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Morning Meanderings…. A Two Person Book Club


It’s raining here in central Minnesota.  I have the back door to the deck open so I can listen to it.  It is almost soothing and makes me think that this is good reading weather.

My Mom’s sister, my Aunt and I have become closer over these hard months of impossible change.  She lives just a few homes down from us and she has been very kind by visiting often, calling to check in, and just being there in general.  In the early months she would always come to me, and now that I venture out a little more… I stop by to see her.  We have coffee, occasionally I will bring her something I have made like white chicken chili, soup, or apple pie… (to this day I still cook too much food for Al and I).  We will chat about life happenings, memories, and surprisingly….


I did not know my Aunt was a reader.  In all honestly – I am not sure she knew she was one either.  This summer she had knee surgery so I put together a care basket for her knowing she would not be able to do much for 6-8 weeks.  I put together magazines, coffee, chocolates, Kind bars, hand lotion, movies, and of course books to pass the time.   I had no idea what she would like to read if she did read so I guessed…

my original delivery consisted of:


When she finished those and gushed over Mary Kay Andrews I sent her home with these…


Success again….  and we were talking books at our weekly get togethers either on the phone or at one another’s home. So then I went with more discussion worthy reading…


She loved the Help and is currently reading Gone Girl which I have told her to call me when it goes crazy and assured her… she would know when that was. ;)

I find many things very satisfying about our time together.  One…. obviously it is nice to connect and I value the time I have with her.  Two…. I love the idea that it really only takes two to make a book club (my Bookies Book Club started with 3). I also very much am aware that in a time when statistics say that reading books is on the decline due to the increase in the use of technology through our phones and having movies/video games and pretty much anything at our fingertips 24/7…. I find it both enlightening and positive to think that many of us, like my Aunt… had forgotten their enjoyment of digging into a good book.  It just took another book lover to show them the way.

Anything is possible.

I know… there is another post in there somewhere…


Bookies Review, Food, and Getting Into Character With Gone With The Wind


There is a reason our book club has a wait list.


are a ton of fun.

We always enjoy taking our reads to the next level through excellent discussion not only on book, but author as well, often food to go with what we read, and occasionally (my favorites) we dress up.

When we chose Gone With The Wind for our Annual Classic Read I was so excited about the possibilities for dressing the era.  When the buzz started with the girls saying they would make curtain dresses, having never read the book before I was thrilled with their enthusiasm…. making dresses!  Way to go Bookies!!!

And then…

I was sent a link to the Carol Burnett spoof on the book…

Ahhh….. what exactly were the Bookies going to do?

There was a little buzz on our Facebook page.  They were havig trouble finding used curtains for their dresses. I went to a Halloween shop and found mine …. it was called Goth Vampire but I figured if Scarlett could be who she was… she certainly could also be goth.

So book review night comes.  I had it at my house, converted to the Plantation Tara for the evening.  And as the girls entered… I was impressed with their creativity..


The Bookies…

do not disappoint.

As you can see in the picture… several made the curtain dress!  Kathy (far right in white) even had the curtain rod in hers!  Between using old curtains, buying curtains, dressing in an ere looking dress, and being creative….

the Bookies take on Gone With The Wind like pro’s!  You will notice up front we have a Mammy… and another surprise you can not quite see in this picture, but you will soon!


There she is… in the back to the left with a halo…. yes Gone With The Wind fans…. Lori dressed up as….


Yup.  God’s nightgown.

The exclamation that Scarlett would frequently say throughout the book when she was frustrated.  The first time in Bookie history that someone dressed as an exclamation.  Nicely played Lori…

nicely played.


Laura, with the help of her mother, went all out and sewed up this cute little curtain number from new curtains.  I told her she could wear this next year to our Gatsby party as well!

Of course… it wouldn’t be a Bookies book review without great food….

PicMonkey Collage

We had corn pone, Frankly My Dear I Don’t Give A Ham sandwiches, Butler Balls, shrimp creole,fried chicken, brownies, and sweet potato pie (recipe below) and a Scarlett OHara drink (recipe below).

PicMonkey Collage 2

We had an excellent discussion on the book.  There is so much to talk about in Gone With The Wind!  We all agreed that Ashley was NOT a catch.  We discussed Scarlett’s relationships with her different husbands as well as with her children.  She was indeed… a unique individual.

We also had good discussion over the author Margaret Mitchell… kudos to her for creating such a protagonist as Scarlett… what an unusual perspective for the times…. this headstrong woman who was not a nurturing mother or wife but instead always looking for the best way to support herself and her ambitions.

It was interesting also to hear the difference of thoughts from those in the group who had read the book before (very few actually), and those who had seen the movie, to those of us like myself that had not done either.

