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.

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


( is loving you – that is two weeks in a row… I dont think that has ever happened before :D)

For those of you who do Easter – Happy Easter!  I had a wonderful day of church and then spending the day with my hubby, enjoying good food and a good movie.  Lets just say… I need to get back to the gym tomorrow.  😀

This week was ok for reading and blogging – here is what I posted:

Six Years by Harlan Coben (WOW OH WOW OH WOW!!!)


The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantine  (it’s been a while since I have read this level of creepy crazy)


A new read a long for April:  The Hobbit (looking for joiners!) 😀


Little Women by Louise May Alcott ( a March read-a-long that includes in my opinion what Marmee should really say to her daughters…)


I completed my first 7K for the year (pics of all the people!!!)



Not too bad a week.  I am in the middle of three audio books that I feel like I have been listening to FOREVER.  I am going to need a shorter audio when I finish these for a break 😀 

Here is what is on the reading agenda this week:



An all-expense-paid week at a luxury villa in Jamaica—it’s the invitation of a lifetime for a group of old college friends. All four women are desperate not just for a reunion, but for an escape: Tina is drowning under the demands of mothering four young children. Allie is shattered by the news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband’s infidelity. And, finally, there’s Pauline, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband an unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage.

Languid hours on a private beach, gourmet dinners, and late nights of drinking kick off an idyllic week for the women and their husbands. But as a powerful hurricane bears down on the island, turmoil swirls inside the villa, forcing each of the women to reevaluate everything she knows about her friends—and herself.

Oh sweet Martha’s cookies!  I am so enjoying this one.  I love Sarah’s writing and I am reading this one every chance I get!





Kate Vaughan is no stranger to tough choices.

She’s made them before. Now it’s time to do it again.

Kate has a secret, something tucked away in her past. And she’s getting on with her life.  Her business is thriving. She has a strong relationship with her family, and a devoted boyfriend whom she wants to love with all her heart. If Kate had ever made a list, Rowan would fill the imagined boxes of a perfect mate. But she wants more than the perfect on paper relationship; she wants a real and imperfect love. That’s why, when Kate discovers the small velvet box hidden in Rowan’s drawer, she panics.

It always happens this way. Just when Kate thinks she can love, just when she believes she can conquer the fear, she’s filled with dread. And she wants more than anything to make this feeling go away. But how?

When the mistakes have been made and the running is over, it’s time to face the truth. Kate knows this. She understands that a woman can never undo what can never be undone. Yet, for the first time in her life she also knows that she won’t fully love until she confronts those from her past. It’s time to act.

Can she do it? Can she travel to the place where it all began, to the one who shares her secret? Can the lost ever become found?

SO excited about this one… starting it later this week.





Ruth Reichl, world-renowned food critic and former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, knows a thing or two about food. She also knows that as the most important food critic in the country, you need to be anonymous when reviewing some of the most high-profile establishments in the biggest restaurant town in the world—a charge she took very seriously, taking on the guise of a series of eccentric personalities. In Garlic and Sapphires, Reichl reveals the comic absurdity, artifice, and excellence to be found in the sumptuously appointed stages of the epicurean world and gives us—along with some of her favorite recipes and reviews—her remarkable reflections on how one’s outer appearance can influence one’s inner character, expectations, and appetites, not to mention the quality of service one receives.

I read this one a few years back but now I am reading it for book club… I am excited to freshen up this review.

Thats the weeks plan.  My week is not too busy so should be doable.  I am curious what you are reading….   Add your post to the line below where it says click here.

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And for those of you who read mainly YA or Middle grade books, feel free to also link up the younger version on IMWATR as well 😀


Morning Meandering…. Easter, Books, Blog, and Everything Inbetween


I have spent entirely too much time screwing around with the blog look this morning.  I liked the purple background but found it dark… too dark for a girl who is wishing and hoping for Spring…  REAL SPRING….  it is snowing (AGAIN) here this morning and I am pretending not to notice…. 

So…. Happy Easter!  We have no kids home this year – Justin (College son) has to work so will not be making the drive, Brad (Navy son) is soaking up the rays in Florida so not feeling too bad for him, other than I miss them both.  Just Al and I today…. we have church then maybe later we will do a movie or something… I am looking forward to maybe a little reading this afternoon.  I feel like I am in the middle of three audio books and two books and nothing is near completion.  😯

Anyhoo…. because I spent about an hour trying different headers here and going back and forth and honestly still not sure if the header is “the look” I am going for, I must bid you adieu, as now I have sat here with coffee cup and my PJ’s way too long and I need to get moving before I am known as “that late girl”.  😀

Have a lovely day – I will be back this evening with the “Monday, What Are You Reading”  post, but other than that I suspect as it is a holiday, it will be pretty quiet around here. 

