Monthly Archives: June 2011

Morning Meanderings… Once Upon A Book

Good morning!  Quite the lovely weather in Minnesota currently and hopefully staying that way through the weekend.  I am in charge of special events where I work and this Saturday is our annual picnic, approximately 300 people with children and we are using a new camp for this event so I do have a wee bit of anxiety that it all goes off without a hitch 😛

This morning I was taking a quick read through my morning Shelf Awareness email and came across a small article about The Grey Zone by Daphna Edwards Ziman.  I seen this book at the Book Blogger Convention in May and was not overly drawn to it.  YET – during the Speed Dating session of BBC, this was a session where bloggers and authors met for 10 minutes to let the author discuss their book and the bloggers to ask questions and then you would get a new author to chat with.  BRILLIANT IDEA.  But I digress….

Daphne was at our table with her book, The Grey Zone which is about a 6 year old child, Kelly,  who witnessed her other murdered and her father wrongfully accused.  Through foster homes she is neglected, abused, and involved in human trafficing….

As I sat and talked with Daphne, still not sure I wanted to read this, we started connecting on child endangerment.  When I told her about my working with street kids in Honduras, we had hit a connection.  Suddenly – we were both sharing experiences at once and Daphne told me how she was worked to ensure child protection in foster care… wow. 

Suddenly Daphne’s book took on a whole new meaning… and now that I knew the passion behind the book.  I wanted to read it.

I have not read the book yet, but I do have it with my BEA books, given to me by Daphne. 

Daphne (Left) as pictured in Shelf Awareness today


Daphne and I at The Book Blogger Convention


Have you ever had a book that you almost passed on but then for whatever reason, you found yourself drawn to it later, either by a friend, review, hearing the author…. I would love to hear your stories!  😀

Miss Timmins’ School For Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy

1974.  After a scandal that disgraced her family, Charulata Apte, almost twenty-one, travels to Miss Timmins’ School For Girls in Panchgani.  While teaching Shakespeare to the privileged Indian girls, where she is drawn to the charismatic fellow teacher Moira who teaches her what freedom really can be like.

When one night a body is found near the school, fingers are pointing at Charu.  Three of the students take on the task of trying to solve the murder to show the true innocence of their teacher.

Panchgani is nestled at middle of five hills in the Sahyādri mountain ranges

There is a setting here that appealed to me….  a remote area of India (one honestly, I had never heard of before), a young teacher trying to start over and make meaning of her life, and a murder that sets the stage for something more.

What I appreciated about the book was how author Nayana Currimbhoy brought to me a main character in Charu who did not like herself much.  She has a past she has tried to leave behind.  Her shyness and low self-esteem are heart breaking, yet enter Moira, who breathes life into this painful shell of a girl. 

It is after the murder that you really start to see Charu come into herself. 

The murder wasnt the attention grabber of the book I was thinking it would be.  If you read this for yourself you will find it to be more of a “plot builder.”  While I like the big “Holy cow!  What just happened???”. moments in books… this fit with the flow of the book.

I have said before that I struggle with books with loads of characters and this book does have many.  I personally prefer books where I get to know a handful of characters well, then many characters sort of, and I tend to spend time thinking of who they are, and backtracking in the book to see if they are they the one that _____________. 

In the end, while an interesting read, it was over stuffed with information that made me wonder if it would not have been better served as a two or three book series to give the reader a chance to really ease into a book that has great potential of hitting a home run.

I received this book as part of a TLC Book Tour


Morning Meanderings… When life gives you lemons, get a pedicure and half a mani ;)

Good morning!  A little short on time this morning so I will get right to the point 😛

Yesterday I had my third doctor appointment for my hand.  I was again hopeful for a smaller cast…

and I was again denied.

In fact I found out yesterday that while I am healing well (yay super powers!!!) I do have to wear this cast for another 4 weeks.

Stupid, faulty, super powers.  😯


Not one to remain down in spirits (that really is a downer…) I went into our local nail shop.  The guy asked me how can I help you and I responded, “I would like a pedicure and half a manicure.”

When he looked at me I held up my hands.

So that is what I did. 

I snuch a pick of my hand when the doctor removed my old cast yesterday

I snuck a pick of my hand when the doctor removed my old cast yesterday

Manicure on my right hand!



...and manicure on my thumb!


Have an AWESOME day!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  D  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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 telling me how many you visited.  **You do not have to have a blog to participate! You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

Last weeks winner:

Lisa’s World Of Books

WOO HOO!!!!  Please choose an item out of the Reading Cafe Grab Shelves  and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!

