It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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! ;)

It has been a pretty busy week following last weekends event and then away at the cabin until Monday.  However our plans to return to the cabin this weekend fell through and honestly I have been basking in hanging around the house and laying low while I rejuvenate. The fact that we went no where this weekend I think actually worked in our favor.  I caught up on house projects and Al has caught up in the office and we have been spending our evenings watching movies and grilling good food.  I am really thrilled to have a bonus relax day this week.

As for the blog… here is what I have posted:

 

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green

Shadows in The Vineyard by Maximillion Potter

Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee

Wine and Words event recap

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty (if you have not read Moriarty yet you are missing out!)

 

I have spent a lot of time in the “Honey House” this past week bottling honey and as I am usually alone while doing this I listen to audio, thus the large audio book contribution this week… 7 hours of audio a day makes for fast audio listening. :)

 

As for what I am currently working on:

 

For My Ears:

 

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“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life.

Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter.

 

 

 

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Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.

 

 

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Working one-on-one with Tiger-mothered, burned-out kids, Anne “the application whisperer” can make Harvard a reality. Early Decision follows five students over one autumn as Anne helps them craft their college essays, cram for the SATs, and perfect the Common Application. It seems their entire future is on the line—and it is. Though not because of Princeton and Yale. It’s because the process, warped as it is by money, connections, competition, and parental mania, threatens to crush their independence just as adulthood begins.

Whether you want to get in or just get out, with wit and heart, Early Decision explodes the secrets of the college admissions race.

 

 

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The Barter is a ghost story and a love story, a riveting emotional tale that also explores motherhood and work and feminism. Set in Texas, in present day, and at the turn of the twentieth century, the novel follows two young mothers at the turning point of their lives.

Bridget has given up her career as an attorney to raise her daughter, joining a cadre of stay-at-home mothers seeking fulfillment in a quiet suburb. But for Bridget, some crucial part of the exchange is absent: Something she loves and needs. And now a terrifying presence has entered her home; only nobody but Bridget can feel it.

On a farm in 1902, a young city bride takes a farmer husband. The marriage bed will become both crucible and anvil as Rebecca first allows, then negates, the powerful erotic connection between them. She turns her back on John to give all her love to their child. Much will occur in this cold house, none of it good.

 

I suspect that is more than enough to keep my busy this week!  SO what are you reading?  I feel like I have not visited much these past few weeks so I am eager to get a peek!  Please add your It’s Monday! post to the link below where it says click here:

 

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The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

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Sophie Honeywell was once the girlfriend of Thomas Gordon, yet on that very day that Thomas had planned an elaborate proposal – Sophie broke up with him, feeling that he was not the one for her.

Years later as Sophie is approaching 40 years old, she is still annoyingly single, and Thomas she heard, has been happily married for years as well as a father.  When Thomas calls Sophie out of the blue one day and asks to meet up. Sophie is shocked but curious as to what he will have to say.  Nothing could have prepared for this conversation.

When Thomas meets up with Sophie he explains that his aunt Connie who was one of the few people who lived on Scribbly Gum Island had passed away.  Sophie recalls having met Connie a couple of times during her and Tom’s courtship.  When Tom tells Sophie that Connie has left her beautiful home to her, Sophie is shocked; but a letter accompanying this revelation confirms Connie’s wishes all to clearly.

Entering back into Tom’s family as the “ex who dumped him” is not easy.  And Scribbly Gum Island came with much baggage…. including the famous Munro Baby mystery, that happened right inside the home that Sophie had just inherited.  With a cast of interesting and quirky characters, Sophie’s life is about to change completely.

 

 

 

I chose this audio because I can not get enough of the incredibly engaging writing of Liane Moriarty.  This is one of her older titles, written in 2010.

At first listen, I almost gave up on the audio narrated by Heather Wilds (good narration, she had many vices to keep up on!).  The Last Anniversary did not jump-start right into the action as her newer titles do.  About 30 minutes in, I was glad I hung in there as I could start to sense the emerging Moriarty that this author will come to be.

