Bookies Book Club Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

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I read this book while on vacation this past February. If you read my review you find that I soared through the book, having trouble putting it down. I wanted to know what would happen next – and honestly reading a book like this reminded me how much I love just having time to be with a book.

When my book club chose this book to be our May read, I felt they had made a good choice but knew I was not going to read it again this quickly, knowing at times how heavy and drawn the subject matter could be. In fact when one girl asked if Elsa’s life got any better (possible spoiler here) I said no. Then I thought about my answer and wondered how I gushed about a book that is – well honestly, extremely sad.

I came up with two reasons:


  1. I rarely have time to just sink into a book without time restraints (ooh I have 30 minutes before I have to go…. or I need to get going on the laundry or start blah blah blah… ) Being on vacation with nothing but glorious time…I really was able to dig in.
  2. Kristin Hannah. Angie, in our book club, nailed it when she said Hannah just writes in a way that makes you engage. She can take a heavy hard depressing topic like this and make it readable. Relatable. dare I say enjoyable?


So What did the Bookies think?

Whey had some fun with this…

“It just kept going on and on…”
“Every page, I was like is this here break? And then … nope.”



Honestly though, as a book club choice we highly recommend. It’s true the book does not bring a lot of sunshine, yet why would it? The Four Winds is about Elsa, and starts pre- dust storm, and then carries on throughout Elsa’s adult life into her marriage, hew kids, and extended family. It’s a brutaly honest look at how things were during these times, and honestly to put a merry spin on it would have been wrong – no matter how hard we rooted for her.



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Our discussion leaned not only towards the decisions that Elsa makes throughout the book, but also into the Dust Bowl itself, each of us learning a bit about this time period and a few sharing stories that were handed down from our own relatives.

While we had a few within our 16 person group who did not enjoy the book, the majority rated it high, finding it an honest recap of the way things were as well as an interesting look into one family in particular as they made their way.

Here are some questions that we used in our discussion, taken from discussion questions on line and tweaking to make them more our own: (NOTE- spoilers to anyone who has not read the book)

1. A theme in the book is the American Dream, either through financial independence or traveling to California in search of a better life. Was the American Dream true then? Is it now?

2. Elsa came from an unloving family who told her she was “too tall, too plain, and too old” to ever meet someone and get married. How did this negative home life effect her? How did it follow her over her life? What does this negative influence do to any child or person?

3. When Elsa becomes pregnant, how does this change the lives around her? Rafe? Her parents? His parents? Elsa?

4. Loreda as she grows listens to her dads dream of making it big elsewhere. Loreda and Rafe turn out to be a lot alike in that way – dreamers. How does this differ from the way Elsa sees things? How does this effect Elsa and Loreda’s relationship as they move forward without Rafe?

5. What do you think happened to Rafe?

6. Ant becomes ill due to the dust causing Elsa to make hard decisions about moving. What would you have done in Elsa’s position?

7. When Rafe’s parents refuse to move with them, Loreda describes them as “plants that can only grow in one place”. What does this mean?

8. With the extreme poverty conditions of the time period, how does this compare to what we go through today?

9. Loreda finds her voice after going to the Communist Movement Meeting and meeting Jack. How does this change Loreda for the better? For the worse?

10. Elsa eventually falls hard for Jack and experiences romantic love for the first time. What did you think of this romance?

Jack calls Elsa a Warrior. What is a warriors definition to you? Is Elsa a warrior?

11. Elsa speaks up against the oppressors and is shot when doing so. What does this do to the story?

12. What do you think about the ending and Loreda returning home and attending college?

13. Is there a favorite part of the book for you?

14. What lessons do you take away from this period in history?



I read this book while on vacation this past February. If you read my review you find that I soared through the book, having trouble putting it down. I wanted to know what would happen next – and honestly reading a book like this reminded me how much I love just having time to be with a book.

When my book club chose this book to be our May read, I felt they had made a good choice but knew I was not going to read it again this quickly, knowing at times how heavy and drawn the subject matter could be. In fact when one girl asked if Elsa’s life got any better (possible spoiler here) I said no. Then I thought about my answer and wondered how I gushed about a book that is – well honestly, extremely sad.

