Monthly Archives: November 2014

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! 😉

It is hard to believe I have now been home over a week.  I guess with Thanksgiving and the hustle with that life really did not slow down until Friday afternoon after everyone was gone and I had the house to myself.  Then Saturday afternoon I started to get sick and that has hung on through today.  Gah… go figure.  On a happier note… here is what I posted this week:


The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless

Food by Jim Gaffigan

Meritropolis by Joel Ohman – YA Dystopian 99 cents on Kindle today!

Mockingjay Book vs. Movie

Harry Potter Readalong – House Points and Giveaways and YOU still can join in!


That’s the week.  Today I listened to audio while resting and finished the Diane Chamberlain I was listening to. So Good!  Cant wait to review it!

Here is the plan for this week:


For My Ears


Moving the Needle provides both the “kick in the pants” and the game plan many of us need to break out of the rut and get moving to achieve our goals. CEOs, vice presidents, professionals, military personnel, and even college students frequently express frustration at the entrenched status quo, in which initiating progress feels like moving mountains.





Born during a Christmas blizzard, Jane Williams receives a rare gift: the ability to literally see true love. Jane has emerged from an ailing childhood a lonely, hopeless romantic when, on her 29th birthday, she receives a card from the midwife who delivered her. Jane must identify the six types of love before the full moon following her 30th birthday – or face grave consequences. When Jane falls for a science writer who doesn’t believe in love, she fears that her fate is sealed.




Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?


For My Eyes


While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn’t. He’s seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school.

Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he’s forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn’t really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?



What are you reading this coming week?  Please add your link to It’s Monday What Are You Reading where it says click here below:

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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:


Harry Potter Readalong House Point Update, Info, and Winners!


*Its not too late to sign up!

So… basically after I kicked off the Harry Potter Readalong that started November 1st, I disappeared for three weeks between a fun trip with my son and a work trip.  For the most part I kept up with all the happenings, including our first book read and discussed, but about the time I was due home on November 20th I was exhausted and lost steam.

Today, home feeling under the weather, I decided it may be a good time to add up the House Points… after all year one is over and I need a House Winner before we start talking about book 2 on December 6th.  (Yes we have House Points – optional to participate in that part but fun for those who wish to do so!)

House points are given for writing posts on the books we are reading (3 points per linked post) and for commenting on any HP linked post *2 points per relevant comment and yes you can comment more than once on a post).  They also come into play for giveaways and occasional games or participation posts that can earn you points.

Looking at all the posts so far today was fun – there are many great posts out there as I added from the start-up posts to the first discussion posts as well as all who commented on them.  They were fun to read.  You do not win as a House but as an individual representing a house.  And before I share with you who our Year One House Point winner is, I feel as though I represent Dumbledore in this readalong and at the end of book 1, he offered up some additional House Points as will I…

I would like to award Donna from Writers Side Up an additional 4 points for her offering up the Book Mark giveaway for our first book.

I would also like to award Jennifer from Literate Housewife an additional 4 points for her snitch giveaway for book one, the book that introduces the snitch.

And finally, 5 points awarded to Tanya from Dogeared Copy for organizing and executing the Twitter movie group for The Sorcerer’s Stone.  (Note – The next movie Live Tweet/Tweet Chat will be on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.! I hope you can make it!)

All that said, our winner for the House Points for book one and the winner of the Golden Snitch is:

golden snitch

Donna from Writers Side Up

*note you can see all House Points here.  All points are now cleared and we start again for book 2… points will come from posts and comments on linked posts centered around The Chamber Of Secrets.

On to other prizes!  The bookmarks will go to…

book marks

Jackie from Forget Me Nots

And finally the copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone with the new book cover using for all #hpreadalong commenters on the start up posts and the book discussion posts….

ss new cover

Brooke from Brooke Blogs


There are more giveaways planned for book two which will start to be discussed on December 6th.  It is not to late to join in on the readalong!  All participants are eligible for the prizes and the occasional fun quizzes we will be setting up.  *You must be signed up for the readalong to be eligible for the giveaways.


