Monthly Archives: March 2014

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!

Here is what I posted about this past week:

What Came Home With Me From The Spring Library Sale

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

A little update on my friend the bee keeper

 

I had a good weekend of audio and reading (yes reading!!!!)  Here is what I hope to dig into this week:

 

For my ears…

 

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Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.

Debut novelist Susan Rieger doesn’t leave a word out of place in this hilarious and expertly crafted debut that shines with the power and pleasure of storytelling. Told through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, and legal papers, this playful reinvention of the epistolary form races along with humor and heartache, exploring the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails. For Sophie, the whole affair sparks a hard look at her own relationships—not only with her parents, but with colleagues, friends, lovers, and most importantly, herself. Much like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Divorce Papers will have you laughing aloud and thanking the literature gods for this incredible, fresh new voice in fiction.

 

 

 

 

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Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip – a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfre. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well-liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there – which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier. But for some reason, he can’t shake the feeling that something strange is in the air this year. Something waiting in the darkness. Something wicked…

It comes to them in the night. An unexpected intruder, stumbling upon their campsite like a wild animal. He is shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry – a man in unspeakable torment who exposes Tim and the boys to something far more frightening than any ghost story. Within his body is a bioengineered nightmare, a horror that spreads faster than fear. One by one, the boys will do things no person could ever imagine.

And so it begins. An agonizing weekend in the wilderness. A harrowing struggle for survival. No possible escape from the elements, the infected…or one another.

 

For my eyes…

 

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In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.

 

 

I hope it is a good week to put in a little reading time.  I am curious as to what you are reading these days!  Please add your It’s Monday What Are You Reading to the link below where it says “click here”

 

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Morning Meanderings… Plethora of Books (or preparing for the Book Apocalypse)

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Happy Sunday!  What a L O N G week.  Yesterday was a great day of relaxing, reading (yes yes – I read!!!!!  Thank you Harlan Coben for yet another un-put-downable treasure!).  I cleaned up the book room, and between the books I brought home from the library sale and the books and audio that came in this past week…  I am ready for any book apocalypse and you are all invited over to survive with me.  No shortage of books here 😉

 

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I looked up “plethora” this morning to use in my post.  I wanted to be sure I was using the word correctly 😉 .  I do not particularity like the meaning… definitely excess yes, but too many or too much?

What’s too much?

😛

Any way – that’s my thought this morning.  After church I am on my way to the cities to a camp board meeting.  Admittedly I normally do not mind these two-hour drives as I can listen to audio but today I will have two other ladies with me in my car so no audio for me…. I know I know… I can try to not be such an introvert and actually talk with them.  😛

One more thing, we need to post a winner of the library book sale book win –

and that winner is:

Lexi Swoons

Lexi’s choice if she won was SPEAK and since I have already read that book I will be sending it off to her as soon as I have her address.  Thanks Lexi!

Have a super Sunday!

Morning Meanderings… All For The Bees

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Good morning.  Happy Saturday.  I am sooooo excited to have a pretty much “no commitment day”.  It has been about two weeks since I have had one of these.  😀

For Saturday Snapshot today I though it would be fun to bring up something I talked about a couple of years ago but recently revisited…

Bees.

A couple of years ago my friend Amanda took on the adventure of raising bees and harvesting pure organic honey.  Always fascinated with anything buzzy, shiny… I was in on that deal.  I was thrilled when she invited me over to help her out:

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May 2012

 

By spending a day with her, I learned so much about bees and bee keeping…. for one… it is a heck of a lot of work:

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The bee boxes – that she builds herself are filled with slats for bees to build their honey. 

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You put the bees into the boxes and they will weave themselves in and out of the slots and trays where they will be making honey.

 

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Every bee box needs a queen and you add her to the box just as seen here, in this little box that will have a marshmallow on the end. In about three days the bees will eat the marshmallow and the Queen will be set free to run her hive.  Crazy and fascinating stuff!  At the time of this picture Amanda was purchasing her queens, but she has since learned to create her own which is a talent not many of the bee people have which gives her a bit of a notch up.

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Above I showed you what a new bee box looks like, but this one is a well used box where bees have been busy doing their thing.  In this pic Amanda is looking for the Queen.  II felt a need a to capitalize, after all.. she is the queen. 😉

 

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It has been two years now since Amanda has started and her business is buzzing (sorry couldn’t resist!)  They now have a website called Buck’s Busy Bee’s and she travels between here in Central Minnesota to Florida where her bees are being used to help pollinate fruit trees. 

 

This past week their family was in a bit of a crisis with the sudden unexpected loss of a grandmother.  Amanda had 15,000 bee frames to make by today to be loaded on a truck that leaves tomorrow morning.  With the additional things going on this week she was unsure how she would ever make it happen.  Myself as well as a whole team of relatives and friends went over to her home on Wednesday and we made bee frames and bee boxes.  I only took one picture while I was there – but I wish I would have taken more of everyone working together to make deadline.  It really was a cool thing to see and I learned something new… how to build the bee box frames.  😀

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This is from Amanda’s garage where we built the frames (up close) that go in the boxes (far right).

