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:

Joy from Joy’s Book Blog

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

In case you wonder why I offer a book giveaway for those who visit others who do this meme, it is because I LOVE community.  Book Blogging is all about sharing our love for books with one another.  By visiting some of the other participants – you never know where you may find that next awesome read – or a blog that becomes one that you want to read more often.  :D

This past week was a short week as I took off Thursday to go to the North Shore with a couple of friends.  I took a book along but have very little reading time and left Lap Top at home, which is unheard of… but I needed a break from the internet :D.  Here is what I accomplished this past week:

Good Bye Happy Potter song and VLOG winner (SO FUNNY AND SO GOOD!!!)

Fire Monks by Colleen Morton Busch

Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo (audio review)

The Best Book Club Picks Mid Way Through The Year

What Can I Bring? Cookbook by Anne Byrn and a chance to win a copy!

That was the week.  Now this week I am looking forward to the following:

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family’s yacht, where she’d been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.

First of all… what is the thumping noise?  I really want to know!  This book releases to the public on Tuesday!  Diving in today!





15-year-old Devon has been a good student and an outstanding soccer player, and her life is all about control and not messing up. But as the story (Viking, 2009) by Amy Efaw opens, Devon is found by the police lying on her family sofa, bloody after giving birth to a baby which was found in the dumpster by a passerby. The story moves through Devon’s arrest, her confusion about what is happening to her, and the preliminary court proceedings to determine whether she will be tried as an adult for attempted murder or in juvenile court. Rebecca Soler does a fine job of varying her voice to reflect Devon’s various states of consciousness and conscience. Most prominent is the flatness of Devon’s voice as she responds to the demands and interactions of those around her, such as her lawyer, who loses patience at Devon’s resistance to assist in her defense.

I have heard good things about this one!  I am really looking forward to starting it.





More the gourmand than the gourmet, former New York Times food critic Bruni takes us through his love/hate relationship with food and catalogues everyone who ever fed him and what they served, every diet he went on and his fraught—even dangerous—relationship with food in this excellent memoir. Bruni is a talented reader with an intelligent voice, a perfect pace, impish humor and a contagious passion for his topic. Dieters may crumble under the weight of so many lavish descriptions of luscious treats, but Bruni’s frank depiction of his eating disorders and his charismatic delivery make for memorable listening.

This is another memoir that sounds fun and interesting. 





I think that is where I will leave it for this week as my weekend is really full next weekend with a 150 mile bike ride and reading during that time will be slim. 

Now I want to know what you are reading!  Please leave your link to your “What Are You Reading” below where it says “click here”. 

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Oh and one more thing…. this is my 98th Monday What Are You Reading so in two weeks for the 100th we are going to up the fun…. mark your calendar 😀

What Can I Bring? Cookbook by Anne Byrn (And a Chance to win a copy of this book!)

Over 200 great-tasting, easy to tote dishes for parties, picnics, potlucks, barbeques, holiday dinners, and any get- togethers.

I purchased this book recently on a  trip to the North Shore.  Browsing through the books being offered in one of the many (MANY) touristy type gift shops… my eyes landed on this book.  It was pricey, (I can tell you I paid over double what I see it is on sale for at Amazon now…) but I really was drawn to this book.

I am that girl who has a stand by item or two that I bring to every outing we are invited too.  One is my baked bean dish.  You know the one that has baked beans, bacon, lima beans, hamburger…. yup that’s my “go to” dish to bring to outings… when I have time to mess with it.  When I do not have time, I make my fresh salsa and grab a bag or two of good tortilla chips. 

Nothing that I bring is “the dish”.  I am not the coveted person that has to attend because what I bring makes the party.  Nope, if not for my witty and fun personality, I may not be invited at all ( ha ha – I jest).  I think…. 😯

So now you see the need for this book to get into my hands.  Hard cover, square, appealing to the eye book with almost 500 pages of ideas…. I could not wait to read!

