Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters I’d Like to Meet

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

All of the characters I’ll be talking about this week are from TV shows. I’m starting with the oldest show and ending with the most current one. Let’s see if any of you were or are also fans of them!

Lucy Lawless as Xena

My family didn’t have cable – or sometimes even a TV at all – when I was a young kid. As soon as that rule was gradually relaxed in the mid-1990s, I discovered Xena: Warrior Princess and fell in love with her campy plots and amusing takes on Greek mythology. It sure would be fun to hang out with her for a while and see what she thought of twenty-first century life.

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Dana Scully

Yes, The X-Files technically started a few years before Xena did, but I didn’t become interested in the adventures of Scully and Mulder until I was in college.

What I liked the most about Scully was her insistence that everything she and her partner investigated must have a rational explanation. As someone who was and is sometimes prone to worrying and leaping to conclusions, I always appreciated the reminder to stick to the facts until I know for sure what is going on.

COMMUNITY — “Intro to Statistics” Episode 106 — Pictured: (l-r) Donald Glover as Troy, Danny Pudi as Abed — NBC Photo: Chris Haston

Community is the funniest comedy I’ve ever watched. Troy and Abed were two characters in it who, among other hijinks, hosted a pretend morning show together for the sheer joy of using their imaginations.

Their personalities complemented each other beautifully. No matter what problems they faced – whether real or imaginary – they always found a funny way to deal with them. I’d be a guest on their pretend morning show in a heartbeat!

 

Simu Liu as Jung Kim

Kim’s Convenience is a hilarious comedy that’s set right here in Toronto and is still releasing new seasons. It follows the four members of the Kim family as the younger generation enters the workforce and their parents continue to adjust to the many cultural differences between Canada and Korea.

Jung, the oldest child and only son, dropped out of high school and got into some trouble as a teenager much to the chagrin of his parents. Now that he’s an adult, he’s working at a car rental shop and trying to piece his life back together. I love seeing the relationship between him and his family evolve in this show. He seems like he’d be a very interesting guy to meet, especially since the show writers have yet to go into a lot of details about what happened to him when he was a teenager.

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring 2019 TBR

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Most of the new books I read come from the local library, so what I’m planning to read next at any given point all depends on  how long the wait lists are for titles and how close I am to the top of the lists for the really popular ones.

I hope to read all of these books eventually. Whether that happens this spring or later in the year is anyone’s guess at this point!

1. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King

My family didn’t watch a lot of TV when I was a kid, but Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was always on the short list of approved shows. I’ve been waiting forever to read this biography of him. Hopefully, it will turn up soon.

2. Not One of Us by Neil Clark

All I know is that this is an anthology of stories about aliens and first encounters between us and them. That alone is enough to pique my interest!

3. Ask: Building Consent Culture by Kitty Stryker

I love hugging and cuddling with friends and relatives so much that sometimes I wonder if I were a Labrador Retriever in a previous lifetime. Ha!  Not everyone is a hugger like me, so I always get permission first before touching folks. I’ll usually wait until I get to know someone well before platonically snuggling up to them just to make sure they’re really okay with that sort of affection. This book is about why consent is so important and how we can build a world where people feel free to say no or yes to all sorts of experiences. I can’t wait to read it.

4. A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver

Sadly, Ms. Oliver died earlier this year. I’ve slowly been reading her poems ever since then. She had such a simple and accessible way of describing the world that her poems are often what I recommend to people who haven’t had any good experiences with this genre so far. What a wonderful writer she was.

5. Slayer by Kiersten White

Some of you Top Ten Tuesday bloggers have given this book rave reviews. You’re only making me more excited to read it! I might have to go rewatch all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again while I’m waiting for the library to tell me that my copy of it is available now.

6. Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem by Joseph Burgo

This spring I want to build my self-esteem and confidence by, among other things, taking risks and trying new things. I’m thinking this book might help, too. Have any of you read it?

7. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this book in previous Top Ten Tuesday posts. No exaggeration, there are almost 200 other people waiting ahead of me before I’ll get a chance to borrow it from the library. In the meantime, I’ll remain patient and hope the Toronto Pubilc Library orders more copies of it soon. It’s awesome that Angie Thomas is getting so much love from her fans, though! She deserves every ounce of it.

