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The Secret Diary of Alice In Wonderland Age 42 and three-quarters by Barbara Silkstone

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Poor Alice.  As a Miami real estate agent, her boss Leslie, could be part of a show called Worst Bosses. He is cruel, inappropriate, and will not release her from her contract of working for him.  She is pretty sure if given the chance, he would behead someone…. “Off with their head!”

In her dreams, Alice feels that if she could just escape Leslie’s grip she could start a new life… meet a man… move on… and not always feel like she fell down a rabbit hole. 

When Alice does meet someone on-line, an Englishman she starts to chat with through emails and on the phone, Alice falls for his accented voice that almost seems to put her in a trance.  With visions of John Cleese in her head, she flies to England to meet Nigel Channing… even his name could melt a hardened heart.

While Nigel isn’t everything she pictured, she finds herself falling for him anyway.  Yet back in Miami things are becoming increasingly strange as her boss takes her court for false accusations involving selling a property and pocketing the down payment… all of which is untrue and Alice swears she can feel herself shrinking away.  Suddenly nothing in her life seems real, Nigel comes with a lot of baggage… A LOT.  And as old enemies try to befriend her, Alice really doesn’t know who she can trust…

Is there such a  thing as Alice in Wonderland syndrome?

 

 

I chose The Secret Diary Of Alice In Wonderland because it had a cute title and eye-catching cover. Perhaps a break down a rabbit hole could be a fun experience…

I however struggled with the strange connections, and found it hard to believe that someone as pretty as Alice would fall for someone the likes of Nigel Channing.  ( I think that love of strong independent women characters kicked in here and I did not like Alice’s inability to find someone right for her) Once author Barbara Silkstone started describing Nigel and all of his quirks and so on and so on, yet Alice stayed interested in him, I lost my belief in the storyline.

I hung in there until the end though as I was curious as to what would happen with Alice and the false accusations of her boss and the shady people who surrounded her…. all in all, the book for me felt way to out there.

Know that I seem to be in the minority on this one.  Reviews on Amazon rate this one high.  If you do like this, Barbara Silkstone has many books with a similar fun theme:

Wendy Darlin – Tomb Raider

Miami Mummies

Wendy And The Lost Boys

Zo White and The Seven Morphs

Just to name a few…

 

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Alice worked in Miami Florida, giving me Florida for this challenge.

Thank you to Author Barbara Silkstone and to Audio Jukebox for allowing me a chance to listen to and review this audio book.

Morning Meanderings… Good audio…. bad audio

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Good morning!  It’s Tuesday!!!!  Day two of a pretty mellow week!  Woo Hoo!!!!

I thought this morning I would chat audio (hang in there Laurel…. I have one for you!  ;) ) I LOVE audio… this is no secret, in fact it seems like the majority of my reviews as of late are audio…. 

Why?

I can listen to audio while I cook, clean, drive, get ready in the morning…  these are all things I can not do while carrying a book.  I have come to love the diversity of the narrators and I have learned a narrator can make or break a book – making a good book bad, or even a not do great book, wonderful….  narration is a magical thing :)

I talk about this today because audio is a while different level to a book and if you have a favorite book – I highly encourage you to try it on audio for a different experience…. you may be surprised.  The Harry Potter books for instance on audio are FANTASTIC – there are two sets with two different narrators, Jim Dale and Stephen Fry – both are EXCELLENT.

Yesterday I started listening to The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R C Bray and wow oh wow oh wow!!!!  I am seriously loving this audio book… considering at this time gushing about it as much as I gushed about Ready Player One…. which, in two years, I listened to twice, gushing both times…. in 2011, and in 2014.

here

and here.

Ok I have to go… enough with the gush…. just know that if you have not tried audio… you are missing out on another level to the reading experience… and if you tell me you have tried audio and it didn’t work for you…

Try again :D

Seriously…. dig through my reviews here or ask me for a list of AMAZING titles…. I would be happy to point you in the direction of great audio….

Oh and if you are an audio book person feel free to share the excellent titles you have listened to.

