Monthly Archives: January 2013

January Recap and WHERE Are You Reading Link Up

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January was a great month here at Book Journey for books and audio.  It has been a long time since I have had such a good month.  I end with this last day of January with 12 reads completed and reviewed,  Here is what they were:

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The Road by Cormac McCarthyckson

Between The Lines by Jodi Piccoult

In The Belly Of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

Gods In Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

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Will To Murder by Gail Feichting

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

The Gilly Sisters by Tiffany Baker

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

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GONE by Randy Wayne White

Murder Of The Century by Paul Collins

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans

Born This Way by Paul Vitagliano

For best of the month, I would say do not pass on Gods In Alabama, The Gilly Salt Sisters and Level 2.

Here is my WHERE I have been reading so far this year.  If you are participating in the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge, please add your recap post to the linky below:

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Have you read any of these books?  What was your best reads of January?

Morning Meanderings… I have taken a SHINING to this book…

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Good morning.  Here we are the last day of January and my month was an excellent one for reading and audio.  More on that later…

A few days ago I decided to join in on the #Shineon Read-a-long of The Shining by Stephen King hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts.  I think it will be a fun adventure in King, who other than my listening to 11-22-63 last year, I have not read since I was a teenager and it will be interesting to see what I think of his older writing now.

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There was a time I enjoyed King very much and his movies too… in fact the Shining was creepy spooky good but again, I have not seen it in a long time.  If you care to join in on the read-a-long, use the link above to check it out, we have all of February to read it and it’s not a very large book. 

Today I work and I am also taking care of my hubby who had dental surgery yesterday and is recovering at here at home.  Tomorrow I will be sharing with you my latest TV addiction… 😛

Have you ever read Stephen King?  If so, what is your favorite book you have read by him?  I would have to say that 11-22-63 is by far my favorite all time King read.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (This is the true story that the book ROOM was modeled after)

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In June of 1991, Jaycee Dugard was like any other 11-year-old.  She went to school, she had friends, and rode her bike.  She lived in California and had a one year old baby sister. 

Then just like that, she was stolen.

A van pulled up, a pretense of asking for directions and she was gone.

For the next eighteen years of her life, Jaycee was held captive by Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy.  She was kept in a locked and hidden shed in their back yard.  During her first six years of captivity Jaycee gave birth to two of Phillips children.  By the age of seventeen she was a mother twice over all the while painfully missing her own mom and wondering if she would ever find her way home again. 

In August of 2009, Jaycee and her daughters were discovered and rescued. 

In her own words, this is her story.

 

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Jaycee (center) with her kidnappers: Nancy and Phillip

 

 

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Where Jaycee was held captive for 18 years even though Phillip was on probation as a convicted sex offender and his probation officers stopped by often.

 

 

When I first seen this book on the store shelf I was vaguely familiar with the story.  I brought it home and started reading it and be sure when I tell you this, the first 50 pages of this book are hard to read mainly because of the detailed telling of what happened to Jaycee at the age of 11.  I think it would have been easier to handle if the book would have been written by a third-party, but the fact that Jaycee wrote this book and relived the details of her early days of captivity gave it an even more impact of emotion on me. 

This is not to say it is not a worthwhile read.  What Jaycee endured all of those years is shocking, painful, insane, and yet you see this young girl hang on to hope and a dream of someday being free.

At first I was not sure I would like the writing, the beginning of the book felt a little cold and matter of fact when Jaycee described in great detail what happened those first few days and weeks.  I felt as though perhaps she had distanced herself from this painful period by writing as though she was writing about what happened to someone else.  Then, almost as quickly as I had that feeling, it went away and Jaycee’s story of eighteen years of dealing with two very disturbing people pulls you in page after page.  I found myself wanting to get back to the read whenever I could because I wanted to know what happened and how she would finally be discovered and rescued. 

 

“The more knowledge I gain, the more like an adult I feel. I never got this chance to become an adult.”

~Jaycee Dugard

I feel this is a very worthwhile read.  I have heard that this is actually the true story that inspired author Emma Donoghue to write ROOM.  Emma Donoghue also used pieces of the Elizabeth Fritzl case of the young girl who was held captive in the family basement by her father for 24 years where she bore seven of his children.

Audio Books – Abridged or Unabridged Whats the Difference?

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Recently Alyce at At Home With Books had in a post how she accidentally listened to an abridged audio of a book.  “Whew” I thought,” I am not always good at checking the packaging but that has never happened to me.”

I have been listening to On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah and just being annoyed to no end with it.  Fellow book lovers who know I am listening to it were saying, “Ooh that is such a good one” and I kept thinking, “Really?  You have got to be kidding me.”

SO what’s my problem with it….

