Tag Archives: On the Okey Dokey Trail

WWW Wednesday, 1-July-2015

1 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


MalalaCurrently reading:  No progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Hoping the hold comes through soon!
My audiobook is Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli and it’s going well. I find myself insanely jealous of Anelli’s life every time I open it up.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is going pretty well. I wish there was more about her. Right now it seems like a history lesson about her region of Pakistan. I know it’s setting up the political situation that led to her getting shot, but it’s still not as interesting as I was hoping for.
I started Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford earlier this week. Our book club has chosen it as our selection to discuss in July. No shame to say this was my recommendation! I hope it’s a good one, I’ve heard good things.
I technically haven’t started it by the time this post goes up, but my husband and I are leaving for a trip to the Smokey Mountains and of course we had to have an audiobook to supplement the nine-hour trip (each way!). We choose Hollow City by Ransom Riggs, the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which we listened to last year. I hope it’s good!

BitesRecently finished: I fought my way through Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray. It’s not that the book’s bad, but that I wanted to finish it by Monday. Wuthering Heights isn’t a book you rush through and this one is the say way. I kept wondering how much longer this was because of the vampire plotline.

And two book reviews! The first was for La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It feels good to have this one behind me because it was a long journey, but wrong because I enjoyed it so much.
The other is On the Okey Dokey Trail by I. Leigh Private. I enjoyed it but thought it lacked a little depth. Check out the reviews to know more!

ManforHimselfReading Next: There are two possibilities. The first is that my work book club gets me a copy of A Widow for One Year by John Irving before I finish Hotel.
If that doesn’t happen, I’m going to continue my fight to finish the When Are You Reading? Challenge. Next up is Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. I was introduced to Bainbridge a few years ago when I read The Girl in the Polka Dot Dress for my book club. The author has a really cool style. I saw that she had a book about my favorite event in history, the sinking of the Titanic. I was lucky enough to find it at a used bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI and I’ve been waiting for a reason to read it ever since. So pumped!


As I’ve said, I’m in a car on my way to Tennessee so please forgive me if responses are delayed. It all depends on how good the audiobooks are and how good the phone reception is!

Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: On the Okey Dokey Trail by I. Leigh Private

29 Jun

I’ve been so bad at reading ARCs that I stopped requesting them. Most of my book choices are for book clubs. But with a summer break coming up, I found myself with time to read for pleasure and decided it was time to grab one of the ARCs off my shelf. I won On the Okey Dokey Trail from a Goodreads giveaway a few months ago. I’d stopped requesting books, but this one piqued my attention because it sounded like the comedic memoirs I’ve been enjoying lately. So I requested and won. Look at my luck.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

On the Okey Dokey Trail: A Smart-Alec Perspective on the Give and Take of Life by I. Leigh Private

Summary from Goodreads:

On the Okey Dokey Trail is a collection of humorous stories about relationships, work, parenthood, plastic surgery, bad car karma, photography, weed, golf lessons, serendipity, popular culture, plus so much more.

This book WILL NOT help you find or keep a love relationship, grow the perfect rose or child, surmount life’s inexplicable tragedies, reinvent yourself, have a career in Hollywood, or extract the cream filling from a cupcake without it crumbling.

This book WILL make you laugh and offer a perspective on all the above and whatever life serves up.

We are so sure of our ability to entertain you that, in this one-time limited offer, we will guarantee 1-3 LOLs or your money back, no questions asked. Well, we may question if you even have a sense of humor, but it will be rhetorical. We would never post your name anywhere, pinky-swear.

I’m not sure if I got my full three LOLs, but I had one or two. These stories were short and cute. I enjoyed them, but I wish there was more. Some of the stories were three pages. I didn’t feel like I got anything out of them that told me about the ‘give and take.’ The title and synopsis gave me some expectations about the topics and the idea that there would be some kind of moral lesson in these stories. And in the longer ones, I felt there was. But most of these stories were short or moderate in length and it wasn’t enough time for me to get into them. I liked them, I thought they were funny, but I didn’t get anything out of them. I wish the author had gone into them more.

The writer portrayed herself in a very believable way. I liked that she made fun of herself and her flaws because it made me respect her for being able to see her own faults. Sometimes that’s hard to do. I didn’t like that when she talked about her husband and children, they didn’t seem real or were the straight man against her crazy antics. When I’m acting crazy, not everyone around me is on board, but they’re not stoic either. There’s a balance.

