It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

First off – Happy Halloween or if you are reading this on Monday, November 1…. Happy belated Halloween.  I put up a fun interview late afternoon on Sunday and if you have not checked it out I hope you do as there is a giveaway attached to it.  (See link below)

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:

Sharon from Garden Of Books


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


This week was kind of funny as all three of the audio I had been listening to for weeks (one in the kitchen, one in the car, and one in my I POD) all finished this week.  It was like an audio rush…. not only to write reviews, but also to pick out three more!  (That’s the fun part!)  😀

Here is what happened in the House of Books this past week:

My interview with the Witch from Snow White (This is the one I mentioned above –  check it out!)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audio review and wow – AMAZING!)

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand (audio review)

The Postcard killers by James Patterson (audio review – not a fav….)

Wig Begone by Charles Courtney ( book review -fun read!)

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (book review)

A Fine White Dust by Cynthia Rylant (audio review)

Left To Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza (review to come this week)

HIDE! by Jeff Foxworthy (review to come this week)

Silence by Shusako Endo (still completing)

This week I am hosting my first special event in my new position so that will take up some of my reading time and this coming weekend I have a girls weekend at our cabin where we are spending the weekend making crafts, baking cookies for Christmas, and watching chick flicks.  YAY!!!  That too will swallow up some reading time so in light of all of that – here is my plan for this week:

I haven’t read Lehane in a long time but loved his writing in Mystic River and Shutter Island (both movies I couldn’t stand but LOVED the books!  I cant wait to try him in the new release!

I have watched this one be raved about all summer from afar….. and now FINALLY I have captured this read for my  I POD and I am starting it today!

Audio for my kitchen CD player and I started this one today as well.  The synopsis of this one is haunting and something I have come to appreciate in Laura Lippman’s writing…. which you are about to see because look below…..

Yup – another Laura Lippman, this one is for my car.  My Lippman phase was not intentional, they both just came into the library for me at the same time so… well, here we go!  😀

You can click on any of the above pictures to take you to more information about the reads.


So that is where I am this week.  I can’t wait to see what you are all reading.  It seems like life has been so busy lately I hardly have time to get around and see your posts and if I have missed you recently I apologize, and am hopeful that as my life is getting somewhat back to normal that I will be able to visit all of your posts today.

Please add your link to your Monday What Are You Reading post below and have a super fantastic week!  😀


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Interview with The Wicked…. errr… Sorely Misunderstood Witch of Snow White

Readers, today I am excited and maybe a little nervous to be interviewing the witch from Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs.   I am extremely thankful that she was able to take time to meet with me here today at Book Journey as I know that this is normally a very busy time of year for witches, however she was able to fit us in.  Please give a warm welcome to uhhhh…….  errrrrrrr….. Snow White’s evil Stepmother…. The Witch.

♦     ♦     ♦

Welcome!  I usually open up my interviews by asking my guests how they take their coffee.

Thank you for asking, but I am really more fond of apple cider.  This time of year I prefer it hot.

Ummmm….. ok.  I think I can handle that.  I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I do not know your first name.

Well that is kind of you to ask.  Most people just refer to me as Wicked Witch or Evil Step Mother and that is a bit degrading.  However, my name was never mentioned in the original story of Snow White or during the film.  In both cases this is really a sore spot with me.  My name is in the script though and it is Grimhilda.

Grimhilda!  Why it is lovely!  Thank you for sharing that.

No.  It’s not lovely, it was handed down to me from my great great great great great great great grandmother, Grimhilda the first, and believe me, she wasn’t any peach. You think I was hard on Snow White?  HA!  That woman would have made up look like sorority sisters.

Oh.  Ok.  Well, since you mentioned that some referred to you as the Wicked Witch, I am curious about how you feel about all the attention now given to Elphaba, the true wicked witch from The Wizard Of Oz.  I mean, ever since Gregory Maguire wrote Wicked in 1995, she has received a lot of attention.