Author Anne Byrn is known to millions of fans through her Cake Mix Doctor, The Chocolate Cake Doctor, and Dinner Doctor cookbooks. She has had over 200 television appearances on Good Morning America, Roker on the Road, QVC, as well as local stations.

Ok… in my opinion, this book is a rave!  From fun down to earth parties like back yard potlucks and kids parties, to house-warming gifts, or something a little more formal this book covers it all from, packaging, transporting, serving…  LOVE IT.  Each page has a right side bar space to record who you made the recipe for, prep notes, what not to forget, special touches and if this is an item you should bring again.  It is a book that makes me want to go through and try everything just so I can make notes.  😀

So here are a few little items that caught my eye (there were many more…. but this is a sample)



French Toast Slices (to be used for bruschetta, or spreads)

Slice a loaf of French bread diagonally about 1/4 inch thick.  You should get two to three dozen slices depending on loaf size.  Place on baking sheet and lightly brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle bread lightly with kosher salt (if desired), or dust with Parmesan cheese before baking.  Bake at 400 until slices are crisp and browned – 15 to 18 minutes.  These will store in plastic bags for up to three days.

(I may make this tonight to go along with spaghetti)




Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1 large head of iceberg lettuce

 1 tablespoon vegie oil

1 pound ground chicken

3 med garlic coves, minced

1 cup chopped scallions (green part only from a bunch)

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

4 tsp. soy sauce

1 teaspoon Asian (dark) sesame oil

3/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts

Fresh cilantro (optional)

Use a small paring knife and cut the core out of lettuce.  Wash and dry on paper towels. 

Place the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Combine in the chicken, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook, stirring until the chicken is cooked through – 4 to 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Stir in the scallions, ginger, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and water chestnuts.  Cook this filling over medium low heat stirring until it bubbles and is heated through – 2 to 3 minutes.  Keep the filling warm if you are serving immediately. 

When ready to serve, carefully pull apart the head of lettuce to separate the leaves.  Pat the leaves dry with paper towels and pile them around the outer edge of a large platter.  There should be at least 12 large leaves.  Spoon chicken filling into the center of the platter and garnish with cilantro.  Serve at once.  To eat – spoon chicken mixture into lettuce leaf and wrap the lettuce around it and eat like a burrito. 

Ok scrap the spaghetti idea for tonight… I may try this one instead if I can find the Hoisin sauce.




Taco Ring

*you can prep this ahead of time and not bake until you arrive to whatever event you made it for…)

For Taco Ring:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 pounds ground lean turkey or lean beef

2 packages taco seasoning

1 cup water

2 packages refrigerator crescent rolls (reg or reduced fat)

For serving:

reduced fat sour cream

shredded iceberg lettuce

chopped tomatoes

shredded cheddar cheese


Pre heat over to 375.  Place the olive oil, if using, in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the turkey or beef and break up with a wooden spoon.  Cook, stirring, until cooked through – 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the taco seasoning and stir to mix.  Then add the water.  Increase heat to medium high and cook stirring until all liquid has nearly evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes.  Take off burner and set aside.

Unroll the crescent rolls; you will have 16 triangles of dough.  Place an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone about 14 to 16 inches, ona work surface.  Arrange the dough with the large side of the triangles facing the center of the sheet and the points hanging over the edge.  Leave a 3 – 4 inch empty space in the center.  Press dough together where the triangles meet to connect them.

Spoon the turkey beef mixture in a ring on top of the joined dough, leaving the center empty (you can put a bowl of sour cream there when serving).  Carefully pull all the points of the of the crescent rolls, twisting them together to seal over the filling.  Do not get too fussy about this as after the taco ring bakes, it looks gorgeous no matter whether the filling os completely covered by the rolls. 

Bake the taco ring until golden brown – 20 to 25 minutes.  Let it cool 3 to 4 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.  If you do not have a platter large enough, cur sturdy cardboard into a large enough piece and cover with foil.  Put bowl of sour cream in the middle and arrange the rest of toppings in pretty little bowls around the ring.

