Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Topics I Could Give an Impromptu Speech On

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.

I could give impromptu speeches on any of these topics.

anadian flag on a flagpole blowing in the breeze. The sky behind the flag is bright blue and cloudless. Navigating the Canadian Immigration System. I’d discuss everything from filling out the many pages of paperwork for it, to adjusting to Canadian culture, to how long it took me to go through each stage of the process.

Thriving with Food and Environmental Allergies. I’d probably focus on travelling with allergies in particular as that’s something that took me the longest amount of time to adjust to.

Writing a Fair, Honest Review. There is skill involved in reviewing a book, film, or other piece of media in such a way that readers have a clear understanding what did and didn’t work for you. Their opinions of it may or may not be the same, but they should at least know exactly why you gave it the rating that you did.

Developing a Social Media Calendar. Keeping an audience’s attention is also a skill. I love the challenge of figuring out what they respond best to.

Top Ten Tuesday: Should I Buy These Books?

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Technically, this week’s prompt was “Books I Bought/Borrowed Because…”. I tweaked it to better fit my reading patterns since almost all of my reading material is borrowed from the library.

I’ll share the titles and blurbs from some books I’m thinking about buying this spring while remaining in social isolation due to the pandemic we’re all dealing with. None of these books are available at my local library, and the library frankly can’t keep up with my reading needs these days! Perhaps some of you could tell me which of these titles I should buy first?

The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone book cover. Image on cover shows a girl riding on a snow dragon.

The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone


In Griselda Bone’s gloomy orphanage, daydreaming is banned, skipping is forbidden and Christmas is well and truly cancelled. But for Phoebe and her sausage dog Herb, is it possible that, just when things seem at their bleakest, magic awaits in the swirling, snow-filled air?Wicked Nix by Lena Coakley book cover. Image on cover is of cottage in the woods. A child is sitting on a tree branch breathing in the smoke from the cottage.




Wicked Nix by Lena Coakley

Mischievous woodland fairy Nix is up to no good. His beloved fairy queen has gone away, leaving him with a very important job: He must protect the forest from a most dangerous enemy—humans.

When a determined invader trespasses on his territory, Nix’s skills are put to the test as he invents several wicked tricks to chase the sorry fellow away. But when his efforts don’t go quite according to plan, it becomes clear that this intruder—and this sprite—may not be at all what they seem.

The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright book cover. Image on cover is of a sheer curtain blowing in front a wooden chair in a crumbling room. The Curse of Misty Wayfair by Jaime Jo Wright

Left at an orphanage as a child, Thea Reed vowed to find her mother someday. Now grown, her search takes her to Pleasant Valley, Wisconsin, in 1908. When clues lead her to a mental asylum, Thea uses her experience as a post-mortem photographer to gain access and assist groundskeeper Simeon Coyle in photographing the patients and uncovering the secrets within. However, she never expected her personal quest would reawaken the legend of Misty Wayfair, a murdered woman who allegedly haunts the area and whose appearance portends death.

A century later, Heidi Lane receives a troubling letter from her mother–who is battling dementia–compelling her to travel to Pleasant Valley for answers to her own questions of identity. When she catches sight of a ghostly woman who haunts the asylum ruins in the woods, the long-standing story of Misty Wayfair returns–and with it, Heidi’s fear for her own life.

As two women across time seek answers about their identities and heritage, can they overcome the threat of the mysterious curse that has them inextricably intertwined?

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo

What I Carry by Jennifer Longo book cover. Image on cover is of stylized drawings of plants in blue, green, purple, and yellow hues.Growing up in foster care, Muir has lived in many houses. And if she’s learned one thing, it is to Pack. Light. Carry only what fits in a suitcase.

Toothbrush? Yes. Socks? Yes. Emotional attachment to friends? foster families? a boyfriend? Nope! There’s no room for any additional baggage.

Muir has just one year left before she ages out of the system. One year before she’s free. One year to avoid anything–or anyone–that could get in her way.