Mockingjay Book VS Movie


Mockingjay, the third and final book in the Hunger Games series came out published by Scholastic in 2010.  As I looked back on my review of this book I had to laugh as I reviewed it three days after it was released…. hmmmm…. anxious to see how it all was going to end?

The Book…

As I mentioned I read the book over 4 years ago.  I did enjoy the book but openly admit it was my least favorite of the three books, mainly due to all the politics that were involved in this final installment.  I am not a fan of politics.That said, I did still enjoy the book very much – author Suzanne Collins does not take mercy on any character and all are dispensable… it was truly a powerful read that left me thinking about it well beyond that final page.


The Movie…

I was very excited to watch the movie.  My son had warned me that it wasn’t the most exciting of movies as it is a lot of information that is necessary to prepare us for the part 2 of this movie that will come out in 2015.  I have to say I disagree with my son (sorry Justin).  I did find the movie engaging and perhaps even came to feel more real and explained better to me than the book came through.  I think Jennifer Lawrence plays the part of Katniss perfectly.  On screen she shows such emotion she brings me to tears for the cause.  If you are a fan of the series, definitely take time to see the movie – all the movies.

Bonus note – in the movie Katniss sings a song that is haunting.  Jennifer Lawrence sings the song and I looked it up when I came home and found out Susanne Collins wrote the song.  (WOW!)  I have now heard the song by another artist but prefer Lawrence’s.  Here it is:

Book vs, movie… the winner of this dynamic duel is….


The Movie.

While this is a close battle, I think because of my personal struggle with the politics of Mockingjay the visual of the movie worked better for me.  I will definitely be owning this one.


Have you seen the movie yet?  Have you read the book?  Do you plan to?  If so do you have a preference of book or movie?

Morning Meanderings… It Got Me.


So annoying.

Yesterday later afternoon I started to feel that tingle that goes through your body and up the back of my neck.  I started to feel chilled and my arms felt weak…

yup.  Apparently I am sick. 😦

I do not get sick often but when I do it tends to knock me on my butt.  Thankfully I am running a fever and have chills but no throwing up or the other horrible things at this time.  I did however decide it was better to stay home this morning than do church and run the errands I had planned afterwards.  Things will have to wait.

On a happier note – I did receive a few exciting books in the mail this week:


Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik  (ooh this looks like a good spooky read!)

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon (I have been wanting to read this one since I first seen it!)

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson (ooh another dark one!)

FOXCATCHER by Mark Schultz (I am so interested in reading this!)


4 books I am excited about!

SO today I think will be bed rest and reading or audio if my eyes are tired.  I have some things to prep yet for tomorrows open house at the Library – nothing crazy but if I am there or not it is stuff that needs to be ready.

What are you doing with your Sunday?


Meritropolis by Joel Ohman


It is three years after the Event, the year now known as AE3.  Meritropolis is a walled city of over 50,000 inhabitants.  Each inhabitant has a score on their arm, a test result they are given yearly based on their intelligence and ability to physically contribute.  Low scores are ushered outside the gates of Meritropolis where they are left to die with the elements and the odd creatures that now own the wilderness.

Charley, at a young age watched helplessly as his brother was sent outside the gates.  Parent-less, Charlie was at a loss to do anything but watch, but now that Charley is 17, and holding one of the highest scores of Metropolis, he s a force to be reckoned with and has never forgot what happened to his brother.

As Charley gains knowledge and strength to take on the system he would be naive to believe that he is not being watched… and groomed…



Meritropolis was an interesting read.  A dystopian world setting (which I love) with a mix of Maze Runner and a small taste of Harry Potter too.  There is a character in the book who reminds me of a stronger but still nice, Hagrid. 

I enjoyed the protagonist Charley and his desire to change his present world for the better.  The supporting characters are a good mix of the possible love interest, tough but pretty girl, the jealous boy, as well as the weaker but lovable best friend.  And that is just the group Charlie hangs out with…

Meritropolis is fast paced and engaging.  I found myself wanting to know more about Charlie’s brother and of course if there is any surviving beyond the gates.  This book brings you to a cliff hanger end leaving you wanting to know…

what will happen next?