*Note – it is just as easy to make two rings as it is one.  If baking later, cover with plastic wrap and keep cool.

Ok – scratch everything I said above… I am making this tonight!  😀

These few recipes are barely scratching the surface of the recipes that caught my eye in this book…. main dishes, sides, appetizers, desserts, breads, soups, marinades…. and party planning.   I will get many years of use out of this new treasure in my home.


To win a copy of this book:

In my excitement over my new find – I am offering a copy of this book to be mailed to one lucky commenter between now and Thursday morning.  Open internationally – I will mail directly to you from Amazon.  *Simply leave in the comment section what your favorite item is to take along to a potluck or gathering type event. 

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

The 2011 WHERE ARe You Reading map has been updated to include What Can I Bring? Cookbook

I purchased this book in Grand Marias Minnesota… “Mini” Girls Weekend

This review is part of Weekend Cooking – the awesome weekend meme

hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Morning Meanderings… I Am Back!!!! And stuff is going on!


Good morning! 

*BIG sip out of COFFEE CUP*

I came back from the North Shore yesterday evening.  Two of my friends, Heidi and Sara, and I went to hang out at the cabin for a couple of days and do a little exploring around the small towns of Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Beaver Bay, Schroeder, Little Marais, and then the big town of Grand Marais. 

Me sitting on the rocks looking over Lake Superior



Tettegouche state park

It was a lot of fun just checking out the little shops…. in one I bought blueberry salsa (epic…. EPIC fail, so nasty!) and in another I bought a Mediterranean dip that made up for the grossness of the blueberry salsa.  I also – of course bought a couple of books while visiting the stores… one was:

I dove into this baby right away and plan to continue to do so today.  I may even have a review up today on it…. 

and I also picked up Secrets To Longevity… hundreds of ways to live to be 100:

Now before you fall off your chair laughing – its just a book of tips like – what spices and herbs relieve stress, what to eat to keep your memory strong, orange juice bulks up your bones….  anyway… I find this stuff interesting 😀


There was also a book sale at the Silver Bay Library which I try to attend every year.  But that -is a different post.  Lets just say…. it was successful.  😀


Now that I am back home I am going to spend a little time catching up on emails this morning ,write a review, shampoo my carpets at some point here… roller blade, and maybe take in a movie…. I have not decided yet. 

What are you doing with your Sunday?

The Best Book Club Picks Mid Way Through 2011

Top Book Club Books in June 2011

The following are the most popular book club books during June based on votes from readers and leaders of more than 30,000 book clubs registered at

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue
3. Cutting for Stone: A Novel by Abraham Verghese
4. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
6. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel by Jamie Ford
7. The Paris Wife: A Novel by Paula McLain
8. Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave
9. Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen
10. Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

Top two risers:

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (New at #24)
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (New at #30)

[Many thanks to!]

I have read on my own #1 and #5.  With my book club I have read:  #2, #3, #6, #8, and #9.

How about you?  Have you or your book group read any of these books?  Do you have a favorite out of this group?

Morning Meanderings… A Small Road Trip

Good morning! 

Yesterday I worked, changed oil in the jeep and the Durango… oh wait, let me clarify… I didn’t do it… I went and had the oil changed.  😀   Then picked up a few supplies because…

I am road tripping to the cabin with a couple of friends today after work.  SSQQUUEEEE!!!

This weekend up on the North Shore is Beaver Bay Days.  It is kind of an annual event that I grab a few friends and attend.  It is one of those small town things that are kind of dorky fun.  Silver Bay and Beaver Bay Minnesota have street events, mining tours, street venders, food,  and street dances.  Oh and did I mention that Saturday Silver Bay has its Friends Of The Library books sale?  Oh yeah…. I am there 😀

We are coming back Saturday afternoon and I am not taking Lap Top.  (Shhh….. don’t tell him, its rare that I leave him behind…. :shh:  )   A little mini break 😀 

I am thinking I will try to get my friends to sing this while we drive the 3 1/2 hours….