**Updates have been made to the Reading Cafe Grab shelves!

I had a strong review week, mainly because I did not write posts on anything last week and have a lot of catching up to do.  I still have posts to write!  😀 

Here is what last week looked like:

The Zookeepers wife by Diane Ackerman ( a non fiction read that will blow you away!)

Forever by Maggie Steifvater – oh yes…. that’s all I can say right now 😀


Bossypants by Tina Fey – audio) Oh wow… I laughed so hard!  😛


A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve (ughhhh…. we may have a new character to add to the all time worst characters list…)


E Readers – Yay or Nay?  (Because I love sparking conversations!)


The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (our June book club read)

Witches Of East End by Melissa De La Cruz ( A BEA pick up on cover love but did not hit a home run with me)


Literary Blog Hop – let me know on the link provided here what book you are wishing for currently and be entered to win one of two gift cards!


Yup.  Told you it was a good week.  😀

As for whats up this week – here is the plan:

With the plague running rampant in London in 1797, Mary’s parents and sister are soon counted among the dead. Left alone and penniless, the eight-year-old is taken in by a gang of orphans and learns survival skills. However, when their leader is killed, Mary decides to try her luck elsewhere. She strips the dead body, cuts her hair, renames herself Jack Faber, and is soon employed as a ship’s boy on the HMS Dolphin. When the vessel sees its first skirmish with a pirate ship, her bravery saves her friend Jaimy and earns her the nickname “Bloody Jack.”

Ok – ok… I have heard enough raves about these audio through the blogs I frequent to have to try them for myself.  I started this one today.

When Uncle Gary mysteriously disappears, all he leaves behind is a mountain of sawdust and a nightstand that his eleven-year-old nephew, Billy, inherits. When Billy is awakened at night by noises from inside the nightstand, he takes a closer look and discovers a hidden panel that opens to an antique maze of wooden corridors. He and his sister Sophie believe that Uncle Gary is hiding somewhere in the nightstand. As Billy, Sophie, and their two friends, Chris and Maggie, begin to explore the ancient hallways they discover far more than they expect. Billy must make a terrifying choice: let the police handle things the conventional way, or escape to the nightstand and try one last time to find Uncle Gary before it’s too late.

Oh come on, doesn’t this sound fun?  😀 

Long before selling secondhand belongings on Ebay and Craigslist was the rage, a preteen Chitoka Webb sold what others saw as junk to the residents of her neighborhood and made a profit. At the age of thirteen, she talked her way into a job as the youngest checker at a local grocery store. Without a college degree, through tenacity, grit, and a healthy dose of faith in herself, Chitoka became the owner of several businesses before the age of thirty.

In Something Inside of Me, Chitoka Webb shares her poignant, funny, and inspiring life story, from her humble beginnings in the Nashville housing projects to her rise as the CEO of several companies. Through stories of the many struggles she faced, from poverty to racism to the loss of her vision, Chitoka demonstrates the amazing human ability to triumph over extreme adversity through willpower, faith, and a constant love for oneself.

I met this lovely lady at BEA this year and her story was one I wanted to know more about!

Introducing James Bond: charming, sophisticated, handsome, chillingly ruthless, and licensed to kill. This, the first of Ian Fleming’s tales of Secret Agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called “Le Chiffre”—by ruining him at the baccarat table, forcing his Soviet spymasters to “retire” him. It seems that Lady Luck has sided with 007 when Le Chiffre hits a losing streak. But some people just refuse to play by the rules, and Bond’s attraction to a beautiful female agent leads him to disaster—and to an unexpected savior.

Mmmmm hmmmm, wondering where this came from?  It is part of The Shaken Not Stirred party that I won an audio book to!  Twitter party is Sunday June 26th under the hashtag #shakennotstirred at 9:30 pm EST followed by the watching of Casino Royale at 10 pm.  Should be interesting… I have never watched a 007 movie in my life 😀

The first in a projected trilogy about the lives of three Irish sisters, Born in Fire gets the series off to a fine start, telling the story of talented glass-artist Maggie Concannon’s contentious relationship with Dublin gallery owner Rogan Sweeney. Country-dwelling Maggie is otherworldly, prickly and outspoken, while Rogan is an urban sophisticate; nevertheless, the attraction that springs up between this unlikely pair is both believable and compelling, thanks to Roberts’s (Private Scandals) skillful character development.