I would recommend this read to Middle Grade – young YA Dystopian Readers, it is not as violent as Hunger Games


  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 9, 2014)



Currently this books is 99 cents on the Kindle sale at Amazon


2Interview with Joel Ohman



Who or what was your inspiration to write about post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi?

J.O.:  I’ve read a lot in this genre, so I would say it’s a mix of a lot of different things. I really just wanted to explore this question of, “What gives a person worth?” Is it their usefulness to society? Is it because someone loves them? Is it because of how they look? Is it because of their health or ability? As a Christian, I believe that all people have worth, because they are made in the image of God. I wanted to explore some different takes on this question. I think that the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci-fi genre was the best vehicle to tackle some of those deep philosophical questions in a fun and interesting way.

Why do you write? Is it for fun, or because you have something you need to say in your writing?

J.O.: Some writers are loath to say their writing has a message, because maybe they think doing so diminishes their art (not true, in my opinion), but I think that everyone has a message in their writing, even if they aren’t as consciously focused on it—and that’s a good thing. My message is in my epigraph: “Because everyone matters – Psalm 139”.

I wanted a short one word title that was a clever—or at least semi-clever—play on two different words. I like “Meritropolis” because it combines “Merit” and “Metropolis,” two words that are great for describing a city where each resident’s worth is measured by a score given to them.

In Meritropolis how were the animal combinations decided upon?  For example, I know you chose to write about a bion (bull-lion), as well as many other freaks of nature. So what I want to know is how did you decided which animals to meld together and why.

I have a big list of animal combinations that I came up with before I began writing the book, and I tried to work in as many as I could. Sometimes the only criteria was that I liked the way the name sounded. Look for many more in the following books!

Can you tells us about your characters and who/what inspired them?

I am a big believer in John Truby’s approach to building a “character web”, because this deepens the relationships between characters and helps to make each of the characters more complex. Absent building a good character web, it can be all too easy to fall into the not-very-true-to-real-life good-person/bad-person false dichotomy where your protagonist devolves into this I-can-do-no-wrong character and your antagonist is just pure evil. I was very much aiming to show the imperfections and brokenness in each of the characters. My thinking as a Christian influences this to some degree, given that the Bible teaches that we are all essentially the same; we are all sinners—only God is perfect.

Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read?

I read pretty much everything! Fiction, non-fiction, you name it! I am of the opinion that, as an author, I can learn something from almost every kind of writing. Sometimes, it most definitely is a matter of learning what not to do—but, on the whole, I love to read a wide variety of writing styles, genres, etc.

Are there any books that have inspired your own writing?

I read A LOT so there are many different things that have shaped my writing over the years, but I wouldn’t say there was any particular book, or books, that I was consciously looking to for inspiration while writing Meritropolis. Looking back though I can definitely see different threads of influence in almost everything I have read over the years that contribute toward making Meritropolis what it is: the strong protagonist of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, the philosophical bent of C.S. Lewis’ fiction, the dystopian setting of Hugh Howey’s WOOL series, and many more.

Are there any authors that have emerged in the last three years that have caught your interest?

Hugh Howey is an author that I really like that has caught my attention lately. I would highly recommend his WOOL series!

Don’t forget!
Meritropolis is marked down from its regular price of $5.99, but only for a limited time. Feed your Kindle by picking up a discounted copy for just 99 cents, but make sure you do it before December 1st!


Morning Meanderings… Library Happenings


Good morning!  Post Thanksgiving and 2 days.  I suppose some of you are still entertaining family or out-of-town yourself for the weekend.  I am at home, Justin left for the cities yesterday afternoon and all has been put away.  Life is back to normal.

Today for Saturday Snapshot I wanted to post what has been happening at our library lately.  Last Sunday we went in and decorated for the holidays:

PicMonkey Collage

On Wednesday I went in and changed out the window to Christmas or Winter reading:


Today I am going in to make the book tree for our open house.  The Open House is Monday.  This is an annual event where we invite in the public for refreshments and to see the decorations for the library.  We will have Friends Of The Library information set up, cookies and punch, as well as a drawing for Christmas turkeys.

