The Nest by Cynthia-DAprix-Sweeney (book and audio)


The Nest was read by book club The Bookies in May as well as was the May Books Burgers and Brews choice.  I listened to this on audio….

`Sheila

 

The Plumb family has their share of dysfunction with a capital “D”.  The adult Plum siblings struggle with many things including one another, so for the most part they just keep apart.  This is all fine and well until the oldest brother Leo gets himself in a little trouble with a waitress and a car accident that leaves the family loaded in bills…  bills that are paid with the nest egg that had been set aside for the Plumb children to each have a fair share once the youngest turns 40…

Each of the Plumb siblings have been waiting and banking at that money for different reasons…  some had big plans… others have already spend it just waiting for the money to be released to cover what they have done…

As the Plumbs scramble to figure our what to do they come face to face with many realities and hard facts as well as coming together in ways they had not done since they were children.

My book club The Bookies reviewed this in May.  There were mixed thoughts on the book but wonderful discussion on siblings and the dynamics of relationships as you grow and have your own families.  It was also interesting to discuss the nest egg, as what do we expect in todays day and age and how has that changed  in modern-day compared to many years ago.

This book was liked, but not loved – finding in some cases that each siblings story line at times felt choppy or unfinished as characters were introduced and then gone.
From the audio book perspective, I enjoyed Mia Barrows narration very much and feel that may have given me a better experience over those who read the book, although I do agree there were story lines I would have liked to have known more about.

As I mentioned, Books, Burgers and Brews also discussed this book.  Prairie Bay once again outdid themselves on a great menu to go along with our book discussion.  This discussion with around 27 people was much the same as The Bookies.  The book was liked, and there was much to discuss, but no one loved it.

As per tradition, Laurel and I always drink the drink special.  So here’s to you Leo.  Or here’s to you Plumb family….

How about you?  Have you read this book?  Do you agree with this assessment or did you have a different take away?

Morning Meanderings… Scraping in with Author Lisa Jewell #bookexpo2

Saturday!!!! My favorite day of the week!  I usually get to connect with friends…  and try to take this day as something at least partially for me…   a little reading or sitting in the sun…  and I try to avoid any work projects if possible.

In a little bit here I am going to go to town to get a spreadsheet for the books coming out (yes I am trying to be organized!!!)  as well as go try on a potential dress for next months annual Queen event.

Today I want to talk about another book that made its way home with me from the expo…

Hello to I Found You by Lisa Jewell.

In the windswept British seaside town of Ridinghouse Bay, single mom Alice Lake finds a man sitting on a beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, and no idea how he got there. Against her better judgment, she invites him inside.

Meanwhile, in a suburb of London, newlywed Lily Monrose grows anxious when her husband fails to return home from work one night. Soon, she receives even worse news: according to the police, the man she married never even existed.

Twenty-three years earlier, Gray and Kirsty Ross are teenagers on a summer holiday with their parents. The annual trip to Ridinghouse Bay is uneventful, until an enigmatic young man starts paying extra attention to Kirsty. Something about him makes Gray uncomfortable—and it’s not just because he’s a protective older brother.

Who is the man on the beach? Where is Lily’s missing husband? And what ever happened to the man who made such a lasting and disturbing impression on Gray?

 

OOH right?  I love a good mystery and Lisa Jewell’s books never disappoint.  I am looking forward to spending some time in this one.


Happy Saturday!  I hope you are listening to or reading something really really good!

Morning Meanderings… Did You Know Author Jane Green ROCKS? #Bookexpo1

Good happy Minnesota morning.  It is a gorgeous morning here and my COFFEE CUP quite literally runneth over…  good friends, good home,  good family, good commitments.  You get the point.  😉

I was thinking about the book Expo today… after all I have this juicy pile of books that I cant wait to dig into and thought I would start telling you about each one and why it came home with me.

Jane Green has a new book out called The Sunshine Sisters.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the title….

Ronni Sunshine left London for Hollywood to become a beautiful, charismatic star of the silver screen. But at home, she was a narcissistic, disinterested mother who alienated her three daughters.

As soon as possible, tomboy Nell fled her mother’s overbearing presence to work on a farm and find her own way in the world as a single mother. The target of her mother’s criticism, Meredith never felt good enough, thin enough, pretty enough. Her life took her to London—and into the arms of a man whom she may not even love. And Lizzy, the youngest, more like Ronni than any of them, seemed to have it easy, using her drive and ambition to build a culinary career to rival her mother’s fame, while her marriage crumbled around her.

But now the Sunshine sisters are together again, called home by Ronni, who has learned that she has a serious disease and needs her daughters to fulfill her final wishes. And though Nell, Meredith, and Lizzy have never been close, their mother’s illness draws them together to confront the old jealousies and secret fears that have threatened to tear these sisters apart. As they face the loss of their mother, they will discover if blood might be thicker than water after all…

Sound summery good?