For a classic, the overall consensus was an average read AND not to bad for a classic rating – BELIEVE ME.  A few of us, myself included, rated the book a 5 which is our top of our rating scale.  See my personal review here.

Why Does Gone With The Wind make for a good book club read?

1Gone With The Wind is indeed vast with pages, but worth the efforts for book clubs.  The option to read or listen to on audio makes for a wide variety of discussion on both.  There is much to discuss as a group from the civil war, to the reasons this is a banned book, to Scarlett herself as well as her relationships with others.  AND the little extras you can do to make your discussion even deeper.

Please click here for group discussion questions and ideas for a group review

Sweet Potato Pie

you will need-

1 1/2- 2 pounds sweet potatoes

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 9 inch pie crust

  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in a bowl. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.  ( as seen at All

Scarlett O Hara Drink

2 ounces Southern Comfort

8-10 oz cranberry juice

1 squirt of lemon juice to taste

mix and serve over ice

I am linking this post to both Saturday Snapshots and Weekend Cooking.

Let’s Talk About The Queen


I love this picture.  This is my book club this past Tuesday after we had a great potluck dinner, talked books, and had our Queen event.  We look happy.  We look fun.

Even me.

Every July for the past hmmmmm… I don’t know how many years, we have had a Queen event.  We dress up, we perform a talent (or not) and say why we would make a good Queen of the Book Club.  It is all in fun, the Queen really only comes into play when we have a tie on books to read or when we can’t decide where to meet.

This year I went back and forth.  Do I participate?  I didn’t want to.  I wanted to wear Capri’s and a t-shirt and take pictures.  They would have understood.  Yet I knew that Justin would be so sad to know I changed how I did life so I instead put on a prom dress, a little princess crown, looked up and said, “This is for you kid.”

Off to be a Queen participant….


Why is my head so freakishly small?

It was a good time.  We were at my friend Lori’s home.  We discussed the books we had read last month (free read month) and then had our event.  My “talent” was a story about a girl who decided to create a book club so she could expand on her reading.  I ended the story with how after many years the group became so big they had to limit how many came and how close all the Bookies became to one another.  Friends.  Other talents were, speeches, songs, mime, a quiz, and even a violin playing rendition to The Devil Went Down To Georgia.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Our Queen for 2015-2016 is Brenda.  If you look closely at her beautiful white dress you will see that the top (and along the bottom) is made from a book.  She will be a wonderful Queen.



A few of us had a little “after party” at a nearby pub… an ongoing tradition after the Queen event. After you are all dressed up – you should have somewhere to go. ;)

Morning Meanderings… I Didn’t Mean To Go ______________________


Good morning.

I didn’t mean to go….




Under cover?

I don’t know.  I guess I just didn’t mean to go.

The past two weeks have been so out of my control that I am just doing what I have to do to get through the days.  With two large events just around the corner I am trying hard to find balance.  You throw in the mix my friend Connie, a big storm that requires clean up attention, commitments, people I need to want to spend time with, and my own grief….

and yeah. 

Just trying to get through it.

And so – with all of that, I find I do not get here – HERE as much as I would like.  I am still not firing on all cylinders which makes all of these things that I could normally handle feel heavy and hard to do just the easiest of tasks.  I am so easily…


Yesterday and today I have tried hard to slow down.  I have had things I had to do every day and I am feeling the strain on putting my grief to the side to get things done.  For the record, I have discovered that does not work well… it exhausts me and leaves me pretty nonfunctional come the end of the day.  Tomorrow my “to do’s” bump up again, the weekend is full of activity and next week…

I don’t even want to think about next week.


1I do have posts to write.  I have a couple of audio I have finished and just downloaded Armada this morning which I am SUPER EXCITED about.  We also had the Bookies Queen event this week which took a lot of energy but I am so glad I participated.  L♥ve this group of gals.  I will write a post up all about that – maybe today.


Just a sample from the Tuesday Bookies Queen event

That’s it for this morning.  I have a few things itching at the corners of my brain reminding me I need to do them… and I do, so off I go.  Enjoy THIS day.


Descent by Tim Johnston – Bookies Book Club Review w/ Discussion Questions

Descent by Tim Johnston review questions, discussion, Bookies, Book Club, Book Journey

Quick Synopsis…

While the Courtland family is on vacation in Colorado with their two teenage children, their daughter Cailtin is abducted while out for a morning run.  What follows is a three-year nightmare while the already struggling family tries to move on.  With no answers to what happened to Caitlin or even if she is dead or alive, each remaining member of the Courtland family battles this crushing weight in different ways.

