Monthly Archives: November 2010

2011 Where Are You Reading Challenge

This Challenge starts January 1, 2011 – December 31st 2011.  The Challenge consists of reading at least one book that covers each of the 50 states of America and you can add as many other countries as you like.

So how do you decide what state a book is categorized under?

1.  In a fiction read it would be the State or Country that the book spends the most time in.  (Ie. If your main character is from Wisconsin but the book is all about his/her time in college in California – the books should categorize under California….)

2.  Non fiction reads categorize  in whatever State or Country it is about (Ie…. a book about fly fishing in Colorado is a Colorado point, and a book about women in Afghanistan is an Afghanistan point.

How to get started

Set up a map under Google Maps.  It is easy to do!  Every time you read a book in 2011, upload a cover picture to Picasa Web Albums (there may be other sites to use, feel free to use what works best for you).


Do you have to have a blog to participate? No.  You can do everything on the map above without linking the book to a review.

Do I have to have my post up by January 1st, 2011? No, but I would think you would want to get started right away at the beginning of the year.  However, you will be able to sign up throughout January as well.

How will people see my map? There are a couple of possibilities.  On your original challenge post you should have a link to your map.  You could also put it on your side bar to draw interest to it (see mine on my left side bar)  I will be linking my map to every review and you could as well, or do a monthly update post….

I dont get it – I cant figure out how to use Google maps but I really want to participate! No worries!  😀  You are welcome to create a challenge post that lists the 50 states (as well as bonus out of USA spots) and then fill them in as you read in the areas.

Do audio books count?  ABSOLUTELY!

Once you are ready and have your map set up please create a blog post (those who have blogs) using the Challenge picture of the map I provided above as well as link to this post so others may join in.  Then come back and link that post here to Mr Linky so I as well as other participants know that you are participating and we can pop in throughout the year to check out your map and how we are all doing.

This is actually a fun and easy challenge as all books you read qualify and it will be fun to see where you generally read books from as well as searching out books to fill in areas that you need.

For those who have covered the 50 states by the end of 2011, they will go into a drawing for a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble or to Amazon.  **  All other areas beyond the 50 states are bonus points and we will have a drawing using for those who read 10 or more books throughout 2011 in that category.

You can see my map I worked on in 2010 here to see what the map looks like and how the pictures link to the reviews.  (If you zoom in you will see the individual areas I read in and clicking on the blue pins will show you what book it was and clicking on the picture will take you to the post!

That’s it!  Any questions – please leave them in the comments section below.  😀

I can’t wait to see Where You Are Reading!


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Morning Meanderings… The books that grabbed me this week

Good morning.  Life is pretty insane these days as I juggle my way through the next 30 hours before I head to the airport.  I am trying to balance the “to do’s” with some down time each day so I do not get overwhelmed and crack like an egg…

seriously… I can’t imagine it would  be pretty.

So yesterday – between work and making tacos for 30 people and a wrap up pre trip meeting last night… I squeezed in a little down time and read through the Monday What Are You reading participants as well as a few of my favorite blogs I just love to read and see what they are reading.  I seriously pick up awesome reads this way!

For example…

Over at Mundie Moms I found this cover that I thought was very eye-catching.  This book is the last of a series but the review I read was enough to make me think that this may be a series I would like to try.

At In The Forest this title and review caught my eye.  I know very little about cutting but do know someone who has done it so I have looked it up on-line to understand it more.  I would be interested in trying this book.

You may be seeing this book start to pop up around the blogesphere but I first seen it at Word Lily.  I have not (that I can recall) read any books like this one.

And finally, over the weekend this little gem caught my eye first at My Friend Amy’s and then I read a couple other reviews on it as well.  I was on my way to the book store to talk with Pat Bluth at a book signing so as long as I was there I inquired about this book.  They did not have any in stock but I was able to order it and with a little luck it will be here Wednesday morning and may make the cut as the fourth book that I will take with me to Honduras.

So that’s what happens when I visit other blogs and bloggers who book opinions I trust…  I wind up with uhhh…… more books.  However, I do not find that a bad thing because honestly the good ones are worth promoting and when a book interests me… I cant wait to grab it at my library or support my local book store when I can.