I will leave you with this link  to my Easter message to all of you 😀

Morning Meanderings…The First Run Of 2013


I missed the last two weeks of Saturday Snapshot.  Two weeks ago I was in the cities getting ready for a 7K and last Saturday I was buried in books at the Spring Library sale. 

Today I thought I would share about the 7K. 

When I say really cool words like “7K”, a lot of people will say to me, “I didn’t know you are a runner!”

My response, “I am not.  I am a runner want to be.”

I want to say for the record, I blame the books.  Over the past couple of years I have read some pretty good books on running.  Those that can run… fascinate me.  Their bodies get lean, their heart rates and over all health improve… they talk of a “runners high” and they can go on and on and on for miles… in some of those books, they would run like 100 miles in a day….

they are my heroes.

So… here I am FAR on the other side of the spectrum.  I have running gear.  I do ok on the treadmill… I have not yet mastered running.


SO this is before the 7k (which by the way is 4.34 miles).  It was SUPER cold that morning… I don’t even recall but we were dancing in the freezing air before go time… don’t let the sun in the picture fool you.  On the far left is my cousin’s wife Farrah, my cousin Jarrod, my friends Sheila and Belinda, Belinda’s cousin and wife – April and Ryan, and then me. 


Over 11,000 people were registered for this run… close to 10,000 showed up.  This is as we walked towards the starting gate.


We were not that far back from the start but I heard it took 26 minutes to get everyone across the starting line.  We wore a chip on our tennis shoes that activated from a mat we step on when going across the starting line and then it gives out time when we cross the line at the end.  Kind of cool.


This is my friend Sheila who I ran most of the race with (until her pace kicked my pace – I need to fast walk occasionally at this stage in the game and she can keep a nice steady pace).  At the end the water they had for us was freezing in the glasses!  If you look close you can see that she has the chunk of ice in her mouth. 😀


At the end we were all able to hang out at this Irish Pub which was kind of cool.  SO MANY people there… had to be over 1,000.  Here a few of the group are showing the “pie” medal we all received for doing the run – you can also see the hoodies that April and Ryan are wearing – this was also something each participant received. 


My pie 😀 The first of 4 from the Ortho events this year.

Overall – the run was fun to hang out with friends, but the cold sucked.  I warmed up quickly while running but soon discovered I have training to do before I am going to be any kind of rock star at running.  I finished the 7k at 51 minutes.  I believe the best time in our group was Jarrod at around 35 minutes.  He is training for a triathlon. 


So that’s my Saturday Snapshot for today. Check out more Saturday Snapshots at Alyce’s At Home With Books.    I do not have a lot going on this Easter weekend as Justin (College Son)  has to work so he will not be home and Brad is in Florida in the Navy.  It will just be Al and I and I think tonight we may watch the Hobbit. 😀

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


Thank you to Jill at Fizzy Thoughts for offering up a read-a-long of the classic, Little Women.  While I read this in High School, and once I believe about 4 or 5 years back, I tried my hand at the audio version narrated by Kate Reading (AWESOME!).

SO I am going to believe that most of you have read Little Women at some point in your life and for those of you who have not I am also going to believe you at least know what the story is about…. either way, I am going to give you a little synopsis, Sheila style:

It is the mid 1800’s and the 4 March sisters (thus the March read along… so clever!) Meg the oldest, Josephine “Jo”, tomboy just as tomboy was considered cool for girls, Beth – quiet and reserved, and the youngest Amy – beautiful and a little snooty; all live with their mother “Marmee” and Hannah the servant.  “Pa” March is absent for much the first part of the book as he is a chaplain in the war, so Marmee runs the household and the girls.

The girls shortly after the book opening meet their neighbor Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence who is between the two older girls ages.  He becomes fast friends with all of them  especially Jo as she is like having another boy to run and have adventures with.