Then she meets Francine. And Kira. And Sean.

And everything changes.

Hyperlink from Hell: A Couch Potato’s Guide to the Afterlife by Lindy Moone

Hyperlink from Hell: A Couch Potato's Guide to the Afterlife by Lindy Moone book cover. Image on cover is of bats flying around a belfry.

Murder haunts The Haven, celebrity James Canning’s home since he lost touch with Reality TV. What’s his “shrink” to do? Assign writing therapy, of course. But when the good doc reads Canning’s memoir, Hyperlink from Hell, he checks into his own padded suite and Canning disappears. To save the doc from madness, The Haven’s new director must analyze the hell out of Hyperlink from Hell. Is Canning’s tale of kidnapping, murder, time travel and wardrobe malfunction fact or fiction, deceit or delusion? Can she solve the murders, save her boss and find Canning? Or will she need a padded suite of her own?

“Hyperlink from Hell: A Couch Potato’s Guide to the Afterlife” isn’t just the latest of the funny vampire books. It’s the great American mystery… in hyperdrive.

Defying Doomsday by Tsana Dolchva

Defying Doomsday by Tsana Dolchva book cover. Image on cover is of a woman with a robotic leg walking towards strangers on a cracked, barren landscape. Teens form an all-girl band in the face of an impending comet.

A woman faces giant spiders to collect silk and protect her family.

New friends take their radio show on the road in search of plague survivors.

A man seeks love in a fading world.

How would you survive the apocalypse?

Defying Doomsday is an anthology of apocalypse fiction featuring disabled and chronically ill protagonists, proving it’s not always the “fittest” who survive – it’s the most tenacious, stubborn, enduring and innovative characters who have the best chance of adapting when everything is lost.

In stories of fear, hope and survival, this anthology gives new perspectives on the end of the world, from authors Corinne Duyvis, Janet Edwards, Seanan McGuire, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Stephanie Gunn, Elinor Caiman Sands, Rivqa Rafael, Bogi Takács, John Chu, Maree Kimberley, Octavia Cade, Lauren E Mitchell, Thoraiya Dyer, Samantha Rich, and K Evangelista.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Book Series and Why

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.

Hominids book cover by Robert J. Sawyer. Image on cover shows a picture of a neanderthal and a homo sapien.It was tough to narrow this down to only one answer, but I’m going to have to go with Robert J. Sawyer’s Neanderthal Parallax trilogy.

This series showed what happened when a link was established between our Earth and an Earth in a parallel universe where Homo sapiens went extinct and Neanderthals survived until present day.

Readers who have followed my site for a while may remember how much I enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction about the different human and human-like species that have lived on Earth.

What made this series even more interesting were the many cultural differences between us and Neanderthals.

If you picked out two humans on our Earth who had the least in common as far as language, culture, and life experience goes, they’d still be miles ahead when compared to introducing a Neanderthal to a Homo sapiens in this series.

To give a few of the least surprising examples, Neanderthals in this series have remained hunter-gatherers, have no farms or other formal agricultural systems, do not have a monetary economy, have no concept of religion or a belief in any supernatural being, and have a rate of serious crime that is all but non-existent.

Honestly, the world building is the most unique one I’ve ever seen. I can’t recommend it highly enough for that reason alone.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

1. If you visit a new city, you immediately look for the nearest bookstore or library.

2. If you’ve ever taken a cruise, packing enough reading material is more important than remembering that extra outfit or having room for a souvenir.

3.You quote your favourite books without necessarily mentioning where those quotes came from.

4.You get excited when you meet someone who enjoys the same genre(s) you do.

5. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, you ask for new reading material when loved ones ask you what they can do to make your stay more comfortable.

photo of woman lying down on a stone wall while holding the pages of a book open.

6. You give baby-friendly board books as presents to families with new babies.

7. You’ve dreamt about your favourite characters or worlds.

8.Your local librarian recognizes you when they see you somewhere other than the library.

