Friday, January 06, 2023

It's January 6th!

Happy New Year! This is my second day back in the real world. I took time off with the family. I have to take the time while the children are still young, when they actually want to spend time with me. I dread the day when they’re too cool for me.

Since I’m back in the world, I wanted to share what I’ve been reading and watching. I’m halfway through The Hacienda by Isabel Canas. It came in from the eLibrary the other day and I’m loving it. The story is amazing; the characters are so real and Canas writes beautifully. I feel like I’ve picked out 100 amazing sentences already!

Before that, I read Crumbs, by Danie Stirling. It is the CUTEST. I loved it so much.

Before that, I was swimming in holiday tales, including The Girl Who Saved Christmas, by Matt Haig. Not only was it sweet, but real, it reminded me that I needed to read The Radleys.

I also just finished watching The Ways of the Househusband, an anime of Netflix. I needed something fun during the craziness of the holidays. I’ve watched a few cute animes on Netflix in recent months. Romantic Killer and Blue Period, to name a couple more.

What’s next in my reading/watching life? Probably Lumberjanes #10 or Love on the Brain. Maybe Wednesday.

Monday, December 19, 2022

What Happened In 2022

I got a little upset with social media and the internet this past year. I started avoiding my social media and my blog. I was the victim of hacking/phishing with one of my accounts. It was a personal account too, full of pictures of my children. I wrote a whole big, long, angry rant, but I'm leaving it unpublished. Instead, I'd rather focus on happier things.

I have a novel. Completed. That I've started querying. It's scary, but I'm doing it anyway.

What I really want for my blog is to reflect the creator I am, regardless of whether anyone reads blogs anymore (from what I hear, the answer is, no).

I also got my Goodreads year in books. I read A LOT this year. I can probably get another book or two in this year. The audio book for Michelle Obama's The Light We Carry just came in for me at the library. I'll probably be listening to that this evening.

What's next for me? More reading. More writing. Some more cute animes on Netflix. Marvel shows. More time with my children. What does 2023 have in store for any of us?

Sunday, February 06, 2022

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

I started this post way back on January 2nd. Did it go anywhere? Not until today.

I usually do some sort of Old Year/New Year post. I guess this is it. Over there (to my left) are the books I read in 2021. As you might be able to tell, romance was on the upswing again this past year. What was surprising for me was that non-fiction was as well. One of the best books I read last year was You'll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey. Also, Barack Obama's A Promised Land

Which leads us into February and Black History Month. Need something to read? I definitely recommend those two books. Also, out of last year's list, How To Be and Antiracist. Want something more romantic? Act Your Age, Eve Brown and The A.I. Who Loved Me. Want an adventure? How about the novella, A Dead Djinn In Cairo. I need to read all of Clark's story in this universe.

I've been working with a few "Diversity and Inclusion" groups at my company. I may have mentioned it before. I appreciate the work that they (we) have been doing. They've got a lot going on for Black History Month, and I'm eager to go to their virtual events. It was with one of the groups that I was inspired to write "Where Are You From?". I've also learned about interesting people like George Washington Carver and Lincoln Alexander. I hope that the other people at my company are learning too. 

I really had my fingers crossed that the pandemic would be over by now. But nope. I won't get into all the reasons why that likely isn't the case. More time for reading and writing, I guess.

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Last Week In Media Consumed

What did I consume?

Books and Television, of course!

First - You'll Never Believe What Happened To Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism, by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. So good. If you're not familiar with Amber Ruffin, you should check out her show on Peacock (and YouTube). She also writes for Seth Meyers and appears on that show. She is hilarious. I love her sense of humour and thoroughly enjoy her. Lacey is Amber's sister, who still lives in Omaha, where Amber and their siblings grew up. The things people say would never happen in New York (where Amber lives) or in the Toronto area (where I live). I've had people say stupid things to me before, but Lacey's stories are RIDICULOUS. (When I say "ridiculous" I mean it in the most sad, depressing sort of way, where things are awful, but you have to have a sense of humour about it, otherwise you'd go insane.)

Only Murders In The Building - At first, I was not interested. Then I saw a couple interviews with the cast and I heard good things from other people. So I watched. I'm all in now. It's so good. Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez are such an odd combination, but I love it. Plus, Tina Fey. She's amazing whenever her character shows up. Nathan Lane is perfect. The story seems light, but dark. I supposed the same could be same for You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey. Only Murders In The Building is on Hulu in the States (apparently). It's on Disney+ in Canada. (We don't get Hulu.) Thank you to whoever made sure this show ended up where I could watch it. I can't wait to find out what happens next!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

What's Been Happening - Summer 2021

The summer was busy. Maybe busier than I was prepared for, since 2020 was a COVID summer.

