Morning Meanderings… Over Due Winners


Good morning...

Ok honestly… I did start this in the morning.  And then I went in search of coffee… which now that I think about is probably why I could not stay focused on this post.

I have a little catching up to do.  I have some recent giveaways that need winners and I am late at taking care of this.  I have had a bumpy few weeks here in my life and still trying to get used to my new normal… more on that another time.


Ok… let’s do this.  Recently there has been some GUSHING here about Heather Gudenkauf’s new book, Little Mercies.  I wrote a post about great summer reading and went on about this title.  I also offered up a fun summer giveaway for a Little Mercies Bundle (*SQUUUEEEEE!*) The bundle includes: Little Mercies, The Weight Of Silence, and These Things Hidden.





Sweet package right?  The winner for this package is:

Roseanne Erickson


Woot!  Give it up for Roseanne!!!


AND going farther back, I had an audio book giveaway too for June.  This one took a bit more work because it was the gathering of a MONTHS worth of audio book comments.  I old schooled this one and did what a blogger one told she did for giveaways (take each of the comment names and put them on a sheet for all the comments they had, cut them apart and then draw out of a bowl.  Thank you JK from JK’s Book Blog for that one ;)


This winner receives a $25 gift card emailed to them at one of the following stores:




and that winner is….

Anita from Anita Loves Books!!!


I will email Anita now and once she chooses her gift card is on its way to her :D


Today, which is slowly eeking away from me…. is my 27th Anniversary.  EEP.  My husband had to say it was our 27th… I had to do the math.  Don’t tell him but I did not realize it had been that long.  ;)  He is working today trying to stay on top of all the demands of his job as an excavator so tonight we thought we may just go out some place for a little bit.  There is a new restaurant called The Woods that I would not mind giving a try.  :D

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf (Summer Reading and Book Club Worthy!)

Little Mercies, Heather Gudenkauf, Book JOurney, Social work, Sheila DeChantal

Social Worker Ellen Moore is used to seeing the worst side of the human race.  It has been her job to protect the children of her community and it is a job she does well while also managing her busy family life with a husband and children of her own.

One blistering hot day while trying to help a family in need, one moment of distraction, one slip while trying to do too much at the sale time, Ellen’s world comes tumbling down around her putting her on the other side of her world in the craziest of ways.  Suddenly life is speeding by as a blur as events unfold and her careless actions could cause the life of one of her own.


In another story line, ten year old Jenny Briard lives moment to moment.  Since her mother disappeared one day she has lived with her abusive father and lives moment to moment wondering where she will be sleeping that night and if there will be food.  When Jenny takes to the streets in search of where she believes her mother may have gone, her life becomes entangled with Ellen’s.

Ellen can not explain the appearance of this wayward child who has wormed her way into her life but she does not have time to deal with that in the midst of her own turmoil.  Jenny certainly does not want a social worker looking to closely at her and fears being sent back to the man she is trying to escape.  What neither Ellen or Jenny knows is that the timing of their encounter is right on time.




I simply adore Heather Gudenkauf’s writing.  She writes true feeling life stories that could be anything you would see in your local newspapers.  Tragedy.  Justice.  Truth.

When this book was offered for me to read I was super excited to have a chance to dig into another of these amazing stories.  I had no idea that once I opened the book, I was not going to put it down until I closed the last satisfying page.  (*note that during this reading there is some awkward making of lunch with one hand while my other held the book open)  ;)

Interesting, fast paced, heart pumping action, what unfolds in this story line is truly something you can imagine really happening.  Heather Gudenkauf’s Little Mercies grabbed me and made for gush worthy summer reading.



  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (June 24, 2014)



Book clubs – this book would make for an amazing discussion.   Download the Book Club Kit (PDF)


I have a giveaway going for a package of Heather Gudenkauf’s books.  Please comment on that post for an entry and receive a bonus entry for commenting on this one as well.  I will announce the winner of the package on Friday July 18th.

