Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Things I Wish I Were Better At

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.

I wish I were better at:

  • Singing.
  • Cooking and baking fancy, restaurant-quality food. I’m decent at throwing together a regular meal or dessert, but I’d love to amaze someone someday.
  • Making a great first impression. (I have a bit of social anxiety).
  • Keeping conversations going with people I don’t know.
  • Navigating unfamiliar areas. My sense of direction isn’t the best if I don’t have familiar streets or landmarks to guide me.
  • How to repair appliances, vehicles, furniture, toilets, etc. when they stop working.
  • Knowing when people are flirting with me.*

*I generally mistake flirtation for platonic friendliness. Thank goodness I fell in love with someone who was completely straightforward about his romantic interest in me. That was exactly the communication style I needed.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Give Off Summer Vibes

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Summer is my favourite time of the year when it comes to food. Not only are many of my favourite fruits and vegetables in season, the warm weather leads to delicious grilled dinners and sometimes a scoop of dairy-free ice cream for dessert.

In short, you’re going to be tempted by all sorts of food today from a wide variety of cuisines, so strap in and prepare to start craving the best of what summer has to offer.

Asian Grilling: 85 Satay, Kebabs, Skewers and Other Asian-Inspired Recipes for Your Barbecue by Su-Mei Yu book cover. Image on cover is of grilled shrimp on a blue plate.

1. Asian Grilling: 85 Satay, Kebabs, Skewers and Other Asian-Inspired Recipes for Your Barbecue by Su-Mei Yu

Burgers Every Way- 100 Recipes Using Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Fish, and Vegetables by Emily Haft Bloom book cover. Image on cover is of a hamburger on a white plate.

2. Burgers Every Way: 100 Recipes Using Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Fish, and Vegetables by Emily Haft Bloom

The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi book cover. Image on cover is of a woman holding a mango.

3. The Mango Season by Amulya Malladi

Heirloom- Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark book cover. Image on cover is of green, purple, red, and orange heirloom tomatoes sitting on a wooden table.

4. Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark

Der Erdbeerpflücker (Jette Weingärtner #1) by Monika Feth book cover. Image on cover is of about a dozen whole fresh strawberries sitting on a clean, white surface.

5. Der Erdbeerpflücker (Jette Weingärtner #1) by Monika Feth

Saladish- A New Way to Eat Your Vegetables by Ilene Rosen book cover. Image on cover is of a white bowl filled with salad ingrients, from lettuce to nuts to sliced apples to beans.

6. Saladish: A New Way to Eat Your Vegetables by Ilene Rosen

Mason Jar Salads and More- 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go  by Julia Mirabella book cover. Image on cover is of two mason jars filled with salad ingredients.

7. Mason Jar Salads and More: 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go by Julia Mirabella

Smoothies- 50 Recipes for High-Energy Refreshment by Mary Corpening Barber book cover. Image on cover is of an orange smoothie in a tall glass that has a thin wedge of lime placed on the rim.

8. Smoothies: 50 Recipes for High-Energy Refreshment by Mary Corpening Barber

Shug by Jenny Han book cover. Image on cover is of a red popsicle with one bite taken out of it.

9. Shug by Jenny Han

Sundae My Prince Will Come (Wish, #6) by Suzanne Nelson book cover. Image on cover is of a pink ice cream sundae in a waffle bowl.

10. Sundae My Prince Will Come (Wish, #6) by Suzanne Nelson

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books Set in Ontario

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.

Most people immediately think of Toronto when they hear the word Ontario. I love my city, but today I wanted to highlight the province as a whole. There are great books set in every part of it, so I have a lot to say this week!

Wenjack by Joseph Boyden and Kent Monkman book cover. Images on cover are of common Ontario wildlife like rabbits and otters.

Wenjack by Joseph Boyden and Kent Monkman

Where It’s Set: A fictionalized version of Kenora. (If you’re not familiar with our geography, think a remote corner of Northern Ontario near Woodland Caribou Provincial Park).

What It’s About: The story of Chani Wenjack, an Ojibwe boy who ran away from a  North Ontario residential school in an attempt to go home to his family. Chani was a real child, but some parts of the plot were fictionalized.

The Short-Wave Mystery (Hardy Boys, #24) by Franklin W. Dixon book cover. Image on cover is of one boy looking into a log cabin through its window while another boy crouches on the snow behind him.

The Short-Wave Mystery (Hardy Boys, #24) by Franklin W. Dixon

Where It’s Set: A fictional body of water called White Bear River near Hudson’s Bay, a real place in Northern Ontario.

What It’s About: The Hardy Boys figuring out who stole a collection of stuffed animals from an estate sale.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery book cover. Image on cover is of two lovers walking in a rose garden.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

Where It’s Set: The fictional town of Deerwood, located in the Muskoka region in Central Ontario. Deerwood is based on the real city of Bala.

What It’s About: A young, single woman who was diagnosed with a fatal heart condition. Knowing that she only had about a year to live, she decided to escape her controlling family and find happiness wherever she can with the time she had left. This is my all-time favourite Montgomery novel, and it is much more cheerful than it might seem.

Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway?- A Home Child Story by Mary Pettit book cover. Image on cover is of a Victorian girl's photograph superimposed onto a black and white photo of London, Ontario

Whatever Happened to Mary Janeway?: A Home Child Story by Mary Pettit

Where It’s Set: Hamilton (southwest of Toronto).

What It’s About: This is a fictional story of a teenage girl who was sent to London, Ontario (which also southwest of Toronto) as part of the Home Child Program. She was so dissatisfied with her placement that she ran away from it!

If you’re not familiar with this bit of Canadian history, The Home Child program was a precursor to modern foster care and adoption in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Children in English orphanages were sent to Canada (and Australia) to be looked after by families there and taught the life skills and trades they’d need to know to be self-sufficient as adults. Some children were adopted into loving homes through it, but others were treated as free labour…or worse.

Cat's Eye  by Margaret Atwood book cover. Image on cover is of a hooded figure holding a glowing blue orb levitating above a bridge while snow falls on bare tree branches.

Cat’s Eye  by Margaret Atwood

Where It’s Set: Toronto

What It’s About: A controversial painter who returns home to confront her past and understand how those experiences shaped her art.

After the Bloom by Leslie Shimotakahara book cover. Image on cover is of a hand holding a branch filled with cherry blossoms.

After the Bloom by Leslie Shimotakahara

Where It’s Set: Toronto

What It’s About: An elderly woman suffering from dementia who goes missing one day, her adult daughter’s frantic search for her, and the family secrets that are revealed along the way.

Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Opening Lines

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Books in assorted colours with blank spines. I could have easily made this list twice as long. What a great topic!  Please note that the final opening line references the death of a child.

1.“I am sixteen when my mother steps out of her skin one frozen January afternoon- pure self, atoms twinkling like microscopic diamond chips around her, perhaps the chiming of a clock, or a few bright flute notes in the distance- and disappears. No one sees her leave, but she is gone.”

Laura Kasischke, White Bird in a Blizzard

2. “Like most forms of corruption, it began with men in suits.”

Mick Herron, Real Tigers

 

3. “Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.”

Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

Dark, ominious storm clouds swirling around in a sky4. “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.”

Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines

5. “It was during Latin that the Austro-Hungarians arrived with their dogs and zombies to kill everyone at the Eden College for Young Ladies.”

David Wake, The Derring-Do Club and the Empire of the Dead

6. “Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.”

Fredrik Backman, Beartown

7. “Maybe punching her enemy right in the nose wasn’t the smartest way to get out of class, but it was definitely a much more entertaining way.”

Ophelia T. Starks, Nightfall Academy

8. “During the 1980s, in California, a large number of Cambodian women went to their doctors with the same complaint: they could not see.”

Sigrid Nunez, The Friend

A hot summer sun drying out a large patch of soil.9. “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color.”

Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

10. “The Lord gave, and the Lord took away, her grandmother said to her at the edge of the grave. But that wasn’t right, because the Lord had taken away much more than had been there to start with, and everything her child might have become was now lying there at the bottom of the pit, waiting to be covered up.”

Jenny Erpenbeck, Aller Tage Abend

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: How I’d Fare in a Zombie Apocalypse

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.

Hands clutching tree trunks menacingly. The rest of the people's bodies are standing behind the trunks out of view. This is one of those topics I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.

On the helpful side, I’m young, intelligent, healthy, and physically fit. There are very few foods I dislike, so I’d eat the canned lima beans or whatever else it is that others can’t or won’t eat.  I have shot a gun before, and my current fitness regime includes plenty of cardio and weightlifting every week. My understanding of first aid is basic but solid. I’d easily be able to outrun slow zombies or come up with a creative escape plan if the fast ones tried to break into my home.

On the unhelpful side, my milk allergy could make it hard to find safe food for me to eat after some time has passed. A lot of shelf stable food has some form of dairy in it unless we’re looking at plain cans of beans or dry pasta. I’m also short, petite, and not-at-all what anyone would call intimidating. And while I have a shot guns before, hitting targets reliably isn’t something I’d count as one of my skills.

I think I’d survive well in the short term. Whether I made it longterm would depend on if I could link up with people whose strengths complimented my weaknesses. Maybe they could do the shooting and the heavier hand-to-hand combat and I could scavenge for more food and bandage up any wounds other people received?

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Villain That I Wish Could Be Redeemed 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. This week’s topic was tricky for me because I’m not a huge fan of redemption arcs in most cases. Too often they’re used to brush terrible… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I’ve been abandoning books more regularly these past few months. Have any of you noticed the same thing about your reading habits Here are ten books that I recently started reading but couldn’t finish for reasons I’ll explain below. 1. Nests, Eggs, Birds: An Illustrated Aviary by  Kelsey Oseid… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Holiday of the Year 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. Halloween is by far my favourite holiday of the year for the following reasons: There Is Assorted Candy. I only eat candy occasionally, but when I do… Read More