Hug in a Card

A 5 year old girl made hundreds of New Years’ cards for seniors. She wanted to make them happy, to brighten their lives during Covid. Covid has reduced our contacts with the people we love. W all need connections, even if only through cards and facetime.

This story moved me and inspired this short 50 word story – for the #50PreciousWords contest held by Vivian Kirkfield. Check here for other precious stories.

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Here is my entry:

 

Hug in a Card

A card for Mr. Grant.

A picture for Mrs. Martin.

So many still to do.

Her new friends couldn’t be disappointed.

Another card.

Another picture.

She could do this.

She would do this.

Her friends would smile.

They’d laugh.

They would all know she cared – a hug in a card.

It’s Monday! What are You reading?

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It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?” at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

 What I Read Last Week

I read 10 books – I know this sounds a lot but several were novellas and several (the fantasy and the 2 NF,  I read over a couple of weeks). I read 3 contemporary romances, a fantasy, a NF and a memoir, 2 women’s fiction and a thriller.

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. It took a few weeks to finish, but I loved this fantasy. Just got the sequel from the library today. Such a powerful book.

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Dance Away with Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This was my favourite of the week and of the month. Two damaged people must put the welfare of a baby ahead of their own needs. So moving, it just drew me in and still holds my thoughts.

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The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick. This seemed like a quiet story but again I was drawn into the lives of the main characters and how grief was handled by everyone.

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Cottage at the Beach by Lee Tobin McClain. Another Healing Heroes romance that was an enjoyable read.

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It’s Never Too Late by Kathie Lee Gifford. This was the first memoir I have read by Gifford and I enjoyed it.

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Mr. Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain. Can you find true love with a list? This historical romance was fun.

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Ice by Linda Howard. This was an interesting thriller that didn’t scare me. Enjoyed it.

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Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber. A sweet romance.

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The Measure of Our Lives by Toni Morrison. This was a short compilation of some of her quotes.

match makers match 45700738._SY475_The Matchmaker’s Match by Nicole Flockton. I enjoyed this romance.

What I’m Reading Now

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

When We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards

 

What’s Up Next

Merry Misrule by Ellie St. Clair

 If I Knew Then by Jann Arden

February Reading Round-Up

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Here we are, the end of February, and it is raining (!) today. A week ago, we got a foot of snow and I had the nicest neighbours who plowed my long driveway and even longer sidewalk.

Reading continues to be my stress-reliever.  It’s time to share what I have been reading this past month.

The total read for January was 32 books, with the following breakdown:

Fantasy /Paranormal – 3
Romance – 14

Women’s Fiction – 2

Historical romance – 2

Thriller – 1

Literary fiction – 1

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YA – 2
Non-fiction – 1
Pix books – 5

I continue to record in more detail where the books originated – from the library, on my TBR shelves (bought/gifted or won) or an e-book. Here’s the breakdown

Library reads – 26

TBR/owned books –0

E-books – 6

I’ve decided to change the order of what I post today – placing favourite books first:

Favourite Reads

My overall favourite read of the month was

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Dance Away with Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

The rest of my top 10 reads:

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Running After a Heartbreaker by Jami Albright

Art of Love by Talia James

Reunion at the Shore by Lee Tobin McClain

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Taylor

 

I am participating in quite a few challenges (check here for my list) but I have a few that are my favourites and have done these for a few years. Here are the books read for these challenges:

 

POPSUGAR Ultimate Reading Challenge (Through Goodreads)

This month I was able to read 10 books for the challenge.

#2 – Afrofuturist book – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

#3 – Heart on cover – Running After a Heartbreaker by Jami Albright

#7 – MC works at your dream job (artist/writer) – Art of Love by Talia James

#19 – Discusses body positivity – Reunion at the Shore by Lee Tobin McClain

#22 – Set mostly outdoors – Ice by Linda Howard

#23 – Something broken on cover – Mel: Forty and Fabulous by Talia James

#36- Has fewer than 1000 reviews on Amazon – Chance of a Lifetime by Jude Deveraux

#38 – about art or an artist – Dance Away with Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

#39 – Everyone seems to have read it but you – Beach Read by Emily Henry

#40 – fav. Prompt from Past Popsugar Challenge – from 2019 – Love in the title – Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

 

52 Books in 52 Weeks

I was able to read 10 books for this challenge:

#5 – Published by Penguin – Beach Read by Emily Henry

#17 – Character “on the run” – Ice by Linda Howard

@23 – ending that surprised you – Chance of a Lifetime by Jude Deveraux

#26 – by an author of colour – Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

#31- Shares a similar title to another book – Art of Love by Talia James

#34 – A book you rated 5 stars – Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

#38 – Recommended on BookBub – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

#41 – endorsed by famous author on cover – Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

#47 – character with disability – Reunion at the Shore by Lee Tobin McClain

#52 – Redo one of previous categories – 5* read – Dance Away with Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Beyond the Bookends
The theme this month was “addiction”.