As the frames are glued… I was covered in it!  It was a good time though and I was happy to help. I hope to get out there more this year and help her.  This fall I will be writing an article about Amanda and the bees for Her Voice magazine.  I am happy to share her story 🙂

 

 

Tilt by Ellen Hopkins

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18-year-old Mikayla has been in love with Dylan and can imagine herself with no one else.  Dylan feels the same.  Yet when their relationship becomes a bit risky and Mikayla finds herself pregnant and Dylan gives her an ultimatum; what will she do?  Where will her loyalties fall?

16-year-old Shane has finally found someone he feels he can love; Alan.  It is no secret to his classmates or family that Shane is gay, but Alan is HIV positive.  Shane’s parents can not handle the additional stress in their life as Shane’s sister is already terminally ill and at the end of her life.  As his mom spends all her time worrying and his dad turns to whatever relief he can find inside a bottle; Shane wonders if they will ever have time or love for him.

14-year-old Harley has been the type of girl her parents never had to worry about.  She gets good grades and stays out of trouble.  Yet when she starts to dress a little riskier she enjoys the approval of the boys who start to notice her, especially the older boy who gives her chills to think she has caught his eye.  Of course, what Harley is taking as love, the older boy wants something completely different – and Harley is his target.

Three teens whose lives are about to tilt off course share their stories in first person perspective.

 

 

When I first heard of Tilt I liked the thought of each of these teens telling things from their first person perspective.  I figured I would like this style of narration, I did not count on enjoying this read as much as I did. 

Ellen Hopkins once again does an excellent job of getting inside the teenage mind and sharing with us their voices as they deal with the all so real topics of today:  pregnancy, drug use, relationships… I found myself engaged in each story line as you did not only hear from these three main voices, but also from their parents, and their friends, and their relationships. 

Listening to this on audio was a wonderful way to go on this one. Each voice was distinctive and I enjoyed hearing the emphasis and questions in these voices as they navigated through life making decisions and acknowledging the consequences of those decisions. 

I really enjoyed this audio and while everything was not tied up in a neat little bow at the end, I don’t think it needed to be.

While Tilt is a stand alone YA book, it is actually a companion to Ellen Hopkins book, Triangles, which is about Mikayla, Shane, and Harley’s parents.  Another brilliant move by Hopkins and now Triangles is on my list of books to read. 

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Tilt fills the Nevada slot!

 

Morning Meanderings… “Sheila, Do You READ Books Anymore?”

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Good morning. 

As I have been writing reviews lately I have noticed that almost every time I am saying, “I listened to this one on audio” or “The narration really lended this one to a degree that I am not sure it would have reached in book format….”

Yes… almost every time I am writing audio reviews.

It’s not that I am not picking up books… it is just that it is taking me a while to get through them. As I try to figure out why that is part of it is that in the evenings I have been watching tv with the hubby instead of reading. On weekends I am busy running around or cleaning so that is audio time… and I think this long winter has attributed to it as well… instead of reading, I am turning on the tv at night, half watching the show, and half playing scrabble on my laptop.  😯

Hmmmm…. something has got to give 😉

I am hopeful that this weekend will lend to a little reading time.  It has been a busy week (again) I have been helping a friend with a family members funeral that will take place this afternoon.  I ran this past weekend after the book sale ended, and Sunday I have a board meeting in the cities. 

It has been a whirlwind week.  I am ready for it to slow down a bit and allow book time 🙂

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

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Think Green Mile, but this time told from the prisoners view.  Do not pick this one up unless you have time to hang out awhile.  Totally engaging! 

~Sheila

 

From behind the bars of a death row prison, an unnamed inmate tells a story of the people he sees and heard from his cell.  Although confined, he tells elaborate detailed tales of those around him as well as what is unseen by the eyes of those on the outside.  He does not speak, yet you see everything through his eyes and ears, not throught the eyes of a visitor; but as a long term prisoner.  There is a lady who comes to the prison and tries to save those who have been sentenced to death, investigating their past – but she never so much as looks at our narrator.  And there is a Priest who tries to be who he was meant to be, but struggles with the reality of who that person may be….  both the Lady and the Priest while working to help the prisoners in different ways through this time, have inner secrets of their own that our narrator can reach inside and pull out of their hidden places….

As the story unfolds, you too start to feel as though you have melted, pooling into the pages and through the prison bars that have held your thoughts for far too long…

 

 

 

Honestly the book is breathtakingly and terrifyingly sad.  And beautiful. And imaginative.  And a powerful look at the absence of hope from one who does not find value in hope.   I am so glad I decided to try this one on audio.  The narration really set the pace of the book in an observing tone of one that has nothing but time… at least for now.