This year, I did a couple really good things that I wanted to share.

I participated in Culture Days. The WCYR (the writing community I volunteer with) put together a recording of 10 writers reading from their work. I was excited to be included. I was also quite nervous. You can check out me and the other participants here. You can learn more about Culture Days here.

I think one of the most important things I did was post "Where Are You From?" in June. The title seems innocuous, but it is not an innocuous question when the person asking refuses to take your first answer at face value. I was nervous. I hope no one can tell. I haven't actually watched myself yet. BUT - Check out the post for some of my feelings on that.

I received an evaluation on a manuscript I've been working on. I'm going to rewrite about half of it. Good times.

The best books I read were probably Barack Obama's, A Promised Land, and Kelley Armstrong's Lost Souls. Two very different books. I thoroughly enjoyed them both. I couldn't recommend them enough. A Promised Land also cemented for me that non-fiction is my preference for audio books. Lost Souls reminded me that I am enamoured by Gabriel Walsh and I need to finish the Cainsville series.

Movies - I watched Black Widow. What else? It's escaping me. The Half of It on Netflix. I thought it was going to be cute - and it was - but I also cried a little.

Television - Hmm... I watched Godzilla: Singular Point, an anime. I thought the two main characters were adorable. Also anime, Dota: Dragon's Blood. Have you watched The Dragon Prince (I'm waiting on the next season)? Dota is The Dragon Pince for grownups. I've also been obsessively re-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I still love that show. My daughter loves as well. We're always looking for shows we can watch together.

Like, Loki. We're all in on Loki. Forever. Let's smash the sacred timeline.

The Dota: Dragon's Blood trailor:

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Sunday, June 13, 2021

Where Are You From?

At my day job, I volunteered to write a blog post inspired by an article a D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) committee member came across. It was shared on the company's intranet. I got positive feedback from the committee members and a few others, but I don't really know how many people saw it. I really wanted to share it with more people. So, here it is....

What are you? Where are you from? Where are you really from?

Sometimes I think about context. Context is important. If we've recently met, there is the potential for friendship, this is something that could be asked.

Where are you from?

When I answer, Toronto or Canada/Ontario, that should be accepted. Maybe there is a response, like, what part of Toronto (Canada/Ontario)? Or, I love Toronto! Or, are you a fan of the Raptors/Leafs/Blue Jays? Or, have you been to the ROM/AGO/Canada's Wonderland? Or even, Toronto sucks! I love Montreal/Vancouver/Halifax.

A follow up question is fine, like where is your family from? Or what I find more acceptable, what is your background?

The question I hate. HATE - Where are you really from?

I hate when I get asked that question. Deeply.

Where are you really from? Like I can't possibly be from Canada.

The question is often responded to with a look, one that makes the questioner act as though I'm being difficult. You know what? I am being difficult. I know what they want to know, what answer they want me to give. I want to be difficult. I want the person asking the question to know that I don't like it. At this point, I want them to know I don’t like them.

The question is dismissive. Of me. Of my story. Of my history. It is the search for a label. So that they can tuck me away in a box. Categorize me.

When I was young, I answered the question. I hoped to avoid conflict. Honestly, safety was a consideration. As I got older, I grew more confident (and annoyed), so my answers became snarky, sassy, rude, though not so much when the questions happened at my place of employment. I was always aware of context, but at a certain point, my answer to, "where are you really from?" became, “No, really, I'm from Toronto. Born and raised.” When I got, the look, I'd give them a look back. A look that plainly expressed what I thought of their question.

If a person wants to know about someone's background, it can be okay to ask them. It’s part of getting to know someone. I know the backgrounds of many friends and colleagues, their families are from Jamaica, Scotland, Taiwan and many other places. The questions happen naturally. Often these parts of a person are revealed through conversations about food, hobbies, and childhood. If a person is just dying to know what a person’s cultural or ethnic background is, maybe they should ask themselves, why? Why is it that one of the first questions they want to ask is “what are you?” or “were are you from?” Why not ask about where they grew up or what school they went to? Ask about what they did on the weekend or what they like to do for fun. There are so many more wonderful, kind, inclusive ways to ask about a person’s history. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

We're Halfway Through April, Aren't We?

