Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell, Book Journey, Carry On, Harry Potter, Simon Snow

Simon Snow is The Chosen One.


He, in his opinion, is the absolute worst choice for such a  title.  He can not keep the spells straight and half the time his wand doesn’t even work.   His roommate Baz (who Simon is pretty sure is a vampire) avoids Simon like the plague, and his girlfriend is on the verge of being done with him and quite honestly Simon doesn’t blame her.  Relationships are weird and he never knows what he is supposed to do.  And now…. it seems that he has been chosen… or drew the short straw… to help solve a murder.

Seriously?  Why can’t he just have a normal life?



I was drawn to Carry On because of a blurb I read that said Harry Potter fans were going to flip for this one.  I am a pretty easy sell if you tell me a book is going to be like Harry Potter.  For the record… it wasn’t- not really, and honestly nothing ever has come close to HP for me so it’s not a big disappointment.  There were similarities to the Potter books that I thought were a little too close to a brilliant idea already taken.  For example, Simon, like Harry, was an orphan.  And Simon, like Harry was considered The Chosen One.  There is also a creepy monster like character that had some of the similarities of a Dementor (see Potter books).

That said, Rainbow Rowell does carry off an interesting unique read that while it may have used the Harry Potter books as a jumping off point…. the book then takes it’s own direction.  I don’t want to give anything away but I can say that RainbowRowell likes to take her characters in directions you may not expect.  Simon surprised me.  The book surprised me.

I listened to Carry On on audio and the audio music throughout the listen (don’t worry – it is not continuous or annoying) was brilliant and exciting.  I enjoyed the narration very much, even enjoyed hearing some of the wording that is often used through out the Harry Potter books…. the accent brought me back.

I have to agree that Harry Potter fans will find a little dose of happiness in this book.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 13 hours and 42 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Release Date: October 6, 2015



  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (October 6, 2015)



Morning Meanderings…. Vacation Books


This is my 4th day home since we returned to Minnesota from Mexico last Thursday evening.  My weekend was fairly uneventful.  I am still battling this cold/sinus infection so low energy and lots of laughing and blowing my nose have been priority.  I cleaned up our vacation laundry… but have not quite got the suitcases entirely cleaned out.  I read a little.  Cleaned my carpets.  Listened to audio.  Caught up on emails.

I always like to see what people are reading when on vacation.  I can not help myself but strain my neck to catch a title as I pass people with their noses in a book while at the pool or laying on the beach.  I no longer ask people about the book they are reading unless they speak to me first…. after the “incident” in Costa Rica many years ago.

The four of us, Al, myself, Justin, and Brad went to an all inclusive resort in Costa Rica.  The resort was beautiful and I spent most afternoons by the pool with a good book.  One day I was walking to the pool when I seen an older gentleman lounging with a copy of The Davinchi code in a different language.  That really should have been a clue.  But no…. I had enjoyed The Davinchi Code so I attempt to strike up a conversation with him, pointing excitedly at the book and rattling on about how much I had liked this book and what did he think of it?  (Picture Hermione talking excitedly about a new spell she has learned…. I imagine I looked something like that).


The man just stared up at me.


I smiled and walked away.  Now more than likely, he did not speak English.  Or he could have thought I was rude.  OR both.  Much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie pop; the world may never know.


Now…. I just look at the titles.

Here are a few of the books I seen in Cancun and this is only a few.  I also seen author names such as Debbie MaComber, Steve Berry, James Patterson, Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts….  I wanted to write down author names but I never did.


The books I read while in Cancun were : The Three Weissmanns of Westport and Maybe In Another Life.  I started The Butterfly Cabinet and read a bit of Angle of Declination given to me by one of the ladies in our group and written by a friend of her and her husband’s.


Today I will go to the library to meet with our Head Librarian to discuss the book in the bags and accompanying information to go with them. Book In The Bag is sponsored by the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library.  It is 10 copies of a popular title that can be checked out all at once for reading groups.   I am going to work with this program to help with questions to be included with each title, suggestions to take your discussion to the next level, and food that goes with the book.  I think this will be a fun project.

I am also sending out the letter today for our Annual Friends Meeting that will take place a week from today.  This is an open invite to all of our friends to join us for a potluck supper while we share the past years highlights as well as what is coming up for 2016.  At that time I will also be revealing the authors who have committed to Wine and Words 2016 so far.

I think Mondays may become library days. :)

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates w/ Bookies Book Club Review


Between The World and Me is a series of letters written by author Ta-Nehisi Coates to his 15-year-old son.  The letters consist of racial history and walks us through Coates life from a impoverish child in a hard part of Baltimore to attending Harvard.