8. Little Dancer Aged Fourteen: The Truth Behind Degas’ Masterpiece by Camille Laurens

As those of you who have followed this blog for a while already know, I love history and art. The thought of combining those two interests together into an exploration of the life of the real-life model for a famous painting fills my heart with joy. I can’t wait to find out who this little dancer was and what her life was like.

9. Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets and Honeybees, The Natural History of Where We Live by Robb Dunn.

I’m both fascinated by the number of species that share living spaces with humans and a little grossed out by it.

10. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer

I feel like I might have blogged about this anthology before. It’s something I’ve been waiting a very long time to read, and I’m finally almost at the top of the library wait list for it. Is it time to start getting excited yet?

What are all of you looking forward to reading this spring? Were there any similarities between our lists this week?

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Day in My Life

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

 

A Day in My Life

I’m a writer, so my days start with me checking email and my to-do list.

Since I’m at the tail-end of recovering from a foot injury, I haven’t been been able to exercise too much over the last several weeks. Normally, I’d either lift weights or do about 20 minutes of cardio exercise in the morning to get my blood flowing, and I’m trying to gently get back into those habits as my foot finishes healing.

Several days of the week I do some online volunteer work that involves reviewing books and writing guest posts. I like to switch between working on that stuff and writing my own stories and blog posts. If I can’t figure out what should happen to one of my characters next, writing a review might help. And vice versa!

Right now I’m looking into finding another volunteer gig that would involve interacting with people in person for a few hours a week. I love what I do, but I also think it would be good for me to get out of the house a little more often. The combination of winter and having a foot injury that restricted how much walking I could do – especially on slippery surfaces –  was tough at times, to be honest with all of you. I’m glad I’m healing and am looking forward to socializing more with friends and loved ones in the near future.

During the rest of the year, afternoons or evenings are a great time to go outside for fresh air and more exercise. This could be as simple as a walk around the block or to run a few quick errands in my neighbourhood, but it occasionally involves longer periods of time spent in nature if we’re having truly beautiful weather that day. (My husband works from home, too, so we’re quite lucky to have this kind of flexibility).

The Eastern Ravine at High Park. Photo credit: Rokker.

Toronto is filled with parks of all sizes, from tiny little scraps of leftover land just big enough for a bench and a couple of small trees to urban forests like Toronto Island or High Park that have walking trails, pretty picnic spots, beaches, public pools, adventurous capybaras that occasionally escape from the free zoo, and so much more. No, that is not a joke. It really happened, and it was big news here for a while.

Since it’s not quite warm enough outside yet to do one of those longer visits to nature, here are some TV shows I really like to watch later on in the day:

  • Modern Family
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • The Orville
  • The Good Place
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • The Magicians

Keeping up with these programs has been the source of a lot of joy for me this past month! I’m so grateful for them.

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Standalone Books That Need a Sequel

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Last year, I wrote a (non-Top-Ten-Tuesday) post about books that need prequels. Today, I’ll be talking about some standalone books that need sequels. This list is shorter than usual because of how many authors and publishers are eager to publish sequels to stories that do well. There simply aren’t a lot of books that I wish had sequels. Hopefully, some of you will have longer lists.

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

While I loved the ending of this book, I couldn’t help but to hope we’d hear more from Starr again. The resolutions to her problems were incredibly realistic, but they also left a lot of room for speculating about how or if they might shift again in the future. What can I say? I wanted a happier ended than the one we got, and I’m still holding out home that it might happen someday. (The film is still on my to-be-watched list, so maybe it was different? Please don’t give me spoilers if they changed the ending!)

2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda, the main character, had been through something so awful she couldn’t even talk about it. I loved getting to know her sweet, creative personality and slowly uncovering the cause of her pain. She was a lovely person, and I sure would like to see what she was like a few years or decades after this terrible time in her life.

Skip the sentence below this paragraph if you want to avoid all spoilers. Keep reading if you prefer to know about potentially triggering subject matter ahead of time .

This book is about rape and the long-term traumatic effects of that crime. I was caught off-guard by that plot twist, so I feel obligated to let other potential readers know about it.

