Meatless All Day by Taunton Press


Listing 45 Power Ingredients, Meatless All Day is the right cook book for the ages.  With more and more people going vegetarian, and many eating at least one or two vegetarian meals a week, it is good to have go to recipes that are not only meatless but tasty!


I find as I get older (did I just say that?) I enjoy having meatless meals a few times a week.  Perhaps as my palate has refined (HA!) I enjoy the textures and tastes more of pasta’s loaded with vegetables, big meaty mushrooms, egg dishes…

In Meatless All Day I found many mouth-watering dishes I am anxious to try.  The book is laid out nicely with pictures and recipes with ingredients I can easily obtain.  As I read this book while I was on vacation I can not wait to experiment with some of these mouth-watering recipes!



  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (March 4, 2014)


All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places, Jennifer Nivens, Book Journey

Edgy.  ~Sheila

Misfit Theodore Finch just wants to die. Death is a fascination for him and he occupies much of his time thinking about how to do it.

Popular Violet Markey lives with a deep grief in the loss of her sister.  While she has much to live for; graduation, a slew of collages that want her, and supportive parents, she sometimes has trouble just taking her next breath.

When Theodore goes to the Bell Tower of the school thinking this may be the moment, he is surprised to find Violet also on the bell tower with similar plans.  Suddenly Theodore makes the decision to save her, although really… who saves whom?

When the unlikely pair are assigned a project together to discover the “natural wonders” of their home state, they find a rare friendship while working together.  Both Violet and Theodore have something to learn from the other, yet is it enough to save them from the demons that haunt them?



I adored listening to this book.  There were magical elements to it that made me think of other books either intentionally, or brilliantly not.  The Bell Tower of the school made me think of the Bell Jar of Sylvia Plath (another person who could not escape her own demons).  The play of words between the witty Finch and the book smart Violet felt like whispers of John Green and The Fault In Our Stars.

I do not mean to compare this to other books as this is a unique setting all of its own.  Both Theodore and Violet narrate this book so you have a first hand perspective of what they are thinking and feeling.  While this is a YA read, it deals with very real topics of depression and mental illness, yet never feels heavy.

As author Jennifer Niven titled the book, “All The Bright Places,” this hold true right to the last page.  Take this journey.  It will not be smooth, it will not be painless, but it will be worth it.

Narrators Kirby Heyborne and Ariadne Meyers do a wonderful job with this audio.  I found both of their voices to be spot on.


Fun Fact:  All The Bright Places will be a movie!  Elle Fanning will play the lead role of Violet.  Release date has not been set but watch for it!



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 4 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Listening Library
  • Release Date: January 6, 2015



Morning Meanderings… And Now For Something Completely Different. Not.


Tuesday and this week is already off and running.  I spent most of yesterday at the library in meetings and setting up the new window display.  The sun was shining, it was warm out, and it was time to take down the display of red background paper that looked a little “Christmasy”.

And then this morning I woke up to this:


Yes winter is back in Central Minnesota and it is still coming down.  There is a good three inches on the ground now.


To think that the library display window I put up over Christmas had scarves and gloves in it and the weather did not call for scarves and gloves… now the window has spring flowers in it and a springy backdrop and…

it snowed.  :shock:

I must have some sort of seasonal disorder.


Looking at the upside of this, I am cancelling my 1:00 pm today and instead after a coffee date with a friend I think I will read (yes read!) this afternoon.  All of my time lately has been spent on projects and websites and I just want a day of hot tea and a good book.

Really, is that too much for a girl to ask for?

Enjoy your day!



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


Hello!  Welcome to It’s Monday What Are You Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It’s a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read list. :D  You never know where that next great read may come from!

A fairly good week here but a busy one outside of reading.  I listened to audio when I could but did not finish a book this week. (The book I reviewed this week I read last month)  Here is what I did post:


Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon (another awesome read!)


Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain (oh yeah she has done it again!)


Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly (creepy good!!!!)


Last Time We Said Good Bye by Cynthia Hand ( so good!)


Book CRACK:  What Draws You To The Books You Choose


This was actually an awesome week for reading as every review I posted this week was excellent.  That rarely happens, in fact a few weeks ago I read several books in a row that were kind of “meh”.  I started to think I was snooty and too judgey!  Glad to see that pattern is broke!  :)


So here is what I am putting in my head this week:


For My Ears


The moment a mysterious boy moves in next door to Sydney and Allyson Tate, both of their lives begin to change in ways that neither of them can ignore.

When Allyson meets Graham Copeland, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit – shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s almost impossible to resist having a crush on him.

As usual, Sydney sees things differently than her sister. In her mind, Graham’s odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him and to protect a love-struck Allyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too. And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right – and wrong – she is about everything.




Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until she was kidnapped by a notorious serial killer. A year has passed since she defeated her attacker, but Dana is still physically, emotionally, and psychologically scarred by her ordeal, with aftereffects including PTSD and memory loss. In an attempt to put herself back together after surviving the unthinkable, Dana returns to her hometown. But it doesn’t provide the comfort she expects: She struggles to recognize family and childhood friends and begins experiencing dark flashbacks – but she’s not sure if they’re truly memories or side effects of her brain injury.

Dana decides to use her investigative skills to piece together her past and learns of the event that made her become a reporter in the first place: the disappearance of her best friend Casey Grant, the summer after high school graduation. Looking at her past and the unsolved mystery through the dark filter of PTSD, old friends seem to be suspects, authority figures part of a cover-up. Dana begins to question everything she knows. What is real? What is imagined? Are we defined by what happens to us? And is the truth really something too terrible to be believed?


I am not putting any books down because I know what I need to finish.  I need to get my book mojo back this week :)


In the meantime, what are you reading?  What did you finish last week?  Share your Its Monday What Are You Reading  where it says click here:

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For those who read mainly children and middle grade books please add your link here as well:


Book Crack: What Draws You To The Books You Choose


Recently a friend of mine asked me for good book suggestions for her to recommend to her book club.  I rattled off a few I had really enjoyed recently including Silent Sister and The Midwife’s Confession, both by Diane Chamberlain.  Later, my friend sent me a message saying they were going with Silent Sister, but she was curious about the author writing both of the books about suicide and if that was her niche.  I hadn’t really thought about that when I suggested the books and as I replied I thought about my current books I had going.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand is a book about a teenager committing suicide.  All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (listening to currently in my car), is about two teens who develop a friendship over their suicide attempt.  I did not pick up on this theme until my friend pointed it out to me and I did not want to tell her what had just dawned on me, “apparently I am drawn to books about suicide.”


As I processed that thought, curious as to why these books may catch my attention I think I have some ideas:

1.  A suicide – or untimely death of any reason, can make for good (I know the word “good” sounds terrible here) book footage.  There are many ways you go with this… a false suicide (person actually still lives as it is a coverup), a murder disguised as suicide and then who did it, a true suicide where those left behind have much to sort out.

2.  Puzzle solving.  I like puzzles and things I have to figure out.  A death synopsis opens that up for me.

3.  Emotions.  I do not search for book after book that will rip me up, however a book that can bring out any kind of strong emotion – fear, sorrow, love, hate… is usually a well written book.

4.  Creepy curious desire of the unknown.  In a suicidal book there is much to interpret.  You are opening yourself up to a loss for all those involved.


Of course, my book reading does not consist of death alone (thank goodness!).  I am also drawn to well developed dystopian reads, books centered around women’s friendships, food memoirs, and I hate to admit it… books about school shootings.  Of course, we read all the time out of our “book crack” genres, and enjoy many other topics as well – but there are those certain topics that draw us back again and again to our dealer.  I mean… book dealer.  I mean book seller.