Grant, the father remains in Colorado unable to leave the are his daughter disappeared from.  He stays at a ranch helping out an elderly man, making attempts to move forward but nothing happens.

Angela, the mother, has returned to their home state of Wisconsin but deals with great depression.  She lives with her sister after having had to sell their family home and has a hard time functioning from day-to-day.

Sean, the brother, now 18, the age his sister was when she was taken struggles with the guilt of having been with Caitlin when she was taken.  What could he have done differently?

And Caitlin.  Will they ever find her?  And if they do, what exactly will they find?


I reviewed Descent by Tim Johnston last week with my opinion.  This review is the thoughts of our book club as a whole and no spoilers :)

Descent brought out a lot of good discussion among our group.  While some of us really found the storyline realistic and engaging, others pointed out things that did not seem to fit.  There were questions of characters who suddenly did something completely out of their character which we all agreed did not fit, but some would argue that some things do not need to be revealed to the reader. Perhaps the author was giving the reader the feeling of “no control” and that not knowing what would happen could very well, as some argued, give the book a feel more real to life.  After all… life is messy and try as we may to figure out how things are going to go… we never do really know.

It was mentioned that the book synopsis that we read from the book when we chose it was not an accurate synopsis, of what actually happens in the book.  Some felt mislead to be told one thing and then read another.

Over all, on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, the ratings went from 2,s to 4,s and quite a few rating it in the 3’s (a standard read).  It was one of those books that bring out a lot of thoughts, opinions, and discussion.  We even reenacted a final scene (I can’t share… that would be a spoiler) when we questioned how one would do that.  One girl in our group even had a similar story to share of something that happened to a friend of her sons while hiking.  There is actually a book written about that true story, Bringing Jon Home by David Francis.  A book that I ordered on Kindle this morning.


Why Would This Make A Good Book Club Read

Descent is a book that could have been ripped from the headlines.  This leads to discussion like, “what would you do?” as well as discussion on how a strong family can be shattered by such an experience and a damaged family (such as the Courtland’s) have a good chance of falling completely apart.

If you look at reviews of this book on-line from some of the big name newspapers, New York Times, The Herald, etc… you will find diverse opinions, much like you can expect from a group read.  The writing style can be thought of as brilliant, or annoying.  (And in our group it was just that)

In the book, Sean is believed to be false when he is telling the truth.  Discussion can be made over when that has happened in your lives, when you are telling the truth about something and you are either misunderstood, or believed to be false and the frustration of when your character is questioned like that.

Themes of hope, faith, depression, denial, and survival instinct are all represented within this read.

Bookies, Book Club, discussion questions, Tim JOhnston, Descent

Food ideas… while not a lot of food is mentioned within the book, there is pizza at a birthday celebration, and Caitlin keeps snickers in her pockets when she runs for energy boosts.

Questions For Your Discussion


Morning Meanderings… Book Club Heated Discussion


Good morning!  Happy Wednesday!  My only big “to do” today was to take the dogs to the groomers and I have already dropped them off.  Now a day of catching up on some smaller projects and basking in the aftermath of last nights book club.

At least….

nothing was broken.


Actually I kid, our group was awesome as usual and last nights discussion of Descent by Tim Johnston was a good one.  I do not want to say too much here as my book club review post of this book is going up later today – but I can say a book where the group has different opinions always makes for good discussion.

I think I made it to the second question on the book when it started…. one person said, “and that was where it all went wrong and I didn’t like the rest of the book,” and another piped in, “I thought that was when it was getting interesting!”  I nudged Kaydi who was sitting next to me and I said, “here we go.. this is going to be good.”

And it was good, we all had things that we did not like about the book and some of us found things that we really liked about the book.  This was a great discussion read and we were nowhere near the level of mixed heated discussion we were when we discussed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Bookies Book Club, Sheila DeChantal, Minnesota

One of our gals was out last night due to a recent surgery and we took this picture to put on Facebook.


I did also promise you some food pics… and that will be in the review post – stay tuned to find out more about Descent by Tim Johnston and what makes it an excellent book club choice as well as questions you can use for your group if you discuss this one.

I know I asked you yesterday for ideas for a book club read for April and you came forward with excellent suggestions.  We did settle on a book that was part of our Book Club Girl package, Vintage by Susan Gloss because she is skyping with us for our April meeting.  I am kind of excited as we have fun plans in store for this one.



Morning Meanderings…. Book Club Morning and I Need Your Help


Good morning!  I want to run through the house screaming “It is book club day!  It is book club day!”  Perhaps tossing flower petals out of a little yellow basket as I do so.