It should be a good time. 🙂

Does your library have a Friends Group?  Are you a part of it?  It is a lot of fun and connects you to other book lovers.


Morning Meanderings…. Recovery


Good morning!  How ya all doing?  Any turkey hangovers out there?  Shopping hangovers?

I am good, I did not eat a lot of turkey and for the first time since I can remember we decided to vote “NO” on the going out and battling the crowds for a few reasons:

1.  It is Minnesota and it is COLD

2.  We were not in the mindset to deal with pushy people and long lines

3.  There was really nothing any of thought we had to have.

I am so glad we did not go.  The looking through the sale ads and planning our attack takes so much time out of our just hanging together.  It is usually Justin and I who are crazy enough to go, leaving Brad who goes home and Al who watches a little tv and then goes to bed.

This year, we hung out, played board games, watched movies, and stayed warm.

The one game we played that I LOVE is Book Lovers Scrabble.

My friend Gail found me this little treasure and it is a lot of fun.  It is basically Scrabble but you can earn bonus points for literary words (you know like “novel, writing, book) and you can earn extra points for using words in a book title and even an author’s name as long as you can recite the full title of the book you are referring to or the author’s name.

Another fun part of this game are the cards called Plot Twists.  Each player has three at all time and they can be played one per turn.  As you can see they are super fun and game changing. I had one that said that all players must put their current titles in the middle and we all re-pick from those.  My son had one that said you could ask the other players if they had a letter you needed (such as an “A”) and if we had it we had to give it to them.

In the end…  Justin won.

PicMonkey Collage

Justin (far right) looks like he is too good for us “losers”… Brad (far left) was about 100 points behind him and I was more than that.  He smoked us!  🙂

After board games we watched, Blended, 22 Jump Street, Maleficent, and just because I like to throw a little educational movie into our holidays (ask Justin – one year we watched The Boy In The Striped Pajamas for Easter); we watched And The Band Played On.

Today, Justin and I will be making Pumpkin Rolls before he needs to head back home to St. Paul.  Al and Brad are working.  Once the house is quiet today I will be back into a good read.  It is starting to snow and I have no where I need to go.  A perfect plan.

As for now… my home is quiet.  Al is already gone… Justin is still sleeping.  COFFEE CUP and I are at the kitchen table, plotting and planning what this weekend will look like.  🙂

What do the next few days look like for you?  Are they crazy busy?  Or nice and mellow?



Happy Thanksgiving From a Bookish Home In Minnesota


Good morning!  Anyone else up at a crazy hour prepping food?  I really did not have a lot to do.  The turkey will go in about 30 minutes from now to be ready around noon and the rest of it I staged…. black olives by their bowl, stuffing by the pan, beans by the crock pot…  pies in the garage staying nice and cool.

Today my two sons will come over and we will spend the day munching on good food, playing board games and watching movies.  Our day usually goes something like a nice big dinner at noonish with all the fixings…  then Al and Brad will usually find the football game on or some sport and Justin and I will play board games (we are the household gamers), occasionally the other two will join in.  At some point we will all wind up in the family room watching movies…  Al will fall asleep in the recliner.  I make a second turkey for the boys to share and they each get half as well as pie and whatever else they wish to take.  Into the evening Brad will go home as he works early tomorrow.  Al will go to bed around 8 pm.  Justin and I will gather snacks and settle in for movies… some how we usually wind up watching at least one Harry Potter movie.  I will start to pass out on the couch but will not want t let Justin know I am tired so I fake that I am keeping up with the movie.  It doesn’t fool him.  Eventually I will give up and go to bed.

In the past years we have done the crazy Thursday evening and even Friday shopping but I have decided not to do that this year.  There is nothing I need and going out in the cold and battling long lines and pushy people just does not appeal to me this year. 🙂

On Friday – I think we will make pumpkin rolls in the morning and maybe take in a movie in the afternoon.

