Monthly Archives: February 2015

Morning Meanderings… A Good Day To Jump In The Lake


Good morning!  As the sun comes up this morning in Central Minnesota I am prepping to leave for my two-hour drive to Anoka MN where at approximately 1:45 pm today, I along with many many other crazy people are going to jump in the lake for Special Olympics.


The last time I did this was in 2012.


Showing off my fashionable books.  When in Minnesota...

These boots will be coming along this year as well!


So….. yeah.

I am guessing I signed up, I received pledges.  I am doing this.

I offered the people who pledged me to have a say in one thing that I wear.  I will be wearing a prom dress.  Dog tags.  And something Harry Potter.  I will show you what that ensemble looks like at a later time.

For the rest of you… stay warm.  Read something good.  I will be finishing the audio book All The Bright Places today during the drive time.

I am linking this post to Saturday Snapshop.  Stop and see what everyone else is taking pictures of today 🙂

Morning Meanderings… Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates


Friday!  OOMP – there it is!!!  I feel like I want to run to the end of the living room and do some sort of touch down dance.

It has been a GOOD week.  I have been back from our trip for a little over a month now and have gone from feeling exhausted and lazy, to “what am I going to do with my life?”, to cautiously putting myself out there, to picking up a few freelance jobs, to slowly developing a name, to a possible local commitment that is flexible and can work around my other projects.  I will know more after today.

EEP. (in a good way)


It has been scary cool putting together my own work commitments and wondering if it would work.  I had fears that working from home would be too hard to stay focused but that has not been true.  And honestly I really really like it and feel I am getting a nice rhythm.



Camp Benedict Cyclist, Camp Benedict, Book JOurney, Minnesota Bike RidesOk, apparently I have the dork meter set on HIGH today. I am having breakfast with a friend and partner in crime all things bike ride related this morning for putting together a charity bike ride for camp this summer.  I am really excited how that has come together this week.  I built this super cool website:  Camp Benedict Cyclists



logo Wine and Words, Minnesota Events, 2015, Fall Events, Book Journey

I also think I have landed the final author I need for Wine and Words this year. Just waiting on final confirmation and then I can start making announcements and update that website as well.


So if life really is really like a box of chocolates… my week has been all milk chocolate caramels (MY FAV!) and not one single coconut filled one.  HAZAH again.


Urban Dictionary:

A word used to emphasize ones pleasure and/or approval at something. Often accompanied by spasticated clapping.

For real authority, one should pronounce it as if saying ‘I SAY! (old chap)’.

Bloke in movie: “The Wooden Horse will destroy the city of Troy”.

Loyal fans: “Hazah! Hazah!” *clap clap clap*


Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly, Book Journey

Natty and Sean have a typical marriage.  Their two daughters are now teenagers, and both parents are busy working at the hotel they run together.  They are busy people but comfortable in their lives.  When their oldest daughter Felicity becomes ill on a school trip to France, Natty goes to be with her and bring her home.  Natty’s best friend Eve offers to stay with Sean and their other daughter Alice to help out at the house while Natty is away.  Natty is thankful for her friend.

But should she be?

Eve has other plans in mind.  Playing the role of the perfect “wife substitute’ she plays right into everything that Natty would not.  She cooks and cleans, catering to both Sean and Alice.

When Natty returns home with Felicity she finds that Eve has taken her spot not only in her home, but in her bed.  Shell shocked, Natty tries to make sense of how quickly her whole life has crumbled.  Every where she turns it seems that Eve is there, driving Shawn’s car, rubbing what she has done in Natty’s face.

Then Natty receives a mysterious note saying

“she has done this before.”

The note awakens Natty at a new level.  She knows she needs to find out more about her so-called friend, having no idea that the road she is about to take is a deadly one.

Wow. Wow. Wow.  What a great book!  With a synopsis like this, it is all too scary real.  Eve is a kind of crazy evil.  The pace moves along quickly (which I like), and I had to keep listening just to know what was going to happen.  It is definitely an engaging read.  I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Natty is a great protagonist and Eve is an excellent villain.  There is no middle ground here, the line is clearly drawn and I liked that.  It was refreshing.

