Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool To Save The Planet by Catherine Friend

Everyone once in a while you find a book completely off your radar – yet you are captivated by the title, the cover… something. And you find you are better for having read it. ~Sheila

Catherine and her partner Melissa, Catherine details the challenges associated with farming sheep that you do not necessarily think about when you decide to have a sheep farm. You know… such as, making them go where you want them to go and the occasional escape. And the fact that Sheep should be sheered. And the opportunities come when their birthing schedule timing does not coincide with your plans and they do this in the middle of a cold Minnesota winter.
You know… stuff like that.
Catherine Friend writes an adventure of a book with great humor as she and Melissa work through the ins and outs of sheep farming (as well as her love/hate relationship with wool).

I adored this book. I absolutely loved the entire book and laughed throughout many of the happenings as Catherine and Melissa figured out their roles as sheep farmers, and of course I rooted for the little sheep that had rough starts. I love d this book so much that I passed it immediately on to a friend who is a veterinarian and a big time animal lover and she loved it too.
Highly recommended.

Now I need to dig into Catherine’s other books:
Hit By A Farm
Compassionate Carnivore Minnesota Book Award in General Nonfiction, 2009

Morning Meanderings and a Little Shenanigans

Good morning! I hope you are having a great start to your Valentines day morning. I have completed a little work, finished my workout and now I am writing this (while having my second cup of coffee) while warming up my car and then heading to town to grab a few things for a later this afternoon project (yes, in Minnesota we have to warm up our car this time of year). I recommend keeping an eye on the Books Burgers and Brews Facebook page – some fun things are happening there as Laurel and I are planning to discuss The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek VIA ZOOM tomorrow evening at 6 pm Central time. And yes, everyone is welcome to join in that discussion.

I want to explain the picture I posted here. If you are Facebook friends with me, you may already have read about this. At the Friends of the Library Book Sale, one of our older volunteers would come with her two adult daughters to volunteer at the sales. They would stay with their mom during that week and drive her to and from the sale each day. They also would stay the entire day volunteering so I was able to get to know them both pretty well. June in particular.

June and I for many years would be straightening up the books at the sale and find the funniest titles while doing so. We would capture these titles and hide them until the appropriate time when the other was not aware, and hide these books among their purchases. This was always in the hope (and usually worked) that the new owner of said title would not notice the book mixed in with their other books until days after the sale when they are unpacking their new treasures back at home.

This is how through the years I came home with titles such as:
Everybody Poops
My First Rectal Exam
Stop Being a B****
I wish I could remember some of the titles I sent home with her. If busted trying to sneak the book into the others mix of books, we would laugh so hard we cried. It was a fun tradition.

Now that we have not had a real book sale since September of 2019, I am left to take drastic measures. While browsing a book catalog on line last week I came across this title and instantly new it was for June. It is about to be mailed to her, letting her know how much I miss and her sister at the sales as well as the sales themselves.

Yes, I am that good of a friend. LOL
Happy Sunday all, do something spectacular!


My Kind of Retail Therapy…

When I sat down at my computer this morning, COFFEE hot and mind ready to rock and roll…. the plan was to work.

Then I remembered that last night I had heard of a book I was interested in listening to …

Then I went to Audible to see if was available…

Then I noticed they were having their February $5 audio sale…

Then time lost all meaning…

On a SUPER CHILLY day in Minnesota… I fell into the online version of a book store and came out of book-coma with 20 new books….

So here is what I picked up for my upcoming vacation -cooking – cleaning – drive time listening…

The Fifth Ave, Story Society by Rachel Hauck (hoping for essence of The Summerhouse)
Mr. Murder by Dean Koontz (I read this forever ago …. feeling nostalgic)

The Half Sister by Sadie Jones ( sounds creepy good)
Troubles In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand (not sure how I missed this one)
A willing Murder by Jude Devereaux (Jude has been a one-hit-wonder for me, hoping to change that)

Forget You Ethan by Whitney G. (I listened to a snippet, it made me laugh)
The Family Journal by Carolyn Brown (sounds good)
The Things They Carried by Tim Obrien (I’m almost embarrassed that I have not read this yet)

The Sometimes Sisters by Carolyn Brown (sounds about perfect)

The Office: The Untold Story by Andy Greene I love to read about things like this)

The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner (in a mood for a good mystery)

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner ( Feel like I am missing out by not having read this)

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend (heard it is like Harry Potter – purchased first book as well)

MAID by Stephanie Land (I have been planning to read this like Fo-Ev-Ah)

Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins (It sounds fun. I like fun.)

