No Easy Way Out: A Review of Take Care of Your Body

Book cover for Take Care of Your Body by Elton Gahr. Image on cover shows two mostly-leafless trees that have been trimmed to look like two faces looking at each other. A few leaves are flowing from one tree to the next against a cloudy winter sky. Title: Take Care of Your Body

Author: Elton Gahr

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: March 2, 2022

Genres: Science Fiction, Contemporary

Length: 18 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


Frank is a new kind of personal trainer. The kind that switches bodies with the ultra rich so they can get the benefits of working out without the effort. But his new client has done the unthinkable, escaping with Frank’s body while leaving Frank to answer for his crimes.
Now Frank has to track down his own body and force his client to return it before the FBI can catch him.


Shortcuts can make life easier…if all goes well.

Some of my favourite scenes were the ones that described how careful Frank was when exercising in other people’s bodies. Exercise is one of those things that can be a great deal of fun, a terribly dull chore, or something in-between those two extremes depending on the person involved and what types of movement they actually enjoy doing. Observing Frank’s reaction to his work was fascinating. He respected his clients and did everything he could to help them slowly become stronger and healthier while he was in control of their bodies. It was nice to see how much he cared about perfect strangers.

I had some trouble understanding what was happening in the final scene and needed to read it over again a couple of time to make sure I understood what the author was trying to say. Part of this was due to a character who wasn’t very good at thinking through the logical conclusions of his actions. While he was an interesting person who needed to be written that way for other portions of the storyline to flow nicely, I did find myself wishing for a clearer description of what was happening in that last scene so that both he and I could figure out what was going on there.

The world building was well done. There wasn’t a great deal of time to explain how this mysterious conscious-swapping technology worked given that the author only had eighteen pages to work with, but he explained enough about it for me to understand the basics. Honestly, that was all that was needed before Frank’s dilemma began, so I was happy to quickly move on to how he was going to get his stolen body back before it was too late.

Take Care of Your Body was a wild ride.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite YouTube Video

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

A round light brown rabbit sitting peacefully while perched up on it’s back paws while it’s front paws are neatly placed between the back paws on a patch of dark green grass.

This isn’t Champis, but it does look a lot like him. (The actual photos of him can be found in the links in this post).

This video was created by a Finnish farmer, but it doesn’t matter whether or not you can speak that language.

About 11 years ago, Champis was a rabbit who lived on a quiet farm in Finland. One day Champis decided to start herding sheep, and his humans soon made a video about his adventures in the sheep pen: Champis – den vallande kaninen*

(YouTube wouldn’t let me embed the video, but the link above should take you to it. The video is about five minutes long).

Nobody trained Champis to behave this way, and it’s not typical behaviour for a rabbit.  His humans were just as surprised as the rest of the world was.

What makes it even funnier is that Champis’ son, Champis Junior, eventually became a sheep herder as well.

You all know how much I love rabbits. I have all sorts of videos, gifs, and photos of rabbits doing interesting things tucked away for when I need something to make me smile. This is one of my all-time favourites.

*Kaninen means rabbit in Finnish. Online translation pages haven’t been able to tell me what den vallande means, so please share if you know of a good translation for it.


Edit: Thank you to Judy Thomas for sharing this translation: “Vallande translates to herding, I found… so probably, Champis, the herding rabbit.”



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Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The word yes is written into sand on a beach. A wave is just beginning to reach the top of the letter y in yes and erase it. Here are some of the things that make me instantly want to read a book.

1. It’s written by one of my favourite authors.

This doesn’t mean I’ll automatically love a book, but it certainly raises the odds of that happening!


2. Someone in my inner circle recommended it.

Once again, this isn’t a guarantee I’ll like it, but it is a good sign for sure.


3. It’s about prehistory, hunter-gatherers, and/or Neanderthals 

There aren’t enough stories about those topics if you ask them.


4. The narrator breaks the fourth wall.

When done well, there’s nothing like a narrator or protagonist speaking directly to the audience as if they’ve known all along we’ve been following on with them on their journey. I get a thrill every time this happens.


5. It is hard science fiction. 

I am in awe of science fiction writers who are able to write this sort of thing. Someday I’d like to join their ranks.


6. There are biographical elements to the story. 

Autobiographies and biographies are some of my favorite types of nonfiction to read because of how much you can learn about a person and the era they lived in by following someone’s life from beginning to end. I also enjoy fictional stories that are anywhere from loosely to heavily based on the lives of real people.


7. It is a banned book. 

There’s something about banning books that makes me want to read them. Maybe it’s part of human nature?


8. The plot includes humorous moments.

I read a lot of heavy stuff, so I’m always on the lookout for lighter fare to balance out my literary diet.


9. It includes happy pet rabbits who do not die at the end!

Those disclaimers are needed due to how many books about pets have a tendency to end with the pet’s death.

