Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: How I Amuse Myself in Waiting Rooms

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.

Four empty red chairs sitting in a row in a waiting room. They are next to a glass wall that shows an empty hallway behind this waiting room. There are fluorescent lights shining in the hallway and a row of windows overlooking outdoors to the left.

Honestly, I tend to play games like Sudoku or Royal Match on my phone when I’m sitting in a waiting room. Cell phones are fantastic for moments like this.

If there’s something about the appointment that makes me feel anxious, games keep me calm before the receptionist calls my name.

Reading a book on my phone can also be distracting if I know it’s going to be a while until they’re ready for me.

Not every waiting room allows cell phones or is a good place to use one, though.

Years ago I had an appointment and was warned in advance that cell phones were not permitted in that building. (It was a passport renewal thing, so security was quite strict about enforcing that rule).

When electronic distractions aren’t allowed or aren’t a good idea for other reasons, I like to people watch. People are fascinating.

I like to pay attention to what others wore that day and how they styled their hair. You might see people dressed very casually and loosely at a doctor’s office, especially if they’re soon going to need to take a certain article of clothing off so the nurse can check their stitches, vaccinate them, or do some other minor medical work.

Body language and tone of voice matter, too. You might hear someone switch between languages as they translate for a loved one or speak a little quieter or louder than necessary because maybe they’re not used to being in a doctor’s office, bank, lawyer’s office, or any other number of places.

Sometimes I silently think of a compliment I’d give to every single person in the room. It could be about their cool shoes, or how they immediately stood up and offered their seat to a stranger who had mobility problems, or anything else I can observe without asking them any questions. (I don’t share these thoughts as I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable!)

I also try to keep track of who arrived there before I did and about how many minutes it has been between each person being called up for their turn. This can give me an estimate of how long my wait time might be if the room is small enough for this sort of mental game.

If there are too many people to keep track of – or if I’m more or less alone in the waiting room – I try to memorize as many details about it as possible using all of my senses. For example, what colour are the chairs? What does the room smell like, if anything? Can I hear any machines being used in the rooms whose doors are closed? Are there any mints at the receptionists’ desk, and would they allow me to take one on my way out?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Titles with Things Found in Nature


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Closeup photo of a snail whose shell has a swirl of black, brown, and white on it. The snail is sitting on a large green leaf. This was a cute idea for a theme, Jessica @ a GREAT read

One of the things I like to do when I go out into nature is to keep an eye out for insects, arachnids, and other similar creatures.

Do I touch them? No, never! While the majority of bugs in southern Canada are not dangerous, we do have a few species that could harm a person if you were bitten or stung by them. Luckily, they are shy and so will happily leave humans alone if we leave them alone. (Well, other than the mosquitos).

I have no desire to remove any of these animals from their homes or disturb them from their search for food, water, or shelter. It’s simply cool to crouch down and see what’s crawling around in the soil or sand beneath my feet.

My answers for today’s prompt will include a variety of small animals you might find out in nature.

1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

2. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millennium, #3) by Stieg Larsson

3.Little Bee by Chris Cleave

4. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema

5. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

6. Firefly Summer by Maeve Binchy

7. Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allburg

8. Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn

9. The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante

10. Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce

 

Do you like any of these creatures?

 

 

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Pets I Wish I Could Have

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 fluffy little white Bichon Frise puppy sitting on a blue and white striped chair. The dog is looking at the audience with an expectant expression on its face. Perhaps it wants a treat?

As cool as reptiles, arachnids, and fish are, I think I’d prefer to have mammals as pets.

Unfortunately, I’m terribly allergic to the vast majority of mammals that are commonly kept as pets.

If pet allergies didn’t exist and I no longer had migraines that restrict what I can do some days, I’d love to have a few furry companions.

Dogs

Dogs can make such wonderful companions in life from what I’ve observed.

They (usually) don’t mind being petted, and some of them will even actively seek out that sort of attention from at least some of the humans in their lives.

Having a dog or two would also encourage me to be more physically active, especially in the winter when going outside honestly doesn’t sound that appealing most days.