Well for one it moves at a ridiculous speed, as in long-lost friends go from grieving a friend and wife to flat-out RELATIONSHIP in one encounter.  The whole audio is moving so quickly I am feeling there is no character development…

(you can probably see where I am going here…)

Then today I was driving into work and yet another thing happened  while I was listening to this audio, it felt like it skipped an entire section.  One moment she is sharing a big happening in her life while they are in bed, and the next sentence it is days later.  And then… like a very dim light bulb, I started to get it.  I reached for the packaging and sure enough ….

abridged.

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WHAMMY.

Double whammy actually because I just told Alyce what a rock star I was and that had never happened to me….

*headsmack*

So…. that brings me to this post.  Why do they make abridged audio?  To me it is like picking up the Cliff Notes to a book…. you get the basic idea enough to talk about the book (sort of) but you don’t get the heart of it. 

When I looked up information today on abridged books it said they were created for publishers to be able to offer the book at a lesser price.  But are they really offering you the book?  Or… are they metaphorically ripping out the middle of the books pages and handing you a copy saying, “Here you go, fresh off the bargain table!”  😛

I am truly clueless here and not at all trying to diss the abridged audio put out there or those who create them or listen to them.  Obviously there is a reason I am not picking up on .

I am curious about your thoughts on this.  Do you read abridged books and if so, what benefits do you find to them?  Is listening to an abridged book the equivalent of Cliff Notes? 

Thank you Alyce, for inspiring this post. 😀  If you had not recently talked about this on your blog, I would probably still be ranting about this audio. 

* I have also noticed that the other Kristin Hannah I have unopened in the car ready to listen to next… is also abridged.  *sigh*

 

Morning Meanderings… We Interupt This Blog…

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Good morning.  I am off early today having arranged a CRAZY err.. fun morning at the gym doing Group Power at 5:45 am.  😀

On Monday I listed the books I planned on reading this week and then… in yesterday mail came a book I had ordered:

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With the movie being released on February 14th I feel like I have been missing out on something by not having read this one.  Amazon says this about the book:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I didn’t realize until it arrived that is was 563 pages.  😯  A real chunkster!  Perhaps… I should have gone with audio…. 😀

Have you read Beautiful Creatures?  Do you plan to see the movie?

The Chocolate War Book VS. Movie

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Jerry Renault is sent to a Catholic school after his mom has died.  The school is very strict and has a yearly chocolate sale that all students are EXPECTED to participate in.  Brother Leon gets it in his heard that the school can bring in a lot more money if they double what they sold the previous year making it 50 boxes of chocolates sold by each student. 

Jerry finds himself mixed up in an encounter with the schools “gang” called the Vigils and he is instructed not to sell chocolates for the first ten days of the sale.  Jerry complies and creates a very annoyed Brother Leon when Jerry does not do his part.

The real kicker is that after the ten days, Jerry decides he has had enough of people telling him what to do and when to do it so he continues to refuse to sell the chocolates on principle.  It should be a choice to sell.  Not an order.  By doing this Jerry creates an uproar in the school of support that angers the Vigils who feel this is like a slap in the face to their control of the school.  As time passes the Vigils work hard to gain control pushing kids to sell their chocolates making Jerry an outcast and eventually leading to what is referred to as the chocolate war.

 

I read this book this last October for banned book week.  The book was banned due to the strong content, language, and deemed unsuitable for the age group it was written for.  Of course, I loved it. There is a powerful message within The Chocolate War.

The movie, made in 1988, was well done.  Ilan Mitchell-Smith does a good job of portraying Jerry, a boy who appears meek on the outside but has a strong sense of right and wrong on the inside. The head honcho for the Vigils, Archie (played by Wallace Langham, now on CSI) was also very good at his role.  I felt the same emotions watching the movie as I had reading the book.  I felt unsettled and angry at times.  And in the end, neither the book or movie leave you with a feel good “all is well” feeling… you know.. that there is more to be done, and in this case, that is an ok and appropriate feeling.

I would say I enjoyed them both just about equally.  The book was one I have wanted to read for a while and I was glad I finally got to it.  The movie, was the big finale for me, to see it after reading it was perfect.  I feel I can talk about The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier with some knowledge and opinion.

If you get the opportunity, I recommend reading The Chocolate War and then treating yourself to the movie.  Perhaps maybe, for this next Octobers banned book week?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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.

Under the new and hopefully improved 2013 guidelines, the winner each week will receive a $5 Amazon gift card.  This past weeks winner is:

Holly Mueller!!!!

I had an AMAZING blog week!  I am pretty sure I posted every day and almost had a review every day as well, thanks to the cabin weekend that left me with five books read but not reviewed.  It feel so good to be back on track and enjoying blogging and reviewing again.  I even got out his week and visited quite a few blogs too.  I love that.

