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Showing our kids the world - one trip at a time.
Finally getting around to writing more about our road trip in the Gaspé region (Gaspésie) of Québec last summer. One of the highlights was visiting Forillon National Park even though we weren’t lucky with weather when we were there. I’m a fair weather hiker and rain and cold meant we spent more time in the car than on foot so I would love to visit again someday and spend more time in the park!
Desperately seeking sunshine! This has been our January - no snow, temperatures several degrees above normal and rain and fog nearly every day. We had some sunshine on the weekend and that has been it since before Christmas. It’s so gloomy and not good for anyone’s mental health! How has January been where you are?
Reading wrap-up for December - 15 books read (10 books I own, 2 library books, and 3 eARCs). . The Piano Tuner - translation of a literary award winner from Taiwan about a piano tuner. I just didn’t get it so no rating. . The Sweetness of Forgetting ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- touching story about a baker who travels to Paris seeking family of her grandmother with Alzheimer’s. . So This is Christmas 3.5 ⭐️- third in steamy romance series set in fictional European country. . An Italian Girl in Brooklyn 3.5 ⭐️- touching dual timeline story about young woman who immigrated to New York after WW2. . A Very Merry Bromance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- festive, steamy romance set in Nashville. Part of a series but good as a stand alone. . Someone Else’s Bucket List 3.5 ⭐️- young influencer dies and her sister agrees to complete her bucket list to pay off medical bills. Emotional story about family, grief. . Meet Me Under the Mistletoe ⭐️⭐️⭐️- sweet, cozy romance set in the English countryside during holiday season. . Mrs. Hudson and the Christmas Canary ⭐️⭐️⭐️- part of a series set in the world of Sherlock Holmes with his cook and housemaid doing the investigative work. Victorian mystery. . The Winners ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- third in the Beartown trilogy - I loved every minute of this beautiful series even though it broke my heart. . All I Want for Christmas 3.5 ⭐️- adorable enemies to lovers/fake relationship romance set in Nashville and Banff. . One Last Gift 3.5 ⭐️- young woman completing scavenger hunt left by brother before his death. Sweet, fairly light read about grief and forgiveness. . Christmas at the Ranch ⭐️⭐️- best thing is setting of ranch in Wyoming. . Probably Ruby ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- raw, heartbreaking vignettes about Métis woman adopted into a white family. . Typecast ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- 10 years after grad a woman learns that her college boyfriend wrote screenplay based on their breakup. Enjoyable story about a woman figuring out life and finding happiness. . Black Girls Must be Magic 3.5 ⭐️- second in trilogy about woman deciding to have a baby on her own. It’s necessary to read the first book - Black Girls Must Die Exhausted. . Happy reading in 2023!!
Enjoying a quiet holiday season at home. It’s hard to believe that blizzard and snow squall warnings, road closures and massive amounts of snow prevented us from getting to our family Christmas just a few days ago. We’re ending 2022 here in the Toronto area with temperatures well above freezing and no snow on the ground!! Hope you’re all enjoying some year-end fun!!
Reading wrap-up for November - 15 books read (6 books I own, 5 borrowed from library and 4 eARCs). What was your favourite read of the month? . Before I Do ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- charming rom-com about a woman who begins to doubt she is marrying the right man. . A Thousand Miles to Graceland ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 - enjoyable road trip story about mother and daughter with strained relationship. (Pub Jan 24/2023) . Our Missing Hearts ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- dystopian novel about 12 year-old searching for his missing mother, an Asian-American poet - interesting issues. . Holiday Romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 - sweet, funny friends to lovers about two Irish expats trying to get home for Christmas. . The Foghorn Echoes ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- moving story of war and love between 2 men - one in Syria and one now in Canada - raw, painful and not an easy read. . A Murder at Balmoral ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 - entertaining closed door mystery about murder of the king. . Jacqueline in Paris ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- interesting historical fiction about a legendary woman’s junior year abroad. . The Christmas Spirit ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 - sweet and sentimental Christmas story. . Lost Souls of Leningrad ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- well-written/researched historical novel about the brutal siege of Leningrad in WW2. . Us Against You ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- sequel to Beartown - masterful. . The Twelve Topsy-Turvy, Very Messy Days of Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️- sappy/outlandish but uplifting - perfect for sharing with entire family. . The Sleeping Car Porter ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 - Giller Prize winner about gay, black man working as sleeping car porter on railroad in Canada 1929. . The House of Eve ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- issues relating to pregnancy and motherhood from perspective of two black women in early ‘50s. (Pub Feb 7/2023) . The Christmas Postcards ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- a woman and toddler in England, a lost toy and a mountain climber who finds it and sends postcards from Nepal - Karen Swan’s reliable blend of romance/intrigue/beautiful destinations. . That Summer in Berlin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- gripping historical novel set in Berlin 1936 at time of Summer Olympics. about a young British woman photographer finding the truth about what was happening there in build-up to WW2.
