Monthly Archives: June 2010

Morning Meanderings…

I woke up to a thunderstorm.  I heard the low rumble that shook me out of a pleasant sleep and listened as the first drops tapped the roof, slip down the windows, and covered my world.

It actually seems to be appropriate today as I am planning to be in the office tying up loose ends and finishing projects for the Annual Meeting on Monday.  It is the beautiful warm and sunny days of late that make me wish I was outside.

So now I sit typing up this post, sitting my Coffee and glancing at the darkness outside that has covered Brainerd Minnesota.  It is really a perfect day for a good mystery style read.

The back yard this morning

Tonight is date night…. my pick.  And I have no idea.  If Al gets home early enough maybe we can do a movie.  As far as where to eat…. I will have to think about that.

One last thing, my son Justin wrote a post for The Heart Is Not A Size blog about his experience with poverty in Honduras.  I would be forever grateful if you could pop over and read sometime today and leave him a comment.  (It would make his day!)

Any big weekend plans for anyone?

New Books In My Home

Chosen: House Of Night by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (Audio)

Zoey Redbird really has her hand’s full.  As a fledgling vampyre, living at the House Of Night, a school for teens like herself, she couldn’t be more stretched.  Her Grandmother is doting, her mother is not understanding this “choice” Zoey has made, her boyfriend …well seriously, that’s a whole other issue, and her best friend is dead.  Or is she?

This audio was a genre stretch for me.  Yes I like YA reads, but I have not  dabbled too much in the paranormal.   I find that if I am going to tackle a difficult story or a genre I may or may not like, audio can help pave the way.  When I picked this one out at, I did not realize I was stepping into the middle of a series, book 3 of 7, to be exact.

*sigh*  Rookie error…. always, always, check the books (especially YA, to make sure you are starting with book one)

Honestly, I didn’t think I would really enjoy this audio but I wanted to give it a try.  I liked the voice of narrator Edwina Wren right from the start.  Edwina really captures an amazing voice for Zoey.  Youthful, bored, overwhelmed…. I can hear it.  Edwina handles the other characters in this audio with a smooth ease, changing from one voice to the other, in a distinct manner and I immediately knew who was speaking.

I have to admit, I seem to have a preference for male narrators, especially when there is many voice changes.  Women narrators tend to struggle with the male voice parts and it comes off as sounding fake or forced.   Edwina handles the voice changes so smoothly I didn’t even think about the male voices.

And as I listened to this audio that I was not going to like… I started to really like it.  I liked Zoey, even when she irritated me with her boyfriend issues.  I laughed as she struggled with what she sarcastically called “Birthmas”, the combination gifts she seemed to always receive because her birthday was so close to Christmas.   She could almost guarantee that gifts for her birthday would b wrapped in festive reds and greens and a snowman – well that was just a bonus.

There were parts that I didn’t enjoy – for one, too much talk of blood for my liking.  Secondly, too much “sexual action,”, with more than one boyfriend, Zoey does have some issues she really needs to work out.   I can see where the appeal to YA’s would be;  I am just not sure where I stand in the midst of a well read, mostly appealing audio.

So here is a dilemma for me… I landed almost  in the middle of this 7 book series.  They are in order:  Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, Untamed, Hunted, Tempted, and Burned. (Here is a link) Do I back track?  Do I move forward from here?  Or can I just walk away from the series leaving Zoey to the next phase, the next battle… without me?

Book Journey’s map has been updated to include Chosen

When in Tulsa, your coffee stop of choice is Nordaggio’s which is known for amazing coffee and gelato

Cover Story:  I like it a lot.  It holds a mystery and is applicable to the story itself

I purchased this audio from

Morning Meanderings…

I am in a bit of a crunch week.  Actually a crunch double week.  At work, we have our annual meeting coming up on Monday evening.  This week has been dedicated to prepping the annual report, entering survey results for about 400 responses, agenda prep, and trying to keep up on the basics as well.  Going into next week we are planning our annual potluck picnic that this year will take place on July 4th.  This has resulted in meetings the past 3 weeks planning the food prep, and more.  Gah. This too will pass.

