Author Archives: Sheila (Book Journey)

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan


Clay Jannon, a San-Francisco web designer, finds work during a rocky economy as the 10 pm – 6 am clerk at a 24-hour book store.  While there is not a lot of action during these strange nighttime open hours; the few people who do come in are not purchasing books, but checking out large strange volumes from the far corners of the store as allowed by the store’s owner, Mr. Penumbra.

Clay suspects that store must be somehow doing something illegal through these so-called “customers” and lending of books…but in his searching, Clay discovers something much bigger than the volumes that occupy the store….




What is it about books about books?  I mean really… how dorky can I get?  Yet, when a title mentions a book store, or a book club… I want to know more.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan is a fun read, or in my case listen.  The narration of Ari Flaikos (new narrator to me) was fun and perfect for this read.  Ari gave me flashbacks of the amazing narration of Will Wheaton, and those are words of praise coming from me.

In this book, push sensible realities aside and just dream for a bit of a secret group that is centered around a book store… and not giving too much away…. perhaps…. many book stores.  But how does one get to be part of the elite group?  And what happens when things are not going as they should be?  You are going to have to find yourself a copy of this book or grab it on audio to find out!

I enjoyed this listen and think others who like to read about book stores and bookish themes will as well.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 41 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Release Date: October 2, 2012


Morning Meanderings… The Gone Girl Debate Continues


Sunday already!  I have been mowing my lawn yesterday and picking apples today… listening to Liane Moriarty’s Three Wishes on audio.  It feels like fall here in Minnesota… walking the dogs this morning it is a nippy 43 degrees.  Brisk!

Books that came in the mail this week:



The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker (a win!)


Driving Lessons by Zoe Fishman


The Scrivener’s Tale by Fiona McIntosh


The Case Against The Supreme Court by Erwin Chemerinsky


Yup.. no audio.  Is that weird?  LOL… pretty sure there will be some this week :)


As for the Gone Girl topic… did you read the book?  Are you planning on seeing the movie?  In July of 2012 I read the book and it moved me to write a spoiler page for it so I could talk more about my thoughts on it.  Since the rumors of the movie began, that Spoiler Page post receives hundreds of hits a day and people still are giving there opinions on the book, the ending, etc…  I love seeing a book fuel that much discussion. :)  In fact that page is probably the first time in recent days, that I had to tell a commenter to clean up their act – and I think that is the first time I have even done that on any post I have written.  The controversy continues….

I for one, am curious about the movie as I usually am when books I have read become movies.  I may not always love the movie version, but I like the contrast and seeing what vision they come up with.. good, bad, or ugly.  :)


Share with me your thoughts on Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn!  Would love to talk Gone Girl!



This Is Where I Leave You by Johnathon Trapper


I was recently asked, “How do you read all the books you receive for review?”   And, if I am honest, I admit I can not read them all.  When I accept the book for review I have the best intentions to read and review the book… but life does happen – jobs, family, friends, commitments, homes, and so unfortunately – some books are missed and unfortunately – as in the case of this one, that is a sad mistake that I am so glad I had an opportunity to correct.  ~Sheila


Synopsis – Judd has just walked in on his wife having sex with someone.  Someone who is not him.  Someone – who is in fact, Judd’s boss.  And Judd’s life just fell apart.

Soon after, Judd receives a phone call from his sister that his father who has been ill for some time, has died and the family; Judd, his sister Wendy, and brothers Paul and Phillip are to gather at the family home with their mother for this final good-bye.

Judd’s mother says that in his fathers final wish he wanted the family to sit Shiva; a Jewish tradition where the family remains together int he home for seven days mourning the loss of their loved ones while friends and family come and pay their respects.  Judd’s family is not the type that can spend more than a few hours together without wanting to kill each other so this should be interesting.

Wendy, the only daughter, comes in tow with her three children and her business husband who can not stay off his phone long enough to mourn anything… except maybe the possible loss of a few dollars.

Paul, the oldest son comes with his wife Alice who is desperate to be pregnant but so far no matter what doctors she see’s and what pills she takes, nothing has happened for the couple.

Phillip, the youngest of the brothers and by far the most free-spirited comes with a much older woman who he is hoping will help him settle his wild ways and lack of interest in any kind of responsibility.

