Morning Meanderings… Literally Literary Fumes


I feel as though I have run a literary marathon.  Things, have been quite bookish around here lately, Library conference, Author event, Teen Library meeting, first annual Friends Of The Library retreat and last nights Bookies Book Club.  All this happened within the last week.  It has been fun, do not get me wrong, but I feel a little wrung out, looking forward to a non eventful rest of the week.  My agenda is fairly open the next week out.


Last night the Bookies had a great time meeting up and discussing In Cold Blood.  We also handed out our books that we will be reading as well this month for the new Harper Collins Program “Book Club Girls”, this will be books chosen by my group and read in addition to our regular scheduled read.  Our first book through Harper is:


Super excited about this book!  There is also a box of swag coming that I am excited to see what it is!  :)

Our book clubs pick for November will be :


Looks like a good one and the perfect time of year for some Historical Fiction!

Well, off to get ready for my day.  Hope your warm and enjoying fall colors wherever you are!

Gone Girl – Book VS. Movie


Woo hoo!  Finally, 10 days after the opening of the movie, I made it to see Gone Girl!  The movie made from the book whose spoiler page has become by far my all time most popular post on Book Journey.  Seriously, here are the stats since I wrote the post in 2012:

Months and Years

Oct Nov Dec Total
2012 6,028 5,790 6,922 23,741
2013 2,993 2,578 2,299 40,138
2014 140,912 264,276


* I eliminated most of the months as this graph was just too big to fit into the post. 

So lets discuss the book.  I read Gone Girl in July of 2012.  It was my first Gillian Flynn and it blew me away with all of its twists and turns.  I LOVED it, and I had a lot to say about it, which is why I wrote the spoiler page.  Gone Girl is a book that had me thinking one way, and then I was wrong, and then I thought another way… and I was wrong again.  I gushed in my review of the book!  I was so impressed with Gillian’s talent to write characters that can drive you nuts!


The Movie…

As a disclaimer, I must say that I read the book in July 2012, and seen the movie on October 13th, 2014.  I had hoped to read the book again before the movie but there just was no time to get it done.  That said, I cautiously approached the movie that sat at 2 hours and 35 minutes long.  That, on the front end, seemed longer than necessary, as it turns out after seeing the movie, there is nothing I would cut out out to make it shorter.

Gone Girl the movie starred a well played Ben Affleck as Nick, and Rosamund Pike made for a perfect Amy.  Honestly, the movie played out extremely well and had a nice running compatibility with the book.  I went to the movie with two friends, one who had read the book and one who has not.  The one who had not was a lot of fun to watch as she was shocked by what was happening on the screen.  I found myself chuckling softly to the game playing between Nick and Amy and hung on to the ending credits.  Then we were the last ones in the theater as we sat and discussed the movie.


The Verdict of Book Vs. Movie….  (possible spoilers)


The book.  The book is so filled with high energy twisty turns that I feel it comes across better to be read and get the initial buzz through the pages.  The movie missed a couple of “what I felt to be important” points:

1.  Nick’s dad, and when found wondering around from his retirement home in the book is quite verbal about his negative feelings towards Amy, thus giving you the impression that he may be involved in her disappearance.  In the movie, while the dad is found wondering away from his home, shows no emotion about Amy one way or another… this making his appearance in the movie feel a little useless.

2.  In the book, it is explained well how Amy’s parents have used her for the books her mom wrote, Amazing Amy and you fully understand the pressures that Amy had on her to live up to an animated character of herself.  While the movie mentions these pressures a little… I am not sure if it is enough for the watcher to get the full picture of what that type of perfection caused.

Now, I would by no means rule the movie out.  The movie was actually very good and I would definitely watch it again and will probably own the movie.  See it.  Even if you have no intentions of reading the book, I think you will find the movie to be just a fun crazy insane ride!


Update:  The spoiler page for the book is picking up a pot of movie discussion so I am going to open up a spoiler page here for the movie.  This page will be for those who have seen the movie and open for discussion if you have read the book or not.  Enter below!