 

Here is what I posted this week:

 

The Murder Of The Century by Paul Collins

 

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (Lenore’s (from Presenting Lenore) apocalyptic novel ROCKS! 

 

The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas (wow wow wow wow wow wow wow!)

 

Born This Way by Paul Vitaglanio (creator of the Born This Way blog/website)

 

Will To Murder by Gail Feichtinger (The true crime stories behind the Glensheen Mansion murders)

 

Ashes by Ilsa Bick (great dystopian YA… or is it called Apocalyptic now?)

 

The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker (looking for a great audio and/or a great read – here you go!)

 

 

I was right!  Look at that!!!  What a great week!  Seriously I feel like a rock star and I am not tapped out yet, I have another book and an audio almost ready for review!

 

 

So what is new for this week?

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On the day her daughter leaves for college, Anne Colwater’s husband of twenty years announces he wants a divorce. Her roles of wife and mother suddenly gone, Annie retreats to her childhood home of Mystic, Washington, to heal. There she finds her old friend Nick, suddenly widowed and unable to cope with his emotionally scarred young daughter, Izzie. Annie agrees to look after Izzie, and soon finds herself caring for both father and daughter with a joy and passion she never expected – and she finds her love returned with a fervor she had never even hoped for. But love is never simple, and it is not until Annie learns a hard lesson from her own grown daughter that she finds the strength to claim the happiness she has earned.

I started this one yesterday and so far…. hmmmm…

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In the summer of June of 1991, I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother that loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen.

For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.

On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim, I simply survived an intolerable situation. A Stolen Life is my story—in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.

On a recent trip to Wal-Mart I found this true story written by Jaycee Dugard regarding her 18 year abduction.  I have started it and WOW, it is painfully real and intense.

 

 

 

 

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In January 1961, as the Cold War escalates, John F. Kennedy struggles to contain the growth of Communism while he learns the hardships, solitude, and temptations of what it means to be president of the United States. Along the way he acquires a number of formidable enemies, among them Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, and Alan Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In addition, powerful elements of organized crime have begun to talk about targeting the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

In the midst of a 1963 campaign trip to Texas, Kennedy is gunned down by an erratic young drifter named Lee Harvey Oswald. The former Marine Corps sharpshooter escapes the scene, only to be caught and shot dead while in police custody.

The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader. This may well be the most talked about book of the year.

My kitchen audio should be complete in the next couple days and this one is next up.

 

 

 

 

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 In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world.  In this transcendent and infectiously wise memoir, she explores surprising new discoveries about how people experience grief and transcend loss and, following her own remarriage, forms a group with five other young widows to test these unconventional ideas.  Together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity.

   Meet the Saturday Night Widows: ringleader Becky, an unsentimental journalist who lost her husband to cancer; Tara, a polished mother of two, whose husband died in the throes of alcoholism after she filed for divorce; Denise, a widow of just five months, now struggling to get by; Marcia, a hard-driving corporate lawyer; Dawn, an alluring self-made entrepreneur whose husband was killed in a sporting accident, leaving two small children behind; and Lesley, a housewife who returned home one day to find that her husband had committed suicide.

   The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen.  They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down.  Through it all runs the story of Aikman’s own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again.  In a transporting story of what friends can achieve when they hold each other up, Saturday Night Widows is a rare book that will make you laugh, think, and remind yourself that despite the utter unpredictability and occasional tragedy of life, it is also precious, fragile, and often more joyous than we recognize.

I was excited to see this was a true story!  I love women friendships and I am excited to read about this group who supported one another.

 

 

 

I am really excited about my reading and listening this week.  How about you?  What great things have you read or listened to this week?  Whats up for this upcoming week?  Share your It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading by linking below where it says click here. 

(On Twitter our hashtag is #IMWAYR)

 

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For those of you who review mainly Middle Grade (MG) and/or Young Adult (YA) reads, please also add your link to this meme as well:

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The GIlly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker (*****5 Star Rating!)

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In the village of Cape Cod, the Gilly’s are known for their salt farm.  The sisters grew up working the farm and knowing the hard work of mining salt under the watchful eye and guidance of their mother.  Jo, the older of the two, embarrassed what the salt brought to her community and to her life, Claire however felt differently, being pretty and popular she could not get wait to get away from the burden that to her was all the salt offered… and she would find a way out no matter what….

even if it meant marrying the son of the family who caused the Gilly’s the most grief… wealthy Whit Turner.  When a fire destroys the relationship between the sisters, and Claire’s high school sweetheart turns his heart to other things, Claire escapes into her life with Whit.

Of course, as Claire soon learns, money and prestige are not everything. 