I came up with two reasons:

  1. I rarely have time to just sink into a book without time restraints (ooh I have 30 minutes before I have to go…. or I need to get going on the laundry or start blah blah blah… ) Being on vacation with nothing but glorious time…I really was able to dig in.
  2. Kristin Hannah. A girl in my book nailed it when she said Hannah just writes in a way that makes you engage. She can take a heavy hard depressing topic like this and make it readable. Relatable. dare I say enjoyable?


So What did the Bookies think?

Whey had some fun with this…

“It just kept going on and on…”
“Every page, I was like is this here break? And then … nope.”

Honestly though, as a book club choice we highly recommend. It’s true the book does not bring a lot of sunshine, yet why would it? The Four Winds is about Elsa, and starts pre- dust storm, and then carries on throughout Elsa’s adult life into her marriage, hew kids, and extended family. It’s a brutaly honest look at how things were during these times, and honestly to put a merry spin on it would have been wrong – no matter how hard we rooted for her.

Our discussion leaned not only towards the decisions that Elsa makes throughout the book, but also into the Dust Bowl itself, each of us learning a bit about this time period and a few sharing stories that were handed down from our own relatives.

While we had a few within our 16 person group who did not enjoy the book, the majority rated it high, finding it an honest recap of the way things were as well as an interesting look into one family in particular as they made their way.

Here are some questions that we used in our discussion, taken from discussion questions on line and tweaking to make them more our own: (NOTE- spoilers to anyone who has not read the book)

1. A theme in the book is the American Dream, either through financial independence or traveling to California in search of a better life. Was the American Dream true then? Is it now?

2. Elsa came from an unloving family who told her she was “too tall, too plain, and too old” to ever meet someone and get married. How did this negative home life effect her? How did it follow her over her life? What does this negative influence do to any child or person?

3. When Elsa becomes pregnant, how does this change the lives around her? Rafe? Her parents? His parents? Elsa?

4. Loreda as she grows listens to her dads dream of making it big elsewhere. Loreda and Rafe turn out to be a lot alike in that way – dreamers. How does this differ from the way Elsa sees things? How does this effect Elsa and Loreda’s relationship as they move forward without Rafe?

5. What do you think happened to Rafe?

6. Ant becomes ill due to the dust causing Elsa to make hard decisions about moving. What would you have done in Elsa’s position?

7. When Rafe’s parents refuse to move with them, Loreda describes them as “plants that can only grow in one place”. What does this mean?

8. With the extreme poverty conditions of the time period, how does this compare to what we go through today?

9. Loreda finds her voice after going to the Communist Movement Meeting and meeting Jack. How does this change Loreda for the better? For the worse?

10. Elsa eventually falls hard for Jack and experiences romantic love for the first time. What did you think of this romance?

Jack calls Elsa a Warrior. What is a warriors definition to you? Is Elsa a warrior?

11. Elsa speaks up against the oppressors and is shot when doing so. What does this do to the story?

12. What do you think about the ending and Loreda returning home and attending college?

13. Is there a favorite part of the book for you?

14. What lessons do you take away from this period in history?

The Family Journal by Carolyn Brown

Sometimes, it takes blowing everything up – to find your true life. ~Sheila

Lily Anderson still finds herself reeling from a messy divorce leaving her with full custody of her two young teen children Holly and Braden. When Holly is caught smoking in the Library, Lily realizes that in her own grief she has neglected to give the attention to her kids that they need. At her wits end she takes the kids cell phones and IPADS and declares a do-over. Feeling they all need a fresh start she makes the decision to move the kids and herself back to her family home in Comfort, Texas.

The home is occupied by longtime renter Mack Cooper, a local teacher, who agrees to share the home with Lily and the kids while they take a break and reset.

Yet, things have a way of changing of changing in ways you never expect…

As Lily finds a part time job with two of her longtime friends and the kids become settled in school things start to change for the better. Mack’s occasional help with the kids and friendship isn’t a bad thing either as Lily starts to wonder if this truly just a temporary move –

or has she stumbled for once in the right direction.



