Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Books I Discovered on Social Media

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

This week’s prompt had me doing some digging! The books I’m about to talk about come from many genres because I hang out with all sorts of writers. I discovered all of these books on Twitter, and I follow and interact with all of the authors often there.

I could have easily made this list much longer, but I tried to keep it short and sweet with a representative sample of books six of my buddies have written. A lot of them are Indie reads, so it’s great to give them more exposure.

Storytellers: A Novel by Bjørn Larssen.

I mentioned this friend of mine in a previous Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge post. He recently released a historical novel about a man who rescues an injured stranger and, as a result of that decision, slowly begins to uncover all sorts of secrets in his community.

I’ve really been enjoying the tiny bit of this book I’ve read so far, but everything I want to say about it might give you all spoilers. There is so much more going on in the plot than what the blurb reveals…in a good way!

The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews.

Mimi is a lovely person. It’s always interesting to read her tweets and blog posts about her new historical romances, although I must confess that I haven’t had the time to read any of them quite yet.

How to Best Optimize Blog Posts for SEO by Rachel Thompson

Search engine optimization is something I’ve been trying to get better at this year. This has been quite the informative little booklet so far.

The Lady of Dawnzantium: A Trace & Mikhail Story by Berthold Gambrel

Technically, this is a short story instead of a novel. It’s a humorous take on the sci-fi trope of exploring a faraway planet and discovering an alien there. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

 

The Letters by Satya Robyn.

This is another book written by a friend that I haven’t had a chance to read yet. I will be changing that soon! The story is about a woman who moves to a new home after a divorce and begins to receive some unusual letters from a young, pregnant woman that had been written fifty years previously. It seems to be a blend of women’s fiction and a mystery. Those two genres are always interesting to mix together.

Duality: Poems, Essays, and Reflections by Shykia Bell.

I snapped up a copy of this collection of poems and essays less than twelve hours ago. I can’t wait to read it!

Top Ten Tuesday: First Ten Books I Reviewed

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

I write a fair number of long film and TV reviews on this blog, but it hasn’t been as common for me to give books the same treatment here due to the volunteering I do as a book reviewer who uses a pseudonym elsewhere on the web. By the time I’ve written those reviews, I’m generally in the mood to write other sorts of posts for my own site.

Saturday Seven is a now-defunct blog hop I participated in. We talked about all sorts of bookish things on it, and I sorely miss it.

Hopeful Science Fiction is a series I occasionally update here that is meant to highlight sci-fi/fantasy books that have uplifting messages. Today’s prompt is reminding me that I should keep this series going. It’s been a while since I added to it.

This week’s list will include a few long book reviews, but it will also have round-up posts I did that included micro-reviews so that this post is a reasonable length. I really need to write more full-length book reviews for this site!

1. Hopeful Science Fiction: The Lovely Bones.

I should warn you all that the opening scene in this book is about a young girl’s final moments on Earth, and she had violent end. The last thing I expected from such a terrible start was to see what happened to her after she went to the afterlife.

2. History Books About Ordinary People.

This is still my favourite type of history to read about.

3. Non-Human Protagonists.

Xenofiction is an awesome genre and we need more books about it. I’m quite excited that there’s going to be a movie made about The Art of Racing in the Rain!

4. Hopeful Science Fiction: Woman on the Edge of Time.

Woman on the Edge of Time is one of my all-time favourite sci-fi classics. I keep talking about it online in the hope that more people will discover it.

5. Cold and Flu Season Reads.

I’m so glad that cold and flu season has ended. This was a round-up I did about fiction and non-fiction books about all sorts of respiratory illnesses.

6. What to Read When It’s Hot Outside.

Now that those of us in the northern hemisphere are moving closer and closer to summer, I may have to reread some of these books.

7. Cold Weather Reads.

The Valley of Horses has been something I’ve reread the past few winters, and I still think it’s the best book Jean M. Auel ever wrote. Winter tends to be a difficult season for me for mental health reasons, so it’s crucial for me have some stuff to look forward to then.

8. My 4 Favourite Science Fiction Books About Life on Mars.

Wow, I’d totally forgotten I wrote this post. Here’s hoping we all live long enough to see humans actually staying on Mars at least temporarily.

9. Hopeful Science Fiction: Semiosis.

This was such a fabulous read. As you might have already noticed, I love stories about humans moving to other planets, and this was an excellent example of that type of tale.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: 10 Unusual Things About Me

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

It’s going to be so interesting to read how you all respond to this week’s prompt. This was one of the topics I was looking forward to the most out of the whole year!

