Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Descendants (Movie Review)


Matt King is a lawyer based in Honolulu and the sole trustee of a family trust of 25,000 acres of pristine land on island of Kauai that has been handed down from generation to generation.  The trust will expire in seven years so the KIng family has been taking offers in from developers.  Just before the family is about to endorse the deal, Matt’s wife, Elizabeth, is in a jet ski accident that leaves her in a coma.

Matt and Elizabeth have two daughters, 10-year-old Scottie and the rebellious 17-year-old Alex.  Matt has been a “back up” parent throughout the girls lives and now he is thrust into the driver’s seat as things are not looking good for Elizabeth. 

When Matt is told that Elizabeth will not be waking up from her coma he has to tell his daughters, and an angry Alex blurts out that Elizabeth has been having an affair.  Matt confronts close family friends who confirm this.

As Matt tries to make sense of all that is happening he is left to deal with his daughters who are hurt and feel betrayed, his own family that is waiting for Matt to get the papers in order to sell the land, his wife’s family who think if Matt had been a better husband Elizabeth would not have been such a  thrill seeker and of course, now this mystery man who has been seeing his wife.


I received a preview screening of this movie from Fox and after seeing it was up for awards this year, I was curious about it. 

Starring George Clooney as Matt, there is a lot going on in this movie.  With beautiful scenes of Hawaii, this is a story of love, and family, and hard decisions.  While on the outside Matt’s life looks like the life to have, this whole movie is about a closer look… a painfully close look into a family’s life.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Matt King:

My friends on the mainland think just because I leave in Hawaii, I live in paradise, like a permanent vacation. We’re all just out here, sipping Mai Tais, shaking our hips, catching waves. Are they insane? Do they think we are immune to life? How can they possibly think our families are less screwed up, our cancers less fatal, our heartache less painful?


In the end, The Descendants is not a high action movie like I am normally drawn to, instead this is an emotional drama that will leave you once again in wonder of what the human heart can withstand.


It is Bloggiesta weekend and as promised…. I was going to have giveaways!  I have a bonus copy of this screening to give away (full movie!) Just leave a comment here and I will enter you into the drawing.  Using I will choose a winner on Tuesday morning.

Morning Meanderings… My VERY OWN Book Fairy!!!! + Giveaway!

Good morning!  *yawn*  How we all doing today?  I missed the afternoon and evening of Bloggiesta yesterday as I was trying to get some errands done, then came home, changed and we had dinner with friends and then Hunger Games (yes, a second time!) and home around 11 pm.  Then…. I slept a little later than usual but I am here now and I have exciting things happening here.  😀

About a month ago I was contacted about the book club I am in by a publishing company.  They had read my Making Of A Book Club post and were bouncing ideas off me for a YA on line book club.  I was happy to help as Sheila + talking books = Happy Sheila.  😀

We had some conversations back and forth where we discussed ideas, promoting, etc… and in the end she offered me some books as a thank you.  I chose three from her list but she added to it and my very first mystery box of books arrived yesterday on my door step:


and in this group would be the very first April on Line Book Club pick:

Are you just LOVING that cover?  I am!!!  SO more on this hopefully going into this next week… I will give you info on the book club, the who, the what, the when…. I am just waiting on an email first to make sure they are ready to launch!



AND in honor of Bloggiesta happening right now this weekend (info below) I would love you to tell me which of these gorgeous books to read first and then I will read it and send it to one lucky winner.  Yes, you pick the book for the picture above, I read, then send to you. 


This year Bloggiesta is being hosted by It’s All About Books and There’s A Book, and you can see all the mini challenges here – and there are giveaways!  :D

Here is my “work in progress tasks for the weekend” :  (which I will cross off when I complete them):

1.  A new blog header

2.  New blog widget

3.  prep posts for upcoming reviews

4.  Write posts for movie/book reviews that I have completed  (five written and drafted!)

5.  Participate in mini challenges  (three done!)

6.  Clean up/update side bars

7.  Send out author chat questions to 3 authors

8.  Prep a blog survey to use in April

9.  Draft some fun discussion posts (one drafted… two more ideas formed….)

Happy Bloggiesta!!!  Don’t forget my mini challenge this weekend with gift card giveaways 😀 

Morning Meanderings… Bloggiesta KICK OFF!!!!

Good morning!  Happy Bloggiesta!!! Doesn’t that make you just think of great things like nachos and taco’s and enchiladas…. hmmmmm.. maybe it is too early to think of those things.

