Sunday Post – 24th July

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Sunday Post

This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Yippee! Summer finally blazed into being in our damp corner of the world… Finally I get to shed my winter weight clothes, wake up to sun streaming through the window and have the back door open while cooking.

I’m now timelining The Sunblinded trilogy and have got halfway through Dying for Space as the next stage of the editing process. It’s been a busy week with a writing group meeting on Wednesday evening; the last lesson of the year with my autistic student; my son coming down for a few days; out celebrating a birthday with a friend and my one-day Summer Surgery writing course at Northbrook on Friday.northbrookcollege

It was lovely to meet up with a number of my regular students and welcome a talented young writer. We had a great day, catching up with students’ writing during the summer break and working on writing exercises – the bonus being the promised spectacular thunderstorms decided to stay away.

While I’m fitter and feeling better than I have for a decade – despite not losing any weight, my clothes are all noticeably looser – I have struggled with eczema around my eyes for a month, which has been steadily getting worse. So this week, I turned to Debbie Watkins, one of my writing buddies, who also specialises in health screening. I’ve changed my diet so radically in the last few months, I knew it would take me ages to work out which food I’m eating was causing the problem. Debbie nailed it, giving me some necessary supplements and a detox programme and now the eczema is beginning to ease down – thankfully the culprit turned out to be chickpeas, something I can easily avoid.

Yesterday, my mate Mhairi Simpson came over for the day and we completed on our tax returns online  and submitted them as a team effort. What would have been a daunting, miserable business alone, became far more of a semi-hilarious adventure when working through the form together. And they’re now done for a whole year – yessss!

This week I’ve managed to read:
Shift – by Em Bailey
Olive Corbett is not crazy. Not anymore.
shiftShe obediently takes her meds and stays under the radar at school. After “the incident,” Olive just wants to avoid any more trouble, so she knows the smartest thing is to stay clear of the new girl who is rumored to have quite the creepy past. But there’s no avoiding Miranda Vaile. As mousy Miranda edges her way into the popular group, right up to the side of queen bee Katie – and pushes the others right out – only Olive seems to notice that something strange is going on.

This YA read has some interesting twists and turns, giving an eerie twist on the intense teen relationships, while Miranda grapples to come to terms with a family upheaval. I shall be reviewing it in due course.

 

 

 

Riddler’s Fayre: The First Matter by Steve Carroll and Jeff Anderson
Aeden is young man with no memory, adrift in a world of riddles. His only friend – a man hated for his Riddler's Fayrerace and creed, their only hope – a nun on the run for opposing the Holy Wars. Meanwhile a veteran of the Third Crusade is hunting Aeden, believing him to be the clue to discovering the greatest secret in alchemy – the identity of the First Matter.

Steve Carroll is a fellow tutor at Northbrook, a talented artist and a really great bloke – none of which would count if I didn’t also think his series of graphic novels set in the Middle Ages was something special. This first instalment has recently been re-released and I reviewed it during the week.

 

 

 

Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
solarexpressYou can’t militarize space. This one rule has led to decades of peaceful development of space programs worldwide. However, increasing resource scarcity and a changing climate on Earth’s surface is causing some interested parties to militarize, namely India, the North American Union, and the Sinese Federation. The discovery of a strange artifact by Dr. Alayna Wong precipitates a crisis. What appears to be a hitherto undiscovered comet is soon revealed to be an alien structure on a cometary trajectory toward the sun. Now there is a race between countries to see who can study and control the artifact dubbed the “Solar Express” before it perhaps destroys itself.

This enjoyable sci fi adventure took me a while to get through, given it is reasonably densely written and littered with techie detail – all adding to the story, but meaning I couldn’t just burn through the prose at my normal reading speed. It was worth the effort, though – I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will be reviewing it here in due course.

 

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 17th July

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* – Review of Woman of the House – Book 1 of the StoryWorld series by Jane Lythell

Teaser Tuesday – Solar Express by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Review of Speak by Louisa Hall

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Inborn – Book 1 of The Birthright series by Amy Saunders

Friday Faceoff – Who’s at the Door? Featuring Overbite by Meg Cabot

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Riddler’s Fayre: The First Matter by Steve Carroll and Jeff Anderson

Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Adventures in Science Fiction Art: Haunting Landscapes and Cityscapes: The 1970s Italian SF Art of Allison aka Mariella Anderlini
https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2016/07/23/adventures-in-science-fiction-art-haunting-landscapes-and-cityscapes-the-1970s-italian-sf-art-of-allison-a-k-a-mariella-anderlini/
This site is a goldmine if you enjoy perusing the extraordinary artwork that flowered during the ‘golden age’ of science fiction. Joachim Boaz also reviews a wide range of books written during that time. But this particular article features some really beautiful covers…

Another book cover feature – this week’s Friday Face-off was nailed by Lynn’s wonderful selection of covers for the children’s classic The Secret Garden
https://lynns-books.com/2016/07/22/i-am-the-keymaster-are-you-the-gatekeeper/
Check this out if you fancy a delightful stroll down memory lane.

