The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

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Sophie Diehl is very happy at her pace in a New England Law Firm as a Criminal Law Associate.  And… if she does say so herself, she is a pretty darn good one too.  One weekend when everyone is out of the office either on other business or on vacation, Sophie is tasked with doing an intake interview for divorce proceedings for a daughter of a high-profile client. 

It is just the intake interview, Sophie is assured, but Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim likes Sophie’s “take no prisoner” attitude and decides that Sophie is who she wants to represent her.  So much in fact, that she is willing to pay double to secure her services.  While Sophie does everything she can to politely pass, the partners of the firm assure her that is she is who Mia wants…. then she is who Mia will get.

*gulp*

With the help of a couple of the divorce lawyers in the firm, and facing the wrath of the female partner who is actually a divorce lawyer who would have received this case had she not been on vacation, Fiona McGregor, Sophie struggles through using her skills as a criminal lawyer to create an interesting divorce case.

 

 

 

I have this in book format and I downloaded it on Audible as well.  I went audio due to wanting to get to the book, but not having the time to sit and read. 

At first as I started listening to this audio, I was surprised to pick up on the fact that this book was going to be told in correspondence… IE. emails, letters, post it notes….  (In hindsight I really do not know why I was surprised… after all it is called DIVORCE PAPERS).  :oops:  I was really hoping that there would be more of the story told out of the context of written communications…

Then…

I got into the rhythm of the book, finding myself looking forward to correspondence with certain people, such as Sophie’s communications with David, her boss who was working on the case as support to her lack of divorce law knowledge. I enjoyed his voice and when I would hear his narration start I would get excited to hear what he had to say.

Yes there is a lot of law speak.  It did become a bit tedious that almost all of  the correspondence started with a date, an address, who the correspondence was too, who it was copied too, and what attachments there were to go along with said correspondence.  For this, I think the audio served me well as I imagine that with all this information I would skim if I had read the book.  For that matter, correspondence that did not interest me I probably would have skimmed as well, and again the audio does not allow for that so I probably did the book more justice by listening to it.

I enjoyed The Divorce Papers.  I actually learned a few things that take place in such proceedings, and the knowledge seeker in me enjoyed that.  To me, the story was a bit over the top with both parties of the divorce either having money at the ready, or high dollar property in their name as well as collections such as paintings…  this however did not dampen my enjoyment of the read. 

 

 

 

Bookies Review: A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena was our book clubs April 2014 read.  Amazon describes this book as:

In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.

This book was a bit heavier than anything we have read recently.  Some of us stumbled through a deeper read with names (like Ahkmed, Khassan Akim, Maali,) and words that caused your mind pause as you sorted through the sound and meaning.  Admittedly, several Bookies were lost along the way and stopped early on in the read not finding their way around the words or the drawn out nature of the authors way of writing. 

On the flip of that – a few Bookies loved the challenge of the language and wholeheartedly embraced this fictional and historical read based around the Chechnya war.

“At the kitchen table she examined the glass of ice. Each cube was rounded by room temperature, dissolving in its own remains, and belatedly she understood that this was how a loved one disappeared. Despite the shock wave of walking into an empty flat, the absence isn’t immediate, more a fade from the present tense you shared, a melting into the mast, not an erasure but a conversion in form, from presence to memory, from solid to liquid, and the person you once touched runs over your skin, now in sheets down your back, and you may bathe, may sink, may drown in the memory, but your fingers cannot hold it.”
Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

Whatever side of the book you fell on, yay or nay – we all had to admit it made for an interesting and engaging discussion.  Usually when I bring up a discussion question during the group’s time together one or two of us will respond with our thoughts and we move on, but this time,this book, brought out more discussion, some heated, some pained, much filled with facts,mixed with the facts of this war and the historic beauty as well.  I found myself as the “note taker” of the group, just sitting back and listening to the conversations of what each person found within this books pages.  Their discussion and enthusiasm made me want to dig in more.

We were, for the most part, touched that the books events actually happened in our lifetime… and in the end we were able to pull out themes in the books such as connectedness and the importance of it, humor within a dark world, author Anthony Marra pulls a deep passionate look at a war-torn country in this debut novel.

Of course we had food…

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The pudding, while quite to the point of the book – was pretty impressive.  I made the upper right hand corner Chechnya spicy chicken from the culture and the 4th picture down of the wheat pasta to tone done the strong taste of the chicken.  Lemon rice (2nd picture down) was mentioned in the book, the Gnocchi Salad (3rd picture down) was culturally correct, and the yummy desert on the bottom… well… yummy. :)

What will book clubs like about this book?

