Author Archives: lydias

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Lit white candles on top of a stack of books. I’m the sort of reader who regularly jumps around between authors and among genres.

When I discover an author I really love, I might read everything from their back catalogue I can find only to go years before picking up anything else from them depending on if they’re still alive and how often they publish new novels.

That is to say, I’ve read many books from the following authors, but I can also go long stretches of time before returning to them again.

Almost everyone on my list is a science fiction or fantasy author because those are my favourite genres. I’m particular about which types of SFF I like to read, so when I find an author who has the same tastes I dive into everything I can find from them.

Do any of you follow similar patterns?

My list:

Stephen King

L.M. Montgomery

Margaret Atwood

Ursula K. Le Guin

Douglas Adams

Neil Gaiman

Octavia E. Butler

Robert J. Sawyer

Sheri S. Tepper

Jean M. Auel

An Exclusive Interview with Summer

Over the past year I’ve interviewed  springautumn, and winter. Today I’m back with an exclusive interview with summer!

pineapple wearing sunglasses and a party hatLydia: …

Summer: …

Lydia: So about the pineapple head. Didn’t we agree that you’d show up in human form today?

Summer: Technically, yes. Since pineapple heads are more interesting, I decided to improvise.

Lydia: Okay, will I be talking to a pineapple for this entire interview?

Summer: Maybe, maybe not. But at least I’m not perpetually late like spring is! I even showed up early this year.

Lydia: I can’t even argue with that. You made your presence well known in May and June. What have you been up to?

Summer: Growing and stuff.

Lydia: Yes, that is what you’re known for. Can you tell me more about how that process works? Spring and Autumn have both talked about how much effort you three put into the growing season.

Summer: The plants are the ones doing most of the heavy lifting there. We mostly just need to keep them on task. Jack Frost and Mother Nature used to help us set the schedule there. It’s gotten trickier now that the climate is changing so quickly, but at least some of the plants like heat waves.

Lydia: You don’t seem very concerned. I’m surprised. Some of your coworkers had a very different approach to this problem.

Summer: I’m concerned about my heat-sensitive plants and animals, but I can’t fix anything. It’s up to you humans to figure out how strong you want your summers to be. You do seem to be improving lately, though.

Lydia: Yeah, we’ve been staying home more as a species.

Summer: Well, that’s good! I hope it lasts. Winter hasn’t been looking too good these past few decades. I work better when I have a stronger foe.

Lydia: Is that how you think of the other seasons?

Two pineapples floating in a poolSummer: Obviously. Isn’t this all a contest to figure out why summer is the best season of them all?

Lydia: Yeah, I don’t think that’s how any of this works.

Summer: Okay, so we grow food, too. But mostly it’s a contest and I’m winning. That’s all that matters.

Lydia: Don’t you ever think about the paperwork or logistics involved? Do the other seasons know this is how you act?

Summer: What’s understood doesn’t need to be explained.

Lydia: Wait, why are there two of you now?

Summer: Technically, you’re not talking to a pineapple anymore. You’re talking to two of us which means I’m following the rule.

Lydia: You like to look for technicalities, don’t you?

Summer: It’s by far the best way to spend your summer. I mean, how else are humans going to count ice cream sandwiches as dinner or decide they don’t need to wear sunscreen at the beach after all?

Lydia: I don’t even know anymore.

Summer: Now you’re getting the spirit.

Lydia: This wasn’t what I was expecting, but somehow you’re exactly who you needed to be.

Summer: Thank you.

Lydia: No, thank you. This interview has been very illuminating.

Summer: I aim to please.

A Review of Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum: Creatures

Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum- Creatures by James Pack book cover. Image on cover is of two lights shining in a dark forest. Are they eyes or headlights? Title: Dollar Tales from the Morbid Museum: Creatures

Author: James Pack

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: April 23, 2019

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery, Contemporary

Length: 49 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

Welcome to the Creatures Exhibit. Visitors to the Morbid Museum seek the dark and twisted corners of the world. They are both terrified and intrigued by the unknown. Tales of killers, monsters, and madmen are curated by the Master of Death, Mr. Siris Grim. Mr. Grim collects the darkness that everyone attempts to hide and displays it within the corridors of his gruesome gallery. Who will be next to purchase a ticket and walk the halls of the Morbid Museum?