From what I’ve read, dogs can be a solitary pet, but many of them enjoy having at least one canine companion around as well. I appreciate that flexibility as some species like Guinea pigs really need to be kept in groups, or at very least in pairs, in order to be happy.

Some dogs are quite intelligent. I’d enjoy teaching them new words or tricks. It would be interesting to see just how much they could learn over the years.

Rabbits

My second answer to this question is rabbits. A photo of three rabbits sitting under the archway of a door and looking serenely out at the world in front of them. Two of the rabbits are light brown, and the third is a wonderful patchwork of light brown, grey, and white fur. There is a grey stone wall behind them and a wooden door frame just a few shades darker than their light brown fur to frame the scene.

I’ve mentioned my love of this species here many times before.

Unlike dogs, they never need to be taken outside for walks.  They can get all of the exercise and mental stimulation they need inside your home if you provide them enough playtime and enrichment activities. This would be a nice bonus when the weather outside is frightful.

They tend to be quiet, albeit sometimes mischievous, creatures. I like how independent they can be, especially since they generally do best with at least one other rabbit around for companionship. There’s nothing like watching two or more rabbits play together or try to eat the same piece of hay. I’d have hours of entertainment from quietly observing them.

Rabbits are less likely to want to be petted than a dog would be, but it can still happen if you build a trusting relationship with them. I’m a peaceful and patient person, so we’d be a good match there as well.

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Superpowers I Wish I Had


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Two fluffy little white dogs, who are possibly Yorkshire terriers, are standing in an all-white room next to each other. The dog on the left is wearing a yellow cape and the dog on the right is wearing a red cape. They look like fuzzy little superheroes!Since Cathy @WhatCathyReadNext submitted this topic, I’ll bet her answers to this question will be fantastic.

Here are my answers.

1. Remembering the names of secondary characters.

Main character names are easy for me to remember, but this isn’t always the case for characters who only show up occasionally. I will probably remember that they have a horse or that they love tea, though, even if I don’t recall their name!

 

2. Instantly knowing if a book will be five-star read for me.

Sometimes I know within the first page, but in other cases it takes me until the final sentence to realize just how perfect a story was for my tastes.

What’s interesting about this is that there have been some authors who have written one (or maybe a few) five-star reads for me but whose other books don’t affect me the same way.

 

3. Instantly knowing if a book will be a five-star read for someone else. 

I can generally make an educated guess for people in my inner circle, but reading tastes are such personal things that I really try not to recommend something unless I know the person well and am pretty sure it will be a hit.

 

4. Encouraging certain authors to finally publish those sequels!

No, I will not be naming any names here as I don’t want anyone to feel pressured or put on the spot. It would simply be wonderful to know what some of my favourite characters have been up to.

 

5. Reading descriptions of food and not getting hungry.

Don’t get me wrong – I love passages that describe what characters are eating if it’s relevant to the plot and/or the meals in their world sound amazing.

I would simply like to read those scenes without my stomach suddenly thinking it needs a snack when it was perfectly content and not at all hungry five minutes ago. Why do bodies do this?

 

6. Being able to write “If You Like This, Read That” posts easily

Some of you Top Ten Tuesday bloggers are amazing at thinking of similar books that might both appeal to the same reader. You make it look effortless, and I wish I had your talent in this area. Please make a TED Talk for the rest of us or something. Ha.

 

7. Having more patience with slow plots 

When I was a teenager, I would savour books that took a long time to get to their point.  It was an easy and free way to enjoy long summer days when not much else was happening.

Now that I am an adult, I generally DNF anything that moves slowly unless the writing is exquisite. I’m sure I’m missing out on some fabulous stories, but I simply don’t have the time or patience these days to wait 10o+ pages for interesting stuff to start happening.

 

8. Commenting more often on other blogs

I tend to let them build up in my RSS feed until I have a nice big block of time to get through everything at once.

This means that the bloggers I follow will occasionally be surprised by a flurry of comments from me, some of which are on posts that are weeks old…or sometimes even older than that.

