Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Least Favourite Chore 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.

Person dusting a glass light fixture and a mirror. Dusting and sweeping are my least favourite chores. There is no carpet in my apartment, so these two chores sort of meld together.

Due to my environmental allergies, cleaning up dust often makes me cough and sneeze which can stir up more dust in a never-ending cycle of airway irritation and puffs of dust floating away.

This is the kind of housework that has no scope for the imagination in it. I can dance to music or listen to an audiobook while washing dishes, folding laundry, or even scrubbing a tub.

Dusting, though, requires such precise movements to ensure that I get every last irritating little mote of it that I struggle to make it amusing in any way.

This is also one of those chores that never ends.

I can hand wash a load of dishes or fold a load of laundry and see visual evidence that I’ve done good work and that it’s finished now.

Dust settles everywhere all of the time. You might think you’ve swept up the last of it only to find yet another corner of the house that needs attention. Everyone is shedding skin cells and hair right this minute that will soon clump up and create more dust bunnies.

It’s such a minor problem to have in life, and yet I still wish I could skip this chore forever.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2022 To-Read List


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Two ripe apples and some apple leaves lying on an opened book that is itself sitting on a wooden bench or table of some sort. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while might remember how short my seasonal to-read lists generally are since I rely so heavily on what the Toronto Public Library has to offer and prefer to be a mood reader instead of sticking to a strict schedule.

Well, this autumn is going to break that trend.

I’ve found nine books I’m excited to read that have either recently been released or are scheduled to be published later on this fall.That may be a record for me for these types of posts. Ha!

If you’ve read any of them or have them on your TBR lists, let’s talk.

 

 

Our Shadows Have Claws by Amparo Ortiz (Editor) and Yamile Saied Méndez book cover. Image on cover shows a cartoon drawing of red lobster claws tearing at a blue sheet of paper (or possibly half-frozen water?)

Our Shadows Have Claws by Amparo Ortiz (Editor) and Yamile Saied Méndez

Why I Want to Read It: Halloween is sneaking up on us quickly, and monster stories are the perfect thing to read in preparation for it if you ask me.

 

Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan book cover. Image on cover shows drawing of the heads of two Indian women facing away from each other as well as the ghostly face of a woman who is looking at neither of them.

Meet Me in Mumbai by Sabina Khan

Why I Want to Read It: I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and I have several relatives who were transracially adopted. There aren’t a lot of books out there that touch on both of these topics, so I’m pretty curious about this one.

 

Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman book cover. Image on cover shows a person with a white sheet wrapped thigh ly around their head like they’re a ghost. There are two vague eyeholes cut out of the sheet, but you can’t see the person’s face.

Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman

Publication Date: Today!

Why I Want to Read It: Actually, I’m not sure if I do. The thought of taking a pill that allows you to see ghosts piqued my interest, but I don’t know if this will be too scary of a read for me. I will keep it on my TBR for now as I decide.

 

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese book cover. Image on cover shows red roses with their green leaves and thorns against a black background.

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

Publication Date: October 4

Why I Want to Read It: This is the first retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter I’ve ever seen. (If you’re a fan of retellings and know of other books like this, please speak up!) I am thrilled to finally experience this tale from Hester’s perspective.

 

They Were Here Before Us by Eric Larocca book cover. Image on cover shows a stained glass image of a robin eating a large beetle while standing on a tree branch.

They Were Here Before Us by Eric Larocca

Publication Date: October 25

Why I Want to Read It: The blurb is actually pretty vague at the moment, but the words “horror” and “novella” in it have caught my attention. This could be a fun and spooky Halloween read for sure.

 

The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukheerjee book cover. Image on cover shows golden and cream cells of various shapes and sizes floating on a navy blue background.

The Song of the Cell: An Exploration of Medicine and the New Human by Siddhartha Mukheerjee

Publication Date: October 25

Why I Want to Read It: I’ve read many books about the history of medicine, but I haven’t read anything in-depth about how we discovered that cells exist. This could be fascinating.

 

To Each This World by Julie E Czerneda book cover. Image on cover shows planets and moons floating through a blue night sky.

To Each This World by Julie E Czerneda

Publication Date: November 1

Why I Want to Read It: I love reading science fiction stories about humans being put into cryosleep and sent off to find new habitable worlds. It’s such a fascinating topic.

 

 

Fourteen Days: An Unauthorized Gathering by Margaret Atwood (Editor) book cover. The cover has yet to be revealed, so this is a red placeholder with white text.

Fourteen Days: An Unauthorized Gathering by Margaret Atwood (Editor)

Publication Date: November 1

Why I Want to Read It: Each chapter of this novel about a diverse group of neighbours bonding together during a Covid-19 shutdown was written by a different author. Yes, Margaret Atwood wrote one of the chapters. I’m hoping it will capture that moment in history well. Fingers crossed.

 

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama book cover. Image on cover is a photo of her smiling, crossing her arms in a hug, and wearing a white and tan sweater.

The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

Publication Date: November 15

Why I Want to Read It: I really enjoyed reading her memoir “Becoming.” She’s a good storyteller, so I look forward to hearing what she has to say about hope and perseverance in hard times in this book.

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What Makes You Pick Up or Buy a Book?

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.

Woman holding antique book with blue cover in front of her face. Let’s see if I can answer this question without writing a whole book on the topic. Ha!

I prefer shorter works, so short stories and novellas rise to the top of my queue faster than books that are 200+ pages long. If something is more than 300 pages, I probably won’t read it unless it’s otherwise irresistible to me.

