Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Older Books More People Should Read

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.

A black woman with a large Afro is sitting on the ledge of a window in a dark room. Light is pouring into the room around her as she holds up a hardback book to the light and reads. My questions for this week’s prompt are how far back are people going to go when selecting older books and how many of us will have already read what other folks recommend?

I wish I could peek at everyone’s answers ahead of time to see what you’re all picking and when they were published.

Here are two books I’d add to this list. Their publication years are in parentheses.

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy (1976)

Why: You don’t often seen both dystopian and utopian futures described in the same novel. I like the ambiguity of the main character’s connection to these futures as well as the idea that nothing is set in stone.


The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (1993)

Why: Other Canadians may have already heard of this book, but it doesn’t seem to be as well known elsewhere. This is a literary fiction novel about Daisy, a bitter woman who was born in 1905 and lived a long, hard life. You are not always going to like her (or at least I sure didn’t), but her journey was well written and explained why she was so angry with the world when she grew old. There’s something to be said for books that explore the lives of unlikeable characters and show why they behave the way they do.



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Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Mermaid Covers

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A photorealistic painting of a mermaid swimming in the ocean. The shot is set from a perspective on the ocean floor where the viewers is looking up at the bright sun overhead and a mermaid that is mostly blocking out it’s rays as it swims close to the surface of the water. The mermaid has a large, thick fin and several small, thin, and partially see-through fins on its hips and arms that are helping it to navigate through the water. The original topic for this week was “Books or Covers that Feel/Look Like Summer.” I followed the prompt exactly last year, so this time I’m going to be a little creative with it.

There may not be any real mermaids in Lake Ontario, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, or any other large bodies of water, but it’s always fun to stare out at those endless waves and imagine what might be swimming around happily just out of sight on a warm summer day.

Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop imagining beautiful things after all, and now is a great time to do it.

Here are ten books with mermaids or mermen on their covers.

If Greg @ Book Haven happens to read this post, answer #7 reminds me of the kind of stuff you blog about. I included it specifically to amuse you.

Book cover for Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton. Image on cover shows a brown mermaid with a yellow tail sitting on a rock as the ocean crashes against the rock. She is looking at a fisherman wearing a yellow jacket who is in a red boat far away from her.

1. Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton


Book cover for The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange. Image on cover is a drawing of an all-white mermaid swimming in a pond filled with algae and seaweed next to an old stone house and a tree that doesn’t have any leaves on it. The mermaid is staring at the tree and you cannot see her face.


2. The Mermaid in the Millpond by Lucy Strange


Book cover for The Merman by Dick King-Smith. Image on cover shows a merman with olive skin and white hair swimming in the ocean with his tail flipped out of the weather. He’s looking at a girl who is wearing a red dress. She is sitting on top of a large rock and looking down at him as seagulls fly by.

3. The Merman by Dick King-Smith


Book cover for Tides by Betsy Cornwell . Image on cover shows an Asian mermaid who has just plunged deeply into the ocean. You can see a plume of water and air rising up to the surface behind her as she joyfully begins to turn away from a manatee at the bottom of the shallow ocean flor and swim upwards again.

4. Tides by Betsy Cornwell


Book cover for l Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids, #1)  by Helene Boudreau. Image on cover shows a young white mermaid touching their own hands as the back of one hands gently touches their green and blue tail.

5. Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids, #1)  by Helene Boudreau


Book cover for The Deep by Rivers Solomon. Image on cover shows a black mermaid swimming up to the light and air as a gigantic whale swims by her.

6. The Deep by Rivers Solomon


Book cover for Merciless Mermaids (Agent 0008, #11) by Clyde Allison. Image on cover shows a vintage, pulpy, 1940s style drawing of a mermaid who has red hair and a gigantic octopus wrapping it’s tentacles around her body.


7. The Merciless Mermaids (Agent 0008, #11) by Clyde Allison


Book cover for The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Image on cover shows a Vietnamese kid with short hair and glasses who is wearing a patched jacket and reading a book. There is a faint drawing of a mermaid swimming on the green background behind him.

8. The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen


Book cover for The Little Mermaid by Deborah Hautzig and Hans Christian Andersen. Image on cover shows a brunette Caucasian mermaid sitting on a large rock in the ocean next to a white castle in the distance on the land. Her long, wavy hair is covering her otherwise bare torso.

9. The Little Mermaid by Deborah Hautzig and Hans Christian Andersen


Book cover for The Call of the Deep (The Matchless Deep, #1) by Tracy Lane. Image on cover shows the tail of a mermaid or merman as t they dive deeply into the ocean where there is very little light at all.

10. The Call of the Deep (The Matchless Deep, #1) by Tracy Lane



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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Someplace I’d Love to Visit Someday

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.

