Monthly Archives: December 2013

Morning Meanderings.. Books coming into the New Year

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Good morning!  I am drinking COFFEE!  Yes, COFFEE.  Why the big deal?  I After being sick I didn’t touch coffee for 5 days.  Finally (Finally!) my tummy is ready to handle it again… so yeah!  YAY!

This is the post I wanted to put up Sunday morning and then didn’t so instead… here are some items that came in the mail this past week that are book room worthy:

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10 copies of Labor Day by Joyce Maynard came for my book club!  We won a contest along with other book clubs to read the book, and then they are sending us movie tickets to see the movie and a $100 gift card to buy some goodies for our get together.  How super fun is that?  Way cool Harper Collins!!!

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I won this fun pack of swag and this awesome looking read! 

1e…and a couple other fun reads and Evertrue is a win from Me, My Shelf, and I

1eeeOh yes, and books came my way as well.  Ahhhh…. just looking at them brings up visions of blankets and reading in this cool Minnesota weather.

And as this in New Years Eve (I know right???  How did that happen?) I have to share the Challenge I am joining that I thought would be fun (its one I need to do anyway as some EPIC last in the series reads are coming out this year!  Now I am not so organized that I can name the ones for sure other than the last book in the Mortal Instrument Series *sigh*and…well you get the point.

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And it is the last to sign up and get in on the fun that the First Book Of The Year is going to bring.  I am soooo excited about this!  We now have over 80 book lovers signed up to participate in showing off the book they will be reading to kick off the New Year!  It’s easy, there are no trap doors or hoops to jump through, I just think it is super cool to see up reading all over the world!  I will announce my first book of the year in the morning. 🙂

You may still sign up here:

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and then a final plug for The WHERE Are You Reading Challenge... always a good time… and seriously, who doesn’t like to travel?  And if not in a plane, then from the comfort of your chair?

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That is all. 🙂  I work today, and not sure what we are doing tonight yet but I think laying low may be the plan.  I leave early in the morning for the first run of the year in the cities.  🙂 

Movie Review: JOBS

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Always fascinated with movies about people who have done amazing things (IE.  I am a huge geek for the Social Network movie about the creation of Facebook), I had to see the movie Jobs.

Jobs is the story of Steve Jobs and his creation (yes yes… I am aware he didn’t do it alone) of Apple computers.  This is a fascinating story because much like what Mark Zuckerberg did for social networking, Jobs did for computers and putting them into our homes – as well as I Tunes, I Pod, I Pad, I Phones…

I feel Ashton Kutcher did an amazing job as Jobs.  If you see the movie (and I hope you do) watch Kutcher’s walk… he has it right down as Steve.

I enjoyed the movie thoroughly was fascinated by the early years how Apple came to be and while Steve was not necessarily the brain that put it all together, he was (and is) the heart and sole of Apple and what I believe made it what it is today.

I listened to Steve Jobs on audio a while back and really enjoyed it.  I have to say I got more out of the audio then I did the movie.  The movie, sadly seems to be unfinished.  Towards the end everything seems to rush together, you see him with his daughter but you have no idea how that came to be… there is a woman in his life and I am not sure who she is, he walks back into Apple makes some big changes and before we even get into I Tunes, the personal computer, I Pod…. it is over.  Ending on a cliff of what is next.  Sure, most of us know what happened next but still…I feel Steve’s story was incomplete and they do not even elude to his death or the cause.

This one probably about a C- rating from me and for that… I am sad.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Hey there!  Welcome to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading!

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. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list!

What a Crazy Awesome week!  First I worked two 12 hour days Monday and Tuesday to have the rest of the week off.  And thank goodness I did as I spent Wednesday, Christmas Day projectile vomiting (think Exorcist)…. yeah, sorry to be so graphic but i was SICK.  And I was sick Thursday.  AND I was sick Friday… and Saturday I ran a fever but was moving around.  Today was my first solid food since Christmas, BUT I did get to have both my kids here AND I am feeling much better today except for a headache (yes yes I am pounding the liquids). 

SO… despite my disgusting intro.. here is what I posted this week:

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt  (powerful read!)

My 2013 blog review year with best books and audio

Highlights of 2013 in picture collage (the trips, the rides, the snow, the mud….)