I like standalone stories.  It’s been my experience that they tend to have more concise writing, faster plots, and better character development because the author knows that he or she has limited time with which to get these things accomplished. Of course, there are  exceptions to this rule, and I love finding series that offer steady character and plot development from their first instalment to their last one.

I enjoy moderate amounts of descriptive passages. That is to say, give me a couple of pages describing what a setting looks like, but I’d prefer not to read Tolkien-esque descriptions that go on for a dozen pages unless there’s some rare, pressing need for that much detail. For example, some fantasy novels genuinely do need many pages to describe how things work in their world, but a contemporary romance or mystery almost certainly will not.

I love to be surprised. Authors who are intimately familiar with the tropes of their genre and have some indication that those tropes will be gently poked fun at, turned upside down, or otherwise subverted will grab my attention immediately. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is an excellent example of this, but I’ll happily read authors from any genre who pull this off. It’s much harder than it might look, but it’s so rewarding when it happens.

Here are some of the topics that will immediately make me read at least the first page of a book if they’re mentioned in the title or blurb:

  • (Non-romance) paranormal stories
  • Adoption, foster care, chosen families, etc. I have several adopted or chosen relatives and find these topics quite interesting.
  • Prehistory (hunter-gatherers, Neanderthals, mammoths, dinosaurs, etc.)
  • Hopeful speculative fiction
  • Alternate history books that aren’t about Hitler or World War II
  • Sapphic main characters (if they get to live happily ever after)
  • Stories about wild or domesticated animals (if they get to live happily ever after)
  • Non-fiction about the lives of ordinary people or historical events that usually aren’t taught in school. Learning new things is amazing.
  • Soothing fiction in general. Give me happy endings instead of heartbreaking ones.

I used to adore psychological horror, too, but have cut way back on that during this pandemic. Maybe someday I can handle being scared more often again.

I’ve also been making an effort to diversify my reading, so any books about people who are not Caucasian and/or who don’t live in North America float to the top of the list. Authors and characters who have medical conditions, disabilities, religious beliefs, etc. that I don’t have personal experience with are being prioritized, too.

You can learn so much about the world by seeing it through other people’s perspectives.

Anyway, that is a brief overview of my taste in books. I can’t wait to read what all of you had to say on this topic.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with Geographical Terms in the Title


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A wetland filled with still water and surrounded by a forest of deciduous trees. The geographical term I chose for this week’s prompt is wetlands. That is to say, areas of land that link water and land together. Some of them are always wet, while others can go through periods of being as dry as regular land depending on the season. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, and bogs.

I chose this term because one of the places I grew up in used to be a wetland before the land was drained and turned into farmland. It’s a beautiful place, but the mosquitoes there are overwhelming in the summer. I’ve often wished that my ancestors had left it the way it originally was and built their homes somewhere else instead.

1. Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination by Barbara Hurd

2. Swampwalker’s Journal: A Wetlands Year by David M. Carroll

3. Danger in Blackwater Swamp by Saundra Kelley

4. Birds of Lake Pond & Marsh: Water and Wetland Birds of Eastern North America by John Eastman

5. The Ghost Orchid Ghost: And Other Tales from the Swamp by Doug Alderson

Closeup photo of a frog sitting calmly in a pond next to some algae and reeds.

6. The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise by Michael Grunwald

7. The Geese of Beaver Bog by Bernd Heinrich

8. In the Salt Marsh by Nancy Willard

9. Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story by Thomas F. Yezerski

10. The Bog by Michael Talbot

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Plot Line You Love to Read/Watch 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 so badly wanted to pick about a dozen different answers for this topic, but I will follow the rules and stick to one.

A drawing of a halo and some angel wings. My all-time favourite plot line is rebirth. That is to say, the audience is introduced to a morally ambiguous character (or even a downright jerk) who learns the error of his or her ways and eventually make a genuine and permanent change in their behaviour for the better.

The keywords there are genuine and permanent. If a character is truly a terribly human being when we first meet them, I’m going to need to see a lot more time dedicated to showing how they realized they were causing harm to others and how hard they worked to correct their faults than if they were someone whose might have only been moderately irritating instead.

This is not an easy feat for storytellers to accomplish by any means, but when it’s done correctly it gives me so much hope for the future of humanity. Another cool thing about this plot line is that it shows up in every single genre one can imagine which makes it even more exciting to discover. Whether you love reading romance, mysteries, horror, science fiction, fantasy, or some other genre entirely, you stand an excellent chance of stumbling across a character who follows this pattern sooner rather than later.

Here are some examples of films, tv shows, and books that make good use of this plot line:

Traditionally, characters needed to be rescued by someone else when this plot line showed up, but contemporary takes on the topic often show characters who are much more assertive about realizing there’s a problem with how they behave and working to on their own to correct it.

I’m happy with either approach to the subject.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Plot Line You Refuse to Read/Watch 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. This week’s topic was a little tricky for me because I’m an adventurous and eclectic reader. I don’t regularly read romance, non-paranormal horror, westerns, or mysteries,… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Microhistory Books Worth Reading

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Today’s theme is a school freebie, so I’m going to talk about something that doesn’t usually fit into the speculative fiction I blog about here. As per Wikipedia, microhistory “is the intensive historical investigation of a well defined smaller unit of research (most often a single event, the community… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Bookmark, Scrap Paper, or Dog-Ear?

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. The vast majority of the books I read are ebooks, so my place is always marked in them automatically unless there’s a technological glitch. That doesn’t… Read More