Review:

Horror fans, I have something special for you today!

As I mentioned in my review of An Imperfect Crime, Mr. Pack excels at taking perfectly ordinary characters and throwing them into situations they never could have anticipated. I love that plot device and was excited to see what he came up with this time.

There were a few tags I left off of this post for spoiler reasons. None of them were things that are commonly known to be sensitive topics, but I’ll happily discuss them privately with anyone who wants to verify if this is the right book for them. There were four stories in this collection, so I’ll give each one it’s own chance to shine in this review.

“The Harpy of Miller Road” began with a 911 call about a naked woman down the middle of a road. The fascinating thing about this emergency was how the 911 operator reacted to it. There’s so much more I want to say about this tale. It really captured the author’s writing strengths beautifully, especially when it comes to expecting his audience to do some of their own legwork to put all of the pieces together.

A man named Peter was questioned by the police after accidentally killing a stranger in “Disengagement.” I’m not normally the sort of reader who sympathizes with murderers, so it came as a bit of a pleasant shock to me to see how much I liked him and hoped the detective in charge of this case would somehow exonerate him. Did the facts seem to be turning against him quickly? Yes! Did that matter? No, not at all. Finding out what really happened and if Peter was as innocent as I hoped he would be made it impossible to stop reading this.

There’s honestly not much I can say about “The Hearing” without giving away the plot twists in it. Obviously, it’s about a hearing that will decide someone’s fate. David, the man in the centre of it all, was one of the friendliest folks you could imagine. The discrepancy between what he was accused of doing and how he behaved reminded me of “Disengagement.” There were so many similarities between the two that I did wish they could have been split into separate collections to keep readers from comparing them, especially since they were right next to each other in the page count. They’re both good stories. I just found it a little tricky to think about them without comparing them.

I’ll admit to being confused by “The Fall of the Foot” at first. There were a ton of characters running around in it and I didn’t immediately catch the cultural reference that was embedded in those scenes because it wasn’t something I knew much about growing up. That quickly changed once I caught up and realized just how cool it was to see these characters in a whole new light. Oh, how I wish I could tell you all who they were. Let’s just say that you’ll probably recognize them much faster than I did and that their adventures were well worth checking out.

If you enjoy this collection, I definitely recommend checking out the rest of the Dollar Tales.  Everything that I’ve read so far from this universe works perfectly well as standalone stories, but they’re even better when understood as a group.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Last Place I Traveled to and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Last summer I went on an Alaskan cruise with my spouse, parents, brothers, sister-in-law, and nephews.

Orange Alaskan flowers
I was fascinated by the flora and fauna of Alaska. It’s nothing like Ontario.

 

My parents had been curious about taking a cruise for years thanks to the stories they’d heard about other cruises my spouse and I had been on. Mom had also been wanting to see Alaska for herself for quite some time, too. We were thrilled to find a cruise that fit everyone’s schedule by picking it out about eighteen months before we actually sailed.

Woman hugging her adult daughter.
My mom hugging me. I believe this was a day we were in Glacier Bay.

 

It was a week that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. We saw whales swimming in Glacier Bay and seals resting on small pieces of ice that floated by our cruise ship. Visiting various towns in Alaska on port days was fascinating, too. We skipped over the touristy stuff to explore the history of that state and look at the gigantic crows and beautiful flowers that don’t exist or are quite different where we all live.

It was so much fun to watch our nephews, then age five and twelve, react to all of the new experiences they had during that trip, from the formal dinners in the fancy dining room to Alaskan wildlife and more.

Our older nephew was old enough to be pretty independent as far as setting his own social schedule goes while we were on board but still young enough to think it was cool to spend time with family. Twelve is such a great age.

A dairy free fruit sorbet and cracker in a fancy glass dish.
They even had fancy, dairy-free desserts for me in the main dining room!

The younger nephew loved the magic show we saw one night of the cruise. He also loved telling us all sorts of interesting facts about the Titanic and how we were not going to sink like it did because we have computers to navigate a ship and plenty of lifeboats to save everyone now in case of emergency.

A small sailboat sailing next to a large glacier.
Photo credit: Jim Schoch

 

Alaska is such a picturesque part of the world. I highly recommend visiting it if or when you’re able to. These pictures are such a small slice of something that everyone should experience for themselves.