So… to lighten the office mood I created a little stress reliever yesterday:

I told everyone who works in the office that it was fair game to whoever needed it.  I just sat it out on the counter and left it.  😀

Today work – blade – and tonight read.  Hope your day is super!

Author Chat with Sarah Pekkanen (author of Opposite Of Me)

It’s not really anything new for me to say I am super excited to sit and chat with an author of a book I have adored, but this particular author is always going to hold a special place in my heart for the incredible experience I had with her.  Sarah was the author who had the BEA Giveaway for the trip to New York in May, which I was beyond excited (and it still kind of takes my breath away to think of it) to win.  *Squeee*

Sarah was a delight to meet in New York and spent time with her at Simon and Schuster, and also at the Book Blogger Reception.  I am honored and delighted to have her here today, so with no further ado, please welcome Sarah Pekkanen.

Sarah Pekkanen

Sarah, before we get to chatting – how do you take your coffee?

Sarah:  With lots of cream and sugar – like a dessert!

You know I have been on cloud nine since I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and hang out with you a bit in New York during BEA.  Could you please share with me a little bit about the idea behind the BEA contest you had?

Sarah:  Absolutely! I came up with the idea because before my book came out, I learned how difficult it was for debut novels to get noticed. People aren’t reading so much anymore, I kept hearing. Then I began reading book blogs, and I realized how much bloggers are doing to support the publishing industry. They’re getting folks excited about books again. As more and more newspapers fold and authors lose the chance to have their books reviewed in print, bloggers are stepping into the breach, reviewing books, chatting them up, and generally keeping all of us authors afloat! My novel got such a warm welcome from book bloggers, who reviewed it and let me hold giveaways on their sites, that I wanted to say thank you in some small way.

I was planning on attending BEA/BCC and when Trish Collins of told me the organizers of BBC were collecting prizes for a raffle, I came up with the idea of paying for one blogger’s trip to the convention. I mentioned it to my editor, and asked if I could bring the winner blogger along with another raffle winner to Atria Books for a tour, and she loved the idea. Trust me, publishers are just as appreciative of book bloggers as we authors are!

Sarah, what would you consider to be one of your all time favorite books and why?

Sarah:  Oh, just one? So hard to pick! I’d have to say In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. It’s funny, poignant, captivating… and it’s the kind of book I want to write.

Which of course brings me to your book, The Opposite Of Me.  I really enjoyed the read and I seen Kathy (Bermuda Onion) really did as well.  How did the idea of this book come to be and was it the original idea or was it tweaked along the way?

Sarah:  Originally I had four sisters woven through my plot, but during the writing process, my original idea was reshaped and refined. I’d say the basic structure of my original idea remained intact, but during the rewriting process, lots of smaller changes popped up.

In The Opposite of Me we have two fraternal twins, Alex and Lindsey.  When developing these characters, is there one you favored more over the other?  Do these characters represent anyone – or pieces of anyone, in your life?

Sarah:  I think I felt a bit more sympathy for Lindsey, because she feels like the underdog. Although there are bits and pieces of people I know in the characters – maybe a gesture or a funny line of dialogue – they are truly fictional.

Sarah, I too had a heart for Lindsey, you wrote her well.   I told you that I had cried at the acknowledgment in the back of your book.  I thought it was so touching.  Would you share a little bit about how that was to write?

Sarah:  The acknowledgments were surprisingly easy – I just wrote what was in my heart. Seeing a book published is a bit like having a baby born – you just feel so emotional and teary and happy, all at once. And thank you for those kind words!

So Sarah, I am just dying to know – what is coming out next?  I know there is a book, I seen it pre published.  What will this one be about?

Sarah:  Skipping a Beat, my second book is the story of high school sweethearts named Michael and Julia who flee their small, poor hometown in West Virginia and move to Washington, D.C. Now in their mid-thirties, they’re living a rarified life in their multi-million dollar home. But then one day, Michael collapses in his office. For four minutes and eight seconds – until he is revived with a portable defibrillator –  he is clinically dead. And when he wakes up, he’s a totally different man. My main character, Julia, has three weeks to decide if she wants to stay with her husband or leave him.

