Help! Seriously – I have lost my identitiy!

I could really use your help.

Recently I have noticed when I comment on certain blogs my fabulous Gravatar has taken a hike….. gone … vamoose…. in its place… is…


its pretty shameful but it is….


I Know right?

Blank face.

Blank face?  Where did you come from?  What have you done with that wonderful little Gravatar?

I have only a few clues and I am asking for the expertise of all of you to maybe help me solve this mystery and return me to my original Gravatar state…

here is what I know…

It is happens on both and on Blogger – but not all….

I have went into the Gravatar sight and I pop up just fine under the correct email and everything so there is nothing to change there.


and this may have nothing to do with nothing but as I am clueless right now I will grasp at anything….

I am a contributor on the Banned Books Blog and noticed today that when I am on a Blogger blog and click on me and it takes me to the cute Blogger profile page – this blog, Book Journey does not show up.  The Banned Books Blog does instead and that is not my blog…. I am a team member of it, that is all.

The only place Book Journey shows up is on the webpage link which brings you here.

So – like I said – this may have nothing to do with anything, but I can not find a way to add my WordPress blog to the Blogger profile… and maybe… it doesn’t work like that…

and maybe…

this has nothing to do with my missing Gravatar.

SO – people of the blogesphere, I bow low before you and request any help, advice, and chocolate (oh come on – that’s a good thing!) that you are able to share with me.  I would love to fix this annoying little glitch but have no idea where to begin….  😀

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:

Jennifer from Rundipinne

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

I feel really good about this past week.  I dont know what really changed but I feel like I put in some good reading time in the quiet evenings after everyone was asleep.  I also had a couple books that I could hardly put donw, so that often helps too!

Here is the week in review:

Bloggiesta Finish Line (last weekend completed the first Bloggiesta of the year and I accomplished a few things)


Clementine Friend Of The Week by Sara Pennypacker (A sweet MG read!)

True To Form by Elizabeth Berg (ahhhh… my second read into Berg and I am working on a third!)

Christmas In January – my friends and I get together for a belated Christmas exchange!

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (A fantastic sequel to Shiver and a great middle book as I anticipate the coming of Forever!)

Table Of Contents by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp (OH WOW!!!  This book is authors thoughts and recipes and wow!!!)

The LOST Encyclopedia (yes friends – I have finally completed the LOST seasons and my reward was to read through this book I purchased weeks ago!)


January Recap with WHERE Are You Reading map update too!

If  I Stay by Gayle Forman – read and reviewed but review help until the Bookies Book Club meeting on February 8


This Book Is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson – 3/4 of the way complete


Certain Women – just getting started

as well as a few others with a bookmark stuck in them….

Anyway…. the week felt GOOD and I am hoping to keep up the momentum I had in January as I just hummed along many good books and audios!  Here is what is on for this week:

Fifty-four-year-old Laura Bartone, the happily married mother of two, is looking forward to her annual family reunion in Minnesota. But her vacation plans are marred when her father is felled by a stroke, and her sister, Caroline, at the urging of a therapist, confronts Laura and her brother with disturbing information about her relationship with their mother. As she details the verbal and physical abuse she was subjected to, Laura and her brother are tempted to write Caroline’s confidences off as just another example of her histrionics. Because if what she says is true, what would that mean about their complicity in the family dynamics?

Yes… my Berg fest continues and you just watch – if this one is as awesome as I think it will be -I am having a Berg Fest….  you just wait and see!

Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Not long before, Chris’ world sparkled – he was doing significant work, he had a good home, and his young daughter brought him more joy than he ever could have imagined. Now, divorce and estrangement have left him confused and all too often alone.

Becky is Chris’ fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges in her early years to become a vibrant, vital young woman. Her parents’ divorce has left its mark, though, most significantly in her relationship with her father. Once, they told remarkable stories together. Now, they barely speak. Emotional detachment from Chris is not Becky’s biggest concern, though.

Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little – a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own. Miea knows nothing of Becky and Chris. She only knows that her beautiful kingdom – a place of remarkably varied flora, dignified and distinctive fauna, and an ecology that works in symphonic majesty – is in terrible, maybe fatal trouble.