Bloggiesta is an event that was started by Natasha from Maw Books in 2009.  It was designed as a time that we as bloggers can learn more about our blogs, how to make them look appealing, how to drive traffic, HTML, side bar links, post writing,social networking, embedding pictures and video, search engines, how does your blog rate… and more!

Bloggiesta holds a special place in my heart as it was June 2009 when I started blogging and well… I knew nothing…. NOTHING about blogging.  A week after I started book blogging, the first Bloggiesta was happening and I jumped at the chance to participate.  Bloggiesta really saved me.  I signed and participated in every mini challenge.  I learned so much that weekend, and from the start of Bloggiesta to the end, my blog looked completely different. I was thrilled.  😛

Now here we are in 2012 and I am so excited to not only be participating in Bloggiesta, but I am also a Mini Challenge host.  This year Bloggiesta is being hosted by It’s All About Books and There’s A Book, and you can see all the mini challenges here – and there are giveaways!  😀

For the kick off, I am posting my weekend to do list :  (which I will cross off when I complete them):

1.  A new blog header

2.  New blog widget

3.  prep posts for upcoming reviews

4.  Write posts for movie/book reviews that I have completed  (as of noon on Friday three written and drafted!)

5.  Participate in mini challenges  (two started)

6.  Clean up/update side bars

7.  Send out author chat questions to 3 authors

8.  Prep a blog survey to use in April

9.  Draft some fun discussion posts (as of noon on Friday one drafted… two more ideas formed….)

Hope to see you on the blogosphere this weekend – and stay tune, not only am I offering the giveaway involved with the mini challenge, but I also am planning giveaways all weekend long as part of the Bloggiesta Fiesta!!!  OLE!!!  Find me on Twitter at:  bookjourney

Are you participating?  Let me know and I will be sure to stop by and cheer you on!  😀

Bloggiesta Mini Challenge!!!! May The Odds Be Forever In Your Favor!!! March 30 – April1

How to Build Readers for your Blog through Commenting


Hi Bloggiesta people!!!!  Lets give it up for all the hard working behind the scenes people making Bloggiesta possible this year!  WOOT!  WOOT!

My mini challenge here is about building a reader base and seriously, don’t we all want that?  I mean there is one thing I see book bloggers say all the time, they do like comments.  It has even been said that comments are the heart of book blogging…

we do like to discuss books don’t we?  😛

So while my mini challenge is not going to be technical about CSS, or about repairing broken links, or anything awesome like that… you need to realize established blogger or just starting out… comments are the heartbeat of the blogger, and sitting around waiting for them is not that way to build up your readers.

When I started blogging in June of 2009, I seriously did not have a clue as to what I was doing.  I knew I liked to write, and I knew I got excited when someone commented on something I wrote (shoot, I still get excited when people comment!)  I felt I could write a good review, I just had to figure out how to get people to find me and read them.  I was confident enough to believe if I could get people to come and check out my blog, they may find something they like and come back again… and maybe… again.  😀

To make this happen I started making it a point to go out and visit and comment on blogs.  I set a goal of at least twenty a day.  I found them through links provided by blogs I was already reading, and by people who commented on my blog.  I discovered quickly that when I went out and provided a real comment on a blog (Not a “I’m just hopping through”, “Nice post!”, or a “come and visit me too!”) often, these bloggers would come and check out my blog in return.

My commenting on other blogs provided a way for me to build my own reader base.  It’s true.

So here are a few do’s and dont’s  I would ask you to consider for commenting:



Leave a genuine comment that shows you actually read what the post was about, this along with questions to the blogger can create people clicking back to your blog

Share if you have read the book as well, or one similar, or plan to read it… it builds a common interest

End posts with a question to your readers, it encourages conversation

Respond to comments on your blog, it creates conversations and your readers may stop back again to see what you have said in response to their comment. 


Leave comments with a link back to your blog, your name is already a link to your blog (*unless you have multiple blogs and need to link so people an find your posts)

Say you are “hopping through” unless you truly are on a blog hop and so is the blog you are visiting.

AND… post well.  When your readers arrive on your blog have something interesting for them to read about.  If you are new to blogging, check out closely the blogs you enjoy reading.  Why do you enjoy reading them?  Do they have interesting posts?  What about their writing appeals to you?  Do they have a lot of comments and conversations stemming from their posts?

Growing my readership was and still is a constant work in progress.  I love to comment, and yes, I know between reading, and writing posts, commenting is just one more thing…. but I know it works, and I know it is appreciated by all the hard-working bloggers just like you who are writing and reviewing and posting and building their own readership as well.