Parkland by Vincent Bugliosi ( the 4 days surrounding the Kennedy assassination)

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple  (what a funny quirky book!)

and shameless plugs for two fun challenges coming up….

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It’s not even really a challenge its more of a “join in!” – I am inviting everyone to pick out that awesome first book that will be in your hands on January 1st and join in on welcoming in the new Year together bookish style.  Check out the post here, 58 people are already signed up… I hope you will consider as well 🙂

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Its my 4th year hosting the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge and this one is fun and easy!  You just keep track of what states/countries your books are mainly set in and try to hit all the states in a year.  It really is fun!  Here’s the link with details 🙂

as for this week this is what is on tap going into the New Year:

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Kate’s in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, and Kate must come get her daughter—now. But Kate’s stress over leaving work quickly turns to panic when she arrives at the school and finds it surrounded by police officers, fire trucks, and an ambulance. By then it’s already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.

An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating has jumped to her death. At least that’s the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one she forces herself to believe. Until she gets an anonymous text: She didn’t jump.

Reconstructing Amelia is about secret first loves, old friendships, and an all-girls club steeped in tradition. But, most of all, it’s the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.

EEP!  Right???  This may be the one I choose to be my first read of the year.  It is also our Book Club choice for January.

 

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If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
 
In this irresistibly imagined below stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Mmm hmmm… right?  You know you want to read it!  Thanks to Candice’s review at Beth Fish Reads for this one hitting the TBR.

 

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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love – and at the center of a narrowing, ever-more-dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Another one I have heard the raves about… I cautiously approach this one it.  It is 32 hours on audio.  32 hours.  Yikes.

 

I suppose that is all… at least as far as I know 😉  I am anxious to see what you will be reading into the New Year.  Please add your link to your Its Monday post below where it says click here.  I am going to try to get around to everyone this week to check in.

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For those of you that read mainly middle grade and children’s books, be sure to also link to the younger version of It’s Monday by using the link below!

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Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

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Bernadette Fox was once an architect that was coveted by many.  She had won awards and was sought after my big industry names.  Married to Elgin, a head honcho with Microsoft, they could very well have been considered a power couple.

After many miscarriages, Bernadette gives birth to fragile but beautiful baby girl who they name Bee.  As the years go on Bernadette goes farther and farther away from who she once was, so far in fact that she hires a woman from another country on-line to do all her personal errands from shopping, to appointments, travel planning and more.  If Bernadette can avoid socializing with other people she is happy and chooses not to leave her house unless necessary. 

Bee now 15, aces her report card and as her reward she is given the choice of any trip she wants and Bee chooses a cruise ship to Antarctica.  At first Bernadette is filling her time making plans for the trip, purchasing excursions on-line and ordering up multiple pairs of everything to be delivered and tried on and returned if not right.  Yet as the trip grows closer Bernadette becomes fearful of the trip itself and the people all the people on the cruise who will want to small talk and there will be no place to breathe and….

Bernadette disappears.

Bee now is looking through the pieces that led to her mothers disappearance – emails, letters, travel notes… trying to find the mother she loves and bring her back home.

Where’d You Go Bernadette is a fun crazy tilt a whirl of a read.  Do not enter this book with the thought that you are about to read something deep and profound and Kleenex at hand…. instead enter this one with the anticipation of a fun house at a carnival filled with plenty of those wacky mirrors that cause you to see things as they truly are not. 

This book is impracticable, unrealistic, and border line insane.  Yet… it is also captivating, encouraging, and witty like a Janet Evanovich read.  You read this one for pure enjoyment.  The neighbors are crazy.  Saltine cracker with cool whip on it crazy.  The school faculty is stuck up and Elgin… well, lets just say he belongs with Bernadette. 

I wanted to read this book because earlier this year my book club read This One Is Mine by this author and truly did not like it across the board.  (Read my review here… we honestly think it is a Midwestern thing).  I had heard such good things about this book I had to give the author a second chance. 

I listened to this book on audio and Kathleen Wilhoite did an amazing job as narrator (there is a point she sings that wowed me). She captivates the voices of Bernadette and Bee very well. 