You know… I will talk about this again. :)

 

Have a super day…. work for me… then maybe a bike ride :)

 

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Hey there!  Welcome to It’s Monday, What Are You Reading!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme. Fair warning… this meme tends to add to your reading list!

It has been a super productive week… I kind of feel “super hero” like. :D  Last Monday we had our first wine and words meeting.  It was a great turn out and lots of fun fresh ideas for this years event… all I can say is…

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Then on Thursday we had a members meeting at the Library which was also a big success, many more ideas on how we can increase our Friends count this year.  A busy weekend, Al and I went to the movie Noah last night and then today was a great Easter with one son here with us, the other still in college but I spent a couple of hours on the phone with him today and we will see him in a few weeks for graduation so I am happy. :)

In book news… here is what was posted this week:

The Taker by Alma Katsu (a long long overdue read for me and I am so sorry I waited!)

Location… Location… Location… Does it really matter? An interesting conversation about authors being clear where there stories are located.

Love Life by Rob Lowe (Another great read by Rob!  Two thumbs up and an 80′s girl “that’s totally awesome!”))

A Million Ways To Die In The West by Seth MacFarlane (a little better then “meh” but you need to be a brave soul to enter into this foul read – but if you hang in there and can sort through the over abundance of “yuck” there is a funny story line in there.

 

Good week and I moving full steam ahead.  I have several May reads that I have completed but am waiting until May to post.  Here is what I am currently digging in to this week:

 

For my Ears

 

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Miami real estate broker and terminal anglophile, Alice Harte, falls for the wrong White Rabbit. Nigel Channing is an international conman with a gift for crafting Byronesque emails. He sweeps Alice off her feet and down a rabbit hole laden with mugs, thugs, and be-headers. Will Alice be able to keep her head when all about her are losing theirs? Are the cards stacked against her or will she find true love? Is there a Joker in the deck?

 

 

 

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A crisis has swept America. Hundreds of thousands have lost the ability to sleep. Enter the Slumber Corps, an organization that urges healthy dreamers to donate sleep to an insomniac. Under the wealthy and enigmatic Storch brothers the Corps’ reach has grown, with outposts in every major US city. Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the lethal insomnia, has spent the past seven years recruiting for the Corps. But Trish’s faith in the organization and in her own motives begins to falter.

 

 

 

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Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold “”human error”” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

 

 

 

For My Eyes

I am still catching up from this past week so I dont think I will add any additional books this week:)  Well… other than:

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Life has been rough for starlet Amber since leaving rehab. She’s been two years sober, but no one seems to believe her — not the gossip media, not casting agents, and most certainly not her spotlight-loving parents. With her friendships ruined by betrayal and her career at a standstill, Amber’s just trying to get her life back on track. It doesn’t help that her former love, movie star Connor Parks, keeps trying to draw Amber back in, not just to their relationship but to his hard-partying ways. One fateful night, Amber breaks down and agrees to join him on board his private jet as it readies for take-off — a decision that will change her life forever and expose her to a whole new level of scrutiny and heartbreak.

 

That’s it.  My week is pretty mellow but the weekend coming up is a big one with a run, possibly a zombie crawl (more on that later) and a benefit dinner on Sunday.  Now I am curious what are you reading and listening to?  Please add your Its Monday What Are You Reading post link below where it says click here.

 

 

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For those of you that read mainly middle grade and children’s books, be sure to also link to the younger version of It’s Monday by using the link below!2aaa

Happy Easter, Books, and What’s For Dinner

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Happy Easter!  It is the start of a beautiful day here in Minnesota.  It is supposed to get to 72 degrees today!  My heart be still :)

I have had quite a group of books come in as of late:

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The Here and Now by Ann Brashares (audio)

The Other Story by Tatiana De Rosnay (audio)

Long Mile Home (audio)

Essentialist (audio)

Looking For Me by Beth Hoffman

Owen’s Daughter by Jo-Ann Mapson

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

After Her by Joyce Maynard

Return To The Beach House by Georgia Labockoven

Fallout by Sadie Jones

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly Whittenmore

 

 

 

Dinner is going to be with our oldest son Brad who has been back living in town since he finished his time in the Navy in October.  Sadly, College son will not make it home today due to his work schedule, however we will see him in three weeks when he graduates :D

Dinner will be ham, cream cheese potatoes, sweet potatoes, cottage cheese with pineapple, dinner rolls, and a strawberry cheesecake for dessert with a graham cracker and dark chocolate crust.