My mini challenge for you (if you choose to accept it) is…

1.  Go and comment on at least 20 blog during Bloggiesta and then come back here and let me know in a comment that you did AND

2.  in the same comment let me know one thing that you are hoping to learn or accomplish during Bloggiesta

The winners of my mini challenge will receive (using a $20 gift card to Amazon (available to anyone who can use an Amazon gift card (this will be delivered to the winner at close of Bloggiesta through email).

AND one runner up will receive a $10 gift card to Amazon.

This is a sticky post and will remain at the top of the blog until closing on Bloggiesta.  All new posts will be below.  Watch for additional giveaways below during Bloggeista weekend!

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

book cover of I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

Ugh.  Poppy’s lost it…. her mind, possibly her fiance, and for sure his family who already have doubts about her…

but more to the point,

she has lost her engagement ring.  (Yes, the very one that has been in Magnum’s (fiance) family for three generations.


Poppy is just having a day. In one beautiful afternoon with lunch with her friends at a lovely hotel, she had not only went against her better judgement of taking the ring off to let her friends see it more closely… but the fire alarm that followed, the panic. of course now… no ring.  When she steps outside to make a phone call, someone goes running by and grabs her phone.  Yup.  Gone.

Seriously?  Why did Poppy even get up today?

When she finds an abandoned phone in one of the hotels garbage (NOT like she was looking in the garbage, it was just there!) Beggars can not be choosers… and in this case the finders keepers rule applies as well!  Poppy has no idea what the result of taking this phone is going to be…

but she is about to find out…

This book is about a phone, that is true.  But it is also about Poppy, and her panic to get the ring back, and about Sam the head of the company who owns the phone she found… the mix is fantastic!

I started seeing this book show up on some of the blogs I frequent.  While it has an appearance of cutesy, and not necessarily the type of book that usually lures me in, it stuck with me.  When I found it at my library…. even better.

What I thought I was getting was going to be a light chick lit read with the occasional smile and eye roll happening from me as I read it.  Seems like lately, I am wrong a lot about books.  🙂 

I’ve Got Your Number is actually smart and witty.  Sophie Kinsella does a pretty bang up job!  As I moved through the early pages I picked up that this was going to be more enjoyable than I had even anticipated.  My anticipated half smiles were replaced with full on bursts of laughter as I read a witty line, or a funny moment that impressed me.

(I can not give it away but the gift at the future in-laws made me laugh out loud… I did not see that coming!)

I thoroughly enjoyed I’ve Got Your Number to the last pages.  I stayed up way too late to finish it because I had to know…. what I had to know.  I think readers will be pleasantly surprised when they pick up this book.


Want to know what others think?  Here are a few links to reviews of this book:

Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf

The Friendly Book Nook

A Bookworms World

Books In The City

Amazon Review

Goodreads Rating

Thank you local library for letting me laugh along with this book

Morning Meanderings… My Book World Has Turned Upside Down

Good morning!  😀

I think I am having some Freaky Friday moments… and yeah, it is only Thursday!  😯

Recently I have read two books I really thought were going to leave me raving… Carry The One and Weird Sisters.  Both books I have reviewed in the last 10 days and both books left me feeling…. feeling…

well not really much at all.

Then I start hearing about plot driven books vs. character driven books (and yes there is a blog post in that alone and yet I have already put a draft and a pin in that one for later use) and I start to think… am I a plot snob?  Do I need a plot that keeps me guessing keeps my heart pumping for the entire book?  I do like me some strong well-developed characters as well… (I did not find these in the two books either)…. so anyhow…


And then… a couple of days ago I finish a book I was reading just for fun… just for comic relief, to clean the palate so to speak and that one… THAT ONE is the one I like.  Out of the three… it is I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella that keeps me up late at night to know what is going to happen, to know how it will all end, that makes me laugh out loud.



Any hoo… in recap…. I don’t know what I like so don’t ask me… apparently I can not pick a book for the life of me these days… 😆

Later today my review of I’ve Got Your Number is going up.  I hope you will check it out.

Does that ever happen to you (please tell me it does!).  Do you ever find books you think you will love but you do not… and books you are just reading for fun and they speak to you?  Can we start a support group?  Will you lead it?  😛 

Morning Meanderings… HUNGRY???

Good Morning!  I am scraping in for a QUICK Morning Meandering and then that’s a wrap… as my day is FULL of delightful “to do’s” and “what nots”.

Hunger Games has now been at the theater for 5 days and I am planning a second viewing hopefully Friday evening with hubby and friends….  I had a few things I had hoped to share “pre-movie” release but alas… that time has come, and passed and I did not post…

until now. 

