Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Just as good as I thought it would be! ~Sheila

Admittedly, I am a Twilight Junky. I absolutely ADORED all the books… and yes, the movies too. I don’t know what if it was the combination of a Young Adult read (which I love!), with the combo of a magical force (oooh! Double love!) in this case Vampires and Werewolves… but there you have it. I loved it all. I couldn’t get enough.

That said, I was cautiously optimistic when I heard about this book. On one hand SUPER EXCITED that after all this time another book was here and this time from Edward’s perspective – yet we have all experienced the case where someone tries to make lightning strike twice in books and/or movies and in the long run, you wish they would have left well enough alone. #StayOnTop

I am happy to say, I really enjoyed this revisit to Forks, Washington. I mean yeah its a little cooler than I like and the sun doesn’t shine too bright, but I do have friends there. I am still unsure if my love for this book was the feel good feeling of having the chance to be back in that world, or if I really enjoyed it for the story. The world – may never know. Bottom line for me is, who cares. I listened to this on audio and enjoyed the comfy familiarity of the setting. I did enjoy hearing Edwards side of the same story I knew from Twilight, yet from his perspective – his thoughts as he went from loathing Bella, to trying to fight his love for her – the need to be with her always.

Good stuff. IMO.

Twilight Fans, I would love to know your take on this read? Did you have the experience I did, where I kind of hope the whole series is continued this way… or was it just too much like the first book and basically a re-read of a book you may already have on your shelf?

I Have Something To Tell You by Chasten Buttigieg

I enjoy memoirs and biographies that are narrated by the author. I Have Something To Tell You was just as wonderful as I had hoped. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Chasten as well as learn more about Pete. ~Sheila

I Have Something To Tell You is a wonderful adventure in Chasten Buttigieg life – both in his early years of immense shyness and struggling to find his place in the world to his meeting of Pete and becoming the Social Media person to follow. I was fully engrossed in the book which I listened to on audio. It is narrated by Chasten and I love it when an author tells their own story. I feel it adds so much more.

From Chasten’s early years as he struggled to make ends meet trying to attend school and hold down a full time job to the days of meeting Pete and the decisions that follow when Pete decides to run for President are incredible. I enjoyed hearing the first hand perspective of Chasten being supportive as he decided to give up his teaching job for the campaign trail. The stories that follow are heart warming as well as heart wrenching as the stories of the trail unfold.

A highly recommended read – or if you are an audio lover like me, please consider audio for the wonderful narration of Chasten. I am now a follower of his great humor and insight.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Summer and Elin Hildebrand go together like beaches and great reads. I get excited every summer to see what Elin will come up with next. In 28 Summers, I was not disappointed – a unique intro to each chapter, a fun story surrounding Nantucket and I am all in! ~Sheila

When Mallory Blessing inherits a Beach Cottage on Nantucket, she is more than happy to host her brother Cooper’s bachelorette party. What follows the evening of the party is anything but planned, and leaves Mallory in an awkward situation, alone at the cottage with Cooper’s College buddy, Jake. Or is it awkward? In reality, Mallory finds Jake to be kind and charming, and someone she is a more than a little attracted to. The feeling is mutual.

While life pulls them in very different directions, Mallory and Jake make a decision to meet up each year just like in the classic film, Same Time Next Year which they both enjoy. What follows is 28 years of life happenings, wishes and dreams, and the reality of living separate lives 51 weeks out of the year.

I am a BIG fan of Hilderbrand’s books. While never heavy, they are engaging and I loved the 28 Summers theme and how each chapter starts with the highlights of that year. I listened to this one on audio and was so captivated I often hung out in my car a little longer than I should have in grocery store parking lots and in my garage – just to hear what was going to happen next.

While Hilderbrand’s books are usually (if not always) centered around a Nantucket setting, they are never a “cookie cutter” format and each one I have read I found to be refreshing and captivating. If you have not experienced this author I highly recommend you do, and if you have experienced this author yet not this book – I think you will enjoy the story around 28 Summers.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

I do love a spooky book, a little old school mystery – “A Who Done It” that keeps me guessing and turning the pages. In, And Then There Were None, I found all of this and more. ~Sheila

There is much to love about an Agatha Christie book. Once I had a chance to sit down and read this one, I have to question what took me so long. This book has so many elements I love in a good mystery and I am in awe that this book was originally published in 1939, yet was able to grip me yet today.

