The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless


In 1992, the body of Chris McCandless was found in an abandoned bus in Alaska.  The book, Into The Wild (which I reviewed here) tells the true story of Chris’s restless life.  After graduating from high school he left in his car,giving away the $25,000 dollars he had in his savings for college never to be seen or heard from his family again.  Into The Wild shares what Chris’s life was like after his disappearance, pieced together through a journal he kept.  Into The Wild, as I mentioned, portrays Chris as someone who does not want no submit to the ways of the world; yet marches to his own drum.

Now, 18 years later, in The Wild Truth, Chris’ sister comes forth with more to the story.  With a forward from the Into The Wild author Jon Krakauer shares that Carine had showed him letters from Chris that back up some of his reasons for leaving, reasons that Carine asked Jon not to share in the original book and he honored this request.

The Wild Truth shares more to the story.  At the time of Chris’ birth, his father Walt was having an affair with Chris’s mother Billie who worked for Walt, while still married and having children with his own wife as well. There were times that both women were pregnant at the same time.  While Walt would have been happy to keep things as they were, seeing and having children with both women, eventually, his wife Marcia divorced him and moved away.  Walt and Billie had a second child, Carine.

Walt and Billie’s marriage was unhealthy.  They fought constantly and Walt was both physically and verbally abusive.  Chris and Carine were often called into the room to choose a parent which was a losing situation.  When Chris was in high school his father once hit him as hard as he could in the spine of his back.

In Carine’s account in her book, Chris’ departure was sad as she loved her brother but not surprising.

One of the final pictures Chis had taken of himself while living in the bus in Alaska days before he died.

One of the final pictures Chis had taken of himself while living in the bus in Alaska days before he died.



I have always been fascinated with the Chris McCandless story.  When I reviewed the book, I followed it up with the movie – both of which I would recommend.  In The Wild Truth, Carine paints a much different household picture as I mention above.

While the first part of the book is about their parents Walt and Billie; the affair, the fighting, the half siblings… it later goes into a mix of poor relationship choices that Carine makes throughout her younger years including two failed marriages.

I am glad I listened to this book, I did enjoy knowing more of the Chris McCandless story and Carine’s narration of her own book was excellent.  I do however find myself torn on how I feel about the book.  The information on Chris I liked and getting to know him more through his younger sister was nice.  Yet her own personal relationships and some of the books content left me questioning where I land on this.

I am glad I listened to it.  I understand after all these years she wanted the full truth to be known.  I just am left in limbo.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 47 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Release Date: November 11, 2014


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


Hey there!  Welcome to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list! ;)

I am HOME!  Yes!  For the first time in three weeks I am sitting at home in the comfort of my recliner and typing up this post.  PURE BLISS.  I cant even tell you.  I am still pretty wiped out but have a nice low key week now with the boys coming over on Thursday for Thanksgiving and that is my highlight.

Here is what I posted this past week:

Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones

The Banks Of Certain Rovers by Jon Harrison

Big Driver by Stephen King


What I Was Doing While I Was Away In Florida…

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

The books that came in the mail while I was away

If I Stay Book VS Movie


Not too bad a week. :)  For this week I plan on:


For My Eyes



With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michael’s has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies.

To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.



For My Ears



With her fiery red hair, new-girl outsider status, and tendency to be a total klutz, Autumn Falls definitely isn’t flying below the radar at Aventura High. Luckily, she makes some genuine friends who take her under their wing. But she also manages to get on the wrong side of the school’s queen bee, and then finds out the guy she’s started to like, funny and sweet Sean, hangs with the mean crowd. Now her rep and her potential love life are at stake.

When Autumn vents her feelings in a journal that belonged to her late father, suddenly her wildest wishes start coming true. Is it coincidence? Or can writing in the journal solve all her problems? And if the journal doesn’t work that way,  is there a bigger purpose for it—and for her?




In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child. CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make: tell the truth, and destroy her family, or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies….