When I see a happy little rabbit featured on a cover or mentioned in a title or blurb, the chances of me wanting to read that book skyrocket even if it’s in a genre I don’t usually pick up like romance or World War II fiction.

I adore rabbits, but they don’t show up very often in cheerful scenes in adult literature.  (Luckily, children’s books do not have that problem, so I still have plenty of rabbit fiction in general when I want it. 🙂 )


Filed under Blog Hops

A Review of The Life and Lies of Danny Diaz

Book cover for The Life and Lies of Danny Diaz by Andy Paine. Image on cover shows the title written in a font that’s orange on the left and gradually fades to yellow as you move further to the right of the page. This was all written against a black background. Title
: The Life and Lies of Danny Diaz

Author: Andy Paine

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: January 21, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary

Length: 46 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author

Rating: 5 Stars


An ageing rocker, a journalist, and a small, seemingly inconsequential object. This is the tale of the greatest musical theft in history.

Such a small, seemingly inconsequential object. Yet for ageing rocker Danny Diaz, journalist Henry Lapthorne, and indeed the entire population, it is an object that has aided in the greatest musical theft in history, forever altering the historical landscape of music as we know it.

After years of wilful deceit, Danny’s life has come full circle as he reaches out to the one man who forever doubted him, intent on telling his story, and finding peace with his past. For Henry, it is the story of a lifetime, an unbelievable tale of addiction, regret, and redemption. But can it possibly be true? Or is it just another ruse? Is this tale the fulfilment of Henry’s career, or yet another deception in the decades long animosity between two men who know each other so well, and yet not at all.


Content Warning: Theft, suicide, and deceit. The suicide was mentioned briefly and with no details at all about how it was accomplished.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch…or a free song.

The character development was excellent. Danny was never unlikeable, but he certainly was naive and a little selfish when I first met him. It was rewarding to get to know his personality better and see how the object he carried around for years changed him in all sorts of ways. Without giving away spoilers, this transformation of his was the best part of the entire plot because of how he reacted to it and what he did once he realized how much power he possessed.

I adored the ambiguous corners of this story. The things Danny didn’t know about the small object in his possession were somehow just as intriguing as the many other things he was sure about. After I finished the final paragraph, I sat back and came up with my own theories about the subjects he had partial to no knowledge of. Discovering the limits of Danny’s understanding somehow made him feel both more relatable and more interesting. After all, many of us readers are living with little mysteries every day that we won’t ever fully solve either!

Another memorable thing about this short story was the uneasy relationship between Danny and the narrator who was a reporter who hoped to interview such an important musician. The reporter and Danny both had understandable reasons to be a little wary of each other, so it was rewarding to see them gradually let their guards down and connect with each other as fellow human beings. This was something that was gently hinted at in the first scene, so do keep an eye out for it as the plot progresses.

The Life and Lies of Danny Diaz was a thought-provoking and thrilling read.


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Non-Bookish Hobbies

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

A row of black dumbbells lined up neatly and orderly on a white floor. The wall behind them is white as well. I’ve answered similar questions here in the past, so some of this may be a repeat for those of you who have read my blog for a while.

My non-bookish hobbies include:

1) Weightlifting

It’s one of my favourite forms of exercise.

2) Practicing Spanish

Now I can speak like a fluent toddler! Hehe. Pronunciation is tough, though, so I need to keep working on stuff like rolling my r’s and remembering which letters are generally silent or pronounced differently in Spanish.


3) Long, Rambling Walks

I will begin them with a general destination in mind like park X, or beach Y, or neighbourhood Z and then see what’s interesting there today.

One day that might mean walking up and down the beach until my legs are worn out by the sand. The next walk might involve browsing in all sorts of cool little shops along the way in a certain neighbourhood or it trying out a new trail at a park that I haven’t fully explored yet.

Some walks are brisk, athletic, and involve hills. Others are more like meandering strolls that aren’t exercise-y at all. I love all of them.


4) Card Games

Fast-paced card games like Dutch Blitz as well as calmer ones like Uno are both fun. I need to find some folks here in Ontario to play with me.


5) Swimming

It’s not something I get to do very often, but I relish it when I do.


Filed under Blog Hops, Personal Life

Top Ten Tuesday: Things Getting in the Way of Reading

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Now is one of those times of the year when my bookish side takes a break and my other interests get a chance to flourish. Here are some of the things that I’ve been doing (or trying to do) instead of reading this spring.

A magnolia tree in bloom. It is covered in hundreds of large pink and white flowers that are open and framed against a light blue sky. Sunlight streams into the photo from the left. 1. Beautiful Weather

I’m saying this affectionally, but Toronto only has a few months of gorgeous weather per year. Most months are too hot, cold, or stormy to spend more time outside than is strictly necessary.