Between The World and Me was our book clubs pick for January of this year.  I was really proud of the book club for choosing this book because not only is in non fiction, it is on a hard subject.  I was excited to discuss such a book as a group. For myself, Between The World and Me was at times fascinating, Coates, has a wonderful way with worlds that made me think about things more deeply… but towards the end of this book I found myself a bit exhausted by what started to feel like heavy negativity towards our world and felt as though their was little hope for someone born African-American.  When I finished the book I was not really sure, and I am still not, on how I feel about it.  I am glad I had the opportunity to read it, however as I am a white woman, I can not express with any certainty of if what Coates is saying is how it is.  I have not walked in his shoes.

The book club discussion was everything I had hoped it would be.  Over delicious food and wine, we discussed our feelings about the book.  Granted, we are a group of mostly mid-western women but I think we did a good job of discussing what is happening in our world today (Minneapolis is 2 1/3 hours from where we live and there has been recent issues there with African-Americans and the police) as well as around the US.  Coates, we agreed did a good job of sharing what it was like for himself to grow up as he did, however most of us agreed that these letters to his son were fairly heavy for a 15-year-old, and in my opinion, left a hopeless sort of feeling for any positive future.

This was one of those discussions I wish I would have recorded.  It was passionate and deeper in a direction we have never gone before as a group.

Over all the book rated just below an average rating for us. Some liked it less and some a little more.




Why is this a good book for a book club/ reading group?

Between The World and Me brings much to be discussed and the discussion flows almost without questions.  For reading groups that have been together a while,  this book will take you to another level.  Groups may experience a difference in opinion on how they feel about this book and that makes for good discussion.


Ask your group to write down their favorite quotes from the book to be discussed.

Have your groups share current issues from the news involving race and discuss.



  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1 edition (July 14, 2015)


Paper Towns The Movie Based Off John Green’s Book Of The Same Title


Its been a long time since I have had a lazy day where I have spent a Saturday morning or afternoon watching movies, but that is what I did today.  Granted a miserable head/sinus cold, fever, and drowsy feeling helped.  So me, a couple of books to movies (Paper Towns an Scorch Trials), hot tea, Kleenex, and I was set.

Paper Towns is a book by John Green.  When I first started reading John Green I was told that your first John Green book will be your favorite.  I never was able to test that theory because my first John Green was Fault In Our Stars and yes, it is my favorite.

Paper Towns the movie was actually better than I thought it as going to be.  I had forgotten about the great friendships displayed in this book.  I also really enjoyed the lead roles of Margo and Quentin,  it was a good fit from the book to the movie.


Looking over my review today of Paper Towns I found I had the same thoughts about the movie that I did about the book.  Margo frustrated me then and she does now.  I think I understand why she does what she does but at the same time her ability to disconnect from everyone baffles me.  As in my review, I found the friendships in the movie to sustain me and leaving me enjoying both.


Overall movie thoughts?  Yes, rent it.  Its a good story and in the end, while it is not the end I would have hoped for…. it still leaves a good impression and message.

Saturday Snapshot…. Taking a WORD to the extreme in Cancun


Yesterdays post answered the question of where I have been.  Today I want to answer in part the question, what did I do? I mostly did what I had planned to do to get through… read, sit by the pool, walk on the beach, enjoy the spa, eat a lot of delicious food, hang out with good friends that understood when I needed to walk away or spend time in my room.

On our last afternoon in Cancun this past week, Al and I and a few of the others in our group took a walk on the beach.  We watched the parasail go up from a dock and as I watched the chute soar higher and higher I whispered…

I would do that.


Mu husband and my son Justin had parasailed on a trip to Jamaica many years ago. Al did not enjoy it so much, but Justin, always ready for an adventure loved it.  Now I decided I was going to do this for him.

I went up with another girl in our group, Julie.  She was nervous and went back and forth on if she should go or if she shouldn’t.  I said to her, “Julie, when we go home and people ask us what we did in Cancun, what are we going to say?  That we laid by the pool?  We went to the spa?  We played it safe the whole time?  This.  This is your Cancun story.”


I guess it is mine as well.

My word for the year is COURAGE and I chose that word because I knew that living in a world without Justin was going to take all the courage I had.  Every day it takes everything to not just throw my hands up and say this is crap and just stop it all.

BUT in this story… I am on a beach in Cancun about to parasail.  About to give courage a run for its money and show it what I am made of.

book journey, Sheila DeChantal

Julie and I Cancun Mexico 2016






We had a good time.  I refused to be afraid and I now have this story to tell.  This is my Saturday snapshot.  More Cancun pictures to come.

Morning Meanderings…. From Minnesota to Cancun in 4 Hours


Squeaking in here late morning but still morning.