I suspect there will be more but I cant make up my mind now so there it is.  :)  What are you reading this coming week?  Please add your link to It’s Monday What Are You Reading where it says click here below:


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For those of you who read mainly children and middle grade books, please also feel free to add your link here:


If I Stay Book vs. Movie



Synopsis:  Mia Hall is a gifted cellist.  She is quite possibly on her way to Julliard and is making hard decision with her boyfriend Adam who plays in a successful band.  Stay or go seem to be the decisions that Mia struggles with.  She has wonderful loving parents and a little brother she adores… there is so much to stay for.  Then one snow day her family takes a drive and is in a terrible accident that leaves Mia in a coma.  Mia has an out of body experience as she sees herself in the hospital.  As everything crumbles around her Mia and only Mia can make the decision if she should stay or if she should go.


The Book

I reviewed this book on my birthday in 2011.  Side note.. my reviews are kind of funny then… for myself I rated the book an average read.  It was good and I liked it but it was not over the top WOW.  We reviewed this as a group for my book club and we actually had a wonderful discussion over it, which I talk about in the review.


The Movie

I recently watched the movie of If I Stay that came out this year.  I did not think it would be “theater worthy” so I waited for it to come out for rental.  I have to admit I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the movie.  Mia played by Chloe Grace Moretz was wonderful.  I teared up several times during the scenes where she experiencing the pain of seeing what is happening around her.  Adam, played by Jamie Blackley was also exceptional.  Maybe I was just in the right mood for this kind of movie but whatever it was it really touched my heart.

Knowing that time and distance from the reading of the book may have to do with my decision her today I am going to have to say the winner of this Book vs Movie is…



See it… read it… but if you are going to choose one or the other I think the movie came off as more powerful and emotional.  Dang… it was GOOD.

Morning Meanderings… The Books That Arrived The Last Three Weeks!


Have I mentioned how good it is to be home?

I have been back two full days now and I seriously do not even want to stick a toe out the door.  My sleep patterns are off, I am wiped out by 7 pm, but if I go to bed I am awake by 4 am…much my hours of sleep in Florida.  If you missed what I was doing in Florida that kept the odd hours, I posted about that yesterday.

Today, as promised I am posting about the book mail that came into my home during the past three weeks:


Yup.  It is a crazy pile.  However before you panic for me… the left row is all audio.  A few of the books in the middle and to the right are purchased by me.  Some are for release in 2015.

Here is a better breakdown:


The audio tower.  From top to bottom we have:

Misadventures of Edgar and Allan Poe by Gordon McAlpine

Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand - YA adaption (it’s true I still have not read this one)

On The Road with Janis Joplin by John Byrne Cooke

Althea and Oliver by Crista Moracho

Christ Actually by James Carroll

Hand To Mouth by Linda Tirado

The Color Of Water by James McBride

The Republic Of Imagination by Azar Nafisa

How We Get To Now by Steven Johnson

LOVE Without Limits by Nick Vujicic




Now the books from left (top to bottom) to right (top to bottom):


The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom

Jack and Louisa Act 1 by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead

Dirty Chick by Antonia Murphy

The Look Of Love by Sarah Jio

Lost and Found by Brooke Davis

Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright

Play On by Mick Fleetwood

Napoleon by Andrew Roberts

Girl In The Arena by Lisa Haines (purchased by me)

The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble (purchased by me)

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

Myths and Mysteries Of New York by Fran Capo (purchased by me)

Careless People by Sarah Churchwell (purchased by me)

The Finisher by David Baldacci

The Escape by David Baldacci

The Olive Tree by Marston/Ewart


My Sunday is unfortunately not just hanging at home, warm and cozy with books.  After church this morning a group of us are decorating the library for Christmas.  It is a potluck event so I am making wild rice meatballs and pickle butts.  The pickle butts recipe is going up here later today.  It is easy and tasty!  :)

The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain


When Tara and Emerson’s long time friend Noelle commits suicide the two women are left with many questions.  Noelle never showed any sign of depression or had any reason to commit suicide.  Noelle was always pleasant and happy.  She had been a midwife and loved what she did.  Yet when Tara and Emerson start cleaning up Noelle’s things they find a shocking letter.

Dear Anna, What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I’m so sorry.