The Last Anniversary has some interesting characters that I enjoyed.  As we enter the story, Connie has passed away however you do get a chance to know what type of person she was.  Her sister Rose (now in her 90’s!) is still quite active, Veronica is a hot mess – at once angry that Sophie was given the house of her aunt and apparently struggling with identity as well, Enigma – the baby of the mystery who is now a grandma…. and more.

There is enough here of Moriarty that fans of writing will enjoy this.  I did enjoy this one and as always, look forward to more from her.

 

 

 

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 12 hours and 47 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 22, 2014

 

 

 

Morning Meanderings… New Books And Audio In The House!

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning and happy Sunday.

Turns out… we did not go to the cabin.  I was on my way to take Mater (our Beale basset hound) to the kennel for the weekend when Al called.  He was in the office and had opened his emails and found that he had just too much to take care of in our business to take off for a couple of days.

Poo.

On the other hand… being a cup is half full kind of gal… I just received a free weekend where I was not going to be in town and have planned nothing.  LOVE it!  Yesterday I spent catching up on emails and blog reading. I listened to audio and wrote two book reviews. We saved money by not putting Mater in the kennel.  I picked up chicken to grill, rented a few movies, and last night Al and I shared a bottle of wine and relaxed.

Not too shabby for Sheila :)

 

And… there are BOOKS.  I was not home last Sunday so this is an accumulation of two weeks:

 

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An Event in Autumn by Henning Mankell (audio)

Love Letters by Debbie Macomber (audio)

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (audio)

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman (audio)

Along Came A Spider by James Patterson (audio)

Kiss The Girls by James Patterson (audio)

In A Rocket Made Of Ice by Gail Gertradt (audio)

Gossamer Ghost by Laura Childs

Three Story House by Courtney Miller Santo

desire lines by Christina Baker Kline

crooked river by Valerie Geary

The Barter by Siobhan Adcock

 

I can not wait to dig in to these great reads and listens!  Today is another dreary overcast day here in Central Minnesota.  A perfect day I think to dig into a good book, maybe do a little writing.

What are you doing with your Labor Day Weekend?  Any friends gathering?  Camping, potlucking, grilling, going on?

 

The Girls Of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

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Maddy, Barbara, and Rachel are three of the four girls of August who used to gather one week a summer at a glorious beach house.  The week would consist of much wine drinking, much giggling, and lots of catching up with one another and what was happening in each of their lives.  This tradition had been going on since the girls were in their twenties, almost twenty years!  Melinda was the fourth girls of August, and upon her tragic and untimely death, the other three had not felt up to carrying on the tradition.

That is…

until now.

Baby, the new (and third) wife to Teddy who had been married to Melinda, invites the girls to once again come together and bring back the girls of August.  Baby desperately wants to fit in with the three friends, and after some thinking, Maddy, Barbara, and Rachel decide that maybe after the four years that have passed, it is time to gather once more for a time of coming together.

Yet things between the friends have changed as well.  Each carries a secret they do not easily let go, and with this new addition to the group, the young twenty something blond perfect bodied Baby… opening up and sharing the way they once did is going to take time… when their week-long gathering turns into two weeks… that may just be enough time to deal with what is true in each of their lives.

 

 

There is soooooo much to love about this book.  First and obvious for me… I love the concept of a yearly gathering at a beautiful beach house with your closest girl friends.  Laying on the beach, napping in the sun, cocktails, laughing until you cry,  and dancing to a camp fire all appeal to me.  And as far as that goes, the book holds up to what I had hoped to find within it.

Unfortunately there are some odd scenarios that felt like a skip in a record.  A few things in the book did not seem to flow with the story and while I listened to this one on audio I literally said out loud “huh?” more than once.