Ooh!  That sounds wonderful!  When can we expect to see this book on the shelves?

Sarah:  It’s already up on with a publication date of Feb. 22 – which seems so soon!

What is happening now in your life?

Sarah:  I have a contract for another book which is due May 1, so as soon as I wrap up a few smaller projects, I’ll be diving into that manuscript. I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in a new plot.

Sarah, please share with me and my readers one little known fact about yourself.  It’s kind of tradition around here.

Sarah:  I was rejected as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune! It’s so unfair, because I’m actually really good at solving puzzles. Sometimes I can even do it with no letters showing. Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I was rejected?

Thank you Sarah so much for your time!  I really enjoyed chatting with you and will be watching for your upcoming book!

Sarah:  It was a pleasure, Sheila, and I hope to see you again soon! I’d love it if any readers would like to friend me on Facebook or visit my website at, where I hold giveaways every month for a new book.

Sarah Pekkanen and I at the Book Blogger Convention

Be sure to sign up for a chance to win a signed copy of Sarah’s book – Opposite Of Me

Opposite of Me – Signed Books Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed

Today as a bonus along with my Sarah Pekkanen Chat here, I want to start my giveaway for the two signed copies of The Opposite Of Me that she sent home with me from New York for just this occasion.  I am thrilled to offer up these books!

How To Enter

The author chat post is directly above this giveaway post.  Tell me something you enjoyed about the chat. (*You must answer this question to be entered)

Extra Entries (for those who want them!)

At the bottom of the author chat, Sarah Pekkanen has added a link to her Facebook page.  Add her as a friend on Facebook and let me know you did here in a separate comment and I will add another entry.

For two extra chances to win, become a subscriber  (or be a current subscriber) of this blog (do this in the upper right side bar) and let me know in a separate comment

Blog about this giveaway and let me know in a separate comment and receive two more entries

Twitter about this giveaway or link tot his giveaway on Facebook and let me know here for another entry

This giveaway will end on July 10.  USA and Canada entrants only please.

Morning Meanderings…

1st word of the day, “meh.”

This was said at 4:42 am this morning when my two shih tzus bounded off the bed.  This means, they want to go outside.  Groggy and disoriented I make my way tot he sliding door that allows them to escape to the back deck and to their little fenced in area of the yard.  I then made my way back to bed until 20 minutes later their barks to come in wake me for the second time.

Sometimes… I think I am the pet.

Now at a more decent hour, I enjoy time with Coffee Cup and gaze out the window to what looks like could be an overcast day.  I am inside all day so that’s alright, and after work I need to (MUST) go to my Group Power class, so its nice not to have an outside draw that makes me think of skipping school, or in my case… life.  😀

This afternoon Sarah Pekkanen, author of Opposite of Me will joining me here to chat books and life, and along with that will be a giveaway that I am super excited about, directly from Sarah.
Also – do not forget to pop in at Devourer of Books where Jen is busy with Audiobook week. You can win some cool audios, and learn a little more about the appeal of books on audio as well. 🙂

Have a super fine day (for those of you who follow my work out rants…. I have biked 18 miles this week and rollerbladed 12 miles this week.  Now if I could just quit coming home and having ice cream….. 😉

Books that have recently graced my doorstep:

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson (audio week June 21-25)

15-year-old Scarlett is thrilled that Summer is here!  In New York city, Scarlett lives in their family owned hotel, Hopewell, where everyone is pitching in to help make ends meet. Along with brother Spencer (19) is an out of work actor, sister Lola (18),and little sister Marlene (11), things are bound to be interesting.

A tradition in Scarlett’s family is that when you turn 15, you receive a room in the hotel to call your own and be in full care of it and its occupants.  Scarlett receives the Empire Suite, and along with it, a starlet called Ms. Amberson.  As life is starting to look a little interesting, in enters Eric, a nineteen year old actor who is causing Scarlett to think that maybe.. just maybe, this will turn out to be the best summer of her life.