Morning Meanderings… Prelude To A Murder


Good morning fellow readers, adventure seekers, and of course coffee drinkers. How are you this fine chilly morning?  Perhaps where you live it is not chilly… or perhaps you will not venture out into the chill. I will be doing both I believe… Minnesota can be a fickle state to live in. :)

Last week I made two trips into the Minneapolis area.  Once for the Minnesota Library Association Conference, and then again for Opus and Olives, the premiere author event of the state.  Both were excellent times but happy to say that this week I will be hovering around home base.  YAY!!!



Tonight… The Bookies Book Club will be discussing for our annual October Classic read, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.  The chilling true story of a murdered family and why.  This should make for an interesting discussion as true crime does not usually fall into our groups genre’s to read.  I am deciding on my appetizer to bring and think I am going with cucumber sandwiches.  Love hanging out with this group so looking forward to the bookish discussion and good food!


One more quick note, I finally made it to Gone Girl last night.  My thoughts on the movie will be up later today.

Burn by James Patter son and Michael Ledwidge


Detective Michael Bennett and the whole Bennett clan (all ten of the children, Grandpa Seamus, and the nanny Mary Catherine) are finally safe to come back home to New York.  The Crime Lord who had threatened the Bennett’s into the witness protection program was now in a  word… DONE.

When Mike goes back to work he is put in charge of shaping up an Outreach Squad in Harlem.  While there, he works with a team following up on some unusual activity or well dressed people going into condemned buildings at odd hours.  While Mike thinks, “that’s New York,” he does follow-up and finds a charred body at the scene….

something… doesn’t smell right.



Ok, ok.. sorry about the “doesn’t smell right” synopsis… it came to me… I used it. 

I have followed all seven installments of this series on audio and have enjoyed every one of them.  This is huge for someone who does not like to get involved in long running series.  Now, before you think that this series is too far in for you to be interested, please think again.

While yes, I do feel that you will get the most appreciation of this story line if you start from the beginning to understand who Mike Bennett is and why he has ten children and no wife; I can give you the basics of the series to get you moving:

1.  Mike Bennett and his wife adopted all ten of the children during their life together.

2.  Mike’s wife died of cancer.

3.  Grandpa Seamus is a retired Priest and lives with the family and helps out.

4.  Mary Catherine is a wonderful Irish woman who loves the kids as though they are her own and lives with the family full time.


I think I love this series because it is not a graphic as some of Patterson’s books, the children and a Grandpa Priest I think really help to tame the story line, although do not feel you are not getting a great storyline, because you are.  It is just that it is more of a good PG13 rating than an “R”.

BURN is crazy with activity.  While Mike is working on the mystery of the charred body, there are also cops dying, a woman afraid of her ex-boyfriend, personal trauma in the Bennett household, as well as the possibility of losing one of the children.  No kidding.  There is a lot happening but it is all crazy interesting and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Danny Mastrogiorgio (Narrator) does an amazing job.  I love the deep tough guy voice used for Michael Bennett, and I am impressed that this same voice can also handle the kids, Seamus, and of course… Mary Catherine.

My advice:  Read it or listen to it, but start earlier on in the series.. this is a great listen, but you may want to back up and get a real feel for this unique family to feel the full impact of what is happening in this book.


Here is a link to my review of the first book in the series:  Step On A Crack.



  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 53 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Release Date: September 29, 2014



It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


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

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

By the time you are reading this I will be at the Opus and Olives event in ST Paul Minnesota.  I am so excited!!!!  This is the event that I heard about that caused the idea of Wine and Words to start to develop.  I have never been to the event, but tonight, I am going as one of the creators guests and I am SUPER EXCITED!  (I may have already said that…)

This week has been chalk full of working and writing and speaking and …. well, here is the week:


SPUN by Catherine McKenzie

Cemetery John by Robert Zorn

A Good Marriage by Stephen King

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

Weekend Cooking:  Pumpkin Butter!

Minnesota Library Association Conference

Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax


Pretty far week and a good mix of books and audio and bookish events.  This next week will be a little of the same with the Gone Girl movie and Book Club.  This coming week I have on tap:


For My Ears:



If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.  

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss. 




A beloved star of stage, television, and film – ”one of the most fun people in show business” (Time magazine) – Alan Cumming is a successful artist whose diversity and fearlessness is unparalleled. His success masks a painful childhood growing up under the heavy rule of an emotionally and physically abusive father – a relationship that tormented him long into adulthood.