I hope that is amusing to them, and I am trying not to do this quite so often.

 

9. Having advance knowledge of which new-to-me authors will be future favourites.

I put genuine effort into trying authors from a wide variety of backgrounds, genres, and writing styles.

This leads to a lot of really interesting outcomes:

  • I DNF their work and probably never read them again
  • I realize that book X might be perfect for person Y in my life even if it’s not to my personal tastes
  • I finish their book and keep an eye out for their future work without making them a must-read author
  • They’re instantly added to my short list of must-read authors.

Among many other options. As much as I usually enjoy this process, sometimes I wish there were a faster way to narrow down all of the authors out there into the small percentage of them that are perfect for a specific reader.

 

10. Becoming the newest bestselling author.

If only!

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What’s New in My Life Lately

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.

The phrase “open to new opportunities” is written in chalk on a black chalkboard. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone celebrating it today!

Here is what is new in my life lately:

Festivus Geekiatum

Last October, Long and Short Reviews released a Wednesday Weekly Blogging topic about which new holidays participants would like to invent.

My friend Michael Mock responded to that question by inventing Festivus Geekiatum:

Festivus Geekiatum is a day to indulge your favorite interests. Work on that knitting project, watch that anime, re-read that favorite book, perform in — or attend — that one play. Reconnect with your hobbies, re-engage your interests, work on your projects.

I will be participating in this on February 26 and am talking about this in advance in case anyone else would like to join in on the fun.

Career Change

I’m gearing up for a career change and job hunting in the near future.

If any of my readers happen to excel at job hunting, interviews, or making career changes and have experience doing so within the last few years, advice is appreciated.

For everyone else, I’d love some good vibes and encouragement if you have any to spare.

It will be interesting to see how this goes.

Getting Back Into Exercising

I started feeling sick around New Year’s Day. My cough eventually lead to me developing costochrondritis, a benign but uncomfortable inflammation and injury to the chest wall. My covid tests were all negative, and I did have covid and flu boosters last autumn. Whatever bug I picked up in late December was not a fun way to begin this year by any means.

Exercise other than the occasional slow walk was really difficult because every sort of movement hurts when you have this condition: breathing too deeply, coughing, laughing, carrying anything heavier than a pound or two, sneezing, bending over, rolling over in bed, etc.

The good news is that this is something that generally heals on its own with rest, patience, and ibuprofen as needed. I am just now trying to slowly increase the speed and length of my walks when possible.

Not exercising at all for well over a month was a huge change for me as I was previously someone who enjoyed 30 minutes of formal exercise most days of the week (weightlifting, kickboxing, dancing, etc.) and then usually another 30-ish minutes of brisk walking that was usually broken up into a few minutes here and there as I walked to errands, appointments, and other necessities of life.

So I am really looking forward to being able to get back into my old workout routines. I miss them so much.

That’s about it for me at the moment. I look forward to hearing about what’s new with everyone else.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Chocolate


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Chocolate cupcakes covered in chocolate frosting and little white or pink candy hearts. While trying to decide what to blog about for this year’s Valentine’s Day freebie post, I took a look back at the topics I selected for it in previous years: Bookish Romantic Quotes, Conversation Hearts on Book Covers, Helpful Nonfiction Books About Relationships, and Books I Liked About Asexual Characters.

Yeah, so I am not exactly the most romantic person in the world.

What I do like about Valentine’s Day, though, are the chocolates and the sales of leftover Valentine’s Day chocolates that will be happening in about two days.

There is nothing like getting a little package of sweets for 50% off the day after the holiday! They somehow taste just a little better that way if you ask me.

Here are some books about chocolate that would make me hungry.