At the most challenging junctures of their lives, Becky and Miea discover each other and Miea shares this discovery with Chris. For Becky, it is nearly inconceivable that a place she created has come into existence. For Miea, it is nearly inconceivable that a child created her land. For Chris, it is beyond inconceivable that he is again sharing something important in his daughter’s life. For all of them, it as though a world of opportunity has opened up before them.

But time is not on their side. In fact, time might be running out.

Together, they need to uncover a secret. The secret to why these worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them.

I am reviewing this book for the publisher and  am curious as to what I will think of it.

Would you risk everything for someone you just met?

What if he had a secret worth killing for?

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than oil or gold…

Hundreds of millions of people have already died, and millions more will soon fall-victims of disease, hunger, and dehydration. It is a time of drought and war. The rivers have dried up, the polar caps have melted, and drinkable water is now in the hands of the powerful few. There are fines for wasting it and prison sentences for exceeding the quotas.

But Kai didn’t seem to care about any of this. He stood in the open road drinking water from a plastic cup, then spilled the remaining drops into the dirt. He didn’t go to school, and he traveled with armed guards. Kai claimed he knew a secret-something the government is keeping from us…

And then he was gone. Vanished in the middle of the night. Was he kidnapped? Did he flee? Is he alive or dead? There are no clues, only questions. And no one can guess the lengths to which they will go to keep him silent. We have to find him-and the truth-before it is too late for all of us.

This  one is for a book tour in February and I admit I started it and have been enjoying it so far.

Since novelist Helen’s husband, Dan, died a year ago, she’s been unable to write, and though her publisher and agent aren’t worried, she is, particularly after a disastrous performance at a public speaking engagement leaves her wondering if her writing career will be another permanent loss. Meanwhile, daughter Tessa is getting impatient as Helen smothers her with awkward motherly affection. Tessa longs for distance and some independence, but Helen is unable to run her suburban Chicago home without continually calling on Tessa to perform the handyman chores that once belonged to Dan. And then Helen discovers Dan had withdrawn a huge chunk of their retirement money, and Helen’s quest to find out what happened turns into a journey of self-discovery and hard-won healing.

Yes, yes… Berg alert.  I hope to be starting this audio by the mid to end of this week as I finish up Testimony.

That’s my plan!  I don’t think it is too large as two of them are audios coming in to replace the audios that are finishing up I suspect soon.  Cleaning my bedroom (bedroom audio) and working in the kitchen (kitchen audio) really moved two of my current audios forward considerably.

And with that – my report has come to an end and now it is your turn!  I am super pumped to see what you have been reading!  Please add your post to the linky area below where it says click here.  I look forward to stopping by and seeing what you have been reading!  😛

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LOST Encyclopia – A MUST HAVE for any fan of LOST

If you have read my blog or followed me on Twitter (@bookjourney) for any amount of time you probably know that I have spent my last two months of evenings watching all the seasons of LOST.

When LOST was on TV I found that I was missing episodes here and there due to life and commitments and then I would sit down to watch a new episode and I felt…. well..


At that point I let the show go planning to purchase the seasons and watch it that way and even then I had trouble staying caught up.  It was not until this past November that I said ok, here is the winter plan.  I am going to get through these episodes one after another and I am going to finish them all.  And that is what I did.

For those of you who are fans of LOST you know where I am going to go with this.  It was BRILLIANT.  AMAZING.  FULLFILLING.  and left me with a sense of wonder.  Most likely, I will watch them all again just to pick at the things I did not catch the first time and open up yet an even deeper level of appreciation.

This review though is about a book, not really about the show – although I guess that is not exactly true as they work together.  I found this treasure in early January at Barnes and Noble.  I had inquired if they had any books about LOST.  I was taken to a small section of movie related books and seen this beautifully large book on the shelf.  I pulled it towards me and loving glanced through the pages but catching the price out of the corner of my eye, I put it back on the shelf finding it too pricey to justify.

“But…. uh, Sheila.” *waving hand crazily high in the air*, “you have the book right?”


I then walked around browsing the shelves and found a large 50% off section in the center of the store and yes, there it was – this same book – but at half the price.  I snatched it up lovingly and made my purchase.