The book goes on to share each girls stories of growing up and  their trial and errors along the way.  Meg is humble, but admits to wishing she had lovelier things – later she becomes a disgruntled wife for a time due to… hmmmm…. over protectiveness perhaps growing up?  Jo, who really is the main protagonist seems to struggle the most with her own identity – finding herself frequently in trouble for her blunt mouth, her constant mess of clothes as she can not keep anything clean and her desire to write or not write… or write…. as the book goes on.  Beth is sadly in poor health most of the book and may go down as the longest death scene at least in my bookish history (more on that later) and you really never get to know her as she is such a quiet mouse in the corner of the book. Amy is in my opinion snooty (until much later in life) and feels herself beyond an impoverish life always wanting nice things for herself and wanting to be socially above her current class.


My silly thoughts along the way.  First off – the audio was a fantastic way to go on this one.  Kate Reading (narrator) really did make it enjoyable and a new way to experience the book.  I am not sure I will ever feel the need to read this one again, but I am happy to say I have read it and listened to it now. 

I have always said it is kind of fun to pick on classics.  In most cases they are so different then the way we live in today’s society while we can appreciate them…. we could not (I could not) live that kind of life.

Marmee is both wise and overbearing.  Her life lessons to the girls which I am sure at the time spoke to the young ladies who read the book back in the day, caused me to eye roll more than once.  Ever patient, ever kind – just once I wanted Mrs. March to let her hair down and really give the girls what for….

“Meg, quit whimpering in that exhausting way as you sit on your butt all day!”

“Jo, seriously think before you speak and start thinking of a future that does not involve spinsterhood and living with your parents until you die… or we die… or the world implodes.”

“Beth…ok, I can’t yell at you because you are sick but girl, what has happened that you can never pull out of this illness?”

“And Amy, pull the stick out of your butt and quit acting like you are so much better than what we can give.  You pompous brat do you not see that you have a family who loves you, relatives who dote on you and I am guessing a good deal more than many other girls your age.  Also – burning Jo’s book?  I could send away for someone to spank you for that if I am too weak to do it myself.”

Whew that felt good.  Beth’s death scene that started with scarlet fever at the age of 14 and continues as she never quite gets her hearth back and eventually succumbs at the age of 19.  FIVE YEARS.  The girl is sick for FIVE YEARS.  It drug on and on. 

And on.

And on.


Jo I have to say was a brilliant character for the time and I love that people for the most part have found her to be the favorite of the March sisters even though she was by no means the prettiest or the most successful.  This pleases me because I love strong women characters and Jo seems to be a character ahead of her time, not feeling she needs a man to make her whole and until much later in the book, content to be on her own. Of all the characters Jo is said to be the character that Louisa May Alcott had written as her self and the others as her three sisters, and you see that again in the book The Lost Summer of Louise May Alcott (fiction) which I has just read earlier this year.

I admit I was happy to see that the initial publishing of Little Women was broke later into two books: Little Women and Good Wives as I felt the story did go on to long….  I have never read Little Men (1871) or Jo’s Boys (1886) but I am am not ruling out that I someday might. 

Overall – kudos to Louisa May Alcott who wrote a book almost a century and a half ago that told of a strong independent woman in a very Christian like setting.  I like that Marmee did not try to change go into more of a lady as I would suspect would be the “thing to do” at the time. 

The book is truly a brilliant read and I highly suggest that each of you take the time if you have not already to read it in your lifetime. 

Thank you to Jill at Fizzy Thoughts as I believe this was her brain child to do this read a long and if not for that push, I doubt if I would have ever picked up the book again.

I will be adding this as part of the weekly meme, Sound Bytes at Devourer of Books


Morning Meanderings…. A Timely End To The March Sisters (and a new read-a-long)


Good morning and Happy Easter Weekend.  I have a pretty low key morning here and I am taking full advantage here with coffee and book and listening to the end of the audio, Little Women which was the read-a-long over at Fizzy Thoughts for March and I am surprised it took me most of the month to listen to this audio, but 18 hours and 44 minutes takes a while to get through when you are only listening to it in the house and not on road trips. 😀

I am excited to review this one (later today) as it has been a fun revisiting of this high school read and I have taken away some different things this time regarding the tomboy Jo and characters who represents in more modern literature, and perhaps the longest dragged out death scene I have ever read in a book…. to the point where you almost want to say, get on with it already… 😯  It will be good to finish this audio up as I am ready to move on.

Sadly, I do not see a new read-a-long from Jill for April (it has been fun latching on to her reads – I liked not picking a book and the choices have been fun…) and I am still in read-a-long mode so I am going to host one for April.  Here it is:


Simple read a long – just feel free to grab the button and read the book in April.  That’s it.  I will post back here the end of April and set up a link for those who participated to add their thoughts on the book as well. 