Have a wonderful day :D

A Million Ways To Die In The West by Seth MacFarlane

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Albert Stark has had it with the unpredictable and often hard life that comes with living in the 1880′s in the wild western frontier.  He can’t really shoot a gun, he is not what you would call a fabulous sheep herder, and he just lost his best girl to a sniveling gunslinger who makes Albert’s meager attempts look like he is shooting with his feet.

And…

there are too many ways to die in this type of living.  Duels at high noon, snakes the size of trees, bad water, bar fights, illness, messing with wrong dude… and oh yeah, befriending the wrong dudes wife…

for goodness sakes… it’s the 80′s!  Why cant we all just get along?

 

 

In my defense…

(Is that a good way to start out a review?)

I love the sound of this read… fun, light funny, and my book club gals would o wild with laughter to know that I actually cracked into a story that has to do with cowboys as I am very anti cowboy, western, cowboy boots, and honestly… I dont like the hats either.  It’s just a personal preference, if a western comes into our groups reading choices, it will not get my vote.  :razz:

I can tell you I too was surprised when I said yes to reviewing this book, A Million Ways To Die In The West.  The draw was honestly (and this is where my defense comes in) it sounded funny.

It was.  Albert’s character is a hoot.  And while I am not a big fan of Seth MacFarlane’s work, he can be funny.  Fair warning:  there are parts of this read that are extremely crude.  SO crude in fact that I felt I had made a big mistake and almost stopped listening to this audio.  Almost.  What held me was that if you could put up with some over the top grossness, there is a funny storyline – and it does eek out as the story moves on and that beginning over the top crud subsides, not completely, but to a tolerable level.  Faint of heart, easily offended – this book is not for you.

This 4 CD, 5 hour-ish read was fun and different from anything I had read recently.  I liked the craziness of it and had a few moments of laughing out loud.

 

Anna:  While we are here at the fair I would love to get one of the picture things taken!

Albert:  Really?

Anna:  Oh yes!  I have never had one taken before!

Albert:  That’s horse s***!

Anna:  No really, I haven’t…

Albert:  Uh, no, I mean that’s horse s***, right there, don’t step in it.

And the couple stepped around the steaming pile.

 

 Funny… lite….

Literary Weekend Trip and a Tasty Recipe

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I thought this morning I would do a combo post between Saturday Snapshot and Weekend cooking… both memes that I love to participate in as I enjoy taking pictures and trying new things in the kitchen… but dont always have the time to write the posts. :)

 

Last weekend I ventured to the North Shore to our cabin… just me and my dog with the plan to do a little spring cleaning, a little reading and movie watching and just wind down… before spring really hits and life winds up and I go go go!

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Large left: the tunnel by Two Harbors Top two right: Just fun things between Duluth and the North Shore Bottom two right: Road as you drive into the rocky terrain, this road was actually blasted through the rock to be made, and the far bottom right is the outside wall of the famous Glensheen mansion, I have toured it many times.

 

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Sammy made the trip with me. We made a pit stop in Two Harbors for frozen custard.

 

While at the cabin in Finland Minnesota I read two books and watched three movies.  It felt great :)  I never have time to do things like that.

 

To post your own pics, or to see others and what they are posting this weekend… check out Saturday Snapshot.

 

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Switching gears, a friend of mine hooked me up with a tasty little recipe I would like to share for weekend cooking.  Like reubens?  This you will LOVE.