Oh barf on a cracker!  That really gets my green up!  Everywhere I look it is Elphaba this, Elphaba that!   Yeah poor Elphaba, you would think she was the only one ever born green.  She is like a Lifetime story in the making.   As if the book wasn’t bad enough, then she became the star of a Broadway play.   I seen the play.  What a bunch of fly stew hookey.  I just rolled my eyes.  You know I was there while she was growing up…. there is another side to that witch that you do not even know.  I keep waiting for her and her sob story to appear on Oprah.  Or maybe she will be sipping tea with the ladies of  The View.

I am sorry, I didn’t realize I was bringing up such a sensitive topic. Were you not featured in the book, The Fairest Of  Them All?  It just came out the fall of last year.

That book?  Oh please!  I was so misquoted I don’t even want to talk about it.

Lets move on.  Uhhh….. I must say your hair looks quite lovely and not at all the way I remember it from the book or the movie.  What is your secret?

I just had these highlights put in yesterday for this interview.  I mean breaks like this don’t come around often for me.  No one really talks about me anymore, so I need to take full advantage when I can.    I do use a little apple sauce when I wash it.

What would you like to say to everyone Grimhilda?

I just want people to know that I am still around.  Sure I don’t star on Broadway, but I do exist.  I have a little cottage that I live in year around just off Nantucket.  The sea air really does wonders for my skin.

Well I do not want to keep you, this is Halloween after all and I am sure you probably have a lot going on.

NO, not really.  I just don’t get into it like I did when I was younger and able to mess with Snow White’s head.  Actually tonight I am making a huge bowl of popcorn and am watching the first season of LOST.  Sawyer really gets the heart pumping.

Well, that’s just awkward.  Ok, I think I should reel this interview in, but it is tradition that I ask each person…. errr….. witch, I interview to share with me a little known fact about themselves.

Well – that’s just easy as pretty much everything about me is little known because I have not been the star of me own book.  Hmmmmphhh.  I speak fluent Spanish.   I belong to a Book Club that has been meeting monthly for 28 years.  We are called The Coven and we are currently reading The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.    Oh, and I also play the accordion and I am working on my first novel, ‘It Ain’t Easy Being Green’.

Thank you for sharing your time with us today Grimhilda.  I wish you all the best in your future and I look forward to your book!

Readers, in the spirit of Halloween I would like to offer a lovely copy of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs by Cynthia Rylant, an author I just recently read and enjoyed.  I will also toss in a Halloween treat.

To enter simply leave a comment here on this interview.  If you would like to ask Grimhilda a question, I believe I can get her to stop back in and respond.  This giveaway will stay open until Thursday November 4th.  USA and Canada addresses only please.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Trick or Treat reviews)

Thank you to Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness

who told me at BEA in May of this year

that this was a must read.


You may have heard of her as HeLa, and in some instances as started by the Minneapolis Tribune, Helen Lake.  She was Henrietta Lacks, a poor southern African-American farmer.  She lived a simple life, married her cousin and had several beautiful children.  At the age of 31 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and the doctors of the “colored ward” of John Hopkins Hospital in the 1950’s, took samples of her cells as they did with all patients, for testing.  Henrietta’s cells were different.  They continues to grow in culture, the first cells to ever do that.  They were marked as HeLa, as it was custom to take the first letter of the patients first name as well as the first letter of the last name to identify the cells.  Nobody at that time knew how big a deal this sample was.

Henrietta died from her cancer on October 4th, 1951, now 60 years later, her cells continue to live all over the country.  These cells became vital in developing the Polio vaccination, discovering some of the secrets of cancer, AIDS research, in vitro fertilization, cloning, gene mapping and as such has saved countless lives. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings.


