Monthly Archives: May 2013

Quick Update – Live!!! From New York!

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First of all my sincere apologies for appearing that I had dropped off the face of the earth, was eaten by a bear,  or had taken a vow of silence.  I am alive, and well, and in New York for the Book Expo, my fourth year attending.

In past years I have been able to at least put up morning posts letting you know what is going on, who I am seeing and where I have been.  This year it seems like I am running even harder from early in the morning (up around 6 am) and dropping back into my hotel bed of way too many pillows around 11 pm or so.  When I get up I seem to have no time to write and at night I am way too tired to write.  The reason I am able to write this post is that I took a little break from the expo this afternoon to put my aching feet up a bit and chill before I go and mail books home and hit it again.

I will do a day by day recap once I am home but for now let me give you highlights of what you will be hearing more about in future posts:

  • A wet wet entrance into New York
  • Frozen Hot Chocolate
  • Joshilyn Jackson in person!
  • Books… oh books!
  • Adrianna here and there and then at her house for breakfast.
  • 4 event Thursday- Simon Schuster, Workman, Penguin Bash, and SimonTeen
  • The City Of Bones Party!!!  SQQQUUUUEEEEE
  • The Expo
  • New York and New Yorkers….anything goes
  • Post Office win!

and more to come.  Anyhoo – I am alive, I am tired but well and good things and pictures to come 😀

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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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.

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:

Rose Milligan

Rose, shoot me your email and I will get that sent off to you journeythroughbooks @ gmail.com:D

The Girl Who Married A Eagle by Tamar Myers

 

 

The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson

 

Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim (Oh wow!!!)

 

The Bremer L3 Project for our Library – I graduated!!!

 

 

HER by Christa Parravani (a memoir of loss that didnt quite fit for me)

 

 

It was a fairly good week.  Now as I prepare to start my journey to New York Monday evening, I am taking only one book and my phone with audio on it. Here is what will be accompanying me this week:

 

 

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Grace Alban has spent more than twenty years avoiding her childhood home, the stately Alban House on the shores of Lake Superior, for reasons she would rather forget. But when her mother’s unexpected death brings Grace and her teenage daughter back, she finds more is haunting the halls and passageways of Alban House than her own personal demons.

Long-buried family secrets, a packet of old love letters, and a lost manuscript plunge Grace into a decades-old mystery about a scandalous party at Alban House, when a world-famous author took his own life and Grace’s aunt disappeared without a trace. The night has been shrouded in secrecy by the powerful Alban family for all of these years. Her mother intended to tell the truth about that night to a reporter on the very day she died—could it have been murder? Or was she a victim of the supposed Alban curse? Grace soon realizes her family secrets tangle and twist as darkly as the mansion’s secret passages.

My book club is reading this as this is one of our authors for Wine and Words in August.

 

 

 

 

 

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In this luminous debut, Margaret Wrinkle takes us on an unforgettable journey across continents and through time, from the burgeoning American South to West Africa and deep into the ancestral stories that reside in the soul. Wash introduces a remarkable new voice in American literature.

In early 1800s Tennessee, two men find themselves locked in an intimate power struggle. Richardson, a troubled Revolutionary War veteran, has spent his life fighting not only for his country but also for wealth and status. When the pressures of westward expansion and debt threaten to destroy everything he’s built, he sets Washington, a young man he owns, to work as his breeding sire. Wash, the first member of his family to be born into slavery, struggles to hold onto his only solace: the spirituality inherited from his shamanic mother. As he navigates the treacherous currents of his position, despair and disease lead him to a potent healer named Pallas. Their tender love unfolds against this turbulent backdrop while she inspires him to forge a new understanding of his heritage and his place in it. Once Richardson and Wash find themselves at a crossroads, all three lives are pushed to the brink.

Holy smokes…stumbled on to this one on audio and so far WOW!

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From the unique perspective of David Sedaris comes a new collection of essays taking his listeners on a bizarre and stimulating world tour. From the perils of French dentistry to the eating habits of the Australian kookaburra, from the squat-style toilets of Beijing to the particular wilderness of a North Carolina Costco, we learn about the absurdity and delight of a curious traveler’s experiences. Whether railing against the habits of litterers in the English countryside or marveling over a disembodied human arm in a taxidermist’s shop, Sedaris takes us on side-splitting adventures that are not to be forgotten.