A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena will bring up some all so real discussion of what this was war must have been like to live through.  Discussion can lead to just what a fragile society we are, by removing resources we could just as easily experience something like this.  This is a book that caused conversation and emotion to flow freely -for our group, I barely needed to ask questions to stimulate conversation, we were talking about the book from the moment we walked in the door. 

While not a light fun read or discussion, it is one that will cause your group feel that they just read something very important and most likely come out the other side knowing a little more about our world. 

Personal note:  as of this writing, I sadly admit I have not thoroughly read this book myself.  In a busy month and finding the book more work to get into than some, I skimmed the pages getting the feel for the discussion.  I would also like to note after listening to my group share their thoughts on this book, I know I will be going back and reading it properly because hard read or not… I think this one is important for me to get a strong feel for this book…. something tells me, this one may move on  to something more and I do love being ahead of the media. :)  ~Sheila

Morning Meanderings… End Of A Really Good Week

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Good morning!  It is Friday and the sun is shining.  No kidding… in Minnesota… it is true, check this out:

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Yes.  That is my back deck this morning… finally warming up for future hang outs with ice tea, friends, and books.

This week was such a good one.  Monday was our Friends Of The Public Library meetings, Tuesday was book club, and last night I went with friends to a wine tasting, secured 50 donated bottles of wine for the Wine and Words auction, and went to Divergent with a few friends. 

Today as soon as I wrap up a couple emails I am heading off to the cabin for the weekend to check on things up North, get in a little reading, writing, and R and R before I come back on Sunday and hit it again.

Here are the books and audio I am taking with me – not because I think I am a speed reader/listener – but because I do not know what I will want to read or what will grab me.  The drive is over 3 hours there and the audio I am currently listening to, Divorce Papers, will end before I get there today. :)  I like options.

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I do plan to pop in over the weekend, however North shore internet is iffy so we will see….

Enjoy the weekend – read something AMAZING!

 

Morning Meanderings… Read It Before You See It!

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Good morning! Happy Wednesday already!  Lots of fun things happening here… book club last night (more on that later) and earlier this week I changed out the library window to books that will or are movies with in a two-year span.  It was a fun project:

 

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I used books from my own stash and those that I did not own I printed out covers for. 

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It was hard to get a great pic – I was picking off a glare on the window but this gives you an idea. 

What an exciting time with so many wonderful books becoming movies!  I really get excited about that!  And yay to Gillian Flynn with both Gone Girl and Dark Places hitting the big screen! 

Is there a particular book that you are excited to see become a movie?  What one are you waiting for? 

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!

Its been a pretty good week, I had quite a few opportunities to get in some good audio time and have apparently made some good choices lately as I am on a good streak of enjoying everything I have been reading and listening to.  Here is what I posted this week:

The Weight Of Blood by Laura McHugh

 

Panic By Lauren Oliver (Oliver has done it again!)

 

The Troop by Nick Cutter (looking for a good scare?  The troop is spooky good!)

 

Armchair BEA and BEA – they are coming - learn more about them here :)

 

Missing You by Harlan Coben (if you are looking for a great thriller author that is not over the top, fun to read and great story lines… Harlan is that author)

 

 

A pretty good week!  This week I will be listening to and reading:

 

 

For my Ears:

 

1bbOn the midnight shift at a hospital in rural St. Andrew, Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting a quiet evening. Until a mysterious woman arrives in his ER, escorted by police—Lanore McIlvrae is a murder suspect—and Luke is inexplicably drawn to her. As Lanny tells him her story, an impassioned account of love and betrayal that transcends time and mortality, she changes his life forever. . . . At the turn of the nineteenth century, when St. Andrew was a Puritan settlement, Lanny was consumed as a child by her love for the son of the town’s founder, and she will do anything to be with him forever. But the price she pays is steep—an immortal bond that chains her to a terrible fate for eternity.

 

 

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 Love Life serves up another delicious selection of intimate stories and observations from Rob Lowe’s life, told with humor, warmth, and brutal honesty. After writing his acclaimed debut effort, Lowe felt he had more stories to share and many more friends to introduce. The result is a touching memoir about the business and craft of acting, the pitfalls of success, family, love, and much more.  