I think so too.

So how did this jewel or a gorgeous book come home with me from New York?  Well that is a GREAT story.

I absolutely love author meet ups.  I love to spend time one on one with authors in smaller more personal groups.  When the invite came by email to have a lunch with the author at a small park in New York while I was at the Expo the answer of course was yes.  YES.

The day of the luncheon the weather was absolutely beautiful.  My consistent and awesome Book Expo room-mate and partner in all things BEA Candace (Beth Fish Reads) and I made our way from the Javitz Center the short walk to the park.  Jane Green could not have been more personable and AWESOME.  She welcomed each of us with a beautiful sack lunch and then personally signed a book for each of us.  She then had a great photo op with props (I LOVE props!!!) which was a lot of fun.


We sat down to an amazing lunch.  I had the chicken salad which was in a canning jar with apples, grapes, chicken, lettuce and a little dressing… shake it up and grab a fork… wow.   The potato chips were organic rosemary and the dessert was made my Jane herself, with the recipe included in the bag.



Of course meet ups are made even more fun when you run in to fellow Bloggers who you chat with on-line….   Stacy (The Novel Life) and Deb(Reader’s Buzz)  joined us and that was the icing on the Jane Green Luncheon cake… errr… salad..dressing on the salad I mean…  😉


This was one of my favorite things at the Expo…. sitting in the sun, enjoying a great lunch with friends.  Can’t wait to dig into Jane’s book!

Morning Meanderings… The Books Of The Expo Have Arrived

Good morning.  Or afternoon.  Or evening.  Depending on where you are in the world and when you actually read this.  🙂

Whirlwind weeks and the best of intentions did not mix when I hoped to write more this past week while I was at Camp Benedict.  So here I am now, home from camp, pretty (almost) caught up on laundry, and house stuff and sleep.

When I pulled into the driveway Friday afternoon I smiled when my eyes fell upon the three boxes sitting by my front step.  Book Expo findings!!!  I hauled them in the house and put them on the couch in the front room where they stayed until yesterday morning when I finally felt I had enough energy to dig into them….


That is the complete haul besides some cool book bags (another post perhaps…) and other swag.


There they are.  *sigh*  Beautiful books.  I will be talking about these books throughout the summer.  Stay tuned to hear more about them and why they were the among the chosen ones to come into my home.

It looks to be a rainy day here in Central Minnesota…  as much as I was looking forward to working in the garden today this may instead be a curl up and read day….  those days are now few and far between and book club is this coming Tuesday so maybe… not a bad idea.

Happy Sunday all 🙂

The Book Expo…. Yes I Went. And I Survived To Tell You About It.

 

Greetings fellow book lovers.  I just returned yesterday late afternoon from the Book Expo in New York.  My 6th time attending….  and I feel….
Inspired.
Rejuvenated.
Goal Oriented. 
And just as in love with books, audio, publishers, authors, narrators, bloggers as I have always been.   

The heart wants…. what the heart wants….

I am certain I will be chatting about Books, The Expo, The meet Ups etc…for days here.

So…

I flew into New York on Wednesday… my flight was amazing.  I met a lady on the plane that was nervous to fly (her 2nd time)…. so I was talking her through it by distracting her with details of the Book Expo which she had never heard of.  She was going to New York to visit her son and go to a baby shower.  She was very interested in the books, a reader herself, and we quite literally talked about our kids, life, books writing, seriously…. we talked the entire three-hour plane ride.  The plane was half empty and I had a middle seat but I had no desire to move.  We laughed and we both cried… I can’t make this stuff up. The plane landed, we exchanged info so we could be in contact and hugged good-bye.

Yeah.

Then…. fast forward to the hotel and my amazing roommates Candace, Beth Fish Reads and Kim, Sophisticated Dorkiness.  Book Expo staples.  Hanging with those two for a few days is a great way to spend time in New York.  We were missing our partner in “all things Expo” Florinda The 3 R’s Blog who had escaped to Italy.  Sigh.  We can’t fault her for that.  😉


Yeah… these two 🙂

The Expo is also exciting, stimulates all the book senses…. the visual covers, the smells of books, and food (yeah I was usually hungry..), to touch that coveted read after you waited in a long line, to hear the excited chatter of the attendees as well as tune into the voice of an author you know….   Bliss really.

I have more to come.  Just wanted to touch base today and start a conversation….