When television producers in the United Kingdom approached him to appear on a popular celebrity genealogy show in 2010, Alan enthusiastically agreed. He hoped the show would solve a family mystery involving his maternal grandfather, a celebrated World War II hero who disappeared in the Far East. But as the truth of his family ancestors revealed itself, Alan learned far more than he bargained for about himself, his past, and his own father.




Mercer Island, Washington is a bedroom community of Seattle, plopped in the middle of Lake Washington and connected to the Big City by what used to be the world’s longest floating bridge. In the mid-1960s Mercer Island was known for fancy waterfront homes, an excellent school system, inept sports teams, and teenagers with too much time on their hands and too much money in their pants. For the high school Class of ’65, a lot of that time was spent at the Samoa Drive In, the Island’s premier teen hangout, and a lot of that money was spent on the Samoa’s Cheese Deluxe, one of the world’s best burgers. CHEESE DELUXE: A Memoir by Greg Palmer, recalls that time and those people, and their mostly true, often comic, occasionally romantic, sometimes automotive adventures in the last blush of being kids on the verge of adulthood.

Among the burgered are Stackhouse, whose single erotic fantasy involves a broken down Dodge, a lonely mountain road, and a bag full of burgers; Frank, the auto shop savant whose only real crime is that the police hate him; Curtis, who has devoted his life to smoking, drinking, driving, and being deeply disappointing to his parents; Clifford, who joins the International Jewish Conspiracy primarily for the cuisine; Janelle, the dream girl of many, who learns something about herself from a dying rabbit; and Tucker, a shy young sax player who, on September 5, 1964, integrates Mercer Island High School all by himself, without any help from lawyers, cops, Federal Marshals, the National Guard, or Nicholas Katzenbach.

On the other side of the counter from this group of, if not underachievers then certainly the achievement-delayed, is the restaurant’s staff: Betty, the owner/operator, who knows enough about the Samoa to bring a sack lunch to work; DeeDee, a sophisticated (which is to say cold-as-ice) collegian believed by some of the burger eaters to be majoring in Penmanship at the University of Washington; Arlene, a professional counter personnel who takes no guff, ever, from anybody; Don, the legendary Friday night Master of the Deep Fat, who can spot the fish & chip eaters solely by the cars they drive; and the author, who was both a member of the Mercer Island Class of 1965 and the Samoa’s regular cook, as well as confessor to a group of teens who often wished they had more interesting things to confess.


For My Eyes:


When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream–making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive—not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until—in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen—she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.


Thats the plan.  :)  In a hurry so here is the link up for your Its Monday What Are You Reading:



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Morning Meanderings…. Cinderella Cinderella, Going To The Ball!!!


Good morning!  What a whirlwind week.  I feel like I am home and not and home and not… probably because that is true and that will stay true for the next month.  I like the excitement of the travel and the events and trying something new… but I like being home too.

Tonight, I have been invited to Opus and Olives.  The premiere event in the cities that I modeled Wine and Words after, even though I have never attended.  The tickets to this event are a whopping $150 each, but I am going as a guest (thus the Cinderella… although I am not sure if she was exactly a guest or a party crasher… perhaps the later…. hmmmmm….)

Anyhoo…. YAY!   The 2014 Opus & Olives author lineup includes Julie Pandl, Louise Penny, Matt Richtel, Hampton Sides, Jane Smiley and Simon Winchester.  This will be a fun evening of listening to authors speak, meeting up with other authors and publishers from the Minneapolis circle of influence and who knows.  It is research, but it is also FUN!  Their event reaches over 800 people! 800!!!

Of course the big question is… what to wear???


Here at home, I had two fun bookish items come in for review this week:



Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (audio)

By The Book by Pamela Paul


That’s it.  Hope your Sunday is filled with good things!




Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax


Madeline, Avery, and Nicole have not had the easiest road for the direction of their lives.  When an offer comes up for the three women to restore a house off the Miami Beach that may turn into a new tv show called “Do-Over”, they can hardly believe their luck.  This could be the chance that Madeleine needed to keep her family together, a kick in the career for Avery, and financial success for Nikki.  The only thing that is odd is that their requests to see blueprints of the property or see pictures have been declined.