As I described above, the book turned my solid thoughts on what I felt inside of such a story of death row and softened my heart to see and feel the story behind the prisoners prison; with or without the bars that society felt held him tight when indeed his thoughts ran free, uninhibited by space or time. 

I listened to this book on audio and find the narration to be truly gush worthy.  In the end, I feel I walk away from this one with something more than when I began. 

 

 

Spring Book Sale and A Chance To Win One Of These Books!

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Good morning.  Sorry about the funky size of the top pic here… I woke up this morning and apparently WordPress has made a few changes and my ability to resize pics the way I want from within WordPress is no more.  Hmmmmm….

Anyhoo –

This past weekend was the spring book sale at our library and we had a BLAST not only working the sale but shopping the sale.  Here is what I came home with:

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I am pretty excited with my haul – there are some fun reads in here. So as always, my book sale gets to be your book sale too.  In the comments put the title on one of these books that you would love to have.  I will choose at the end of this week one random winner (using random.org). Then I will read that winners choice in April and then send it to them to keep.

I hope you can see the titles ok – this was a great sale and I am still drooling over these pretties 🙂

Have a super day!

 

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!

Crazy busy week.  I have not been around much with the Library sale going on, so here is my small contribution of posts this past week:

Making Of A Library Sale

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkowski

Seriously.. that’s it.  😯  Moving forward this week, I am cruising along in audio and hope to get these gems this week:

For my ears:

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Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: Because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them – and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Love Oliver’s books!

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Love—good and bad—forces three teens’ worlds to tilt in a riveting standalone novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins.

Three teens, three stories—all interconnected through their parents’ family relationships. As the adults pull away, caught up in their own dilemmas, the worlds of the teens begin to tilt.

Mikayla, almost eighteen, is over-the-top in love with Dylan, who loves her back jealously. But what happens to that love when Mikayla gets pregnant the summer before their senior year and decides to keep the baby?

Shane turns sixteen that same summer and falls hard in love with his first boyfriend, Alex, who happens to be HIV positive. Shane has lived for four years with his little sister’s impending death. Can he accept Alex’s love, knowing his life, too, will be shortened?

Harley is fourteen—a good girl searching for new experiences, especially love from an older boy. She never expects to hurdle toward self-destructive extremes in order to define who she is and who she wants to be.

For my eyes:

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It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her.  But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable. 

As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

That’s the plan!  Whats your plan?  Add you r link to Its Monday What Are You Reading below where it says click here. 🙂

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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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Morning Meanderings… Sunday – End Of The Crazy

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Good morning!  I have been pretty much absent the whole week between work and the spring book sale and then last night we ran a 5k at 9 PM at night called the Glow Baby Glow for March Of Dimes.  It was cold fun, and zapped the battery right out of my phone so unfortunately I have no cool pics to go with this post… I can however, show you a picture of what the spring friends of the library sale looked like yesterday morning:

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Yesterday was the final day of the three-day sale and the bag sale.  You pick up a paper bag and fill it with whatever you can get in the bag for $2.  People went crazy… we had 8 and 10 bag purchases… hundreds of bags went out.  I can not wait to hear our totals!

Needless to probably say, I am wiped out.  I worked the sale all three days and then ran a 5k.  Poetic I think.. but maybe just crazy.  😛

Here is a pic of the books that came in this past week:

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Some great titles here I am really excited about.  Not sure about the two audio – both were unsolicited so I need to check and see if they sent me the wrong ones, or what this is about.  🙂 

Anyhoo – I hope to have some real reading time this afternoon.  I am pretty excited to just have a quieter week this week.  I hit it pretty hard the last couple weeks between the sale and preparing for the sale.  Now… I am ready to chill 🙂

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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17-year-old free-spirited Kestral lives in a Dystopian time of war.  At this point in her young life her General father has given her the choice of being a part of the ever needy military or to be married. Kendral has no plans of doing either.

While in the village watching a slave auction a young handsome boy up for bid catchers her eye.  Arin, also carries a similar attitude to Kestral and Kestral picks up on this like-mindedness right away and she purchases him at a price that sends the crowds tongues wagging.

Kestral could tell he was not a boy who would be easily broken and she finds herself becoming fond of him in ways that would not be considered acceptable.  But Arin himself has plans… plans that no one would have expected, plans that can turn everything upside down.

 

 

The Winners Curse was an interesting listen on audio (yes audio again… life is busy 🙂 ).  I enjoyed the twist of plot on what could have been a very predictable story.  The book is set in a dystopian type of world but it also has historical elements that drew me in a little deeper to the story giving me a connection to this world.  Likeable characters, and kick butt finish… I have to say if this is a genre you enjoy you should give it a try.