Morning Meanderings: New Books and Discussions

Happy Sunday! Hopefully you are all having a good weekend. Mine has been bonkers crazy and I am honestly a bit tired. I have officially been back form vacation in Alabama for one week today. I worked all week – went with friends to Detroit Lakes for a fun overnight of games, laughter, and good food, beat butt home early Saturday morning to work a full day doing weddings tastings and now today trying to catch up a bit on non profit happenings and not suck up my whole day with “to do’s”
Trying….The two books in the picture are books that came to my home this past week – both ordered while I was on vacation. My Favourite Daughter by Kaira Rouda is of course because I am so impressed with Kaira’s writing I want to read more. The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman showed up on a list of “must reads” I picked up on and besides being fascinated with the cover… the book sounds really interesting as well.

On Tuesday, my book club will be discussing The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. I am still listening to this one on audio and will be curious to see what the Bookies think of it. The discussion will be taking place at my home which will be fun as we have been ZOOM meeting for some time now with an occasional face to face meet up and I am excited to have most of us in the same room together with real food and beverages! Our Books Burgers and Brews discussion of The Whisper Network will be next Monday, March 15th by ZOOM and all are welcome to join in on that discussion as it is an open book group. You can see the info on The Whisper Network on our website as well as our next two reads –
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead discussion on April 19th
Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan on May 17th.
Our Summer Additions will be posted soon.

That’s it for book updates and me. What are you reading?

Morning Meanderings… Invite to Join In The Whisper Network Discussion

How is it March already? I mean… its like a blink of the eye and we are into the third month of the year. I am starting to feel a little antsy thinking of all the things coming up that I need to get moving on as they will be here before I know it.

That said, we will be ZOOM discussing the book Whisper Network on March 15th through Books Burgers and Brews – an open book club to anyone who wishes to join in. We used to meet at a local restaurant (pre-covid) with up to 80 people showing up to discuss our book of choice – and now we are on ZOOM maintaining still about 25 to 30 people per month. The nice thing about ZOOM is, I can invite all of you form the comfort or your home and wherever you are to join in as well. Its actually a lot of fun and it would be great to see you!
Currently I am about half way through the book (thank you plane time) and its really hard to describe it. I heard somewhere it was referred to 9 to 5 meets … well I can not remember, however if you remember the movie 9 to 5 with Dolly Pardon…. well, then you know this book must be interesting…
so far so good.

I’m off… its a crazy work week…. I’m booking events and I love it.
You are so right, Ferris.
Have you read Whisper Network?

Morning Meanderings…Collagen Is NOT Tasteless

You can see the “essence” of collagen on the rim of my cup….

Recently I was in a conversation with some friends regarding self care. Collagen was a part of that discussion. One friend mentioned this Collagen product that you mix in your beverages and wallah – easy self care for your skin, hair and nails. I was in it to win it.

Or so one would think…

In Collagen’s defense, it’s not horrible… it simply has a slight “taste” to it like you know there is something is in your coffee… you are just not sure what. (Is it a sock??? Baby powder???) Sure I could take this in capsule form, I just felt that this was more streamline. You are supposed to take two scoops in the morning and again in the evening and I have not been consistent enough yet to say I notice a difference one way or another.

So there’s my collagen story. Admitting I have reached that age where I think about things that may better my appearance/health/over-all-being.
And gah….
I hate to admit it.


The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown

It is a familiar theme… something tragic happens that brings family back home to a place they never thought they would return to it not for the circumstances.
There is a reason this is a familiar theme – it works. ~Sheila

Sisters are not always close.

Dana, Harper, and Tawny may have been closer when they were younger. In the summer days they spent at their Grandmother Annie’s resort in Texas there were fond memories of laughter and swimming and sunshine. Yet that was years ago, and ten years have passed since the sisters have returned to the resort – and in that time each have had life happenings they would rather not share – even with family. Especially with family.

When, the news comes about Annie’s passing, the girls are summoned to the resort that they soon learn they have inherited with a few stipulations. Annie’s long time friend, Zed is there to help with the transition, but there is more to this new inheritance than the girls anticipated and Annie and Zed had a few surprises in store.

Why is it that I am always just putting on my makeup when I get to a part in an audio book that makes me cry?