 

Two men and one preteen boy on the deck of a cruise ship smiling and talking.
My brothers and oldest nephew. Other relatives are more camera shy, and I respect that.

 

It’s so much fun to look back at the photos everyone took of this trip and think about the good times we had. May there be another extended family adventure in our futures at some point in the years to come.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

a stack of books with a pair of spectacles and some dried flowers on top of them. There is a cup of tea sitting next to this stack)If only you all knew how hard it was to narrow this down to only ten books!

Did anyone else have that same trouble?

There are so many amazing titles coming in the second half of 2020.

 

 

 

 

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini book cover. Image on cover is of someone diving into what could be an ocean or outer space.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Release Date: September 15

Why I’m Excited for It: One word – xenobiologist. I dream of the day humans discover life on other planets.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova book cover. Image on cover is of a vampire skull complete with fangs.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova, Natalie C. Parker, Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, and more. (september 22)

Release Date: September 22

Why I’m Excited for It: Vampires are wonderfully frightening.

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor book cover. Image on cover is of vampire fangs superimposed over man listening to music on headphones.

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor  

Release Date: September 29

Why I’m Excited for It: The only thing scarier than living with vampires is doing so in an area that often doesn’t have much sunlight with which to chase them away!

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire- The Journals of Alice Walker by Alice Walker book cover. Image on cover is of the author looking straight ahead with neutral expression on her face.

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker by Alice Walker

Release Date: October 1

Why I’m Excited for It: I’ve been a fan of Ms. Walker’s writing for years and am quite curious to learn more about her personal life.

Cinders and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann book cover. Image on cover is of a castle on a hill superimposed on image of girl walking away from viewer.

Cinders and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann

Release Date: October 13

Why I’m Excited for It: What’s not to love about inheriting a castle and all of the magical things inside of it?

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer book cover. Image on cover is of two Indian teens riding the same bicycle in opposite directions.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: November 3

Why I’m Excited for It: I, too, have daydreamed of what it would be like to have the ability to give people their karma right away. (Lest I frighten anyone, it’s mostly in the sense of rewarding strangers for their acts of kindness both big and small).

Dearly- New Poems by Margaret Atwood  book cover. Image on cover is of a bouquet of wild flowers.

Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood  

Release Date: November 10

Why I’m Excited for It: It’s always cool to see what Ms. Atwood comes up with next.

Nimiety by A.A. Spears book cover. Image on cover is of a town and ferris wheel in ruins.

Nimiety by A.A. Spears

Release Date: November 20 (tentatively)

Why I’m Excited for It: I don’t know if I’m excited for it yet since the blurb hasn’t even been released, but I am quite intrigued by the broken ferris wheel on the cover as well as the dictionary definition of nimiety (“the state of being too much,” if you’re curious).

Link by Link- A Spirited Holiday Anthology by M. Dalto and others book cover. Image on cover is of abstract designs that look like they're from the nineteenth century.

Link by Link: A Spirited Holiday Anthology by M. Dalto, Pam Dunn, Myra Fiacco, Marlena Frank, Kristin Jacques, C. Vonzale Lewis, Jess Moore, and Candace Robinson.

Release Date: December 1

Why I’m Excited for It: Three words – Christmas ghost stories.

True Names- Four Generations of My Afro Appalachian Family by Malaika Adero book cover. image on cover is of a black family riding in canoes on a lake.

True Names: Four Generations of My Afro Appalachian Family by Malaika Adero

Release Date: December 1

Why I’m Excited for It: I had no idea there were African-American families who lived in Appalachia. I look forward to learning more about what that experience was like for this family.

 

 

A Photo Essay of Toronto in June

Each month I share photos from one of the parks in Toronto to show my readers what our landscape looks like throughout the year. This is the fifth instalment of this series. Click on February, March, April, and May to read the earlier posts. It was 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) and sunny this time which I think… Read More

Why Writers Should Eavesdrop Regularly

Incidentally, I’ve also pick up some fabulous ideas for poems and stories as well by watching people! You’d be surprised by how much you can learn about writing dialogue as well as human nature in by quietly observing how they interact with each other in public. Perhaps this should be the topic of a future post? What… Read More