Robin by Dave Itzkoff (no explanation needed. It’s Robin.)

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (oops…just went on Goodreads – I guess I have read this)

Cake by J Bengtsson (not on Good Reads… WHOA!… but it sounds good.)

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood (I have yet to read Atwood. I know, I know…)

Blue Heaven by CJ Box (sounds good and an author I am just starting to check out)

And now… I must do what I really am supposed to be doing this morning. Have great day all. Have you read/listened to any of these? Do you like audio books?

The Push by Ashley Audrain

The Push kept me guessing… I wasn’t sure what to believe which was frustrating and fascinating all at the same time. ~Sheila

Blythe Conner grew up in a home where she was unnurtured and uncertain what her own mothers feelings were for her. She was determined that when she had children of her own this would not be the case.

Years later, blissfully married and having her first child, Blythe is no longer sure of anything. Blythe feels that her daughter Violet does not act like other children. There is something dark behind her eyes, something calculating – yet Blythe seems to be the only one to see it. Her husband Fox, believes it is all in her head, and Blythe wonders this as well, after all, what would she know about being a good mother? Yet, when a horrifying incident happens… Blythe can’t shake what she believes she witnessed.
And when the most unimaginable horrifying thing happens again, Blythe can’t so easily think it was an accident. Even if she is the only one who feels this way.

I listened to this book on audio narrated by Marin Ireland (incredible narration!).

At first, I wasn’t sure what to think about this book. It is no secret I have a love hate relationship with unreliable narrations. Gone Girl (LOVED IT!!!!), Girl on the Train and pretty much every other unreliable narrator type book I have read – not so much. So when this book started to give me that heeby jeeby feel of I didn’t know what was true, I proceeded with cautionary interest, ready to once again end this type of book with a meh.

Admittedly, I am still kind of wondering where I land with it all. There is so much packed into this story that for a while I felt this could have been a series of books. Between Blythe’s childhood recollections, the marriage beginning, Violet, and then Sam… there is so much… Definitely an essence of We Need To Talk About Kevin.

and it works.

This is a book where I don’t want to say too much because I feel it is a book one much fully experience for themselves. I quested myself all the way through it wondering which way it would all go in the end – and impressed that Author Ashley Audrain creates such a twisted phycological drama that up until then every end… the VERY end… I was unsure what to believe.
And then…
I ended the book crying.

Emotions throughout the book left me at times in disbelief, curious, wondering, horrified, angry, and broken. I say this – in a good way.

In the end… I went back and listened to a couple parts again. And then, I passed it to a friend as this is a book that you WANT to share because you WANT to have someone to talk to about it. And I sit here now… wanting to talk about it.

If you have read this book – I would love to know what you thought. If there are those who wish to discuss I can bring out the old Spoiler page add on so we can.

Morning Meanderings… Writers Gotta Write

I love me my weekends. Lingering in sleep pants. Hot coffee in a favorite cup. Usually some sort of down time (or- abbreviated down time), choices to make (or not), adventures to have.

What you are seeing in the above picture is my work space this morning. I will be mixing it up between work and play today – heading in to do wedding tastings late morning, walking a venue early afternoon and then home. Now however is all mine and after a morning working workout… I am itching to write about life, and about books.

So far, 2021 has been good. I have snowshoed, spent time with friends, had a great girls weekend, made it through the Friends of the Library Annual Meeting, read a few books. spoke to what feels like hundreds of people about upcoming events AND…
we welcomed baby Kylie Jade to the world on January 25th.

Yup. Brad and Brittany are parents to this gorgeous little girl and I am a Grandma. I can’t get enough of her and I am so thrilled for both of them.

In book news, now a whole lot to share… my busy has limited my reading and that is ok. I finished Stories That Stick by Kindra Hall, The Push by Ashley Audrain (whoa…) and am now listening to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson. As I write this… I see I am a little behind on reviews. ;P

Did I mention there is a baby in the family?

Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is for Books Burgers and Brews that will take place on Monday February 15th via ZOOM at 6:00 pm central time. Anyone is welcome to join in the discussion so follow the link to find out more and register for the ZOOM convo. It’s always a lot of fun!

That’s it for now. I’m going to write some reviews this weekend and catch up on a few non profit projects.

Have a great weekend!


The Other Wes Moore – Invite To ZOOM Discussion

Good morning! I hope you all had an AMAZING weekend – I mostly worked but had a chance to hang out with friends in a Fish House for a pretty cool experience and Saturday we had dinner with friends we have not had a chance to hang out with for quite a while. I also spent some time reading The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore for tonight’s Books, Burgers and Brews Discussion – 6 pm Central time.

The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.

Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.

This has been an enlightening read that I will be reviewing in the next few days. In the meantime, feel free to join us for this discussion. You can register here.

Laurel Hall from our local library and myself Co-Host this monthly books discussion, now on it’s 4th year. We used to meet in a local restaurant with anyone that wanted to join in the discussion we averaged around 40 people per discussion, at time have counts as high as 80. We hope to get back to the restaurant at some point, for now we are making it work by ZOOM. The cool thing about OZOM is, we can offer the discussion beyond our community. We would love to have you!

Happy Monday!


2021 – Books to Movies – What Are You Excited About

My friend Angie shared this link with our book club recently. Books To Films coming in 2021. I love stuff like this! I like to go through and make lists as to what I want to definitely see!

Here is my list and thoughts:

I am so beyond excited about this! I have loved this book and series since I first read it and felt out of all the Patrick Ness books I have read this is the one I wanted to see become a movie. Can’t wait to see how they do the NOISE!
My review: The Knife Of Never Letting Go

The Nightingale!!! This will be fantastic and what a cast!
I read this with Books Burgers and Brews and see I did not write a review. (what????)

I am excited about this book AND the movie. I have not read this yet but plan to.

We read this for Books Burgers and Brews and was surprised how much I enjoyed this read. Excited about the movie as well.
My book review.

I loved The Martian by this author and I really enjoyed Artemis as well. So glad to see this become a movie!
My review of Artemis

Loved this book so much and enjoyed the play! I absolutely want to see the movie version.
I looked for a review, instead I found this strange interview with myself from 2010. So… that was interesting.
Interview with a Witch

This is my favorite book by Francine Rivers – I think I read this even before I was reviewing. This may be worth a re read in anticipation of the movie.

This was an interesting listen on audio. I enjoy Liane Morarty’s books and curious what this one will be like as a movie. I’m in!
My review: Nice Perfect Strangers

That’s what I have for starters. There a re a few more on the list I would like to read. What books are you excited to see as movies?

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (Bookies Book Club Read)

What if you had a chance to go back and take the road not taken… what if there was a place that contained every story of you that was not written…
but it can be.

Nora Seed is not a happy person. Her choices have included a dead end job, a a long term going nowhere relationship, and her friendships have gone to the wayside. Nora feels she has let everyone around her down including herself.
Then she finds herself in the Midnight Library. The library holds every moment of her life, endless shelves of books of her story she left unwritten. The no, that could have been a yes, the left turn as opposed to a right.. the guy who under the right circumstances could have been “THE GUY” if only she had made that choice….
Now Nora is given the opportunity to visit the roads not taken. Each book holds a different version of herself and Nora has been given the rare opportunity to choose different life – knowing that once she moves to a different book – there is no going back.

This book was selected as our January read for my book club. It is also the book I chose as my first book of the year, not because it was was the book club book, but because it genuinely had me at the title and the synopsis.

You may recall my love for the book Summerhouse by Jude Deveroux. I reviewed in here in 2008, and again in 2020. In fact, Summerhouse was my first book of 2020. What I love about that book is this story of four friends who have a chance to go back to take the road not traveled. I absolutely loved this story of second chances and the opportunity for a different life outcome. It is also one of my favorite all time book discussions because I feel it was one of the first times our book club really went deep into a personal level and shared some deep what ifs.

I was really really really hoping this book was going to be like that.
And honestly – perhaps here in lies the rub.