When we finally get long stretches of dry, mild, pleasant weather in the spring and autumn, you’d better believe I’m out there soaking up as much of it as I can.

2. Nature 

Anyone who reads my posts regularly already knows I’m a nature lover. Along with enjoying pleasant weather when it comes, I also like to admire the spring flowers and whatever else is in season.

3. A Reading Slump

They seem to be more common for me in spring and autumn. It might be because I generally spend so much time reading over the winter when it’s too cold and snowy (and over the summer when it’s too hot and humid) to visit some of my favourite places.


4. TV Shows

My spouse loves watching TV with me, so that reduces my reading time as well.


5. In-Person Socialization

Like everyone else, I’ve been a real homebody these past few years (and, honestly, I was a homebody way before that, too), so I’m trying to stretch myself and spend more time socializing in person when I find Covid-safe ways to do so.


6. Fire Alarms 

No, this isn’t a joke. My apartment building keeps having the fire alarm set off by people who do things like smoke in the stairwell, smoke in the hallway, or accidentally burn some food, open their front door to air out their apartment, and inadvertently set off the building-wide smoke alarm instead of only the one in their apartment.

While I am grateful for smoke alarms and how seriously management takes everyone’s safety, I sure wish the fire alarms wouldn’t be set off so often when there’s no actual danger.



Filed under Blog Hops

Local Legends: A Review of Come in the Water

Book cover for Come in the Weater by K.C. Hastings. image on cover shows the sun setting over a lake. There is a pool of water on the beach and a portion of the sand that shows marks from something heavy being dragged into the water. In the distance, you can see something tentacle-like poking out of the water. Title: Come in the Water

Author: K.C. Hastings

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: October 19, 2020

Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Contemporary

Length: 11 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


There’s something in the lake, and I don’t mean the giant catfish.


Content Warning: Murder, drowning, a small amount of blood.

Beware what the locals say. Sometimes they know more than anyone else.

One of the biggest strengths of this short story was how arrogant and yet still likeable the unnamed protagonist was. While I certainly wouldn’t want to live with her, I was intrigued by how certain she was that she had everything figured out. Her confidence was admirable even if it sometimes lead her into some pretty dangerous decisions. It can be easier to write a kind and sweet character than one who had such a major personality flaw, so I tip my cap to the author for pulling this off so nicely.

Given how unfamiliar the main character seemed to be with Oklahoma, I was surprised by how quickly she brushed off the scary legends the locals shared with her in the first scene. I would have understood if she didn’t believe every detail of them, but it struck me as odd for her not to be willing to listen to their warnings at all. If only the narrator had given more clues about why she behaved this way. Even if the string of recent deaths all had natural causes, shouldn’t she at least taken heed of how dangerous swimming could be in that area? I wish this had been explored as it would have gone a long way to provide some additional character and plot development.

The horror elements of the plot were deliciously scary and well done. Even the nicest lakes can feel a little eerie even on a clear sunny day when you stare into their murky depths, and that’s even more true for lakes that have disturbing legends attached to them.

Come in the Water is making me think twice about going swimming in a lake this summer!


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Story About My First Crush

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

Two shiny metal reflective hearts sitting on a brown grainy surface. One is larger than the other, and you can see where the smaller heart was cut out of the larger one. I have only occasionally developed crushes throughout my life, so I had to dig deeply for this post.

My first crush was a boy named Jonathan, and I think I was somewhere between the ages of three and five when it happened.

He was probably someone I went to church with as I had a stay-at-home mom who was just beginning to (or maybe would soon begin to?) homeschool me. Therefore, there was no daycare or public school for me to meet new people at during this stage in life.

The only memory I have about Jonathan or my crush on him involves my parents scolding me for calling him my boyfriend and telling me I was too young for such things as I stared up at the bare tree branches and chilly, grey sky overhead, inwardly sighed in exasperation at my parents who I thought were being really silly about the whole thing, and outwardly obeyed them. (Or at least I think I obeyed them?)

If only I remembered more about it. I assure you that the rest of my childhood was far less dramatic than that brief moment of parent-child conflict, so maybe that’s why it stuck around in my memory so firmly?

As far as crushes I fully remember goes, that honour goes to two characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I thought that Deanna Troi:

Photo of Marina Sirtis playing Deanna Troi on Star Trek:Deep Space Nine. She is wearing a teal Star Trek uniform and looking ahead of her seriously.

Fair use,



Photo of LeVar Burton playing Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is wearing a yellow Star Trek uniform and his visor and looking ahead of himself with a serious expression on his face.

Fair use,


Geordi La Forge


were both good-looking, kind, and interesting people, and I wanted to follow them around all day and ask them dozens of questions about themselves and life in the twenty-fourth century as they performed their duties on such a fancy spaceship.

I’ve been attracted to all sorts of different types of people, and I don’t really have a type. Having a good character and a pleasant personality are such important factors in attraction, too.