Suddenly Tara and Emerson are thrust into a situation where they need to make hard ethical choices.  It turns out, they really did not know their friend at all.



It was just a week or so ago I stumbled across this amazing author when I listened to The Silent Sister and was blown away by the totally engaging read.  Yet I had to wonder, was it a one hit wonder?

No.  A resounding no.  Diane Chamberlain nails it again with The Midwife’s Confession.  Right from the start I found both Emerson and Tara to be likable people.  Through them and their memories as well as flash backs, I was able to get to know Noelle as well.

Beautifully told, Noelle’s story is a great addition to filling in the holes of what her friends did not know.  Another mind-blowing outcome that had me guessing what the outcome would be… and when I knew… I was shocked again.

Narrated by a wonderful cast:  Angela Dawe (Narrator), Cassandra Campbell (Narrator), Abby Craden (Narrator), Xe Sands (Narrator), Cris Dukehart (Narrator) . Distinctive voices, perfect pitch… I am usually not a fan of multiple narrators in a book as it can feel choppy but this was not the case at all.

If you have not read Diane Chamberlain I highly recommend you do.  The two books I have listened on audio to in this short amount of time have been amazing and I look forward to my next adventure with this author.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 21 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Release Date: May 13, 2013


Morning Meanderings… What I Have Been Doing While I Was Away


Good morning!  This post was planned for two Saturdays ago but where we were staying in Florida I had terrible internet and I could not get my pictures to load up.  Now that I am home they loaded up quickly and for this Saturday Snapshot I thought I would share what I did in Florida.

I was working with my friend Amanda and her husband Tim.  They own a bee business here in Brainerd, Buck’s Busy Bee’s.  The bees go to Florida every winter as the Minnesota winter months are too hard on them.  Amanda needs to go to check on them once a month and asked if I would like to come along and help and I said yes, it sounded like a nice break from the cold and I am fascinated by what the bees do.

This is a bee yard.  Each set of stacked boxes represents a hive.

This is a bee yard. Each set of stacked boxes represents a hive.


November turned out to be a longer trip than initially planned.  We initially were going to be a week, but weather in Minnesota prevented us from completing some things here that had been planned out so we had to do that in Florida instead.  Our trip was 16 days of working sun up to sun down – and many days later than that.

One of our main focuses was to split the hives.  Splitting the hives makes more hives and when you have a strong healthy hive it is easy to take a few splits off it.  To split a hive each new hive must have:


The cocoa colored area in the center of this frame is brood. Babies!


  1. A brood.  Brood are babies and what the worker bees work hard on to keep warm and protect.



2.  Honey.  The frame of honey goes up against the frame of brood so the worker bees can feed the babies.   Preferably you would like two frames of honey one on each side of the brood.



3.  Drawn out frames.  (You can see what a clean frame looks like at the bottom of each pic.  They are yellow and that is what the bee works off of).  A drawn out frame, as seen above can be dark like this one or could be light like the start of a honey frame.


4.  BEES.  You want lots and lots of bees to go with each hive to start their own.  The hives are actually moved  at night as that is when all bees are back in the hives and the forager bees are home.  These are the bees that go out and bring the pollen back to the hive.

5.  A QUEEN.  Each hive needs its own Queen.  I wanted to take a picture of a queen on a frame but to do that would have involved me to take my big work gloves off and well… it was a bit risky so instead I have this little video to show you the difference between the Queen and the other bees and how to find the Queen (yes I know I don’t have to capitalize “queen” but it seems like I should…LOL, she is royalty after all!)


What takes the longest in this process is that you must find the Queen before you start creating splits as she needs to remain in the bottom box as an existing hive.  The other splits will require a new Queen to be placed in each of their boxes/hives.

So how do you keep the Queen in the bottom box once she is found and you are not ready to move the rest of the hive yet?


This is a Queen Excluder


A Queen Excluder allows the regular worker bees to crawl through the tiny slats, but the Queen herself is too large to fit through.  That way, once find the Queen and ensure she is in the bottom box, you put the excluder over the top of that box and then add the rest of the boxes of that hive on top of that.