With a current thirst for all things Panem, and apparently staying in this Hunger Games theme for at least another week as to when April will be here and I plan to go all things Titanic….. (*sigh, I do so love that movie)… I bring thee…

(*cue the trumpet)

The map:

Mmmmmm hmmmmmm…. that’s right.  Panem in all its glory.  There’s little district 12, *waves at Katniss!*. 

I am currently reading and enjoying The Girl Who Was On Fire which is a mix of authors sharing their thoughts on the phenomenon that is Hunger Games.  I just started it and I am LOVING it…. expect to see the review yet this week.  Oh and if you have not read the book, what are you waiting for?  AND if you have not seen the movie… please, treat yourself to this one. 

Book lovers…. rejoice! 

Ok… that’s my time.  Have an awesome day and READ a little something.  😀


The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The Andreas sisters were raised on books – their family motto might as well be, ‘There’s no problem a library card can’t solve.’  (this line alone made me want to read this one!)

Their father, a renowned, eccentric professor of Shakespearean studies, named them after three of the Bard’s most famous characters: Rose (Rosalind – As You Like It), Bean (Bianca – The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia – King Lear), but they have inherited those characters’ failures along with their strengths.

Now the three sisters have returned home to the small college town in Barnwell Ohio where they grew up – under the guise on their mothers battle with cancer… but also because their lives are a mess that even Shakespeare would be stumped over.  .

Rose, a staid mathematics professor, has the chance to break away from her quiet life and join her devoted fiance in England, if she could only summon up the courage to do more than she’s thought she could. Bean left home as soon as she could, running to the glamour of New York City, only to come back ashamed of the person she has become. And Cordy, who has been wandering the country for years, has been brought back to earth with a resounding thud, realizing it’s finally time for her to grow up.

The sisters never thought they would find the answers to their problems in each other, but over the course of one long summer, they find that everything they’ve been running from – each other, their histories, and their small hometown – might offer more than they ever expected.

Weird Sisters.  I love the title.  It makes me think of witches or women with magical powers.  I have no idea why. 

I had seen a lot about this book in past months, gloriously showing up on blog after blog making me curious about it.  When it showed up on for 4.95 I pulled the trigger (or the credit card) and bought the book.


You get the gist of the story in the synopsis.  Yet for some reason I connected with none of the characters.  It basically went on and on about the sisters, their lives, the mom (who is ill) and the dad who oddly quotes Shakespeare at random times in the book and me, not knowing much Shakespeare (ok… knowing ANY Shakespeare at all) is left scratching my head and thinking, “wha…?”

I could not put my finger on what I was not finding appealing about the book until the very end.  Seriously I was starting to think I was ruined for books forever as I recently had a similar experience with Carry The One (which is also about family living through tragedy… or something…).  Neither book (IMO) have a strong plot.

What do you mean Sheila?  Of course there is a plot!

Yes, both books do have a plot…. but it is one that the cards are shown in the early pages of the book and then…. nothing, nothing really big happens… like nothing carries the story.  I am hoping this makes sense but in Weird Sisters (and in Carry the One for that matter) the books are just about every day family life, what they are doing, eating, saying,….  day to day life.  I am basically, as the reader, along for the ride.

I have given a lot of thought to this as now in just a matter of two weeks I have stumbled on to this twice in my reading.  I guess, and maybe its just me… but I like more plot, more happenings, more emotion….

and I just did not feel it.

Does the book have its moments?

I think so, but here is the clincher.  Usually in a book or audio as I am going along, I pick up on something I love about the book or something that made me want to know more and  I can not wait to chat with you all about that in the review…. Yet, today, as I type this… I am clinging to nothing.  No point of the book is standing out to me, and that right there is why I leave this book (audio) with no connections.

I purchased this audio book on

Morning Meanderings…. What NOT To Eat, ooh and Book Winners!

Good morning and Happy Tuesday!

About a year ago my cousin told me about My Fitness Pal.  It is a free on  line site where you can plug in “all about you” and then daily, type in what you have eaten and drank, and calculates it for you.  It’s actually pretty cool when I use it.  It even tracks exercise and then gives you more calories to eat (woo hoo!) when you work out.

I have dabbled with this site off and on the last year and just recently trying to do it daily.  And of course, I have a story.

Last week I had a crazy busy day (shocked, I know…) and after working out and living life at the end of the day I still had around 500 calories yet to use.  I was reading around 9 pm and was craving chocolate.  The only chocolate in the house was some Ghiradelli chocolate chips I had recently used in banana bread (oh yeah… that is awesome!).  There was not many left, maybe a cup worth and I sat down with a cup of coffee and those chips.  Mmmmmmm….