“there was no room in a heart for both love and hate. She said that hate would soon eat up its half of the heart and want more and more until soon there would be no love left for anyone.”
― Carolyn Brown, The Family Journal

My Thoughts…

The Family Journal is just the type of book I like when my mind is full and I can use a mind break. Not heavy or over engaging, this book is a sweet read about a family ripped apart through divorce and circumstances and yet finds a way to reconnect in powerful ways.

I enjoyed the relationships between Lily and her kids although Holly’s change especially seemed like it changed a little too quick from rebellious young teen to complying caring daughter. Even with little notes of “hmmm…. that was easy….” it was still an enjoyable read by an author I have come to appreciate for engaging family driven stories.

Carolyn Brown is mostly a romance author which is absolutely NOT in my genre wheelhouse. However – she does have a few gems out there that are not based on heavy romance, such as The Sometimes Sisters which I recently read and reviewed.

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

Imagine… being sent away for having a strong opinion, being cast off from society simply because – they can. ~Sheila

When Charlotte’s sister Phoebe becomes a “disruption,” Phoebe’s future plans are suddenly thrown away when her parents make the decision to place her in an asylum for women. Charlotte knows in her heart this is not where Phoebe belongs. Deeply disturbed by her parents actions, Charlotte, unbeknownst to her family, creates her own act of craziness to be placed in the asylum as well to find her sister and free her.

Charlotte succeeds to be placed in the asylum, labeled as Woman 99. Her time in the asylum makes Charlotte aware that many of the women within these walls that were labeled insane, were merely more of an inconvenience. As days turn into weeks and more truth’s are brought to light, Charlotte realizes she has more to do then find and free her sister. There are many things wrong at Goldengrove Asylum, and many people will do anything to make certain these secrets remain just that.

My Thoughts…

Talk about engaging! Woman 99 was a a very interesting read that covered not only the asylum’s of this time, but also the importance of class, and identity. I enjoy Historical Fiction novels. They often give me a taste of a topic that leads to me digging in deeper and seeking out more on the subject.

I would say that Woman 99 is definitely a timely topic. In a world that does not seem to have a plan for what to do with the many ranges of mental illness of today, we see a very different world in the late 1800’s as in the setting of this book. Women were sent away for any number of reasons including – they just were not wanted and could be sent away by family as well as husbands. Heartbreaking really to think of anyone having the power to just dispose of someone who they found to be “in the way”.

I found the book to be interesting. Not a heavy read by any means, it is more of a telling of a family and the happenings surrounding a small time period in their lives. The dialogue was engaging. I loved Charlotte’s drive and fearlessness it took to put herself into a situation that was completely unknown.

I am interested in reading more by this author, and recently picked up a copy of her book The Magician’s Lie at our Friends of the Library used book sale.

Bookies Book Club Thoughts

Woman 99 came on my radar when Author Greer Macallister said yes to being one of our Author’s at this years Wine and Words event. Our Book Club enjoys reading the authors prior the event and this book won our vote to be read this April. Our discussion was a good one, centered around mental illness, and the very realness of such asylums in the late 1800’s. We also discussed how people are treated today with such illnesses and with no place for them to go that is safe in many communities, they are often labeled as trouble and can even be placed in jail.

Some of our discussion centered around –

1. What did we find to be the worst treatment at the asylum?

2. Would any of us be so daring as to do what Charlotte did?

3. In todays world how would you diagnose Phoebe?

4. Which woman’s story within the asylum spoke to you the most?

5. What did we know of asylums such as these prior to reading the book?

*The Author also included discussion questions on the back of the book.

Morning Meanderings… What Makes A Reader?

I have been a voracious reader most of my life. As a kid I won the book worm award in grade school. I remember it was a large cardstock worm with a book and glasses…

They called my name to go the front of the gym and accept my award in front of all the grade school classes. I was so proud.

I absolutely loved the school library and the day each week that we would single file go to return the previous weeks books and check out more. What an amazing system – books MORE than you could possibly ever read, waiting for you to select it for a moment in your life.

In my early days, books were a key to other worlds, other lives, other adventures. I lived many through the pages and pages. Books were also perfect for escape when my own world became too intense… the house fire, the moving to another state, the return, the horse accident, the car accidents, the losses.