Book Journey, Harry Potter, Darth Vadar

Don’t be judgey…. the heart wants what the heart wants.


So I am curious.  What is it that draws us to the books that we read a little about or hear a little about and suddenly we MUST HAVE THAT BOOK!  It has happened to us all so don’t deny it. :)  When a book appeals to us to the point that we order it right away, what happened?  I am willing to bet it is not because we had nothing else to read.


What topics in books are like book crack to you?  Which books can you not resist?

Last Time We Say Good Bye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Good Bye, Julia Whelan, Cynthia Hand, Book Journey

It has only been a few months since Lex’s brother Ty committed suicide.  Since that time Lex feels as though she has been in a long tunnel trying to reach towards the light and the air that has to better in the light than it is in this darkness. Her mother is deeply depressed and her part-time father doesn’t know how to reach either of them… or perhaps his absence when his son needed him makes him not invited to this level of grief.

As Lex begins to move forward trying to rebuild her broken life she also knows that she will not be able to be complete until she admits to someone…


about the text that she received… and how if she could turn back time, maybe; just maybe she could have changed everything.




Drawn into this book by that synopsis, I could not wait to know more.  Lex is an excellent protagonist.  As a highschooler, Lex has all the exposure of being the girl whose brother committed suicide.  She sees the sympathetic sad looks on the other students faces, some are her friends feeling awkward, but many she doesn’t really know and almost resents their grief.

I like how this book goes back and forth.  Assigned by her therapist to write down her feelings, Lex remembers her brother through her journal giving us a full view of who Ty was.  Raw and emotional this is a good picture of a family dealing with the worst possible scenario and trying to hard to find a way to go on.

In the end there is an important lesson about grief and forgiveness. Seriously the last few chapters made me a pool of tears, but – in a good way.  They were tears of awe and maybe on a more personal note… memory. Well written.  As I listened to this on audio, the narration of Julia Whelan was just the right voice for this book.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 19 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Harper Audio
  • Release Date: February 10, 2015


Morning Meanderings…. February…. You Are A Wrap.


Good morning!  Sunday is here!  End of the weekend and we are on the verge of a new week and already starting a new month.


I think I mentioned last month that some would look at the big old agenda book as pretty old school when you can not put all of your appointments in to your phone but I love to see the month of what I am doing as a whole like this.  Almost like a diary. :)

February was a fun month.  I had a birthday.  I went to the Gatsby Party.  I ended the month by jumping in the lake.  I read 5 books, I listened to 10 audio books.


Yesterdays Polar Plunge. I have no plunge pics yet but I do have this pic of my cousins wife Rhonda and I pre-jump and a photo bomber…. ;)



Here I am sowing the dog tags I was wearing for a friend of mine as I was jumping on his birthday.


Ok on to books.  It was a good book week and here is what came in the house:


The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel (audio)

The Food Babe Way by Vani Hari (audio)

The Love Song Of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (audio)

A Tough Of Stardust by Kate Alcott (audio)

The Winners Crime by Marie Rutkoski (audio)

The Cake House by Layifah Salom

The Doomsday Equation my Matt Ritchel

The World Within (a novel by Emily Bronte) by Jane Eagland

The Daddy Diaries by Joshua Braff

Pleasantville by Attica Locke


Today I am catching up on emails form the last two days and trying to get ahead on some projects so the week will be a little less tight.  Hoping this afternoon I will have at leats a couple of hours of undiluted book time. :)

Morning Meanderings… A Good Day To Jump In The Lake


Good morning!  As the sun comes up this morning in Central Minnesota I am prepping to leave for my two-hour drive to Anoka MN where at approximately 1:45 pm today, I along with many many other crazy people are going to jump in the lake for Special Olympics.


The last time I did this was in 2012.


Showing off my fashionable books.  When in Minnesota...

These boots will be coming along this year as well!


So….. yeah.

I am guessing I signed up, I received pledges.  I am doing this.

