Morning Meanderings…. From My Very Real and Raw Heart


Yesterday I took a call.

A good friend was asking my opinion on what I would like to do as the one year anniversary approaches.

One year?

My tummy got that sick feeling – you know the one, where you are seized with fear or anxiety.  How can it be getting close to one year?  It’s not like I don’t know.  I do.  I know every single day and it amazes me how much today… is a lot like day one. I am trapped.  I am at a loss for which way to turn or what I should do doing or how I possibly find a solid way to go on.

My eyes are constantly filled with tears.  I have cried more than I have ever thought possible.  I look around and think everything has changed. 

And it is true.  Everything has.

I don’t talk about it so much out loud any more because I know people have no idea what to do with someone who is still at this level of grief all of these months in.  I don’t blame them…. I have to wonder what I would do for a friend if I was on the other side of this.  I have some ideas, but I had to walk this side of the road to know.

I would say if you know someone going through something like this here are some things to maybe do:

  1.  Invite them to something low key to get them out of the house.  By low key, I don’t mean a party, or a place with lots of talking happy people – but maybe take a walk together, go to a movie, have lunch in a quiet restaurant,  take a little road trip,  invite them to help you with a project OR offer to come over and help them with a project (painting a room, planting flowers, etc…)  Spend a little time with them.
  2. Call or send the occasional card.  One of my big fears is that as time has stopped for me… it hasn’t for the rest of the world and I do not want my son to be forgotten.  Let them know you are thinking of them. It is still appropriate and appreciated to ask how the person is doing today. 10+ months in, I still can not answer the how am I doing question but I can say how I am doing today.  Knowing that people acknowledge (not ignore) that you still hurt means a lot.
  3. Understand that if that person says no to do something with you do not take it personally.  For myself, it is hard to put myself back out there.  I prefer things that I can do in a few hours and then return home. I prefer the sanctuary of my home.  Meet them where they are at, they will appreciate it.
  4. If you are a praying person, please pray for them.  It is indeed the power of prayer and friendship that has brought me this far.

For myself, I guard my heart.  I have learned what situations will bring on waves of grief so I need to watch what I take on and what I should at this time avoid. Everyone’s situation is different.  10 months for me is nothing.  I am still very raw. No one has to understand this, they don’t have to.  I have to.


A sweet package came in the mail yesterday from a girl I know who lives out of state now.

through the eyes of a lion, book journey, sheila dechantal

The book is Through The Eyes of A Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power.  In the early days and weeks I was sent quite a few grief related books.  Most of them I was not ready for and I put them on a shelf to look at later.  There were (and are) some steps I just find too hard to take; certain situations I know will overwhelm me with grief  so I am careful how much I take on.

This book however, seems like perfect timing.  I mentioned above I am in this internal struggle of grief and trying to take a positive step forward.  There is something about still being on this earth and he is not that breaks me every day.  It is so difficult to try to BE and DO when I still so clearly can see what we had BEEN and what we had DONE together as mother and son.  It zaps my energy.  A new friend told me a few months ago that I wear an incredible mask.  I took offense to that thinking I am about as real as they come… yet in recent weeks I think perhaps she is right.  I have to put on a mask to go and be outside of these walls.  I have to smile and talk and push ahead so they do not see the underlying depth of grief.  And maybe that is how people do it.  Maybe as self taught as I am in this new world, I am only repeating what those who have gone on this path before me have already done.  Perhaps… it is time to open up a book.  This book.  Thank you Wanda.

And thank you readers of Book Journey.  This space is like an online home to me.  I feel safe to speak here.  If you came to this site, you came to visit me and for that I am forever grateful.


The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

the ramblers,aidan donnelley rowley, book journey

It is Thanksgiving weekend in New York and three 30 somethings are struggling with their past, their present, and their futures.

Clio March, avid bird watcher who has been mentioned in New York Magazine feels as though she may have found the one in Hotel Owner, Henry Kildare.  Yet when things move in a direction Clio had not anticipated past trauma rushes forward and in a panicked moment she bolts.  What does that mean?

Smith Anderson and Clio have been best friends since Freshman year at Yale.  Smith is beautiful both inside and out and enjoys helping others.  However with a recent break up that has left her reeling, her younger sisters upcoming wedding, and an irrational fear that Clio may have found the one in Henry-  where does that leave Smith?

