Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer 2022 To-Read List


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A book lying opened on the grass. A green leaf is being used as a bookmark. Summer is an excellent time to read in Toronto, especially once the temperatures and humidity soar in July and it becomes uncomfortable to spend a lot of time outdoors during the heat of the day.

Okay, to be fair, some people love the heat. I wish them the best with their adventures in the heat but will be staying indoors myself during the hottest times of the day if I can at all help it. (Hot summer days can include a few migraine triggers for me, so I have to be mindful of how I spend them).

What I actually end up reading depends on my mood and which books I can find at the Toronto Public Library, but here are a few new releases I’m quite excited about. I’m sure this list will grow longer over the summer.

 

Life Ceremony: Stories  by Sayaka Murata book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of Japanese food in a black bowl.

Life Ceremony: Stories  by Sayaka Murata

Release Date: July 5
Why I’m Interested: I enjoy short story collections and have not read many from Japan yet. It will be fun to see what this collection is like!

 

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk and Robot #2) by Becky Chambers book cover. Image on cover shows a drawing of a forest and a wagon travelling on a road through it.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk and Robot #2) by Becky Chambers

Release Date: July 12
Why I’m Interested: I adored the first novella in this series and can’t wait to see what happens to the characters next. (Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this book several times in previous posts this year…but my excitement for it has only deepened as the release date grows nearer).

 

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean book cover. Image on cover shows cutouts of a mother and child from the pages of a book. These silhouettes are walking up to a building made from the page of a print book and looking at a lit window in it as the mom points at it.

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean

Release Date: August 2
Why I’m Interested: The unique premise grabbed my attention immediately. Those of us who are bookish sometimes metaphorically talk about devouring books, but imagine what it would be like to literally rely on them for sustenance!

 

Empty Smiles (Small Spaces, #4)  by Katherine Arden Book cover. Image on cover shows a scary clown glaring at the audience as two children run by.

Empty Smiles (Small Spaces, #4)  by Katherine Arden

Release Date:August 9
Why I’m Interested: I’ve also adored the Small Spaces series so far and can’t wait to see how it ends. (Yes, I’ve mentioned this book multiple times before as well. I am a creature of habit!)

 

A Review of Sail away, sail away, sail away: Nautical Ghost Stories

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away - Nautical Ghost Stories by William Macmillan Jones book cover. Image on cover shows the sea crashing into a rocky shore. Title: Sail Away, sail away, sail away – Nautical Ghost Stories

Author: William Macmillan Jones

Publisher: Red Kite Publishing Ltd

Publication Date: March 21, 2022

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 32 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb:

The sea has always fascinated me, and I grew up with a weakness for sea stories. I have always enjoyed ghost stories too, and the sea and the uncanny are wonderful bedfellows. Here are two stories about yachts that meet inclement weather where the Bristol Channel meets the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Ocean – with very different results.

Review:

Content Warning: Dysfunctional marriage, drowning, medical emergency (broken arm). I will briefly mention these topics in my review.

Never turn your back on the ocean.

Charles was a reluctant sailor in “Sail away, sail away, sail away.” Ellen, his wife, was passionate about the sport and insisted he go sailing with her regularly. What I found most rewarding about this tale was exploring their deeply dysfunctional and enmeshed relationship. Charles struggled with setting boundaries and saying no, while his wife had a difficult time accepting the word no, respecting boundaries, or listening to others. This all came to a head one day when they went sailing in the Bristol Channel and encountered much rougher waters than Charles had been expecting to find. The plot unfolded in a rather expected direction from there, but this wasn’t something that required zany plot twists to work well. Seeing how the characters dealt with conflict and the results of an accident was more than enough to keep me interested. I was simultaneously satisfied with how it ended and curious about what might happen next if the author ever decides to write a sequel.

In “Storm Front,” a sailor named Simon chose not to check the forecast and was unexpectedly caught in a violent storm while attempting to sail to Milford Sound alone. Due to how much time was spent explaining Simon’s knowledge of sailing and the precautions he took when packing for a voyage, I was surprised by the fact that he didn’t check the weather the morning of his trip. Were readers supposed to think he was less experienced than all other signs pointed to or that he made an honest mistake that day? I wish I’d been given an answer to this question as the rest of this story was delightful. I shuddered when Simon accidentally broke his arm in the first scene and wondered how he was going to survive such a dangerous storm now that he only had one arm that was capable of maneuvering the sails, steering his cutter, and performing other necessary tasks.

Sail Away, sail away, sail away – Nautical Ghost Stories was a memorable summer read.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Your List of Auto-Buy Authors

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.

Two white gift bags with black and white tissue paper sticking out of them. What a fun topic!

Let’s talk about my definition of the term auto-buy author. I know there are some readers out there who would buy literally anything their favourite authors write. That’s amazing, but it’s not quite how my brain works.

There are many authors whose work I generally adore but who occasionally publish books that I don’t find appealing for any number of reasons. I may skip that particular tale, but I will still remain just as excited to see what they come up with next.

I think these authors should count as auto-buy authors because of how thrilled I am to keep tabs on what they’re working on. It’s totally okay that our tastes don’t match up 100%. There are very few humans on this planet who could find that level of agreement about anything, much less something as personal as what to read.