Once home – the book was tabu until I finished watching all the episodes as I did not wish to view anything that I did not already know about.  Chance whined to look at it – I said no.  Al inquired…. still the answer was no.

And then on Friday evening, I watched with Chance the final three episodes and as the closing credits ran and I sat with a sort of numbness of not believing it was over but knowing it was… Chance ran upstairs and came back with this book.

And so…. finally (FINALLY) I get to my point.

The LOST Encyclopedia is an absolute must have for any LOST super fan.  For this review I will clarify the difference between Fan and Super Fan.

Fan:  Really found the show enjoyable, but sees no reason to revisit or explore further.  See Exhibit A

Exhibit A: Chance

Super Fan:  Border line obsession with all things LOST.  More than likely has Googled Dharma and wonders if you can find coffee cups and Dharma apparel (for the record the answer is yes to both).  Super Fans will watch all the episodes again as well as all the bonus disc’s looking for clues they have missed the first, second, or third time around. See Exhibit B

Exhibit B: Me

Moving on.

As this large fabulous book opens up in the opening letter addressed to all Losties, there is an important paragraph:

This text will not confirm nor deny your theories about the show.  It will provide clarity, and it’s a great reference guide, but what it does NOT provide are answers to the great unknown.  It was incredibly important to us to maintain the purposeful interpretive quality of the show.  And although it is frustrating at times to puzzle things out for yourself, the show was called LOST for a reason.

The bars were manufactured by the Apollo Candy Company and sold around the world. Their history dates back to 1962. Due to the companies rapid success they ran into financial problems. Alvar Hanso of the Hanso Foundation stepped in and saved the company. Hanso’s connections to the DHARMA Initiative included the bard in the regular island provisions

It will be hard to tell you all the wonderfulness of this book but I will try to give you all the things that I kn ow appeal to me and I think would appeal to other Super Fans as well.

The LOST Encyclopedia is alphabetized.  Looking for that crazy candy bar and the story behind it?  It’s i n there.  A list of all the books mentioned and read on the Island?  Yup.  The meaning behind all the alcohol seen from the Dharma beer to the Scotch Whiskey that was used to humiliate Desmond, Daniel’s journal, the flashback/ flash forwards/ flash sideways, animals of the Island, and even the Fish Biscuits have their own page. The numbers the plane, even a list of the survivors of 815 that were never really acknowledged, but at my home when they showed up on scream were fondly known as the “Randoms”.

There is detailed layouts and explanation of the uses of each Dharma station.  If you missed something during the tv show or had a question left unanswered, chances are you will find it here.

Oh and of course this book would not be complete without a detailed list referred to as the “Nickname hall Of Fame”, yes, a list of all the nicknames sawyer used!  Partially listed below:

Cowboy, Slim, Sundance, Jackass (Jack)

Mohammad, Chief, Damn Arab Genious, Omar (Sayid)

Freckles, Shortcake, Puddin’, Thelma (Kate)

Oliver Twist, Tattoo, VH1 Has-Beens (Charlie)

Hidden Dragon, Chewie, Daddy-O (Jin)

Yoda, Captain Bunny Killer, Gizmo (Ben)

Crouching Tiger, Betty, Sunshine (Sun)

Jabba, Jumbotron, Pork Pie, Three Men and a baby (Hugo)

Mr. Clean, John Boy, Gimpy (Locke)

Barbie, Sweetheart, Pregnant Girl (Claire)

Short Round, Taller Ghost Walt (Walt)


Each character is broken down into pages of information:  Facts and figures, time on the island, likes and dislikes, skills, as well as any connections to the numbers or how the numbers were used in their scenes.  I also really enjoyed that they include lines that were priceless for each character!

…”You’ve no idea how hard it is for me to sit back and listen to other people tell me what I should do.  But maybe that’s the point.  Maybe I am suppose to let go.”


I can go on and on about this book but I am betting you get what I am saying.  If you love LOST or if you know someone who does, I would highly recommend this book.

I have updated the 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map to include the LOST Encyclopedia


I purchased this book at Barnes and Noble, ST Cloud MN

Morning Meanderings… Wha…. It’s Not Morning Anymore?