I heard about this one in the car on the way back from the conference I was at this week.  Both the ladies I was riding with had been reading this and were raving about it.  I just started listening to it on my IPOD and it is good!

 

 

 

 That’s it for me.  What are you reading this week?  Please add your Its Monday What Are You Reading Post to the link 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 of # IMWAYR as well

 

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Morning Meanderings… Pre Expo Madness

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Good morning!  You ever have those days that coffee tastes better than other days?  This is a GOOD COFFEE day.  I am basking in the warmth of the cup while I write this post and process through my day.

Tomorrow late afternoon I will leave for the cities where I will stay overnight to catch my early Tuesday morning flight to New York.  This will be my second time ever flying alone.  My first time was last year when I went to the expo.  My roommate Cindy from Cindy’s Love Of Books is already making her way to New York via train and will get there at some point later today.

As for me and my day…. I have Church this morning, I want to get a pedicure today and finish mowing the lawn. Maybe not in that order 😛   Our bigger dog Mater will go to the kennel this afternoon as Al hubby works too much to keep him cooped up in his small kennel at home while I am away.  I need to pick up some groceries for Al.  Al wants to go the Star Trek movie this afternoon and then he said he would grill tonight so we can just hang out and relax.  That’s nice. 

I have all my clothes for New York laid out downstairs in the space bedroom/newly remodeled office.  And when I say laid out, I mean by outfits.  I am going to take a picture of them before I pack and I might even make a cheat sheet for my suitcase while I am at it.

Why???

Every year, no matter where I go that I live out of a suitcase, I almost always come home and while putting things away find something in the suitcase I forgot I had brought with.  This leads to a crazy conversation with myself that goes something like, “Oh, if I would have remembered I had brought _______________ (insert clothing item here) I could have worn __________.”!  My cheat sheet will let me know what outfits I had planned and possibly for when as well.  Do not judge me…. LOL

Tomorrow morning I work to get my office area a little more organized, and then I am off to the start of my Book Expo 2013 Adventure!  *note to self… pack energy supply*

As for books, it has been another strong book week here at Casa DeChantal:

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There will definitely be post updates from New York all this next week so keep checking in – and as my blogger anniversary is in June, I always come back with a little something for my readers as well 😀

Her by Christa Parravani

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Christina and Cara Parravini were identical twins.  Raised in a poorish home by a single struggling mother the girls made their own world between themselves eventually making their way to college, careers, and marriages.  While Christa kept moving forward, Cara seemed to get stuck in the past.  Unable to shake the happenings in their younger home life of revolving door “father figures” and rape, Cara struggles with depression, drugs, and inappropriate relationships with men.  Eventually her self-destructive behavior spirals out of control causing Cara to die at a young age.

As Christa deals with her sister’s death, she wonders if she too will fall into the same destructive behavior that took her sister.  She had battled so long and hard to keep her sister moving forward that without Cara to care for now, she hadn’t noticed that she had the same demons to fight.

 

 

 

 

*sigh*  I have really struggled with this review.  First let me say I can not imagine the bond between twins and especially twin girls.  I in no way mean to discount that, or the fact of the immense crushing loss of someone you are so close too.  I lost a sister when she was 5 years old and I know that pain, so I can imagine that losing someone you were with from the moment of birth into adult hood sharing so much has to be all that much more painful and for that, I extend my deepest sympathy.

I listened to Her on audio, which is narrated by the author, Christa Parravani.  I found the narration to be very monotone.  Very matter of fact and never really changing throughout the entire book. 

As far as the book itself, I struggled immensely with the self-destructive behavior not only in Cara, but eventually in Christa too.  The whole thing was extremely depressing like I could never catch a full breath as I waited for something light-hearted to happen – between the monotone narration and the all-consuming sadness of the book, it never came – or if it was there, due to the monotone narration, I missed it as “exciting” or “moments of lightness and humor” are not things you would say to describe this book.  In fact I would find myself using words like:   heavy, depressing, overly sad, confusing….

