Blog Archives

The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore

The admissions, meg mitchell moore, sheila dechantal


Gabe and Nora Hawthorne are living the life.  They both have successful careers, Gabe works with a Tech Firm and Nora is a Realtor for the upper class of Marin California.  They have three daughters and to the outer world this white-toothed perfect smile family with the right house and the right cars looks as thought they have it all…

Angela is on a straight path to Harvard (it is where her dad went!) her grades are exceptional, there is nothing in her way… but had anyone given any thought to what Angela wants, including Angela herself?

10-year-old Cecily loves to dance but one false move changes everything

Maya is in second grade and can not get the grasp on reading. Could this have anything to do to with the secret that happened to her as a baby?

Nora excels at her job… but her clients can be problematic and sometimes – sometimes,Nora longs for am easier way

Gabe loves what he does but a woman he works with could tear his whole world apart… should he confess what he has done?


Each of the Hawthorne’s have something to admit… and that is what makes Admissions a fun reading adventure. ~ Sheila


I listened to Admissions on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The play on the word admission just added to my enjoyment.  It is not often I find a book title to be as perfect as this one is to the story line.

Listening to admissions you could imagine the anxiety this family had as they all tried to hold their corner of the picture perfect outlook up to standards.  Yet, as in most cases of what appears to be perfect or… those who appear to have it all – not all is as it seems.

I really enjoyed what I thought was going to be a story based mainly on Angela and her admission to Harvard, but it is sooooo much more. With each member of the family having admissions of their own, this witty read is one not to miss.

Narrator Allyson Ryan did a wonderful job of portraying the heart of this story.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 14 hours and 34 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Release Date: August 18, 2015


After You by Jo Jo Moyes

jo jo moyes, after you, me before you, book journey

*Note:  Sequel to Me Before You


When Louisa Clark had to say good bye to Will Trayner… her life changed forever.  After all, how does one return to a life that no linger feels satisfying?  Where the air is almost un-breathable?  For three years Louisa has gone through the motions of creating a pretty much solitude life.

When a freak accident causes Louisa to move back in with her parents she feels what little control she was clinging to slip away. As she heals, Louisa knows things need to change.  After promising her dad to attend the Moving On support group, Louisa meets Sam,  a paramedic who’s very job seems to lay between life and death.  As Louisa becomes more comfortable sharing in the group, she wonders if it is possible to have feelings for someone else.

Then, a young girl comes to Louisa’s home one day – and her very existence turns everything upside down once again.


“You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”


When my book club read Me Before You in February of 2014, it lead to quite an interesting discussion and strong opinions on both sides of the story.  In a nutshell, while we didn’t overall like everything about the book – we did enjoy what the book brought to the table.

In most reads that leave an ending somewhat open, we, as readers are given the liberty to decide what happened next to our beloved characters…. occasionally… we will be lucky enough to have the author chime in on what did happen… and in this case that is what we are allowed to discover in After You.

When I first heard that there would be this follow up book I was so excited.  I wondered where Louisa would wind up and how she would go on with her life now having had the incredible experience she just had.  In this sense, Author Jo Jo Moyes does not disappoint.  In fact, we are taken on yet another roller coaster ride as Moyes churns out events that are not the norm-  and for that I am grateful.

As a follow up read, After You is satisfying.  I did not find it to be the discussion worthy journey that Me Before You was; and I do not believe I will recommend this to our book club to read and discuss together, however –

if you have read Me Before You and enjoyed it, After You is like an after dinner mint… just a little something nice to complete the meal.

I enjoyed After You on audio and found narrator Anna Acton to be the perfect voice for such a listen.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 6 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • Release Date: September 29, 2015





Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell


How does one do a synopsis of Gone With The Wind?

Well… for this first time reader and having never seen the movie (still haven’t), I will give you the synopsis in my own words as though I were telling a friend about this book….  (after all, we are friends right?;) )

Gone With The Wind is about a plantation… about a family… about a war… but mostly, about a girl named Scarlett.  Scarlett is in modern terms, a mean girl. She is spoiled, selfish, and while she is not beautiful, her personality drawn men to her – and in Scarlett’s opinion (after all, what other opinion is there?) that is everything.

When the Civil war breaks out Scarlett learns that not everything comes as easy as it once did.  In fact many things are going to take all that stubbornness she possesses as she learns to adjust to the changing times… but Scarlett is not your typical girl of the south and the way she chooses to live her life and survive can come as a surprise, even to her.