 

For My Eyes:

 

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Bay Singer has bigger secrets than most. She doesn’t know about them, though. Her mother, Nan, has made sure of that. But one phone call from the sheriff makes Nan realize that the past is catching up. Nan decides that she has to make things right, and invites over the two estranged friends who know the truth. Ruthie and Mavis arrive in a whirlwind of painful memories, offering Nan little hope of protecting Bay. But even the most ruined garden is resilient, and their curious reunion has powerful effects that none of them could imagine, least of all Bay.

 

That’s the week! Hope you had a great one and have some good reading /listening coming up!  Please add your link to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading 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!

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Missing You by Harlan Coben

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2nd generation Detective Kat Donovan knows what it is like to be on the losing end.  Eighteen years earlier her father was gunned down and his killer now sits at the end of his life sentence.  Shortly after, Kat’s fiance Jeff breaks their engagement with little explanation.  From that point on Kat buried herself in her work leaving little time for anything else.

When a friend signs Kat up for online dating service, Kat is skeptical, but one night starts looking through the men that the site has lined up for her as possible “connections”.  Kat freezes when she finds herself staring at the man who broke her heart all those years ago; apparently using a false name.  When she tries to message him he replies with a flat response giving no acknowledgement of their past at all… and as Kat digs deeper… what she discovers is enough to bring chills up her spine…

If Jeff caught up in a scam of luring women and men with money into false hopes of a relationship? 

With her personal life and her career all colliding at once, Kat starts investigating where it is clear that people on both sides of the law do not want her looking in to deeply.

 

 

Harlan Coben NEVER disappoints.  Every book that man writes is worth the wait.  I loved this book!  Kat was a great protagonist, she was strong and independent, but had a softer side as well. 

As you dig into what is really happening in this book it is enough to give you chills as it is such a real feeling scenario you can easily imagine reading about something like this in a newspaper. 

There is so much awesomeness in this book yet I do not want to give even a sample away as this is a book served better with you diving in and putting your seat belt on – you are in for a thrilling adventure!

DO not hesitate to pick this book up – I mark my reputation as a book reviewer that this is Harlan at his finest.  Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Morning Meandering… Let Me Introduce You To Armchair BEA 2014

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Good morning!  Yesterday was a pretty sweet day here in Central Minnesota…. it was warm (well 50 degrees makes me happy at this point) and looks to stay this way moving forward (*cartwheels* * back flip* *High fiving anyone and everyone*)  AND when it starts to feel like spring…

I start to think about BEA (Book Expo America).

I have been able to go every year since 2010 and I have been amazed every year.  If you are on the decision side of should I stay or should I go…. you should GO.  And over the next 7 or 8 weeks… you are probably going to see me chat about BEA a lot here…. however, before you think “Sheila, this totally does not apply to me, I will not be attending and I really do not want to hear about something I am not taking part in…”

Oh but wait my friend….

Have you heard of Armchair BEA?

Armchair BEA is a way for those who will not be attending to get the feel of the event from their very own homes.  Through this site you can participate with daily discussions, giveaways, and live videos and posts from the event itself. It will be like being there without the expense of the plane train or automobile to get there.

Armchair BEA

I a, super excited to be part of the On-Site Correspondents Team.  *SQQQUUUEEEE* What that means is that myself as well as 3 other awesome bloggers will be the eyes and ears on site for those participating from home.  We will take video of what we are seeing and doing.  We will do interviews and give you as much BEA as you handle.  I am SUPER excited to be a part of this team.

Registration will soon be open to sign up to be an Armchair BEA participant.  I do hope you will all sign up and hang out with my virtually for a week at the end of May.  I will keep you informed here when registration is open, in the mean time, please check out the site and grad the button I posted here for your side bar.

It’s going to be a good good time.

 

 

As far as books that came to my home this week… I am never short of reading material that’s for sure…

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Hope your Sunday plans are something fun or relaxing or both :D  I will be working on our book club read this afternoon and possibly going to the movie Noah with my hubby.

 

The Troop by Nick Cutter

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Goosebumpy good!  ~ Sheila

 

Scoutmaster Tim Riggs is once again taking his troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for their annual trip.  The boys are a great group that are a joy to hang out with.

Then their first night there while the boys are sleeping, Tim hears noises around the camp.  Going out to explore, he comes across a man who is clearly extremely sick and so bone thin Tim can not even believe that he standing on his own.  The man is hungry and Tim brings him back to the camp ground trying to do “what a good scout” should do to give him some of their food.

Things only turn worse as the man cries out in pain and thrashes around deliriously, and Tim starts to rethink his decision of bringing this man into a camp with the young boys who have awaken and are curious as to what is going on.