It’s an easy holiday with the four of us and I love our crazy simple traditions.

I am thankful for way more than I can ever mention but I will try….  I am thankful for my husband Al, a hardworking guy who amazes me with all he accomplishes.  I am thankful for Brad being back in Brainerd for over a year now that he is out of the Navy and working for our company.  It is awesome having him close by.  I am thankful for Justin and his willingness to be just as crazy as I am.  Now that he has graduated from College I am excited to see what he does next.  I am thankful for my friends and my family… 2014 has not been the year I had hoped it would be and I am still figuring it out but I feel loved and supported.  I am thankful for God’s blessing in my life. I am thankful for my health and the ability to do the crazy things I choose to do.  I am thankful for our home, our business, our employees. I am thankful for Sammy and Bailey and Mater… crazy dogs that keep me hopping.  I am thankful for connections I have made on line and in person through this strange little corner of the web called Book Journey… writing here for the past 5 years has blessed me in ways I would have never imagined!


Update:  As Angie (first comment below) mentioned – I forgot our book club…lol.  I knew I would forget important stuff! Bookies now on its 14th year is a huge part of me.  This group of girls have become great friends and through our book discussions we have talked about so many things that honestly – a lot of people never talk about.  I am so thankful for each and every one of them.

Also – my experience this year working with the bees has been really cool.  I have learned so much and love that I know these crazy things about bees now!

I hope wherever you are and if you celebrate Thanksgiving you have a wonderful day!  Stay safe… stay warm!



Food by Jim Gaffigan


You probably know stand up comedian for his most famous bit… “Hot Pocket!”.  Jim, is an eaty. Not a foodie… an eaty.  He believes he has a personal relationship with food. Fast foods from McDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Subway, you name – Jim has probably ate it.  Kale?  Is not a food… bacon?  Is like crack.  Eating bacon also is like being murdered by your lover.  Yes, Jim loves food…. and in food, a love story… you will get plenty of that.


I absolutely loved Jim Gaffigan’s Food A Love Story.  He is honest with his food addiction.  He claims he is planning his next meal while eating.  The only time he is not eating is when he is sleeping.  I enjoyed Jim’s book Dad Is Fat, and I enjoyed Food.  I laughed many times while listening to this audio book.

If you are looking for a great listen, I highly recommend Food A Love Story.  Jim Gaffigan is an excellent speaker and his narration is spot on.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 7 hours and 17 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • Release Date: October 21, 2014



Morning Meanderings… Best Of The Year


Good morning!  I am still feeling a little ragged around the edges but working in the office today and have already accomplished some good things so feeling good about that.  (Apparently… a lot of good in that sentence).

Yesterday I received an email from AudioFile magazine chatting up their best of the year audio books – NOW WAIT!  Before you non audio book listeners click off this post – please note that a good audio book… may also very well be a pretty darn good book.  🙂

For those of us who are audio book listeners – well yay right?  I am always looking for suggestions for that next great listen and usually pick my audio through someones raving about it.

So, this morning I wanted to mention this link so people could click on it and see what is considered to be the great listens of 2014.


So go ahead and click on the pic.  Do you see any audiobooks (or books!) that you have enjoyed or this year?  Are there audio books you would have added to this group?


1aaaI really enjoyed the Storied Life Of A.J. Fikrey.  I also found Not My Father’s Son to be a rich and engaging non fiction listen by Alan Cummings.  I was all in for We Were Liars and impressed with The Young World.  I want to listen to to The Impossible Knife Of Letting Go (love Laurie Halse-Anderson’s writing!), Station Eleven, Mr. Mercedes, The Innovators, and Life Drawing.20130910_185734



Today, I am going to make a quick trip into town and then come back to the comforts of my home.  I am watching a movie this afternoon for research I am working on and then back to writing.  Tomorrow things start to pick up steam as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday but for today – I think I will enjoy one more day of quiet…. this introvert can not seem to get enough and I am re-energizing by staying at home.  🙂