I enjoyed finding the Queen although it can be frustrating when you go through each frame three or four times and can not find her.  Sometimes I felt that I was “Queen blind”.  Finding her though brought out the gamer in me, like I had passed that level.  She is actually fun to look at and watch.  She moves a little slower than the worker bee, but amazingly she is the bee that keeps the whole hive working.  Without her the hive will die.


Beetle Trap Oil

Beetle Trap Oil

Another thing we did in Florida was we went through and put in each box a small tray of this Beetle Trap Oil which I liked to call Beetle Juice.  The Beetle Oil (juice!) attracts beetles that can get in the hive and kill the bees.  The beetles which are tiny and black fall into the oil and are killed.  Nasty business.

Anyone else remember this awful movie from 1988?

Anyone else remember this awful movie from 1988?


We moved bees at night – over night actually.  They were loaded on to a semi truck after dark as that is when the bees are in the hive.  I did not do, but Amanda and Tim would then haul the new hives 3 1/2 hours away to host home yards, which are people who had agreed to have bees on their property.


It was a lot of work.  We usually started our day between 5:30 and 6:00 am and ended around 6 – 8 pm.  I pretty much just worked, ate dinner, and slept.  My hands hurt from all the lifting of the hives and frames each day as well as the stings on my fingers (even through the work gloves).  My hands are still swollen and I can not get my rings on yet.


That’s pretty much the basics of where I have been and what I have been doing.  I am in still recovering now that I am home (arrived Thursday evening).  Today I am just hanging around the house doing a little reading, a little audio, just chilling out.  My body is exhausted.



BIG DRIVER by Stephen King

BIG DRIVER, Shephen King, Maria Bello, Book Journey, DeChantalI saw this one on another blog and can not recall where but knew I had to listen to it!  ~Sheila

Tess Thorne is the author of a series of cozy type mysteries and has quite the following of her books by the older generation as her books are about a knitting club.  When Tess is invited to speak at a Library a distance away from her home, she agrees.  The Librarian Ramona Norville gives Tess directions to a father way home after her engagement and Tess happily agrees to take the route as it will cut ten miles off her drive time.

While on the darkened back road short cut Tess experiences a tire blow out.  The large man who stops to assist her winds up assaulting her and leaving her for dead… and in a way he does; as the old Tess is gone and this new Tess is a harder version of herself.  A version that is no longer the meek and passive person she once was.  This new Tess is harder.  Stripped of her dignity, her old self is gone and the new Tess is about to seek justice.

It is interesting that King and I parted ways years ago but these past few years I have approached his writing again when I hear about something he has written that I think I may enjoy.  Big Driver was originally published in King’s book, Full Dark, No Stars, a book I have never read, but now have read two of the stories that have recently been republished as stand alone, this one as well as Good Marriage.

Big Driver is a dark telling of a horrible crime committed on an innocent woman, Tess Thorne.  What makes this is read interesting is how what happens to Tessa changes her into this stronger version of herself that knows what involving the police will do to herself as well as her career.  Right or wrong on her assumptions, Tess goes forward with her own plan.

I did enjoy this short read on audio with narrator Jessica Hecht (who also narrated Good Marriage).  Jessica’s narration was spot on.  She had an excellent voice for both Tess before and Tess after, as well as her handling of the voices for the other cast of characters.

I did mention that Big Driver is dark which should come as no surprise as it is a King book.  There is pretty strong language throughout this book, in this case it did not bother me much as the book really calls for it.  The book is also pretty descriptive on what happens to Tess.

I do like the cover which surprised me as I normally do not like pictures of people on covers as they then put that image in my head for the characters.  This one however fits the description of Tess, a petite woman.  I imagine this is Tess after the assault as she looks pretty bad ass here.  Broken in some ways but ready to do what it takes.