9. If you use online dating sites, your love of books is mentioned somewhere in your profile and you screen new potential partners at least in part based by whether or not they’re a reader.

10. Your pets get to have a story time, too.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Things to Do in the Spring

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.

I’ve been looking forward to this prompt for weeks. Spring is my favourite season, and it’s the nicest time of year in Ontario in my opinion! Some of the things on this list aren’t currently an option this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and how much Toronto has been shut down to contain the spread of it, but my hope is that I can do all of these things next spring.

But all of items on this list are either free or inexpensive. As I’ve said on this blog before, I’m a frugal, minimalistic person who is easily amused. There simply isn’t a reason for me to spend a lot on entertainment the vast majority of the time.

So what tops my list of fun stuff to do in the spring?

Parks. Yes, I gave this as an answer last year for the Favourite Things to Do in the Summer prompt. I enjoy visiting parks even more during mild spring weather for picnics, walks, outdoor exercise, and maybe even a few minutes on the swing set if there’s a swing available.

The nice thing about this time of the year is that the sun hasn’t reached its full strength yet. While I always need protect my skin and eyes for medical reasons, I can spend more time outdoors now than in July or August.

Photography.  I love walking around and looking for new subjects for my photography hobby. Mild weather makes it easy to keep wandering until I’ve taken as many pictures as I want to before heading home to sort and edit them.

Festivals. There are very few parades in the spring in Toronto, but this is the beginning of festival season. I love getting out and about after a long winter spent mostly cooped indoors. There’s nothing like feeling the warm sun on your back as you listen to music or eat a delicious meal there.

Vegan Restaurants. I’m not vegan, but I love visiting vegan restaurants because they’re some of the only places on Earth I can go and order dessert due to my milk allergy! I usually don’t order  a full meal at them. A bowl of cashew ice cream or a brownie is more than enough to satisfy me. It’s cheaper, too, to have dinner at home and only pay for dessert when I’m out and about.

Farmers’ Markets. Have you noticed the food theme of this post? I honestly hadn’t thought about how many of my favourite things involve food in some way before I started writing it. But I think it’s a good idea to buy fresh, local produce at farmers’ markets to support local farms when possible. There are also some foods like gooseberries for sale there that I rarely see at conventional grocery stores.

A duck and her three ducklings swimming in a pond.Streams, Lakes, and Ponds. If Toronto were near the ocean, I would have added that to this list, too. Whether I’m paddling on them, sitting quietly on a ferry gliding through them, or watching from the edge of a watery place as duck families swim by, I love being near water no matter what form it takes. (Swimming isn’t on this list because it’s usually too chilly to swim outdoors in Ontario until summer begins).

Doors Open Toronto. Every spring, Toronto has a weekend where all sorts of historical buildings open to the public so we can see their architecture, get a glimpse of their areas that normally only staff members can see, and learn more about their history. This is the sort of nerdy, educational event that I adore.


Top Ten Tuesday: Short Ghost Stories Everyone Should Read

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl These freebie posts are so much fun! Today I’m going to be sharing ten short ghost stories from around the world that everyone should read. Click on their titles to read them for free. 1. “Hover” by Samantha Mabry  Sometimes ghosts are more annoying than they are frightening. 2.… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Weirdest Thing I Learned Reading Fiction

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. Quick! Imagine a carrot. What colour is it? I’m going to guess you all picked the colour orange. One of the weirdest and most interesting things… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring 2020 TBR

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Some weeks I come up with fewer than ten answers to the prompt. This week I had eleven! 1. Memory Craft: Improve your memory using the most powerful methods from around the world by Lynne Kelly Will this book be helpful? I don’t know, but I’m curious to see what… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: One Skill I Wish I Had But Don’t

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. My response to this week’s prompt can be summed up in one word: programming. I’m fascinated by the various programming languages that have been developed in… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Characters Who Remind Me of Myself and Why

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. I’m a quiet, gentle, shy person who has a mischievous streak that occasionally surprises people. Here are some characters who remind me of myself. Matthew Cuthbert… Read More