I am not sure how my reading love began as I was a “lone reader” in my house growing up. My mom and dad were not readers. My sister was too young and never had the chance to become one. I wonder now if she would have been and if this is something we would have shared over conversations on the phone or local coffee shops… gushing in excitement or deeply talking about what we had read.

As full as my life is, I am still drawn to books and fit them into every nook and cranny my mind has room for. Often, these days it is audio so I can cook or clean, drive or paint or rake while listening. Yet when I do have some time, I love to open a book and READ.

I miss not doing that more.

Above are the books that reached me this past week. Second Tuesdays for 20 years now has been our Book Clubs day to meet. This month we read Woman 99 by Greer Macallister. A good Historical Fiction read about late 1800’s Women’s Asylum’s. What an interesting read and discussion! MY review will show up soon.


The Nickel Boys By Colson Whitehead was our Books Burgers and Brews read this month – another Historical Fiction read, horrifying on an even more-so level as this book is written about the actual Dozier School for Boys which has many unaccounted for boys and buried secrets.

Which leads me to Dean Koontz book, Innocence which I am hopeful to dive into this weekend. Dean used to be a go to author for me and looking at his list of books this morning I don’t’ believe I missed any of his earlier books:
77 Shadow Street, What The Night Knows, Breathless, Relentless, Your Heart Belongs To Me, The Darkest Evening Of The Year, The Good Guy, The Husband, Life Expectancy, The Funhouse (my first by him), Demon Seed, Tick Tock, Sole Survivor, Strange Highways, Winter Moon, Shadow Fires, Ice Bound, The Eyes Of Darkness, The Key to Midnight, The Voice Of The Night, Shattered, Mr. Murder, Midnight, Lightning, Watchers, Strangers, Hideaway, Fear Nothing, By The Light Of The Moon, The Face, Whispers.
Yup… I read all of them 😀

Now I am excited to read this book that I recently found at our used book sale, as well as excited to dig into his newest release, The Other Emily.



How did you become a reader? Were you always a reader or became one later in life? Did you have someone who inspired you to read?

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys is a fictional story centered around the real Dozier School, a reform school for boys in Florida.

In 1960’s Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis is working towards his future. Kept on the right path by his Grandmother, Elwood is planning to enroll in a nearby Black College. When Elwood finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, he is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called The Nickel Academy.

While Nickel Academy is said to be a place that makes ‘young men honorable and honest’, this is not the truth of what happens. Elwood finds him in a situation that could only be compared to his worst nightmares. The boys of Nickel Academy are beaten and abused by the staff. If you make trouble, you disappear.

Elwood befriends a boy names Turner who finds Elwood to be naïve to the ways of the world. Turner feels the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The boy’s while opposite in their thinking, make a decision together that changes their world forever.

You know how when you are reading a good book you can lose yourself in it? Sink right down and feel all cozy immersed in this other world?

This is not that book.

The Nickel Boys at times is devastating. Made even more so by the fact that you are reading historical fiction, and while Elwood and Turner and the others within the book are fictional – the school, in fact, is not. This is a book I listened to mostly on audio, however I feel strongly that I will be going through at least part of this again in my print copy.



Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. 


Colson Whitehead is a powerful writer. The book is beautifully written, narrative heavy, and while it clearly is not a cozy blanket and cup of tea kind of read, it is hard and real and makes you want to turn the pages to know what is going to happen. Whitehead is also the author of The Underground Railroad, a soon to be Amazon Prime series. This book won Whitehead the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

This is a book I highly recommend. Not only so you get a little idea of the Dozier school, which I highly recommend if you have not read about you do, you read a powerful story about friendship and loss of freedom. Named by Time Magazine as one of the best books of the decade.

We read and discussed this with Books Burgers and Brews and it was a very interesting and engaging discussion.

April 19th ZOOM Book Discussion

Miss book club meetings? Ever read an amazing book and want someone to talk to about it? Or maybe you have never been involved in a book discussion, however have been curious about them.

We got you.

Books Burgers and Brews originally was a full in-person monthly event held on 3rd Mondays at a local restaurant. As we all know… times have changed.

This monthly event continues to thrive as a ZOOM event. While not ideal (I miss seeing people face to face for this) – it works well. One of the things I do love about this is that I can invite all of you to a Central Minnesota event that you do not even have to leave your house for.