I wish I could say something more positive,  There was really nothing I enjoyed about this audio.  I remember thinking I was so glad I was an upbeat, fairly well-adjusted happy person as if I was a person prone to depression and read this book I think it would have been overall too much to handle.  In fact, it almost was. 

 

Now please do not take only my opinion on this book/audio.  Amazon and Audible.com both have great reviews posted about it.  It was just not a fit for me.

Morning Meanderings: Will The Real Saturday Snapshot Please Stand Up?

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Good morning and this time – really, happy Saturday.  If you were around a couple of days back.. you know that I woke up in a St Paul Minneapolis hotel room and promptly wrote a Saturday Snapshot post before I went downstairs to get coffee and go to the next session of my conference.

I wrote that Saturday post on Thursday.  😯

So….. other than a total lapse of what day it was… and probably a moment of “Where am I?”, when I woke up in that dark room in a huge bed of white sheets, white comforter, and more pillows than a Bed, Bath and Beyond….  my day went normally. 😀

Today…. on the REAL SATURDAY (I checked twice, it is Saturday), here is a little more about the Bremer L3 Training final session in Saturday Snapshot style. 

The Bremer L3 was a trial idea to connect libraries of different sizes, patron count, and other literacy agencies within Minnesota for 8 months and dream big, brainstorm together, learn skills to take your vision to the next level, and hopefully come out the other side feeling stronger and more confident about your place on this earth and your purpose within your literacy program.  6 Libraries were chosen, and 6 literacy agencies.

The Brainerd Public Library was lucky enough to be chosen as a participant.  I was lucky enough to have been asked to be part of our three person team.  Along with our Librarian Jolene and our Outreach Library Assistant Laurel.  We started last fall and had our final session this week.

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If you ever find yourself at The Coates Plaza Hotel and are in the elevator and see that the 22nd floor is labeled “Windows”, make sure you go up there.  Windows is just that, an entire conference room that is floor to ceiling windows.  The picture above is taken from that 22nd floor.  So are the pictures I posted on the false Saturday Snapshot. 😛

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The food is fantastic!  This is my lunch we had before our graduation.  We ate our lunch on the Windows floor.  It was delicious!  Salmon over my raspberry vinaigrette salad….. oh Yum!

1This was my dessert.  I didn’t want to eat.  I didn’t need the calories…. I knew it could not taste as good as it looked.  I did eat it.  It was as good as it looks.

4This was not my dessert.  This was Jolene’s who was sitting next to me…. she did not eat it (she was stronger than me).  For the record, I did not eat her dessert either.  😀

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In the end, we all graduated and received a certificate and a cool paper weight in a beautiful box that said L3 Participant .    The Bremer L3 trial was a success.  All groups involved had made huge steps in grants, and other ideas.  One small library is building an addition that will literally double its space.  Another has built up the confidence to get out in their community and promote library services and has already seen a change in their community for the better.  Others are adding programming and working smarter with other agencies in their community.  As for us, we applied for and received a large grant, and, we created Wine and Words.

When asked what was the best thing about the Bremer L3 training, my quick answer would have been that Wine and Words came out of this.  But, when I thought more about it, my true answer was spending that time in the car with Jolene and Laurel for the three-hour trips each way was even more valuable.  By spending time with them I learned more about our local library, after all they work there!  By spending time with them I was able to understand what out library does for our community, what has been tried, and what has not.  By bouncing ideas off them and receiving feedback, that is what built up my confidence to move forward into the volunteer positions I hold now.  Wine and Words could have easily been brought up during those car rides and decided it was not a good idea and that could have been the end of it.  It was an idea that had the potential of never leaving that car.  However, it was encouraged…. and therefore it is happening. 😀 

West Metro Mommy is currently hosting Saturday Snapshot.  Stop over there to see what others are posting about this weekend!

As for today…. I have some errands to run, a few things to prepare before I fly out on Tuesday morning to New York.  I am in that mode where I feel like I have plenty of time to prepare…. and at the same time think I don’t have enough time to prepare.  Good grief.  At least I know it is Saturday 😀

Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim

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Ahhhh Nellie Oleson, the villain of Little House On The Prairie before villains were cool.