To say the morning got away from me would not be exactly true…. I was present in the morning…. but I did something I rarely do.  I got up at 5:30, checked the stove, came in and went back to bed.  Woke at 7:30…. and…

remained in bed.

I was tired.

When I did get up – eventually… at about 9:30 (I kid you not!) I prepared for my day, and went grocery shopping.  I picked Chance up from his friend’s house, came home, and put everything away.  I started a load of laundry and seriously was just going to skip this mornings meandering.


somehow that just felt…



I read a few blogs…. and the ideas started to flow… I need to:

Find the Word Shaker book and get it posted…. sooner rather than later

write my review for if I stay and for the LOST encyclopedia

spend at least a couple of hours writing today

Finish reading The Kitchen Boy and This Book Is Overdue

Take an hour this afternoon and work out…. I don’t care how or where…. dance in the kitchen if I need to but DO IT.

finish the laundry

make supper

complete my book study for tomorrow night

organize the reading room… if not today – tomorrow.

Coffee Cup in hand – I am ready to go.  Whats on your Sunday “to do”?


Table Of Contents by Judy Gelman & Vicki Levy Krupp

From Breakfast with ANITA DIAMANT to dessert with JAMES PATTERSON.  Book lovers you will not want to miss out on this treasure of a book!

Fair warning:  I am going to GUSH about this book

I think most book lovers really enjoy books about books, about book clubs, about readers….. AND I also love books that are rich with food details… so vibrantly described that I swear I can smell their mouthwatering aroma right off the pages!   So how about this…. what if I told you there was a book about authors – probably some of your favs…. that not only share some of the frequently asked questions, what readers should know, but also …

a recipe.

It’s true – and it is all in this book.

Table Of Contents barely made it into my home before I was leafing through this books reading fun facts on some of my go to authors…  for instance, Laura Lippman (I’d Know You Anywhere)says

I’m a lifelong reader, and much has influenced me,  But I particularity like Maud hart Lovelace’s “Betsy-Tacy” books.  Which, not incidentally, all filled with delicious sounding food.

and… Sara Gruen (Water For Elephants) says

I wrote half of Water For Elephants in a walk-in-closet.  I had stalled about half way through writing the book and realized I was employing all my favorite writing avoidance techniques.  I painted the walls of our family room five times and spent way too much time on Ebay.  We didn’t have wireless connection at the time so I asked my husband to move my desk into our unwired closet and I went in each morning with my laptop, the dog, and a cup of tea.

And not only fun little clips like the ones above, but also the recipes – oh the recipes!  Interested in knowing Philippa Gregory’s recipe for Medieval Gingerbread?  Henry Ford’s Cantonese Barbeque Pork Buns?  Barbara Delinsky’s Crab and Corn Chowder?  Chris Cleave’s Post-Colonial Pie?

50 different authors in all share pages of information about their writing, their inspiration, their favorite authors, and a recipe worth trying.  I am in total book crush over this read.

I will leave you with this one recipe from an author who holds a special place in my heart, Adriana Trigiani:

Pia’s Crabbies

During the Christmas dinner scene in my novel Rococo, Bartolomeo’s Aunt Edith barely makes it through the front door before she demands a serving of these crab delights!

Credit for these savory snacks goes to my sister Pia, the ultimate party hostess.  Through the years she collects, invents, and reinvents recipes to please the crowds.  We can’t make enough crabbies when we have a party.  They are delish!  Enjoy!

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened

1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup soft pimento cheese spread (recipe for this is in the book if you do not want to use store bought)

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 garlic clove, minced

8 oz. lump crab meat

4 English muffins, split

ground paprika, for sprinkling

salt to taste

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1.  Use a fork to mash together the butter, mozzarella, and pimento cheese spread in a large bowl.  Add the mayonnaise, garlic, and crab meat and mix well.

2.  Toast the English muffin halves, if desired.  Spread mixture on the muffin halves and sprinkle with paprika.  Salt to taste.  Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top.  Place the muffins on a cookie sheet and broil until tops are golden brown – about one minute.  Cut each crabbie into quarters and serve.