And then there is Judd, broken marriage, no job, living in a smelly basement apartment wishing hateful things on his boss and mourning the loss of the woman he loved….


what could possibly go wrong?

The internet is a buzz with the upcoming movie for this book, This Is Where I Leave You.  The casting looks wonderful and with it opening next week I had a vague recollection that I may have this book on my shelves.  I did… and I started reading it right away.

This Is Where I Leave You is that book that you will not want to put down.  It opens with a funny conversation between Judd and his sister Wendy… and it keep rolling from there.  The family is dysfunctional, and funny, and keeps you on your toes… if it could happen… it will happen.  I flew through these pages finding a real enjoyment in Johnathan Tropper’s words and the whole time wondering, “what else have I missed from this witty author?”

Do not hesitate on picking up this book that is a quick enjoyable read of a family that really… could be anyone’s family.  And then… do not miss out on the giveaway I posted earlier this week for a chance to win a movie package.


why are you still here?

Go!  Get this book!



  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English


Saturday Snapshot: My Summer Report by Sheila


Good morning.  Saturday is here and it looks like it is going to be a nice one.  Which is good as the two big projects from yesterday – the picking of the apples and the mowing of the lawn did not happen.  And I have since found out that we have a wedding to attend this afternoon….

Life – never dull.

I was looking at old posts and I saw that last year at the end of summer I posted pics for Saturday Snapshot of what I did with my summer.  I do not even recall doing that….lol.  I thought today for Saturday Snapshot I would do that again.  It has been an odd summer full of huge life changes both scary and exciting and I think a walk through what was fun will do me good:


DeChantal, Justin, Book JOurney

Our youngest son graduated from College.


Adriana Trigiani, Stephanie Evanovich, Dorthy Benton Frank, Book Expo 2014, Harper Collins

At The Book Expo in New York and had a chance to hang out with Dorthy Benton Frank, Adriana Trigiani, and Stephanie Evanovich. Bliss!!!


Bookies Book Club, Sheila DeChantal

A few of the Bookies Book Club dress up for our annual Queen Event


Bucks Busy Bees, SHeila DeChantak, Book JOurney

Helping out in the bee hives.



Summer reading!


ST Joseph, Minnesota, Tour Of Saints, Sheila DeChantal, Amy Price

Tour Of Saints 50 mile bike ride in ST Joseph Minnesota


Gooseberry Falls, Sheila DeChantal

Gooseberry Falls, Cabin trip with my cousin Cheryl


Muckfest, Wisconscin, Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Wisconsin Mud Run for MS – Me, Amy, Jody, Jenny


AMy Price, Sheila DeChantal, Bookjourney, Muckfest

Ready for the Muckfest in Wisconsin!


Book JOurney, Sheila DeChantal

The giant rabbit in my yard.


Barbara Claypole White, Randy Susan Meyers, Lorna Landvik, Catherine McKenzie, and Benjamin Percy, Wine and Words, Brainerd Minnesota, Sheila DeChantal

Hanging with Wine and Words authors – Barbara Claypole White, Randy Susan Meyers, Lorna Landvik, Catherine McKenzie, and Benjamin Percy


Wine and Words Brainerd Minnesota

Part of the 210 in attendance at Wine and Words 2014


ST Paul Classic, 2014, Amy Price, Sheila DeChantal, Book JOurney

St Paul Classic Bike Ride – Amy and I


Bucks Busy Bees, Book JOurney, SHeila DeChantal

Learning to extract honey


Those are the highlights… bike rides and mud runs, playing with the bees, author events, sunny days… friends. :)  Stop over at Saturday Snapshot to see what others are taking pictures of this week :)

Diary Of A Mad Woman by Joan Rivers


In diary format, Joan Rivers shares a year of her life…  the moments at home, the running to her shows, her conversations with fellow stars, Melissa….

but this is not a recap of Joan’s life and how she made her rise to where she was at the time of the recording – no, this is an account of her current life at the time of the writing… what she deals with as an aging star, and of course much harsh words for those who cross her path, both living and dead.

She complains about charitable cases, people with too many kids, those who starve themselves, those who are too heavy, the blind, the rich, the poor… you name it – if you know Joan, she will attack it.



I chose to listen to this audio because honestly, I know little of Joan Rivers.  With her recent passing, and seeing her books on audible, I thought I should give her a try.  Let me just say that Joan’s book is not for the faint at heart, easily offended, sensitivity to offensive language and lewd acts….