Ok – do not laugh at me!!!  Ok… laugh a little 😛  Here is my story – for some reason I have wanted to read this trilogy forever.  Really probably 10 years – oddly enough, I had books 2 and 3 and never picked up the first one.  I found this on and thought lets see where this goes…

Ok – before you say “holy heavy schedule batman”, know that three of these are audio and they are done…. when they are done 😀

A little update on my injury from a couple of weeks ago.  I had a doctor’s appointment this past Tuesday and I was so sure I was going to get a smaller easy to function with (what I mean is easier to Blog but don’t tell my doctor) cast.  Instead, after the x-rays I was given a bigger cast… one that now covers my left hand fingers.  GAH.    You may wonder how I am still typing… totally right-handed peck peck pecks and I use my left thumb for capitals.  Yes…. it is a lot of work…. but I really like to write these posts 😀 

Anyway – my point of sharing all this is that I really want to get around and comment, please know that…  it just takes me longer to do so and I am not as quick and my hand tires so know that once I am “cast free” things will return to my nosing around your posts more :razz:.  I have a doctor’s appointment again Monday afternoon so I am hopeful for a change although he did tell me it could be 6 weeks.  😦

Please add your link to your What Are you Reading post below where it says “click here” so others (hopefully me too!) can stop in and see your reading happenings 😀

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Witches Of East End by Melissa De La Cruz

Freya and Ingrid Beauchamp.  Sisters.  Freya looks between 19 and 24 years of age, and Ingrid between 28 – 33.  Truth be known… the lovely Freya and the librarian Ingrid are much much older….

it really is had to keep track of the years when you are a witch.

Along with their mother Joanna, the three women live in North Hampton off the tip of Long Island.  Their life is pretty hum drum day in and day out as long ago (think Salem witch trials) they were banned from using their magic.

Joanne has the power to reverse death and heal serious injuries.  Ingrid can predict the future and weave knots that can solve infidelity and infertility.  Freya, the wild child, can create potions that can cure any heartache. 

Then one day Freya sees an opportunity to help out a friend… and really, what’s a little magic about friends?  The magic done and successful and seemingly no repercussions, she does it again.  Soon Ingrid and Joanne catch the fever and start using their abilities to help the locals as well and for a while, things are wonderful!

Then things start to happen…. people are becoming sick, the water has a sticky black substance to it, people are missing and some are dying…. suddenly everyone is looking and pointing the finger at the Beuchamp’s.  Yet Joanne, Ingrid, and Freya know there is a darker force at hand and while trying to clear their name they are also looking closely at a dark presence that they have encountered before…

The popular Blue Blood series is also by this author

The popular Blue Blood series is also by this author

I picked this book up ay BEA and I was hooked on the book cover…. what could it mean?  Who is the girl?  I had not read Melissa De La Cruz before but I wanted to give her a try.  I dabble a little in  paranormal reads and many YA so why not?

At first I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it.  I did not like Freya’s looseness which was almost from the beginning and I stumbled through the first 50 pages not feeling committed to the story at all.  And then, it started to get interesting… the parts about Ingrid held me to the book (she was nice AND worked with books – what’s not to love?) and while Ingrid leveled the playing field, Freya grew on me (a little).  Her own infidelity bothered me (especially since her own sister has powers to stop it).

This is a book I had really expected to love and, well… I didn’t.   Some of the dialogue seemed choppy and story lines sprouted every which way and some were followed through and some I wondered what happened to…   while I was interested enough in the story to see where it was going, and some parts of the book were awesome good, in the end it was an ok read and gave me a few hours of relaxing in the sun on my deck.

Fair warning – this is book 1, so if you dive in, know it is more than a one read story 😀

Amazon Rating

Good Reads

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map now includes Witches Of East End

I received this book in May at BEA in New York

Morning …er Afternoon Meanderings… Bookstores, and Authors – these are a few of my favorite things

Good morning errrr… afternoon! 

I have had a pretty nice end to my week.  I had a day off on Friday (woo hoo – seriously woo hoo!!!) a nice package arrived, and a successful road trip yesterday.