This is my first experience with Maureen Johnson and I was excited to give this one a listen.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear the youthful voice of narrator Jeannie Stith.  Told in this sweet story sort of way I could imagine listening to this with a young teen girl.

The story line was catching, lite, and fun.  I really liked the characters and enjoyed Scarlett’s adventures.  Ms. Amberson really adds to the adventure as she begins giving Scarlett tasks to do.  This was a young YA (if that makes sense).  Its fun and funny and I listened to this audio straight through, at many times with a big smile on my face.

Book Journey’s had updated the book travel map to include Suite Scarlett

Cover Story:  I really like this cover, it is age appropriate and hold a little mystery to it with the gold key.  There is a second cover I have seen with a girl on the cover with messy blond hair and bright red lipstick,  the girl looks to be 18 or so in age and older than what Scarlett is in this book, causing me to prefer the fun pinkish one pictured here with the key.

I received my copy of this audio from our BBC bags in New York

where Maureen Johnson was the speaker for this event

Morning Meanderings…

Good morning.  I am scrambling this morning but Coffee Cup is here and we are moving right along.  I slept well…. I feel good… the weather outside is gorgeous…. I may go bike riding this afternoon.

A couple of days ago I went to the local laundromat – probably for the first time in 20+ years.  I had all the sheets, blankets, comforters, and pillow cases to wash for the 18 people we had in the IHN program last week.  I wasnt about to do 18 sets of bedding in my home…. I would still be doing laundry now!  😀

In my head, I had this picture of how the laundromat scenario would go.   I would have all the laundry put into many (many) washers.  Then I had brought my laptop so I would proceed to grab a cup of coffee and sit in a quiet space and do a little blogging throughout my afternoon.  I was actually a little excited about this outing.

This is not the way it went down at all.  Nope.  Instead I pull up with my laundry and find a crowded area where you wheel in your laundry on a basket with wheels… and start grabbing washers wherever you can.  This is when I discovered I had not thought ahead to bring soap…. so instead I purchased all those little boxes of laundry soaps… one at a time out of a machine.

After I figured out how to make the coin operated machines work I ran back to get the rest of my stuff I had yet to pick up, the pillows, the blankets we did not use, food we did not finish, etc…  I ran into a woman there that would be serving this week and her and I proceeded to chat for about an hour.  She had many questions, I was willing to help.

I learned in Laundromat language being late to move your wash is not cool.

I get back to the laundromat and find all the bedding has been removed from the washers.  People need the machines.  I have been hogging them with my tardiness.  They are right.

Then I put the laundry into the dryers and I am surprised that they are only a quarter.  I use 5 large dryers.  Put a quarter in each, and run home to pick up my hubby and take him up town where he is going to drive a piece of our excavating equipment home.  I then hurry back to the laundromat to avoid another mishap…. I find all the machines have stopped, but my laundry is still wet.

An elderly gentleman calls over to me “Your never going to dry the sheets that way – you have the dryers too full.  I tell him I am new, hoping that excuses my lack of laundromat knowledge.   He tells me to use more dryers, which I do then spread out to 12 dryers.  Then he tells me that a quarter in a dryer equals 6 minutes.  I need to put in several quarters… he advises me to put 3 quarters in each machine.  I take his advice and do so.

I am then going to relax with my laptop but see there really is no place to sit in this laundromat.  The tables are for folding laundry and there are no chairs.  I prop a hip on one of the tables and try to answer a few emails but the distance between me and lap top is not working for me.  Its awkward and hard to see what I am doing.  As for the coffee… no…. get that idea out of your head.  I did however have a nice diet Pepsi and all in all the laundry project did not take me nearly as long as I thought it was going to thanks to one man.

Today I work.  I will have a review up later and possibly more audio talk.  It is audio book week and if you did not see yesterdays post on audio books, please check it here.

Here are a few books that have come my way…

Audio Books… Can You Hear Me Now?

I have been planning to do an audio post for a while now and when I seen that Jen from  Devourer Of Books was having an Audio Book Week, I knew I had to jump on board and support this.