First up… I need to say how proud I am of my book club for choosing to read this books for our Annual Classic Read.  This has been a bucket list book for me forever and our book clubs choice to read it as a group is what finally pushed me to opening this book.

I am so glad I did.

I was pleasantly surprised with Scarlett, while she is not very likable, the girl has gusto.   Her selfishness at times is laughable… at other times, it is sad.  She is, and I say this thankfully, not a damsel in distress but instead a witty sprite of a girl who learns many lessons the hard way, but does not allow her spirit to be broken.

You kind of have to admire that.

While I did start reading this book, I found that my time commitments did not allow me for a lot of “sit down and read” time, so I switched to audio.  Let me say, if you love Gone With The Wind and have not experienced it in audio, I highly recommend you do.  While I have been canning these past weeks, Linda Stephens narration was just the thing to pass the time and keep me engaged.

My over all thoughts on the book was it is a win.  I do not agree with those that call this book a romance … God’s Nightgown, no…. this is a whole new level of dysfunction at its finest!  Going into this knowing barely the story line I was happy to read that the book was not the predictable read I thought I was encountering – yet a fascinating time hop to the civil war and a plantation that worked like no other, Tara.

If you have not experienced Gone With The Wind this is my recommendation that you do make the time to read (or listen to) this book.  It is truly worthy of the classic title.


Did-You-KnowAuthor, Margaret Mitchell died after being hit by a drunk driver while crossing the street with her husband on their way to see a movie.  Gone With The Wind is Mitchell’s only book, and one she wrote because she was bored.




  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reissue edition (May 3, 2011)


  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 49 hours and 7 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • Release Date: October 1, 2009




*Be sure to watch for my book clubs thoughts on this book as well as the food we ate AND the clothes we wore to celebrate Gone With The Wind.

Lock In by John Scalzi

JOhn Scalzi, Lock In, book journey

In the future, a virus blankets the earth.  For some, the symptoms are flu-like and than they get better… for others… the virus causes what becomes known as “lock-in. victims are fully alert and aware of their surroundings but unable to move or voice a response.

25 years later, the results of this virus is now called ‘Haden’s Syndrome.’  Newly appointed FBI agent Chris Shane is assigned to a case that appears to be a Haden related murder. The suspect is an “integrator” – someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

As Chris and his partner Van start to dig into the crime, what they find is bigger than they had imagined.



Recently I posted about a book I reviewed that I was hoping a bit more dystopian than it was and a little less sci fi than it was…. and now, with Lock In, I found what I was looking for.  Lock In gave me the dystopian I was craving and while this synopsis was a bit out of my league… it was the narration by Wil Wheaton sold me on giving it a try in audio format.  Wil Wheaton is one of the few narrators I have actually tracked by what they narrated because they are so incredible at it.  Nicely played John Scalzi.

Lock In was brilliant.  While it took me a while to fully picture what was happening, once I got it, it was a fun listen.  With John Scalzi’s quick wit writing and Wil Wheaton’s perfect execution of the narration – readers are in for a pretty sweet ride.  Treat yourself to this one in audio.

I see author John Scalzi has used Wil in other audio as well which I will be checking out soon.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: August 26, 2014




Dirty Chick: Adventures Of An Unlikely Farmer by Antonia Murphy

Dirty Chick, Antonia Murphy, Book Journey

Antonia Murphy was born in San Fransisco and never really pictures herself as the farm girl type.  Later in life she settles with her husband in New Zealand after her son was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition and they felt a slower more laid back style of life might be just the ticket.

The decision to start a farm was probably not as slow and laid back as they had anticipated, but it sure makes for some fun writing.


Obviously, the title captured my attention.  While I have had this book on the shelf for the better part of a year, it was the audio version I fit into my schedule and found it quite entertaining and distracting while mowing my lawn.   Much of what happens in dirty chicks is fairly funny.  Imagine starting out with animals you know little about but you soon learn….. (I swear, I will never look at a duck the same way again.)

There is much to like about this book, and for me – I also found some things I personally didn’t like.  As this is a memoir and I often hesitate to review some memoirs due to the impossibility of separating the book from the writer, I will refrain from giving my opinion here on what I did not like.  After all – it is just my personal opinion.

I am glad I had a chance to experience this book.  Antonia does narrate this book herself which I always find impressive and she did a good job of narrating.  If you are ever thinking ooh starting a farm could be a lot of fun,” you may want to test this book out first.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 20 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: January 22, 2015


The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

the night sister, Book Journey, Jennifer McMahon

The Tower Motel was once a place where people stopped and stayed… a continuous flow of activity.  Now, many years later the hotel lays in despair and the girls who used to play there; Amy Piper, and Margo only have their memories.. and the memory of what happened that destroyed their friendship.