I suspect many of you are familiar with the story – The synopsis is that 10 strangers receive an invite to a mansion. Each guest has a reason to go based off what the invitation says. Intrigued (who wouldn’t be?), this motley crew of people from all walks of life wind up at the remote location near Britain’s Devon Coast. Separated from the world, and welcomed by the newly hired servants who also have not met the host, the group is assigned their rooms. In little time, a murder happens,, strange things follow and one by one… the guests are removed… one way or another.

I read this quickly like a great ghost story. I enjoyed the dialogue between the guests, the visual of the old mansion, cool and creepy with dark corners and unknown corridors…. I absolutely loved it. This is a perfect read for fall – when it feels just a little too cool to be outside and a hot cup of tea and a comfy blanket are in order.

I highly recommend you read this book. Not only because of the author, or because it is a banned book, but also because it is a really good read.

Thank you to my friend Ryan who gave me this book a few weeks ago. I love it when a friend hands me a story. It is like the gift of adventure.

Morning Meanderings… Reviews, Banned Books, and Breathing.

Hey all. Happy weekend to you and to me. My weekend happens to be a little quieter than the norm as of late – the agenda includes: dog walking, apple picking, a few non profit things to work on and a book event as well. It is kind of funny to think how much books and book related things are continuously entwined in my life – even when I feel I am not very bookish or have time to read, etc… (says the girl who is currently writing this post from her in house library)

In recent news – our Friends group won the Evy Award for Best New Event this year for our Children’s Reading Initiative we hosted during early COVID – 6 weeks of 6 days a week twice a day live videos from our community and authors reading children’s books on our Facebook page. We won a plaque for the library, and a $1000 check for the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library.

As of a few days ago my copy of Frank Weber’s latest book Lying Close was delivered to my office with my blurb on the back – which I find to be just cool. I posted my review here yesterday.

AND… it’s Banned Book week. I used to be SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD at Banned Book Week and now I see someone post about it on Facebook and I’m like, oh yeah, that’s right. However, mostly by sheer coincidence although I would like to pretend it wasn’t, I did just read a banned book. My friend Ryan, who I met through this site when he once-upon-a-time blogged as well, gave me the book, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie when he recently traveled to Minnesota.

Then There Were None, has been on my to be read list for a long time. I was so excited to read this book – recalling that it did have a shady history, originally published in the United Kingdom 1939 under a different title, and later in the US under yet another title. Thus, this book made the banned book list.

Stay tune, I am hoping to write that review yet today. I am sooooooo far behind on reviews – but after all I said above, the book bug has bit me yet again and I am ready to go… yet again.

Happy reading all!


Lying Close by Frank Weber

I love to explore different genres! You never know what you may find, and as in this case… you sometimes find a diamond and are richer by doing so. ~Sheila

In Weber’s latest creation, Lying Close takes you through my back yard of rural Minnesota. Toss in a crime with a smorgasbord of intriguing characters, an accident, a break in and a missing child, and you have a book that will keep you talking about it long after you turn the last page.

Seriously. Find a cozy chair, your favorite snack and beverage and settle it.

Lying Close is the 4th novel by Weber that features his Investigator protagonist, Jon Frederick – however do not let that be a deterrent. You can pick up any one of the book as a read alone (but trust me if you read one, there is a strong possibility you will want to read them all). The smattering of recurring characters are realistic with flaws and baggage and the new ones you meet fit right into that same vein.

I enjoy reading books that take me a different direction from where thought I was going. It’s refreshing to find a read that breaks out of the cookie cutter mold – and that is what I found here. Weber has a way of pulling from actual current events and weaves them in the pages in such a way you will feel that you are a witness on the scene. This is truly a gift.

I hope you take the time to read Lying Close and if you do, I would love to know what you thought. Always up for discussing here, or if you are in my corner of Minnesota, lets do coffee.