Tate Pennington is a blast from the Yale past. Dealing with a painful divorce, he relocates to New York to gather some distance and perspective.  He recently has sold an app to Twitter for millions but as Tate is finding out, money does not provide happiness.

This Thanksgiving weekend the three learn what is means to really let go of the past, be present, and learn to be ok with a future that is never certain.



Can you fall in love with writing?

Of course you can.  I just did.  Reading The Ramblers was like opening a book that brought a rush of fresh air into my lungs.  It is visually appealing from the cover, to the chapters, to the writing itself.  I opened the book up to find a page with one of our protagonists names, a date, and quotes.  I instantly fell in love with this visually and knew I was in for a treat.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

I loved this story and I enjoyed how the book is broken into sections where each protagonist takes the lead.  While you do get to know each of the three protagonists, it is Clio who we spend the most time with.  I found this book to be a joy to read and once into it, hard to put down.  The entire book takes place over Thanksgiving weekend and I found something about that to be sort of cool – everything that is happening is not drawn out but you have that feeling of NOW.

Thoroughly enjoyable, I would recommend this book to those who love a little something out of the norm.  Author Aidan Donnelley Rowley brings forth a unique ride that I would gladly buy a ticket to ride once again.


Thank you to TLC Book Tours for an enjoyable weekend in New York with Clio, Smith, and Tate.


YOU by Caroline Kepnes Narrated by Santino Fontana (BEST OF 2016)

YOU, caroline kepnes, hidden bodies, book journey

Joe Goldberg leads a fairly simple life.  He manages a book store in East Village and while he is often in awe that people still choose to read a paper version of a book when they access them so easily from the comforts of their home… he gets it.  Even if he is baffled by what books draw people in to the store.

When Guinevere Beck enters the book shop one day, everything for Joe changes.

You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam. You smile, embarrassed to be a nice girl, and your nails are bare and your V-neck sweater is beige and it’s impossible to know if you’re wearing a bra but I don’t think that you are. You’re so clean that you’re dirty and you murmur your first word to me – hello.

Joe knows instantly that they were meant to be together and he will stop at nothing to make sure that she will be his.  Soon Joe has found his way into Beck’s life.  He watches her from the street outside her apartment.  He hacks his way into her phone, her texts, her emails.  He learns all about her through her conversations with friends, where she goes, and what she watches on TV.  He turns himself into the perfect guy for Beck knowing what she will appreciate and what she would find irritating.  He is smooth and he is charismatic, and it all works;  Beck finds Joe to be almost to good to be true.

And you know what they say when things are too good to be true….



How did I not know about this book before now? Seriously?  How did I miss out on this?  The synopsis would have had me at book store…. but there was so much more.  Joe appears to be a normal guy (think Dahmer) who have over the top stalker qualities and  he stops at nothing.  No one… not a love interest, not a friend, will get in his way of getting what he has already decided what was rightfully his; and that is Beck.

I listened to this one on audio and I have to say that audio is the way to go.  Santino Fontana is PERFECT.  He makes our protagonist both witty, funny, snarky and creepy all rolled into one. Santino (may I call him Santino?)  narrates in a way that you can tell he is having a good time doing it. I smiled and laughed out loud while listening.  The narration is a brilliant mix and I have found another amazing narrator!

I need to describe this audio book in words I have never used to describe a book before… sexually graphic. What Joe thinks about doing to Beck, what he does do to Beck, what Beck does alone and later with Joe…. it is all here, open, and DETAILED.  Often in books I complain about this finding it unnecessary and vulgar.  That is not the case in this book.  Occasionally I will find a book where that level of intimate detail is necessary to the story line – this would be such a book.  Appropriately sexual to the story line. Do however consider yourself warned, this is definitely an adult content book.

I highly recommend this read/listen.  I enjoyed this story so much that I immediately pre-ordered the sequel on audio Hidden Bodies (which releases tomorrow and oh wow – MORE SANTINO FONTANA!!!!)  I am so hopeful that it is just as good and if not, well at least I will get to sink into this great narration again.

Squueeeee worthy?  You bet. This one is even worthy of….

yes.  You got it.  The SPOILER PAGE.  Oh yes.





It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog from 2006 -2009  and then was taken up by me here at Book Journey from Feb 2009 – Fall 2015 and then I passed it to Kathryn at the Book Date.  We have worked to keep the torch of It’s Monday burning!  🙂

I wanted to post last night but yeah….. life and all of that.  🙂    Here is what I posted over the past week:

the good liar by nicholas searle – Good stuff

Gretal and The Case Of The missing Frog Prints by P.J, Brackston  – let’s just say…unmet potential

MISSOULA by Jon Krauker – This was an AMAZING listen.