It's been about a month. I've been consuming a lot of media. What else is there to do? I'm trying not to let my disappointment and frustration with the vaccine rollout in Canada keep me down. It's hard though.

I also wrote a piece for the Diversity and Inclusion group at my day job. I know that based on what the word count limits are for communications, it's going to get cut down. I also tried to temper the emotional aspects of the piece. However, I have my very own blog. I'm going to give it a little edit and post it here later this week, I think.

What have I consumed and enjoyed in the last month-ish?

I read...

Mexican Gothic. Yes. So good. Read it. I'm really feeling the gothic genre right now. Gothic in 1950 Mexico!

Luck of the Draw and I cried. A lot. It was so sad, though maybe I was releasing some other emotions too. Because it's a romance, I was happy at the end.

Artificial Condition, the second installment in the The Murderbot Diaries. I still love Murderbot. I want to know where their adventure is going to take them next!

Immortal In Death, the third In Death book. I definitely have heart eyes for Eve Dallas and Roarke I wonder if when JD Robb wrote about Eve's engagement, she imagined there would be 50 more books after. 

I watched...

WandaVision <3

Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I <3 Bucky.

Zack Snyder's Justice League. I think my heart fluttered a little when Barry saved Iris.

Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. I'd seen both already, but my daughter was in the mood, so we watched all of Korra again and a few favourite episodes of Avatar. I love those series.

History of Swear Words on Netflix. It's really good. Interesting in a way I didn't expect. 

Dota: Dragon's Blood. My friend recommended it. It's like a cross between The Dragon Prince and Castlevania. At least that's what I thought as I watched. She called it "The Dragon Prince for grownups." 

Star Trek: Lower Decks. I really needed that show.

I submitted a couple short stories. Got a rejection. Good times.

I ate some Popeye's and it was SO GOOD. I'm really appreciating Skip the Dishes lately. 

How has your spring been so far?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

I Made Some Lists!

I have been working on various Diversity and Inclusion tasks at my day job. I'm really excited that they are letting me/us/the committee do this work. Some of the things I've written or been involved with are serious and others are just fun. I like and appreciate both. Last week I made a couple lists to post about Women's History Month and the month before I created a list of books for Black History Month. I thought I'd share them here, because who doesn't want recommendations of great books, movies and television shows featuring under-represented groups.

For Black History Month, myself and other team members shared a variety of recommended books. I've read all the books except for the new releases. 

1. How to Be an Anti-Racist – By Ibram X. Kendi
Part memoir, part instruction manual, this book really makes you think about behaviour, while tugging at your heartstrings.

2. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
Classic, poignant, a definite favourite. A strong African-American woman living her life the way she wants during a time where it was almost impossible to do so.

3. Go Tell It on a Mountain, by James Baldwin
Inspired by his own life, Go Tell It on the Mountain, tells the story of a young black man struggling with his identity.

4. The Color People, by Alice Walker
Probably on a lot of Black History Month book lists, but if you haven’t read The Color Purple, you really should. A powerful novel.

5. The Complete Collection of Poetry, by Maya Angelou
When people mention Maya Angelou and recommend her work, they talk about Why the Caged Bird Sings, but today, we’re recommending her poetry. It is poetry that paints a picture of her life and experiences.

6. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
For all the fantasy lovers all there, this story takes place in a fantasy version of Africa. It is filled with adventure and strong characters.

7. Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler
Classified as “science-fiction”, Kindred crosses literary boundaries. Tense and Heartrending, a modern classic.

Now for a few new releases…

8. Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas
The latest book by Angie Thomas, the author is ready to make another statement about the life of a black teen in America.

9. You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey – By Lacey Lamar and Amber Ruffin
Watching Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar talk about the book makes it a must read. A book that will make you laugh and cry.

10. A Promised Land, by Barack Obama
Another new release and one that this list couldn’t be without.

List #2 - Women's History Month TV and Movie recommendations. It was a less detailed list.

1. Hidden Figures
2. Mulan
3. Girlfriends
4. WandaVision
5. Captain Marvel
6. Wonder Woman
7. Mean Girls
8. A League of Their Own
9. Clueless
10. Alien

Another less detailed list. Books to honour/celebrate Women's History Month. Also put together by myself and a couple coworkers. The books are varied. Fiction, non-fiction. General fiction, graphic novels, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, even poetry.

1. Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly (it was a book before it was a movie)
2. I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
3. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (Where would monster stories be without her?)
4. Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur
5. Lumberjanes (graphic novel series), by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, etc.
6. Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler (I think I recommend this one a lot)
7. Captain Marvel: Higher, Further, Faster, More, by Kelly Sue DeConnick (The whole series is good.)
8. Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi
9. Becoming, by Michelle Obama
10. Naked in Death, by J.D. Robb
11. The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
12. The Temperance Brennan Series (Bones), by Kathy Reichs
13. Little Women, by Lousia May Alcott
14. Cat’s Eye & The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
15. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

I hope that the people we created these lists for (coworkers) took in some of the titles and watched or read the recommendations. The ones I haven't read/watched were contributed by others who had. 

Sunday, March 14, 2021

I Learned Something About Myself

The Pouch of Douglas (be warned). I was watching Hannah Gadsby’s show, Douglas on Netflix. Now here we are. (The bit is at the end of the post.) Really, I think it's important. I learned about a part of my body that I didn't know existed. Also, it came during a part of Hannah Gadsby's show that had me feeling like, why had men named all the things? and, couldn't they come up with better names? If you have watched Douglas (and if you haven't, I recommend that you do), another part that made me laugh so hard and wonder so much, was that piece of fabric up a lady's bum in a renaissance painting. It was a choice. The artist chose to take the time to paint that!

What else did last week bring me? A re-watch of the last three episodes of Lucifer on Netflix. Because, why not?

My daughter is obsessed with Julie and the Phantoms. Have you seen it? It's cute. Great for teens and tweens, I think. The music is enjoyable and will have you singing along. It's a hidden gem. A song from episode 2 below.

I finished Maya Angelou's Complete Poetry. It's brilliant. If you haven't read her poems, I highly recommend them. Some are fun, others are heartbreaking. They're beautiful, lyrical, and take you on a journey.

With a vacancy in my reading list (not reall), I started Meg Cabot's Mediator series. The first book is Shadowland, featuring a teen protagonist who can see ghosts. She even punches one! It's also giving me some 90's feels. It was published in 2000, which means it was likely written a couple years before. The late 90's were some good years. Maybe that's one of things I like about Julie and the Phantoms. The Phantoms died in the 90's. I also just enjoy Meg Cabot's books.

I have been advised that should start a newsletter. What would I write in it? That I have a new blog post up? Bits from those posts? Link to books recs? Other bloggers? Could I include things from the WCYR? How long would it have to be? It's already giving me anxiety and I haven't even started anything yet. I'd need some kind of email signature/logo, which also has to be done.

The sky is darkening. Maybe it's time to stop thinking about things that make my tension level increase.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Let's Reflect

In my last post, I was reflecting on interracial romances where neither of the main characters are white. I totally forgot about Alyssa Cole's Can't Escape Love, part of her Reluctant Royals series. I haven't read it yet, but since finishing Take a Hint, Dani Brown, I think it might be my next romance. Luckily it's available at my local eLibrary.

I also read The Prince and the Dressmaker. It is sweet, interesting, loving and just tugged at my heartstrings. Frances and Sebastian are so cute. I highly recommend it. I want my children to read it too.

Egyptian Steampunk also might be my new favourite genre. At least one I need to explore more. I read the short story/novella A Dead Djinn in Cairo, and it was so good. I love, LOVE, Fatma el-Sha'arawi. I checked, and P. Djèli Clark has two more stories set in this world. It seems like the second one doesn't have Agent Fatma as the main character, but I'm fine with that. She's back by the third (yet to be published) story.

I watched some good TV/movies too. After seeing Regé-Jean Page on Saturday Night Live, I decided it was time to watch Bridgerton. Since it's so popular, I didn't expect it to be bad, but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I will admit that I watched is all in one day. Also, I could listen to Julie Andrews' voice all day long.... wait, I practically did that. 

I also decided it was time to watch the things languishing in my Netflix queue. I scrolled with my eyes closed and watched what my finger landed on. The first was Warrior Nun. With a title like that, I knew I had to at least try it out. I thoroughly enjoyed Ada and Mary. I also really want to know what happens and if there will be another season.