In other news, I have exciting updates to Wine and Words (SQQQUUUEEEEE Worthy – truly) but that will need to wait for another day, and I also posted this morning a long overdue update to the 12K group and challenge over at Team Kickin It.

The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne


An eight year old neighborhood boy is found dead in a playground.   When witnesses come forth as to saying he was recently seen playing and rough housing with another neighborhood boy, 11-year-old Sebastian, Sebastian and his mother are called in for questioning.

The defense solicitor, Daniel Hunter is called in to hear Sebastian’s story and defend him if necessary.  While Daniel’s own troubled  childhood has led him to a life of working with young children, he has never worked with one as young as an eleven year old. 

Sebastian has the look of an angel, a small delicate boy with shiny intelligent eyes.  Yet when Sebastian speaks he does not talk like an eleven year old, his speak and ability to catch on are beyond his years.  Daniel still has a strong sense that Sebastian is not guilty of this crime. 

As the case opens wider, Daniel has to check himself to make sure his own past is not clouding his judgement.  Leading him to walk that fine line between truth and lies.



Holy crackers batman.  Get ready for a twisted ride.  This book has a little something for everyone who likes a good mystery and/or adventure.  Lacking in neither, The Guilty One will definitely make you think as you watch Sebastian’s life and family slowly peel back hidden layer after layer.  Honestly… you really never know your neighbors do you? 


But wait… while we start to see Sebastian’s life unfold, the reader also sees where Daniel is coming from and this guy has a lot of crazy past himself which makes him so right for this case…. but also so wrong.  If anything, it’s really hard to get a firm grip on who Daniel is (in my opinion) and why I should want to sympathize with him.


I would say over all, the book is engaging and it did have me trying to figure it out (which I enjoy) and did hold me all the way through.  If I had one complaint – and its a rather small one – I would say it gets a little bogged down in the details mid way through  and I wanted things to move on… move faster.


People who enjoy a good mystery with a nice dash of CRAZY sauce that is not fast paced will enjoy this book.  It was well written and impressive as a debut book. 

Six Years by Harlan Coben



Six years ago Jake Fisher met the girl of his dreams.  Natalie came into his life like an answered prayer.  They had a whirlwind romance, and Jake could not imagine life ever being any better and he felt they would be together forever.  Then, as suddenly as Natalie had walked into his life, she walked out.  Claiming a love for someone else, someone named Todd Sanderson who she had once dated.

Jake, heartbroken and helpless can do nothing as his dreams of a future with Natalie vaporize into thin air.  When she marries Todd shortly after, Jake has to see the wedding for himself still not believing that his Natalie was gone.  But as he watched her say “I do”, and slip a ring on her finger, there is no denying that she has moved on.  Before Natalie leaves the chapel she asks Jake to promise to never look for her, to never try to contact her.  And helplessly, he promises.

Now, six years later and working as a College Professor, an obituary he stumbles upon on-line captures his eye.  Todd Sanderson has died.  Suddenly Jake’s promise doesn’t seem to hold as he vows to go to the funeral and see his Natalie, one more time.  Yet the woman who mourns for the loss of her husband is not Natalie, and crazier yet, this woman has been married to Todd for over 20 years.

As Todd tried to go back to where Natalie and he had met to look for clues as to what has happened and where she went people who they knew together act as they do not know him… and the more bizarre it becomes, the more Todd digs in, letting go of a six-year promise, and trying to find the truth…




Holy smokes…. there is nothing like a good read bu Harlan Coben to put your reading mojo on the right track.  When I opened this book a few days ago the plan was to read a few pages just to get the feel for what it was about.  That was enough to hook me and have trouble putting it down until I turned that last delicious page.

There are so many wonderful reasons I like Coben’s writing.  I tell people that Stephen King is hard and dark and sometimes far out there, than Dean Koontz is a mellower version of King, a little funnier, still dark…. then there is Coben.  Coben grabs the reader and entangles you in the story before you have a chance to walk away, he is funny and witty, rarely dark, and I love all of that.


The woman at the desk had a helmety beehive hairdo last seen on a senator’s wife circa 1964.  She hit me with a smile so wooden I could have knocked on it for luck.

~ page 389


Six Years was a delight to read.  A great protagonist, a believable storyline… do not hesitate to become a new Harlan Coben devoted fan by reading this book.  Just remember you can not be president of his fan club, because I am pretty sure that would be me.  😀

On another fun note… Six Years was part of a bidding war for rights to the movie and Paramount won and Hugh Jackman will play Jake.  Awesome right?