I did not mean to play the old silent treatment here the past week +.  We just returned last night from Cancun Mexico and this morning I have been a bit slow moving with a nasty sinus head cold. So here I am with coffee cup and ….

Oh, I suppose I should back up a bit.

The Cancun trip had been on the table pretty much all of 2015.  While we had our tickets, I was wavering if I wanted to go and with everything that has happened in our lives over the past 9+ months, I did not want to be the “downer” of the group of ten that were planning to go.

I was so unsure… I was not quite 100% in even the night before the trip.  Although we had made all the arrangements with house sitters, dog sitters, mail, etc… I was still quite willing to bow out and would have been fine staying home.  Al coaxed me.. my friend Wendy coaxed me… and finally I decided it was only 7 days and two of them were travel days so really only 5 days and Justin would have wanted me to go.

I went.

I read a bit… I laid in the sun.  I walked the beach with my husband.  We ate a lot of good food, we tried a couple of new drinks.  I laughed some.  I cried some.

And in the end.  It was all ok and I am glad I went.  Of course, we all have pictures and some I will not have for a while yet and some I will post tomorrow morning.  For now… I will give you a little hint of what is to come…






Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Forever interupted, book journey, taylor jenkins, reid

This book brought up memories of the movie City Of Angels (which I LOVED).  ~ Sheila

Elsie Porter isn’t expecting anything extraordinary when she head out one rainy New Years day to pick up a pizza for herself.  Yet extraordinary is what she gets when she meets Ben Ross.  Their chemistry is instant and the two start seeing each other immediately.  By May, they have eloped.

Nine days later, Ben is killed.

When Elsie meets Ben’s mom Susan, Susan has no idea about Ben’s romance with Elsie let alone his marriage.  With no marriage certificate yet, Elsie finds herself pushed aside as plans are made for Ben’s funeral and where he will be buried.  As the story unwinds, we see flashes back to Ben and Elsie’s relationship as well as current time Elsie and Susan, two women who loved Ben dearly trying to find a way through sudden devastating grief.

Taylor Jenkins Reid bring about a powerful emotionally charged story of quick passionate love and rock bottom grief.  I entered into this read cautiously, hoping I would not stumble into any thing too personally hard, and was happy to find that the book worked for me.

Imagine loving someone so quickly and passionately only to lose them before their family even knows you exist.  On top of your grief, you are trying to justify your appearance to a grieving family – especially hard when the person you are trying to convince is someone as closed off as Ben’s mother, Susan.

The book’s flash backs into Elsie and Ben’s relationship and powerful love works well with the current Elsie’s story line of trying to now make sense of what she is left with. the physical remains of a relationship that started and finished in 5 months.

I had mentioned before that Taylor Jenkins Reid was a new author to me and I have enjoyed the three books I have now read of hers.  Her writing is down to earth, lite with interesting story lines that make you think.

Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Washington Square Press

Morning Meanderings…. Fences.


Minnesota has finally hit COLD.  Currently as I sit inside with both hands around COFFEE CUP it is 19 below zero.  The coldest temps that we have had yet this year.  The kind of temp that makes Al (hubby) and I talk about moving to some place warm like Florida, at least perhaps eventually like snow birds….gone for the cold months, back for my favorites Spring – Fall.  It is not an easy topic for me because I have so many attachments to my home town.

In the book, Between The World And Me, which my book club will be reading and reviewing tomorrow evening there is a line that works into this topic…

We did not choose our fences.

7In the book, Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing to his son about the ways of our world and in this line he is referring to the fences that contain us.  More pointedly he is referring to the fences of being born Africa American, however as I look around my home this morning… the home that I have lived in since my mom built it after the fire in 1980, the home I inherited after her accident in 1996, the home that sits next to the property where I had lived since I was 3 and used to play with my sister in the back yard that is now the home of our business; I believe we all have fences.  The same home that I celebrated my teenage birthdays with friends and cake, where I spent hours talking with my mom about all the things that teenage girls talk to their moms about, the home where I raised my two boys from ages 6 and 8, the home where we laughed and worked on school projects and made Harry Potter capes out of blankets and watched movies as a family and baked cookies and painted bedrooms football team colors and planted gardens and completed years of homework and celebrated school sports wins with popcorn mixed with gummy bears and m and m’s, and handed over keys to first cars and sat up into the night talking about first love and heart break, the home of laughing until it hurt, holding tight to the past, and the home that now has 2 trees planted in the back yard in memory of my son…

We all have fences.



Where the heck did that come from?

I am going to need a second (who am I kidding) third cup of coffee.

Anyhoo.  I think fences will be an excellent discussion point for our group tomorrow.  As this book is different than anything we have ever read, I have been creating some good discussion topics.  I love books that stretch us, think our of the box – or in this case out of the fence.