Frank Weber is a forensic psychologist who has completed assessments for homicide, sexual assault, and domestic abuse cases. His work has ranged from assessing murderers chained to the cement floor in the basement of a prison and assessing psychopaths to providing therapy for wealthy professionals who’ve engaged in multiple affairs. He has testified as an expert witness in numerous sexual assault and homicide cases, written seven different treatment workbooks, and in 2015 published a training series for psychologists which has been accredited by the MN Board of Psychology. He has received the President’s Award from the Minnesota Correctional Association for his forensic work, and recently received an award for excellence in his clinical work. Frank Weber has used his unique understanding of how predator’s think, victim trauma, and actual court cases to create a thrilling mystery.

Wine and Words Brunch Style


Good morning. I t has been a whirlwind week of activity between work, meetings, yard care, canning, Wine and Words prep…  today is the finish line.
So a quick check in to let you know if you have some time this morning you are welcome to tune into Wine and Words today at 10:30 am Central time for a bit of Author fun.  We will have:
Lorna Landvik
J Ryan Stradal
Julie Schumacker
Kelly Harms
Kaira Rouda
Jenna Blum

Below is a link to our page to register.  It’s free and fun.  They are sharing recipes and stories and talking about their books.  You can also send questions into the authors. Its a webinar you can tune into – we will look like zoom but you will not be seen so, by all means, join in pajamas or whatever 🙂  I’m grabbing my coffee and getting ready.

Happy Friday all.

Link to Wine and Words info and registration 
Here We Go!

The Best Of Summer (Another Invite)

Untitled - 2020-07-24T092719.591Hey all, one more invite. before I finish getting ready for work this morning.  Just needed a few minutes with COFFEE CUP and writing.  Once I dip a toe outside my front door I fear the flag will be waved.  It is, after all, Wine and Words week and while it is virtual this year, it is still work to put it all together.  My list of “to-dos” this week for work and life and Wine and Words is LONG.

Today I work and then I am doing the Summer Reads with Laurel from the Library.  As we do not read a book from July to August in anticipation of our big vote next month for the next year’s book selections, we thought it would be fun to do a bonus meet up and discuss great Summer read selections.

We will host this at 6 pm Central Time tonight, July 27th on the Books, Burgers, and Brews Facebook page.  Feel free to tune in as Laurel and I will spent 20 to 30 minutes chatting books from a local location.

As some people have asked how to find videos when someone is live on a page here is an easy way to find us:

Feel free to tune in and share your favorite Summer Reads as well.

Have a super day.


Wine and Words 2020 and YOU are Invited

Here We Go!

Hey everyone!  If you have followed me for any amount of time here you have probably heard me GUSH about Wine and Words.  This is a literary event that the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library in Minnesota host every year. This year in fact will be its 8th year.

A little history as really all my literacy connections started around this website…  let me give you the 6 Errr… 9 degrees of separation…

1.  In 2009 I start writing here at Book Journey

2.  In 2010 I hear rumblings of something called The Book Expo in New York….  WHAT IS THAT????  (And I go and continue to go for many years)
3.  I get into the expo because of what I do here at Book Journey.

4.  I meet authors, I make stronger connections with publishing houses, I meet a LOT of fellow book lovers in person that I started out by… you guessed it, chatting here.
5.  My love of books and literacy explodes and in 2011 I become the president of the Friends of the Brainerd Public Library and a part of the City Library Board.
6.  I take part in a Library Initiative program that talks about fundraising and I learn about Opus and Olives.  Once I hear that I know we can do this in Brainerd.

7.  I pitch the idea of an author event in our community tot the board, they are skeptical but agree to give me a chance to come up with authors, a venue etc..
8.  BECAUSE of Book Journey and BECAUSE of the Book Expo I have author connections and come back to the 2 weeks later with the following author Yes’s:  Lorna Landvik, Sara Pekkenen, Sandra Brannon, William Kent Krueger and Wendy Webb.  I also had a venue.
9.  Wine and Words is born.  Year one:  180 guests.  Last year (year seven) 670.

This year it takes place on July 30th and 31st as a virtual event.  Our board hired a company to produce it, all my original authors said yes to the change from venue to online and we are offering this for free to anyone who wishes to register.