I offered the people who pledged me to have a say in one thing that I wear.  I will be wearing a prom dress.  Dog tags.  And something Harry Potter.  I will show you what that ensemble looks like at a later time.

For the rest of you… stay warm.  Read something good.  I will be finishing the audio book All The Bright Places today during the drive time.

I am linking this post to Saturday Snapshop.  Stop and see what everyone else is taking pictures of today :)

Morning Meanderings… Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates


Friday!  OOMP – there it is!!!  I feel like I want to run to the end of the living room and do some sort of touch down dance.

It has been a GOOD week.  I have been back from our trip for a little over a month now and have gone from feeling exhausted and lazy, to “what am I going to do with my life?”, to cautiously putting myself out there, to picking up a few freelance jobs, to slowly developing a name, to a possible local commitment that is flexible and can work around my other projects.  I will know more after today.

EEP. (in a good way)


It has been scary cool putting together my own work commitments and wondering if it would work.  I had fears that working from home would be too hard to stay focused but that has not been true.  And honestly I really really like it and feel I am getting a nice rhythm.



Camp Benedict Cyclist, Camp Benedict, Book JOurney, Minnesota Bike RidesOk, apparently I have the dork meter set on HIGH today. I am having breakfast with a friend and partner in crime all things bike ride related this morning for putting together a charity bike ride for camp this summer.  I am really excited how that has come together this week.  I built this super cool website:  Camp Benedict Cyclists



logo Wine and Words, Minnesota Events, 2015, Fall Events, Book Journey

I also think I have landed the final author I need for Wine and Words this year. Just waiting on final confirmation and then I can start making announcements and update that website as well.


So if life really is really like a box of chocolates… my week has been all milk chocolate caramels (MY FAV!) and not one single coconut filled one.  HAZAH again.


Urban Dictionary:

A word used to emphasize ones pleasure and/or approval at something. Often accompanied by spasticated clapping.

For real authority, one should pronounce it as if saying ‘I SAY! (old chap)’.

Bloke in movie: “The Wooden Horse will destroy the city of Troy”.

Loyal fans: “Hazah! Hazah!” *clap clap clap*


Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly, Book Journey

Natty and Sean have a typical marriage.  Their two daughters are now teenagers, and both parents are busy working at the hotel they run together.  They are busy people but comfortable in their lives.  When their oldest daughter Felicity becomes ill on a school trip to France, Natty goes to be with her and bring her home.  Natty’s best friend Eve offers to stay with Sean and their other daughter Alice to help out at the house while Natty is away.  Natty is thankful for her friend.

But should she be?

Eve has other plans in mind.  Playing the role of the perfect “wife substitute’ she plays right into everything that Natty would not.  She cooks and cleans, catering to both Sean and Alice.

When Natty returns home with Felicity she finds that Eve has taken her spot not only in her home, but in her bed.  Shell shocked, Natty tries to make sense of how quickly her whole life has crumbled.  Every where she turns it seems that Eve is there, driving Shawn’s car, rubbing what she has done in Natty’s face.

Then Natty receives a mysterious note saying

“she has done this before.”

The note awakens Natty at a new level.  She knows she needs to find out more about her so-called friend, having no idea that the road she is about to take is a deadly one.

Wow. Wow. Wow.  What a great book!  With a synopsis like this, it is all too scary real.  Eve is a kind of crazy evil.  The pace moves along quickly (which I like), and I had to keep listening just to know what was going to happen.  It is definitely an engaging read.  I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Natty is a great protagonist and Eve is an excellent villain.  There is no middle ground here, the line is clearly drawn and I liked that.  It was refreshing.

I listened to this on audio and Colleen Prendergast was an excellent narrator.  It seems like I keep finding these audio books lately have heavily accented narrators and I think my head needs a break for that, but that is just me.  ;)

Highly recommended.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 22 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
  • Release Date: October 8, 2014



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