Filed under Blog Hops, Personal Life

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Recently Recommended to Others

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Drawing of two hedgehogs standing on their hand legs. One of them is holding one red, one green, and one blue balloon with it’s right paw as both hedgehogs look at the balloons with content expressions on their faces.This week’s prompt was “Books I Recommend to Others the Most.”

As I don’t recommend books to other people very often, this is going to be a pretty short list.

I would normally pick a typical stock photo of a stack of books for this sort of topic, but this drawing of two hedgehogs admiring some balloons made me smile.

A great book recommendation is a gift that you can enjoy over and over again.

Yes, I’ve blogged about some of these books before on my site. Like I said earlier, I really don’t recommend books very often, so there were bound to be repeats here today.



Book cover for Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan. Image on cover shows a drawing of a little town that is getting blanketed in a heavy snowstorm. The background of the cover is green and the town and snow can be seen because they are all white.

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Why I recommended it: What a beautiful novella this was, especially considering the ugly subjects it dealt with like the terrible stigma single mothers faced in Ireland in previous generations. Some of my favourite scenes were the ones that explored how certain characters pushed back against the assumption that women who had babies out of wedlock were damaged goods or that their children were inferior to children whose parents were married.


Book cover for The Mysteries by Bill Watterson. Image on cover is a black and white drawing of a person wearing a cloak as they stand outside of a cottage in a dark winter forest. The person has a frightened expression on their face.

The Mysteries by Bill Watterson

Why I recommended it: This book doesn’t come out until October. While I haven’t read it yet,  I know so many people who loved the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip that I’ve been telling them all about Mr. Watterson’ new project so they can decide whether they want to read it.


Book cover for The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction by Pat Shipman. Image o cover shows two people walking on a grassy plane next to two wolf dogs. The people are carrying wooden spears, dressed in heavy animal fur cloaks, and have long, shaggy brown hair and pale skin.

The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction by Pat Shipman

Why I recommended it: I can’t say for sure if Ms. Shipman’s theory is correct, but I liked hearing all of her evidence for a much earlier domestication of dogs and how that may have affected both Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

The Story of Tutankhamun: An intimate Life of the Boy Who Became King by Garry J. Shaw

Why I recommended it: I wasn’t aware of how many new details about King Tut’s life have recently been uncovered. The writing style was plain-spoken and engaging, too, so I felt comfortable recommending this to the people in my life who would have run screaming from anything that even remotely resembled a textbook or other scholarly work.


Filed under Blog Hops

Second Chances: A Review of Building Beauty

Book cover for Building Beauty by Rachel Eliason. Image on cover shows a close-up shot of the eye, eyebrow, and skin beneath the eye of a wooden robot that’s been designed to look human. The eye has a purple-blue iris that is quite unique. Title: Building Beauty

Author: Rachel Eliason

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: September 29, 2012

Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ, Historical

Length: 33 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars


In the waning days of World War One, Alejandro Faidosky is sent to serve the Tsar in a distant corner of the Russian Empire. In the industrial center of Chelyabinsk, deep in southern Siberia Alejandro discovers a factory producing “automatons”, clockwork robots. His job is to sculpt a robotic prostitute for the common soldier. “Of all the men in Mother Russia I must be the most ill equipped for this assignment” Alejandro moans to himself, but he must not let Major Dmitri know, and he must somehow build beauty.


Content Warning: Grief and prostitution.

Assumptions make the world go around.

Some of the most memorable scenes were the ones that explored the difference between what certain characters thought the world should be like and how it actually was. Yes, I know I’m being vague there, but this is one of those themes that is best left for new readers to fully explore for themselves. There’s nothing like reaching the ending of a paragraph or scene and suddenly realizing what the protagonist was hinting at earlier or what the author might have been gently nudging the readers to think about with some well-placed comments about the world we live in. I enjoyed those moments and hope other readers will as well.

Alejandro was such an intelligent, cautious, and thoughtful person that I struggled to understand why he chose the unusual design he did for the robotic prostitute he was building. That decision did not fit in well with everything else I’d learned about him. It would have been understandable for him to privately dream about a robot that he found appealing, but openly revealing such information was an entirely different story for that era. I wish this had been explored in greater depth so that I could better understand why he took this risk and what he hoped to gain from it. There was so much more the author could have done with Alejandro in this regard.

This is something I’m saying as a reader who usually has a strong preference non-romantic speculative fiction, but the author blended together the fantasy and romance genres together in this tale perfectly.  The storyline genuinely needed both of them, and I loved seeing how they strengthened each other and kept the characters moving along briskly to their destinies. It was my first time reading Ms. Eliason’s work, and her creative approach to how she mixed these genres together makes me want to read more from her as soon as possible.

Building Beauty was a romantic and inventive read.


Filed under Science Fiction and Fantasy