The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

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Joe Talbert is a College student with an assignment.  He must interview a stranger and write a biography of that person’s life.  Having procrastinated on getting started mainly due to his college work load, a mother with a lack of parenting skills, and an older brother at home 2 1/2 hours from Joe’s college who is autistic, Joe decides to go to a local nursing home to see if he can talk to someone who has led an interesting life.  What Joe discovers is more than he could have planned.

Carl Iverson has been given only a few months to live as he is losing the battle of prostate cancer.  He is a Vietnam Vet with the Purple Heart award.  He is also a convicted murdered.  He has been medically paroled to the nursing home to spend his last days under constant care that the prison can not provide.

As Joe digs into Carl’s story, he struggles with the hero Carl was in the war and the cold-blooded killer of a 14-year-old girl that he is convicted for.  Carl eludes to his innocence, but with no real passion after all his life is practically over and what is done is done. Joe feels there is something missing in Carl’s conviction, vital evidence that was overlooked that could possibly clear Carl’s name before he dies.  Yet the clock is running against Joe as he juggles his school work load, his job, and his mother’s inability to take proper care of his brother.  Thank goodness for the female College student who has the apartment next to Joe’s and her interest in helping to uncover the truth.

But at what cost?

 

 

Funny background story to this book.  It was first put on my radar last fall after Wine and Words when my co-chair suggested this author for Wine and Words 2016.  Neither of us had read the book or heard much about it so that thought was back-burnered.   In the last few months I looked for the book in my personal library, swore I had a copy but could not find it so again…. I moved on.  Then last month a girl in our book club brought the title up for nomination out of the blue.  The book won the vote and I was thrilled to finally have my hand forced to move forward on reading the book.  I bought the book…

and there it sat.

Last week a friend of mine in another local book club text me and asked if I had a copy of The Life We Buried because that is what their book club was reading for February.  I called her and told her I had to know how they picked that title.  She said the lady hosting in February had found it and thought it sounded good.  I laughed and told her that our book club was also reading this same title.

A couple of days ago I was feeling tired and went early to my room with this book.  I planned to read only a few chapters to get a feel for it.  Once I opened the book the story line clicked for me.  The reading was easy to get into and I found myself liking it right from the very start.  I read for hours, slept, opened the book again the next morning and finished it.

In a word.

WOW.

Allen Eskens had a way of capturing Joe’s voice in this book. The addition of what his family/home life was like was brilliant.  It was an excellent way to see how Joe struggled trying to move forward with his own life and at the same time carrying around the guilt of what his brother had to deal with back in his home town 2 1/2 hours away.

There are not many books in the last year that I can say I fell in love with right from the start, but this one earned that statement.  I highly encourage you give this title a try.  My Co-Chair of Wine and Words is listening to it on audio now.  My book club will review it this coming Tuesday evening and on Wednesday I will pass the book to my friend in the other book club so she may read it as well.

Now that…

is a fun story.

 

 

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Seventh Street Books; First Paperback Edition edition (October 14, 2014)

 

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog from 2006 -2009  and then was taken up by me here at Book Journey from Feb 2009 – Fall 2015 and then I passed it to Kathryn at the Book Date.  We have worked to keep the torch of It’s Monday burning!  :)

I have not been as consistent on this meme as I hoped to be, but I am working at it.  This past week here is what I posted:

What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross ( holy wow!)

Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson (new fiction TLC tour)

Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova (interesting Paranormal YA)

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (meh)

in a dark, dark wood by ruth ware (ooh!!!)

Not a bad reading week, actually not a bad audio week.  I have really been flying through the audio while working on house projects.

 

For this week….

For My Eyes

5aWidower Jack Harris has resisted the dating scene ever since the shooting of his wife Molly by a fifteen-year-old boy three years ago. An early morning run along the Hudson River changes that when he spots a woman in last night’s party dress, barefoot, enjoying a champagne picnic alone, reading his favorite novel. Everything about her reminds him of what he used to have with Molly. Eager to help Jack find love again, his best friend posts a message on a popular website after he mentions the encounter. Days later, that same beautiful stranger responds and invites Jack to meet her in person at the waterfront. That’s when Jack’s world falls apart.

 Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defense lawyers. When she hears that her former fiancé, Jack Harris, has been arrested for a triple homicide—and that one of the victims was connected to his wife’s murder—there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him—and why?

 For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, to absolve herself of guilt from a tragic decision, a secret she has held for twenty years. But as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. The man she knew could not have done this. But what if she never really knew him?