Overall… grab your Skittles and a cherry flavored slurpy and you are ready to dig into this one… its crazy unrealistic and funny bone funny and I am sure that is exactly what the author was going for.

Parkland by Vincent Bugliosi

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The morning held promise.  John F Kennedy prepared for his day where he would be in a motorcade in Dallas Texas,on a route that would give him the most exposure tot he people.  It looked as though it would be a wonderful day.

Lee Harvey Oswald started his day out early.  By the time his wife Marina awoke, a note had been left for her with some cash stating to go and buy something that the children needed.  This was highly unusual for Owsald.

As the two mens lives and deaths collide as the morning rolls out and by 12:30 in the afternoon as Kennedy’s motorcade rolls past the Texas School Book Depository a gun shot shatters through the air.

Kennedy, rushed to Parkland Hospital and as the medics try to save the Presidents life, they are to no avail and President Kennedy is pronounced dead within an hour of the gun shot.

As the story wraps around Parkland and Oswald and witnesses and investigations… it is interesting to know that Oswald himself will be at this very same hospital, at Parkland, fighting for him life within 40 hours.

 

 

At the time of Kennedys death I was not even a thought yet.  Kennedy was gone 4 years before I ever had a breath in my lungs, yet isn’t it amazing how I as well as others of my age and younger still can feel such compassion and pain for the loss of this man.

Parkland, originally titled Four Days In November is about the events that surrounded Kennedy’s untimely death as well as the timeline of Oswald during that same day and the next few days afterwards.

I listened to Parkland on audio and this was one of those audios that kept me in the car in the garage long after I arrived home so I could find out what would happen next.  Well done, Vincent is an amazing writer and George Newbern also narrated well for a difficult historic recap of the Kennedy Assassination.

Definitely take the time to listen to this one.

 

Saturday Snapshot – Pictures of 2013

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Hmmm… not really a morning meandering as I putted around this morning prepping pictures and an exciting book club announcement (more on that later) and yeah… any hoo… its after noon.

I wanted to post for this final Saturday Snapshot of 2013 some highlights of this past year.  So here they are:

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There it is.  I know I am missing many from my earlier in the year computer crash.  But this covers a lot of it.

Any highlights of your 2013?  Any hopes and plans for 2014?  I have many… but that… is another post 🙂

Check out Saturday Snapshot to see what else is happening in around the world in pictures.

2013 – A Look Back… The Books, The Rides, and all the craziness in between

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Holy smokes… where did the time go?  Here we are creeping up on 2014 at break neck speed and I need a moment to look back over the year that is… 2013.

Join me please for a walk through of 2013… the best moments (maybe a couple “UGH” ones) … shall we begin?

January

Best books of the month:

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The Midwives Tale by Sam Thomas

The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker

It was also the first 5k of the year which was an obstacle course called The Ice Man

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February

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Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

 

March

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Six Years by Harlan Coben (rumors are this one could be a movie!)

 

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7K run for St Patricks Day… it was like 20 below zero – SOOOOO COLD!

 

April

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The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

May

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While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

Return To Sullivan Island by Dorothea Benton Frank

June

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Quiet by Susan Cain

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

July

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Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

 

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Bookies Queen Event!

Rescuing Mater… a year later

 

August

Wine and Words – 1st Annual Brainerd book event

8 posts.  I had 8 posts in August.  WOW.  An all time low.  I had the camp bike ride, then a week of working at the camp, then a mud run, then Wine and Words.I guess that explains August.  I read…. nothing. 

September

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The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

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A little time in a police car

October

Yes I read, but nothing I would consider “the best of”

1bLadies Night Out – Halloween Style

November

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The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty

City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City Of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

 

Mmmm hmmm…. had a bit of a Cassandra Clare episode.  😉

 

December

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

City Of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

I read a lot of older titles this year.  And I really lacked in the summer months.  I am hoping 2014 will be a fresh start.  I am really looking forward to the New Year 😀

1st Book Of The Year! Join Us!

1a  Join us for the First Book Of the Year 2014!  Currently we have 40  58  80 participants!  Join in, its easy and fun 🙂

*Note – this is a sticky post – all new posts are below. 🙂

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

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A portrait of finding those you have loved and lost in the hearts of others.