Henrietta’s family did not know about the cells for nearly 20 years after Henrietta’s death.  No one had ever told them about the tissue sample taken or the amazing results from the tissue that had now been bought and sold all over the world.  All of us have somehow benefited from these cells either by a vaccination or a pill we have taken.  The cells have now made billions of dollars for the drugs industry and Henrietta’s family never seen a dime.


Henrietta and her husband David "Day" Lacks


Trick or Treat?  Treat!

You may read the first paragraph about this book and think that Halloween is the perfect time to review this book.  Even as I wrote it I thought wow, this sounds like something right out of a horror movie…. living cells, never dying…. growing and growing all over the world. Yet, this is not fiction.  Henrietta did really live and is really the woman who changed science as we know it.  She never lived to know her contributions to the world, but as her family says, she would  be happy to know that her dying helped others to live.

Rebecca Skloot dialogues an amazing trip from her first hearing about HeLa and becoming fascinated about knowing more about the woman behind the cells.  As her fascination grows she takes her credit cards and student loans to fund her desire to learn more and in doing so meets the amazing family of Henrietta, including building a strong friendship with Henrietta’s daughter, Deborah.

Henrietta as a child

I find as time goes on I become more and more engaged in reading memoirs and non fiction.  I have developed a strong thirst for knowledge.  I started listening to this on audio about a month ago and as the book progressed I started asking people I knew if they had ever heard of Henrietta Lacks.

Nobody had.

I am so thankful I had the opportunity to experience this read and I would highly recommend it others.  The writing is engaging, I never found it to lull, and it left me with a strong knowledge of cells as well as Henrietta Lacks.  HBO is planning to make a movie about Henrietta Lacks and her cells.  I for one will be anxious to see it.

Amazon Review


Book Journey has updated the 2010 reading map to include The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Cover Story:  Very appropriate.  This is the picture of Henrietta Lacks that was found in text books and magazine articles

In May of this year, Henrietta's once unmarked grave received a headstone provided by Morehouse School Of Medicine

I purchased this audio at

Morning Meanderings…. It’s Halloween and all Treats Around here today!


Good morning and Happy Halloween!  You would think I was this big Halloween fan the way I have been acting but actually, since the kids grew up… not really.  Where we live we usually do not get trick or treaters, all the kids in this are grew up with me and no one ever moves so I am the youngster in the area and they probably do not want me on their door step asking for candy.

ALTHOUGH….. this year that is exactly what I am doing!  My friend Heidi really gets into Halloween and has a lovely Victorian style home right in town.  Her husband and her go all out to ensure a wonderful Halloween experience for kids who come there, and this year I am going to go and help.

And yes…. I am dressing up.  You might see more on that later.

When I mentioned all treats here today that is what I meant – there should be a pretty spooktacular interview later with a giveaway and a book that was a real treat to read as well.

I would love to hear about your traditions on this day.  😀

Have a Happy Halloween!!!

The Island by Elin Hiderbrand (Trick Or treat Reviews)

All is well in Birdie Cousins world.  Her eldest daughter Chess, is going to be getting married and Birdie is preparing every detail, down to the floating island in the pond behind their home so Chess can have her first dance with Michael.  It is a dream in the making.

Then, out of thin air, Chess calls off the wedding.  She will not explain what has happened or why the change of heart to anyone, including Michael.

Birdie has no idea what is going on with her daughter but in an attempt to support her she plans a two-week getaway to a family owned property on Tucker Island, off the coast of Nantucket.  In the midst of the the planning, tragedy hits again in another direction taking Chess into a spiral downward of despair and confusion and Birdie knows this is going to require a little more than herself to help bring all well again.  Calling out to her sister India, and Chess’s sister Tate, the four women embark on a month stay on the island.

What starts out looking like it is a time to support Chess and help her with whatever the internal struggles are, it becomes so much more.  For all the women on Tucker Island are in for life changing experiences that will test them to the very foundation of who they thought they were, and who they really are.

Trick or Treat?  Treat.