Besides the narrator, we only get to know one other character; her brother, Mike. She made him very easy to like. He was fun, social, nice, helpful, everything. No matter how true this is, I want to believe it and I want it to be true. I like that her title comes from the epitaph on his tombstone.

Everyone does something stupid every once in a while and I think that’s why these stories are very relatable. I may not have melted plaster or had the man I was going to interview parallel park my car, but I’ve done equally stupid foot-in-mouth things. Ms. Private was very open about her experiences from behind her pen name and I appreciated that in her story.

I liked the Lamaze story about picking up her daughter from camp. I thought it showed how quirky she was and how much she loved her children while being both funny and heartfelt. It was the perfect balance that I felt the whole book was aiming for. To me, it was the best-balanced story.

‘Up Close’ was my least favorite story where the author talked about photography and lenses. I disliked it only because it’s not something I know about, I’m not interested in it, and the story was so short that I didn’t get much of anything out of it. There was no depth or relatability.

Private gives her own theme: the give and take of life. Obviously her big ‘take’ was her brother and to a lesser degree her mother. She mentions leaving her career behind for a while to be a mother and the rewarding experience it was for her while others disagreed. She focuses intently on the loss of her brother which was obviously a traumatic experience for her. I’m not going to say her humor is a way to cover up grief; she’s very open with her grief and seems to have accepted the loss over time. But, as the title implies, there is also give. She has two wonderful children, has met some great and inspiring people and has been able to be a part of projects that she’s cared about. We have to take the bad with the good and balance it out. Nothing will ever be perfect.

Writer’s Takeaway: I like the short personal essay style. I think it makes a good memoir for someone who wants to share their life and not just a portion of it. The book had childhood memories and very recent experiences. I liked the wide time span. However, as I’ve said, the stories needed more depth. Each needed to relate to either the ‘give’ or ‘take’ the author mentions and I felt a few fell short of that.

Enjoyable and a quick read. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 24-June-2015

24 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


BitesCurrently reading:  No progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It was starting to get good and I lost my hold on the ebook. I’ll get it back soon, though!
My only audiobook now is Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli so I’m making some decent progress. It’s a long one, though, so it could be a while. I’m loving the re-living of my Potterhead heydays.
I grabbed a random book off my shelves. A few years ago, my husband was at a book exchange and decided he needed to grab me a copy of Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray. I hated Wuthering Heights when I read it in high school but husband insisted it’s because I was too young and it would be better with vampires. So far, he’s right.
I also started another ebook while I wait for Cloud Atlas to come back (because I’m impatient). I choose I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I know it’s been out for a while, but I’m really excited to read this.

PenumbraRecently finished: So many finished! I got through On the Okey Dokey Trail by I. Leigh Private after posting this last week. It was okay: enjoyable for sure.
I also finished up A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin on Thursday. I really liked it and put the sequel on my TBR right away.
ALSO! We went on a road trip over the weekend and got through the entire audiobook of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. It was awesome. I can’t wait to write the review for this great book. The audiobook is highly recommended.

HotelReading Next: The John Irving book may still be on, but not immediately. I still plan to go after Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford next. This will likely go with me on vacation in a week. It looks like a good one to read by the campfire.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-June-2015

17 Jun

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


TrailCurrently reading:  I’m almost done with A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I was able to find a chapter by chapter summary online to figure out where I am. This should be finished in the week.
Not much movement with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Part II is a bit more interesting, but there are still other things I’d rather read. Oh well.
Moderate progress on Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli on my phone. This is an interesting balance of history and personal story and I like it, but I’m not crazy for it.
I started a new book! It’s a Goodreads First Reads book I received a long time ago and I’m overdue for a review. It’s On the Okey Dokey Trail by I. Leigh Private. Yes, I do like the pun in the name.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Recently finished: I finally finished La Sombra del Viento by Carlos Ruiz Zafon! This is my one book a year in Spanish and I liked the ending a lot. I’m not sure how good of a review I can write because I don’t remember the beginning well, but we shall see. Stay tuned for that one.

And two book reviews! Look at me. I wrote one for The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine last week. I hope I can convince a few more people to read it. I finished one for The Bohemians by Ben Tarnoff earlier this week. It’s OK to skip that one.

HotelReading Next: Change of plans. Though I’d been planning on a John Irving book with my work book club, that’s not going to happen. I took a new job! I’ll be sad to leave those ladies and I’ll miss what they had to say about the books we read, but I’m going to put that book back on the shelf for a while. It would be a bit painful to read it now if I’m being honest. I think instead I’ll focus on Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford which is a selection for my book club. I recommended this historical fiction selection and I’m excited to read it.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!