~Sheila

Little House On The Prairie was a tv series that ran from 1974 – 1983.  Alison Arngrim was called in to read for the part of Mary.  Then she was called back to read for the part of Laura.  Then finally she was called in to read for the part of Nellie Oleson, the arch-enemy of Laura Ingalls…

the rest is history.

So what was it like to play a villain type character in the 70’s?  Alison Arngrin soon learned that is takes a thick skin.  Fans of the show could not separate Alison from the Nellie role she played on tv.  Yelled at, swore at, and even kicked to the ground in public.

From her heartbreaking home life as a child, to the ins and outs of the hit series, the cast the crew and all the serious as well as funny happenings in between… Alison shares an incredible story in Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here is my story.  I grew up on Little House On The Prairie.  I was younger than both Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim when the show aired in 1974 and I loved the episodes of family life in the Prairie.  I had read and loved the series of books and when I seen that Melissa Gilbert had written a book called Prairie Tale I jumped at the chance to get it.

But wait…. this review is about Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch!

Oh yeah… that….

So here is what happened.  I went on-line to purchase Prairie Life but on the same page I seen Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch and I snatched that one up instead.

What does that say about me?  😯

And here is what is true.  Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch starts out as a hard (emotionally) read.  Alison’s childhood was devastating.  When I started the book I found myself thinking, “I thought this was supposed to be funny?”  I will not go into detail about her childhood but I will say that it is amazing she came out the strong and emotionally secure person that she is. 

After Alison’s background story, once she gets to the role of Nellie, the books tempo picks up quite a bit.  Her amazing instant friendship with Melissa Gilbert, her odd non connecting with Melissa Anderson (who seemed to really connect with no one…) behind the scene happenings on the set, using her paycheck to buy her family’s food, the truth about Perceval her on-screen husband, and why she disappeared after the 7th season.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I read it over a weekend having trouble putting it down.  I enjoyed it so much that I ordered season one of Little House On The Prairie today as I want to watch the episodes again, the ones that Alison shares what is happening in the scene, so I can laugh again and remember my own childhood of watching those on The Prairie.

Little House On The Prairie lovers – this book is for you.  I am still gushing about this book a week later.

Fun fact – each of the main girls on LHOTP wrote a book… here they are:

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I hope to read the other two books someday.

Morning Meanderings/ (NOT!) Saturday Snapshot: A Room With A View

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Ok…. lol…. I wrote this post this morning totally thinking it was Saturday.  What a hot mess I am…. LOL  Then I went on ALyce’s site to link up thinking I was super cool as it is 6 am and look for early I am and… ummm …. yeah.  Anyhoo – I am leaving the post as is because I am at a conference and I do not have time to put together another post… so ha ha…. pretend it is Saturday with me 😀

Good morning!  I slept amazing last night. I am in Minneapolis at the last session on our Bremer L3 Training for Libraries and Literacy.  This is the activity I signed up for last fall along with Jolene who is out Library Manager and Laurel who works with outreach in our community through her role at the Library.

When we drove here at noon yesterday I was so tired having been up since 3:00 am the night before.  Why?  I have no idea… my head kept thinking of things I needed to be sure I did before I left.  I worked yesterday to noon, so I had to be packed and ready to go so I could leave right from work to meet up with the other two and e in the cities by 3:00.

We had a lovely afternoon of each group talking about what they have accomplished.  Our group was speaking last but what was cool about that as we all have to have a power point presentation ready of our experience, that being last, we were then able to pull up the Wine and Words website on the big screen and then they left it up.  AWESOME.  I think we sold at least a table for the event 🙂  WOO HOO!!!

So pictures.  From my hotel room on the Coates Plaza I have a lovely view of the Mississippi.  My pics are not awesome as I was shooting them through a window and I really need to figure out the camera on my phone before I am in New York next week. 

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So do you like the reflection of the lamp in my room in the second picture? 😀

This morning we have breakfast and then a couple of sessions, a celebration lunch as we are then done with our training and leave here at 1:00.  It has been a great experience.  Not only is it by attending this training that the idea came for Wine and Words, but hanging out with Jolene and Laurel has really helped me understand the library more in my role as a friend of the library.