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1) by Roald Dahl

2. The Healthy Chocoholic: Over 60 healthy chocolate recipes free of gluten & dairy by Dawn J. Parker

3. Decadent Cake Ball Recipes: Pretty Little Treats for Many Occasions by April Blomgren

4. Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World’s Greatest Chocolate Makers by Deborah Cadbury

5. Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert by Michael Krondl

6. Chocolate: A Global History by Sarah Moss

7. S’more Cookbook: Tasty Creative S’more Recipes by Stephanie Sharp

8. Best-Ever Book Of Chocolate by Christine McFadden

9. Chocolate-Covered Katie: Over 80 Delicious Recipes That Are Secretly Good for You by Katie Higgins

10. Chocolate Cookbooks for You 50 Valentine Chocolate Recipes Valentine Cookbook by Victoria Braze

11. Vegan Desserts: Make your own vegan desserts at home by Stephanie Sharp

12. Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover’s Soul: Indulging Our Sweetest Moments by Mark Victor Hansen

13. Hot Chocolate: Rich and Indulgent Winter Drinks by Hannah Miles

14.The Diabetic Chocolate Cookbook by Mary Jane Finsand

 

Yes, I had more than ten answers this week. This will help to balance out the weeks when I only have four or five answers. That’s how it works, right? Jana combs through all of our posts and averages out how many replies we come up with for her secret database or something? Ha!

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A Review of Who’s Haunting Whom

Book cover for Who’s Haunting Whom: A Ghost Story by Kenny Wayne. Image on cover shows two figures standing outdoors at night in front of an eerie blue-green light. The figures are wearing hooded cloaks and appear to be bending over to look at something, but it’s too dark to tell who or what they may be inspecting. Title: Who’s Haunting Whom

Author: Kenny Wayne

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: January 30, 2020

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 20 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Paranormal investigators, with years of experience, are called to the scene of a haunting. That’s their job and they do it well, but this time they’re just not sure Who’s Haunting Whom.

Fred Madison once experienced a life changing event… a haunting. That one event changed the course of his life. He now owns the Madison Paranormal Investigations Agency. His mission in life is to gather irrefutable evidence of the existence of ghosts and to help those that are being tormented by hauntings.

Harley Stinson has been around the block a few times himself. He has had his own experiences with ghosts and has worked with Fred ever since his first sighting.

Experienced as they both are, they have never experienced anything like the case they are about to undertake.

What if the homeowners that hired them aren’t whom they appear to be? What if the ghosts they’re supposed to remove aren’t whom they appear to be?

You’ll enjoy this short ghostly tale as you follow along with the investigators in their attempt to determine exactly what’s going on.

Review:

Content Warning: accidental death

Without trust they’ll have almost nothing at all.

I enjoyed the way this tale played around with the reader’s expectations of what was going on. Anyone who is well-read in the paranormal genre will probably be able to figure out what was happening early on, but putting those clues together was only the first step. Knowing why certain characters behaved the way they did was even more important and it took extra effort to untangle. People are endlessly interesting, and they were what made this worth reading in my opinion.

Linda Morgan, one of Fred and Harley’s clients, had a phobia that overshadowed the first scene but then was never mentioned again. I was confused by why something like this would be included if it wasn’t actually relevant to what was happening in that strange little house. There was a lot of space here to flesh out both her character as well as the storyline itself, so it was disappointing to me as a reader when it fizzled out instead.

The relationships between Fred and his employees was also well worth exploring. He seemed to have subconsciously arranged them in a particular order that did not always line up with how useful I thought they might be as he attempted to figure out what was actually happening with this case. As much as I would have liked to dive more deeply into the assumptions he made about which people would be most helpful, I also thought that leaving those moments the way they were revealed a lot about Fred’s character in both positive and negative ways. On the one hand, he was a decisive person, while on the other he was someone who could be too quick to brush an employee off if they didn’t fit his mental image of who he thought should be exploring that home. If the author ever decides to write a sequel, this would be a great mixture of traits to explore even more deeply.

Who’s Haunting Whom was a fun twist on the paranormal genre.

 

 

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Things I Like to Do on Stormy Days

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 woman playfully blowing snow out of her hands. She is wearing thick gloves and a warm hat and coat while standing in the woods in winter, so the effect is lighthearted and she doesn’t look the least bit cold. Winters here in Ontario have been milder than usual these past few years. When we do get cold, stormy weather, here are some of the things I like to do to amuse myself during them:

Read

This one is pretty obvious, and I’m betting most of you are going to mention it, too.