I listened to this on audio and Colleen Prendergast was an excellent narrator.  It seems like I keep finding these audio books lately have heavily accented narrators and I think my head needs a break for that, but that is just me.  😉

Highly recommended.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 22 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
  • Release Date: October 8, 2014


Morning Meanderings… Keep Your Friends Close. Seriously.


Thursday!  Slowly but steadily chugging along towards the weekend.  Yesterday was productive and today should be too.  I am getting a little reading in and a little more audio these days.  I am actually excited that this Saturday I have an hour and a half drive which means audio time!  That is when I get the big chunks in and I love it!

1ddCurrently I am listening to Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly and really enjoying it!  When Natty leaves town to be by her daughter’s side when she becomes ill on a school trip, Natty rushed to be by her side.  Thankfully Eve, Natty’s best friend offers to come and stay at the house to help with Natty’s other daughter.  Yet when Natty returns, she finds that Eve has taken to her family a little too well and her husband Shawn has fallen in love with her.  It is sooooogood!


I am reading New Uses For Old Boyfriends and while it is more of a chick lit lite read, I am liking the 20130910_185511easiness of it. When Lila Alders life implodes, she finds herself back in Black Dog Bay where she grew up.  When she finds that her mother is much in the same boat having dwindled the families fortune into the red it is up to Lila to start putting both of their lives back together.  It is fun if a familiar synopsis.



Come to think of it, if you combined the books after Natty gets done with Eve, she could take Lila’s place and continue on into the next book….lol.  Both are good in different ways but isn’t that what makes for good reading?


Today will be another good catch up day, I should get pretty caught up with projects if I stay steady.  Lots of balls in the air but I think… I got this. 😉


Reading anything good?

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Necessary Lies, Diane Chamberlain, Book Journey

15 year old Ivy lives on a tobacco farm with her grandmother, older sister and nephew.  In most situations, Ivy feels like the adult as her grandmother is growing feeble, her sister struggles with mental illness, and often Ivy is left to care for nephew who is at the age where he gets into everything.

Jane Foster doesn’t need a job.  In fact her husband would quite prefer if she would be content doing what other wives of his profession do… have lunch dates, set up  hair appointments, and plan dinner parties.  Jane however, is bored with that life and wants to do more.  She joins Grace County’s Social workers and is assigned to Ivy and her family.  Soon Jane finds herself too emotionally involved in Ivy’s case mush to the annoyance of both her boss and her husband.  When Jane finds out that Ivy’s sister had been sterilized so she could not have any more children and that the plans were in place to do the same to Ivy, Jane feels she must make a stand for this family.

With what feels like everyone against her, Jane makes hard decisions that affect not only her job, and Ivy’s family, but Jane’s own personal life as well.



Author Diane Chamberlain has never disappointed me.  Another mind blowing tale, except this one as I learned, has truth within it.  At one time, there were state-mandated sterilizations that were used for those decided to be mentally ill, poor, anyone who the state deemed unable to take care of a child in their opinion.  Crazy stuff.

In Necessary Lies, the story is told alternatively from Ivy’s perspective to Jane’s.  It makes for an interesting read as these two women speak from their very different backgrounds.  As the story progresses both Ivy and Jane find that they are not so different after all.

Very well done book, I listened to this on audio and narrator Alison Elliott set the perfect tone for this book.  Fans of Diane Chamberlain, women’s literature, and historical fiction will not want to miss out on this one.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 51 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Release Date: September 3, 2013


Morning Meanderings… And Once Again I Wonder If Sleep Is Really Necessary


Happy Wednesday!  Does anyone else feel like your days just fill up to the brim?  I love the diversity in all that I do but some days just thinking about the day ahead makes me have heart palpitations.

This morning I have been on the phone making last-minute arrangements to pick up donations for the Polar Plunge this coming Saturday.  I have a coffee date at 9:30, working on a project for my husband and our business, and then back home.

Home means I have two assignments to get moving on for my Freelance business.  I also need to get in my hour work out which I was going to do early this morning but being on the phone and chatting on Facebook eliminated that.

I need to find one more female author for Wine and Words to complete the 2015 line up and then I will get to work on updating the website.  The Friends of The Library email needs to go out this morning about the meeting on Monday.  I need to write invoices for work I have done.  I need to connect the Camp Bike ride to Minnesota Bike Ride sites to get the word out.

I need to buy bananas.

Tonight is the City Library Board Meeting.