When a crime is committed that Amy is accused of, Piper and Margo are forced to relive what they had hoped they would never have to speak of.  The secret that had been held in the past – generation to generation… to come to light now.


Author Jennifer McMahon has amazed me before with her books such as Promise Not To Tell, Winter People, and The Island of Lost Girls. She has a way of adding an element of darkness to her stories.

Such is the case with Night Sister, once again Jennifer McMahon weaves a dark tale, but this time I just did not connect.  I just found the story too far fetched and the back and forth feel of the girls in modern time searching out the clues to the flash backs of what happened in the past… I don’t know.  It just didn’t work for me.  I finished the book hoping for some big revelation but it never really came.

Here are a few different opinions I found on line:

View From My Home   Highly recommended for fans of the author, coming of age stories in rural settings, mysterious suspense, and those willing to take a chance on a story with a plot ending you would never see coming when you started out.

Tales Of A Book AddictThe way this book unfolds is so impressive. It’s like Ms. McMahon just lightly peels away layer after layer until you’re finally at the heart and soul of the story.

The Caffeinated Book Reviewer I have been in the mood for suspenseful reads and The Night Sister with its creepy vibe and paranormal elements/lores was just the perfect fix.


I listened to this one on audio, the narration by Cassandra Campbell is almost always a draw for me and while I didn’t love her narration in this one (some of the females were too winy voiced) she is a narrator I admire and will continue to watch her work.



  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 22 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Release Date: August 4, 2015


The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

shelley pearsall, the senth most important thing, book journey, the seventh throne of heaven

I grabbed this book that had just come from the publisher off the table as I left for the cabin last week.  The title intrigued me and it looked to be a fairly easy middle grade read – just what I needed for this cabin trip.  Turns out… I grabbed the right book at the right time.  ~ Sheila

Thirteen year old Arthur Owens is having a horrible year.  With the sudden accident that killed his father Arthur feels that his family is just going through the motions.  When Arthur comes home one day to find that his mother has cleaned out his fathers things from their home, his mood only darkens.

It was a bitter cold day when Arthur Owens throws the brick at the Junk Man’s head.  Lucky for him, the Junk Man had moved to pick something up and the brick missed his head, instead damaging his arm.  It wasn’t for racist reasons.  It wasn’t for the sad state of dress the Junk Man wore.  Arthur had his reasons for throwing that brick but it would not be reasons that would make his mom or the judge change their mind.

With Arthur on a one way path to juvie, it is the Junk Man himself who comes up with an alternative for the judge.  Arthur will work off his 120 hours of community service working for the Junk Man.  Arthur will be the one who takes the rickety old shopping cart around looking for the seven moth important things:  glass bottles, foil, cardboard, pieces of wood, light bulbs, coffee cans, and mirrors.  Arthur thinks the Junk Man is a few fries short of a happy meal, but has no choice but to do as he is told.

It isn’t long before Arthur understands that there is more to the Junk Man than one first sees.  The “trash’ he is collecting has so much more meaning… a meaning that Arthur soon finds to be filled with lessons he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

I really enjoyed reading The Seventh Most Important Thing.  As each item reveals it’s purpose I found myself not wanting to put the book down, wanting to know what the next item could mean.  The connections Arthur makes throughout the book with class mates, teachers, his probation officer, as well as the community is a bigger vision to this story.  I loved that the book appeared to have a hidden agenda…

and as I ended the read I found out what it was – and I was blown away.

I can not share that part of the story as much as I want to as I feel this is something for each reader to find out for themselves.  However, never one to miss a chance to discuss a book further, I will put the info on a spoiler page for those of us who have read the book and wish to discuss it in more depth.


Over all, a Middle Grade read that will leave the reader with a little something more than they thought they were getting, and an excellent discussion book for a parent and child.

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0760 (What’s this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 8, 2015)


The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand, The Rumor, Book Journey

Longing for a good summer read centered around beautiful Nantucket, author Elin Hinderbrand is an excellent “go to” choice for just such a read.  ~ Sheila

When Grace Pancik sets her mind on something there is really no stopping her.  When Grace decides that she wants the most beautiful gardens in all of Nantucket, she hires the easy on the eyes Benton to be her guide.

When Madeline King, Grace’s best friend, struggles with writers block with an ever pressing deadline… she panics and reaches for a story line she knows that she should not be telling, but what could it hurt?  And who would know?