Heck, you don’t even have to wear pants.

Ummm…. well you get what I mean.

So please consider joining us! Tonight’s discussion of The Nickel Boys is a book that will speak to you if you have read it or not.

The Nickel Boys is a 2019 novel by American novelist Colson Whitehead. It is based on the real story of the Dozier School, a reform school in Florida that operated for 111 years and had its history exposed by a university’s investigation. It was named one of TIME’s best books of the decade.


Consider joining us by registering for the discussion here.

Find our full list of upcoming discussion as well as more information on this book and Books Burgers and Brews here.

Happy Monday!

Summer Discussion Reads!


Tonight, at 6 pm Central time LIVE on the Books Burgers and Brews Facebook Page, Laurel from the Brainerd Public Library and I will be talking about a few Summer Reads that would make for good discussion. We are doing this to choose what we will read in June and July for Books Burgers and Brews.
All are welcome to join in and add to your own reading list. We will be offering a few giveaways as well.

I can not give a hint because we have not announced yet, but I am pretty excited about what we have come up with. Pop in if you can and say hi!



Do the book you choose to read change depending on the time of year?

MAID by Stephanie Land

MAID, Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother’s Will To Survive is the true story about Stephanie Land’s struggle to make ends meet as a single mom. Stephanie works as a maid, cleaning homes to earn a living while she balanced bills, housing, food and higher education.

“Due to my self-employment, I had to report my income every few months. Earning $50 extra could make my co-pay at day care go up by the same amount. Sometimes it meant losing my childcare grant altogether. There was no incentive or opportunity to save money. The system kept me locked down, scraping the bottom of the barrel, without a plan to climb out of it.”
― Stephanie Land, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive

MAID is a book that has been on my mental “To Be Read” list since it was published in 2019. I am fascinated by personal stories of peoples jobs – it could just as easily have been called “Window Washer, Conductor, School Teacher, House Painter, Librarian, or Elephant Trainer“, and I would have been interested. I love reading about the inner workings of what someone does for a living.

MAID piqued my interest not only because of the job itself, but also Stephanie’s story. Prior to reading, I could imagine the struggle of being a single parent trying to work and take care of a young child, all the while trying to find assistance and jumping through the hoops to qualify as well as dealing with the stigma.

MAID had all of this and more. While listening to this book on audio (narrated well by the author), I found myself remembering why autobiographies/memoirs are hard to review.

They are personal.

“Single parenting isn’t just being the only one to take care of your kid. It’s not about being able to “tap out” for a break or tag team bath- and bedtime; those were the least of the difficulties I faced. I had a crushing amount of responsibility. I took out the trash. I brought in the groceries I had gone to the store to select and buy. I cooked. I cleaned. I changed out the toilet paper. I made the bed. I dusted. I checked the oil in the car. I drove Mia to the doctor, to her dad’s house. I drove her to ballet class if I could find one that offered scholarships and then drove her back home again. I watched every twirl, every jump, and every trip down the slide. It was me who pushed her on the swing, put her to sleep at night, kissed her when she fell. When I sat down, I worried. With the stress gnawing at my stomach, worrying. I worried that my paycheck might not cover bills that month. I worried about Christmas, still four months away. I worried that Mia’s cough might become a sinus infection that would keep her out of day care… . I worried that I would have to reschedule work or miss it altogether.”

Whether I agree or disagree with what the author writes, it is their personal story, thoughts, and feelings. I even had a few flash backs to a review I had written in 2009. I wondered while reading MAID what others thought of some of what was in this book regarding:

  • Admitting she snooped in peoples drawers and personal spaces while cleaning their homes
  • living in a rental that had black mold that made her daughter very sick
  • Naming the homes she cleaned, the Clown House, the Sad House, the Porn House (not a typo)
  • Receiving a tax refund and buying herself a diamond ring
  • Not acknowledging the services she did receive – child support, food stamps, rental assistance, daycare allowances…

I am not here to rip this book apart by any means. Have I always made the best choices? Certainly not. Have I spent money on something that I should have used for a bill or for my home? You bet.

