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, 3 of these were romance novellas and 4 were picture books. The other reads were 2 contemporary romances. 1 mystery/thriller and 1 YA.

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A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh. This was quite a departure for Singh from her usual fantasies but what a powerful book. Both a thriller and a mystery, set in New Zealand. Loved it.

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The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jiminez. Such an enjoyable romance. An unusual first meeting and a challenging relationship.

 

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Now a Major Motion Picture by Cory McCarthy. I so enjoyed this YA novel that takes place in Ireland. If not for the first word of the title which I needed for a challenge, I probably wouldn’t have read it. So glad I did.

 

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Christmas Baby for the Billionaire by Donna Alward. An enjoyable romance.

 

3 romance novella ebooks – all sweet reads

A Home for Christmas by Catherine Mann

A Puppy for Will by Kathy De Nosky

It Started one Christmas by Susan Mallery

 

4 PBS (ALL 5 * READS)

Alice and Gert by Helaine Becker, illus. Dena Seiferling

The Song for Everyone by Lucy Morris

Emmy Noether by Helaine Becker, illus. Kari Rust

Little Owl’s Bedtime by Debi Gliori,  illus by Alison Brown

 

What I’m Reading Now 

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman (still trying to finish it – but get drawn to other books, especially when I pick up ones I’ve been waiting for a while from the library

 Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting

 

What’s Up Next

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron – this is for a writer’s book club; reading 2 chapters a week

The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley -planning for November as part of Novella November

 

Connect 5 Friday and NF Nov. – Teaching Books

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This week I am joining both Nonfiction November and Connect Five Friday with 5 teaching/education books that informed and ultimately improved my teaching.

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

Nonfiction November is an opportunity to share and celebrate nonfiction works. For Week 3, hosted by Rennie @ What’s Nonfiction, I am choosing to Play The Expert.

5 Books About Teaching

I taught for over 30 years, mostly from Kindergarten to grade 3. I always wanted to be a teacher and now that I am retired, I still miss it. I own all these books, read them and referred to them repeatedly.  

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The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller. This book had the greatest impact on my teaching of reading. Although I did many of the activities Miller detailed in her book, there were many that I needed to enhance and practice. As the Library Journal described her work: “Her approach is simple yet provocative: affirm the reader in every student, allow students to choose their own books, carve out extra reading time, model authentic reading behaviors, discard timeworn reading assignments…, and develop a classroom filled with high-interest books.”

I saw the improvement in my Grade 3 students and the increase in their enjoyment of reading.

 

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The Daily Five by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. This is a well-rounded literacy programme that I used extensively. “The Daily 5 is a structure for learning. It has 5 components that can be taught daily: 1) read to self, 2) read to someone, 3) listen to reading, 4) word work, and 5) writing.”

 

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Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 by Rafe Esquith. I so loved the passion for teaching that Esquith has. It helped rekindle my passion as well.

 

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Reading Essentials by Regie Routman. Another excellent resource – “The Specifics you need to teach reading well.” She also wrote Conversations, full of wonderful insights into teaching, learning and evaluating.

 

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Guiding Readers and Writers by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. This was the first book I used of this group of 5 and it remained a necessary piece of my literacy classroom until I retired.

 

There are so many wonderful books that support teaching, especially in teaching reading and writing. These are just the tip of the iceberg.

 

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, 4 of these were novellas – 4 romances. 1 women’s fiction and 2 historical romances.

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 500 Miles from You by Jenny Colgan. I really enjoyed this epistolary novel, with dual POV, about nurses who exchange jobs and how they deal with the changes.

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The Irish Cottage by Juliet Gauvin. I so enjoyed this romance that takes placer in Ireland (which I got as a free ebook, that I bought the other 2 of the trilogy. I don’t often do this, but sometimes I get so involved in the story and the characters, that I will buy the other books. (Great way to find new authors when you can get a free ebook.)

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Honky Tonk Christmas by Carolyn Brown, this was a sweet romance, although a bit too much head bobbing.