 

Play in the Snow for About 20 Minutes.

I love being an outdoorsy person when the weather is mild, but not so much when it’s painfully cold or hot outside. So about 20 minutes of building a snowman or walking around to admire the beauty of winter is my idea of a good time before I go back indoors to warm up.

 

Watch Movies

I think that psychological horror films are a great match for snowy winter days when it’s far too blustery to be outdoors if you don’t have to be.

There’s something delicious about getting scared silly while the wind beats against your window. It’s so easy to imagine there might really be a monster lurking out there just beyond the blur of the storm, after all!

If I’m watching movies with someone who doesn’t like anything scary at all, other genres like historical, documentaries, or comedies can work perfectly nicely, too. Just don’t ask me to watch anything involving people being cold.

Hypothermia isn’t something I like to think about when the weather outside is frightful. Let’s find something lighthearted, educational, or thought provoking instead.

 

Cook or Bake Food 

I prefer making warm, hearty things like soup, stew, chili, roasted vegetables,  banana bread, or chocolate chip cookies during winter storms. There’s nothing like slowly noticing your home filling up with delicious scents on a stormy day.

 

A black woman dancing joyfully while listening to something on her headphones. She’s wearing jeans and a pink t-shirt. Dance

Am I a good dancer? Heh, not really, but I love learning new dance routines through the magic of the Internet. You don’t have to be good at something in order to enjoy it, after all.

This is a nice way to get some exercise in when you’re stuck indoors all day, and it’s a great way to pass the time as well if you see the snow piling up outdoors and start feeling restless.

I’ll dance to all sorts of types of music, but I find that hip-hop, Bollywood, and Zumba-style dances tend to get my heart pumping the best.

So if I’m dancing as my exercise routine for the day, I tend to start with those styles because I have specific goals about reaching certain heartbeat rates that I try to meet for my cardio workouts.

If it’s just for fun, anything will do. Every sort of dance is a good sort in my book!

 

Play Board Games, Card Games, or Do Jigsaw Puzzles

There are some games I try to save for days when the weather is bad or when I have a cold and need something quiet to do as I recover.

Bodies need exercise, and so does your mind! I’m perfectly happy to play games of luck that don’t require any thinking, too, but I also enjoy the challenge of solving a puzzle or figuring out who killed Professor Plum in the conservatory and what weapon they used as well.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Quick Reads


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A photo of a water-damaged, possibly mold-encrusted book lying opened up to the world on a flat grey stone outdoors. It appears to me that someone did this in order to help the pages dry, and they are drying stiffly and with some pages sticking straight up. Looking at this makes me wonder if the book will be readable again! What a great topic idea, Jennifer @ FunkNFiction.com and Angela @ Reading Frenzy. 

I love short stories, novellas, and other short reads! They always seem to float to the top of my TBR list and comprise most of what I review on this blog because I don’t think they always get as much attention as they should have.

My first few answers will be of some of my recent reviews and the rest will be of older short works that I thought were well done.

Whenever possible, I have included a link to the full text stories I’m discussing here so that you can all enjoy them, too.

1. Is Neurocide the Same As Genocide? And Other Dangerous Ideas (Spiral Worlds) by Alexandra Almeida

What I Liked About It: The ethical dilemma it introduced was interesting and did not have any easy answers. If only the brain mapping technology described in this tale actually existed.

 

2. The Girls in Red by BB Wrenne (My review for this one is scheduled for February 15)

What I Liked About It:  It retold a classic fairy tale that I have seen very few recent retellings of. It’s always nice when that happens.

 

3. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

What I Liked About It:  The main character was sympathetic and the message is something modern audiences still need to take heed of.

 

4. The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin

What I Liked About It: The surprise at the end. Some of you may already be aware of why Omelas is such a peaceful city, but anyone who does not will be in for quite the read. I still daydream about this tale sometimes and wonder what happened to the main character after the final scene.