When Eddie, Grace’s’ husband gets in over his head in a real estate windfall gone bad, he makes some hard and most definitely not legal choices…  but with Madeline King insisting on her money back that she and her husband gave Eddie in trust and is constantly calling threateningly a lawsuit, and the bills stacking up around him… what is a guy to do?

Grace’s hanging out almost daily with the gardener.

Madeline is writing a steamy tell allbut what is her inspiration?

Eddie is having secret conversations with Madeline.

Grace’s twin teenage daughters are up to their own schemes while their parents are so preoccupied.

Madeline rents a studio apartment.

and that is how Rumors get started….

I have enjoyed Elin Hilderbrand in the past and The Rumor was no exception.  Author Elin Hilderbrand once again creates an easy and engaging summer read that is just plain fun.  I enjoyed each of the story lines in the book and how easily one can misinterpret what is really happening… as well as how often what we think could not possibly be true – actually is.

Narrated by Kathleen McInerney (who also occasionally narrates for Mary Kay Andrews), the book on audio flowed well.  I found myself engaged in what would happen next.

Definitely a go to author for me, I recommend Hilderbrand’s books for those who love a good summery read based on the island of Nantucket.. where truly… anything can and will happen.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 48 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Release Date: June 16, 2015


Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

Chevy Stevens, Those Girls, Book JOurney

The Campbell sisters never had what you would call an easy life.  Living with a mostly absent and when present, abusive father, the girls did their best to stay out of his way.  Teenagers Jess, Courtney, and Danny worked on a ranch to earn enough to keep their home and purchase a little food, wondering (and dreading) when their father would next make his appearance and what kind of mood he would be in.

One night, when their father returns – things go too far and the girls find themselves on the run.  As things go from bad to worse, the girls live through a nightmare that haunts them for the next 18 years.

The sisters try to make lives for themselves and for the most part they do… but one sister… one can not forget that night.  And her choices affect all of them.



Chevy Stevens is one of those authors that I pretty much drop any reading plan for and grab their latest works.  I have raved about Chevy’s books in the past and when Those Girls was coming out I was soooooo excited.  A spooky sinister synopsis, amazing cover – I was all in.

The story starts out strong and very “Chevy Stevens like”… right away I fell into the story, and for the first two thirds of the book I was really involved with what was happening even if a few things seemed to come together a little easy….

It was the final third that I found I could no longer suspend belief… the happenings in this part of the book that take place 18 years later undid me.  It was too believable the way it plays out.  I am being careful to avoid spoilers here, but for me this book did not live up to the Chevy Stevens quality I have experienced in the past.

I wanted to be blown away…

I wasn’t.

Please look at other reviews for this one to develop a better opinion of the book.  I see that many have enjoyed this one, as did I, I just did not love love it.

That’s What She Reads found it to be a good summer thriller

Booking Mama highly recommended it

debbishdotcom found this Stevens read to be back to her better work


I did listen to this one on audio and enjoyed the narration by Jorjeana Marie (Narrator), Emily Woo Zeller (Narrator), Nicol Zanzarella (Narrator).  Not always a fan of multiple narrators, this one worked.




  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 11 hours and 29 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio
  • Release Date: July 7, 2015



Fever by Mary Beth Keane

Fever, Mary Beth Keane, Typhoid Mary, Mary Mallon, Book Journey

The amazing story behind “Typhoid Mary”,  truly had no idea.  ~Sheila


Mary Mallon was 15 years old when she left Ireland to come to New York.  Mary ha a stubborn streak and she knew what she wanted and how to get it.  She worked hard laboring in kitchens learning skills as a cook until she became quite good.  Soon she found her sought after by New York’s elite families wanting the hard-working Mary with the skills of a chef to be theirs exclusively.

Then the families of those Mary cooked for began to get sick.  Some even died.  A particular keen-eyed Medical Engineer zoned in on Mary as being the common denominator.  He called this out openly, saying Mary was a “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever.

For three years Mary was kept in isolation, away from those she loved and from anything to do with other people.

This is her story.



We have probably all heard at one point or another about “Typhoid Mary”.  At least in name.  For myself, that is all I knew.  When I discovered this book Fever on audio I felt this would be an opportunity to learn more of this woman.  I am glad I did.  Narrated by Candace Thaxton, Fever was an interesting listen about Mary Mallon’s life.  I enjoyed learning of her tough exterior. She was a strong woman who carried herself well even through the hard years.

Learning more of her story was very interesting.  I would recommend this one in either book or audio format, I feel both will come off well.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 53 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Release Date: March 12, 2013



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,611 other followers