It was a fairly good week but a lot of computer work has kept me from picking up much for books.  This week, I hope that changes a bit.  My plans are:

For My Eyes


Set in the most magical parts of Manhattan—the Upper West Side, Central Park, Greenwich Village—The Ramblers explores the lives of three lost souls, bound together by friendship and family. During the course of one fateful Thanksgiving week, a time when emotions run high and being with family can be a mixed blessing, Rowley’s sharply defined characters explore the moments when decisions are deliberately made, choices accepted, and pasts reconciled.

Clio Marsh, whose bird-watching walks through Central Park are mentioned in New York Magazine, is taking her first tentative steps towards a relationship while also looking back to the secrets of her broken childhood. Her best friend, Smith Anderson, the seemingly-perfect daughter of one of New York’s wealthiest families, organizes the lives of others as her own has fallen apart. And Tate Pennington has returned to the city, heartbroken but determined to move ahead with his artistic dreams.

Rambling through the emotional chaos of their lives, this trio learns to let go of the past, to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds.

TLC Book Tour this week.



For My Ears


When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

I am almost finished with this one and WHOA WHOA WHOA!




On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every fourteen years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

I am into this one now…. not sure yet where it is going or how I feel about it.




Into Thin Air is the definitive, personal account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed journalist and author of Eiger Dreams and Into the Wild. On assignment for Outside magazine, Krakauer, an accomplished climber, went to the Himalayas to report on the growing commercialization of the planet’s highest mountain. Everest has always been a dangerous mountain. From the first British expeditions in the 1920s until 1996, one climber has died for ever 4 who have attained the summit. This shocking death toll has not put a damper on the burgeoning business of guided ascents, however, in which amateur alpinists with alarmingly disparate skills are ushered up the mountain for a $65,000 fee. To ascend into the thin, frigid air above 26,000 feet – the cruising altitude of a commercial jetliner – is an inherently irrational act. The environment is unimaginably harsh, the margin for error miniscule. Krakauer examines what it is about Everest that has compelled so many people – including himself – to throw caution to the wind, ignore the concern of loved ones, and willingly subject themselves to such risk, hardship, and expense. Written with emotional clarity and supported by his unimpeachable reporting, Krakauer’s frank eyewitness account of what happened on the roof of the world is a singular achievement.

I just watched the movie Everest over the weekend and wow.  I honestly thought I had read this book, but if I did it was pre-book journey and I can not find any record of it.  After seeing the movie and realizing that author Jon Krakauer was on this trip … I want to listen to it even if it is “again.”




Joe Goldberg is no stranger to hiding bodies. In the past 10 years, this 30-something has buried four of them, collateral damage in his quest for love. Now he’s heading west to Los Angeles, the city of second chances, determined to put his past behind him.

In Hollywood, Joe blends in effortlessly with the other young upstarts. He eats guac, works in a bookstore, and flirts with a journalist neighbor. But while others seem fixated on their own reflections, Joe can’t stop looking over his shoulder. The problem with hidden bodies is that they don’t always stay that way. They reemerge like dark thoughts, multiplying and threatening to destroy what Joe wants most: true love. And when he finds it in a darkened room in Soho House, he’s more desperate than ever to keep his secrets buried. He doesn’t want to hurt his new girlfriend – he wants to be with her forever. But if she ever finds out what he’s done, he may not have a choice….

If you look above in this list you will see the book YOU by this same author.  This is the 2nd book in this series and what luck – it is released tomorrow, the 23rd.  Thanks God!  YOU is amazing and creepy…. and well, watch for that review.


There is my week.  It may look like a lot of audio but I actually just finished YOU about an hour ago and Nightfall is in my car.  I hope you have wonderful reading planned for this week.  Please connect at Book Date to see what others are reading.

Morning Meanderings…Book-A-Mania




The weekends go so fast.

I have made my hubby peanut butter french toast, painted my toenails, stacked up the books of the week for this post, and am now sitting at the kitchen table with COFFEE CUP and watching the snow fall gently outside the window.  This season always makes me sad.  I long for spring.


Book journey



Left Behind

The Goblin’s Puzzle

The Eye Of Midnight

the girl who stayed

The Return Of The Witch

I’m Glad About You

River Road

Hundred Year Walk

The Tree In The Courtyard


The Opposite Zoo


BIG book week!