Last week I read and reviewed Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner.  I had met Talia in New York this year and enjoyed talking with her.  When I wrote my review I mentioned that I was interested in hearing that Talia had written two other books that I would like to read some day.  Soon after, Talia contacted me saying she would be delighted to send me the other two books.  (*someone pinch me – these book happenings often feel like a dream!*)  Of course I said I would love that.  😀

On Friday, Talia’s package arrived:


And then yesterday I went to my closest Barnes and Noble in St Cloud, Minnesota to see the NOOK representatives and they were SO NICE!  The lady (I wish I would have caught her name) was so kind to me!  I know very little about the powers of my NOOK and she walked me through some of the magic of the NOOK and upgraded my NOOK and hooked me up with a free book.  I left feeling very satisfied with the help I was given.

Did I leave empty-handed?

Of course not…. that has never happened.  😛

There it is…. a great weekend that really makes me appreciate the book relations in my life 😀



Literary Blog Hop June 25-29

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop is hosted by Leeswammes’s Blog.  Follow the link I provided here to sign up for many fun literary giveaways from now through Wednesday.  

I am offering here an international chance to win one of 2 $10 Amazon gift cards!  *I will email the gift cards to the winners so as long as you have access to an Amazon you are good to go!   Simply leave me a comment here telling me what book you wish you currently had in your possession and why.  That’s it!  😀  Party on fellow book lovers 😛

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch



Randy Pausch was young, an inspiration, hard-working, family man.  He was a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon… and he had terminal cancer.

When asked to give a lecture about life and act like it is your last lecture… Randy did not have to pretend.  He knew very well this would be his last lecture.  Yet instead of lecturing about dying, he chose to talk about LIVING.  Randy’s lecture included dreams from his childhood, over coming obstacles, not taking no for an answer when you really want something, enabling others to dream, and seizing each moment as none of us know which will be our last. 

With humor, brutal honesty, and a sprinkle of intelligence, Randy pours his heart into a lecture he hopes will be a life lesson for his small children who would grown up without him, but not without what he stood for and believed in.  Randy’s lecture, is a love letter to his family – and a message of hope and strength to the world.


What I love about my book club, response #2049.  😛  I jest, but you all know I love my book club.  Smart, incredible women who gather once a month to talk on one of  my favorite subjects…. books. 

In May, this was the book that was chosen for our June read.  What I love about this is that a few years ago… this group of

Part of the Bookies Book Club (14 of us total)

women would not have touched this book.  It would have never won the vote.  Why?  One its non fiction and we do not do a whole lot of that as a group.  Two, it is a pretty serious and the potential to be a sad read and my book club – at least a few years back, would have avoided that for something lighter.

By review time – I did not have this book read.  Since they picked it I had been to New York for a week for BEA, two large bike rides on the weekends, and a nasty injury that threw me off my game.  I also could not find it in my library and really did not want to order it, not knowing much about it.  When it did come in for me at the library it was in audio and it was also the day of the review. 

There is always food at Book Club :)

There is always food at Book Club 🙂

Their discussion… made me want to read it all the more.

So finally – after a crazy trip to Chicago, I had time to tune in and catch up and here is what I thought of The Last Lecture.

My thoughts…

Randy Pausch has a gift of words.  I entered into this read knowing very little about Randy, or this lecture which apparently is now quite famous.  What I learned quickly is that Randy did not lack for self-esteem.  He saw what he wanted and went after it.  End of story.  He speaks of this in The Last lecture as “brick walls”, advising that when we come up against a brick wall we are to keep on trying to get over it, be it a personal opportunity, a job deeply wanted, or, as in Randy’s case – a death sentence.Randy and his three children

Yes, I can see where Randy may come off as arrogant, but as I ended this reading…. I didn’t think so.  It’s probably a fine line between arrogance and drive and Randy rode it right down the middle.  Where most of us would probably wilt under the weight of Randy’s diagnosis, Randy seemed to be energized.  In the 18 months from diagnosis to passing, Randy used this time to prepare his family for life without him, including moving the family to a home closer to his wife Jai’s family so she would have help with the kids after he was gone. 

This book was a firm reminder that life is what we make of it, we choose our responses in every situation… Randy lived life to the fullest as long as he was able.  With a quick wit and sharp mind he reminds us to never give up on our dreams, seize the moments, overcome all obstacles. 

I laughed a little, I cried a little and am glad to now know a little of who Randy was.


