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books of 2018...

I read eighty-seven books in 2018, most of them e-books on my iPad. These seventeen were my highest-rated (listed alphabetically, by author):A Tiding of Magpies by Steve Burrows Bleeding Darkness by Brenda Chapman The Cat of the Baskervilles by Vicki DelanyA Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany'Twas the Knife Before Christmas by  Jacqueline FrostThe Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates Original link
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Sparks Fly homecoming...

This excerpt from Sparks Fly really sets the scene for me from Logan's point of view:  "Beyond the window, across a narrow stretch of dark water, windswept white pines stood guard on a rocky islet. Home. Such a beautiful word. A beautiful place...rugged and wild." I've tried to capture the feel of Logan's bittersweet wilderness homecoming for you in this short trailer. Enjoy!Sparks Original link
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books of 2017...

Happy New Year and welcome to my seventh annual New Year's Day book list. I almost made it to one hundred books in 2017... but not quite. According to Goodreads, I missed the big number by four. My five-star reads were a mix of mystery, historical fiction, and non-fiction and if there's an overarching theme, it must be books with a French connection. I binged on first two Brittany Mysteries ( Original link
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introducing Fast Focus...

Are you ever nostalgic for the "good old days" before cell phones and digital-everything? Why not give Fast Focus a try? A retro caper set in Manhattan in the late 1990s, it's got romance, mystery, quirky characters, and a big, lovable dog. G-rated and a perfect holiday read. Fast Focus by Cheryl Cooke Harrington and Anne Norman is available in hardcover, paperback, and for your Original link
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picture says it all...

stillpoint... blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington Original link
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a wee Irish tree...

St. Patrick's Day arrives this Friday and I will definitely be wearin' the green. I can trace my Irish roots all the way back to the 17th century when my maternal grandmother's Dickenson forebears, Daniel and Elizabeth, settled in Edenderry to raise their family. This year, instead of green beer (yuck!) or a tipple of Irish whiskey (Writer's Tears?), I'll be celebrating with something new Original link
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goodbye little friend...

RIP SamJanuary 24, 2001 - February 2, 2017My sweet Sam passed quietly away this afternoon. He was the best and finest cat I've ever known and I will miss him terribly. The last few weeks were a great struggle for Sam - after sixteen years his mighty heart had begun to let him down - so I'm comforted to know he is finally at peace. I'll always be grateful for our time together, for all the Original link
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where's the sun?

As I publish this post, my countdown to spring stands at 53 days. That's nearly 1,272 more hours of shivers and gloom. I need me some sunshine! But since a trip to the tropics isn't in the cards this year, I did the (almost) next best thing and visited the Centennial Park Conservatory where just about everything is blooming and cheerful.Gorgeous AmaryllisBird-of-ParadiseAloe Vera Original link
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Books of 2016

Welcome tomy surprisingly fulsome sixth annual New Year's Book List! I read a lot in2016, surpassing my original goal of 60 books in early summer when I upped mygoal to 100. I blew past that in autumn and kept right on reading.Grand total: 134 books. I'm honestly not sure where I found the time… but Iknow I've enjoyed myself (and Sam has enjoyed the lap time).Here's thebreakdown of Original link
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The things I love best about this time of year are simple traditions that fill me with joy and put smiles on the faces of the people I love. Unpacking my snowman collection or wearing a pair (or two) of festive earrings is sure to kindle my Christmas spirit. My son J (that's him in the Santa hat) loves taking part in a local Santa Claus parade. He's been riding, walking and now rolling for Original link
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being thankful...

Thanksgiving comes early in Canada, celebrated on the second Monday in October. But there can never be too many reminders to be thankful, especially now when good news seems hard to find.I am thankful for my family, for friends I love and who love me. I'm thankful for quiet mornings with my cat, for the sometimes hectic busyness of life, and for the freedom to write and speak what I believe. Original link
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five sisters, four seasons...

My window overlooks a park and junior school, meaning my quiet writing time is often punctuated by the sounds of children at play or by rowdy summer soccer games. I welcome those noisy moments, reminding me to get up, move around, breathe the fresh air! At quieter times, I often catch myself staring out the window, lost in thoughts about the little grove of trees across the park. Do trees have Original link
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As always in the lead-up to Remembrance Day, I find myself thinkingabout my Dad, about the brave and honourable man he was, about the sacrifices he made for Canada, and about the wonderful, loving father hebecame. I think, too, about my Mom, the separation and uncertainty sheendured during the six long years of World War II, and the overwhelming relief and joy she must have felt when her Original link
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I've staked out some writing space at a friend's house this week, a quiet bungalowon a quiet street in a small and mostly quiet town. It's a very differentatmosphere from my urban apartment where scarcely an hour passes without thewail of distant (and sometimes not-so-distant) sirens, and where my day ispunctuated by the shrieks of kids at play in the schoolyard next door. Here,the only Original link
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Is it a bird?

What would you say if I asked you to name your favourite flower? I'm guessing many people would choose roses or daffodils, perhaps peonies or iris. My own choice, without a moment's hesitation, would be lily-of-the-valley. A good friend once surprised me by picking bird-of-paradise as their best-loved bloom. At the time, I wasn't sure I'd even heard of such a fabulous plant, let alone seen one Original link
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The Write Spot: Susan Elia MacNeal

I'm absolutely thrilled to have New YorkTimes and USA Today bestsellingauthor Susan Elia MacNeal as my guest for this special edition of The WriteSpot. She's sharing a few of her favourite writing spots and introducing TheQueen's Accomplice, the new book in her Maggie Hope mystery series,released October 4th.Thanks to Penguin Random House and NetGalley, I had the opportunityto read Original link
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The Write Spot: Elle Wild

The Write Spot is back and for this 26thedition we're celebrating the release of author Elle Wild's debut novel, Strange Things Done, winner of the 2015 ArthurEllis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel.I was intrigued by the premise of a murder in DawsonCity – a town about to be cut off from the rest of the world – and jumped at thechance to read an advance copy. I Original link
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a tree worth hugging...

"I think that I shall never seea poem lovely as a tree."*Yes, it's true. I'm a tree hugger. I've always felt a deep affinity foranything with branches. But there's a special place in my heart reserved forone particular spruce – the heroic tree that saved my family's home.It was a sticky-hotafternoon in the summer of 1985. My three young sons and I were picking peas inour farm garden Original link
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Guest Post: A Special Chemistry

Guest author SandraCarey Cody writes about the bond between people and their pets…WhenCheryl invited me to share a pet memory for her blog, I was delighted. Itseemed such an easy thing to write about. It didn’t turn out quite that way.How do you choose a single memory out of years of pet love? Which pet do youwrite about? They’re all special in their own way and they’ve all added Original link
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school dazed...

On a scaleof one to ten, where ten meant "favourite thing ever" and one meant"bane of my existence", school consistently ranked a lowly one or twoin my books. Sometimes it managed to slide right on down into negative numbers.Mine was a passionate aversion. So intense that, even now, decades after leavingthe hallowed halls forever, I'm still haunted by the icy fingers of anxiety atthis Original link
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