Monthly Archives: May 2014

Morning Meanderings: Awkward Moments At The Book Expo


Good morning from New York!  I have not dropped off the face of the earth, I have just been running from morning to night at the Book Expo in New York.

I have MANY things to share with you once I come home about the expo, the books, the people, the events…  but for now… just a funny little story and a couple of pics for Saturday Snapshot. 🙂

So… on Wednesday at the Blogger Convention, author Maureen Johnson was the keynote speaker.  At the beginning of her talk she mentions the book 50 Shades Of Gray.  Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and I have a joke about that book so I put on Twitter “20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” and tagged Alison.  (I did not realize due to poor internet reception that this tweet did not post but went into drafts instead.)

Anyhoo…. flash forward to yesterday morning and Alison and I are at the Children’s breakfast which was AMAZING with moderator, Jason Segel. (Yes!  That Jason Segel!) I put on Twitter that I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book expo.   Then Twitter pops up on my phone and says

“you have drafts to send would you like to send them now?”


I click yes… and before I know it, following my “I am at the Children’s Breakfast at the book Expo” tweet is…

“20 minutes in and already a mention of 50 Shades Of Gray” 





Anyhoo… today is my last day at the expo.  I am heading that way in about an hour to wrap up a few things but for my Saturday Snapshot post I thought I would send a couple of pics your way….  also, please see my posts at Armchair BEA where I have interviewed a couple of authors and publishing houses. 😀

zombie, New York, Book Expo, BookJourney, Sheila DeChantal

Outside… across form our hotel? Should I be worried? Is there where watching The Walking Dead pays off?


Harper Collins, Book Journey, Book Expo, Sheila DeChantal, Adriana Trigiani, Dorothy Benotn Frank, Stephanie Evanovich

The Harper Collins Blogger Party… from the left: Dorothy Benton Frank, me, Adriana Trigiani, and Stephanie Evanovich. Made my night!



Streets of New York


New York, Book Expo, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Walking back to our hotel – with (center) Alison from Alison’s Book Marks and (right) Candace from Beth Fish Reads


Catch you back in Minnesota!

LIVE! From New York! Day 1 Travel Day Woes


Hello from NEW YORK!  Egads Tuesday was A LONG TRAVEL DAY.  I left my home in Brainerd at 4:11 am and was at the hotel in New York at 6:45 pm.  GAH.  We had a bonus two hour lay over in Chicago due to poor weather.

My dinner consisted of a chicken black bean burrito that I grabbed from Laguardia airport before I caught my cab.  I want to complain about it but it was actually good…LOL and I am in New York so the “tude” needs to go away. 🙂

Anyhoo…. this morning I am on my way to the Book Blogger Convention where I will hang out and chat it up with other BOOK LOVERS and listen to the speakers, and take noted for posts when I get home and posts for Armchair BEA…. and then, I get to speak on the last panel of the day….


Engaging Your Readers: Take Your Writing to the Next Level


This all-intensive writing workshop will discuss how to create meaningful and engaging content outside of the classic book review and will take a closer look at ways to format and edit your blog posts.


  • How to captivate your readers with clever blog posts and improve your writing style
  • New ways to format your review and best practices for editing
  • Using social media such as Storify and Instagram as source material for blog posts

Mandy Boles
Mandy Boles

Nicole Bonina
Nicole Bonina
Linus’s Blanket

Sheila DeChantal
Sheila DeChantal
Book Journey

Jason Baker
Jason Baker
Mediander LLC

Watch Twitter for updates today from myself as well as many BEA attendees at #BEA14… this is about the only time of year that I really tweet.  😀

Morning Meanderings… Go Time! BEA!

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Good morning!  I am currently sitting at the Minneapolis airport with COFFEE and hanging out for the next hour before my flight leaves for Chicago… then off to New York.  Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness will be in this same airport , leaving about 30 minutes after me this morning.

Lets recap my morning so far:

1.  up at 3:30 am.  An ungodly hour in case you have never seen it.  😀

2.  Ready and car loaded I pull out of driveway by 4:11 am

3.  Drive in hard rain most of the way to the cities which makes for TENSE driving conditions when it is pitch black out.  Listening to the audio Delicious by Ruth Reichl and that made it pleasant.  🙂

4.  Park in airport parking but have trouble at the ticket station for parking and it does not give me a ticket…. go into parking lot ticket free, hoping my credit card swipe took care of all other “things that make me go STRESS” 😉

5.  check bag.  Pretty much hitch free.

6.  Talk to people in security line, a group of them are going on a tour…. kind of cool.

7.  Find gate and look at it.

8.  Stroll to nearest Caribou Coffee and “Sheila is here”


BEA!  It seems so long ago when Candace and I were chatting back in December about going and rooming together.  I believe she said she is taking a train today.  How cool is that?

I was digging around looking at some old videos I made recently I found this one I made after returning from the book expo in 2011:

It still cracks me up and yes it is a little embarrassing that I did that… but really is sums up the excitement.  If you listen closely you can hear me pause towards the end where I am trying hard not to laugh.  I hope the neighbors didn’t think I was nuts. 😀

So today’s agenda is pretty much just get there.  I land around 4:11 pm, then I need to make my way to our hotel which if all goes well I hope to be there by 5 – 5:30.  I have no plan for tonight so I may catch dinner, a show – or I may just stay in and prep for Wednesday which is a HUGE day.

I will be making posts as I can here, but definitely watch for my posts at Armchair BEA where I will be reporting on events at the expo as well as interviews with publishers, authors, and hopefully a few bloggers.

Yesterday at Armchair BEA they kicked off with an introduction meme and I was too crazy busy to participate but let me give you a small version now:

My name is Sheila and I have been blogging here at Book Journey for 5 years on June 9th.  I love many genres of books so this blog has been a fun outlet for sharing my diverse tastes with fellow readers.  One of the BEST things about writing reviews and bookish posts is that I get to connect with ALL OF YOU.  Some of you I have had the pleasure of meeting thanks to the Book Expo.

I will be at the Expo this week, but as mentioned above I will be chatting about it here, and on Armchair BEA.  You can still register to be a part of the arm chair…. I highly recommend it 😀

Most of you know me from my pic above, but since my hair has been cut since that pic – I will give you this one I took yesterday so those attending the expo hopefully recognize me and will say hi.  Seriously, say hi – it would be awesome to meet you in person and I am really tunnel visioned while at the expo so feel free to trip me to get my attention.

Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

See you on the BLOG!  😀

The Summer Of Letting Go by Gae Polisner


Summer has arrived and 15-year-old Francesca “Frankie” Schell has no big plans.  Four years ago while on the beach with her family, Francesca’s little brother Simon drowned while Francesca was supposed to be watching him.  Even now, Francesca’s mother is distant towards her and her father seems to be spending a little too much time at the single ladies house across the street.  Francesca’s best friend is always busy with her super cute boyfriend Bradley who Francesca wishes was her own.

With her home life a mess, Francesca goes to the local country club where she meets a darling 4-year-old boy named ironically Frankie and has a striking resemblance to Simon.  As more and more coincidences starts to come up, Francesca starts to wonder if there is such a thing as reincarnation or if this is some sort of cosmic alignment trying to help Francesca to move forward from the tragedy that has held her in place for so long.




The Summer Of Letting Go is an engaging summer read that brings you right into the world that Francesca lives in.  A powerful read of loss and moving on from the perspective of a teenage girl who not only has lived the pain of loss first hand, but also sees how if affects others around her.

I was surprised how engaged I became in this book.  Well written, I had at least two moments where I caught my breath.. Gae Polisner does a fine job of bringing you right to that teenage level of “emotion amplified” and I didn’t want the book to end.

If you do audio, I recommend listening to this one.  The narration of Tara Sands was excellent.  Tara handled the different characters flawlessly.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


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 with our office moving.  We finalized that today.  Here is what I did post this week:

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Book Expo and Armchair BEA

Naked by David Sedaris

Not Lost Forever by Caramina Salcido

The Here And Now by Ann Brashares

what Constitutes A SPOILER?  (chime in on this one!)