 

5. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

What I Liked About It: Goodness, how do I describe this one without giving away spoilers? Let’s just say that it’s not quite the idyllic setting it might first appear to be and it can be excellent fodder for a spirited discussion after you finish it if you like that sort of thing.

 

6. Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

What I Liked About It: There was a strong sense of justice woven into the main character, and I admired his willingness to help others even when it put his own reputation and livelihood on the line.

 

7. A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

What I Liked About It: Someday I will stop gushing about the Monk & Robot series, but today is not that day. I adore how peaceful it is and how well most of the people in this universe get along not with each other but with nature and animals as well. Wouldn’t it be incredible to create such a harmonious society in real life?

 

8. Foster by Claire Keegan

What I Liked About It: The realism and honesty of it all. This read like it could be been based on real events that were written down by the main character many decades after her experience living with childless relatives for a few months while her mother recovered from giving birth. I didn’t want this one to end.

 

9. A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

What I Liked About It: This picture book (which reads more like a short story) was so encouraging and kind. I’d love to read a novel about these characters a few decades later when the little girl is grown up.

 

10. Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary

What I Liked About It: I read some of the books in this series as a kid but outgrew them before the last ones came out. It was wonderful to finally go back and finish it a couple of years ago. Ramona was as creative and impulsive as ever!

I can’t wait to see everyone else’s answers.

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Series I Wish Had Just One More Books in Them

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.

I have two answers to this week’s question. The first is from a classic series and the second is from a modern one.

The Chronicles of Narnia

A silhoutte of Aslan walking with the four Pevensie children, Mrs. And Mrs. Beaver, and the Mr. Tumnus the faun in lockstep behind him. All of these characters are from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When I was a kid, my uncle gave me his old, complete set of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books, and I reread those stories over and over again for many years. Can I assume that a spoiler tag isn’t necessary for a more than 70-year-old series?  Skip the next two paragraphs if you believe that this isn’t enough time yet to talk about how it ends.  😉

One thing I strongly disliked about the plot was the way Susan was treated. All of the other main characters end up in the Narnian version of heaven in the end, even folks who made terrible choices earlier on. But Susan is left behind in our world to deal with the overwhelming grief of simultaneously losing her parents, siblings, and a few dear friends because she was growing up and becoming interested in parties and makeup instead of reminiscing about her childhood adventures.

That ending made me so angry when I was a kid. Of course she moved on to other interests as she grew older. Literally everyone does that, and most of us tend to do it multiple times throughout life. It’s completely normal. If certain other characters could betray everyone in their group and still be forgiven, she should have been forgiven for what I see as a much milder offence that could easily be chalked up to her being a teenager who was trying to figure out what adulthood might look like for her and who would have almost certainly circled back to Narnia once she was a little older.

C.S. Lewis should have written one final book to redeem Susan’s character arc and give her the happy ending she deserved. If one of you invents a time machine, I will volunteer to go back to the 1950s and talk him into it.

Monk & Robot Series

I’ve discussed this solarpunk series by Becky Chambers here in at least one previous Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge post, but let’s dive into it again.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy are still the only two instalments of it. They follow a monk named Sibling Dex who lives in a utopian future called Panga where humanity lives in harmony with nature (and mostly with each other as well). People occupy some of the land, but the rest is left to grow into lush forests, marshes, or whatever other sorts of environments the local climate can support without any interference from humans.

A photo of an incredibly dense and thick forest that looks like it’s never had a human walk through it. The trees are growing so closely together that their leaves block out much of the sun. Some light trickles down into the forest, but the forest floor is almost as black as night. Sibling Dex breaks the rules of their society by venturing out into one of those dark, healthy, thick forests one day to see what they might find there.

I won’t share any spoilers about what might be lurking out there since these novellas are only a few years old, but I will say that I adored the world-building and character development of them.  They’re gentle but deep and so rewarding once you pause to think about all of the new details that slowly emerge about how nice it is to live in Panga.

We desperately need another instalment of Sibling Dex’s adventures in my opinion. There are still so many facets of this world that need to be explored. Honestly, I’m hoping there will be at least two or three more books to come without any time machines or persuasion needed, but even one would suffice!

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