Next, I landed on Howl's Moving Castle, an anime movie from 2004. I liked the idea of the girl turning into an old woman and getting to know Howl from that perspective. I don't know how I feel about her befriending the witch who cursed her though. I'm three episodes into Dragon's Dogma, an anime series. I think I'm liking the random choices on Netflix. I know there have been two animes in the last week, but the stories are very different. Howl's Moving Castle has a sweetness to it. Dragon's Dogma is messed up.

This post is definitely not as deep as the last one. Maybe it's less "thinking about books" and more "Netflix queue", but sometimes, that's what you need.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Twitter Made Me Think About Romance

I was casually scrolling through Twitter, when I came upon a question that made me think. A person was asking for reading recommendations. She wanted an inter-racial romance novel where neither of the characters were white. I love inter-racial romances. Probably because I'm in one. I don't need them to parallel my life or anything. I'm just always curious about cultures coming together, what obstacles are in their way, etc. I've read some great ones. My favourites are probably The Kiss Quotient, by Helen Hoang,  The Wedding Date, by Jasmine Guillory, and Get a Life, Chloe Brown, by Talia Hibbert. As much as I loved these books, they weren't what the person was looking for. After The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory wrote, The Proposal, which features a latinx man and black woman. Suddenly, I felt like this was a challenge. What other ones have I read or do I own?

The Proposal, by Jasmine Guillory

The A.I. Who Loved Me, by Alyssa Cole

Take A Hint, Dani Brown, by Talia Hibbert

That's it. I'm sure there are other books out there. I've read the first two books. They were fantastic. I really could gush about both of them, and their authors. The third is sitting in my Kobo app, waiting for me. Can anyone suggest a book to add to my to-read list for this particular sub-sub (or whatever) section of the romance genre?

Sunday, February 07, 2021

The Last Week Or Two

I didn't post last week (I've been aiming for once a week). Why? I spent the weekend attending DVCON and it was been great. Really good panels. Really good people. To be honest, some of what the panels talked about I already knew since I've been a member of the WCYR for a few years. What I found invaluable was how the same things I've already learned can be changed / altered / influenced by the fact that I'm a visible minority / marginalized / diverse voice. Perspective can really change so much. It was the first DVCON, born from #DVPit. It was free, but I would have paid to go. The information and inspiration was fantastic. I also "met" some great people. We've followed each other on Twitter and Instagram. I've also joined a couple Discord groups, which typically isn't my thing (I have a hard time with chat rooms), but everyone has been sharing information and supporting each other. I've watched people find Critique Partners and Beta Readers. Writing can be so isolating, and if you're not part of some kind of group, it can be difficult to get the feedback you need to grow. Friends and family worry about your feelings and don't necessarily have the insight another writer does. 

I finished: How to be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi. It was so good, so interesting. I listened to the audiobook. I really liked his reading style (is that a thing?). How to be an Anti-Racist was part memoir, part history lesson, part instruction manual. It was so engaging, that when it got to the end (I won't tell you what happened), I was concerned and ready to cry. I really can't recommend this book enough.

I finished: We Hunt the Flame, by Hafsah Faizal. I've had it sitting in my Kindle app for a while. When I signed up for DVCON and she was going to be speaking, I knew I had to read it. It was so good. Just so good. I enjoyed the world, the characters, the story. Everything. I can't wait to read the sequel. I also enjoyed the panel and what she had to say. She/they offered us information I had not considered before. I'm definitely ready for the sequel, which was just released.

I finished: The A.I. Who Loved Me, by Alyssa Cole. Alyssa Cole has become one of my favourite romance authors. I'm pretty much ready to ready anything she writes. She blends romance into other genres that she writes in. The A.I. Who Loved Me is a near-future sci-fi romance. I thought there would only be a little sci-fi in the novel, but it surprised me. The Hive is very scary, like if Amazon ruled the US. I wonder if Cole will write more stories set in this world. I also saw her speak at DVCON. I think I could listen to her talk about writing and stories all day.

I finished: Lumberjanes: Stone Cold, by Shannon Watters, et al. I love Lumberjanes. I've been reading them for a few years. Stone Cold is the 8th volume in the series. I feel like "don't make assumptions" and "don't judge a book by it's cover" were really prevalent in the story. Also, "friendship to the max". I haven't met a Lumberjane I didn't like.

I also binged the Thor movies with my daughter. I think she wanted to watch Loki (who doesn't). We ended up watching the first Avengers movie too. It was fun. She knew a surprising amount of behind-the-scenes stuff and I asked her if she Googled MCU stuff. Not specifically. She Googled Iron Man stuff (her favourite superhero) and fell down the internet MCU rabbit hole. 