Note:  This is also a Lifetime movie starring Maria Bello (who I love!).  One I would like to see.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 20 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Release Date: October 7, 2014



Oh egads I am home! Kiss the ground even as cold and damp as it is!  Do a happy dance!  Make a snow angel!  Scream MINNESOTA!  WOO HOO!!!!  (I actually did that). I even slept in until 8:30.  That’s right – 8:30!  After weeks of getting up at 4:30 am and yesterday I was up at 3:15 am.  I drove 3 1/2 hours to Seebring Florida following my friend Amanda in the rental car where she dropped off a truck, then we drove 2 1/2 hours to Orlando to catch our flight home.  It was a LONG day and I arrived back at home at 8:30 pm last night.  I stuck a load of laundry in the washer, made myself something to eat out of the measly pickings at home, and fell asleep watching Modern Family episodes I missed.  I am trying to soak it all in.  Getting my normal on.

On my agenda for today is pretty much nothing.  At some point I do need to go to the bank, pick up a few groceries, and plan dinner but that is IT.  Seriously – I am lying low the entire weekend… or as much as I can anyway.

It is soooooo good to be home.

Have I said that?

Here is what was waiting for me:


Awwww… normalcy.  After working the past 16 days of 12 – 16 hour days none stop, normalcy comes as a welcome friend.  I am tired, worn out and feel as though I aged… I need to find my youth again :)  I am believing my youth is somewhere in this house, and in these packages.  I will find it.  Trust me on that.

Have a super Friday.  You know my plan… what is yours?


The Banks Of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison

the banks of certain rivers, Jon Harrison, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

In Port Manitou Michigan , Running Coach and Teacher Neil Kazenzakis carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.  An accident many years previously has left his wife on life support, never waking up.  Since that time he has taken on full responsibility for his then young son Chris, who is now a teenager.  Neil has also been seeing his mother in laws caregiver in secret for the past two years and feels he is i love but has no idea how to share this news with Chris.

When Neil breaks up a fight one day at the school, Neil thinks it is just standard teenage stuff… but when a video shows up on-line of the fight making it look like Neil actually assaulted one of the students, things plummet fast.  Now he is suspended from his job during the investigation while he tries to hang on to everything in his life – his son, his girlfriend, his job, and his sanity.



The Banks Of Certain Rivers is an amazing read.  You receive a lot of information in the beginning including what happened to Neil’s wife Wendy.  The book goes on with much detail into Neil and Chris’s way of living and it is not until after the first 100 pages that the book really seems to take off.

Normally, a slow start to a book like this makes me a bit antsy wanting to get to the plot, yet author Jon Harrison writes this out in such a way that as the reader I found myself fully invested in the back story and the unique way that Neil communicates with his wife.  When the book does take off, hang on.  It has a crazy real feeling to it and runs ahead quickly and you just need to hang on.

I was blown away by this remarkable read and thank author Catherine McKenzie for encouraging a group of is to read and chat up this book.  I am so glad I read Banks Of Certain Rivers.  It has an excellent movie feel to it, one that I would definitely go see.

Family dynamics and current issues from schools play starring roles in this book.  I would recommend you take the time to give this one a definite try.  I would love to hear other thoughts on it.



  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 23, 2014)


Fog Island Mountains by Michelle Bailat-Jones


Fog Island Mountains (Kirishima mountain range) are located beneath the volcanic area in Southern Japan.  As a big typhoon is preparing to roll in the residents of Komachi prepare for the storm as well.  Alec Chester is one of these residents.  He has lived in this area for 40 years and has recently been diagnosed with a terminal cancer.  With the storm on the verge of erupting, Alec’s wife Kanae disappears into the stormy weather struggling with the realities of her husbands diagnosis.

Narrated by Komachi’s oldest resident and told in Japanese kitsune folktale tradition; Fog Island Mountains is a story of grief, acceptance and healing.



Fog Island Mountain is an interesting read involving a couple (Alec and Kanae) as they deal with the approaching storm in their area as well as the approaching storm in their life.  The story is told by an outside narrator, which was not totally new for me, but not usual so this took me awhile to get into the flow of this writing style.

Beautifully written, narrator Jennifer Ikeda was a smooth narrator to listen to.  I enjoyed the feeling of Japan that surrounded the book giving me a bonus dose of the culture as well as an interesting read.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 2 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: November 4, 2014



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