What starts out as simple weekend adventure, quickly turns into a nightmarish weekend of survival as Tim and the boys realize they have exposed themselves to something they could have never imagined and what happens next is not written in any scout book….

 

 

 

Goosebumpy good!  I have always been a fan of good old-fashioned scares…. the books and movies I grew up on that were scary, but not over the top gruesome and so far-fetched you wondered about the mind who wrote them.  When I heard that The Troop was a good scare… I was in. 

Is The Troop a good scare?  You bet!  As I listened to this one on audio, I found at times I was thinking “oh no, oh no….”  Nick Cutter’s debut novel does not leave you feeling like you were short-changed in the scare department for sure!  This read is totally camp fire worthy!  The book flashes backward and forward occasionally as pieces of what is happening is revealed brilliantly through snippets of information of both before the trip and after.  These flashes were well positioned and I never felt lost in what was happening only more involved.

The book is not perfect.  I was left with a couple of questions I felt should have been addressed, but still I would recommend this book to good old-fashioned thriller lovers…

Did it scare me?  You bet.  :)

Morning Meanderings.. “Agate Vines”

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Good morning!  Hope everyone is doing SUPER FINE this happy Saturday :)  We had a bit of sunshine yesterday that melted away Thursday snow storm so I am looking forward (*hopefully* fingers crossed*) to no more snow.

Yesterday evening, our Friends Of The Brainerd Public Library helped to host a local artist who had recently created original lights to go over the circulation desk.  Today I thought I would share that for Saturday Snapshot.

 

I have known Greg Rosenberg for many years now.  Until recently, his business was located downstairs from the office I work at.  Occasionally I would pop in to see what he was working on.  Greg works with stained glass, metal, and yes – agates, to create original art works.  Here is one of his many lamps he has made:

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Gorgeous yes? 

Here are pictures from last nights event:

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Other artists spoke regarding the importance of art in our community and Greg spoke about the lights and the inspiration behind them.

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It was a good turn out. About 35 people came to see the lights and celebrate with Greg.

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The Friends of the Library served cake….

 

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and Lily had made a tasty beverage with apple juice, 7 up, lemon juice and real ginger.

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The lights as you can see, each hang from a metal “root base”. They hook into the base. Each one is unique and as you look at them you will find hidden vines, shapes, one even has an extended heart shape agate that comes off the lamp to look like a leaf. The agates are Brazilian Agate and Minnesota. Greg calls the lights “agate vines”

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Here is a picture of the lights over the desk. There are 6 in all. Attendees of last nights event had an opportunity to walk behind the circulation desk as well so they could see all sides of the lights.

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This is Greg and his wife Margaret standing by the circulation desk.

Greg also made a beautiful window using a mixture of agates and stained glass that sits above the doors into the library from the entryway.  I apparently was too busy talking to people last night and forgot to take a picture of it, but it is another gorgeous original piece.

To see more of Greg’s work, please check out his website at Shining Light Studio.

It was a fun evening!

Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Heather’s life is certainly not what you would call “cozy.”  With an absent dad and a mom who lives inside a bottle, Heather does what she can for her sister and herself.

She never thought she would complete in Panic.

Panic was a game for students who were newly graduated from their senior year.  It happened during the summer and while the game itself was dangerous and frowned upon by adults and authority figures alike, the stakes were high with a high payoff.  The games were dangerous and you could be killed, but if you chicken out you are out of the game… for some of the students, it is do or die… either way.

When home circumstances hit an all time low, Heather knows it is up to her to figure out a way to care for her sister and provide something better for themselves.

And this years Panic is paying out at an all time high.

Dodge does not fear Panic.  He is sure that he can win and what he is hiding will be his motivation.

But Panic is filled with those with secrets….

For Heather and Dodge… there really is no choice.  And along the way you never know what sort of alliances you can build, knowledge you can gain, and relationships that can make a world of difference.

 

 

I chose to listen to Panic because I have adored Loren Oliver’s past reads…  Before I Fall, Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem.  She writes YA stories with great twists and turns which are a delight to read.

 Panic was a great next step for her.  With the excitement of Hunger Games (without that level of “you all must die!”) I found Panic to be an interesting look at what could go on underneath the proverbial watchful eye…

There are some interesting twists and turns in Panic, and while I can not say that it is a favorite of the Oliver books for me, it holds great potential.  Rumor has it that is has already been snatched up by Paramount Pictures to be a movie.  One that I would definitely go see.

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