The Sometimes Sisters on audio was the perfect listen as I prepared to go on vacation. A fun story that at moments tugs at the heart strings as three stubborn sisters find their way begrudgingly back into one another’s lives. While the story is a bit predictable and this story line has been done in many ways (someone passes away, someone inherits a home/place/ store… and has to return to their hometown to put things in order only to find that perhaps this is what has been missing all along…) it is still a valuable read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I do not believe I have read this author before, however I will search out her books in the future. Her writing reminds me a bit of Mary Kay Andrews, Mary McNear, and Dorthea Benton Frank (to name a few) – all authors I have enjoyed sharing with my Aunt.

Have you read Carolyn Brown? If so what books would you recommend?

Morning Meanderings…Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

As of 1:00 am this morning I am back home in Minnesota. The week long vacation in Alabama was wonderful- beach, sun, books (oh my!!!), adventures, and hanging out with some pretty awesome people in a VRBO with private decks. Not too shabby for Sheila ;P

The weather in Central Minnesota, while chilly – is doable. Currently 22 degrees, not the high 60’s and 70’s of Alabama – however the temp is supposed to continue to climb throughout the week putting us at 40’sand 50’s starting Tuesday.

Buh-bye snow.

I managed to finish two REAL BOOKS in Alabama. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda. . Both fantastic reads in completely opposite genres.

It’s times like this, when I am able to get away from the day to day “to do’s” that I remember how much I enjoy just sinking into a great read. I am now working my way through a third book, The Whisper Network by Chandler Baker. I am about half way thanks to the plane ride home. I am hopeful that once I get unpacked today and laundry started and a little grocery shopping in that I will have an hour or two this afternoon to dig in again.

Have a great Sunday. What are you all reading?


The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda

It is not often a book engages you from the first page to the last… The Next Wife kept me glued with anticipation of what would happen next and even I could not guess. ~Sheila

Tish Nelson is young, gorgeous and has the world by the tail. Any man would be thrilled to be seen with her and she knows it. Second wife to the successful John Nelson, owner of a flourishing event ticket company, 4 gorgeous homes, and more money than she could have ever dreamed of. Everything was perfect.

Or almost perfect.

Kate Nelson is the first wife. Also beautiful, and really like an older version of Tish. Kate is also an owner of the flourishing company that she and John had built together from a dream in their first home working out of a garage to what it is today. And of course there is Ashlyn, Kate and John’s College aged daughter who is over dependent, in Tish’s opinion.

What happens next will blow everything up and has Tish, Kate, and Ashlyn all scrambling to pick up the pieces of their world and question everything they ever knew about love and the lengths one will take when wronged.

Holy smokes.
I picked this book up while on vacation and was hooked from the very first page. Each chapter built like riding a roller coaster and going up, up and up until with your heart in your throat – you slip over that much anticipated, much dreaded edge.
I didn’t see it coming.
Two days later after having my nose in this book every chance I had, I closed that final page with one thought. Could Author Kaira Rouda write faster? I am going to need another fix of her deliciously engaging reads.
One of the best books I have read in a while, I highly recommend you pre order The Next Wife, available on May 1st, 2021.
Then… we will chat. Zoom even with a great cup of coffee… or maybe a margarita.

Other books I have read by Kaira Rouda: (more to come… I am digging around Good Reads now…)

Best Day Ever

Morning Meanderings… Last Day In Alabama

It is our final full day in Alabama. It’s early yet… I am almost always one of the first ones up if not the first one up, usually by 6 am. I am that way on all vacations… I like to have the quiet time of catching up on emails, drinking my coffee and thinking about my day before the house starts to stir.

This morning is foggy – and to me its perfect. I’ve had plenty of sun the last few days, and plenty of touring and site-seeing. Today I hope to get a little reading in and I have to say – The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda is already blowing me away. I started this book yesterday and it hooked me right away – told in alternating voices I had a hard time putting it down and even now I can not wait to get back to it. I am so hopeful that it is this exciting all the way through.
What are you reading?

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

It’s been many years since I have read a book by Kristin Higgins, the early buzz around this one caused me to pick it up. I am so glad I did. ~Sheila

In 1921, Texas, Elsa Wolcott is deemed many things… too old for marriage at 25, too tall, too plain, too – everything (according to her mother). The night she meets Rafe Martinelli changes everything in more ways than she could have ever imagined.