What's coming up this week? More work on the edits for my manuscript. Maybe updating the Me! and Writing Life portions of the blog. Edits again. Contemplating the fate of the characters in the manuscript. Reading some more poems by Maya Angelou. Maybe writing some new words for my next novel. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Last Week I Decided to Expand My Writing Community

I registered for DVCON. It was created from #DVPit. I am very excited for the first ever DVCON. I'm excited for the writers that will be speaking, the seminars, the people. It really seems like there's a community there. They have social hours and events on Discord too. 

Also, quick question - Does everyone use Discord now?

I also registered for Boskone 58. It's the convention for the New England Science Fiction Association. The con is all about sci-fi and fantasy. More topics I can be excited about. It seems pretty big. February 12 to 14, there are multiple speakers at every time slot. How am I going to choose?

I did some Pajama Writing with Inkslingers. At various times of the week, Inkslingers is inviting writers to to spend an hour totally focused on writing. Close the door, turn off phones, no social media. Pick an intention/project, post it in the chat and then get to work. At the end, writers are invited to post a line that they wrote (or edited) that evening/morning/afternoon.

What's a talk about writing communities without my own writing community, the WCYR (Writers Community of York Region). I say mine, because these are my friends, colleagues, co-conspirators. I've met so many wonderful writers over the years, people who are quirky, and weird, just like me. I'm registered for the February and March events. I'm looking forward to them. I've gone to many and will be going to more workshops. I love a good workshop. The WCYR also currently hosts two virtual write-ins a week (sorry, members only). MJ Moores wrote about it on the WCYR blog. Even though it's on Zoom, I feel like I've connected with other writers I might not have seen at the in-person events.

I miss in-person events though. I never thought of myself as a big hugger, but I miss hugs.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Apps - For the Reading and the Writing

New Year, new reading and writing goals. For a reason I can't remember now, something sparked my curiosity, and I began looking at book-related apps. There are quite a few. Some of them, I already use. Others, I used in the past, but stopped. I thought I'd share some of the apps I currently enjoy... Here are the book and writing apps that I use.

Book Tracking:


I discovered a few years ago that when it comes to reading, I like to see my progress, especially when working my way through big books. I think I'm halfway done, but am I really? Leio gives me all the information I want. I also really like that Leio predicts the date I will finish the book. It motivates me to finish the book even sooner (sometimes). The interface is simple and easy to navigate. Some people are familiar with Bookly, which does many of the same things. Why not use it instead? (It's got the cute factor.) I did use Bookly for over a year. With several of the updates, the features I liked were slowly becoming part of the premium version. I got frustrated, so I deleted it and found Leio instead.


Most readers are familiar with Goodreads, right? Has it gotten more commercial over the years? Amazon did buy it, after all. I think it's still a useful reading tool. I don't see myself ever giving it up. It's got my library. I save books I want to read so I don't forget about them. One of my favourite things is their end of the year wrap up. I love seeing all the books I read, which was the longest and shortest. All the stats from the whole year. It makes me happy.



I use iBooks the least (sorry). That's mostly because it can only be used on Apple devices. I have a PC and other non-Apple products, so, ya. 


I was using Kindle the most. I really like it's interface and the adjustments you can make so that it suits you. It was an easy reading experience. I like how it saves notes and highlights. 


I've started using Kobo more and more this past year. I really like how you can customize your home screen. It helps me pick the next book I want to read or reminds of the books I "aught" to be reading. I find it nicely tailored to me, and I can edit which types of books are displayed. Kindle's home has mostly become advertising with only a few of my own books showing up. I'm also trying to buy less from Amazon, though I know several indie-authors and they want me to buy Kindle, so that's what I will do for them. 

I'm going to stop before this gets all philosophical. This is about apps. Kobo has become the one I use the most.

Time to turn to the other eReading apps, Library Apps.


I LOVE Libby. I really do. I like reading on it, though one of its last few updates changed the interface enough that I had a hard time finding some of the stats info. But I adapted and I love it again. I like searching for books on it. I think Libby has done a decent job of getting that "browsing" feeling to translate to the app. It's obviously not the same as going into a real library or bookstore. I appreciate the feature sections. They're always highlighting Ontario authors (we're in Ontario). There's a "Just Added" section. They rotate through different highlighted areas, "Diverse Voices", "Indigenous Voices", "Action Packed Adventures", "Love Through the Ages", and more. Like a display inside an actual library or bookstore. There is so much I enjoy about this app. I can't recommend it enough.