That’s not too much to ask right? 

Have an awesome rest of your week!

Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo

Four year old Colton Burpo undergoes an emergency surgery that almost takes his life.  As his parents Todd and Sonja pray for a miracle to save their son… a miracle happens, and Colton survives. 

In the months that follow, Colton starts to talk to his parents about things he could not have possibly known, such as while he was being operated on, he was able to describe where his mom and dad both were and what they were doing, even though neither of them were int he room with him.  At first skeptical, Colton’s father, who is a Pastor, lets these conversations run their course.  Soon Colton is describing Jesus in ways that are beyond his years and Todd knows in not part of the Sunday School curriculum.  He describes Heaven in ways that match up with the Bible, again in ways that a four-year-old would not know.  

Colton Burpo, now age 11, is described as a normal kid who fights with his siblings .

Colton himself picked out the title of this book, says Todd Burpo.  We were sitting around trying to decided on a title when we asked Colton what he hoped people who read this book learned.  Without hesitation, Colton responded, “That Heaven Is For Real.”

I first heard of this book through the buzz of my book club.  When this group of amazing readers talk books… I listen. The audio is a short 4 cd’s but in those 4 cd’s an amazing story is told of a little boy and his experience when he almost died. 

Spoken in the pure and bold way of a child, Colton’s dad retells the story of his son’s time in Heaven.  Todd Burpo, being a Pastor, knew that this book would bring up questions as well as its share of doubting Thomas’s.  He two had questioned his son but knowing what was going on when his father was in another part of the hospital and describing seeing him was just the start of the unexplainable things that Colton knew. 

In April 2011, he book was the number one best selling book on USA todays best selling book list, the fifth week dropping to number two behind Water For Elephants.  People could not get enough of the story.

Heaven Is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent

I enjoyed this quick audio listen.  If anything I wish it would have been longer, more in detail – but I can not put my finger on what could have been added to the book.  It is a book that will make you think.  Colton’s story is an amazing one, and one I will not soon forget. 

Goodreads Review

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading map has been update to include Heaven Is For Real

I purchased this audio from

Morning Meanderings… The Funniest Things Can Happen On Twitter

Good morning!  Wednesday already! 

A few days ago, Sunday I think, I had worked on cleaning the house all day, ran a few errands, made dinner… and eventually made it downstairs to curl up in my favorite chair. 

I logged on to my laptop… opened up Tweet Deck and tweeted this:


@bookjourney:  Ahhhh… finally… in my favorite chair with my favorite blanky and a little down time between lap top and TV. Anything good on?



*a minute later cell phone is ringing upstairs*  I sign and tweet:



@bookjourney:  Things that annoy… downstairs in fav chair, cozy blanket, and lap top and cell phone is ringing upstairs….



As I am preparing to go upstairs to check it…. I see this message on twitter:



@missremmersreviews:   that’s just me. Ignore it. haha



I respond…



@bookjourney:  wha?



@missremmersreviews:  I texted. Whoops.



@missremmersreviews:  Bad timing. LOL




(So if you are following this craziness… I am complaining that I am all cozy downstairs in my chair with my blanket when the cell phone rings upstairs, only to find out that reagan (Miss Remmers Reviews) – who is also on twitter at this same time is the one who is calling me.  😛



Then another voice chips in:


@bonjourcass:  @MissRemmers @bookjourney hahahaha





Ok.. that was pretty funny.  Turns out Reagan was texting me to complain that my post with all the audio book suggestions had added greatly to her TBR.  😀

Ahhhhh…. my work as a book blogger is now complete.  😀

Have an awesome day…. I have no workout to report as instead I came home yesterday, wrote a bit, and mowed my lawn which is a three-hour audio fest.  (The audio?  One Tuesday Morning – SO GOOD!)