Pausch died from pancreatic cancer at his family’s home in Chesapeake, Virginia on July 25, 2008, at the age of 47. He is survived by his wife, Jai, and their three children, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe

Good Reads Review

I have updated the 2011 WHERE Are You Reading to include The Last Lecture


Borrowed from my local Library

Morning Meanderings…Chicago Recap and A Road Trip

Good Morning!  😀

I fully expected to be on the road by now, sNOOKie and I are road tripping to Barnes and Noble this morning.  Sadly, this really is a road trip as B & N is in St Cloud, about an hour away from me.  I am hoping to get there early enough to talk with the NOOK representative and learn more about my NOOK….

then I just want to browse…  😀

Last week I went to Chicago with three of my friends for a much longer (MUCH LONGER – 10 hours) road trip.  It was a lot of fun and even though the arm cast was a hindrance, I am so glad I went. 

For Alyce’s Saturday Snapshot, I bring these pics from the trip:  (go to the snapshot link and join in the fun!)

Pirates aboard the ship tour we took on the WINDY

Pirates aboard the ship tour we took on the WINDY

Left clockwise:  Cindy, me, Sara, and Heidi, Gino's Pizza - Chicago

Left clockwise: Cindy, me, Sara, and Heidi, Gino's Pizza - Chicago



Having fun on the Navy Pier

Having fun on the Navy Pier

We dared our Double Decker Tour Bus Guide to touch the stop light :)

We dared our Double Decker Tour Bus Guide to touch the stop light 🙂

Beautiful buildings in Chicago

On the Sears building glass protruding whatchamacallit

On the Sears building glass protruding whatchamacallit

Wisconsin Dells stop on the way home... Ripleys believe it or not. say hello to my new creepy friend!


Road trip 🙂

Ok – I am out.  Have an awesome day!  😀

E Reader – YAY or NAY?

Two years ago you would not have caught me with an e reader. 

No way.

No how.

Not a chance.

I am from the school of a book is a book.  I want to touch it.  Smell it.  Feel its weight in my hand.  Enjoy how it looks on my shelf…. or in a stack… or haphazardly tossed on the coffee table, the couch or the lawn chair.  A book… is not only a book… it is home decor… it is art with reading glasses on top… or perhaps a coffee cup.  A book tells you something about the owner…. they love adventure…. facts… fantasy…. knowing more about whatever….. 

One year ago I was curious… but under the radar curious. 

I still teased the one girl in my book club who had a Kindle.  I gave her all the reasons listed above about the love of books.  BOOKS.  Not electronics.  Yet…. I inquired at the gym when I would see people on the tread mills or ellipticals with the e reader while I had one hand holding open my book. 

Did they like it?  Oh yes was the consistent answer.

I stared reading up on them on-line, on blogs… pros/cons….. and then….

which one?

Obviously there was Kindle…. and then Nook… and a Sony Reader…. 

I made lists of what features I liked and in the end….

I asked for a NOOK for Christmas, and received the NOOK Color (as my hubby the over achiever thought that would be better even though I still have had no use really for the color…)

My final decision on wanting an e reader was mainly for travel.  For years I had packed 6 – 10 books in my carry on for a vacation, lugging them both ways and usually bringing a few more home than what I left with.  Heavy, bulky….. you know….

So when the NOOK arrived prettily under the tree I was quick to set it up….but not so quick to read on it.  The draw of my shelves filled with books always won out over the reader.


BEA – New York, the end of May.  I was going to go E Reader or bust.  I allowed myself one real book for the trip…. and sNOOKie (Wha…. you don’t name your toys?)  sNOOKie was loaded with a few book choices to draw me too it.  And on the plane, after starting with the old stand by book…. I put it down and read Delirium in its entirety on the NOOK.


On the plane I loved that I could set it on the tray table and read it without holding it open.  I thought I would miss that but soon discovered once into the story I was thrilled not to have to hold the book.  It saved my place without a book mark.  It was light weight and east to travel with.  It scored high applause from me.

Now that I am in an arm cast… I love that I do not have to fight to hold a book open.  LOVE IT.

Tomorrow I am road tripping to St Cloud to chat with the NOOK representative.  There is a lot I still need to learn about the NOOK that I have not tried yet.  I want to know more about the online access (have hardly used that).  I still don’t get the color purpose although my friend Angie said it is fantastic for kids books and the pictures move. 

Will I ever go 100% E Reader?  No.  My books are all I stated above and I need to be surrounded by them.  Some people have blankets or nicknacks…. I have books.  Tomato, tomahto….


My questions to you:

1.  Have you gone E Reader yet?  Why or why not?

2.  What E Reader would you choose (or have you chosen) and why?

3.  What ways would you primarily find an E Reader useful in your lifestyle?