Yes that is how excited I am about having book club at my house this evening.  The book Descent by Tim Johnston was one I enjoyed and I am curious what the rest of the Bookies thought of it. I already know there will be mixed feelings on this one which does make for good discussion.  I already have my food planned (you will see what I came up with tomorrow!) and an idea for a prop or two…. we do like to get into the books we read.

I was just talking about our book club with a friend yesterday and was explaining we were so much more than a book club. I told this friend that while at one time we were a bunch of motley crew gals that enjoyed books, through the years we became so much more.  We are there for one another when we go through things.  I would not want to lose any one of them.  I teared up a little bit when I spoke of them.

It is true.  We have built such an amazing group that I hang tight to them.  Together we are funny, we are serious, we are sad, we are passionate, and we get angry – all about books.  I love it.  I do.

Each meeting we choose the next book we plan to read.  We can all submit a book for vote – we look for a book that is:

Fairly new so we can find enough copies

priced under $15 and Kindle does count


SO my question to you this morning since at this time I do not have a suggestion in mind, what book would you suggest I put forth for the book club tonight to be considered as our April read?  Why would that make a good book club book?


Morning Meanderings… Birthday Weekend and Book Club Tonight!


Good morning! I think I have a Birthday weekend hangover and not from drinking. :)  I just had a really  busy weekend that was a lot of fun!

On Saturday my friend Amy and I went to the Gatsby Party in the cities.  It was a late night as we drove home the 2+ hours after the event but worth it.  I was inspired by what they accomplished.

On Sunday, hubby and I went to a movie, American Sniper.  SO good.  I will review it at some point this week.

Monday…. my actual birthday.  I had coffee in the morning with my friend Gail.  Then I went and treated myself to a manicure and pedicure.  My son Justin who lives in St. Paul came to the house around 3 pm and we went out and bought snacks for the night, went to a movie ( Project Almanac), picked up pizza afterwards, and came back home and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire and Gone Girl.  (yes, again on both of them :D ).

Justin brought me this really cool wine glass:


The glass says,

Secretly we’re all a little more absurd than we make ourselves out to be.  ~JK Rowling

Love it!

Tonight is book club and I am so excited!  I missed last months as I was on vacation so it will be good to see everyone AND it is at my house.  We have a couple of books to hand out tonight for our Harper Collins Book Club Girls event:


I have them all set up on the table:


It’s like out own mini BEA.  :D

As for today, Justin is still here.  We will hang out this morning and early afternoon than he has plans with friends and I will put the finishing touches on book club.   We are reviewing The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain, an author who I discovered this past fall and LOVED this book as well as a few others I have now read by her.  I am excited to see what the Bookies think.

Now… what will I make for an appetizer?  ;)

Morning Meanderings… Party Hangover



Good morning! I am up and recovering from a fun filled amazing Tuesday.  If you read yesterdays post you know I had a meeting regarding moving our Wine and Words event to a larger venue for 2015.  It was a wonderful meeting and we are officially MOVED!  My author search for the event will begin in about a month… if everyone I have in mind says “yes”, then we will be ready to announce by February.


Then, last night concluded with our book clubs Christmas party and book discussion of Big Little Lies.  I will write up the book discussion later, but it was a good one.  We chose our read for January, Born To Be Perfect by Barbara Raghavan.

We also handed out our books from Harper Collins Book Club Girls project:




We had wonderful goodies, discussed life and books, and had a wonderful time doing it.  LOVE my Book Club!!!

It was a full day of running from one thing to another and I am thrilled I accomplished everything I set out to.  Today… I am a bit tired and have a lot to do so ONWARD!

Happy Wednesday all!!!

Morning Meanderings… The Books and Book Club


Good morning and happy happy Sunday!  I am happy to be snug in a blanket this morning with COFFEE CUP close by.  It is cool outside this morning but we have had little snow in Central Minnesota and in most areas of our yard I can still see grass.  For the record – that’s ok by me.  :)

On the book front what came in for me this week was minimal:


King Dork is in audio and I am excited to get to it hopefully this week!

Book Club is also this week.  It is our annual Christmas Party and I am so excited for it!  We are reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (LOVED IT!) and our books came in from Harper Collins Book Club Girls Group:


Belong To Me is our pick we will be reading first and then Walking The Bible will be for January, we will figure out the details at book club.

Last night was the Twitter Party for the Harry Potter Readalong.  Those who joined in watched Chamber Of Secrets together.  It was fun to watch the movie while I have recently been reading the book as well.. they were spot on for their lines from the book to the movie!


That is what is new.  My day should be fairly quiet.  Some cleaning and some reading and my cousins baby shower.

Anything happening with your Sunday? 


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