4 novellas, all short and sweet and Christmassy:

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A Slow Dance Holiday by Carolyn Brown  

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The Christmas Fountain by Kait Nolan    

 

Miss Finch and the Angel by Jo Beverley Mistletoe Kisses by Anne Gracie (both part of an anthology)

What I’m Reading Now – (still working on finishing the Nalini Singh series)

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jiminez

What’s Up Next

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron – this is for a writer’s book club; reading 2 chapters a week

The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley -planning for November as part of Novella November

Connect Five Friday – Goodreads Romance Choice Awards

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

Kathryn focused on the Goodreads 2020 choice awards and so I thought I would join her. I voted in the first two rounds and was amazed at just how few of the books in all categories I had actually read. I read the most from the Romance category – four. But there are several more I want and plan to read.

Here are 5 I plan to read first:

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The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez. I am reading it right now and so enjoying this.

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In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. I’ve seen some lacklustre reviews for this one, but I do enjoy the authors and I like the premise of the book.

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert. I so enjoyed her previous book so have to read this one.

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Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory. Again, an author I enjoy, so must read this one.

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Beach Read by Emily Henry. Good reviews have made me want to read this one.

What books do you plan to read from the Goodreads choice awards?

Nonfiction November: Week 2

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It is Week 2 of Nonfiction November and is hosted at Julz of JulzReads.

This week we are to pair a fiction and nonfiction book:

It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.”

I have chosen 4 fiction books I own and have read and have paired them with a nonfiction book I would like to read to gain more insight into the novels I read.

  1. Fiction: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Nonfiction: My Stroke of Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

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Both books deal with brain trauma ( the first with alzheimers, the second with stroke)and how each cope with the changes to their brain.

2. Fiction: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Nonfiction: 1715: The Great Jacobite Rebellion by Daniel Szechi

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Kearsley’s book is a dual timeline novel, that takes us back to 1715 Wales, where Jacobite loyalty is considered treason. I’d love to learn more about the 1715 rebellion.

  • 3. Fiction: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Cline

Nonfiction: Orphan Trains by Rebecca Langston-George.

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The idea of orphaned children loaded onto trains and taken across the US to new homes in the Midwest is a disturbing one. Yet it happened for many years, often with tragic results. It happened in Nazi Germany as well and even with the children at the border in recent years.

4. Fiction: How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

Nonfiction: The Comfort Women by C. Sarah Soh

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The history of the comfort women is such a horrific one and it took too long for the truth, and compensation, to be given to the women who suffered such horror from Japanese soldiers.

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 6 books plus 6 picture books this past week –2 contemporary romances, 1 woman’s fiction and 2 fantasies

2 fantasies by Nalini Singh

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Archangel’s Prophecy           Archangel’s War  (so loving this fantasy series. Thought this was the last and now the next comes out this month!)

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The Trouble with Christmas by Amy Andrews. Really enjoyed this second romance in her series.

2 novellas, both short and sweet:

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Christmas Sisters by Tess Thompson A Christmas Bride by Susan Mallery

 

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The Silver Box by Marji Preus A MG mystery, the third in the trilogy which I quite enjoyed (and reviewed here)

6 pbs – which had varying ratings – from 2 -5

Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLauchlan, illus by Steven Kellogg (5*)

Alphab”Art by Anne Guery and Oliver Dussutour (6*)

Bo the Bat by Alma Hammond . illus. Zuzana Svobodova (4*)

Amelia Earhart by Mary Nhin (4*)

Who Wants to Play with Little Mouse? By Jana Buchmann, illus Rachel Batislaong (3*)

All in the Same Boat by Wilkie J. Marin, illus. Tanja Russita (2*)

What I’m Reading Now – (still working on finishing the Nalini Singh series)

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

What’s Up Next

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron – this is for a writer’s book club; reading 2 chapters a week

The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley -planning for November as part of Novella November

Six Degrees of Separation – From Still Life to Bellewether

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This is the first Saturday of the month which means that it is time for Six Degrees of Separation, the book challenge, hosted by Kate at Kate from Books are My Favourite and Best

The starting point for us this round is to begin with a book we have previously finished a chain with. Since I have only been participating for a few months, I have fewer choices. I decided to return to my first entry, on July 4th – Louise Penny’s Still Life. She is a favourite author, as well as being Canadian,  and this was the first book in her mystery series, starring Inspector Gamache.