Author line up;  J Ryan Stradal, Julie Schumacher, Kaira Rouda, Jenna Blum, and Kelly Harms.  Author Lorna Landvik and I will kick off each day from our original venue, Grand View Lodge.  YOU are invited.   Some of you have told me through the years you wished you could attend.  Now you can.
Links and details below.  I am so excited!

Wine and Words 2020 – a Virtual Experience

Morning Meanderings: Life and Book Happenings

20200719_072715 (1)It’s Sunday morning.  I have the COFFEE and I have my workspace all set up in the book room.  Life has been…


My weekdays are loaded with work and my weekends are my catch up on house and yard and nonprofit to dos.  I consistently try for balance and usually come up with something resembling that- for instance, yesterday.

I had my list of things I wanted/needed to get done over the weekend.  Yet when I sat down in the morning to do them… instead I downloaded a new book to listen to, I went to look for an elliptical (found one), cleaned up the book room and spent almost three heart filled hours sitting in the sun at a coffee shop speaking with a mom who lost her son in an accident a year and a half ago.  It was good solid me time actually and I don’t do that enough.

So today… all those things I pushed to the side yesterday are waiting and I am in a clearer frame of mind to handle them.

Switching gears…

I was reading an article this morning about the second half of 2020 Most Anticipated Books and how the writer of the article just felt kind of “meh” towards the selections and could not figure out if they were just not that exciting, or if in the state of the world, we just can’t wrap our head around what we once did as there is so much muchness going on…
I can relate and believe it is the latter. I don’t think the selections are poor, I think that with everything going on even if we don’t really think we are burning brain energy thinking about it, I believe we are.  When we change how we do many things, when the future can in some ways be uncertain (jobs, finances, trips, the health of those we love, events, plans…) it all takes up space in our head.  I know for myself when things are crazy its hard to get into a deep book… I tend to drift towards lighter reads that may even lean a bit towards “feel good” reads.  And God Bless the feel-good reads 🙂

I’ve got a little mix going on currently:

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes.  I listened to this on audio and it was wonderful and light and made me laugh.  This is our Books Burgers and Brews discussion book for tomorrow evening and while there is not a lot to discuss in the book I have some ideas….  (tune in you want we go like at 6 pm central time on the Books Burgers and Brews Facebook page)

The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben.  Absolutely enjoyed!  Its Coben at his finest.  Also, audio listen and grabbed me right from the start so I know I am not completely hopeless in the book department.

My Girls by Todd Fisher.  I just started this one and will probably mow the lawn today while listening to it.  It is the true story of Carrie and Debbie Fisher told by Carrie’s son, Todd.  So far, so good.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand.  LOVED IT.  I usually love Elin’s books (not all… but most of them) and this one was so so good!  I loved how each chapter was a year and well … yes, read it.  Perfect and not heavy.

Temporary Fails:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by  Suzanne Collins.  I LOVED the Hunger Games series yet struggled with this one holding my attention.  I put it down many times after reading only a few pages and not sure if I am just too preoccupied or what.


The Guest List by Lucy Foley.  It sounded goooooooood.  I downloaded it yesterday and either the narrators accent or the book itself or both did not grab me.

Amy:  My Search For Her Killer by James Renner.  Also an audio download,  I do admittedly like the occasions true crime read yet this one… I don’t know.  I may have given up to soon but let it go.

The Book of Second Chances by Katherine Slee.  This was our book club read and initially I would have said here that I was just really good at carrying this one around the house and deck without opening it but having intention too, HOWEVER, this one was just discussed by my book club this past Tuesday and after listening to the half-hearted thoughts on it… I am not going to invest time in it.

So that’s the current book situation.  I am super behind on reviews and hopefully will write them one of these days.

I will leave you with this… You have read the Queen Event details here for years (If not, type in the search area – upper right side “Queen Event” and you should find those posts)  so I do not want to leave out the 2020 version.  We changed a few things up as we are not full Bookies at this time as some are still staying home due to COVID and others have had commitments, but 9 of us did make it to our Annual event this past Tuesday and reviewed our book (The Book of Second Chances) and ate boxed lunches instead of our usual potluck and passed the Queen title, crown, scepter and throne by random drawing instead of the talent portion and vote like we used to do mainly because we could not all attend and some of us (me included) are tapped out of ideas. For now.  😉

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Have a super awesome day all.