I am glad I listened to MAID and I can only imagine how hard it is for a single person with no family support to try to make ends meet and provide a stable home for their child. I refrained from reading any reviews on the book until I had finished so I could base my thoughts on my own experience. When I did read some of the reviews, I found many of them reflected my thoughts as well. The system is by no means perfect. I feel there was a way to tell this story on single parenthood and the struggles in a way that was…. well… in a different way.

I encourage you to read MAID for yourself and come up with your own thoughts on this book or audio. You can find a whole list of praises on the book here.

Morning Meanderings… A Whole New Way To Book Sale

Friends of the Brainerd Public Library Book Sale Fall 2019

Happy Saturday!

If you have hung around here any amount of time, you have most likely heard me talk about out local Friends of The Library group as well as our Library. I have volunteered with this group over 10 years now and have watched us grow in so many ways.

One of our big wins has always been our book sales. We have worked hard to be ingrained in our community and it has paid off in so many ways. We take used book donations all year around and have an amazing hard working book sale team that sorts through the donations making our sale one of gorgeous, gently used books in all genres. Literally something for everyone.

Our Spring and Fall Sales were legendary. Truth. People would drive hours to attend this well organized sale waiting in crowds for the doors to open so they could peruse through the tables and pick their selections at 50 cents per book or a quarter for a children/YA book, or a newly released title for $5 or less.

The Friends book sales in the three days they were open would make around $7000 per sale. THAT is a lot of 50 cent books. This money in turn would go into supporting our local library programs, Author Events, Children’s Reading Initiatives, additional copies of best selling books, the “Book In The Bag” program for reading groups to check out, Community Book Clubs, and more.

Of course…

times have changed.

I am hopeful that the above picture did not make you cringe to see people so tightly packed into a space. I absolutely loved seeing the book lovers of all ages leaving the sales with bags and boxes of good reads. That picture is from our last sale in the Fall of 2019.

In the Fall of 2020 we set up our online sale options to put gently used books into our communities hands by ordering on line and picking up curbside. Now Spring of 2021, we have our first in person sale with a limit of 5 pre-registered shoppers per hour at the sale.

It’s working.

Below is my haul from yesterday evening after volunteering from 3 to 6 pm.

Yeah… I did a little damage, in a positive way. Some of these I have listened to on audio and did not have a book copy. Some are collection additions. Some, I have someone in mind who is going to love it.

The sale continues for its final day today. The book sale team has made incredible progress through this – continuously finding ways. The community continues to donate their gently used books – and I am so thrilled.

Have you read any of these? Any favorites? Books and/or Authors?

Below are the details of these books:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenson: (Audio) – I read this book (LOVED IT!) and there is a chance that that I may be reading it again with a book discussion later this year. I would love to try it on audio.

A Girl’s Guide To Moving On by Debbie Macomber: I used to read Macomber way back in the day… I enjoyed her books and have a few reviewed here since 2010.

The Vampire Diaries: Shadow Soul by L J Smith: Ok… I don’t know why. It looked good. Impulse purchase?

Son Of A Witch by Gregory Maguire: Because I loved Wicked and thought it was brilliant. I have a few of these books by this author.

Calypso by David Sadaris: I have listened to almost everything this guy has written. I have never read him. Out of all the books I purchased yesterday, this is the only one I flipped through the beginning and laughed and said, “yeah”.

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams: This is an author I feel is so underrated. I don’t know if I am living under a rock and just missing it but I find her writing brilliant and engaging and wonder why movies are not popping up.

The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand: I am hopeful I have not read this book. I might have. In fact it may already be on my shelf which is ok as I have the perfect home for it if it is. LOVE this author.

The Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda: Book Rescue. That is when I find a book I have read and loved and rescue it to find it a new home with someone I know will love it too. Hey…. no judging. There are worse things I could do with my money. 😉

The Confessions Club by Elizabeth Berg: Had to. In fact (and I just looked to see when it was) in May 2011 I had a Berg Fest right here and was reading Elizabeth Berg like crazy. I mean like crazy. I read at least 8 in a row.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: I read this in early 2019 with my book club. So so good.

The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben: I love Coben. At the book expo one year I waited for his book signing for a good two hours before he signed. I was among the first in that line. Picture proof.