While Libby offers many graphic novels and audio books, Hoopla has it beat. Which is understandable since I think they're supposed to work together. They're both "powered" by the same library. If you're a comic nerd, but don't want to spend thousands of dollars on every series. Use Hoopla. Is it the same as reading an actual comic in your hand? No. But that goes for any book versus ebook. They added some She-Hulk comics and I'm excited. They also offer comics that are out-of-print or hard to find. You want to read some Avengers from the 1960's, Hoopla will help you do that. Did I mention they offer music and movies? It's a great library app. Paired with Libby, what more could you need?


You could need CloudLibrary. CloudLibrary drives me a bit nuts. I don't like their homepage. I do not enjoy the browsing. When I use CloudLibrary, it's because I'm looking for a specific book. I search and they either have it or they don't. Why do I use it? One of the libraries I belong to switched from Libby to CloudLibrary. Why? Book availability, I think. CloudLibrary just has more books. Things I can't find on Libby, I can find there. Waitlist times are greatly reduced. a 6 month wait at Libby might be 10 days at CloudLibrary. So, depending on what I want to read and how long I have to wait for it, I might choose CloudLibrary.

Time for some writing apps.


I buckled down and got even "even though I have Word". I have it on my iPad and PC, which is a bit of a pain to sync (I'm hoping they make it compatible with Google Drive or iCloud). Over the last year or so, I've begun to enjoy writing on Scrivener. There's a steep learning curve, but once you push through, Scrivener is great. I am also really enjoying/appreciating the iPad app. I often feel trapped behind my computer, in the same space all day, since I also work from home. The app lets me go to my reading nook and write there, surrounded by wonderful books. Or anywhere, really. (Not that there are a lot of places we can go these days.) The app is also easier to use than the desktop program. But ya, Scrivener.

Google Docs

To use MS Word on mobile apps require subscriptions now. No thanks. I'm not a fan of the whole subscription thing. If I pay for your program. I want to own it. That's it. If I have to pay a little extra for the mobile version, fine. But subscriptions are an automatic turn off. So, not only have I been using Scrivener more, I've also been using Google Docs more. I can open documents in Google Docs, edit, do whatever I need to and save it as a .docx file.


I can also save files as .docx in Pages on my iPad. Pages lets me use the Apple Pencil, which is *almost* as good as writing by hand in a notebook. This way it gets converted to text right away. Time saver! If Pages, Google Docs, and Scrivener can all give me .docx files in the end, I don't need to pay for a subscription.

Have I mentioned I don't like the subscription thing?

If I find another writerly or bookish app, I'll be sure to add it to my list, but unless something happens in an update, I don't see this list changing anytime soon. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Last Week A Lot Went Down

A lot happened last week. COVID-19 infection rates are increasing more and more. Though, two people I know have already been vaccinated. There was an attempt to overthrow the government at the US Capital. As I may have mentioned before, I'm a fan of the late night talk shows. I think both Stephen Colbert's and Seth Meyers' takes on what happened are worth the watch. So, last week, I watched. I also watched more news than normal, in general. It was announced that children in Ontario will be home until the 25th of January. However, based on all the other information I've come across, I feel like my children will be home for a couple months. 

Last week, I started reading The Stand again. I actually started it in the summer, but it stressed me out, so I stopped. I've been starting and stopping with this book for a while. When I picked it up, I really wanted to read it, and when I am reading it, I am enjoying it. Then I get to a part about how the survivors of the Super Flu are treating each other, and I have to take a break. For the last couple weeks, in between bouts of The Stand, I have been reading Some of the Best from, 2016 and The Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. Two vastly different works, but they both speak to me.

Besides political commentary, I re-watched The Matrix and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now that our daughter is a little older, my husband has started taking her on a tour of some of his favourite movies. After a few minutes, he started poking holes in Raiders and I called him "Amy Farrah Fowler" and he laughed. 

I also watched Netflix's Best of Stand-up 2020 and realized I need to watch the specials from Jack Whitehall, Hannah Gadsby, Michelle Buteau, and Bert Kreischer. I'd already watched a few of the 2020 standups, but not these ones. (I like stand up specials.)

That's it for me. Did you watch or read anything good? I'm always adding to my TBR and Watchlists.