Any books that have caught your eye on other blogs recently?

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:

TBA (I did not have time to pick yet)

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


It has been a whirlwind of a week.  Chance has been staying with us since last Sunday and I have been prepping all week to get ready to go to Honduras this Wednesday.  In a nut shell (and that term is perfect) I have been running in several different directions this week and unfortunately reading didn’t always get on the agenda.

Here is my week in review:

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows A Movie Adventure (Have you seen it?  Have you seen it?)

Don’t Sing At The Table… Life Lessons From My Grandmother by Adriana Trigiani (Book review – OH WOW!)

The GaMeS BiBlE by Leigh Anderson (Hey board gamers and card players – this is a “must have” book!

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (an audio review that is totally SSQQQUUUUEEEE worthy!)

Coffee and Fate by RJ Erbacher (a review of a book that still is making me wonder….)

The Secret Is Out… It Is I Who Has The Invisibility Cloak (my real tale of a recent shopping experience)

This week I have finally picked the three books that will go on the plane with me and the two audio books on my IPOD:

From the author of the bestselling The Good Women of China comes the uplifting story of three sisters who, like so many migrant workers in today’s China, leave their peasant community to seek their fortune in the big city.The Li sisters don’t have much education, but one thing has been drummed into them: their mother is a failure because she hasn’t managed to produce a son, and they themselves only merit a number as a name. Women, their father tells them, are like chopsticks: utilitarian and easily broken. Men, on the other hand, are the strong rafters that hold up the roof of a house. Yet when circumstances lead the sisters to seek work in distant Nanjing, the shocking new urban environment opens their eyes. While Three contributes to the success of a small fast-food restaurant, Five and Six learn new talents at a health spa and a bookshop/tearoom. And when the money they earn starts arriving back at the village, their father is forced to recognise that daughters are not so dispensable after all.

In 1967, not long after the Six Day War, three young Arabs ventured into the town of Ramla, in Jewish Israel. They were on a pilgrimage to see their separate childhood homes, from which their families had been driven out nearly twenty years before during the Israeli war for independence. Only one was welcomed: Bashir Al-Khayri was greeted at the door by a young woman named Dalia.

This act of kindness in the face of years of animosity and warfare is the starting point for a remarkable true story of two families, one Arab, one Jewish; an unlikely friendship that encompasses the entire modern history of Israelis and Palestinians and that holds in its framework a hope for true peace and reconciliation for the region.

In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran’s sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari’s stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah’s secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice…


A young woman appears in a small NC town. She makes one friend, a woman who lives nearby, but other than that, she keeps to herself. Soon, however, a series of events pulls her into the circle of a local merchant, a widower with two children, and against her better judgment, she finds herself drawn to him and letting down her carefully constructed guard.

For this women has a secret, a secret that has forced her to hide her identity, run as far away as she can from home, and escape a past that still haunts and terrifies her.

It is inevitable that her past will catch up with her-in the form of an abusive husband who refuses to let her go. But what remains unknown is whether she will allow herself to love and trust again, and to what extent her husband will go to ensure that she’ll have a future…but only if it includes him…

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

I hope in the next ten days to accomplish getting through all of these between the plane time and hopefully some down time between our travels.

There will be a It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading? Next week – I am pre-setting the post.  AND I hope you will stop by after Wednesday and check out the wonderful bloggers who have shared a Christmas story with you as well as a book recommendation.

I am excited to see what you are reading!  Please add your post to the LINKY below where it says click here.

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Morning Meanderings…. The Secret Is Out – It Is I Who Has The Invisibility Cloak

Good Morning!

I wanted to share with you my funny (or really – not so much) shopping experience I had recently with Chance.  Our destination was to go a certain (I will not mention the name) establishment where the idea was for Chance to get a haircut, while that was happening I was going to get a pedicure (upcoming Honduras trip = sandals!) and then do a little shopping.

First, I took Chance over to the salon area.  We stood at the front counter while the lady behind it proceeded to ignore us for several minutes.  Finally she said, “Can I help you with something?”  (Uhhhh… you cut hair….. what else would I be here for?)  I told her that Chance needed a hair cut and she tossed a clip board my way to write his name on.  Even Chance commented when she walked away about her pleasant – errr….. lack there of….. personality.  The next lady came up and I pre paid for Chances cut so I could go to the nail area.