I love audio and I have expressed that time and again on this blog.  I really started listening to them last summer when I received a few for review through Hachette audio.  I discovered that while I was traveling during the summer months I preferred listening to audio over the radio.

Here are some times that audio is more beneficial that books:

  1. It is hard to read and cook.  You either wind up burning dinner; the book, or both.  Audio can play at a safe distance from all things flammable and you can stir or chop or set the table while listening.

  2. Driving and reading is frowned upon.  It could get you a ticket or worse.  Audio cds are fair game in the car and feel free to yell to your hears content when the character makes you angry, and pull over and weep on the steering wheel when alas…. the incredible read comes to a heartbreaking end.

  3. I can sweep and mop the floor and not try to balance a book while doing it or feel disgruntled because the house work is cutting into my reading time.  Wash and fold laundry, dust,do windows – even mow the lawn all while listening to audio.

  4. Sometimes a book on the treadmill can be difficult and dangerous.  Drop that baby on the tread and you could take a nasty spill.  On the other hand, pop in an audio and you are moving right along getting into a great story and  have the added benefit of not hearing the guy running next to you gasping for breath.

Ok – I am just being funny here – but the point is that audio can go where books can not.  I have only listened to audio for a little over a year now and I love it.  A great audio has made long road trips interesting and bearable.  Just this afternoon I sat in my car in the garage to hear what was going to happen to Mike Bennett as he defused a hostage situation in James Patterson’s Step On A Crack.  In my bathroom while I get ready in the morning my IPOD sits in its speakers and I hear Zoey make tough decisions about life and death…. literally in House of Night: Chosen by Kristin Cast.  In my CD player for when I am buzzing around the house Jim Dale takes me back to Hogwarts with Harry and Ron in a voice that I love and makes up for the fact that I do not have time to sit down and re-read this series I love so much.

This may be a bit much, but my point is that I can turn on an audio as I do my life.

What I would like to know from my readers is – if you do not do audio… why not? (expect me to try to change your mind 😀 )

And if you do like  audio, I would love to hear what book is awesome on audio, as I am still new to this but when you find one that is read well – it is like finding the gold ticket in the Wonka Bar…. you already had the delicious chocolate, the ticket is just a bonus!  😀

My favs at this time have been:

The Kite Runner read by Khaled Hosseini (author) Blew me away!

Anything by James Patterson – his readers are wonderful!

House Rules by Jodi Piccoult is read by 6 different people and is incredible

The Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

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.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment.  You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

Last weeks winner (using Random.Org) was:


Congratulations!  Please choose an item out of the PRIZE BOX and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!

I had a busy busy week.  Once every 4 months I am part of a group that houses the homeless for a week.  We stay in the downstairs of a local church and use the Sunday school rooms as bedrooms.  We provide meals and a place to sleep for 7 days.  This past week was our week and while I have many volunteers that take a ton of the work load off of me…. it is still mentally and physically exhausting – so reading time this week was not as productive as I had hoped.

Here is what I managed to complete:

Symptoms of a bookaholic….

The Boneman’s Daughter by Ted Dekker (Dekker is a suspenseful author who required attention)

Eyes Of Darkness by Dean Koontz (an old favorite author but not the best he has delivered)

Vampires, Werewolves, Sea Monsters, and Me (thoughts on paranormal in the classics)

I caught a break on Friday morning and went biking with my friends

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (this book surprised me!)

Ok, looking at that…. my week doesn’t sound so unproductive in my book world.  🙂  Bottom line, I did not get through the books I had hoped to so bringing back for a “take two”:

Duff – waiting for me on my kitchen table….

Choices, I am just starting this one.

The Michael Sullivan Series is going to be completed this week.  Seriously – I have taken way too long on this….

It is also Audio Book week and I am a big supported so I will be filling in audio wherever and whenever I can 🙂

So that’s the week – I cant wait to spend some time seeing what you have going on in your books!  Please link to where it says “click here” and add your link to your Monday What Are You Reading Post.

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