Morning Meandering… Why am I still talking about how awesome it is to be home?

Good morning!

Wow.  This morning is a BIG dose of normalcy here.

AND uh huh…. I like it.  😛

It has been over a week since I have sat down at my kitchen table in the morning having  a cup of coffee and tapping at my keyboard a message out to the blogosphere. 

It is GOOD to be home.

Brainerd Minnesota…. is quite the opposite of New York. 

Mmmmmm..... coffee

I love taking my time in the morning with my coffee.  I love looking our my window and seeing blue skies and a yard that has been a part of my life since I was 3 years old. 

I love my deck… and that it is finally time to sit on it and read – my absolute favorite place to read!  😀

This morning.... after a storm last night

No rushing in the early hours, fast walking down busy New York sidewalks, crowds of people everywhere, the smell of donuts on one corner, hot pretzels on the next, and something greasy and fried on the next.

(I had some  really good food in New York and I had some really bad food in New York.) 

Anyway…. I drift.

I am off to work here shortly and even that feels good and normal.  I am hopeful the day turns out to be a nice one so I can ride my bike this afternoon…. (it has been 2+ weeks since I have worked out and I feel a bit sluggish…..)  I have kickboxing and group power on Wednesday and I am soooo looking forward to getting back at it.)

Ok… so this post really was just a ramble and gushing of how good it is to be home… putting images of Dorothy clicking her red (totally outdated) pumps together saying, “there is no place like home…. there is no place like home”. 

Oh… it is good to be home. (I should be over this melancholy by tomorrow…. really)  😛


From Books to Broadway: Mary Poppins

This week, I am planning many posts on my time in New York for BEA.  I will be posting about the YA Teen Carnival, Dinner with Beth Hoffman, The Expo itself, Harper Collins Party and dinner following with Bloggers, The tour of Greenwich Village, lunch with Adriana Trigiani, The Harry Potter Exhibit, and this, seeing Mary Poppins on Broadway.

Now – Mary Poppins was actually the last thing we did in New York this past week.  It was Friday evening and I was hanging with Reagan from Miss Remmers Reviews and Cass from Bon Jour Cass.   They wanted to do something “New Yorky” for our final evening in the big city, I just wanted to go out to eat.  😛

When they came up with the idea of Mary Poppins, it sounded interesting but I was tired and calculating when we would get back… we still had to pack… our flight left at 6:45 am….  (I know… I know… what a pain right? :razz:)  I knew they were right to do something awesome, but really… Mary Poppins?  Really?

Oh.  Ok…..

So off we went stopping for delicious buffalo chicken sandwiches and spaghetti on our way to the show.  Once seated and the curtain was drawn….

I was never the same.

Ashley Brown makes a wonderful Mary Poppins.  I can not even begin to do her justice.  Her voice, her moves, if ever there was a Mary Poppins – she is her. 

I’m practically perfect in every way

practically perfect that’s my forte

uncanny nannies are hard to find

unique yet meek unspeakably kind

I’m practically perfect not slightly soiled

running like an engine that’s just been freshly oiled!

The special effects are phenomenal – props appear from within a seemingly empty travel bag and a bed appears under a sheet…. when Gavin Lee as Bert walks up the stage wall across the tops and down the other side – the audience goes wild!  I imagine children are astounded and will not soon forget the magic of Mary Poppins …. shoot, neither will I.

I think one of the key moments for me was when they sand supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  The song, the dancers, was so good!  See for yourself:

I told Reagan and Cass later that I could study that dance for the rest of my life and not be able to do it!

AND how about the kids?  Their roles are huge, I found it fascinating that there are actually three sets of kids who perform these songs and dances.  What big roles!  Hear from them yourself:

I loved the witch, errr….. the other nanny, Miss Andrew, Mr. Banks’ nanny who he had as a child.  *gulp*  If this actress does not play roles as a witch she certainly should… she was AWESOME!

Overall… I LOVED IT!  How could you not.  I think I had forgotten the story behind Mary Poppins.  Deeply buried no doubt in childhood memories, entwined in stories long since abandoned in the depths of the files in my brain.  It was nice to take these memories out for a refresher. 