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The Circle By Dave Eggers

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Mae Holland can not believe her luck!  When she is hired on to be employed by The Circle, the largest Internet company she jumps in with both feet.  After all, what is not to love?  Great pay, live entertainment in the evenings, dorm rooms to stay in if you need to work late, groceries, stores, free medical, a gym on site… and a chance to work with some of the most brilliant minds in the world!

Everything is connected from your email to your banking to your social media.  Transparency is key…  and really why would we not want to be transparent?

Yet when Mae finds herself in the office with Supervisors asking her why she always clocks out right at 5 and doesn’t stick around to take part in the after hours activities and why she is not more transparent on her social feeds as to what she does in her down time…  Mae has to decide to show her new employers just how transparent she can be…or choose to look for work elsewhere….

What happens when the lines between right and wrong get fuzzy?

I have been wanting to read this book for a while.  The synopsis of a futuristic company taking over (much like Google or Amazon…) peeked my interest.  I do love a good futuristic novel.  What I found interesting is that I could see where The Circle life style could become appealing…  If you did not have a family of your own… single, young, energetic a place where work provides you with on site entertainment, a group of like minded peers, a dorm room with clothes in your size, food, etc…. I could see where that could be appealing.

I for the most part liked Mae, (at least the early on Mae) until the job changed her to the point of losing right from wrong… I understood her ambition…

Over all I liked the book.  I am looking forward to the movie coming out later this month as I want to see how it compares and honestly…. you put Tom Hanks with Emma Watson…  how can I not watch?

Books, Burgers,and Brews: The Circle by Dave Eggers

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I am a gazillion posts behind and I have so much to share!  Books Burgers and Brews has been going strong since October…  this was the idea of having a Book Club in a public venue and Friends of the Brainerd Public Library hosting this free event.  The vision was to bring non readers to books… while that is not exactly what has happened (it has been more people who can not find a book club, writers, other book club people…) it is still connecting people to books and really – isn’t that all I ever want?
~Sheila

The Circle made for a great discussion book.  The futuristic synopsis around a company (The Circle) that puts social media at the forefront…  where secrets are considered lies and transparency in all things has value.

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Our group that night was the largest yet.  We had 37 people at Prairie Bay and a good variety of ages… people that had grown up with social media of some sort being a part of their life, those who came by it later in life and those that have heard of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc… but not really engaged or understood the draw.

What fascinates me about such a book is that I tend to lose how I truly feel about the book (I believe, I liked it).  Having lead book club discussions for so many years, I tend to focus on how the book will be for discussing and that is what excited me here.  Over all, those in this room did not love the book… but they loved the discussion it brought out.

What is the dangers of social media?
What is too much information? 
When are secrets a good thing?
If we are all 100% transparent, what is lost?  When do we just become desensitized to everything?
Is what is described in the book what is happening in our world today?
If so, is there a way to stop it?  Does the majority of the population want to?

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As always, Prairie Bay created a wonderful Literary Menu for us….  The Eye In The Pie and The Three Wise Men Melt both sounded so good… I ordered them both…  I was right they were delicious.

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And… as has become tradition… the drink special is one that Laurel and I always have to try.  This time there was two… the white wine that is mentioned in the book that Mae drinks… and a local beer that uses social media for promotions.

Once again… well played Prairie Bay.

Stay tuned.. later today I will post my review of the book The Circle.

 

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The Grief Books… A Shelf of Tears and Love

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Books.

They serve many purposes.  They take us on adventures.  They teach us.  They make us laugh and cry and think and dream…

In April of 2015 after Justin’s accident, friends sent me what you are seeing above and what has come to be known as “The Grief Shelf.”  Books were sent to me in the mail, and handed to me in person.  Each book came with a story of its own…. it may have helped the giver personally when they were going through something.. .as I look at each book even today I can recall the wonderful message that came with it, or the person who sat by me in those early hard days and shared their own story as they handed it to me…

And while each book I know came from the heart….

honestly to this day I have not read any of them.

And here is why….

One set of books is a series of the stages of grief and what a person will go through… and what is to be expected, and what the next stage is…..
To this day I have not opened these books.  For me… someone who has lived out large GRIEF moments throughout many stages of my life – I did not want books to tell me how I should be feeling or what was the next step to that feeling…

I opened the others… I could not do it… I did not want to read someones take on grief…. I had my own… I didn’t want to read how to get from A to B to C…. because my journey was my own…  and I knew I could not do it on anyone’s time line…

I still can’t

I know everyone who sent a book meant well and I love each one of these people for that.  Maybe I will never be able to open some of these books… but I know the thought and love that was behind each one – and that in itself is enough to make my once again be so thankful for the amazing people in my life.  I can not even put into words what you love has meant to me and led me to where I am today.

A couple of days ago I was drawn back to the shelf where a particular book had caught my interest and I had  read a little… but now.. NOW I feel like maybe I could read more.

