without their mother who had died years before.  They were often lonely on the remote farm in Western Canada, but they found comfort in each other.

 
One night, their father turned on them while drunk and things got out of hand.  They ran, knowing that they would face even more trouble if they stayed.

 
On the way to Vancouver, their destination, their truck broke down outside a small town called Cash Creek, and when two young men offered help, they were reluctant.  But went along, to their great remorse afterwards.  What happened to them in those five days would inform the rest of their lives.

 
They escaped, they took on new identities with the help of a kind man who ran the pub, and made new lives in Vancouver.  But eighteen years later, everything goes wrong, and they are face-to-face with their past again.

 
Dani, Courtney, and Jess Campbell—who became Dallas, Crystal, and Jamie Caldwell—were characters that grabbed hold of my heart and made me want to root for them.  Their vulnerability, mixed with the strength of their fierce protectiveness of one another, kept me glued to the pages, wondering how they would be forced to confront their past and how they would come out the other end…or if they would.

 
Jamie’s daughter Skylar is an interesting addition to the cast of original characters, and her story is equally compelling.  Those Girls was narrated by each in turn, with the first part in Jess/Jamie’s voice, followed by Skylar’s voice.  At the end, we finally hear Dani/Dallas’s voice, and feel, along with her, the anger, frustration, and helplessness…and then the peace that comes with some kind of resolution.

BLOGGIESTA: MARCH 23-29 – FROM START TO FINISH!

 

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And it’s a wrap, folks!  After a week of productivity and fun, we are done for now.  Bloggiesta, goodbye!

Here’s what I managed to accomplish.  I have crossed out the completed tasks…and as you can see, it was a great week.  And here is my Best Blogging Advice.

 

My List:

 

❏  write two reviews: First Review:  1) What I Remember Most, by Cathy Lamb;   Second Review: 2) Someone Is Watching, by Joy Fielding.  Done!
❏  clean up sidebars in one or two of my other blogs; cleaned up sidebar in Creative Journey; cleaned up sidebar on An Interior Journey.
❏  add a page (about me, contact, policy, etc)Page added under My Books, with Online LinksAdded an About Me page.   Done!
❏  clean up labels/tags  done!
❏  do two mini challenges; participated in Simplify Blogging Mini-Challenge; Pin Author Interviews Challenge.
 change or fix one thing on my sidebar done!
❏  deleted some of my older pages, and combined them into one – combined older bookshelves into one:   2010-2013; TWEAKED the Chat Room pages; edited the main page for Bookshelves 2010-2013

❏  change one thing on my layout and/or look – Header, Background  done!
❏  comment on other Bloggiesta partipants’ blogs-have commented on 20 blogs so far

Revised the Chat Page on my blog Creative Journey;

Created new header at Creative Journey

 

 

Revised the Author Pages at An Interior Journey

Changed header on An Interior Journey; Changed header and background on Potpourri

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Make a new Blog Button  Done!

Clean up media library – Oops!  I didn’t realize that by deleting the images from the library, they would disappear from the posts!  My bad.  So some of my posts are missing their images…and because I went a little crazy, it will take too much time to put them all back.  Why did I think this was a good idea?  Epic fail!

Spent several hours fixing the blog posts, inserting some images, and deleting the “numbers” that appeared in place of the images.

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Here is a screen shot of the pre-bloggiesta layout

 

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