By 1934, dust storms are a constant threat. With failing crops, two children to feed, never ending work, never ending dust, and a barely there husband – Elsa once again is put in a position to make hard decisions that there seems to be no right answer to. Yet she is not alone. All over the country people are making these hard decisions to stay or to go – in hope that California will bring work and stability and a sense of peace for her family. And every day these options seem to be less of a choice, then a must is there is any hope for survival.

I had no idea when I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago that I would have trouble putting it down. I thought it was the perfect book in stature and content for the plane and the relaxing-in-a-chair time while in Alabama. I was right.

The Four Winds is not a light tale. You may see comments in reviews regarding it’s sadness, maybe even calling it depressing – and they wouldn’t be wrong. I would still recommend the book. For myself, The Four Winds, brought me to a time that I can only imagine the despair yet Kristin Hannah brought me close to getting a taste of the dust in my mouth, and feeling the weight of nowhere to turn.

And I couldn’t put it down.

Elsa’s journey is one I recommend. It’s a story of a hard life, yet a life all the same. There is hope and there is a fire within the book that you have to read to understand. I finished this book last night and I am still thinking about it. I am left with a feeling I have gained something special having read it.
I wish the same for you.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Morning Meanderings… Reading In Alabama

Hey all. Yes, I have an accent now.
Spending this week on vacation in Alabama with friends, a little beach, some tasty food, and great reads. At this time I am about half way through the new Kristen Hannah book, The Four Winds.
It is sooooooo good.
If you have read Kristen Hannah before ( The Nightingale, Firefly Lane, Winter Garden, True Colors…) I would say this is in her top books. If you have not read her before, this would be a great place to start.

The Four Winds takes readers to the Dust Bowl, where Elsa Martinelli lives with her in-laws, drunk husband, and two young children. Struggling to survive in every way—physically, mentally, and emotionally—Elsa must make hard choices for the sake and well-being of her children. Should her family stay and try to survive the drought or head west to California, where word of work, sun, and prosperity seem like the Promiseland? Spanning two decades, The Four Winds is a portrait of the grit, courage and sacrifices made by ordinary people trying to achieve the American Dream.

As seen on

The weather has been cooler but nice. Low 60’s a little cooler than we are used to when we vacation, however time with friends… and we are out of the snow… no complaints here. I do not get a lot of time to just sit and enjoy a good book when I am home so this is a time to sit in a deck chair and do just that – and that… is where I am going now.

If you have read Kristen Hannan, what have you read? Have you watched Firefly Lane on Netflix? When the Nightingale Movie comes out do you plan to see it?

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Kya Clark only knows the cove where she was raised. She doesn’t attend school, her family rarely goes to town. Her entire life is within the marsh around her. Her knowledge of the plants and the life within her surroundings is vast, yet she knows little of society and acceptance. She is known as the wild Marsh Girl.
As she grows into a young woman her curiosity about other kids her age and the outside world she catches the attention of two very different boys, Tate and Chase. When the unthinkable happens, everyone turns towards Kya.

This is one of those books I first read a couple of years ago, March of 2019 to be exact, and somehow neglected to review it. Now that it is in the works to become a movie it hits my radar again and I pulled it off my shelf to refresh myself on the world of Kya, the marsh, her father, and her world.

I really enjoyed Where The Crawdads Sing, both times. It is a book that felt different to me, outside the norm. Kya character is raw and oh so real… not caught up in prestige or pretense, her world is more about the beauty within and basic survival. I initially read this with my Book Club and we almost unanimously agreed that this book was a diamond.

I highly encourage if you have not read Crawdads to definitely give it a go. It’s a book you will continue to think about beyond the last page.

My Book Club loves to make food associated with the book and Crawdads is filled with delicious things to try. The pictures below are from our March 2019 discussion of this book. We enjoyed Mussels, Fried Fish, Cheesy Grits, Chicken “Wild Girl” Soup, with Blackberry and Blueberry Cobblers.

This is a great discussion book as well as a darn good read. I hope you enjoy this book. If you have already read it, let me know what you thought. Do you plan to see the movie?