With that being said, here are the contemporary authors whose work I am always eager to hear about:

  • Margaret Atwood
  • Katherine Arden
  • Becky Chambers
  • Rivers Solomon
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Sarah Waters
  • Andy Weir
  • Emma Donoghue
  • Patrick Ness
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Tiffany D. Jackson
  • Paul Offit

If all of these authors ever release books in the same month, none of you should expect to hear much from me at all until I’ve tried every last book on that list. Ha!

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Wishes


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A drawing of mist coming out of a genie’s lamp. Just like I did last year, I’m tweaking the bookish wishes prompt again because my TBR pile is still as large as ever. (Are they secretly magical? Why do they never seem to shrink much at all no matter how much you read?)

Instead of asking any of you to buy books for me, I’m asking for recommendations instead if you know of any titles that might match up to my bookish wishes below.

 

Wish #1: Humorous Stories of Any Length 

I don’t know about all of you, but I still have a strong desire to read lighthearted material that will hopefully make me laugh.

Responses to this wish can be from any genre or era.

Here are some examples of humorous stories that I’ve loved:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) by Douglas Adams

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury by Bill Watterson

I Am America by Stephen Colbert

The sorts of short humorous stories about everyday life that writers like Mark Twain have written.

 

 

Wish #2: Stories About or From Where You Live 

If you’re uncomfortable sharing the precise city you live in for privacy reasons, no worries. I will be just as happy to read stories about your region, state, province, territory, country, or continent depending on how specific you feel comfortable being.

I think reading stories set in real places is a wonderful way to get a feel for that area. Since I won’t be travelling anywhere special this summer, why not read about some of the spectacular places in our world instead?

I would prefer recommendations from the science fiction, fantasy, mystery, or young adult genres, but other genres are cool as well if you loved their writing style and think they’re a great representation of your culture or region.

 

Wish #3: Literary Ghost Stories 

I love well-written, literary (or literary-ish) ghost stories. Send all of them to me. Ha!

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

 

Wish #4: Nonfiction About Topics Other Than War, Pandemics, or Royalty 

Those of you who have been reading my Top Ten Tuesday or other posts for a while might remember how much I love the nonfiction genre.

I am not interested in nonfiction about war, pandemics, or royalty. I am rarely into nonfiction about politics or religion. (Brief mentions of any of these topics are totally okay…just not entire books about them).

Anything else is fair game! Biographies, autobiographies, history, medicine, education, animals, science, social movements, food, social customs, and similar topics always pique my interest. I love learning about the pieces of life that often aren’t taught in school.

 

A conch shell sitting on a beach as the tide goes out slowly. Wish #5: Beach Reads 

I know the definition of the term beach read can differ depending on the reader.

When I use it, I’m referring to light, fluffy books that can help you pass the time while you’re at the beach and that do not require deep levels of thought in order to keep track of the plot and characters. My brain needs a little literary junk food this summer.

You’ll get bonus points if your suggestion also happens to be set on a beach, but this is definitely not a requirement. Any genre is fine for this one.

 

Wish #6: Anything Else You Think I Might LIke

Okay, I know this one is a bit of a tall order. If anyone reading this feels like they know my reading preferences well enough to give an unsolicited recommendation, by all means feel free to do so!

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Luck: A Review of Foreign Objects

Foreign Objects by Joshua Scribner book cover. Image on cover shows a well made of clay and covered in mostly-dead branches of a bush.Title: Foreign Objects

Author: Joshua Scribner

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary

Length: 7 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

A young outcast, his struggles to survive, and the crucial objects that come into his life.

Review:

Content Warning: Bullying, physical abuse of a child by another child, violence, attempted kidnapping, attempted murder, murder. I will make allusions to them in my review.

Paying attention can be the difference between life and death.

Joel, the main character, had a difficult childhood to say the least. When I first met him, I was a little concerned by how negatively he spun everything, but I soon learned he had a good reason for reacting the world that way. Terrible things kept happening to him for reasons that neither he nor the audience understood. Of course anyone would learn to become suspicious under those circumstances! Given these facts, it made sense for him to behave the way he did, although I never gave up hope that he’d have easier days to come.

The fantasy elements of the plot were subtle and were not revealed until very late in the game. I found myself wishing that the author had been a little more straightforward about where he was going with this portion of Joel’s life. It played such an important role in his development that I would have loved to see it explained better even though I understood why certain details really did need to be saved for the end. From the perspective of a reader who wasn’t entirely sure what I’d gotten myself into, though, I would have given this a much higher rating if a clue or two about the ending had been dropped in one of the first few scenes. Obviously, I don’t expect the same amount of world building in seven pages of fantasy as one would find in seventy or seven hundred, but a little more would have gone a long way.

I must admit to having mixed feelings about the beginning and middle of this story because of how violent it was. It took a little bit for the narrator to explain why he was sharing so many traumatic events from his life, but once he did everything clicked into place for me. I appreciated the way he reframed his memories after the revelation at the end, and I’d be quite curious to read a sequel if one is ever written.

Foreign Objects was a wild ride.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Best Father in a Book, Movie, or TV Show

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 all-time favourite father in a TV show is Benjamin Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. After his wife died in a tragic accident, he… Read More

A Review of Not Eligible for Rehire – A Cruise Ship Story

Title: Not Eligible for Rehire – A Cruise Ship Story Author: Glenn McGoldrick Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: October 25, 2018 Genres: Speculative Fiction, Contemporary Length: 19 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author. Rating: 2 Stars Blurb: A day in the life of a Casino Manager, working on a cruise ship in… Read More