For My Ears

3Each of the three Schuyler sisters has her own world-class problems, but in the autumn of 1966, Pepper Schuyler’s problems are in a class of their own. When Pepper fixes up a beautiful and rare vintage Mercedes and sells it at auction, she thinks she’s finally found a way to take care of herself and the baby she carries, the result of an affair with a married, legendary politician.

But the car’s new owner turns out to have secrets of her own, and as the glamorous and mysterious Annabelle Dommerich takes pregnant Pepper under her wing, the startling provenance of this car comes to light: a Nazi husband, a Jewish lover, a flight from Europe, and a love so profound it transcends decades. As the many threads of Annabelle’s life from World War II stretch out to entangle Pepper in 1960s America, and the father of her unborn baby tracks her down to a remote town in coastal Georgia, the two women must come together to face down the shadows of their complicated pasts.

Indomitable heroines, a dazzling world of secrets, champagne at the Paris Ritz, and a sweeping love story for the ages, in New York Times bestselling author Beatriz William’s final book about the Schuyler sisters.

 

That’s my plan for now.  It is Book Club this week and a Great Gatsby meeting.  I do love bookish weeks :)

Be sure and add your Its Monday What Are You Reading to the sign up link here, or at least let me know in the comments what you are reading this week.

in a dark, dark wood by ruth ware

in a dark wood, ruth ware, Book Journey

Lenora ( goes by Nora) is a crime fiction writer.  She has found that as the years go on she is quite content to stick to the comforts of home surrounded by all that she loves , typing out stories and meeting deadlines for her publisher.   When an invitation arrives from an old friend to join in a pre-marriage celebration at a secluded home in the woods, Nora is hesitant yet feels the pull to perhaps reconnect.  Many invites went out but in the end it is six people who make the celebration weekend.

48 hours later Nora wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of how she got there or what had happened.  All she knows is that she has a sickening feeling that someone she knows is dead and with a police officer outside her hospital room she has a feeling that whatever happened… somehow she is involved.

 

Here Author Ruth Ware, explains the book:

 

 

With a title like that how could I refuse?  In A Dark, Dark Wood drew me in by its synopsis, despite the comparison to Girl On The Train (not a fan).  I liked the idea of old friends gathering together and a mystery to be solved…. felt a little like an 80’s thriller!

The book is a fast read/listen but a good one.  Nothing felt dragged out, the book moved at a nice pace throughout the story with just enough of a dangle of the mystery throughout the story line to keep you guessing.  In the end my guess of the “who did it” was wrong…. and I like it that way.

I listened to this one on audio, Imogen Church narrated and while she is a new narrator to me, I found that I liked how she mastered her way through the multitude of dialogue between the six characters.

Recommended on audio, but I think this one will read well too.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 34 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: August 4, 2015
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press; Later printing edition (August 4, 2015)

 

 

Morning Meanderings…. A Little Weekend Cooking of Peanut Butter French Toast

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Sunday morning.

YES.

I have a low key day planned….  a few reviews to write, a little audio to listen to , and possibly a little painting in the house.  If all goes well, I will not have to leave the house at all today.

I do like that soooooo much.

Al and I are not big breakfast eaters but a friend recently told me about a way to make french toast with peanut butter.  Al loves all things peanut butter, so this morning I thought I would give it a try.  Seemed like a good Weekend Cooking thing to do.

 

Peanut Butter French Toast

keeping it simple, use whatever your favorite french toast recipe is…. I like to put vanilla, cinnamon, and powdered sugar in my mix

Mix up your french toast batter

Take your bread of choice and put a layer of smooth peanut butter on it.

Add another slice of bread to the top like a peanut butter sandwich

Dip the sandwich in your french toast batter and let both sides get soaked in batter

Place sandwich in a heated fry pan with a little melted butter

cook 2 to 3 minutes until bottom side is done (golden brown) then flip over an repeat on other side.

Serve immediately with maple syrup.

PicMonkey Collage

Verdict: It was good, I am not as big of a peanut butter fan as m husband.  If I were to do it again I may consider adding sliced banana in the sandwich.

What is your favorite version of French Toast?

 

 

 

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

why not me, mindy kaling, book journey

Mindy Kaling is on the search for fulfillment in here adult life.  She is looking for love, friendships, and trying to be the first person in the world to lose weight without changing any habits.  She discusses how to be glamorous for any occasion, dealing with anxiety and more in her life as a star.

 

Confession… I have never watched Mindy Kaling’s show.  I chose this audio mainly because I like autobiographies.  I enjoy hearing back ground stories to people’s fame.

Most of the time.

Occasionally I find one that is not really a fit.  This would be one of those times.