BEA is more than books… it is for me, a taste of New York and each time I go I bask in what I can experience this time.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you go and see this visual treat.  You will thank me. 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between!  D  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.  **You do not have to have a blog to participate! You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

Last weeks winner:

Sabrina from Thinking Out Loud

WOO HOO!!!!  Please choose an item out of the Reading Cafe Grab Shelves  and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!

**Updates have been made to the Reading Cafe Grab shelves!

Last week is kind of a blur as from Sunday evening on I was traveling to New York from the Book Expo (BEA). running around BEA, and then the Book Blogger Convention, and then dragged a very tired version of me back home yesterday afternoon.  All this next week I will share with you posts on authors and bloggers I met, two author events, Publishing events, and the Book Blogger Convention with highlights.  I hope you will tune in for some of these posts as I am a huge fan of BEA and if I can generate enough excitement for you to consider going as well…. I will have succeeded.  😀

With my running around New York this past week while I am on the verge of ending two audio and a couple of books, I have very little to show reading wise for the week.  Here is what I did post:

BEA – Update 1 and a story about overtaking the Info Booth + dinner with Beth Hoffman (TRUE STORY (razz))

Small Update from New York (and a picture with Harlan Coben – SSQQUUUEEE!!!)

BEA update 2

What Do You Look For In A Book Review?

Stop over and see my interview with the Minneapolis Examiner by the wonderful Linda White



So as you can see uhhhh…. not a whole lot of reading going on.  This week however I am hopeful to do a  little catching up with some great reading.  Here is the plan:



In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, a young Orthodox Jewish woman in the holy city of Jerusalem is expected to marry and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah’s arrival. While the feisty Esther Kaminsky understands her obligations, her artistic talent inspires her to secretly explore worlds outside her religion, to dream of studying in Paris—and to believe that God has a special destiny for her. When tragedy strikes her family, Esther views it as a warning from an angry God and suppresses her desires in order to become an obedient “Jerusalem maiden.”

But when a surprising opportunity forces itself on to her preordained path, Esther finds her beliefs clashing dangerously with the passions she has staved off her entire life—forcing her to confront the most difficult question of all: To whom must she be true?

This little gem is for a book tour on Wednesday… I met author Talia Carner at the Harper Collins Book Blogger Reception and look forward to reading her book. 




D.D.’s former partner and one-time lover, Det. Bobby Dodge, of the Massachusetts State Police, asks her to look into what appears to be a clear-cut homicide case. The evidence suggests that Tessa Leoni, a state trooper colleague of Bobby’s, shot and killed her abusive husband, Brian Darby, who may have kidnapped her six-year-old daughter, Sophie. But Tessa won’t talk about her bruises, her husband, or what might have happened to her child. D.D. examines every detail about the family, while Tessa uses her skills to manipulate the investigation. From Tessa’s point of view, we learn about her and Brian’s courtship, his affection for Sophie, and how the marriage began to disintegrate.

I know.. thats a pretty bad synopsis that I pulled from Amazon.  In my own opinion, I adore Lisa Gardner and look forward to this suspense novel on audio.




And finally… drum roll please….

In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Uhhhh thats right… super SSSQQQUUUEEEE!!!  Look what I picked up at BEA!!!  I can not wait to read this.  AND (and this is important!) I have an extra copy that I will be giving away on June 9th (mark your calendar!) for my Blogiversary!



That is the reading plan for the week.  As I said above I have a few I am finishing up so I am hoping to have a bit review week as well as the BEA posts.

Now….. I want to know what you are reading!  Add your What Are Your Reading post to the linky below (where it says click here!)  I can not wait to come and visit you!  😀


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What Do You Look For In A Book Review?

As a lover of all things BOOKISH, I love love LOVE to read book reviews by book bloggers.  Many of the books I read I have discovered by reading a review on a blog about said book.  I appreciate a warm and honest review, and like to know how that book made the reviewer feel…. be it emotionally charged, angry, sad, happy, ready to do battle – whatever… books and emotions to me go hand in hand and I like to know how the reader feels when immersed in a book.