I have been receiving many beautiful children’s books that I need to start being better at reviewing.  Perhaps today will be one of those days…. the snow… the warm house.  Definitely a book day.




At The Movies: How To Be Single

how to be single, book journey,Last weekend my cousin Cheryl and I had lunch and then went to a movie.  We decided to see How To Be Single.  I adore Leslie Mann, I think she is so funny, and Rebel Wilson was first introduced to me in the movie Pitch Perfect (which I love love LOVE).

Let’s bring you up to speed… (Note trailer is a bit “R”) – skip it if you just want my review 🙂

I have to admit, the movie was really funny.  Yes there is some crude language, but I have to say it is not a crude movie.  Last month I seen Sisters with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and IF I decide to review it is will not be favorable.  That movie was raunchy.

In case you skipped the trailer here is my cleaner version of what is happening…

After four years of college and being with the same sweet guy the whole time, Alice (Dakota Johnson), decides she needs to explore the dating world a bit before she settles down forever with Josh.  Excited to give her new singleness a try, she moves out of her apartment to live with her older sister (Leslie Mann) in New York for awhile and finds a job as a paralegal.  Her co-worker Robin (Rebel Wilson) decides Alice needs to loosen up a bit and learn what New York is all about.  With Robin as her undesignated guide, Alice is taught how to get free drinks, be non committal, and feel the freedom of being single in the city that never sleeps.

But when it gets right down to it, is this really what Alice wants?

I thought this was a really sweet movie. It is hilariously funny, but at the same time there is actually a story line running through along side that keeps the movie real at the same time.  The casting was wonderful.  Dakota Johnson can pull off the right level of innocence, and really if you have watched anything with Rebel Wilson in it, you know she can be outrageous in funny ways.  Leslie Mann provides a nice level between the two actresses as she is a single, well educated, and successful woman who has found she does not need a man or a child to feel fulfilled… or maybe not.  😉

If you do mind a little sexual humor, I would recommend seeing this movie.  This movie is rated R for language, not for visual happenings.  In fact if you watched the movie without hearing it, it would be PG13.  I only bring up the language because I want to be sure you know what you are about to hear, however if you watch the trailer you will have a sample of what I am talking about, it really doesn’t get over the top bad.



Morning Meanderings…. Training To Be A Hooker


Saturday!  Have I mentioned before it is my favorite day of the week?  Here this morning with COFFEE CUP on the front end of the weekend.  So much I like about that.

For this weeks Saturday Snapshot I thought I would share with you my experience this week of taking the steps to be a hooker.  Leather knee boots optional.


Oh wait – no no no. Not that kind of hooker.

This kind:


I have girls in my book club that are amazing crocheters, or hookers, as I am learning they are called.  Some of the items they have worn to book club (scarves, hats…) things they have made for Wine and Words or for our Christmas exchange (gorgeous blankets, throws…)  This hat is what I received at our last Christmas party:

Sheila DeChantal


Anyway…. I sooooo wanted to know how to crochet.  Last fall, I won a crochet starter kit at the Wine and Words auction.  I joked that I would not open that package unless I had a chance to learn, otherwise the gift basket was going back to be auctioned at this year’s event.  It was nice that on Thursday of this week I was able to open that basket.

PicMonkey CollageIn the basket was a wonderful assortment of yarn in beautiful colors.  There was also a book called My First Crochet Book, scissors, a set of crochet hooks with a holder, and some tags to put on my masterpieces (those I will save for later.  WAY later).

We gathered at Sharon’s house from our book club and she and Lori taught me the basics.  I was the only one in the group this time that was squeaky new to this.  I thought for sure I would have Mickey Mouse hands and not be able to do a think but I actually did ok when I made my first chain of 100 stitches.  (Note the concentration)


Our trial session was two hours long.  The goal was to make a cozy for a coffee cup as my first project but we (I) did not get that far.  By the time I left I had this:


A work in progress? Yes.  Or…. a completes yarn mustache which I believe are all the rage in Europe.  😉

The verdict:  I am willing to keep going. I hope I will learn to at least make scarves, maybe baby blankets.  On the bright side… it was a bucket list item I can scratch off – I am doing it.


How about that?

My Great Grandmother would be proud.

Linking this up to Saturday Snapshot where we share what is happening in our lives.  Check it out – it is kind of cool to see what everyone around the world is taking pictures of this week.