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Reuben Roll

1 tube Pillsbury Pizza Dough
1/4 cup thousand island dressing, + 2 tbsp for top
1/4 pound sliced corned beef or pastromi deli meat, chopped up (I used deli turkey as I am not a fan of corned been or pastrami)
3/4 cup Sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry
2 cups grated Swiss cheese, + 1/2 cup for top

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Unroll the Pillsbury pizza dough on a greased baking sheet. Press to about 14 inches x 9 inches. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven. Spread the 1/4 cup of thousand island dressing over the crust, all the way to the edges. Top with the chopped corned beef, drained sauerkraut, and 2 cups of Swiss cheese. Carefully roll up the pizza into a tube. Place the pizza roll into a 9×5 inch loaf pan, seam side down.
Drizzle the top with the remaining thousand island dressing and shredded cheese. Continue baking for 10-12 minutes longer or until cheese is bubbly in the center. Carefully remove from pan and slice to serve. Enjoy!

 

It was delicious – I made it this past week for hubby and I and we both really enjoyed it.

See other fun recipes to try (and I have found more than a few!) by checking out Weekend Cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOve Life by Rob Lowe

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I LOVE LOVE LOVED Rob Lowe’s book Things I Only Tell My Friends when I listened to it on audio in 2011.  His narration is superb and if you are an audio person and seriously even if you are not….) you are in for a super treat by listening to either of his books.

In Love Life, Rob (oh may I call him Rob?  ;)  ) not only covers his loves through his life of family, relationships, and his sons; but also his love of acting.  Just listening to him share some of his moments from Behind The Candelabra, Killing Kennedy, The Stand, and Untouchable, just to name a few, caused me to go out and rent some of these movies.  Just a couple of days ago I watched Behind The Candelabra, and tonight I hope to see Untouchable; two of the movies Rob discusses as taking great liberties with his character and finding it to pay off. 

 

“Adventure is important in life. Making memories matters. It doesn’t have to be a secret seaplane and a historic sports moment, but to have a great life you need great memories. Grab any intriguing offer. Say yes to a challenge and to the unknown. Be creative in adding drama and scope to your lfe. Work at it like a job. Money from effort comes and goes, but effort from imagination and following adventure creates stories that you keep forever. And anyone can do it.”
Rob Lowe, Love Life

 

What is enjoyable about this audio for someone like me who grew up on his movies is not only the memories; but also to listen to his humor as he describes totally blowing lines during a live show where he actually gave away part of the plot that should not have been released yet; but in a panic recovered nicely.

It’s also refreshing to listen to someone who truly loves his wife and his family; and instead of the so often “its all about me you can hear in memoirs”, you can tell that Rob truly loves his wife as much as he did when he married her and adores his two sons who he has made a n effort as they have grown, to be a part of their every day lives, separating the husband and dad from the actor.

Finely written and utterly engaging, if you have any interest at all in the man, his career in front of the screen and behind the scenes), or the movies he partakes in the ones he wanted to be, and the ones he should have been in…. absolutely do not hesitate to read on listen to this book.

I eagerly await what he will write about next.

 

Location… Location… Location…. Does It Matter?

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Fellow readers… we can talk right?  We have that “love for books thing” in common, and if I may be so bold… we do enjoy hunkering down to a really good read.  Now while traditions and props may differ almost like a set up for a game of Clue…. 

In the recliner, favorite blanket, bowl of popcorn

on the deck, in the sun, large glass of iced tea

at the library, in a sunny window, feet propped at a 30 degree angle

in the living room, on the couch, surrounded by cheese,crackers,grapes and a glass of wine…

we can probably all agree that not much compares to digging into that book that fully takes you inside the story line… blood, sweat and tears… you are ALL IN.

Which brings me to my point….

If a book is not clear about where it is locally centered, is that a bump in the read for you?  If you do not know if you are reading about a smoldering California summer or a wintry bout in Alaska… does the book miss something?