Second, I went into the nail area where I have frequented many times before and they are usually quite friendly and get you set up right away.  Even if they are all busy they will still put you in that wonderful massage chair and your feet in a warm jacuzzi style water while you wait.  I had my book to read and I was so ready.  I went in and picked out my color and sat in the waiting chair.  No one acknowledged me other than a lady I knew who was getting her own pedicure done.   I sat and read for about 15 minutes slowly getting more and more irritated.  I decided that if Chance showed up done with his haircut before I was waited on I would just leave.  25 minutes in a guy who worked there approached me and said “what are you waiting for?”

I said I was there for a pedicure and he turned and walked away saying nothing and he did not return.  Now I am annoyed – and really, I am pretty easy-going so it takes A LOT to annoy me.  One of the ladies doing a pedicure turned and looked at me and said, “Oh, are you waiting for a pedicure?”  I said yes I was but now I felt I probably did not have time.

I returned the polish to the rack and walked out.

Third (oh yes, there is more), Chance and I shopped the store and I picked up the things I needed and we proceeded to the check out.  We got up to the counter and the cashier started ringing us out without saying a thing.  I looked at Chance and said, “I am so ready to just go home now.”  She continues to ring and then at the end of my order I had two large pizzas.  She said, “Are the pizzas yours too?”

I said “yes.”

She hesitated a minute, looked at me again and said, “Are the pizza’s yours too?”

I said “yes they are,”  (a little louder this time resisting the urge to wave my arms to see if she truly seen me).

When she finished ringing the order she handed me the receipt while looking at the next customer…. I had to chase her hand to get the receipt as she kept floating it around trying to find me.

As we walked out of the store I told Chance that I had no idea that I played such a large part in The Deathly Hallows.  “What do you mean” he said.

“Well, I clearly must be the current owner of the invisibility cloak” I responded.


True story…..  for the record… no employees of said establishment were hurt during this transaction.

How About Some AMAZING Winners?

Crackling fireworks Batman!  It is time to announce some winners for recent giveaways…..  I am hoping to have all my winners in and mailed by the time I leave on Wednesday…. so lets see what Random.Org had to say…

My Lost Daughter by Nancy Thayer Rosenberg

I have three lovely copies of this book and they are going to (using….


Kelly B

Mary Beth l

Woo hoo and chick a pow wow….. (I have no idea where that came from….)



Next up…. you may remember the fantastic book package … 3 copies each of SIGNED BOOKS from the

lovely Lori Lansen!!!

Here are the much-anticipated winners:

The new and proud winners of The Wife’s Tale are:


Anita Yancey


The ultimate and super fine winners of The Girls are:

Robyn Lee

Sarah G



Oh and lets give it up for the Rush Home Road peeps who can officially make room on their book shelf:



Julie P


Melanie L

Thanks every one for participating in this fun giveaway!!!!

Coffee and Fate by R.J. Erbacher

Val is your average run of the mill college student.  She has a roommate Jean and friends she enjoys  hanging out with…

Bud is an elderly man…. having raised his own kids, and now enjoying now only their kids, but also their kids-kids, his life is full.

Yet both Val and Bud hold a secret.

Val has a power within her that can push and pull people and has saved lives….  Bud has visions of future events that he can see not only the event itself, but also how the future changes due to these events….

Together they can make a difference.

I am not really sure what I thought I was going to be reading when I chose this book for review.   I can assure you it turned out to be nothing like I could have imagined.    The characters of Val and Bud are both likable and I liked the ideas of these hidden powers (think Hero’s)….

As I started getting into the heart of the book there was something about the Val/Bud relationship that just didn’t sit right with me.  I do not want to give away too much but I have to say there is a point in this book that bordered on creepy, uncomfortable…. and well… awkward.

Honestly, it came to a point where I almost stopped reading.

What kept me going?  If you can make it through the “Oh Gah!  Did that just happen?”.… and take a deep breath and move on…. there is a storyline deeper within the surface story that is actually amazing.