I do not have to do all of this today.  I hope to do a lot of it today.


Anyhoo…. I didn’t mean to write about all of that but that is what is in my head right now. 🙂  Hopefully the rest of you have a bit of a mellower Wednesday.  It is all good 🙂



Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon


Jake has always been a little quieter than the other children.  He has always preferred to stay at home as a young child, and now at seventeen, Jake has only a few select friends.  On the other hand Laney, his younger sister by two years has always been a social butterfly being able to fit in any situation.

Jake’s father Simon who stayed at home with the children writing medical papers while their mother Rachel worked out of the home as a lawyer, has often wondered what he could have done to help Jake fit in more with other children as he grew up.  Had he hung on too tight?  Too protective?

Now, the unthinkable has happened.  There has been a school shooting and Jake along with another boy are the suspected shooters.  But where is Jake?  While his blood is found on school property, Jake is nowhere to be found.  Simon and Rachel can not believe their son would do such a thing and as the press and the parents of the victims press in wanting answers about Jake, Simon wonders again… what could he have done differently – and more importantly, were was their son now?



Finding Jake was a hard but important read.  I read this book in two days, devouring the pages and experiencing this tragedy through Jake’s parents eyes.  It is always hard to know what to say about books like this.  It is well written.  Author Bryan Reardon puts you right there and my heart stayed in my throat most of this book wondering who would find Jake – his parents, the police… and when they did, then what?

I highly recommend this read.  If you ever read Nineteen Minutes or We Need To Talk About Kevin, you need to read Finding Jake.  This is not the book you think it will be.



  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (February 24, 2015)



Morning Meanderings… And The Award Goes To….. Well Neil.


Tuesday!  Really my first connection on Book Journey since Sunday evening when I put up the Monday What Are You Reading post. So……

That gives me free rein to chat up The Oscars from Sunday night.


I forgot all about.

I know right?

I don’t know what happened.

So I had to catch the highlights and YA once again for Neil Patrick Harris.  After listening to his audio book a few months back it was so fun to see him complete this dream of hosting the Oscars, and host them he did.  If you seen the Oscars or not – you more than likely heard about Neils’ EPIC intro that took not only the Oscar’s but probably Hollywood itself to a whole new level.

But… don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.  I will wait here.  Well… by the coffee pot.  I will wait there.

I have a whole new respect for award shows thanks to Neil.  Hi is just fun to watch, and having grown up on Doogie Howser, I really have watched him since he was young.  And I would be remiss, if I did not find some way to connect this to a Harry Potter moment and here it is:


Not only Dumbledore…. Neil has style too.


And the winners were for best Actor were:

WINNER: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper
Michael Keaton for Birdman


And the winners for best actress were:

WINNER: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon for Wild


Best Picture was:

WINNER: Birdman

So many movies I have not yet seen!  I love it and kudos to all the movies nominated that were first books!!!  I want an Oscar night for books!!!  Hmmmm…. let me think on that.  😉

Did you watch the Oscars?  If you did what did you think of it?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


Hello!  Welcome to It’s Monday What Are You Reading?  The meme that we use to share what we read this past week and what our plans are for the upcoming week.  It’s a great way to see what others are reading and add to your own To Be Read list. 😀  You never know where that next great read may come from!

Honestly, I did not put in a lot of reading time this week although I really thought this weekend I was going to rock it.  Instead I spent the weekend running errands, going to a movie, and today I spent the entire day building a non profit website for a bike ride event coming up in July.

Here is what I did post this past week:


The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales


Discussion Thoughts on the opening weekend success of 50 Shades of WHAT


An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey *best of 2015!)


American Sniper by Chris Kyle


Doctor Death by Lene Kaaberbol


For Saturday Snapshot I posted pics of the Glow Worm caves in New Zealand


The DUFF – The Book, The Movie and how my opinion has changed


This week is another fairly quiet one.  I have a few meetings and projects but if I can complete this website and get the registration links up I should be good to go.  Here is what I have planned for this week:


For My Ears


When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed. She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband. But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm – secrets much darker than she would have guessed.

Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong. Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy. Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: How can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?