Brown Bag Author Event: Julie Kramer

brown bag 1

Every Monday in June and July at the Brainerd Public Library, we have a Minnesota Author come from noon to one to talk about their latest book, answer questions, and sign books.  It is a lot of fun, and being a part of the Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library who sponsors these events gives me a front row seat when it comes to chatting it up with the authors.

Not a bad gig.  ;)

Recently we had Julie Kramer at the library talking about her new book Delivering Death.  She was very engaging to the 70+ people in the room.

Julie kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death

While talking about where she gets her ideas for writing thrillers, she passed out to the audience her Minnesota Book Award for Silencing Sam.  It passed from person to person, even I had to get in on that action!  When it had been “oohed and ahhhhed” over by everyone there, Julie said this:

Let’s say tomorrow I am going to book signing in Duluth.  And lets say on my way there I meet someone and I beat them to death with that Minnesota Book Award and leave the person and the award with all your fingerprints all over it.  That’s where ideas come from.  ~ Julie Kramer


We all laughed.  Some nervously.

Julie Kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death

Julie was a wonderful speaker and we had a great time with her.  She left us a signed copy of her book Delivering Death, and a bottle of wine with the same book title on it for Wine and Words in August.

And I picked up a copy of her book as well:

Julie Kramer, Book Journey, Delivering Death, Sheila DeChantal, Shunning Sarah

Julie Kramer’s website

The Three by Sarah Lotz (Hoo Baby!))


Forcing the world into a fearful silence, four planes around the world crash almost simultaneously in Japan, Florida, Portugal, and South Africa.  Our of these flights there are only three survivors each from a different flight and each are children.  A Pastor of a church that one of the congregation was on the Japan flight and died, feels that these children are a sign from God of the coming Apocalypse, referring to them as the four horseman and saying that there is a fourth child but he or she has yet to be discovered.  As the children are given to surviving family members things become stranger and stranger and these children do no seem to be themselves.  But if not themselves…

then who…or what are they?



The Three is the type of book that captures my attention right away.  Fantastic book cover, a title that makes you want to know more and a synopsis of “WHOA”. ~ Sheila


Not only is The Three a fast paced novel that will grab you right from the start but the format is also brilliant and refreshing.  Written in corresponding letters, phone conversations, blog posts, internet discussions and texts, Page by page The Three unfolds a thrilling tale that will hold you all the way through to the chilling end.

A brilliant first book by author Sarah Lotz.  I for one will be watching for more from her.



  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English


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!

I had a weird and somewhat stressful news this past week.  Its nothing I want to get into, but I think you can relate to the times when you really can not focus on reading let alone blogging?  Yeah – it has been like that.  I think some decisions I make this week will move this ball of anxiety along… but in any occasion, here is what I posted this past week:

Bookies – The Annual Book Exchange (you have to try this!)

Bookies Queen Event (yes, it is that time of year again!)

Summer Reading Giveaway Package!

The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus (fantastic read!)

The Hurricane Sisters by Dorthea Benton Frank (SO AWESOMELY Gush Worthy!)


That’s the posts.  I still have a few reviews to write and hopefully will have them posted this week.  Lots of good stuff to share :)


As for this week… here is the plan:


For My Ears:



Devin doesn’t remember life before the world got hot; he has grown up farming the scorched earth with his grandfather in their remote valley. When his grandfather dies, Devin heads for the city. Once there, among the stark glass buildings, he finds scores of children, just like him, living alone on the streets. They tell him rumors of a place for abandoned children, with unlimited food and toys and the hope of finding a new family. But only the luckiest get there.

An act of kindness earns Devin an invitation to the home, but it’s soon clear that it’s no paradise. As Devin investigates the intimidating administrator and the zombie-like sickness that afflicts some children, he discovers the home’s horrific true mission. The only real hope is escape, but the place is as secure as a fortress.