The next morning I thought I should plug those chocolate chips into my fitness pal for my previous days calculations.  I was guessing it to be around 300 calories.


Any guesses?




647 calories.

I blew it on chocolate chips.  😯

I will not be doing that again.

SO again, my plug for My Fitness Pal, holds.  Sometimes it tells you things yo do not really want to know… but on the flip of that… it is good to know the damage one can do while “innocently” snacking. 

Ok.. .on to funner (yes. my word) things.

Remember last weeks Library Sale?  And I offered up for you to make a choice of what book to read for me and then I would go from there and read them and pass them to you?  I chose one winner on Sunday and now here are the other two and the books you chose for me to read:

#92 Judith at Leeswammes’s Blog

#96:  Barbara from Freedom Acres chose for me to read:

YAY to the winners, please email me your addresses to: and once I read these books I will pass them on to you!  😀

Have a great day everyone… it is windy and gloomy here which is a bummer, but I am at work all day, the gym, and then a meeting tonight so I guess better today than a day I have off 😀

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Welcome to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  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.

This past weeks winner:

Jayne’s 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!


I have had a  week where everything is on the verge of finishing… 3 audio books, 2 books… but nothing finished.  Here are my posts for this past week:

Team Kickin It:  Lets Get This Party Started – 2012 Active Events!

Carry The One by Carol Anshaw ( my only review this week!  😯 )

Moneyball Movie Review

Choose The Book I Read and win it for yourself!  (This is open until Tuesday morning!)

Hunger Games The Movie (oh yeah… it is good!)

It seems like I have been in this book drought for weeks!  I just cant seem to fit the books in, but I am making progress slowly.  I am close to finishing many so this week I feel there is going to be a breakthrough and a rush of reviews.  Seriously.  😀

So that said….

In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, “Remember you must die.” Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off. Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed. As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.

AH….. the books I would never find on my own!  Thank Amy from My Friend Amy for this one!

Loviah “Lovie” French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need “just the thing” for major life events—baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals—or when they just want to dish in the dressing room. Among the people who depend on Lovie’s confidence are her two best friends since boarding school: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf.

Outspoken and brimming with confidence, Dinah made a name for herself as a columnist covering the doings of New York’s wealthiest and most fabulous. Shy, proper Avis, in many ways Dinah’s opposite, rose to prominence in the art world with her quiet manners, hard work, and precise judgment. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Lovie, they have been more or less allergic to each other since a minor incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented with what will prove to be unimaginable consequences.

These uneasy acquaintances become unwillingly bound to each other when Dinah’s favorite son and Avis’s only daughter fall in love and marry. On the surface, Nick and Grace are the perfect match—a playful, romantic, buoyant, and beautiful pair. But their commitment will be strained by time and change: career setbacks, reckless choices, the birth of a child, jealousies, and rumor. At the center of their orbit is Lovie, who knows everyone’s secrets and manages them as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out—a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.

I am hoping this one will be good!

“Community, Identity, Stability” is the motto of Aldous Huxley’s utopian World State. Here everyone consumes daily grams of soma, to fight depression, babies are born in laboratories, and the most popular form of entertainment is a “Feelie,” a movie that stimulates the senses of sight, hearing, and touch. Though there is no violence and everyone is provided for, Bernard Marx feels something is missing and senses his relationship with a young women has the potential to be much more than the confines of their existence allow. Huxley foreshadowed many of the practices and gadgets we take for granted today–let’s hope the sterility and absence of individuality he predicted aren’t yet to come.

This was in my recent library purchases and was the first comment I drew as a winner… Ryan at My Life In Books chose this for me to read and so… well, I bought it… guess I should try to read it.  😛

From a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore.  But after twelve years together, the couple has lost their way; they are unhappy and edging toward divorce.  Then the Iraq war starts.  An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm’s way and leaving the other at home, waiting for news.   When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family.  An intimate look at the inner landscape of a disintegrating marriage and a dramatic exploration of the price of war on a single American family, Kristin Hannah’s HOME FRONT is a provocative and timely portrait of hope, honor, loss, forgiveness, and the elusive nature of love.

In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.

And the end of this week is Bloggiesta!  If you are not signed up, you will want to be!

Add your What Are You Reading to the linky below and I as well as other will try to stop by and see what you are reading! My hours at work drops back to normal this week so I should have more time to get around. 😀

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and those of you who read mainly childrens through YA reads – please also link your post here: