Monthly Archives: October 2014


QUarantined, Joe McKinney, audio, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

In San Antonio Texas, life and all it entails, goes on for Detective Lily Harris, even in the midst of a horrifying flu outbreak that is killing people.  Living inside the quarantine walls to hopefully contain the virus, Lily and her two children try to have a somewhat normal life with the addition of face masks and protective clothing on at all times. Food and supplies are hard to come by unless you use the black markets.  Even in these hard times, Lily must continue to work to provide for her family.

While working her shift, Lily discovers a female murder victim among those who died from the flu virus.  As Lily investigates the murder, another strain of the flu virus surfaces, and Lily finds herself in the middle of a government conspiracy that if leaked tot he public would cause an all out war.

Now Lily, with limited time, must find a way to get herself and her children through the heavily guarded quarantine walls and bring what she has found out to light in order to save them all.


Outbreak stories can be some scary stuff.  When I downloaded this audiobook, it was before the Ebola virus was hitting the news.  Listening to it now knowing about the dangerous virus, put another level of fear to this book.

The book is dark and gives you the feeling of being on the inside of a quarantined wall.  You do not hear much about what is going on beyond the wall with the rest of the world.  Food is dropped in, but as the story goes on, supplies become low.  As if that is not frightening enough, finding bodies from the flu is an every chapter occurrence.

What was unique about this read was that Lily tries to maintain a somewhat normal life for kids throughout it all.  I enjoyed reading about her trying to find certain ingredients to make a cake, and planning a birthday party for her daughter even in the middle of chaos.  It was refreshing to know that as humans, we try through it all to maintain some sense of a life.

Unique read.  I listened to this one on audio, narrator Therese Plummer (I interviewed her earlier this year) does an excellent job.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 9 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: November 22, 2011
  • Print Length for Kindle: 218 pages


Morning Meanderings… First Day In Florida!


Good morning!  Happy Halloween!

We landed in Orlando yesterday afternoon, had lunch at a wonderful spot, went to Walmart for some supplies for the hotel and found our hotel.  Our plan was to book the same hotel we did the first year we came, two years ago.  It was a great room with a kitchen, a living room with couch and a chair and table, and a separate bedroom.  It was great if one of us was tired and one was not so we did not disturb each other.  I thought that was what I had booked again… but alas …. no.

The hotel we are at is fine… but has a SUPER clean smell.  An overly clean smell… to the point that it gives me a headache.  And it is just a standard room, also fine as we are hardly ever there, but not what we had hoped for.

We drove around looking for our original hotel.  We walked the area we did that year to go to the restaurant Fridays, and he other little shops we had walked that year… we still could not find our hotel.  Later at our current hotel I started Googling all hotels on that road and looking at pics… I think I finally found it but it has a new name and look.  We may go check it out today for future bookings.


Today we will be at Universal Studios.  More importantly….

Harry Potter World.

I am so excited!  We will be there by 9 am when it opens and I hope to go on the train first.  Yes yes… I will totally have my geek on.  🙂  I am so looking forward to this!


Later tonight, we want to go to the movie Nightcrawler.  It looks good!


SO that will be our second day in Florida!  Remember the kick off to the Harry Potter Reread/Readathon  starts tomorrow.  Still time to join in!   I started reading book one on the plane.  Still, it amazes me how much is said in each book that leads to things to come.

The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

ellen archer 3 - Copy

Julie Bishop’s life has fallen apart.  Her husband’s sneaky dealings becoming public, then his sudden death, have left Julie torn apart and bankrupt.  When a stranger arrives at her doorstep and offers her a job taking care of his mother who is thought to be dead, and offers Julie an escape from her worries and the public, Julie agrees.  What does she have to lose?

When Julie arrives at the beautiful mansion on Lake Superior she can not began to believe her luck.  House maids prepare all the meals and make her whatever she wishes, she has her own private room, a beautiful in-house library, and as it turns out, the lady she is looking after, Mrs. Sinclair, was once a famous author and a delight to keep company with.

Yet things, sadly are not all as they appear.  For one, there is a photo of a woman who looks shockingly like Julie.  And there are strange sighting, glimpses really of movement, and a lot of hush-hush when Julie tries to address what she is seeing to Mrs. Sinclair’s son.  Then there is the phone call… an impossible phone call from someone Julie knows for certain is dead.

What exactly has Julie signed up for?



Wendy Webb writes crazy good spooky reads from Minnesota.  The Vanishing is just the type of book you want to curl up with on a cool dark evening.  I absolutely enjoyed this book with its gorgeous but eerie settings.  There is also something about tying books and authors within stories that fully grabs on to me.  Throw in a few ghosts, a good-looking guy, and you have yourself the makings of something awesome.

This is not my first experience with Wendy Webb.  I enjoyed The Fate Of Mercy Alban a couple of years back.  I listened to this one on audio and narrator Xe Sands had just the right smooth tones to add a bonus level to this experience.



  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 41 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Release Date: April 8, 2014




Nightmares! by Jason Segel

Nightmares! Jason Segel, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

Charlie has had a fear of the large mansion like home down the road from his own.  His mother a long time ago told him to never go near the old house, and Charlie had ridden his bike by the home, but never approached it.  After his mother died, he still stayed away even thought he lady who had owned the home was also gone.

Until one day…

One day Charlie seen a car at the old house and a woman with flaming red hair and a cackle for a laugh moves into the home.  She is Charlotte Dechant, the daughter of the spooky old woman who had passed away, and as time goes on, Charlotte has her eyes on Charlies dad.

As if this was not enough… Charlie has incredible Nightmares, nightmares that feel all too real, and have to do often with the old house… and with Charlotte.  When Charlie tries to talk to his dad, his dad feels Charlie is just having bad dreams, or making stuff up to keep him dad from Charlotte…

and then his nightmares start to slip into the waking world, and Charlie has to do something and soon.



I was impressed with Jason Segel’s first book.  Obviously I am not the attended audience, but that said… I really enjoyed it and found I wanted to know what would happen next.  Well written, and as I can imagine, all very real to Charlie our protagonist. Nightmares! is about a young boy learning to conquer his fears.  But it is also more than that.  It is about grief, and about loss, and learning to move on.  This was the surprise I took away from this book.

This is more than a children’s book.  In fact some of the things in the book I would imagine would be down right scary to a very young child (this too surprised me as I imagined this would be a fun lite read).  I would say if you are considering this for your child, know that there are monsters in the book, and witches, and clowns (something that personally freaks me out).  Use discretion knowing what your child(ren) can handle without finding the book too scary.

I listened to this on audio as Jason Segel narrates.  It was a wonderful narration and I enjoyed the listen.


*This book is set up to be a series.  I can see that it is open-ended enough where more stories could come from this.



  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Series: Nightmares!
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 33 minutes
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 9, 2014)




Morning Meanderings… What’s In Your Carry On?



Ba ha ha!  Yes you have to put up with two more days of this photo… 🙂  Then… I will go back to the regularly scheduled photo for this meme… but maybe not – as I will be in Florida then!  WOO HOO!!!

I actually leave later today for my son’s house in St Paul.  He now lives close to the airport so I will stay there tonight and we will taxi to the plane in the morning.  By noon… we should be in Orlando.

Pause for sunshine….

So… what am I taking in my carry on?  This is always a big deal as my carry on is usually strictly for the purpose of books to read on the plane, the safety of my laptop, and perhaps a snack.  I am prepped with:


Ok… so what do we have here?  Far left is Kinderella and on that is The Banks Of Certain Rivers.  Then we have my beautiful 20th Anniversary edition of the Sorcerer’s Stone for kick off to the Harry Potter Re-read/Readathon, This Dark Road To Mercy by Wiley Cash (book club bonus read for Harper Collins), Meritropolis by Joel Ohman (because dang it looks good and if I don’t get to it my son might), and The After House by Michael Phillip Cash (because it looks like the right read for the season and no relation to Wiley Cash that I know of 😉  )

As usual… I over book my carry on… but at least I have variety which will keep me soothed for the ride there and back.

Today I am working on wrapping up some bee appointments, cooking meals for Al, sending in new passport info (that is another story…), folding laundry, dropping off supplies for phase two of my Florida time, pre-paying upcoming bills… odds and ends trying to tie everything up to be gone.

Lots of posts prepped for here so stay tune!  I do not plan on going “dark” while I am away.


A quick shameless plug for the Harry Potter Reread/Readathon starting on Nov. 1.  Check out the post… you have lots of time to read, fun House memes to put on your blog (but you do not need a blog to participate!), prizes and surprises, and we are going to have a lot of fun!  21 signed up so far!

TEN by Gretchen McNeil (Spooky Reads!)

Ten, Gretchen McNeil, Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal

A party weekend.

When both Meg and Minnie receive the invite to an amazing house party on a remote island, it is hard to pass up.  While Meg is a bit resistant of keeping her whereabouts from her parents, Minnie’s contagious excitement, as well as the thought of a whole weekend at a luxurious house with cute boys is admittedly hard to pass on.

Dropped off by the ferry as a storm settles in the girls find that the host will not be arriving until the next day as she missed the last ferry over.  The ten guests, a mix of girls and guys – including the guy that Minnie is crushing (is that still what they say?) on, and Meg secretly likes as well.

Then things start to go wrong.  As the wind howls and the rain beats the windows… one of the ten dies.  Scared and trapped on an island the remaining teens have no options but to wait out the storm and hopefully the arrival of help in the morning…

… and then another one dies.



TEN was creepy good.  It made me think of good old 80’s type scares like Friday the 13th or Halloween.  Ridiculously filled with holes if you look to closely at the story line, but you are having such a great time reading that you choose to let that pass.

I enjoyed the old school feel that TEN contained within its pages.  Not gore… not horror… but a good old fashioned scare.  The book keeps you guessing… I had several ideas throughout the book of who was behind it all and each of my guesses were wrong.  This is the kind of story that makes you wonder who is really a friend.. and who is a crazed killer, and what a wild yearbook this will make.

The friend who is most likely to murder.

Fans of good scares that don’t gross you out will enjoy this book.  I will definitely be looking for more from this author.



  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (September 17, 2013)




Morning Meanderings… Something This Way Comes


Good morning!  It is Halloween week!  I have some reviews I have been saving for such a time as this!  I will be in Florida for Halloween this year, not so much of a plan .. but who knows 🙂  I am excited to spend time with Justin (College Son).  This is our third annual trip.



Bookish news… I am reading this dark road to mercy by Wiley Cash for our bonus book club read from Harper Collins.  I will not be here for book club this month (hate that!) so will want to email in my thoughts on this book, and our regular read, The Aviator’s Wife.

19 people are signed up so far to join in on the Potter Re-Read Readthon!  I am so excited about that!  A nice mix of houses represented and fun things coming up.  Don’t miss checking that out if you have not already!

Working today. Cooking meals tonight for my hubby to prep while I am away.  Packing for the two trips.

What are you reading?

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! 😉


Hey!  Hold smokes where did October go?  Our weather this past couple of weeks has been pretty sweet so not complaining here.  We hit over 70 for the weekend 🙂  Gorgeous out really!  Here is what I posted this week:


Cheese Deluxe by Greg Palmer



Delancey by Molly Wizenberg


Dead Poets Society… Thoughts On A Powerful Movie



The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


Four Friends by Robin Carr



Looking For Potter Heads!  Winter Re-Read Readalong  (come and play along!  Prizes and fun!)



I am flying around getting ready to leave Thursday morning for Florida with my college son.  SUPER EXCITED about that!  We will be hanging out, hitting up Harry Potter World and more…

So... what shall I be reading and listening to during this upcoming week?


For my Ears



Maddy is a social worker trying to balance her career and three children. Years ago, she fell in love with Ben, a public defender, drawn to his fiery passion, but now he’s lashing out at her during his periodic verbal furies. She vacillates between tiptoeing around him and asserting herself for the sake of their kids—which works to keep a fragile peace—until the rainy day when they’re together in the car and Ben’s volatile temper gets the best of him, leaving Maddy in the hospital fighting for her life.

Randy Susan Meyers takes us inside the hearts and minds of her characters, alternating among the perspectives of Maddy, Ben, and their fourteen-year-old daughter. Accidents of Marriage is a provocative and stunning novel that will resonate deeply with women from all walks of life, ultimately revealing the challenges of family, faith, and forgiveness.




Bacon. McDonalds. Cinnabon. Hot Pockets. Kale. Stand-up comedian and author Jim Gaffigan has made his career rhapsodizing over the most treasured dishes of the American diet (“choking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover”) and decrying the worst offenders (“kale is the early morning of foods”). Fans flocked to his New York Times bestselling book Dad is Fat to hear him riff on fatherhood but now, in his second book, he will give them what they really crave—hundreds of pages of his thoughts on all things culinary(ish). Insights such as: why he believes coconut water was invented to get people to stop drinking coconut water, why pretzel bread is #3 on his most important inventions of humankind (behind the wheel and the computer), and the answer to the age-old question “which animal is more delicious: the pig, the cow, or the bacon cheeseburger?”





Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you’re invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy’s parents—Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza.

Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience.

While listening to Yes Please, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don’t miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. Offering Amy’s thoughts on everything from her “too safe” childhood outside of Boston to her early days in New York City, her ideas about Hollywood and “the biz,” the demon that looks back at all of us in the mirror, and her joy at being told she has a “face for wigs”—Yes Please is chock-full of words, and wisdom, to live by.


For my Eyes



Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are rebuilding their life after a failed marriage in a 300 year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. Little do they know, another occupant is lurking in the haven of their own home. Will the After House be their shelter or their tomb?





In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry, an orphan, lives with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley.

One day just before his eleventh birthday, an owl tries to deliver a mysterious letter the first of a sequence of events that end in Harry meeting a giant man named Hagrid. Hagrid explains Harry’s history to him: When he was a baby, the Dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, attacked and killed his parents in an attempt to kill Harry; but the only mark on Harry was a mysterious lightning-bolt scar on his forehead.

Now he has been invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the headmaster is the great wizard Albus Dumbledore. Harry visits Diagon Alley to get his school supplies, especially his very own wand. To get to school, he takes the Hogwarts Express from platform nine and three-quarters at King’s Cross Station. On the train, he meets two fellow students who will become his closest friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

Harry is assigned to Gryffindor House at Hogwarts, and soon becomes the youngest-ever Seeker on the House Quidditch team. He also studies Potions with Professor Severus Snape, who displays a deep and abiding dislike for Harry, and Defense Against the Dark Arts with nervous Professor Quirrell; he and his friends defeat a mountain troll, help Hagrid raise a dragon, and explore the wonderful, fascinating world of Hogwarts.

But all events lead irrevocably toward a second encounter with Lord Voldemort, who seeks an object of legend known as the Sorcerer’s Stone.



Harry, I think will be my airplane read 🙂  Yippy!  SO what are you reading this week?  Please add your It’s Monday What Are You Reading to the link below where it says click here:



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For those of you who read mainly children and middle grade books, please also feel free to add your link here:


Morning Meanderings… Ready For Take Off (almost)


Happy Sunday!  I am in go mode – so much to do to prepare to be gone much of November.  If you missed my post earlier this week, I just found out this week that after I get back from my Florida trip with my College Son (Oct 30 – Nov 3), I will be leaving again on the 4th – 20th, back to Florida to work with the bees.  I have much to prepare in my home and for the trip…. today, once back in Brainerd I will be focusing on prepping for the time away by preparing meals hubby can heat up.

On another more zen like note, I am hosting a Harry Potter Re-Read to get us through the winter months.  Check out the post!


Here is what came in this week:


Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (audio)


A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks (audio)


Winter Street by Elin Hilderbrand (audio)


Confessions by James Patterson (audio)


Food, A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan (audio)


The After House by Michael Phillip Cash


Scorched Eggs by Laura Childs


Must run for now.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Looking For Potter Heads! Winter Re-Read/Readalong


Are you a Potter Head?  Do you….

Sometimes find yourself whispering a spell under your breath at a family member, co-worker, or friend?


Get excited every time you see one of the movies playing on TV?


Have now or ever in your past used a Harry Potter type of ring tone (this also counts if your phone case has now or ever been Harry Potter)?


Own(ed) any sort of Potter paraphernalia – IE.  Article of clothing, movies, costumes, a wand, board game, posters, bookmarks, signs… ok – you know what I mean ;).


Ever went to Universal Studies in Orlando mainly because of Harry Potter World?


Recited movie lines or profound Dumbledore quotes with a sense of superiority?


Well… if you said yes to any of the above.  YOU are a Potter Head.  And this post is for you.  AND if you are new to the whole Potter literacy PHENOMENA, well, first I take a moment of silence for you…. and then I offer you to read on as well, as an opportunity awaits you as well. (you will be known as First Years)

Starting in November I will be hosting a Harry Potter Re-Read that I am SUPER EXCITED about.  Pull those books off the shelf, or pick them up at your local library, download on your e readers, or listen to on audio (also super fantastic with either narrator I am just saying!).  However you decide to join in… all are welcome.

Throughout our 5 months allowed for the Re-Read there will be dates to discuss the book, add your posts, or add comments to the new tab I will have right below the Book Journey Header.  You can pop in whenever you want to add your thoughts, look for new contests, etc… check back often – not everything will be posted and I want to keep this as lose as unstructured as possible as that is where I thrive best.

If you want in… and I hope you do… please grab one of the following memes from below for your own blog.  If you do not blog, see below for further instructions.










Once you have chosen your House, please write a post about your involvement in this project as well as what year you are (see years below to help you).  By writing a post you will be helping to pass the word about this Re-Read so more may hear about it and join in.  You may also choose to leave a comment here about which House you are in and what year you are.  *This will also be where those without blogs can can leave a comment of how they are participating.

So… here is how you decide on what year you are:

First Years:  You have read The Sorcerer’s Stone or you have not read and Harry Potter books

Second Years:  You have read Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets

Third Years:  You have read the two mentioned above as well as The Prisoner or Azkaban

Fourth Years:  You have read the three above as well as The Goblet Of Fire

Fifth Years:  You have read the four above and the Order Of The Phoenix

Sixth Years:  You have read the five above and The Half Blood Prince

Seventh Years:  You have read all of the Harry Potter books


Now, some of you may be unsure what house you may fall in.  So we will pull out the sorting hat.  Click below on the sorting hat to have the hat choose a house for you… but know this…  what you desire is also considered, so you may choose your own house as well.


The “loosely applied” reading of each book will look like this:

Nov 1 – Nov. 16 – The Sorcerer’s Stone

Nov 17 – Dec. 6th – Chamber Of Secrets

Dec. 7 – Dec. 29th –  The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Dec 30th – Jan 20th – The Goblet Of Fire

Jan. 21st – Feb 13th – Order Of The Phoenix

Feb. 14th – March 7th – The Half Blood Prince

March 8th – March 31st – The Deathly Hallows


There you have it!  All communications will be under the tab under the Book Journey Header called “Harry Potter Re-Read”.  As I mentioned check it often as surprise posts and giveaways will be added by sponsors as we go.

Special note:  You will win “House Points” by participating in commenting, giveaways, and more (all of this will be revealed thought the Harry Potter Re-Read tab).  Your house point totals will show under tabs as well.  It s going to be good fun!  Really!

To commit (and so I can communicate with you if you win anything) please sign up using the form below:

I will personally be kicking off with a trip to Harry Potter World in Orlando Florida.  I will send some posts from there and give you a peek at some of the items that may be coming home with me for giveaways!

 The hashtag for the read-a-long on twitter is #hpreadalong

  Hope you will join me!