DAMIEN ECHOLS and LORRI DAVIS met in 1996, and were married in a Buddhist ceremony at Tucker Maximum Security Unit in Tucker, Arkansas, in 1999. Echols spent nearly eighteen years on death row until his release in 2011. He is the author of the New York Times–bestselling memoir Life After Death (2012). For more than a decade, Lorri Davis spearheaded a full-time effort toward her husband’s release from prison, which encompassed all aspects of the legal case and forensic investigation and, with Echols, served as producer of the documentary West of Memphis. Echols and Davis live in Massachusetts.




A savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime – one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn’t believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in.

Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.



For My Eyes:


The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they’ve left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can’t reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they’ve built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she’s pregnant.

Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust.



That’s the plan.  Please add your link to your It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading below where it says click here:



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For those of you who read mainly children and middle grade books, please also feel free to add your link here:


Morning Meanderings… MONSTER Rabbit


Happy Sunday!  The sun is out and I get the good feeling it is going to be a beautiful day!  Not a lot of the agenda today – I may try to take a bike ride this afternoon, after all we have the 50 mile ride next Sunday and I have hardly rode at all this year!  EEP!


This year we have a few rabbits in the yard and I love that.  In the evening from the back deck I can sit and watch two little ones play out on the edges of the property between the house and Al’s shop.  I never seem to have my camera ready when I can catch them up close.

Yesterday morning I was on the phone chatting away with a friend on the deck when a LARGE rabbit lumbered (lumbered? yeah… that’s right) through the yard.  I told my friend he must be about a 20 pounder… like a small dog!  (Ok, I may have told her 40 pounder but you know… look at the size and double it… like fishing.  ;) )

Last night I finally caught a picture of him but he was far out and I did not get a great shot, but I will keep trying.

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

In bookish news, a few treasures came in this week:


Book Journey, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell Inamorata, The Drop, Dennis Lehane, Nadia Hashimi, Megan Chance

The Drop by Dennis LeHane (ooh I like LeHane’s writing!)

Inamorata by Megan Chance (BEAUTIFUL cover!)

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi (there is some buzz going around about this one!)


Great reading ahead!  Currently… I just finished Hurricane Sisters (LOVED!!!!!!) and should finish today You Should Have Known; also really good.  More about that tonight, when I post It’s Monday, What Are You Reading.

The Hurricane Sisters by Dorthea Benton Frank

The Hurricane Sisters, Dorthea Benton Frank, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal


Three generations of southern women, Maisie who is eighty years old and set set SET in her ways.  Liz, Maisie’s daughter is taking care of a career, middle age, and one eye on her adult children, especially Ashley, and the other eye on her husband who makes more and more frequent trips to their apartment in New York.  Then there is Ashley, in her twenties she is sweet and innocent but has her eye and her heart set on the cute young senator; despite her roommates warnings.

Ashley has her older brother Ivy who cheers her on from afar when he is not able to visit from his San Francisco home where he lives with his partner.  Ashley lives in one of the family homes with her roommate Mary Beth; living on a shoe string budget but having dreams (and ideas) of how to make some big money to help them reach their dreams… as long as Ashley’s family doens’tfind out and then render her homeless.

These women love each other fiercely but you wouldn’t always know each.  Each woman has their secrets….  and like the hurricane sisters they are about to become… things are about to get crazy.




WOW OH WOW OH WOW OH WOW OH WOW.  I adore Dorthea Benton Frank and her books too!  If you are an audio person – I highly HIGHLY encourage audio for this one.  Robin Miller has a fantastic variety of voices that clearly define each of the southern characters of this book, both male and female.  I seriously had moments I laughed out loud during this one.  I can only imagine that narrating it was just as fun.

A perfect summer read that makes you think of summer flings and summer parties.  But this book is no fluff… in fact I am very impressed with Dorthea Benton Frank’s handling of a hard topic mixed within this story line.

This is a book that will leave you looking for more of Dorthea Benton Frank.  I have read her before… and I am already looking through her books to see what I may have missed.

Fantastic through and through!