Since I am leaving for the book expo on Tuesday morning it will be hard for me to plan a schedule of what I will be reading.  I have audio I will listen to on my way to the airport and I will take my e reader and one  book but I have not decided what yet 🙂

So this week I would love to know, if you are not going to the expo, are you checking out Armchair BEA (I hope you are!) and of course, what are you reading?  Add your link to your what are you reading post below where it says click here:

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…


WHAT Constitutes a SPOILER?


Recently while reading a review, the writer had mentioned a surprising twist towards the end of the read that changed their thoughts on the book.  I am certain that in my review of this same book, I too mentioned a twist towards the end that really threw me for a loop. It had been a discussion on Twitter that saying there is a “twist”, is sort of a spoiler to the reader of the review who has not yet read the book.



I am reminded of Season Two Downton Abby.  For those who may not know, this is a British tv show on PBS that has caught the attention of many… addicting for sure… and that is not a spoiler… I don’t think.  😉  Anyway, a friend of mine who had finished the second season before I had, eluded to a big SHOCK that would be devastating once I knew it.  I remember from that point on each episode I watched I was waiting for it…. wondering, is that the big shock?  Is that?  When will it happen?  Who will it involve?  It may be safe to say that knowing something big was coming did take a way a bit of the experience as I was waiting for the BIG THING.



I can see how saying there is a shock, or a twist can lead to the reader waiting for that moment to happen – but I think it also builds up the read.  When I mention that a book shocked me or a twist really impressed me as I had no clue, to me, that builds value in the read.  If a reviewer I enjoy says something like this, it draws me closer to the book… the mention of a surprise makes me want to know… “Wow, what happens?


So the question before us is… is it?  Is it a spoiler to a book if we discuss that there is a twist at the end, or a change that happens that totally changed the way we felt about the book.

Also…  how do you define what a SPOILER is?  As Grace from Books Without Any Pictures recently (and brilliantly) said in a historical fiction review, “is it a spoiler if it actually happened?”


The Here And Now by Ann Brashares

The Here And Now, Book Journey, Ann Brashares

Premma James has lived in New York since she was twelve years old.   But Premma did not move from another state or another country to New York.

She moved from another time. The year 2090. The future.

In Premma’s time the world is in shambles due to a mosquito-born virus that killed millions.  For Premma, and those like her who have escaped to the past to live better lives, they are under strict rules:

1.  Never reveal where you are from

2.  Never interfere with history

3.  Never be intimate with someone outside their community

And that works just fine.  Until Premma meets Ethan Jarves.



YA with an environmental flavor!  ~Sheila


The Here And Now is A fairly quick paced YA read.  Premma makes for a wonderful environmentally conscious protagonist.  Her personal goals of trying to help prevent the future from happening as she knows it currently stands is admirable.

I enjoyed the read for the most part.  The way things fall together is a little convenient, however my enjoyment of world building books allowed that fact to lapse into the overall enjoyment of the book.


Fun Fact:  Ann Brashares is also the author of The Traveling Pants books, which was also a fun movie.  If you are familiar with that story you know what style of writer Ann is.  Her characters are relational and three-dimensional which makes for good reading!

Morning Meanderings… Motorcycling Book Lovers


Good morning!  Happy Sunday!  I had an AMAZING Saturday!  We went motorcycling with friends for the entire day, we left the house around 10 am and returned around 6:30pm.  It was GORGEOUS out!

PicMonkey Collage

Left: Our friends Key and Dan fueling up their motorcycles. Right: My hubby Al fueling up ours. (No, I do not drive my own. Yet. 😉 )


One of our stops on a restaurant by a lake.

After we came home we sat and talked on our back deck until about 8:30 pm.  If you know Al and I, we have very few days like this where Al (hubby) and I just get to hang out together. It was nice.


On the bookish side of things…



China Doll by Lisa See (so excited about this one – Lisa See is an amazing writer!)

The Dominion Key by Lee Bacon(fun middle grade!)

Hangman by Stephen Talty  (what is with me with these thrillers lately?)

Then and Always by Dani Atkins (ooh!!!!!)

Delicious by Ruth Reichl (I am especially excited to see her in New York!)

The One and Only by Emily Griffin (fun one for the summer!)


I am getting ready now for move day today.  I will be directing the office move from our current space and my partner in crime co-worker will be at the new building directing as it comes in.  Should be an exciting afternoon!

After that I have some shopping to do for New York, some planning for Al’s dinners while I am away and doing as much of all that today so tomorrow I can relax and do final prep for “go time!” on Tuesday. 😀

What are you doing with your Sunday?

Morning Meanderings… The End Of An Era


Saturday the 24th!  Egads…. in three days I will be on a plane for New York.  I feel like I have so much to do yet… shopping for me, shopping for the hubby, pedicure…..

If you have been following what has been happening here lately you know that tomorrow we are moving out of our current office space into a building we purchased.  YAY about our first building!!!  But…. if I were honest, I am a little sad too to leave the space I have worked in for the past 10 years.  My focus today for Saturday Snapshot is my office, as it looked this morning when I popped in.


This (above) is my desk.  Our office was in an old school, we officed out of the school library.  I find that poetic. 😉  As you can see my computer is gone, my phone is gone and the shelves are bare.



Here is the other side of my desk.  My chair has a label on it saying it goes with my desk.  Every box is labeled “Sheila’s Desk”, Dawn’s Desk”, Office storage”, etc…


2 - Copy

This is the rest of the library space in the “throws” of being packed up.



Empty shelves have always bothered me…..  😉


2a - Copy

This is the center space where all the Pastoral staff worked.  This is the cubicles that will be taken down tomorrow afternoon and moved to the new space.



This is the desk across from mine, my co-workers desk.  This is the original Librarians desk with a new front on it to match my desk that was built and placed in that space.


My job is a Family Life Administrator.  I work with the Children’s and Student (Teen’s) Pastor as well as the Connections Pastor.  What does that mean?  I keep track of classes, run all paper work for the three of them, contact people and keep on-line groups of people interested in studies, marriage classes, child dedication, baptism, membership.  I am also the Special Events Coordinator and I plan out events like a Fall Kick Off Party, summer picnic…   I really enjoy what I do.


Add your pics to the Saturday Snapshot meme by clicking on the link and going to West Metro Mommy’s blog.  You can also see what others are taking pictures of around the world.

I… am now heading outside to finish mowing.  In about an hour friends are coming over and we are going motor cycle riding with them this afternoon.  As busy as I am now, the break and hanging with friends is a welcome one. 🙂


Stay safe everyone this Memorial weekend.  Any fun plans?






Not Lost Forever by Carmina Salcido and Steve Jackson


On April 14th, 1989, Ramon Salcido came home and murdered his wife, Angela, her two sisters, and his mother-in-law.  He took his three young daughters; Sophia (4), Carmina (3), and 22 month old Teresa and drove around for hours eventually taking them to a county dump and slashing their throats one at a time.

Miraculously, more than a day later, the three children’s bodies were discovered and 3-year-old Camina was still alive.

You would think that Carmina had enough trauma to last a life time, but her run of unhappiness continued from there.  Now with no family who could care for her, Carmina is adopted by a highly dysfunctional family that changes her name claiming that “Carmina” had died that day and has now been reborn as someone new.  The bizarre behavior does not end there.  Eventually she winds up at a girls camp for troubled girls which was both mentally and physically damaging. Meanwhile, Carmina’s father is still alive in prison… and he would like to see her…



Oof ta.  You may wonder why this book, now 5 years after being published, I decided to read it now.  Interestingly, I found this audio by narrator.  Xe Sands has an amazing narrative voice and while looking for good audio and coming up with nothing that was catching my attention I tried looking up books by narrators (yup… you can do that).  When I read the synopsis on this book, on a true crime that I had never heard of, I knew I wanted to know more.

My heart breaks for Carmina.  What a devastating life she has led.  This book,written by Carmina, tells the events that surrounded the tragedy in her life starting at a very young age.  With the assistance of friends, relatives, and co-workers to her parents, Carmina is able to piece together what seems to have happened that fateful day that her father killed her entire immediate family.  Will Carmina every know all the answers?  No, but she seem to have a pretty good idea.

The audio, is smooth and the story line if well paced.  I was horrified to listen to what happened to this family.  Recommended.