While Mindy may be a funny actress, I found her to be unnecessarily crude which is something I am never a fan of.  This one is entirely on me, I gave it a shot.  I am sure fans of Mindy Kaling would find this to be a good listen.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 57 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: September 15, 2015

 

WILDALONE by Krassi Zourkova

wildalone, krassi zourkova, book journey

Thea Slavin from Bulgaria is about to enter Princeton.  Although she has an incredible talent for music, she has an alternative motive for attending.  Years earlier her sister Elza had also attended Princeton and was mysteriously killed and her body disappeared.  While Thea’s parents fear for her safety they trust their daughter to make good decisions.

Should they?

While Thea finds herself alone in an atmosphere she is unfamiliar with she meets two brothers, Rhyas and Jake, who both find they are drawn to her.  (Picture the way Edward was drawn to Bella in Twilight).  While Thea finds she too has an attraction to the brothers, one of them holds the answers to what happened all of those years ago and Thea is walking a very dangerous path.

 

WILDALONE had many of the elements that I enjoy in a good paranormal read.  Thea was a likable protagonist and the Bulgarian background was a nice change.  While this is a paranormal title, it took quite a while to get there. In fact for the majority of the book you really don’t know what the paranormal part is.  I kept waiting to find out what it was, knowing what it must have to do with… but not sure.  There was also a couple of small parts in the book that did not flow right…a character would be with someone and then suddenly wasn’t.  I actually went back pages to see if I had missed something.

That said, I did enjoy WILDALONE.  There is much to like about the book and the things I mentioned above were not deal breakers.  As this is a first in a trilogy, I do believe I would continue to see where this story goes.

 

 

  • Series: Wildalone Sagas (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 13, 2015)
  • Language: English

 

Morning Meanderings…. EVERYONE Needs A Little Bob Marley In Their Life

meme

Good Morning!  2nd cup of COFFEE today and have a coffee date coming up here shortly.  MMMMM….  friends and coffee.  My mom would be proud :).

My Bob Marley encounters are few put impactful.

A few years ago at the Book Expo in New York I went to a signing of a book by Bob Marley’s son, Ky-Mani.  I had the book dedicated to my son, Justin.

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I really felt that would be my last connection with Bob…

Then we went to Cancun a few weeks ago.  At the all-inclusive resort we stayed at they had a drink called the Bob Marley.  The drink was named for it’s coloring, it striped in the glass green, yellow, red.  For me it was a bit strong, but for the ladies I went on this trip with, they really liked it and every day by the pool when the waitress went by it was the requested beverage.

Once we came back home, I wanted to get each of the ladies I went with a little something as a thank you for a trip that had every potential of being very hard on me, but actually turned out ok due to the company we were with.  I wanted to go with something that I had learned about each of them and for two of the ladies *cough Wendy and Julie cough* I wanted that item to be Bob Marley related.

Originally I was thinking a bobblehead doll…. but wow.  On line these babies go for around $75 each!  So I started exploring and discovered great sayings that Marley had said throughout his life that had been made into vinyl to put on your wall.  I have been to each of these ladies homes so I know the layout and thought they may think this is cool.  If not, it is still a fun connection to the trip.

What I did not expect is that while looking around, I would find one for me.   I love words.  I love words on the wall.  If I could go all words and a few pictures I would.  My house should read like a story of my life.  As I look around at books, and pictures, and memories….  I guess it does.  It still did not stop my from picking out one for myself and yesterday I put it on my wall to see what it would look like and to be able to tell the girls how to put theirs up if they choose to.

I

Love

it.

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Guess I have a little Bob Marley memory as well. :)

Today is a coffee date and a lunch date.  A trip to the store and later reading of the book club book pick for next weeks discussion.  Sounds like a pretty fair kick off to the weekend.

I will leave you with this – not sure if it “THE” recipe, but here is a Bob Marley drink recipe.  This drink may cause you to synchronize swim in the pool, dance a little in your lounger, and talk to people you do not know.  Proceed with caution.  ;)

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1 oz. Creme de Menthe, green

•1/2 oz. Liqueur, banana

•1/2 oz. Rum, overproof/151 proof

•1 oz. Grenadine

Mixing Instructions

The true Bob Marley is grenadine at the bottom, creme de menthe in the middle, and 151 plus creme de bananna, so it makes the red, green and yellow of the Jamaican flag

Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

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11-year-old Mira Able leads a hard life in Brooklyn.  Her father is absent, her mother may as well be.  She takes her frustrations out in ballet class where this fueled anger works in her favor.  When her skills get the attention and praise from an older gentleman Maurice, who frequents the ballet, Mira blossoms under the  attention and his desire to improve her future as a ballerina.  Soon Mira is doing everything Maurice asks of her despite the warnings she receives.