I ask because I fall into the I want to know category.  I like to know where I am reading, it is a part of my level of involvement with the book, placing me into a deeper sense of knowing where I am and what that might feel like.  In some books, location is such a large part of the book, it almost becomes a character in itself…

Even dystopian reads can give you a feel for where you are, even if the world is no longer as know it… take Hunger Games for instance.

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I love this visual of what the districts look like and what states they encompass.

And even though I do prefer knowing States or countries, I am even ok with an area being described as, “in the south” or “way up North”, at least that gives me something.  Although I do love the brave authors that put us right into a city and state ;) )

For todays bookish topic of discussion I am curious if this love of knowing where I am at geographically is more of a “yeah that’s just you Sheila”, or is it a “I agree, I like to know where I am in a book”.

And since this is the topic at hand (or at keyboard)….

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The Taker by Alma Katsu

1bbHistorical beauty meets fantasy paranormal in a way that rocked my world… ~ Sheila

 

When Lanore Mcllyrae is brought into the hospital in hand cuffs, Dr. Luke Findley can not help but be drawn to her.  Lanore is a rare kind of beauty, one that seems to outstretch time, and before Luke even knows what he is doing – he is helping this woman escape…

Lanore’s life story goes beyond one life span… beyond mortality as Lanore tells her tale of a love so pure she found she would do anything to preserve it, but the cost was higher than she ever could have dreamed. 

 

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Which cover do you like best? Why?

The Taker is one of those books that I have wanted to read for the past few years and never seemed to get to it.  Now that I have (in audio format) I am kicking myself for waiting so long.  Where was I when everyone else was gushing about it? 

However, one of the beauties of chatting up this book now… is that the two follow-up books, The Reckoning and The Descent are both readily available so if you become engrossed in this amazing story you do not have to stop but can continue right on through the three books to what I can only imagine, is a pretty engrossing tale.

You…

are welcome. :)

The Taker, narrated beautifully by Laura Lefkow, takes you from the turn of the 19th century where a poor young girl named Lanore, finds herself completely smitten with a  young man named Johnathon, even though their families are not friendly to one another, even though Johnathon is a few years older than she, and even though Johnathon has captured the eye of many of the young ladies of the area and he knows all to well his power over their hearts.

And then –

through a powerful tale you are taken through some incredible happenings that takes Lanore out of the comfort of everything she holds near and dear to a world she is unfamiliar with, of men and women alike who will serve a powerful man in any way he chooses to be served – to a man who will be the death of the old Lanore, but bring forth a woman she barely recognizes….

A powerful read that should not be missed.  Author Alma Katsu comes out of the gate as a debut author who smokes past the competition.  Read it.  Listen to.  You would never guess that this is a debut novel.

Morning Meanderings… Gone Girl – Gone VIRAL!

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Good morning – happy Thursday… another week just a plugging away to the weekend…

As of recent weeks I have noticed my Gone Girl Spoiler Page, a post I wrote in July of 2012, getting an increasingly high number of hits each day… right around that 200 -400 mark. I chalked it up to the fact that the movie was starting to catch some buzz now as this has happened with other spoiler pages I have written on books that later become movies….

then on Wednesday afternoon I seen my stat bar and realized that after a year of trying to break my last all time high blog views in a day record of 1,587… I had now blown it out of the water with 2,857 blog views on Tuesday April 14th, 1,643 of them coming from the Gone Girl Spoiler page.

:shock:

Sadly… that probably blows my personal goals of beating my old stats record out of the water… and I also noticed unusual traffic coming into that post from spam comments.  (What is up with the “spell caster” spam?  Anyone else receiving that where it is some sad story of lost love but then the “spell caster” can return your love to you…

AND… isn’t it fully that this is associated with the “Gone Girl spoiler post”, and no where else?

Just thinking out loud….:D

Since I closed comments on the post yesterday due to the weird activity… the traffic on it has dropped to 600… lol…. and will probably keep falling ;)

So… today should be good – I work and then tonight I am having a Membership Drive meeting for the Friends Of The Brained Public Library…  kind of excited.

And an update on the snow… looks like about 5 inches.

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