3. Bridge to Terabithia  by Katherine Paterson

The friendship between Jess (the main character) and his neighbour, Lesie is something I still think about to this day. While the ending to this tale was well done, I’d sure like to see what life was like for the characters decades later. There’s so much room for growth here.

4. Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Imagine what it would be like if your father tried to marry you off when you were fourteen! I was a kid when I read this book, so I knew very little about the cultural norms of the 1200s in Europe (or anywhere else for that matter). Birdy’s story is something that has stuck with me for years, and I’d love to find out what happened to her after the events of the final scenes.

5. 1984 by George Orwell

1984 was about a man living in a harsh, totalitarian society who tried to figure out a way to escape it. I had a lot of mixed feelings about the ending even though it fit the tone of this tale well. It would be so interesting to revisit this universe a few decades later to see what might have changed in it.

6. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

There were so many unanswered questions about the other flat Coraline discovered. How long has it existed? Why was it created? Will anyone else ever become endangered by it?

A sequel would be the perfect place to answer these questions.

What standalone books do you all wish would have sequels?

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Hobby and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

 I talk about my love of reading and writing all of the time this blog, so I’m going to branch out and talk about some of the other stuff in this world that makes me happy. Oh, and I’m bending the rules and talking about two different topics because it was impossible to pick between them.

Board, Video, and Role-Playing Games

If we were all sitting together in a room and didn’t have Internet access, I’d probably ask everyone if they wanted to play Clue, Scrabble, or Life. There’s something so relaxing to me about the simplicity and predictability of them. I see playing board games as a chance to bond with friends, so I’d much rather spend my time chatting between turns than trying to remember a complex set of rules.

When I was a kid, my favourite video game was Pharaoh. It was a city-building game set in various points of Egyptian history. I loved deciding where my characters should build a pyramid and planning out the designs of my cities.

These days, I spend my video game time building homes, digging mines, and fighting monsters in Minecraft. As long as no monsters sneak up on me while I’m working, it’s a very relaxing way to end a day.

A few months ago, I started playing Dungeons and Dragons occasionally, but I don’t know enough about that topic yet to go into much detail about it. It’s far more complicated than I ever would have imagined!

Why do I love games so much? Well, most of the ones I play ask you to use your imagination. There are very few things in this world that I find more interesting than needing to do that.

Fitness

I’m a weightlifter. It’s a form of exercise I first tried about four years ago, and it’s made me feel so good to grow stronger as a result of this hobby. I’m a short and petite woman, so every bit of strength I gain makes a huge difference in how I look, how I feel, and what I’m capable of doing.

Walking outdoors – preferably as close to nature as I can get to as a city person – is another fitness activity that I really enjoy. I originally tried to get into running, but I found that long, brisk walks were much more my speed. I like being able to take in my surroundings and notice that squirrel darting up a tree or a neighbour’s dog playing fetch in the distance.

Talking about this is making me very glad that spring is around the corner. I can’t wait to go to the park again.

Why do I love working out so much? Well, it makes me feel really good. I get an endorphin rush from cardiovascular exercise, and I really like the way weightlifting improves my life. There’s something thrilling about picking up a heavy laundry basket or bag of groceries and realizing that they feel a little lighter than they did the last time you needed to do that chore. It’s almost like gaining a superpower!

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

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to Switch Places With

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl My list this week is going to include several characters from TV shows. All of these shows have had books or graphic novels written about them, though, so they still fit the criteria for Top Ten Tuesday. 1. Biff from Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Fictional Worlds I’d Rather Not Visit

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Now that you all know about the fictional places I would like to visit, it’s time to take the opposite approach to this question. Here is my list of places I’ve read about in stories but would never want to see for myself. To see how everyone else responded… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Places Mentioned in Books That I’d Like to Visit

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl One of the coolest things about this week’s prompt is how nicely it complements tomorrow’s prompt for the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge. Today I’m going to be talking about places mentioned in books that I would like to visit, and then tomorrow I’ll get to talk about fictional places… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What to Read to Learn About Canadian History

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. To the best of my knowledge, I’m currently the only Canadian who participates in the Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge. (If I’m wrong about that, please do speak up!)  I thought it would be interesting to share some of my favourite books about our history with everyone else. Let’s begin… Read More