I am not sharing my copy of this book.  Nope.  It is that good.  My only recommendation is that you run to your nearest book store or jump on your favorite online book site and order not only a book for yourself – but for that very bookish friend you have who will jump up for joy and SSSQQQQUUUEEEEE when he/she unwraps this treasure at their next birthday.

Amazon Rating

My 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include Table Of Contents

I received this book from the author, Judy Gelman

This review is part of the Weekend Reading meme by

Beth Fish Reads

Morning Meanderings… January re- cap

Good morning!

This year I started the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge and I have already been having a lot of fun with it.  The idea was to just read what you are planning to read anyway – and just see where in the world you are reading.  I offered prizes as you got to the end of the year if you were able to read in each of the 50 states, and bonus entries and prizes for those who read outside the states.  You can find all details here.

Each month, I would like to recap where we have been and how this challenge is going for us.  Here is where I am for the month of January 2011:

I have read 11 books so far in January, and listened to 6 audio.  On my Reading Map they have landed:


North Carolina

New York

Minnesota (2)




New Jersey







One unknown (Clementine – friend Of The Week!)

What I have found most exciting is that all of these places I have landed have been unintentional!  It is really for to see where they land on the map and how many areas I have already covered!

For those of you participating in the WHERE Are you reading challenge, please feel free to create a monthly wrap-up post and link it here if you would like.  I plan to do this each month.  For those of you who are not connected to this challenge, it is not too late to start your map and join in!  Challenge details here.

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And finally… I have come to really enjoy Alyce’s  (At Home With Books) Saturday Snapshot. It’s a fun weekly meme she has created of just random pictures that mean something  and anyone can join in.  I love seeing what she posts weekly and want to start participating when I can.  Saying that, here is my Saturday Snapshot:

My cousin Jarrod, me, and Brian - 150 mile bike ride

This is a picture of a bike ride I was participating in my with my cousin Jarrod and his friend Brian in 2009.  The winters in Minnesota are LONG and I anxiously am awaiting when I can bike again this year.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger is the sequel to Shiver.  **Warning:  Parts of this review may be spoilers to those who have not read Shiver.

Sam.  Sam is finally the boy he has always dreamed of being.  He is also able to now fully be with Grace and that is all he has ever wanted.  With spring approaching, the wolves will be changing too – those that can still change back into their human form and as the new leader, Sam is about to find out how much falls on his shoulders, especially with the two newer wolves, Cole and Victor.

Grace.  With Sam in her life what else could she wish for?  Turns out… plenty.  She could wish that her non-existent parents could keep their noses out of her life much as they have always done… but no, now they are all concerned about her relationship with Sam and getting all “parental” on her.  Seriously…. eye roll.  And there is this gnawing pain within her that seems to be getting worse.  Is she getting the flu?  Or could it be something much more serious.. something that has lain dormant for a long time?

Not often can I say a second book is even better than the first but in this case I think it needs to be said.  When I started Linger (errr…. last night) I was hoping that this great storyline that started with Shiver would be able to continue to hold my interest.  I wasn’t getting my hopes up too high, as honestly second books many times do not deliver the punch of the first.  I think especially when you are writing fantasy fiction is can be easy to lose the magic along the way…  Not so with Linger.

Within a few pages I was transported right back to Mercy Falls Minnesota, right where I left off… there was Sam, still head over heals in love Grace… and Grace still madly in love with Sam…. and this time there is so much more….



to lose than there was before….

it is so…


Honestly, I started this book last night (after having misplaced it for a little over a week it was found in the book room…. I know.. I know).  I read about twenty pages last night and then this morning picked it up… and finished it this afternoon.  I could not stop reading it and thank goodness it was my day off and no one is home…. and I read like I used to read on weekends as a teenager when life was all drama, and friends, and books.

Book Bliss people.  No lie.

Linger left me with answers to old questions from Shiver, and new questions as the startling and cliffhanger conclusion left me grasping for the third book…..

that is not here.

Forever release date: July 12

Maggie has created a fantasy world within these books that leave me anxious to know what will happen in July when Forever is released.  I could not be more excited to get my hands on this book!

Amazon Rating

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been updated to include Linger

I purchased this book from Amazon