The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews: MKA is one of those go to authors I love to read on a sunny day on the deck or at the beach. Fun characters, easy reading – and I love discussing her with my Aunt.

BECOMING by Michelle Obama: I listened to this on audio in January of 2019 while refinishing the walls in the front room of my home. Loved it. Excellent on audio and highly recommended.

The Young Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews: I didn’t know this book existed – I have a plan…

Fable is an X Box game.

Paper Towns by John Green: Ahhh….. I miss John Green. I have read and listened my way through I believe, all of his books. Adding to my collection. Listened to in 2012.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny: Would you believe I have never read her? I feel like that is unforgivable.

Gridley Girls by Meredith First: Fun cover. Looks like my kind of read.

The Thief taker by Janet Gleeson: Hmm… now that I look at this I am not sure how it got in my pile.

Looking For Alaska by John Green: Because… it’s John Green. Listened to in 2012.

Innocence by Dean Koontz: Did you know that back in the day Dean was one of my very favorite authors? In my early 20’s I read everything he wrote. I don’t love-love all of his books but I do most of them.

Under The Dome and The Stand by Stephen King: There are books that I have always wished I had read… and have not. These are two of them. They are HUGE books and I picture a solitude winter week at the cabin… snowed in and left to read… a girl can dream.

The Rule of 3 by Eric Walters: I don’t know why… cover love I think…

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers: This looks so interesting! I am genuinely excited to read this.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory: Nostalgia. I read this book for book club and it was in my early days of trying out Historical Fiction. Turns out – I love the genre and love this authors writing. This may have been the start of my fascination of all things in this time period and Henry VIII.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams: I mentioned earlier I love this authors writing. I listened to this one on Audio in 2015, my first by her.

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister: I am pretty exited about this one . Greer is one of our Wine and Words authors for this year.

Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris: Creepy good –listened to on audio for Book Club in 2017. Needed a hard copy.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn: This has been a “want to read” for years and just have not done so.

Dracula: The Undead by Dacre Stoker: First… I love classics. Second…. I had no idea that Dracula had a follow up book. Did you? This apparently is written based off Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes. I am kind of excited.

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp: A YA book about a school shooting. I’ve read Nineteen Minutes and We Need To Talk About Kevin as well as Columbine. Both incredibly hard yet powerful books surrounding the times we live in.

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova: I am a huge fan of Lisa’s writing. She takes real life situations and breaths them into pages. Definitely an author to read. Left Neglected, Inside the O’Brien’s, and her most popular, Still Alice.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: For my Classic Shelf. Another I have yet to read. My book club reads a classic every October.

That’s it. I am off to a FULL day of work.

Happy reading all.


~Sheila

A Willing Murder by Jude Deveroux

The lengths one will go when cornered… ~Sheila

Sara Medlar, Famous Romance Author, finds herself returning to her home town of Lachlan Florida taking on a project of remodeling a home that she had admired as a child. When Sara’s niece Kate is offered a real estate job in Lachlan, Sara is thrilled to have her come and stay with her until she gets settled.

Kate is thrilled to have time with her famous Aunt, yet finds a surprise when she discovers her Aunt has another houseguest, Jackson Wyatt is also staying there. Good looking and charming, two things that Kate has absolutely no time for.

When two skeletons are discovered growing into a tree on an investment property recently acquired by Jack, the three are thrown into solving a long buried town secret, that the town seems to want to keep buried.


My first experience with Author Jude Devereaux was with The Summer House in 2008. This was a book club read and became one of my all time favorite books if not for the book itself, then for the discussion it brought forth. I read and reviewed it again in 2020.

At the time of the first reading of Summer House, I caved to read something else by this author in hopes of making lightning strike twice. I can not recall now what I tried to read however I do recall it did not stick.

A Willing Murder was a book I listened to on Audio. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and was especially intrigued by the skeletons that had been buried under the tree and the story entwined within. Perhaps the fact that the skeletons were almost immediately identified added to my interest of wanting to know the whole story.

An interesting story with great bones (pun intended), I enjoyed the mystery and had no idea until the very end as to who did it. Not too heavy and not too light, for this girl the book was a great fit for these spring days.

I have a few of her other books on my shelves that I look forward to reading.