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Her parents called her Lenya Lion because of her ferocious personality and hair that had been wild and mane-like since birth. But they never expected that, five days before Christmas, their five-year-old daughter would suddenly go to heaven after an asthma attack. How do you walk out of an emergency room without your daughter?
In Through the Eyes of a Lion, Pastor Levi Lusko shares the eye-opening truth of the power of hope in a world that is often filled with pain, suffering, and loss. He says, “This book isn’t a manual for grieving, but a manifesto for high-octane living, and through it I want you to see that God made you for a purpose. There is a wild and wonderful calling on your life, a microphone in your hands. Jesus wants you to look at the adventure of your life through His eyes, the eyes of a Lion.”
This book.  THIS story of continuing to (try) live life to the fullest…. be an example… this is where I find myself.  I think I can relate.

Now, almost two years later (I can not believe it has been almost two years….)  I pick up this book… off the Grief Shelf….

and I began to read…

I am completely different… I see things so differently now and I can believe I have done this for almost 2 years.  I laugh…a real laugh….when I thought I never would again….  I do and go and be… when I thought for sure I would not.

Doing, going, being, laughing does not come free.  Each step I take is strategic and meaningful and I do it with him in mind.  I look at the pictures of me laughing and being with friends and I know that unless you are close to me – you do not see what everything I do and write costs me….  I am still torn and destroyed… I still cry daily and hurt even when I am throwing myself into the next big thing.  However there is a seed of hope within me…  I hope my actions through this crazy newness help others to see you can manage to go on.  It is not easy – I admire anyone who can get up and do it as I know for myself more often than not each step of the way still brings with it tears and pain and whispers…

“Lets do this kid.. this one is for you….”

I am still here.  I don’t plan on going anywhere and I hope you do not either.  I am reading… I need to get writing.  SO much to share….

Morning Meanderings… A RUNNING kick off to the year and MORE First Books

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“Well…

I guess we are doing this.  “

Little known fact about me…. that line above is how I usually think right before I have to complete whatever I agreed to do or signed up for.  😛  True story….  The first year of Wine and Words… we planned it – I envisioned it, found authors, held meetings, and then the day of the event…

I was all butterfly’s and twirling tummy… and thought…

“Well, I guess we are doing this.”

That still has not changed.

I sign up for things and agree to things- because they are who I want to be…  I want to be a runner.  I want to be a biker and a hiker.  I want to be a thrill seeker.  I want to be energetic.  I want to have events in my community that are fun and successful….   and so I plan things.  I agree to things… and I do them.

Yesterday was no exception.  Doing the Polar Dash on January 1st each year is insane,  The weather is usually freezing…. it is a 2 1/2 drive for me to get to the event to run in this freezing weather.

Yet to see all the people that do this…. I like being a part of that crazy.  I like to start out a new year with something positive and shiny.  And here is how it went…

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I ran with my two friends Sheila (yes another one!) and Belinda.  The weather was fantastic – in the mid 20’s…..  if my knee would have been feeling top notch, I would have loved to have does the 10k instead of the 5.  We ran, we got our free beer ticket at the end and we had a delicious lunch.  I felt I hit the mark for shining day one of 2017.

Also – if you did not see and read the First Book post from yesterday, please do.  LOVE LOVE LOVE the participation.  I had a few late comers to the party and I am happy to add them here today.  Look in this mix for our Emcee of Wine and Words, author Lorna Landvik.

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Thank you to all once again for ringing int he New Year with me and with great reads.  I love looking at all the titles and seeing what I should be reading.  Also – did you find me in yesterdays post?  I am there.  ;P

First Book – 2017…. Day One To SHINE

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Happy New Year People Of The Book.

There is a lot I like about a new year.  It is indeed a fresh start… it’s a new deck to play with.  I retired my word of 2016 (COURAGE) at midnight last night.  The word has served me well and will always be a part of me now that I have spent a year learning to live that way.  Excitedly, today I have opened the door to my new world for 2017…. SHINE.  I hope to SHINE this year and be an example for myself as well as others that circumstances do not have to destroy you, that you can live with amazing grief.

And of course…. a new year is new book adventures.  Long before I had a blog, I was doing First Book by myself.  Every year I made a big deal out of choosing that first book of the year.  It is exciting to see by the outpouring from all of you from all over the world coming forth to share the excitement of that first book with me.

As I have done the past 4 years, I am very excited to present to you, the books that we are reading as we go into 2017:

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Thank you all for once again joining me for one of my favorite events of the year.   I am off this morning to run my first 5K of the year, the Polar Dash In ST Paul with my friend Belinda.  I am excited to kick off my word right from the start.

Happy New year to all of you.

Shine Always,

Sheila

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