In the beginning of this audio I struggled with the over the top descriptions of each woman.  Birdie and India both in their later 50’s but incredibly beautiful, both rich, Birdie from her divorce and an ever generous ex husband (don’t even get me started on the $20,000 floating Island for Chess’s wedding) and India rich from her ex husband (death by suicide) who was a famous artist.  Both of the sisters Chess and Tate are incredible beautiful as well, thin and gorgeous with jobs that are both brilliant as well as keep them never in want of anything.

That said, I really did enjoy the book.    Once I got over the “o.k., I get it, they are all things wonderful” part of the audio, I really found I enjoyed the characters.  As the book went on, with the occasional flash oh how rich they were (less annoying as I listened on), I found I really liked Tate’s character.  In fact, as the story unfolded, I really liked them all and I liked how everything ended.

I would recommend this audio for your next road trip.  The storyline filled me with relaxing beach scenes, warm weather and the occasional subtle scent of sea air.

Amazon Rating

Book Journey has upgraded the 2010 Reading map to include The Island

Cover Story:  LOVE it.  This is a cover that I would pick up among 100’s of others just because it speaks to me.  It says summer, and uncertainty, and I am intrigued by both.


I received this audio for review from Hachette audio

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson (Trick or Treat Reviews)

Jacob Kanon of the New York Police Department in Europe and while this may be an incredible place to be for viewing beautiful sights, that is not what has brought Jacob to this area that some would kill to see.  Instead, Jacob is looking at each museum, each tourist spot, and every “must see” as a potential opportunity to catch a killer.  A killer, who took his daughter’s life and have made the stakes of capturing this person or persons – the highest priority of Jacobs life.

There seems to be a pattern between Kimmy Kanon, Jacob’s daughters murders and the murder of young couples that have been happening in Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Stockholm.  Each murder is connected to a postcard that gives a hint to the next murder scene.

Kanon connects with local reporter Dessie Larsson, someone who has been receiving the postcards prior to the murders, and together they work to find a way to stop the crimes.

Trick or Treat?  Trick.

I have raved for the past 16 months about the treasured mysteries I have found in James Patterson’s audio books.  I have rated them as high quality in narrators, sound effects, and story lines as I RAVED about the Michael Bennett books (Step On A Crack, Run For Your Life, Worst Case) and I enjoyed The Murder Of King Tut as well as others.


The Postcard Killers was not a great experience for me.  I struggled with the female narrators highly snooty like voice (I know it was the role she was playing but it never did become easy for me to hear) and even putting that aside, the story line was harsh, grotesque, and at the end – revolting.

I know everything I listen to is not going to be a win.  Now that I have finished this audio, I have to wonder why I hung in there for the entire read.  I felt it had potential and I liked the story line around the art work.  In the end it just did not work for me.

I will continue to listen to James Patterson’s audio because I have had way more successes than failures with the audio surrounding this authors works.

Book Journey has updated the 2010 reading map to include The Postcard Killers

Cover Story:  It’s good.  It reminds me of a Patterson like cover for some reason.


I received this audio for review from Hachette Book Group

Morning Meanderings… stretching and looking for a good audio download. Suggestions?


Finally.  It seems like it has been forever since I have had a day with no real commitments.  I am not going anywhere.  In fact – I slept until 8 am which is normally unheard of but feels great.

I am having coffee and maybe some eggs and then finishing up the last few pages of the book I am reading and then diving into the next one.  I plan to write a bit this afternoon, and maybe watch one of the instant Netflix movies.

My “opportunity” this morning lies as I am finishing up the last of  the Henrietta Lacks audio, and now I need to pick a new one.   I have been on this morning trying to pick something wonderful to listen to on my IPOD and nothing is jumping out at me.  I would love suggestions.  🙂

I am hoping to download something in the next few hours here so while I am showering this morning I have something awesome to listen to.

Ok… off to enjoy this  morning I have been looking forward to.  Days like these are far too few and far between.  😀