The Beekeeper’s Lament by Hannah Nordhaus

Beekeepers Lament, Hannah Nordhaus, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

The Beekeeper’s Lament follows John Miller, a multi generational bee keeper who moves his over 10,000 hives around the US to farmers who need the pollination that only the honey bee can provide.  Beekeeping, as one can imagine, is a lot of work and not for the faint of heart.  John will be stung frequently, deal with mites, weather, semi trucks loaded with bees turning over on highways, theft, and the CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) epidemic that came about in 2004 and still is as mysterious today.

Miller moves onward with a sense of humor, a gift at writing, and a desire to help feed America despite all the obstacles.




Why did I want to read this book?  I am fascinated by bees.  I have a friend who raises honey bees and occasionally I get to go and help her out and I enjoy learning about the bees and all they can do!


I really enjoyed reading The Beekeepers Lament.  The fascinating things that honey bees provide (beside the obvious honey) by providing pollination to flowers, berries, fruit, and the big one… almond trees.

Author Hannah Nordhaus follows John Miller through all the steps to bee keeping.  She writes of the communications between herself and John between visits.  John likes email.  And jokes.  And Author Hannah Nordhaus writes as I would hope if I were writing about something similar, that I would write.

This book would be appealing to those who enjoy foodie books, fans of nature, and of course the fascination of bees.  I learned so much by reading this and found every page to be filled with fascinating (and occasionally funny) information.



  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (May 24, 2011)





Summer Reading – Reading On The North Shore (and giveaway!)

Recently I was at our cabin on the North Shore, right off Lake Superior.  It is a 3 1/2 hours from our home… a jaunt by any account but one that is worth it.  Once there – I am out of internet and cell phone range.  It usually winds up being quite the reading time.


Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey, Summer Reading, Heather Gunderkauf, Little Mercies


Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf was one of the books I enjoy during this last trip.  I have read Heather before and enjoyed her writing very much.  This latest book, makes for GOOD Summer Reading!  I picked the book up in the sunny afternoon and I did not stop until I closed the last page that evening.


Little Mercies, Heather Gudenkauf, summer reading, Sheila DeChantal


About Little Mercies

In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences… 

Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for. 

Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another. 

A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.


I have an opportunity working with Harlequin, to offer to one commenter a chance to win a Little Mercies Bundle (*SQUUUEEEEE!*) The bundle includes: Little Mercies, The Weight Of Silence, and These Things Hidden.  Leave a comment here on what you like to get out of your Summer Reading (thrillers, fantasy, beach reads, lite lit…)


   Follow Heather Gudenkauf on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

·         Visit Little Mercies page on Goodreads

Morning Meanderings… Book Sale and Mediander


Good morning!  Friday!  WOW!  Its hard t think that a week ago was the 4th and here we are rushing through July!

Yesterday I helped with the first ever Children’s Book Sale at the Brainerd Public Library.  Our regular sale is becoming so big and the children’s books take up a whole back wall and up the wall and under the tables.  The books are so many that we can not display them properly – instead they are crammed into full boxes and people have to dig.

I spent yesterday morning assisting in setting up the sale, we have a couple of hour break in the afternoon and then back at 3:30 to prep to open the sale at 4:00.

It went well:


It pretty much looked like this and fuller from 4 – 7 pm.  Today we will do it again from 9-3.  It is not as crazy busy and exciting as the LARGE sale, but we are receiving lots of positive compliments on doing it this way.  Parents love that they can look through the books without being trampled and we sell them for 25 cents each so how can you pass that up?


In another discussion entirely, have you heard of Mediander?  It is a super cool website that you type words or topics in to and it will connect you to all sorts of info and media.  It’s pretty slick.  They had a big presence at the recent Book Expo in New York and I was on a panel with the Senior Editor.  We chatted and I was offered to write a review (hopefully more) for them.

I wrote a review on The Three by Sarah Lotz…. so goooooood!  Please check out my review on their site.


Got to run… must get ready for the children’s sale, have a grad party later this afternoon and a fun work event after that :D

Happy Friday!













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