I will just say that while at moments she was funny, for the most part she was crude, and cruel and while I wanted to give this one a try, I will not become a fan of her work.  The audio reminded me a lot of Betty White and how she has become this crude older woman who people love because the “F” word coming out of her mouth is as hilarious as it is when a two-year old pops out an inappropriate word.  IMO, Betty sold herself out for this kind of publicity, I do not know when Joan became so crude or if she always has been that way, but this would explain why I never followed her career.


Personal note – when she said that Libraries were over and that we do not need them anymore… saying no one was breaking ground on new libraries… well….  now she just got personal.   ~Sheila


Note:  I have come to understand (really knowing little about this woman) that she was a ground breaker for women entering into comedy and being given a voice.  Joan Rivers served us well in our history of women stepping into new roles and for that I am grateful.

Rest in peace Joan.


Morning Meandering…. Giveaway and My First (and second!) Bee Sting


Good morning.  Friday!  SWEET!!!!  Except my head is full of….

I should clean my kitchen, clean out the fridge, make apple butter with the apples on the trees, take a bike ride, change out the window for banned books week at the library, make a few phone calls, laundry, pick up supplies to make apple butter… look for my moms supplies, mow my lawn…..

Anyhoo… for now, I am chatting with you.  And having coffee.  And listening to a book. I have most of the weekend for all of the above.


First up today – the giveaway.  I posted yesterday about the book (and the movie!) This Is Where I Leave You.  I thought I posted too late to be a part of the awesome giveaway going on but found out this morning that I am not too late…. so please comment on that post to be included in the giveaway.  I will choose a random winner on Tuesday morning to win this package:

Giveaway Details:

One (1) winner from Book Journey will win a prize pack including:

$25 Visa gift card to see the film in theaters & copy of the book (movie tie-in cover)


OOH!  But remember – comment on that post. to be entered, not this one.


Ok next up the bee sting.  I have been helping my friend Amanda off and on through the past few years with her bee business.  I have been around more lately as she has a lot going on planning to move the bees to Florida for the winter.  I have prided myself on the fact that I had never been stung… in fact I often thought it was due to my sesame oil skin softener which as a bonus seems to repel bugs like flies, mosquito’s, etc…

In fact….

and this is a bit embarrassing…

We were in the truck driving away from a bee yard and I was talking about how the days I knew I would be in the bee yards I would even put the softener on my neck… at that moment I was stung in the throat.  Yes – right front and center of my neck and it HURT!

Then… at the next stop, somehow one got into my bee suit and stung me in the eye brow area of my left eye.  Seriously….. OW!

Works like botox... look at the little lines above my right eye... but my stung one is all smooth....

Works like Botox… look at the little lines above my right eye… but my stung one is all smooth….

An then…I was done being nice to the bees for the day.  I am generally a pretty level person who loves to live in the “Can’t we all just get along?” world.  Until… we can’t all live in the get along world because someone or something stings me twice and then…


no longer yesterday was I that person that said “Don’t kill it!  Roll down your window and let it out!”  Nope.  I think I smashed 5 bees yesterday for being in the truck and a potential threat to me.  I am not proud… but like in any war…

there are casualties.

Ok… I am off to work on that above list.  I think what sounds most interesting right now is picking out books for the banned book week display.  Always a good time.  Oh and don’t forget if you want to participate this year in the fun of Banned Book Week (September 21-27) please sign up!  There will be prizes!!!




Bookies Thoughts: That Night by Chevy Stevens


For September, our group the Bookies read and discussed That Night by Chevy Stevens.  I had read this one and reviewed it in June.  For myself, I was already a fan of Chevy Stevens books, but I was excited to see the bookies try her.

Brief synopsis:  Toni, a senior at her school becomes a victim to bullying even at the hands of her younger sister.  Her parents, especially her mother believe that Toni is the trouble maker while her sister Nicki gets away with everything.  When Nicki is found dead, Toni is blamed in having killed her and is tried as an adult and sent to prison.  Years later, on probation she is out and back in her home town where nobody wants her there, but she has to figure out what really happened that night.


That Night, actually surprised me of how well it lent itself to great discussion.  While at first glance I would not have called this a great book club discussion book, after last night I believe I need to change my response to that.