While the above is what I enjoy, I absolutely am turned off by reviews that tell me the book from start to end – the beginning, the big plot line, the solution and the ending… really, why do I need to read the book now?    I do not care if the review is long (although there is clearly such a thing as too long..) as long as it is interesting, or short, as long as it gives me a feel for the book.  I enjoy knowing a bit about the author, a bit about the history of the book, and really like the reviews that go the bit extra with perhaps a definition of something in the book along with a picture of that said word and its meaning. 

As a reviewer, I want to write a good honest review that will cause my readers to know if this book is a good fit for them.  For those of us that do review, we know this is not always as easy as gushing out “I loved it” as much as I love those reviews, there are also the ones that we have to say….. hmmmm…. not so much loving it here. 

This may or may not apply to the post here... I just thought this was funny. It reminds me that we want... what we want.

Here is my question(s) today:

1.  As a reader, what do you like to see in a review of a book you may be interested in?  What do you not like to see in a review?

2.  As a reviewer (for those of us who are), what do you like to be sure are in your own reviews you write? 

Morning Meanderings…There’s No Place Like Home

Good Morning!  😀

I am here at my kitchen table…. safely back in Brainerd Minnesota with a hot cut of TEA,


Yes… tea.  I have had a sore throat for the last couple of days.  No reason why…. I don’t recall any yelling while I was in New York… however I did talk a lot.  😉  Another reason for the tea is… uh… the DeChantal home seems to be out of coffee.  I know, perish the thought but there it is.  A trip to the grocery store today is in the planning. 

After an amazing week in New York with Reagan (Miss Remmers Reviews), chatting it up with authors, publishers, bloggers, and occasionally… the perfect stranger, there comes a time when all good things must end.  Thoroughly exhausted we caught our plane on Saturday morning at 5:45 am and between the two flights we were back in Minnesota by 10:00 am.  I then drove home and between traffic and a lunch stop landed on my door step a little after 1:00 p.m.  and promptly took a nap until 4:30 pm.  SO TIRED.

Through out this past week I gave a couple hints as to things I was doing and people I was seeing.  I plan to write posts this week of the events in more detail and I hope you enjoy them as I would love for you to feel like you were there.  I did get a little reading done, not much but on the plane I made a dent so I do have 2 reviews to write and hopefully a couple more very soon after.

Here are a few of the highlights of the week:

*  Dinner with Beth Hoffman, author of Cee Cee Honeycutt)

*  Seeing the Harry Potter Exhibit

*  Catching up with Sandra Brannan, author of In The Belly of Jonah (there are hints of this becoming a movie!)

* The walking tour of Greenwich Village and lunch after with author Adriana Trigiani

* Meeting Harlan Coben (oh…. he is my favorite mystery author!) 

* Chatting it up with Sarah Pekkanen (author of Skipping A Beat)

* Meeting a couple of my fall tour authors…)

Going to the Broadway showing of Mary Poppins (I believe I will write my first play review!)

Anyway – I could go on and on between the awesome bloggers who I chat with here and ,meeting them in person to the food experiences (yup – there will be pictures)…

I will share it all with you!  😀  There are a couple of books coming out that were super exciting to get early – and that will be shared with you here as well as a copy may be showing up at my Blogiversary Party on June 9, so make a note to be here for that!

New York New York from the top of the Empire State Building at 8:45 p.m.

Anyway…. I need to get ready here.  It is wonderful to be home and cant wait to catch up with all of you!  😀

BEA (Book Expo) Update 2

GAH.  Sorry I had gone quiet this week.  I have been so tired at night and then we get up and go so early that I just look at the blog and go… “nah.”