Ice by Linda Howard

 Monthly Key Word Challenge

I used “Red” for the key word this month:

Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Taylor

Monthly Motif

The theme this month was “Laughter and love” – I chose romance, I read so many romances for this moth that celebrates love. These were my top 3:

Beach Read by Emily Henry

 Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Reunion at the Shore by Lee Tobin McClain

Diversity Reading Challenge

The theme this month was “POC author”. As this was Black History month, I tried to read books by POC.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Measure of Our Lives by Toni Morrison

Diversify Your Reading

The theme this month was “memoir”

It’s Never Too Late by Kathie Lee Gifford

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My Kitchen Year

I’m continuing my read and cooking through Ruth Reichl’s cookbook My Kitchen Year. I’m enjoying reading her stories that are mixed in with her recipes. This month I only made 1 winter recipe, adjusting it to suit our tastes; Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Sauce.  I now have several favourites which I have made several times.

 

Looking Ahead to March

I am taking part in a picture book study in March, so will be reading a number of pbs (Check here for more info). I also need to read more from my own books as well – I read none from my TBR shelves this month.

I am linking with the following:

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Monthly Wrap-Up (At Feed Your Fiction Addiction)

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Best of the Bunch (at A Cocoon of Books)

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Inspire Me Monday (at Create with Joy)

Connect 5 Friday – Covers Featuring Women’s Backs

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It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday,  hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

I was going over the reading challenges I am working on this year and as I checked off one category, I realized there are so many books that could be used for it. So many book covers highlight a woman’s back, especially historical fiction novels (check this article).

Here are 5 books I have read (and enjoyed) where a woman’s back is featured on the cover:

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Beach Read by Emily Henry

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Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

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Moonlight Over Paris by Jennifer Robson

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A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

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Almost Just Friends by Jill Shalvis

30 Word Thursday – 3 Tiny Snowmen

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TIME FOR Thirty Words Thursday, a new weekly challenge that was inspired by Erin Prais-Hintz who originated this photo/word challenge. (although her blog is no longer active, she is on facebook. Check out her wonderful art.)

 

This week’s photo is of three tiny snowmen I created after the heavy snow we got a while ago. I needed to clear off our air conditioner and instead of just weeping the snow off, which I usually do, I made balls of snow. They didn’t last long, but they were fun to create.

Now, here is the poem in their honour:

 

3 Tiny Snowmen

Three tiny men of snow

Three balls each,

Perched atop the large box.

Sightless,

Deaf

Not able to touch or hold

Unfinished

Defenceless

Like gargoyles

Perched and guarding  

Guarding – what?

Book Tag Thursday – Life in Books

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I was searching for a new book tag today and came across this post listing a hundred + book tags.  (I also found this list of tags, alphabetically – will have to investigate this one further.)

The second listing, found at The Boston Book Reader,  caught my eye and as I checked it out, I knew this was the one to do today.

Most of the books I’ve listed are books on my TBR shelves – there are too many in fact. These are also books I still plan to read.

Here it is :

Life in Books Tag

 1. Find a book for each of your initials

B –  Becoming by Michelle Obama

A – Atonement by Ian McEwan

B – Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner

 

  1. Count your age along your bookshelf – what book is it?

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

I have so many books that this wasn’t hard to count to (over 60!)

  1. A book set in your city/country

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All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny

 I love the Louise Penny mystery series set in Three Pines and featuring Inspector Gamache. And best of all, they are set in Quebec Canada, Still have to read this latest one though

 

  1. A book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

There are so many places I want to travel to – Paris, back to Great Britain, Iceland, New Zealand. But I still dream of visiting Norway and the rest of Scandinavia and see the places where my ancestors lived.

  1. A book that’s your favorite color

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What You Wish For by Katherine Center

I love both red and blue but this one has such a beautiful blue cover and  is one I am reading now.

 

  1. Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

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The Others’ series by Anne Bishop

I have read this series twice now, and am working on my third reread. It has been a comfort through this pandemic and is so well written, with a world so imaginative.

 

  1. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I finally finished it last year, but it has taken me years to do so.

 

  1. Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I have had this book for years and have started it several times. I loved the series and must get it read, once and for all.

 

I am adding two more:

9. Which non-fiction book are you having a challenge to finish?

What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

I am still trying to finish this one. I have read a couple of his books but this one was a challenge.

 

10. What is your newest book and your oldest book (ones you personally bought or were given) on your shelves?

I have many books I have that were my father’s, but the books I still have that I received as a tween are The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M Montgomery. Still special.