I can’t say that I ever fully recovered from the one part of the book… but I can say that in the end it wraps up incredibly with a powerful happening that left me in tears that only come when I have just experienced something incredible.  I can certainly say that I hope there is a sequel as I would love to know what happens next.

Amazon Rating

Cover Story:  I like it….At first glance of course it is the coffee cup that draws me in but then if you look closely at the smoke it is a skull…..   leaves you thinking, “what is up with that?”

I received this book for review from the author

Morning Meanderings… What To Do With A Saturday…

Good morning!

I love days when you can get up grab a cup of coffee and your laptop and go back to bed.  Saturday is my favorite day of the week!  AND – here it is… in all its glory it is spread out before me like a port-hole….. so many choices of which direction to go….

I can be low-key Sheila and hang out for the morning tapping away at my key board and prepping guest posts for later this next week…

I can be reader Sheila who keeps the coffee coming and completes the two books on her nightstand.

I can be “Housekeeping!” Sheila and start organizing the house for the dog sitter….

I can be pro active Sheila and get ready for my day, hit the gym for group power, and then off to the store to find Al lightweight pants for the Honduras trip, and then home to start packing…

I can be coffee Sheila (ok who am I kidding, when am I not Coffee Sheila) and take my friend Wendy up on her offer to get together at Starbucks today to chat….

I think I will be a mix of all of the above starting with the laptop in bed and writing a couple posts.  😀  Did I mention I love days like this?

Bookish news…. I finished and reviewed Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt yesterday and have been basking in the after read.   I will be chatting with author Beth Hoffman soon here and I am so excited for that!

I am planning to stop by Pat Bluth’s book signing today at Bethany Book Store between 11-2.  Pat wrote From Pain to Peace, which I read last year and I told her I was planning to stop by.

I have 4 new audio books on my IPOD for the trip and I am excited about that.  Two are books we have been reading as a group anyway:  When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert, and The Hole In The Gospel by Brian Stearns, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

Of course…. that’s not including the books I have yet to pick out – however I do not plan to overdo it like I have done in the past and am planning on three tops – THREE.

What is happening  this weekend for you?

Any movies you are seeing or recommending?

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (audio review)

“Momma always told me, being in the North isn’t living…. its absolute hell.”

Cecelia Rose Honeycutt


Cecelia (Cee Cee) Honeycutt is twelve years old but feels she has had to be an adult almost her entire life.  Her father (and we use the term loosely) is never around.  he travels for his job and the brief times he is home he is always mad and shouting at Cee Cee’s mother Camille.

Camille, a long time ago, was a Southern beauty queen.  And this is where many of Camille’s problems lie…  in a non satisfying marriage, Camille has reverted in her mind to the beauty queen days.  Many times dressing in formal gowns and a tiara as she dances and waves in her yard or goes up town shopping.  Some days she has trouble remembering exactly where she is and tends to go on shopping sprees that involve buying boxes and boxes of shoes or dresses.

In the middle, of course in Cee Cee….. trying to help her mother but at the same time resenting her not being a mom that she can be proud of…. one that will let her be the child instead of the adult….

And then one day all of this changes, with the incident with the ice cream truck…..



Not really….. I have shared nothing here that you can not learn from reading the back of the book cover.  And what I have said, really is only the beginning of a charming story about a young girl finding her way and her place in life.

Wow.  Yes, in a word wow.  Beth Hoffman presents a story line filled with such fun and realistic characters that I wanted to don a large sun hat and come knocking on the door!  And what characters you will meet along the way!  Cee Cee may think that her life is one to be pitied but as circumstances open new doors for her and she begins to find a new direction – one that she could never have dreamed!

In this endearing book (as told from the point of view of Cee Cee) Cee Cee will place memories in her life book that she will hold close to her heart forever…

and in the end, I will too.

** This audio book is read by Jenna Lamia, who’s youthful voice made Cee Cee come to life.  I absolutely adored the reading and had to jump on-line to find out what other books Jenna has narrated.  She was perfect for the role – and the voices of the characters jumped out of the speakers and I felt as though I was in the room with them…. picking weeds out of the garden, spying on the crazy neighbor and drinking cold lemonade on the porch.


I purchased my copy of this audio from

Morning Meandering….Turkey Coma…..