I have a few minutes here now though and just left the Book Blogger Convention and apparently… have some stored up bloggy type energy stored up in my fingers I was unaware of.  So let’s catch up shall we?  😀

So…. my last post left off at the Beth Hoffman Dinner Tuesday night…

  1. First ever subway ride.  I am now an honorary New Yorker.

  2. Dinner was so awesome.  We went to dinner at Mercers Kitchen in Soho.  So wonderful.  There were 8 of us bloggers I think, I will list them all and their blogs next week when I write more detailed posts about the events.  Beth Hoffman…. as real in person as she is in her books and on the social networks.

  3. Back in hotel room 1t 11:30 pm.  SO TIRED!

  4. Wednesday…. up at 5 am.  To Javitz by 6:15 am… picked up Rick Riordin tickets for a signed event.

  5. At Javitz until about 3 pm.  Reagan and I are SHOT.  So tired books have lost all meaning (and that is TIRED!)

  6. We go back to our hotel room and crash for about an hour. 

  7. Up and get ready for the Harper Collins Blogger Reception

  8. Reception is a blast… we taxi over, get a chance to connect with many authors and fellow bloggers.  I meet two of the authors I am doing book tours with this fall!  (More on this in post next week)

  9. Go to dinner with a group of bloggers organized by Heather from Age 30+ a Lifetime of Books to a place called Bice.  I had a fettuccine with shrimp…. YUM!

  10. back in hotel by 11:00 pm…. shot again.  😀

  11. Thursday – sleep in a bit day!!!  Up at 7:30 am…. YEAH!!!  Get ready and to Javitz by 8:45 am after stopping at Dunkin Donuts for COFFEE and breakfast. 

  12. Spend morning at Javitz center chatting up with publishing companies and getting a few books along the way. 

  13. 10:15 am meet outside to taxi to the Adrianna Trigiani event with other bloggers (detailed post on this next week).  Taxi to Greenwich Village where we go on the wonderful Adriana Tour of the Village!

  14. Meet up with Adriana at The Standard Grill for lunch.  

  15. Back to Javitz at 3:45 pm.

  16. Back to hotel and get ready for Atria party at Simon and Schuster

  17. Taxi to Atria and meet up with publishers and authors and more bloggers.  (More details on this next week)

  18. Reagan and I go to Empire State Building  – all the way up!  😀

  19. Back in room by 10 pm.  Chill a bit then sleep.

  20. Up at 6:00 to prep for Book Blogger Convention

  21. At convention by 7:05 pm for breakfast

  22. Convention officially starts at 9 a.m. to 4:30 pm.  (details details – next week :D)

Now – currently I am sitting at my hotel room with Reagan (Miss Remmers Reviews) and Cass (Bonjour, Cass! A Book Lovers Blog) preparing to go to a Broadway play… Mary Poppins! 


I will break down these events soon in more detail, I just wanted to touch base and let you know I do still exist and I am returning home very early tomorrow morning… 😀


Morning Meanderings… Small Update From New York

Good Morning!  😀

Hoping everyone is well….I am having a BLAST!

I do not have a lot of time… we are leaving in about a half hour for the Javitz, last day of the Book Expo part of this trip.  Tomorrow is the book blogger convention.  We have until 10:30 today before we grab a taxi and go meet up with Adriana Trigiani for our tour of Greenwich Village and lunch.  How crazy is that?

The weather has been beautiful!  Our first day here it rained (Monday) and we had heard that was pretty much the norm so far this year but Tuesday and Wednesday have been gorgeous and today is supposed to be in the mid 70’s.

Highlights have been:

  • Meeting Harlan Coben (I really enjoy his books)
  • Going to the Harry Potter Exhibit – and sorted by the sorting hat!!!!!!  (SQQQQUUUUEEEE!!!!!!! Oh and I am….. GRYFINDOR!!!!)
  • chatting it up with blogger friends – old and new!

Tonight we have a couple of blogger/Publisher events that we hope (HOPE!) to spend time at both.  It will be another busy day but we did not have a super early one this morning which helps so much. 

On another completely random (but fun!) note… Linda White from the Minneapolis Books Examiner wrote up an article about my blogging path.  She would love it (and I would too :D) if you would pop over and comment on this article. 

Me and Harlan Coben!