That Night covers such topics as the criminal justice service, wrongful convictions, dirty cops, bullying, murder, family dynamics, and relationships.  Our group actually had a deep conversation around these topics.  Including today’s school system, how the rights have gone from the teachers tot he students and how their is no control unless the parents give permission – and usually they do not.

Why would book clubs enjoy this read:  Chevy Stevens is well worth putting on your book club or reading groups radar.  Her book Still Missing blew me away years ago and I still refer to it.  I can easily see her books becoming movies.  Book Clubs can find much to discuss within these pages as I mentioned above.

We did do a little food with our review… nothing themed – I could not get my head wrapped around this one for a good idea…. and there is not much food in the book itself:

PicMonkey Collage

Morning Meanderings… This Is Where I Leave You – with giveaway!!!


Good morning!  Thursday already!  Can you believe it?  It seems like this week flew by.  Yesterday was a great catch up day.  The cold weather kept me inside although my lawn could use a mow, and there are a couple of things I could have done in town… but staying in a warm house – yes the heat is on and has been for the last two days (GAH!), is not such a bad deal.

I wanted to chat today a bit about a movie I am kind of excited for and still need to read the book.  It is called This is Where I Leave You by Johnathan Tropper and you may have seen other bloggers chatting away about it – I am just coming in late to the party.  I am so excited about how many books are becoming movies!

So here is the synopsis of the book (and movie):  When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

Doesn’t this look good? I want to read it.  I want to see it!  It stars This Is Where I Leave You stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard and Jane Fonda.

this is where i leave you, giveaway, book journey

Releases to theaters on September 19th.


 So… I mentioned a giveaway – one lucky commenter will receive:


One (1) winner from Book Journey will win a prize pack including:

$25 Visa gift card to see the film in theaters & copy of the book (movie tie-in cover)

I will pick a winner on Tuesday – and announce it in the morning ;)

Have you read this book?  Do you plan to see the movie?


Visit all TIWILY websites – #TIWILY



This morning I started listening to Mr. Pemumbra’s 24-hour Book Store by Robin Sloan.  It is great on audio!  So much fun!

Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr


In the winter or 1970, the South Of France found itself with six culinary figures who more or less coincidentally all found themselves at the same place at the same time.  Julie Child, James Beard, and MFK Fisher were among this group.  Together this group talked, and cooked, and drank and ate – discussing taste, and recipes, and the future of food.

Cook books were being written… history was being made, and this book made from photographs and journal entries of MFK Fisher compile what happened… one season…. in 1970.



I have been looking forward to this book ever since I learned it was about food and chefs and a gathering that by all rights made history!  What an exciting time!  This gathering was one that changed food as we think about it.

Author Luke Barr, nephew to MFK Fisher, puts together a setting from the journals and notes MFK had written of this time and recreates a time that foodies of today would have bought tickets to see, me among them.

John Rubinstein narrates this audio very well.

While I did enjoy listening to this historical event, I did not love it as much as I thought it would.  I found some points to drag longer than necessary.  I have this in paperback as well, I may try it again someday in that format and perhaps I can sink more into the storyline then.

Adding this to Weekend Cooking:



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Release Date: October 22, 2013


Morning Meanderings…. I Got The Funk


Good morning.

You know when you stare at a word long enough you start to think it is spelled wrong?  That is what happened to me this morning with “meandering”.  When trying to update the meme pic (is it a meme?  I don’t even know… probably not… just a something I do.)



Look at it.  Say it.  Do it enough.. you question yourself.  Or, more to the point, I do.  Meandering.  Soon the word has lost all meaning….

Moving on…

I feel a little funky today.  I woke up with a headache that makes me feel pukey.  I am tired for no reason today.  I went to the gym and went through the motions but was not into it.  Now home, I am thinking i will keep it a low impact day.  You know… research on-line, a little reading, a little writing.  Making chicken soup for dinner.

I am listening to a Joan Rivers audio.  I thought it would be appropriate to listen to something the woman had written as I really did not follow her career, not am I am a big fan of the award shows.  I was curious as to what made her who she was…. for the record – this audio book is not telling me that.  It is not about her life to star-dome…nope.  It is in diary format and she bashes people, is totally inappropriate, racist, and while occasionally funny… it’s mostly harsh.  Should make for an interesting review…



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