What fences do you have in your life?




Morning Meanderings…. A Little Something On Racism


It is Sunday morning.   EARLY.  I am sitting here with COFFEE CUP contemplating the direction of this post.  I had a different title in mind…. something I thought of yesterday but decided I dare not use. Yet.  But it was a good one.  ;)

I adore my book club.  Yes, yes, feel free to insert eye roll here.  I know I say it like ALL THE TIME.  I can’t put into words everything this group of women mean to me but you know I like to try.  After a whirlwind month of holiday dodging and extreme emotion, I did not pick up the book club book,  Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Yesterday I put out a plea to my book club and one of the gals in our group delivered it to my door.

“Did you read it?”  I asked her.

“I did.” she said.

“How was it?”  I asked.

“It’s black.” was her response.

“Yes.” I said, and knew her comment was not demeaning or derogatory, just stating a fact.  It is a different style of book than we have ever read as a group before.  As I opened the book myself last evening, I understood what she was saying even more.  Between The World and me is written as letters to Ta-Nehisi to his 15-year-old son and it covers what it is like to grow up in a world that can judge you by the color of your skin.  I am proud of our book club for choosing this book and look forward to an interesting discussion this coming Tuesday.


For myself, the book so far is poetic, and metaphors, and very real.  This morning I opened up my laptop and looked up what others were saying about this book.  The reviews are mixed but interesting.  I am not done reading but it is a short book and I will be done today.  It is the kind of read where I sit with a notebook next to me to write down profound points and questions.


In other thoughts… books came in my house this week.


The History Manor and Still Well are both from Michael Phillip Cash and he always sends little treats with his books.  The candy is nice, but the little yellow highlighter is what made me smile.  I do love highlighters.

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson is squeeeee worthy.  I love her writing and can not wait to dig into this one.

This Is Not The Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson caught my eye in the latest bookmark magazine.  I picked this one up at our library yesterday morning.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is also a library pick on CD.  I hope t start listening to that one today.


Last night, my husband and I went out for a bit with our son Brad and his friend Andy.  I was talking to Brad about book reviews and he said, “I didn’t realize you are still doing that.”

I told him I was, not at the pace I once was, but I didn’t and I don’t want to give it up.  So much has come out of this thing I have created in Book Journey.  As I look back at when I started this in 2009 I would have never dreamed that in 2016 I would still by typing away talking books, life, whatever.  I told Brad that Book Journey has been such a big part of where I am today.  This blog has brought me friendships, book connections, events like the book expo in New York, real life connections and a big one – this blog is why I was in St Paul on April 1st and 2nd with my son Justin preparing to interview Scott Eastwood.  That was the last time I seen my son and if not for that book connection….

well.  Let’s just say I am so thankful.  In the months to follow, a bench was placed at the Brainerd Library with my sons name on it.  That bench was from the connections I have made here at Book Journey.  Seriously… my heart is full.

Book Journey and I are not done yet.  I will continue to read and write, share and connect.


On This Day….

PicMonkey Collage

I love Time Hop and Facebook’s Time line.  That’s when you can look up posts and/or pictures that you posted on a certain day in past years.  For the most part, you may find something interesting once in a while….a good memory… a great pic…. but today must be a day that I do things because January 8th had a lot to say.

For starters, I made the above picture my Facebook profile pic on this day in 2013.  What is interesting is that I love(d) to change out my Facebook pic and used to do so frequently…. but my current Facebook is and has been for quite a while now, this same picture you see above.

Also, on this day 3 years ago I was appointed to the City Library Board.  In 2012, I had two conversations about books with Justin on that day.  One was regarding the book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo… the other was about purchasing second-hand text books for college from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And then…. there was this:


This is a box that was sent to my book club on this day for our book club meeting that night.  The book was In The Belly Of Jonah, and the amazing author was Sandra Brannan.  What was fun (beyond the super cool BIG package) was what was inside.  Sandra and I had originally met in New York at the Book Expo.  I had since seen her a few times including a time she was speaking in Minneapolis and myself and another book club member Susan went and took her out to dinner before her speaking.  After dinner I introduced her to the delicious drink the Colorado Bulldog (which may or may not have caused us to cut it close on the speaking engagement but really…. that is another story).

So…. in the box was chocolate rocks with Sandra’s book cover on it, a 6 pack of coke, chocolate syrup, and a skull (yes skull) of good vodka.  All the making (except the milk) to make Colorado Bulldog’s.  It was awesome and since Sandra skyped with us that evening, we all had a drink together.


Now that is a good January 8 memory.  Actually… they all are. LOVE my book club.

Any good January memories for anyone?  What were you reading a year ago today?



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