The latest book I bought myself was The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. Love this book. It is a keepsake and one I will be gifting to my children throughout the year. I follow his wisdom on Instagram.

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Tagging anyone who wants to have fun with this. Happy reading!

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

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It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, “It’s Monday! What are You Reading?” at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

What I Read Last Week

I read 7 books – 5 contemporary romances, a romance/time travel novel, and a YA contemporary diverse novel.

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Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. This YA novel in verse was so moving and I loved it. A father is killed in a plane crash on his way to the Dominican Republic and 2 girls learn they are sisters.

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Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. So enjoyed this novel and the slow build to a romance.

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Chance of a Lifetime by Jude Deveraux. Liam and Cora loved each other in 1844 but in the present, Liam must ensure Cora falls in love with someone else.

2 romances by Jennifer Crusie, both of which I enjoyed.

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Anyone But You                      Strange Bedpersons

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Next Door Knight by Nicole Flockton. A therapy dog brings two neighbours together. A sweet romance.

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Checking Every Box by Haley Travis. A sweet romance novella about having a checklist for a boyfriend. Can it work?

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What I’m Reading Now

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

What You Wish For by Katherine Center

What’s Up Next

Merry Misrule by Ellie St. Clair

 If I Knew Then by Jann Arden

Connect Five Friday – Set in Dominican Republic

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It’s time once again for Connect Five Friday,  hosted at Book Date by Kathryn – the meme where we share five book/reading things that connect in some way.

I just finished reading Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acveido and loved it. It involved two girls, two countries and a lost father. I have never been to the Dominican Republic but know many who have. I then wondered how many books were set in the Dominican and found that there are quite a few.

Here are five books set in the Dominican Republic, books I hope to read : (Book summaries from Goodreads)

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss.”

 

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This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

“In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

 

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In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story of the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.  From the author of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents comes this tale of courage and sisterhood set in the Dominican Republic during the rise of the Trujillo dictatorship. A skillful blend of fact and fiction, In the Time of the Butterflies is inspired by the true story of the three Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for their part in an underground plot to overthrow the government. Alvarez breathes life into these historical figures–known as “las mariposas,” or “the butterflies,” in the underground–as she imagines their teenage years, their gradual involvement with the revolution, and their terror as their dissentience is uncovered.”

 

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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

Uprooted from their family home in the Dominican Republic, the four Garcia sisters – Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia – arrive in New York City in 1960 to find a life far different from the genteel existence of maids, manicures, and extended family they left behind. What they have lost – and what they find – is revealed in the fifteen interconnected stories that make up this exquisite novel from one of the premier novelists of our time.

 

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The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic – and finds herself reliving the events of 1961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million people. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, controls his inner circle with a combination of violence and blackmail.”

30 Words Thursday

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It has been over five years since I participated in a fun weekly wring challenge at Treasures Found. I was thinking about it last night and how I enjoyed the challenge of choosing a photo and writing just 30 words for it. I don’t consider myself a poet, but the words seemed to flow each week.

So, I thought I would resurrect this weekly challenge and encourage you to do so as well. Erin Prais-Hintz was the originator and although her blog is no longer active, she is on facebook. Check out her wonderful art.

 

 

Footsteps in the Snow

Little rabbit?

Where’s your home?

Zigzagging through the yard,

Leaving your footprints

A map to follow.

Fresh snow tonight,

to cover those tracks.

Stay safe,

stay hidden,

Little white rabbit.

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Thursday Book Tag – This or That

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I saw this tag posted at Reading in the Wings and it appealed to me, so am filling it out. (Not sure the original creator though)

 

Read on the bed or the couch?

Neither. I tend to read at the dining room table or at the computer as I need a straight back chair for my back.

 

Read at night or in the morning?

Both. Actually, I can read any time of the day, whenever I can steal some time. Most of my reading though is in the evening, especially late at night. Last night I read til 2:30 am to finish Love Lettering. (Loved it!)

 

Male main character or female main character?

Either, altho I tend to read more romances so often there are dual POVs. I do read more female authors though.

 

First person POV or third person POV?

Either, although first person POV tends to draw me in faster.

 

Trilogies or quartets?

Either. Love getting into a good series, no matter the number.

 

Libraries or bookstore?

Both. I have so many books, I try not to buy too many, so get books from the library if I am able.  I get a lot of free ebooks to check out authors as well. I borrow from friends if I can and check out second hand book stores (or I used to before Covid).

 

Books that make you laugh or cry?

I want to be moved by a book, to be drawn into the story. Sometimes it means laughing, sometimes crying.  So, either.

 

Black book covers or white book covers?

I really don’t care the colour of the cover – just as long as it is a great read.

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Character-driven or plot-driven? 

Much prefer a character-driven novel.

 

Fun tag – if you feel so moved, join in the fun!