 

  1. This led to another novel with the same title – Still Life by Val McDermid. It too is a mystery, has an investigation involving art forgery and murder.

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“In Still Life, McDermid returns to her propulsive series featuring DCI Karen Pirie, who finds herself investigating the shadowy world of forgery, where things are never what they seem.”

 

2. Art forgery led to In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark, a novel, based on a true story involving forged Van Gogh’s.

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“Based on a true story, this new novel follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in an art scandal—involving newly discovered van Goghs—that rocks Germany amidst the Nazis’ rise to power.”

 

  1. The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick, also involves a forgery, but is a non-fiction book – the true story of Vermeer, Nazis and a hoax.

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“As riveting as a World War II thriller, The Forger’s Spell is the true story of Johannes Vermeer and the small-time Dutch painter who dared to impersonate him centuries later. The con man’s mark was Hermann Goering, one of the most reviled leaders of Nazi Germany and a fanatic collector of art.”

 

  1. This focus on Vermeer, led me to Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, a novel that imagines the life of the young subject of Vermeer’s famous painting.

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“With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer’s extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries—and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier’s second novel of the same title.”

 

  1. This book led to The Virgin Blue, another historical novel by Tracy Chevalier, about two women who are linked through a common thread, 400 years apart.

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 “Meet Ella Turner and Isabelle du Moulin—two women born centuries apart, yet bound by a fateful family legacy…. A peculiar dream of the color blue propels (Ella) on a quest to uncover her family’s French ancestry. As the novel unfolds—alternating between Ella’s story and that of Isabelle du Moulin four hundred years earlier—a common thread emerges that unexpectedly links the two women. Part detective story, part historical fiction, The Virgin Blue is a novel of passion and intrigue that compels readers to the very last page.”

 

  1. The dual timeline led me to Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley, an intriguing novel – both historical fiction and detective story, again with two women who are connected through time.

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“Some houses seem to want to hold their secrets.   
It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies of Britain and France into the conflict.
When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes on their parole of honour, it upends the lives of the Wilde family—deeply involved in the treasonous trade and already divided by war.
(Lydia Wilde, and French-Canadian lieutenant Jean-Philippe de Sabran)-
Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and re-told through the years until the present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island to be the new curator of the Wilde House Museum.”

And so, from Still Life by Louise Penny, a mystery by a Canadian author, I have wound my way through 6 books to end with Bellewether, another mystery by a Canadian author.

 

Next month (December 5, 2020), we’ll begin with a book that is celebrating its 50th birthday this year – Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.

 

Connect Five Friday – Non-Fiction Books

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

This is Non-Fiction November and I plan to read more non-fiction books this month. Here are 5 NF books  I am considering and hoping to read  (summaries from Goodreads):

 

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Changing my Mind by Margaret Trudeau. As Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s wife, the young Margaret had a difficult life. Here is her memoir of her time then as well as her struggle with mental illness. I greatly admire our Prime Minister’s mother.

 

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The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Gladwell has written some fascinating books and this one promises to be as well. As Goodreads says:

“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. “

 

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This is a testament to an incredible journey, survival and the strength of Olympian Lt. Louis Zamperini., whose plane crashed in the Pacific in 1943.

 

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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. In April, 1992 Chris McCandless went to Alaska and within 4 months was dead. Krakauer investigated how he came to die in this unforgettable story.

 

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The Age of Creativity by Emily Urquhart. A look at the creative genius of Urquhart’s own father and the impact of age on creativity.