Good morning!  Hopefully you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and are now having a wonderful Friday!  I figure we all fall into one of these categories for today:

  1. Crazed shopped who got up at 3 am and proceeded to stretch and do squats and lunges before they charged out the door to get in on all the great deals…. leaping aisle after aisle in a single bound….
  2. Disgruntled worker….. HAD to get up to be to work to smile at the crazed shoppers (all awhile a little concerned  for your own safely (and rightfully so if you are standing in front of the “it” item display).
  3. 4 Day Weekend person, cheerfully rolling out of bed at a non-insane hour and staying in sleep pants for most of the morning while you have a bowl of cereal, an egg and a side of turkey while you watch movies.
  4. Normal work person who has to work but not at a retail store (WOO HOO!) and goes to work with a slight turkey induced hang over and can not seem to shake the “I just want to curl up with a book and read” vision….

I am number 4…… (LOL… Isn’t that a book title?)

Yup… I work today, in the office…. but I think it will be a nice quiet day.  And yes, I looked it up…. turkey does make you sleepy… which explains why yesterday after a delicious dinner and a game of QUELF (which was HILARIOUS!!!) we all watched Prince Of Persia and I promptly fell asleep in the chair. (now I wipe the sleep from my eyes and move towards a new day….

The way we do Thanksgiving is we have the BIG dinner at 1:00 PM.  I go all out, there was only 4 of us but I totally overdo it every year…. turkey, stuffing,. sweet potatoes, corn souffle, dinner rolls, pickles, cottage cheese, broccoli salad, shrimp, chips, dips, crackers, cheese, cranberries, 3 kinds of pie….


Then it is a free for the rest of the day.  Once I clean up after the BIG dinner…. yo are on your own.  If you are hungry, make a plate…..  there is no supper because we have grazed all day long.  😀

We ended our day with the 6:30 PM showing of The Deathly Hallows.  Chance and I had already seen it, but College son Justin had not yet so we went again.  I like to do that anyways when it is a long anticipated movie so I can see it more clearly and pick up on more details.

Weekend plan?  I have so much to do…. we leave next Wednesday for Honduras.  I have to pack, prep the house for the dog sitter, shop, pick up prescriptions, see my dentist, tan (so I do not burn), and prepare the guest posts – which I think are actually a lot of fun and can’t wait for you to see them 😀

How about you?  What are your plans for the weekend?

The GaMeS BiBLe by Leigh Anderson

I am a game lover.  A BIG one.  I have an entire double wide closet devoted to games in our family room.  I am a game addict.  If you remember last year about this time I had the awesome (AWESOME!) opportunity to review BLURT as well as a really interesting book called Timeless Toys.  I was totally engrossed in both!

The Game Closet

SO…. knowing this about me…. you can just imagine the SSSQQQQQUUUUEEEEEEE”ing” going on over here when I received this gorgeous book in the mail for review!  Seriously, you may have heard me and thought that sound was a cat or a siren but no… alas… it was me.  😀

I love game nights and when we gather with friends to get our “game on”.  I am more than thrilled to take part!  What I loved about this book is that it gave me ideas for ice breakers for any gathering, as well as pages and pages of ideas for games anywhere from card games, word games, holiday games….. oh the games!

It seems like my family plays more games around the holidays.  When we gather together we undoubtedly have to pull out a game.  This Thanksgiving, as this is when I am posting this review, I am pulling out the “Grateful Guessing” game out of the book (page 194).  For this game you give each guest three small pieces of paper and a pen ( I am putting them at the dinner place settings).  Each person is to put one thing they are grateful for on each of the three papers.  All papers are collected and placed in a bowl.  Take turns pulling out a piece of paper and reading it.  It is up to the guests to guess who wrote it.  The object is you can be as sneaky or as real as you want – but if you wish to stump the group, come up with a funny off the wall thing to be grateful for….  “I am so thankful for what I thought was my appendix rupturing turned out to be gas….” …. well… uh…… really – who could have written that?

There are so many great ideas with well written easy to follow instructions.  I can see many of these being tweaked to be used for event planning, family outings, meeting ice breakers, and more.

Overall I give this book my highest rating!  I will use this over and over again.

Amazon Rating

I received this book off of Shelf Awareness