Basically – So much potential and then not quite reaching it.  I really did enjoy most of this story that I listened to on audio.  It still contains elements I enjoy including women’s friendships, and anything to do with the beach and sun. :)  Kate Reading’s narration was perfection and really added to my enjoyment of a book that unfortunately falls short.

People who enjoy light summer reads and stories of women’s friendships should find this one a good way to spend a day in the sun.

 

Purchase this book from:  Retailers websites

 

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Unabridged edition (July 8, 2014)
  • Language: English

 

Saturday Snapshot – Authors and Books and Wine – Oh My!!!!

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Happy Saturday!  My hubby and I are heading for our cabin this morning which will be the last “hurrah” of Summer for us and then I will officially consider accepting Fall.  :)  Maybe…

Last Friday was our second annual Wine and Words event hosted by Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library.  Earlier this week I posted a few pictures about it but thought for today I would give you more of a feel for this event and connect it to Saturday Snapshot.

Before we get started a little background of the event:  I invite normally 4 authors to speak about their latest book, writing and their connections to libraries.  This year we had 5 authors plus our emcee, Lorna Landvik.  A local liquor store provides free wine tasting during our social hour, which really seems to be a social hour and a half as people start to trickle in around 5:00 and social hour starts at 5:30.  We have a silent auction, this year of 114 baskets.  AT 6:30 we start dinner and at 7:15 we start our presentation of authors with a goal time of ending by 8:15 – 8:30 pm.

This year we had 210 people in attendance.

 

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Just a portion of what our silent auction looked like as we sat up the 114 baskets.

 

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These cute little ducks are available during the social hour. They are $5 each and as you can see they each are reading a book. We call out numbers for these ducks (they have #’s on the bottom) and give away a Kindle Fire and a few fun gift certificates.

 

We had an amazing group of women greet our guests at the front lobby with name tags and a wine glass to use and to keep.

We had an amazing group of women greet our guests at the front lobby with name tags and a wine glass to use and to keep.

 

Our Wine Glasses with our logo on them.

Our Wine Glasses with our logo on them.

 

A few of our authors having fun in our photo area - L:  Catherine McKenzie, Barbara Claypole White, Lorna Landvik, and Randy Susan Meyers

A few of our authors having fun in our photo area – L: Catherine McKenzie, Barbara Claypole White, Lorna Landvik, and Randy Susan Meyers

 

More people getting into the act with the photo props

More people getting into the act with the photo props

 

My son and I

My son and I

 

A shot of the guests

A shot of the guests

 

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A shot of our book sales table after the event.

A shot of our book sales table after the event.

 

After the event - a few of us met in the bar to relax and the authors joined us.  Mixed in this group are Catherine McKenzie, Benjamin Percy, Barbara Claypole White, and Lorna Landvik.

After the event – a few of us met in the bar to relax and the authors joined us. Mixed in this group are Catherine McKenzie, Benjamin Percy, Barbara Claypole White, and Lorna Landvik.

 

Sitting to the right are authors Nicole Lea Helget and Lorna Landvik.

Sitting to the right are authors Nicole Lea Helget and Lorna Landvik.

 

Authors after the event!

Authors after the event!

This years event should have cleared us a little over $7,000.  I still have a little figuring to do with the credit card payout, on-line sales, and we receive a 20% kick back from our local book store for the books we sold.

Stop by Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy and see what people are taking pictures of!

Cherry Cola Book Club by Ashton Lee

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Cherico, Mississippi library director Maura Beth Mayhew faces the challenges of libraries just like everyone else.  As she is in such a small town, the ever-present dangers of having the library closed so budgeted money can go elsewhere is all too real.  With Councilman Durden Sparks breathing down her neck with an agenda for the upcoming budget to re purpose the funds the library normally receives, Maura knows she has to up her game.

With a few friends she starts a group that reviews classics and calls it the Cherry Cola Book Club ( cute story behind the name).  The group ties in food with the discussion and looks to go deeper than your average book club.  Surprisingly, Durden Sparks accepts Maura’s invitation to join the group, even though Maura is quite aware that Durden is their to undermine her and keep a close eye on what the library is up too.