Then the tides turn again and Claire finds herself brought full circle, back to the past she had escaped, and along with her the pregnant mistress of her husbands.  Jo and Claire together work to make things right in Cape Cod, learning to accept each other and seeing that sometimes all you need is a little pinch of salt.

I have had my eye on this book since I first seen the cover.  The title is catching and the cover drew me in.  Thankfully, this book was not just a surface love, within its pages (or in this case, within the audio)I found a tale that was both interesting and delightful all rolled into one.  Author Tiffany Baker (who is also the author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County) has a fun wit about her and there are so many great quotes in this book…

“There was no etiquette guide in the universe that told you how to handle waking up in a house you’d fled from as a teenager with your estranged sister in one room across the hall and your husband’s pregnant teenage mistress in the other.”

It was really interesting learning about the salt, and I liked the almost “magical” aspect they gave it… not knowing what the salt would do and believing that ones fate could be tied to the salt.  There is also the strong differences between the sisters that you can appreciate, Jo always loyal to a fault, and Claire strong and independent to the point of her own almost destruction… together they level each other out. 

Narrator Angela Brazil had a nearly flawless performance as she seamlessly made her way through the cast of interesting characters without pause.  This was one of those books you could not wait to know how it is all going to end, and at the same time you dread knowing how it is all going to end because that is of course… the end.  And honestly, I did not want it to end. 

I highly recommend picking up a copy of this amazing read.  While I listened to it on audio, I suspect it is just as wonderful and engaging in book format. Keep your eye on Tiffany Baker, with writing like this I cant wait to see what she comes up with next.

 

For a fun little extra, Esme at Chocolate and Croissants recently wrote an interesting post about salt along with incredible pictures.  Its worth taking a look at and I think it gives you a real feel for what working the salt as in this book, would be like.

Morning Meanderings: New Books In The House!

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Good morning!  It’s Sunday and it is going to be a good day.  I am incredibly sore from going back to group power yesterday after 7 months of not attending.  OW..but in a good way, it felt good to work muscles that apparently have been laying dormant for quite some time.

I didn’t have a post last Sunday since I was coming home from the North Shore, so I am catching up with two weeks of books that come in the house:

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Shattered by Dani Pettrey

QUIET, the Power Of Introverts by Susan Cain

The Dogs Of Winter by Bobbie Pyron

Sweet Tea Revenge by Laura Childs

Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason

Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin

Dancing To The Flute by Manisha Jolie Amin

The Comfort Of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

The Best Of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

I have some good reading ahead of me!  And speaking of good reading, later today will be my review of The Gilly Salt Sisters and it is going to be a review you will not want to miss!  2013 has been a great year so far for GUSHING about books. 😀

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

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Alex has her own demons to face.  Having been dealt a hard hand in life, she decides to take a long hike up into the woods for some time alone to ponder and to take care of some unfinished business with her parents.  Her alone time dreams are brought to a stop when she meets up with an elderly gentleman and his granddaughter Ellie along the way.  Alex finds no harm in being polite and spending some time with them before being on her way.

Suddenly a flash pulses through the sky and before her eyes the elderly gentleman slumps over, dead and Alex finds herself coaxing a very scared young Ellie and her dog to join her as they try to get out of the woods and figure out what is going on. 

Along the way Alex and Ellie find that people have changed and some, not for the better.  Some teens seem to have gone mad, killing one another and Alex is not sure who she can trust.  When she meets up with Tom in a circumstance that causes her to trust him, she learns that the flash was an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that has wiped out the world’s electricity – no computer, televisions, IPODS, MP3’s, cell phones, watches, and most cars are just a sample of what has changed in the flash. 

But what is up with the changes teens, and as Alex moves forward and meets more people how does she know who she can trust in a world she no longer feels familiar with…

 

 

Yowza.  Ashes took me by surprise and pulled me right into the story.  I liked Alex and sympathized with her cause.  And this whole EMP topic, really gets you thinking. (I first read about EMP’s in One Second After). 

I listened to this one on audio and while Katherine Kellgren kept a sweet and engaging pace in her reading, her voice didn’t seem to feel right for the characters she was reading.  She has almost a sophisticated tone to her voice and right from the start it seemed off for the book, although I enjoyed the story so stuck with it and by the end it didn’t bother me so much except for the occasional screeching. (Mmmmmmm hmmmmmm screeching)

That aside, the book is fast paced and interesting.  Warning:  it does end rather suddenly and at a sort of cliff hanger moment too that can be taken as “OOOH exciting” or “What the” annoying.  I fell somewhere in the middle.  I, was surprised that it was over, even checked the audio to be sure, but curious to want to know what is next.  Thankfully, Shadows, the second book in this trilogy is out and I ordered it right away – but this time in book format.