Nora never really reached a point where I was rooting for her. The stories within the story are short and some extremely so where you don’t really get a feel for what she is experiencing because in a flash she has moved on. Other stories have a few more pages to them and I was uncertain why and then story I hope she chooses… well…

I am writing this portion of my review about 15 minutes before my book club will meet VIA ZOOM. I am doing so intentionally as I want to put my feelings down before they chime in. For myself – I would rate this an average read, it never became the page turner I hoped it would be, but it also wasn’t like I didn’t want to finish.

Bookies Book Club Thoughts on The Midnight Library:

The Bookies met tonight to discuss The Midnight Library. We had a good discussion around the “road not traveled” theme as well as choices we would make. A few of the girls shared points in their life that a decision was made that led them to where they are now (job, partner, Minnesota…) as well as a time when a choice was given but not taken that could have changed everything.
The resounding message was that our root lives (what the book calls our current life), is exactly where we should be. Overall Bookie rating: 3 out of 5. Average read.

Over all take away – A good message. Could have gone deeper. Love the term root life

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

Twisty, turny, spiderwebs – EVERYWHERE.

Juno had thought she knew the Crouch family. Nigel, Winnie and their teenage son Samuel seemed like they had an ideal life. Juno had observed them many times taking walks together, laughing, and appearing to enjoy each others company before she made the decision to move in with them.

Things change however when you are all under one roof. You hear and see more truth… often more than you want to know… and other things you can not un-hear. Juno knows this now, but she can not say a thing…
because the Crouch’s do not know she is living in their home.

Sounds good right? Honestly I am giving you a little more information then the synopsis of the book does and I think that is a good thing. In fact, a piece of information I just gave you would have quite possibly made me enjoy the first part of this book more – because honestly when it all began… I was pretty confused about what has happening

(like in the Movie The Sixth Sense sort of way)

In the beginning I was not certain how I felt about this book. I found it confusing and off in so many directions I considered a couple of times just stopping – yet I kind of wanted to know where this was going.

It is in many ways worth the wait. Good things -or odd things depending on your point of view start to untangle from this phycological thriller web. And just like that… I can’t put it down.

The book still leaves me a little up in the air. It was good, yes. It felt like it all came together FAST as it neared the end and I am torn between wanting that to be more spread out evenly through out the book and wondering if that rush of pieces falling into place and feeling like you are falling off a cliff towards the rocky waters is just what it should have been.

In other words… is it just me?

I listened to on audio

I have not read Tarryn Fisher before however I did recognize her name for her book The Wives, a book I have not read but still want to – even more so now as I would love to compare my experience between the two books.

If you have read this book or Author I would love to hear your thoughts!

Morning Meanderings… Books In The Mail

I love Sundays. They are usually low-to-no-commitment days. Mainly meaning that if a dawdle a little longer with my coffee that is ok. Hanging out in the house making a small plan for my day – dropping off a check up town, considering snowshoeing later this morning, afternoon planning something tasty for dinner and diving into the Book Club book for this coming Tuesdays discussion.

This week two books arrived in my home that I am pretty excited about.

A Gentleman’s Murder by Christopher Huang: This looks to be a 1924 mystery involving a prestigious club and a dead man found in a vault with a letter opener to the neck… Lieutenant Eric Peterkin is the right man for the case.
Why am I intrigued? My friend Ryan chose this book as his First Book of the year. I have through the years picked many books that were first brought to my attention by Ryan. The fact that this was the first book of the year only adds to my desire to give it a try.

The Next Wife by Kaira Rouda: As stated on the back of the book, there are no limits to the lies, suspicion, and secrets that can poison the perfect marriage… The book is centered around Kate Nelson who is happily married to John and they have a wonderful daughter Ashlyn. They seem like the perfect family until John leaves Kate for a younger woman, Tish.
Tish is youthful, ambitious and goes after what she wants and almost always gets what she wants. Now she has John. But does she? Kate didn’t just go away as Trish had thought she would. Now Tish has suspicions of John’s infidelity and it centered around his ex-wife.
Neither woman sees what is about to come next.
Why am I intrigued? Author Kaira Rouda has blown me away more than once. In fact, her book Best Day Ever was my choice as First Book in 2018 and I was thrilled with my selection.

There you have it. I am listening to The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher on Audio. Jury is still out on this one…

Enjoy your Sunday!