So here’s the thing: I dislike travelling.

Therefore, I’m going to add a mild science fiction spin to this week’s prompt and pretend like Long and Short Reviews has figured out a way to make Star Trek transporter technology an option for those of us who would rather skip the cramped seats, germs, long hours of sitting still, noisy fellow passengers, and anxiety-inducing security guards that are currently necessary for most forms of international travel.

A photo of a side view of a puffin’s head. The puffin is standing next to some yellow flowers and looking ahead at something we the viewers cannot see. If I could hop into a transporter and instantly be sent anywhere, I’d pick Iceland and Tanzania.

Why? Well, Iceland has a cool, mild climate which I generally prefer to hot, humid ones. I find it easier to warm up than to cool down, and I have some medical reasons to limit my exposure to sunlight as well.

Iceland also has a lot of beautiful natural areas to hike through and explore. Imagine the amazing photos you could take and all of the adventures that could be had while walking through those areas.

Best of all, it has puffins!

I would never touch a puffin, of course, but I also wouldn’t complain if one found me interesting and walked over to get a closer view of me. They’re such fascinating little creatures.


Three adult wildebeests standing on a grassy plain and looking ahead the viewer. The grass is dry and yellow, and the wildebeests brown boasts are shining in the sunlight. Tanzania would be another cool place to visit once I’d made sure I still had my sun hat and plenty of sunscreen to keep my dermatologist happy. (Ha!)

I’d go to Serengeti National Park in January or February during calving season to hopefully see a lot of adorable newborn wildebeests and whatever other animals might be wandering around there.

Lions and giraffes would be neat to see in person, but I’d keep an open mind and be happy with whatever I found there.

I’ve heard there are some nice hiking trails in Tanzania as well, so obviously I’d have to check out one of them for myself.

And, of course, trying the local cuisine would also be high on my to-do list for both countries. With all of that walking and exploring, I’d be bound to build up quite the appetite.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The word no has been written into wet sand on a beach. Another wave is coming in and will soon begin to erase the word. Yes, I used a very similar stock photo last week. It amuses me and makes me want to go write my own messages in the sand at my local beach.

On a more serious note, here are some things that will make me instantly not want to read a book.

Please note that my first answer briefly mentions sexual abuse and my seventh answer mentions World War II trauma, so feel free to skip past them if necessary.

1. Sexual abuse

It’s an important and worthwhile topic, but I personally cannot read about it.


2. Characters who don’t have common sense.

Not every character I read about needs to be intelligent by any means, but I cannot read about people who repeatedly make ridiculous decisions for no reason at all. They should at the very least have basic street smarts and make choices that are reasonable for the average person of their age and background.

3. Inspirational stories

No offence is intended to fans of this genre in any way. I am simply not a religious person and am therefore so not the target audience for these types of tales.


4. Historical tales that feel modern.

That is to say, the good guys all have twenty-first century political/social views and/or use modern English.

I give historical writers a lot of leeway, but it’s really strange to me to meet characters from 100+ years ago whose speech and views so perfectly mimic how the average person in 2023 behaves. Honestly, I’d rather meet a protagonist whose speech is a little too formal and who has some views that were acceptable for their era but would be considered horribly old-fashioned at best today.


5. Tiny little (metaphorical) boxes

It bothers me to read books that heavily stereotype their characters, and I stop reading them as soon as I notice it happening.

There’s nothing wrong with a character liking things that are “typical” interests of someone their age, sex, class, race, etc., of course, but it strikes me as odd when most or even all characters in a book fit the stereotypes that have been associated with people like them.

That’s not how folks behave in real life.  I’d much rather read about characters who have been given more time to develop into hopefully well-rounded individuals who resemble the wonderfully complex and sometimes delightfully surprising people I know in real life.


6. 99.99% of self-help books 

I like the idea of personal improvement in book form, but I can think of maybe one or two titles from this genre I’ve ever read that were actually helpful. Many of them are so vague or filled with common sense that I don’t find them useful at all. The ones that deal with serious problems are often talking about subjects that are much easier to tackle with the help of a therapist or support group.


7. 99.99% of World War II stories

Yes, of course it’s important to remember what happened and try to keep something similar from ever happening again, but I have a relative who fought for the Allies in World War II and was traumatized by what he saw in Germany for the rest of his life.

When I see World War II stories being advertised, especially if they’re romances, I think about his struggle with those awful memories and how his pain shaped his life as well as the lives of his descendants (to a lesser extent, of course).

It’s totally fine if other people want to read dozens of fluffy World War II romances if that’s their thing. I simply view that era in a grim light due to how many innocent lives it destroyed and how many people were permanently physically and/or mentally scarred by it.



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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. 🙂 )


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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.



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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.


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