Reading wrap-up for October - 12 books read (5 books I own, 4 borrowed from library, 3 eARCs). What was your favourite read of the month? . Fayne ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- sweeping late 19th century story set in moorlands on English/Scottish border- atmospheric and full of twists addressing themes of gender, identity, women’s rights. . The Littlest Library 3.5⭐️- sweet story about young woman who moves to small English village and opens lending library in red telephone box. . Maame ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- touching debut novel about young Ghanaian-British woman who is caregiver for father struggling to figure out where she belongs in world. (Pub date: Feb 7/2023) . Shrines of Gaiety ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Entertaining novel - part historical part mystery - set in 1926 London’s glittering new underworld of hedonistic jazz nightclubs. . Beartown ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- beautiful book by masterful writer about a junior hockey team, a violent incident, a traumatized girl and a town that doesn’t want to believe the accusation. One of the best books I have read. . The Book Haters’s Book Club ⭐️⭐️⭐️- enjoyable story about saving a bookstore and unearthing secrets. . A Merry Little Meet Cute ⭐️⭐️- Plus-size adult entertainer replaces lead actress opposite boy band actor in Christmas movie. Authors describe as raunchy take on Christmas movie tradition which it is. . The Heart of Summer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- most recent addition to Finfarran series. Best to read series in order in my opinion. . Snowed in for Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- heartwarming story of family and contemporary romance set in Scottish highlands in days leading up to Christmas. . Less is Lost ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- enjoyable sequel to the Pulitzer Prize winning Less. This time hapless, lovable Less road trips across America. . Keeping a Christmas Promise ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- heartfelt Christmas story about three friends that travel to celebrate the life of another friend who had always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights. . Demon Copperhead 4.5⭐️- riveting, beautifully written modern retelling of David Copperfield set in Appalachian mountains of Virginia at beginning of opioid epidemic.
September wrap-up - 10 books read! What is the best book you have read recently? . Northern Spy ⭐️⭐️⭐️ - tension-filled page turner about young BBC producer in Belfast who discovers her sister is in IRA. Mixed feelings because of historical inaccuracies. . The Holiday Trap 3.5 ⭐️- LGBTQ take on house swap during the holiday season set in New Orleans and Maine. . The Codebreaker’s Secret ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- well-researched and enjoyable dual timeline historical novel set in Hawaii in 1943 and 1965. Secrets, intrigue and romance! . Carrie Soto is Back ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- a riveting story about a champion tennis player who comes out of retirement to defend her title. . The Making of Her ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- thought-provoking dual timeline novel about an Irish woman who receives a letter in 1996 from the child she gave up for adoption 30 years earlier. . The Lost Ticket ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- lovely, heartwarming story about several people working together to help an elderly man find the woman whose number he lost after meeting her on the bus 60 years earlier. . Bloomsbury Girls ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- slow-paced but enjoyable historical novel with a bit of romance about three young women working in a charming, old-fashioned bookshop in London in 1950. . A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Kitty’s parents have recently died leaving the family in debt and in Regency England the only solution is for her to marry a man with a fortune so off to London she goes for the Season. Fun, witty read! . The War Librarian ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- captivating dual timeline historical novel about trailblazing women - a war librarian at the front in France in 1918 and a student in the first coed class of the US Naval Academy in 1976. . Dream On ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- fun read about a law student who wakes from a coma with memories of a boyfriend that doesn’t exist but then meets him months later. It seems they are fated to be together but maybe not! Love triangle romance.
Throwback to our Québec road trip to the Gaspé peninsula in June because I finally have time to go through the photos I took! A highlight was definitely seeing Percé Rock for the first time but the entire region is beautiful!! Gaspésie is a great Canadian road trip destination whether you drive from your home as we did from Ontario or fly to Québec City and rent a car from there. #throwbackthursday #tbt
September is flying by so fast that it’s hard to believe the end of the month is just around the corner. I have spent quite a bit of time this summer in the town in Northern Ontario where I grew up and was there in August when we lost my dad to a Covid outbreak in his long-term care home. Several of us became ill as well so we had to delay the funeral and returned again for a week earlier this month to celebrate my dad’s life, spend time with family and help clear out our childhood home. It was a difficult few days but an important reminder that every day spent with family is a blessing because no matter how much time you get, it will never feel like enough in the end. I’ll miss him forever. ❤️ . (The photo is 6 of my dad’s 7 much-loved grandchildren hanging out together at the lake.)
August reading wrap-up - 8 books! What is the best book you have read recently? . Sea of Tranquility ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Beautifully-written story of a time-travelling detective investigating an anomaly in the timeline of the universe. Imaginative and thought-provoking! . An Island Wedding ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Latest in series with wonderful cast of quirky characters and sense of family/community set on a remote Scottish island. . Switchboard Soldiers ⭐️⭐️⭐️- extensively researched historical novel about women employed by US Army to work as telephone operators in France during World War I. Interesting but narrative a bit dry. . Nosy Parker ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- funny and touching coming of age story about an inquisitive young girl growing up in 1960s Montreal who wants to find out who her mother was and why her father never speaks of her. . Where the Wandering Ends 3.5 ⭐️- Sweeping historical novel about two childhood friends set primarily in the island of Corfu during the era of the Greek Civil War which started after WW2. (Pub date: Sept 6/22) . True Biz ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- coming of age story set at a school for deaf and hearing impaired students. Provides insight into deaf culture and issues facing community. . My Name is Lucy Barton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- Lucy is visited by her estranged mother while in hospital recovering from surgery which prompts her to contemplate her life. Beautiful in its simplicity but rather sad. . When We Had Wings ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️- historical novel about the friendship between three nurses set in the Philippines during World War II. Enjoyable read and packed with information about events in the Pacific theatre. (Pub date: Oct 18/22)