“Emily Urquhart overturns long-held biases about aging, reveals how creative work, both amateur and professional, sustains people in their third act of their lives, and tells a new story about the possibilities of elder-hood.”

WOW Blog Tour for “The Silver Box” by Margi Preus

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I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Margi Preus’s middle grade mystery The Silver Box, which I read and am now reviewing.

(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

 

My Review

Even though this was the final book in a trilogy, The Silver Box could be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone. I do plan to read the other two books in The Enchantment Lake mystery trilogy – just the hints of the adventures Francie and her friends had previously have whetted my interest in reading more.

Francie is faced with the mystery of the silver box and the mystery of what happened to her mother. Her mother had disappeared when she was four and now thirteen years later, there are clues that suggest she might be alive.

As Francie, with her friends Raven and Jay, as well as her older brother Theo, are led from one adventure to another, we are drawn along the twist and turns of the hunt, at times a dangerous one.

I enjoyed this mystery and this smart, resilient, brave heroine. I was anxious too to discover the secrets Francie had to uncover.

It is appropriate for middle and upper grade students and I am sure they will find it a captivating, compelling story.

 

About the Book

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In the final Enchantment Lake mystery, Francie’s search for the truth about her mother—and herself—plunges her into danger during a North Woods winter. 

When she wakes in her aunts’ cold cabin on the shore of Enchantment Lake, Francie remembers: everything about her life has changed. Or is about to. Or just might. Everything depends on the small, engraved silver box that she now possesses—if only she can follow its cryptic clues to the whereabouts of her missing mother and understand, finally, just maybe, the truth about who she really is. 

Francie, it turns out, has a lot to learn, and this time the lessons could be deadly. Her search for answers takes her and her best friends Raven and Jay as far afield as an abandoned ranch in Arizona and as close to home as a sketchy plant collector’s conservatory and a musty old museum where shadows lurk around every display case. At the heart of it all is a crime that touches her own adopted North Woods: thieves dig up fragile lady’s slippers, peel bark from birches, strip moss off trees, cut down entire forests of saplings to sell for home décor. But Francie is up against no ordinary plant theft. One ominous clue after another reveal that she possesses something so rare and so valuable that some people are willing to do anything to get it. When Francie’s investigation leads her into the treacherously cold and snowy North Woods, she finds out that she too is being pursued. 

 

About the Author

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Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award book The Clue in the Trees. Her books have won multiple awards, landed on the New York Times bestseller list, been honored as ALA/ALSC Notables, selected as an NPR Backseat Book Club pick, chosen for community reads, and translated into several languages. New titles in 2020 include Village of Scoundrels, The Littlest Voyageur, and The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series.

            Back when such things were done, Margi enjoyed traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now mostly at home in Duluth, she likes to ski, hike, canoe, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.

You can follow her online at: https://www.margipreus.com/
Twitter: @MargiPreus 

Instagram: @MargiPreus

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargiPreusBooks/Youtube

Be sure to check out the other stops on the WOW blog tour:

October 12th @ WOW! Women on Writing What goes better with coffee in the morning than a muffin? Stop by WOW’s blog The Muffin and join us as we celebrate the launch of Margi Preus’s book The Silver Box. Enter to win a copy of her entire Enchantment Lake Mystery series.https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/
October 13th @ Mindy McGinnis Join Mindy McGinnis as she interviews author Margi Preus about how she came up with the idea of The Silver Box and the Enchantment Lake Mystery series.https://www.mindymcginnis.com/
October 14th @ Bring on Lemons Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her review of Margi Presu book The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/
October 14th @ Reviews and InterviewsJoin Lisa as she interviews Margi Preus and finds out more about this incredible author!https://lisahaselton.com/blog/
October 16th @ The Frugalista Mom Visit Rozelyn’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. You can also enter to win a copy of the entire series!https://thefrugalistamom.com/
October 17th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog Visit Carrie’s blog and read author Margi Preus’ guest post about raising big questions for readers to ponder (that don’t always have an answer).https://www.cksorens.com/blog
October 18th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog Stop by Fiona’s blog and check out a spotlight of Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box. You can also enter to win a copy of the whole series!http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/
October 20th @ The Faerie ReviewJoin Lily as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.http://www.thefaeriereview.com/
October 20th @ Susan Uhlig Join us today as Susan reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.https://susanuhlig.com/
October 21st @ Lady Unemployed Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read Margi Preus’ guest post about how all writing is political and how to weave local or national issues into storytelling.https://ladyunemployed.com
October 21st @ The Frugalista Mom Rozelyn goes live on Facebook with author Margi Preus. Join them as the author talks about her wonderful middle-grade mystery series.https://www.facebook.com/AllergyFriendlyHome/
October 22nd @ The Knotty Needle Visit Judy’s blog today and read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series.https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com
October 24th @ Carrie Sorens’ Blog Join Carrie again where you can read her review of The Silver Box, part of the Enchantment Lake middle-grade series. You can also win a copy of the series too!https://www.cksorens.com/blog
October 26th @ Kathleen Pooler’s BlogJoin us at Kathleen’s blog today where she will be featuring author Margi Preus and her book The Silver Box.https://krpooler.com
October 29th @ It’s Alanna Jean Stop by Alanna’s blog today where she shares Margi Preus’ guest post about finding inspiration out the window.http://itsalannajean.com/
October 30th @ Lori Duff Writes Join Lori Duff as she reviews Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. https://www.loriduffwrites.com/blog/
November 1st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/
November 2nd @ World of My Imagination Join Nicole as she reviews The Silver Box, book three in The Enchantment Lake series. Also, you can enter to win a copy of the whole series.https://worldofmyimagination.com
November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog Join Anthony’s blog again today and you can read his interview with author Margi Preus.https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/
November 4th @ Crafty Moms Share Join Carrie as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series.https://www.craftymomsshare.com/
November 5th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog Join Bev as she reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, the third book in the Enchantment Lake mystery series. Don’t miss her review of this charming middle-grade fiction series!https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com
November 7th @ BookMama789 Join us over at Jean’s Instagram page as she reads and reviews The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. https://www.instagram.com/bookmama789/
November 8th @ Shoe’s Stories Join Linda at her blog today and read her review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus, part of the Enchantment Lake mystery series. https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/
November 9th @ Always in the Middle Visit Greg’s blog today and read his review of The Silver Box by author Margi Preus. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery series.https://gpattridge.com/
November 11th @ Bookapotamus Join Kate as she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! https://bookapotamusblog.wordpress.com/
November 13th @ Choices Join Madeline as she features Margi Preus’ book The Silver Box on her blog today. You’ll definitely want to add this book to your reading list!https://www.madelinesharples.com
November 14th @ Reading in the Wildwood Visit Megan’s blog today she reviews The Enchantment Lake mystery series, part of The Silver Box blog tour. You’ll love hearing about this middle-grade mystery! https://readinginthewildwood.com/

Top Ten Tuesday – Non-Bookish Hobbies

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week, the topic is “Non-Bookish Hobbies” As Jana says – “Let’s get to know each other! What do you do that does not involve books or reading?”

 

My Non-Bookish Hobbies

  1. Creating art. I love creating collages, mixed media pieces, watercolour.

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  1. Crocheting – I have crocheted numerous afghans, although I have a couple I still need to finish.

 3. Crafting – I love to make Christmas ornaments, and try different crafts

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  1. Photography –I love to take photos of skies, flowers, autumn leaves, water

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  1. Journaling – I enjoy creating in a journal

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  1. Playing cards and games with family and friends

 7. Dancing –I wish my knees would allow me to dance more, but love to dance

 8. Listening to music – Right now my preference is the cello music of 2Cellos, but love all kinds of music

 9. Baking – especially muffins and other desserts

 10.Horse racing. Visiting Saratoga every August has always been a fun vacation.

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