Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Book Series 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.

Hominids book cover by Robert J. Sawyer. Image on cover shows a picture of a neanderthal and a homo sapien.It was tough to narrow this down to only one answer, but I’m going to have to go with Robert J. Sawyer’s Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

This series showed what happened when a link was established between our Earth and an Earth in a parallel universe where Homo sapiens went extinct and Neanderthals survived until present day.

Readers who have followed my site for a while may remember how much I enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction about the different human and human-like species that have lived on Earth.

What made this series even more interesting were the many cultural differences between us and Neanderthals.

If you picked out two humans on our Earth who had the least in common as far as language, culture, and life experience goes, they’d still be miles ahead when compared to introducing a Neanderthal to a Homo sapiens in this series.

To give a few of the least surprising examples, Neanderthals in this series have remained hunter-gatherers, have no farms or other formal agricultural systems, do not have a monetary economy, have no concept of religion or a belief in any supernatural being, and have a rate of serious crime that is all but non-existent.

Honestly, the world building is the most unique one I’ve ever seen. I can’t recommend it highly enough for that reason alone.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1. If you visit a new city, you immediately look for the nearest bookstore or library.

2. If you’ve ever taken a cruise, packing enough reading material is more important than remembering that extra outfit or having room for a souvenir.

3.You quote your favourite books without necessarily mentioning where those quotes came from.

4.You get excited when you meet someone who enjoys the same genre(s) you do.

5. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, you ask for new reading material when loved ones ask you what they can do to make your stay more comfortable.

photo of woman lying down on a stone wall while holding the pages of a book open.

6. You give baby-friendly board books as presents to families with new babies.

7. You’ve dreamt about your favourite characters or worlds.

8.Your local librarian recognizes you when they see you somewhere other than the library.

9. If you use online dating sites, your love of books is mentioned somewhere in your profile and you screen new potential partners at least in part based by whether or not they’re a reader.

10. Your pets get to have a story time, too.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Things to Do in the Spring

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’ve been looking forward to this prompt for weeks. Spring is my favourite season, and it’s the nicest time of year in Ontario in my opinion! Some of the things on this list aren’t currently an option this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and how much Toronto has been shut down to contain the spread of it, but my hope is that I can do all of these things next spring.

But all of items on this list are either free or inexpensive. As I’ve said on this blog before, I’m a frugal, minimalistic person who is easily amused. There simply isn’t a reason for me to spend a lot on entertainment the vast majority of the time.

So what tops my list of fun stuff to do in the spring?

Parks. Yes, I gave this as an answer last year for the Favourite Things to Do in the Summer prompt. I enjoy visiting parks even more during mild spring weather for picnics, walks, outdoor exercise, and maybe even a few minutes on the swing set if there’s a swing available.

The nice thing about this time of the year is that the sun hasn’t reached its full strength yet. While I always need protect my skin and eyes for medical reasons, I can spend more time outdoors now than in July or August.

Photography.  I love walking around and looking for new subjects for my photography hobby. Mild weather makes it easy to keep wandering until I’ve taken as many pictures as I want to before heading home to sort and edit them.

Festivals. There are very few parades in the spring in Toronto, but this is the beginning of festival season. I love getting out and about after a long winter spent mostly cooped indoors. There’s nothing like feeling the warm sun on your back as you listen to music or eat a delicious meal there.

Vegan Restaurants. I’m not vegan, but I love visiting vegan restaurants because they’re some of the only places on Earth I can go and order dessert due to my milk allergy! I usually don’t order  a full meal at them. A bowl of cashew ice cream or a brownie is more than enough to satisfy me. It’s cheaper, too, to have dinner at home and only pay for dessert when I’m out and about.

Farmers’ Markets. Have you noticed the food theme of this post? I honestly hadn’t thought about how many of my favourite things involve food in some way before I started writing it. But I think it’s a good idea to buy fresh, local produce at farmers’ markets to support local farms when possible. There are also some foods like gooseberries for sale there that I rarely see at conventional grocery stores.

A duck and her three ducklings swimming in a pond.Streams, Lakes, and Ponds. If Toronto were near the ocean, I would have added that to this list, too. Whether I’m paddling on them, sitting quietly on a ferry gliding through them, or watching from the edge of a watery place as duck families swim by, I love being near water no matter what form it takes. (Swimming isn’t on this list because it’s usually too chilly to swim outdoors in Ontario until summer begins).