Will Maura’s efforts to let her community know the value of a library be enough?  Or is it too little too late?

 

 

 

You had me at book club.  ~  Sheila

I discovered this little gem while browsing audible.com for an audio to go on my phone while I was working outside.  Initially as the story started, I had a strong feeling my review was going to include the words “predictable” but sweet.

I have to admit though, I was surprised at the depth behind this story.  Maybe it was because of my involvement in our local library and City Library Board, but Maura’s fears of budget cuts and the community not being aware of the value of the library were all to real fears for our own town and perhaps that made me appreciate this one even more.  I actually found some of her ideas to present the value of the library to the community to be good ideas and my own mind started turning these ideas to how they could fit in our own community.

All in all, I really appreciated this audio.  I enjoyed the fun diverse characters and I have to say the discussion on To Kill A Mockingbird made me want to insist that my own book club review this classic so we can have such a discussion.

Those who appreciate Libraries I feel will like this book.  I also feel book clubs could have a lot of fun with this one as there is a lot of food mentioned with recipes in the back of the book (they were read out loud on the audio).  I really want to make that Cherry Cola drink with lime they mention… and the tomatoes and okra sound interesting too….

Fun note…

as I was looking up the audio book picture for this post, I seen the cover for the book version.  It is funny but as I would probably not consider listening to a “cozy read”, I would not have given this book a second glance due to the cover.  I LOVE the audio book cover.

Book Cover

Book Cover

 

I am going to link this post to Weekend Cooking as the back of the book (and in the audio!) listed all of the recipes for the southern YUMMY foods they mentioned throughout.  I will listen to the last chapter again to pick up on some of these recipes.  I LOVE when books talk about food and then give us the recipes to make what they discussed!

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Shadows In The Vineyard by Maximillian Potter

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In January 2010, Aubert de Villaine, the famed proprietor of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the tiny, storied vineyard that produces the most expensive, exquisite wines in the world, received an anonymous note threatening the destruction of his priceless vines by poison-a crime that in the world of high-end wine is akin to murder-unless he paid a one million euro ransom. Villaine believed it to be a sick joke, but that proved a fatal miscalculation and the crime shocked this fabled region of France. The sinister story that Vanity Fair journalist Maximillian Potter uncovered would lead to a sting operation by some of France’s top detectives, the primary suspect’s suicide, and a dramatic investigation. This botanical crime threatened to destroy the fiercely traditional culture surrounding the world’s greatest wine.

 

 

Why did I want to read (listen) to this book?  Wine fascinates me.  It has been talked about since biblical times and has taken on the prestige drink of celebrations, congratulations, acceptable item to bring to a dinner party, an accompaniment to dinner, with friends, or yes… while reading a book.  While I myself am not a big wine drinker (I like sweeter wines, I refer to them as “baby wines”), I am still fascinated by the process and the beauty of wine in a glass.

Shadows in the vineyard is an engaging true story.  It was interesting to learn about this event in our not too distant history and the impact it had on this community.  The story line is well paced and kept me fascinated in what was happening.  If you have interest in true events this book may be just the one for you.

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green – (Second time around just as AWESOME!)

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Prelude:  When I drive to our cabin that is 3 1/2 hours away I love to listen to audio.  This past weekend with my now graduated from College son, we listened to Will Grayson Will Grayson.  When I tell my son we will listen to audio he eye rolls but appeases me.  I… do not want to be appeased.  I… want him to love audio too.  And this is how it happened…  ~Sheila

 

Will Grayson is 16 years old and has a best friend named Tiny Cooper.  Tiny… is anything but. Tiny is humongous and his heart is just as big as he is.  Tiny is gay – Will is not.  Will takes a lot of crap for having a larger than life best friend who is gay but Will just puts his head down and plods on as each class brings him closer to the end of the school day where he can go home and get away from the drama that is high school.