Upon arrival at the beach property they suddenly see what had been left out of the agreement.  The show “Do-Over” will be a live cast reality show and the camera’s are rolling before they even have the shocked look off their faces.  While uninterested in having their every move televised, the women do all need this job and are all looking forward to their own personal do-over.



What a fun read!  I loved the storyline centered around a reality show.  The female lead characters were interesting, although I did not have a strong sense of knowing any of them.  They were likable enough, but more like the girls you see at an event from afar and you think, “they look fun,” but you never really know them.  I think, as I later discovered, this may be because our protagonists are actually introduced in a previous book by Wendy Wax, Ten Beach Road, which I have not read.  I am not sure how I missed that this was a follow-up book, but I did.  Perhaps having read the other book first would have made up for the disconnected feeling I was having towards our leading ladies.

Ocean Beach is just the kind of fun lighter read I needed for this beautiful warm fall week.  It made it feel like summer was hanging on just a while longer and I am always all for anything that can keep that feeling going.

I listened to this book on audio, narrator Amy Rubinate handled all the different voices very well, I believe this being my first time I have had her as a narrator.


ellen 2

Fun note:  My first ever read by this author was for our book club and it was her book entitled Leave It To Cleavage.  I had ordered the book through our local book store and was embarrassed when I went in to pick it up and say the title out loud and then the author’s name.  At the time… it felt as though I was really requesting something dirty; which turned out to be just a fun crazy read by an author whose name would someday become recognizable.  ~Sheila



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 50 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Release Date: October 22, 2012


Saturday Snapshot: Minnesota Library Association Conference


This Past week I had the pleasure of attending the Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference in Mankato Minnesota. I went, representing the Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library, 4 Librarians from our Library attended as well.

I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and joined the rest of the Brainerd Group for what was called Parlor Games.  A series of fun games from 6:30 – 9 pm.  A mix of Balderdash, Apples to Apples, and a fun team game where we split the 90-some people in the room into two groups and we had to follow a series of clues to complete a task.  It was fun!

Parlor Games!

Parlor Games!


On Thursday, along with hour-long sessions for the Librarians to choose from, there was an additional amount of sessions that were Friends Of The Library related.  I had a list of choices for each hour, and spent my first hour of the day at the Library Friends Idea exchange.  I picked up ideas there like a 5k, scholarship offering for seniors, character events for children, and more.


I spent the second hour of my day in the same room listening to the author of Beyond Book Sales, Susan Dowd, speak about the things the Friends groups can do to raise finds beyond the books.  How to build membership, how to be listed in a will…



At 11:15 I went to a different room, a room where I would be speaking.  Our local event that started in 2013 was up for an award for Best New Friends Event.  This was exciting!  I was up against a group who added on to their children’s area at their library and a Great Gatsby Event that raised $47,000.  I was sure Gatsby had it.  There would be two runner ups that would receive $250 each, and then the winner, who would receive the plaque and a thousand dollar check for their friends.

Each of us had ten minutes to talk about our project.  In the end…

Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library took Best Project!  I could not believe it!



Holy Smokes batman!!!!

The day then went to lunch where Tod Bol,the creator of Little Free Libraries spoke.  It was really interesting to hear how this wave of little book exchanges have popped up all over the world!  I did not realize Tod was from Wisconsin.



After lunch, Laurel from our Library spoke on Social Media and her talk was very interesting!  After listening to her, I have some work to do. :)

All in all, a great couple of days hanging out in a Bookish World, just the way I like it ;)


I am adding this to Saturday Snapshot.  Please check out what others are posting in pictures this Saturday.  I am off to work with bees this morning and then home to work on my house… tomorrow, starts another adventure ;)

Weekend Cooking: Pumpkin Butter


Recently I had felt nostalgic for making apple butter.  We have many apple trees in our yard and usually each fall I post pictures on Facebook for people to come and get them and they come in droves to get buckets of apples.  I used to make apple butter with my mom and she had learned from my great-grandmother.  I have all of grandmothers original tools she used to do this.  This year, after a big storm took out most of the apples – I decided I was going to make the butter again…

but this post is not about that. ;)

WHILE looking on-line for a refresher course on how to make the apple butter… I came across Pumpkin Butter.  I mean seriously could that sound more delicious of more Fall?  I did make the apple butter….and it is fantastic…

and then I bought a pumpkin…


Here is what you need:

One Pumpkin (you can use pumpkin puree from the store but I wanted to go completely from scratch)






Crock Pot

A food mill (I use my grandma’s)


Take your pumpkin and cut up into chucks with the hard outside shell taken off.