1. I’ve Never Been Hospitalized

My mom had a (planned) home birth with me, so I wasn’t even hospitalized on the day of my birth. Home remedies and the occasional visit with a doctor for minor/temporary problems have been all the care I’ve required so far in life.

This is something that’s surprised more than one health care worker when they were taking my history. I have multiple relatives who lived or are living long, healthy lives while not necessarily following their doctor’s orders about exercising and eating a well-balanced diet, so I suspect some of my good luck with my health is due to genetics even though I try to take care of myself in general.

Photo credit: Peter Salanki from San Francisco, USA.

2. I’m Demisexual and Bisexual

Being demisexual means that I need to bond emotionally with someone before I become interested in escalating our relationship on a physical level. So I’ve been on dates with men and with women, but kissing and other things are reserved for folks I’ve gotten to know well.

3. I Have Unique Spatial Skills and a Not-Super-Accurate Sense of Direction

As much as I want to help, I may accidentally send you to the wrong place if you ask me for directions. You see, I use context clues like a big tree or that pretty, blue house on the corner as reminders of where to go next instead of remembering the name of that street or whether it’s north or south from my current location.

This system works well for me, but since it can be confusing for people who don’t live in my brain I try not to give directions to folks unless I’m sure I’m sending them in the right direction.

4. I’m an Animal Magnet

Animals love me, especially cats. The funny thing is, I’m terribly allergic to cats.  Maybe they’re so interested in me because I give them a lot of personal space instead of rushing over to pick them up and coo over them like a non-allergic person might do? All I want to do is avoid wheezing and sneezing, and all they want to do is be my new best friend. Ha!

5. I Started College Before Finishing High School

My high school had a dual-enrolment agreement with a few local colleges. I absolutely loved spending most of the day at college with adult classmates during my final year of high school. It was refreshing to meet so many other students who genuinely wanted to learn the stuff we were studying there. I’d heartily recommend this option to any high schooler who enjoys learning and has good time management skills.

6. I Was Homeschooled, and I Also Married a Fellow Homeschooler

This definitely wasn’t a requirement for dating me, but it was pretty neat to compare homeschooling experiences with my spouse when we first realized we had this in common. We both spent a lot of time visiting all sorts of museums, art galleries, and historical sites on homeschooling field trips. I still love learning and field trips to this day.

7. I Have a High Tolerance for Pain

Or at least that’s what a dentist told me once. Pain is such a subjective thing that it’s hard to imagine how my occasional experiences with it might be different from how others feel it.

8. I Like the Taste of Bitter and Spicy Vegetables

My grandmother sometimes makes an afternoon snack that consists of the following things:

  • White bread
  • Margarine
  • Thinly-sliced radishes

I believe she is at least partially responsible for the fact that I like eating radishes, spinach, and broccoli as an adult. Not every snack necessarily needs to be sweet.

9. I Keep a Digital Dream Journal

This is a pretty recent habit, but I’m enjoying the process of writing down all of the dreams I can remember. It’s interesting to go back and look for themes in them.

Lately, I’ve been having a ton of dreams about being back in school and studying for a dreaded biology exam on the anatomy of frogs and other various small creatures.  I wonder when people become too old for those sorts of dreams? My fingers are crossed that one of you will tell me it definitely stops at age X for everyone. Ha!

10. I’m the Only Person in Toronto Who Likes Pigeons

Yes, this is a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s based on the fact that pigeons have been nicknamed “sky rats” here and many people truly dislike them. I think they’re interesting creatures, and I enjoy watching them navigate our busy city and figure out where the safe places are to hang out, roost, and find food. Pigeons need to learn these skills quickly to survive city life, and in general they’re thriving here. That’s admirable in my opinion.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

There are two things I really like to read on rainy days: poetry about stormy weather and humorous books. Why does my brain work this way? I have no idea, but it has strong opinions on this topic that I’m going to honour.

This week I’m going to be recommending five comedic books and five poems that somehow reference rain, storms, or similar topics.

The Books

1. Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica

Most people understand that folks who work in the service industry are fellow human beings and should be treated with the same basic level of respect and kindness you’d offer to any other stranger. The individuals who choose not to follow this social more for whatever reason provided endless fodder for a hilarious blog that eventually lead to this book, too.

It’s the perfect thing to read if you’ve ever worked in the service industry or wondered what that experience can be like on the not-so-great days. I started reading it during a thunderstorm years ago, so that may be why I associate it with rainy days so much.

2. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Mr. Halpern’s dad is the sort of person who says whatever outrageous thing is on his mind without thinking about how others will react to it. I should warn you that some of the quotes in this book might be offensive to some readers due to the stereotypical things the dad says about certain groups.

With that being said, most of these quotes are simply odd statements about society shared by a man who either can’t or is purposefully refusing to understand that the world has changed a lot since he was young. (It was never clear to me which one of these explanations was most accurate, and I definitely don’t want to shame him if he has some sort of health problem that affects how he thinks or relates to others.)

As someone who has a couple of relatives who act a lot like this dad, it feels nice to know that I’m not the only one dealing with this situation. Sometimes laughter truly is the best response to things you cannot change.

3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I read this book several years ago. The only things I remember about it is that it was quite funny and I believe I might have read it during a very rainy weekend in my city.

4. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Ms. Brosh is one of the funniest cartoonists of our generation. If you haven’t checked out her work yet, you really should. Sometimes I save her latest blog posts specifically for stormy days because of how much I enjoy savouring them for a while.

5. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

This was the first book I ever read from this author, and it happened in a bookstore on a stormy day. I loved his descriptions of trying to learn French, among other adventures. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Sedaris’ work ever since then.

 

The Poems

1. April Rain Song by Langston Hughes

If you read this blog long enough, you’re going to notice me mentioning Langston Hughes a lot. He was an incredibly talented poet that I try to introduce new people to as often as possible.

2. Peasants Waiting for Rain by G.S. Sharat Chandra

It can be easy for those of us who aren’t farmers to forget just how important rain is for agriculture. This poem is a nice reminder of that.

3. Rain in the Desert by Walter Lowenfels

If you’ve never seen a downpour in the desert, this poem is an excellent description of one.

4. To the Rain by Ursula K. LeGuin

I love the cleansing imagery in this poem. The world does seem like a cleaner, brighter place after a good thunderstorm!

5. Sheep in the Rain by James Wright

The last line of this poem was what made me realize how great it is.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters I Never Want to Meet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

My answer to this week’s prompt is going to be much shorter than it was last week for the recipes topic.

I’m the sort of reader who tries to find the good in every character I read about or watch in a show so there aren’t a lot of them that I truly wouldn’t want to spend time with under any circumstances.

With that being said, I was able to come up with five answers for this question.

Lord Voldemort

Voldemort. He’s honestly kind of self-explanatory. Who’d want to hang out with someone who would put a death curse on a baby among many other terrible deeds? No, thank you. There are plenty of other Potterverse characters who would be much more pleasant to meet.

Reavers. For anyone who hasn’t watched the sci-fi television series Firefly, these creatures were the violent antagonists in that  universe. If they stumbled across your ship, you were doomed to a painful death. I refrained from sharing a picture of them in this post because I know that some of you fellow participants really dislike horror stuff, and they’re not exactly cuddly-looking bad guys. If you want to see what they look like anyway, click here.

Sheldon Cooper as an adult and as a child.

Sheldon Cooper. This character is part of the reason why I stopped watching The Big Bang Theory so soon after starting it.  It’s one thing to set rigid rules for how you live your own life, but forcing others to follow them is something I have little patience for in real life as well as in fiction. I don’t think he and I would get along at all despite sharing many common geeky interests.

Pete Campbell

Pete Campbell. Pete was a smug and abusive character on the 1960s period drama Mad Men. He got away with the violent, awful things he did because of how manipulative and superficially charming he was to people who hadn’t gotten to know them yet. Anyone who scratched below that thin veneer, though, would know that he’s not someone anyone should be spending time with…especially alone.

Serena Joy. Anyone who has followed this blog for the past few years probably remembers the many references I’ve made to The Handmaid’s Tale TV show and book. There are many frightening villains in this universe, but I’d argue that Serena is the worst because of how unpredictable and volatile she is. One minute, she’ll act like your best friend, and the next she’ll begin hitting you for no reason at all. Scary stuff!

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Outrageous Things I’ve Done for the Love of Books

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl You’re all about to hear some funny stories about the outrageous, silly, and memorable things I’ve done for the love of books. For anyone who didn’t already know, I was a preacher’s kid growing up, so the church’s building was basically my family’s second home.  We were there two… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Comfort Foods and Recipes and Whys, Oh My!

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. This week’s topic is “Favourite Comfort Foods & Why (& Recipes),” so of course I just had to play around with the wording of it a little in the title of this post in order to sneak in a reference to The Wizard of Oz. I will now proceed… Read More