Doors Open Toronto. Every spring, Toronto has a weekend where all sorts of historical buildings open to the public so we can see their architecture, get a glimpse of their areas that normally only staff members can see, and learn more about their history. This is the sort of nerdy, educational event that I adore.


Top Ten Tuesday: Short Ghost Stories Everyone Should Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Sheets in a tree that were arranged to look like a ghost floating up in the branches.These freebie posts are so much fun!

Today I’m going to be sharing ten short ghost stories from around the world that everyone should read. Click on their titles to read them for free.

1. Hover” by Samantha Mabry 

Sometimes ghosts are more annoying than they are frightening.

2. Ngozi Ugegbe Nwa” by Dare Segun Falowo 

This is the perfect thing to read for anyone who likes antiquing or a good bargain.

3. Who Will Clean Our Spirits When We’re Gone?” by Tlotlo Tsamaase 

I was picturing spirits taking bubble baths when I read this title. Spoiler alert: that’s not exactly what the narrator had in mind.

4. Live Through This” by Nadia Bulkin

This was one of the most creative approaches to helping a spirit find peace in the afterlife that I’ve ever read about.

5. Joss Papers for Porcelain Ghosts” by Eliza Chan 

Are hauntings less scary if you know the person who is now a ghost?

6. “Therein Lies a Soul” by Osahon Ize-Iyamu 

Sometimes spirits become celebrities. This shows how a spirit might react to such an odd response from the living.

7. The Muse of Palm House” by Tobi Ogundiran 

Would you fall in love in with a ghost? I should warn my readers that this is rooted firmly in the horror genre, not in the romance one.

8. Emergent” by Rob Costello 

A haunting from the perspective of a dead person who acknowledges they’re dead but absolutely refuses to be referred to as a ghost.

9. The House Wins in the End” by L. Chan 

Imagine the typical plot from a haunted house story:

  • A new family moves into an old, abandoned home
  • Someone notices the first paranormal act
  • More paranormal acts follow
  • The family attempts to help the spirit(s) find peace
  • If it works, they stay at the home. If it doesn’t, they generally either die at the hands of the ghosts or move away.

This is about what happens to a haunted house after that basic plot has already played out.

10. The Stories We Tell About Ghosts” by A.C. Wise 

Two words: ghost hunters.


Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Weirdest Thing I Learned Reading Fiction

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.

Quick! Imagine a carrot.

What colour is it?

I’m going to guess you all picked the colour orange.

One of the weirdest and most interesting things I’ve learned from a book is that carrots weren’t originally orange. Up until the late seventeenth century, they were nearly always purple. You might see a rare one that was white or yellow, but those colours weren’t encouraged by carrot farms.

A bowl full of orange, yellow, green, and purple carrots sliced into round pieces. How did that change? Some Dutch growers began cross-breeding different types of carrots in the late 1600s. It’s thought that they probably crossed purple carrots with white ones to eventually create the orange carrots we all know.

They also selectively bred this crop to make carrots bigger, juicer, and sweeter than the ones that people ate in previous generations.

I wasn’t able to find the book that mentioned this, but this article has more information for anyone who is interested.

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring 2020 TBR

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Some weeks I come up with fewer than ten answers to the prompt. This week I had eleven! 1. Memory Craft: Improve your memory using the most powerful methods from around the world by Lynne Kelly Will this book be helpful? I don’t know, but I’m curious to see what… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: One Skill I Wish I Had But Don’t

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. My response to this week’s prompt can be summed up in one word: programming. I’m fascinated by the various programming languages that have been developed in… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters Who Remind Me of Myself 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. I’m a quiet, gentle, shy person who has a mischievous streak that occasionally surprises people. Here are some characters who remind me of myself. Matthew Cuthbert… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Single-Word Titles

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I kept things simple for this week’s prompt. Most of these books are ones I haven’t read yet, but all of them grabbed my attention with their short, snappy titles. It’s harder than you think to come up with a single word that will do that! 1. Jailbird by Kurt… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Favourite Memory 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. My family lived in Laramie, Wyoming for four years when I was a little girl. We were low income, so my parents came up with all… Read More