If this actually was the Saturday Snapshot I would have directed you to Alyce’s post at, At Home With Books. 😀

The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson

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Ruth and Lucy and Anna are gamers.  Well, game designers, and all involved in different areas of the process of gaming and all that it en tales.  All three of these smart women really enjoy computer generated games.  The fact that there campus now sits where a former insane asylum once stood just adds to their creativity in designing.

As the three women challenge each others abilities they come up with the ultimate “live” role-playing game that will involve many people and the area around then based off the tragedy The Bacchae, with the prodding of Anna’s brother Anders.  The game, which morphs and changes as they go is based around the theme of the insane asylum and has potential until is starts to take a darker turn…. and what happens when the game touches too close to read life?

 

 

 

I love computer games.  When my sons were at home we would battle to play Nintendo, PlayStation and eventually Wii.  I especially likes role-playing games where I felt I could put myself into the game.  They still fascinate me, so the idea of this book was enticing…. I had to know more.

Lets start by saying I really wanted to love this book.  When I read the first few pages I was hooked into what by all intentions looked like it as going to be a fantastic read.  Strong smart women characters based around a reality game… and there is a lot to enjoy about this book.  For one, I really liked the unique writing style.  Conversation, blog posts, game speak, all engaging.  However, I never felt any real connection to any of the characters.  Drugs and drinking are frequently part of the game, which bothers me mainly as the book has a clear YA feel to it. 

Overall, it is a likeable read.  There was much I did like as I mentioned, and while the overall package wasn’t what I would say was a must read, I would easily say that Jenny Davidson is an author to watch.

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours to allow me entrance to the Magic Circle.

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The Girl Who Married An Eagle by Tamar Myers

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A cozy mystery set around a mission to the Belgian Congo!

~Sheila

 

In 1950 Ohio a talk is given at Julie Newton’s church around a mission in Africa and the need for people to go.  Totally energized by the thought, Julie signs up to go.  She winds up working in a school for runaway child brides.  One of these escaped brides is Bukane, she is beautiful, and has escaped from her arranged marriage with Chief Eagle.  Chief Eagle is a powerful man, not used to being denied any of his wants and seeks revenge on the school.  Bukane fights for her freedom, is attacked, and eventually finds her way to the school that Julie is working with.

Julie now finds herself in the position of having to save the school from this angry Chief and his people, while adapting to her new-found environment along with a cast of interesting characters to help along the way.

 

 

 

Why was I drawn to this book?  Having been on 11 mission trips to Honduras, the idea of going on a mission into Africa intrigued me.  The fact that this book is based on parts of Tamar Myers real life as a missionary in the Congo also pulled me in.  While it is a fiction read, I knew the author would know her stuff when it came to talking about the Congo and missionary work. 

I liked reading about Julie’s encounters on this mission.  I enjoyed that it was not all written in her high-spirited perspective, but also from  others perspective as well. You seen both sides of the culture and the description and character building was well done. 

What really captured me in this read is that while this is written for the 60’s, not a lot has changed in some of these countries.  Honduras still has parents who sell their young daughters to older men to secure the parents future, and never see their child again.  In our culture, that is unthinkable, but there, it is a means of survival.

The Girl Who Married an Eagle reminded me a bit of The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.  It just had that feel.  I think if you enjoyed those books, you would also appreciate this one.

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me

to pack my bags and head into the Congo for a while! 

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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.

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:

Kristen H (@bookgoil)

Kristen, shoot me your email and I will get that sent off to you 😀

I have several reviews to write.  This is what I did post about this past week:

 

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (Bookies book club choice)

 

 

The Kill Order by James Dashner (Before the maze….)

 

 

The Unauthorized Guide To BEA (Book Expo 101!  😛 )

 

 

As I am short on time this morning I am just going to give the brief version of I finished up Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch, I honestly do not know what I will start next.  I am listening to The Stranger on audio in my car and Seven: An experimental mutiny against excess, and QUIET on my IPOD.  All three should complete this week. 

Please share with me what you are reading this week!  Add your its Monday to the linky below where it says click here:


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