When Will meets Jane, a girl he may or may not like… things become interesting.  Jane is part of the Gay/Straight Alliance in their school and Will is not sure which one of those heading she falls under  but she seems to like him.  Perhaps… life just became a little more interesting.

Will Grayson is 16 and has fallen for a guy he met on-line named Isaac.  Isaac.  What a great name…  but this is not the Will Grayson who is best friends with Tiny Cooper.  No… this is another Will Grayson, or soon to become known as OWG (other Will Grayson)…

and things are about to get interesting.

 

 

Alright alright – it is honestly really hard to describe this book and why I love it so much.  It has the untethered bound of John Green’s wit.  It has the incredible narration of David Levithan that makes me laugh out loud as the guy is simply brilliant as he makes his way through this book with fantastic voices and occasionally breaking out into song.  Yes song.  Tiny is writing a musical… but that – is another part of the story.

I adored this audio when I listened to it in 2012 immediately following listening to Fault In Our Stars for the first time.  Same author – John Green, in case you did not catch that.  I was basking in Green.  Literally and I wanted to share his incredible writing and audio with the world.  Listening to it again two years later I fell in love with this story again.

So the verdict with my son?  I gave him full veto rights to tell me to stop the audio and I would with no arguing or sideways glares as we drove.  Instead – he enjoyed it too and so much in fact when we arrived back home on Monday he downloaded Audible to his phone so he could finish listening to it on his way home to the cities.

I promised him I would not gloat… but…

mission achieved :)

If you have not treated yourself to the amazing narration of David Levithan I highly encourage you to give him a try.  If you have not listened to a John Green audiobook woo!  You are missing a great level to his writing.  I highly recommend Will Grayson Will Grayson on book or audio.  Some day I want to read this one…  I bet it is FABULOUS!

Morning Meanderings…. Event Hangover

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  Yes I am still around.  Last Friday was Wine and Words 2014 and it was a GREAT time.  Our authors were:  Lorna Landvik (emcee), Benjamin Percy Nicole Lea Helget, Randy Susan Meyers, and Barbara Claypole White.  The last few weeks have been a lot of communication between our local book store who orders us the books to sell at our event, the local wine guy who provides all the wine for free at the event, the check in teams, set up teams, silent auction team prep….. you get the point :)

About 1/4 of the auction.  We had 114 baskets of items up for bid.

About 1/4 of the auction. We had 114 baskets of items up for bid.

 

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Opportunities to photo prop :)

Opportunities to photo prop :)

 

210 people at the event

210 people at the event

 

The check in team

The check in team

 

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me bidding!

 

Love the after gathering with the authors!

Love the after gathering with the authors!

Final numbers are still out but looks like we are around $7,000 profit.  It was a great night!  I will post some more pics on Saturday for Saturday Snapshot.

 

I then left the next morning for our cabin on the North Shore with my son and we stayed until Monday afternoon.  It was AWESOME.  Books and movies and pub style pizza.  What is not to love?  :)

Today I will finish up on the deposit for Wine and Words, figure out are totals, communicate with Book World our local book store and start my thank you’s.

I have reviews to write and should be back on line now as that is the last big jump for awhile ;)

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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! ;)

Hey all!  I have pretty much been off the radar for the last 4 days and left the blog and you Monday Meme joiners hanging.  My apologies :)  Wine and Words was on Friday and I started working on it at 6 am on Friday and went all the way to about 2:00 am Saturday morning then left for the North Shore with my son by 1:00 pm.  I came home about two hours ago.  It was a great event… a great relaxing weekend.. and now I hope to settle into a slower paced norm for a while… (at least until the book sale at the end of September).

You can find pictures of the Wine and Words event on the Wine and Words Facebook page.

 

I am reading, and I am flying through a few audio.  None of which I am going to post about as I want to get this posted so you can still link up as I am SUPER LATE.  And… I want to do laundry.  And start supper.  And maybe get back into that book I was reading this weekend.

 

So here is the link:

 

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