Years later, Mira now goes by the name of Kate, a young woman still battling the demons of her past.  Kate is up for review in her teaching job for sleeping with a student.  Kate starts to question decisions she has made in her life and feels the answers lie in her past, in that early world of ballet.

 

 

 

Does anyone remember the short-lived tv show Bunheads?  A fun show about a group of ballet students?  Yeah?

Well this is nothing like that.

Girl Through Glass has a delicious darkness to it.  It is well written, beautifully actually at times, but this is not a lighthearted story. Told in alternating chapters, as the reader we are slowly let into the what happened then…. that lead to the happenings now.  The journey unravels as the two stories work their towards one another.

As I often do when books are told in alternating perspectives…  I find myself leaning to  one story line over the other.  In this case it was young Mira’s story that drew me in the most wanting me to know what happens to this young girl and how our life decisions play out into our futures.

I found this book to be unique in its telling, definitely a book that will give you plenty to think about.

meme

 

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (January 26, 2016)
  • Language: English

I found my way into this world of ballet thanks to TLC Book Tours

What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

what was mine, helen klein ross, book journey

All Lucy Wakefield has ever wanted was to have a child to call her own.  When her marriage dissolves she sees this dream slipping farther and farther away.  When shopping at a store Lucy finds a baby girl lest in a cart while her mother is a short distance away.  Without even realizing what she is doing Lucy takes the baby and leaves the store.

Lucy wants to believe she will give the child back, but as her love for this child grows, she justifies her actions with the fact that the girl was left unattended.  She ignores the TV news with the pretty and devastated young mother pleading for her babies return and fabricated a story to her boss about having to leave the state to work through an adoption of a baby girl that she names Mia.

And so it goes.  Now over two decades later, the truth begins to come out.  As Lucy scrambles as to what to tell her daughter about what happened, she knows that time is running out.

 

Helen Klein Ross writes about every parents nightmare.  When I read this synopsis I wanted to know more.  What Was Mine is a devastating story that feels as thought it could have been ripped form the headlines.  It is one of those stories where you get to hear both sides with watching Mia grow up with Lucy and Lcy’s love for her, and at the same time watching Mia’s real mother trying to hold it together all the while believing that her daughter is alive and out there somewhere.

I enjoyed this fast pace read on audio.  There is a winning cast of narrators:  Julia Whelan, Cassandra Campbell, Amanda Carlin, Rebekkah Ross , and Jonathan Todd Ross (Narrator).  Normally I do like multiple narrators because it gives me the feeling of a “production” or “show”, but this was not the case.  The narrators complimented each other well and I did not even notice the change as I do in some multiple narrator books. 

The book is not without it’s bumps in the road.  There are things that if you really think about them become a little hard to believe.  You need to read this one as one of those books that you don’t think too hard about.  Just enjoy the wild and scary ride.  And yes I think it is worth it.

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 44 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: January 5, 2016

 

 

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (January 5, 2016)

 

Morning Meanderings…. The End Of January 2016

meme

Sunday and the last day of January 2016.  While filling the outdoor wood stove this morning (yes, some of us in Minnesota do that ;) ) I found myself really thinking about this past year.  It is just crazy to think that in two more months it will be a year…

It doesn’t feel like that can be true.

I have struggled daily.  Lately, this last month… I am searching for a way to assemble some sort of life… goals…. a way of going on – NOT moving on, but going on.  This time of my life has been the absolute hardest of anything I have ever experienced.  I am glad at least that I am starting to want to get started with something again and have been slowly working on reconnecting with my contracts and the outside world.

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Bitter sweet to see me using an agenda again.  It is one of the geeky things I have always loved to do and I quit last April and didn’t touch my agenda for the rest of the year.  I love to write things down and see what I have completed and what I have planned.  It took a while to bring this back.

 

New books in the house (because apparently I am rambling today….)

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Look at these fun titles.  Makes me want to read RIGHT NOW.

The Life We Bury is our book club pick for February.  Minnesota author.

Odysseus Abroad came in from Vintage Books a division of Random House

The Immortals looks fun and is going to be a part of an upcoming giveaway!

The Good Liar has a tasty title doesn’t it?  Harper sent this one.

The total Package…. ahh Stephanie Plum, we have a love-like relationship but I still cant resist seeing what this is about :)  TLC Blog tour

The EX I picked up at the library yesterday while changing out the window.  Love the title…. sounds good :)

The RAMBLERS has a fun synopsis that has me curious.  TLC blog tour.

 

So that’s all I am going to chat about today.  I have a full day of prepping for two Library related meetings tomorrow.  One in St Paul, and one in my home town.  It will truly be a Library Day :)

 

 

 

 

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