Beautiful.  ~Sheila

14-year-old June Elbus thought the sun and moon rose and sat around her Uncle Finn.  He was her everything, her confidant and the one who really understood her.  He was an artist, known for his may with a canvas and he even created an incredible painting of June and her sister Greta. In the early 80’s it was hard for people to talk about what made Finn sick, but June’s mom (Finn’s sister), sat June down and explained that Finn had AIDS.

Suddenly June’s world is turned upside down.  She now has to fear what happens in Finn leans in to hug her, of offers her a drink of his beverage. And then, Finn dies.

At the funeral June sees a very sad-looking man and learns another shock.  This man, Toby, has been Finn’s long time partner of 9 years.  June’s mom will have nothing to do with him saying that he is the one who gave Finn AIDS.  Yet slowly as time goes on June meets with Toby and starts to learn about a side of Finn she never knew.  Hiding the fact she is meeting Toby from her family who would not approve and her always accusing eye of her troubled older sister Greta, June expands her world and understanding of how fragile life can be.

There are so many layers to this story that it is hard to put into a review.  Obviously the main story is of Finn and June and AIDS.  But there is also the painting of June and Greta that follows right along throughout the book in a powerful way – almost a metaphor of how life is never how we see it at one glance and how we are always changing and growing in ways that are seen and unseen.  And there is also Greta, battling her own demons as almost this under layer of turmoil that everyone is caught up in.

Powerful?  yes.  There were a couple of things in the book that I felt were unnecessary, and I am just going to say it. Toby drinking and smoking with June probably had some purpose to the story.. something about living on the edge or throwing caution to the wind – but it bothered me because 1) June is 14 and 2) Toby is an adult (30’s I believe) and should know better.  It just felt unnecessary.

Ok that said – the book is a brilliant look into the scare of the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s and the reaction of the families it touched.  It takes a young girl to see through the disease to the people, and for that reason, the book is brilliant.

I listened to this one on audio and Amy Rubinate narrated this very well.

Morning Meanderings… Christmas At The DeChantals -a lot of fun… a little sick

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Mmmmmm good morning all.  I hope you all survived the holiday.  We had the best one here, for the first time in 4 years both boys were home.  We hung out all day yesterday, opened gifts in the morning, watched movies, ate ham and goodies, snowmobiled and enjoyed each others company.  I have been looking forward to this for months.

And I was sick. 😦

Mmmm hmmmm.  I felt myself getting a little tingly in the morning while we opened gifts.  I only ate a little bit of the dinner  hoping it would pass. When they went snowmobiling I caught a quick nap hoping it would pass.  No such luck.  I ached, I was cold, could not get comfortable.  Our tradition is that Justin and I stay up late and watch Harry Potter movies.  By 9:30 pm and after my third bought of throwing up – I had to give up.  Justin went to hang out with friends and I went to bed.

Crap.

On the upside… I feel good today.  I am drinking tea this morning, taking it easy and not rushing back into the straight coffee just yet.  When Justin gets up we will resume out Harry Potter tradition, we are late but we are not defeated. I have today with him before he will leave to go back to Mankato tomorrow morning. 🙂

We did (sickness aside) have a beautiful Christmas.  Justin is starting a fund for his move to Oregon after he graduates in May so we got him a piggy bank that keeps track of how much is in it and gave him a bit of a start to his savings.  Brad received a nice gift card to Walmart and they both received the usual things we get them – socks, Axe kits (deodorant, shampoo, body wash, spray all in a kit), Brad received a t-shirt of Breaking Bad and Justin a book as he is my reader buddy. 🙂

Al received a nice hoodie, gloves, new jeans, t-shirt and Justin gave us a nice gift certificate to Olive Garden and Brad gave us surround sound for our TV and hooked it up for us. 

I received an awesome candle, chocolates, a cool sign that spell out in large Scrabble letters R E A D and my hubby gave me a gift certificate to have an automatic starter put in my new vehicle so I can start it while I am still in my office at work on these cold winter days.  And of course, The Monster Series runs which the first one is next Wednesday.

This morning the house is quiet.  I am going to read a few blogs and listen to a little audio before things take off here.  Enjoy your Thursday everyone. 🙂  Next up…. New Years!