Violet Markey is on the ledge of her school’s bell tower, six stories up, and frozen in terror. Theodore Finch, the Freak, stands on the ledge nearby. Before she can panic, he calms her down and gets her back on solid ground. He even lets everyone think she’s the one who talked him out of jumping. Violet, until recently, was a popular cheerleader and Finch has a well-earned reputation for being manic, violent, and unpredictable. But Finch won’t let their encounter rest. He’s suddenly everywhere Violet goes and even signs her up as his partner on a “Wander the State” school project. As the two drive around Indiana, Violet begins to see the lame tourist attractions through Finch’s eyes, and each spot becomes something unique and special. He pushes and challenges the protagonist, and seems to understand the effect her sister’s death made on her. But though Violet begins to recover from the devastating grief that has cocooned her for almost a year, Finch’s demons refuse to let go.


I am not going to add any books to the mix, I have not finished what I said I would last week.


SO what are you reading this week?  What did you finish last week?  Share your Its Monday What Are You Reading  where it says click here:

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For those who read mainly children and middle grade books please add your link here as well:


The Duff… The Movie, The Book, And How My Opinion Has Changed

The DUFF, Book JOurney

Yesterday my cousin and I went to this movie.  I wanted to go because:

1.  I met the author my first year at the book Expo in 2010 (she was 17 at the time)

2.  I read the book and was not a fan.


Book Synopsis:

1aBianca has two popular and gorgeous best friends.  The three have hung out together for years and while Bianca does not care about fashion or getting up two hours early to do her hair and make up for school it has always been a non issue.

Until now.

At a party, the hot popular guy that Bianca has her eye on, Wesley Rush takes advantage of Bianca’s feelings for him and then tells Bianca she is the DUFF of the group.  Designated Ugly Fat Friend.  Naturally Bianca is offended, but Wesley says not to take it so literally, it just means that she hangs out with friends that are much hotter than herself, making her the approachable one to get information.  Wes explains that every group has one.

Over the next few days Bianca starts to notice that what Wes said might be true.  Guys did approach her to get information on her friends dating status. With Bianca’s home life a mess with her fathers alcoholism and no one really to turn too Bianca throws all caution to the wind and sets her eyes on a goal that seems impossible…



Ok that was based off the book synopsis…. the book had quite a few teenage sexual encounters and Bianca although being put down by Wesley could not seem to stop herself from coming back for more.  I did read this book almost 5 years ago now so a lot of the details are fuzzy, but I do remember not liking all the extreme sexual content.  I also did not like the idea of what a word like DUFF could do to a young girls image… if a young girl already had self esteem issues, reading this book I feared could make her even more so.


the movie synopsis was somewhat QUITE a bit different.

Movie synopsis:

Bianca has two popular and gorgeous best friends.  The three have hung out together for years and while Bianca does not care about fashion or getting up two hours early to do her hair and make up for school it has always been a non issue.

Until now.

Bianca goes to a party at the most popular girl in schools home it hopes to see her crush Toby.  When her hot neighbor the popular Wesley Rush that Bianca can not stand tells her that she is the DUFF of her group of friends, Bianca is offended.  She leaves the party early.  At home she has no one to talk to as her divorced mother is a published Life After Divorce guru with her mind set on publicity events and what to wear.  Bianca decides if she is not part of a group she will not be the duff, so she proceeds to dump both of her bewildered best friends.

Bianca makes a deal with Wesley to help him with his failing grade in science if he helps her to sharper up her image to get Toby’s attention.  By working together the two discover they have more in common then they thought.


The movie is a lot different from the book.  There is no sex (YAY!).  Bianca’s dad is already out of the picture in the movie (probably due to the alcoholism and divorce). Wesley is not an ass, in fact quite likable and you route for him.  Madison, the popular mean girl ex girlfriend/girlfriend of Wesley is an awesome addition to the movie but does not appear in the book.  There is also a funny teacher who really takes Bianca under his arm who also does not appear in the book.


While book (my original review) and movie are different, the ending good message is the same.  It was curiosity that made me see the movie made from this debut book, and I am glad I did.  The movie is really funny.  My cousin and I laughed out loud many times.  To me it flowed better than the book did, but at the same time it gave me a new appreciation for the book and it’s overall message.

See the movie – at a PG13 rating it is a fun one and yay to author Kody Keplinger!  What an exciting moment this has to be!


**Fun Fact:  At the end of the movie there is a quick cameo from author Kody Keplinger.  If you do not know what she looks like you may miss it.