Place in a large pot covered in water and cook on high until the pumpkin is soft.  I used my Grandmothers food mill to puree it went in to the crock pot but I bet you could use a potato masher as well.



Once your pumpkin is in the crock pot I added the spices to taste.  I have no exact measurements as it depends on your pumpkin size.  I added cinnamon, and about a half cup of sugar, nutmeg and ginger.  With crock pot on low, let it cook 8 to 10 hours, or to desired thickness.  Add more spice if needed according to your taste as it cooks.


Pour into jars or gift containers.

The Butters... left: pumpkin butter, right:  Apple Butter

The Butters… left: pumpkin butter, right: Apple Butter

***Note:  Pumpkin Butter is not recommended to hot water seal your jars.  The acids in the pumpkin do not allow for safe sealing (I know right?  This was news to me too!) You can keep it safely in your refrigerator up to three weeks, or you can freeze it and take it out as you need it.


Final thoughts:  I loved the taste and texture.  While the canning note was a surprise (I did not know you could not seal it until I had made it) I put in refrigerator and gave away to friends over the next few days.  When I do it again – and I will, I will put the jars back in the box they came in and freeze.  If you leave an inch head room in the jar for expansion as it freezes, the jars are ok to freeze in.

Pumpkin butter is delicious on toast, but it is also good in yogurt, and on pancakes.

I will be linking this one up to Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.  Go and see what others are cooking this weekend :)


What am I listening to while cooking this weekend?  Ocean Beach by Wendy Wax... a fun womens literature style listen. :)




Morning Meanderings… Far Out Statistics


Good morning!  And yes…. I did just say “far out” in the title of this post.  It seemed appropriate.

If you kept up with me this week you know I was in Mankato the past couple of days for the Minnesota Library Annual Conference.  There were sessions aimed towards Librarians and staff, and also Friends Of The Library (fundraising ideas, grant writing, 501c3 uses, membership building, etc…) it was a lot of fun and I came home with a few ideas.  More on that tomorrow :)

Today I wanted to share with you the funny phenomenon of Gone Girl.  Those of you who have read me for some time are probably familiar with my spoiler page.  This is an additional page I write on books that I want to talk about in more detail because they totally blew me away, or made me angry, or… whatever.  I do not use the spoiler page often.  If you look at my link (also found in the tabs under my header) you will see the books I have used it on.  Occasionally, when a book becomes a movie or there is some hype surrounding the book, I will notice an increase on hits on a particular spoiler post.

But not like Gone Girl.

If you are familiar with the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, then you probably know the movie released on the 3rd of this month.  In September, the views of my spoiler page for Gone Girl started climbing… not just by 100’s… but by thousands of view a day.  It was odd.  In face here is what my top post views looked like on October 3rd:

Top Posts & Pages

These posts on your site got the most traffic.



Is that not just crazy?  The post had been receiving hits around 15,000 – 19,000 per day for weeks, but opening day was the largest.

What is the big interest in knowing what people are saying about the book?

What do you think the draw is?

The words they are looking up to find this post are:

Search Engine Terms

These are terms people used to find your site.


Search Views
gone girl spoiler 338
gone girl ending 194
gone girl book 122
gone girl synopsis 99
gone girl ending spoiler 85
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how does gone girl end 62
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gone girl spoilers 48
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what happens at the end of gone girl 28
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gone girl synopsis spoiler 21
gone girl summary spoiler 20
how does the book gone girl end 18
gone girl plot spoiler 18
spoiler gone girl 15
synopsis of gone girl 14
gone girl book spoiler 14



What are your thoughts on this?  Is it just that people are looking to reach out to others that have read the book?  Are they looking for confirmation on their feelings regarding the story line?


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