Viv Tuffnell’s articles are some of the best written in the blogosphere – and this one is right up there – Lost books, libraries, L-space and the odour of bananas
https://zenandtheartoftightropewalking.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/lost-books-l-space-libraries-and-the-odour-of-bananas/
She writes excellent books, too…

By contrast, this offering is short – The Meaning of Travel in 5 Quotes – https://memoirsonthemove.com/2016/07/17/the-meaning-of-travel-in-5-quotes/

The grandchildren will be arriving this coming week, so I have to get going and do some housework before they arrive. Let’s just hope the weather stays fine – this is a fabulous part of the world to spend a summer, so long as it isn’t wet and rainy! Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

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44 responses »

  1. My son suffers from eczema on his head, usually behind his ear and near his neck. I’ll let him know about the detoxing and checking the food he eats. Thanks for that tip! Shift is new to me and really looks captivating. I love the premise of it, so I’ll check my library for it. Enjoy the warmer weather!

    • Thank you – I definitely will make the most of it – though I’m fervently hoping it will stick around for the next couple of weeks while the grandchildren are staying… Thank you for swinging by.

    • Thank you for your kind wishes regarding my eczema. It is – slowly – getting better, but still a bit miserable. Itchy, inflamed eyes are never much fun – aggravated by the fact that I know it looks horrible, too… Still, at least it’s getting better. Yes, my books this week were all enjoyable:)

  2. How do you ever find time to just breathe. My goodness, you are busy. Glad to hear you’ve figured out what caused the flare up. Sounds like you have some good friends to help with several different things. Have a lovely Sunday!

    My Sunday Post

    • Thank you – yes… I’m very blessed with lovely, lovely friends:)). And it was the most fun I’ve ever had doing my tax returns. We stayed on the same page, making sure each of us filled in all the fiddly bits correctly and helping each other to copy out the looooong submission number accurately by reading it back. And yes – it’s lovely having the energy to do all the things I want without being tired:). Have a great week:)

    • Thank you! Although eczema runs in the family and I had it mildly as a girl, I haven’t had anything like this since, so I knew it had to do with my recent changes in my eating habits. And yes… it was an enjoyable, though rather hectic week:)

    • Yes, it’s an interesting book with a very, very strong start and lovely line in laugh-aloud humour. And I might enjoy falafels – but I can happily do without them if it gets rid of my sore, itchy eyes!

  3. Sounds like you are very busy! And glad the storm stayed away- got one here overnight and was afraid we’d have flooding, the yard was almost underwater at one point but luckily it lessened. Summer is definitely here. 🙂

    Funny how a certain food can aggravate or cause conditions- glad you were able to eliminate the offender! And I think Solar express looks fun.

    • Yes – Solar Express is a really enjoyable read. We’ve been really lucky so far avoiding the worst of the summer storms – it seems to be blind luck. Glad you didn’t get flooded and hope the garden wasn’t too damaged – they can wreak havoc with plants. Yes – I’m very relieved the eczema is improving:).

  4. It does sound like you’ve had a busy week! And I’m glad your eczema is getting better. That’s good that it was something easy to avoid. Chickpeas really aren’t in that many foods or dishes (at least not where I live). And doing your taxes with someone else actually does sound like it’d be more fun and less miserable lol.

    Have a great time with your grandkids this week!

    • Thank you, Kristen – yes… I’m looking forward to catching up with the children. I get to have them stay off for a sufficient block of time, so we get a chance to properly rebond.

  5. My eczema starts to flare when the weather is warmer. I just use Paul Mitchell tea tree shampoo on the areas and it clears right up. So it never becomes a real issue for me. Your books look interesting, hope you enjoy them!

  6. How random that the trigger is chickpeas! Like you said though – easy to avoid. I’m allergic to goat cheese which is also easy to avoid. I feel bad for people who can’t eat peanuts or other things that are every where. The timelining sounds fun but exhausting! Have a great week!

    • I’m also dairy intolerant – but I’ve known that for quite a while and have got that one nailed. Yes… the timelining takes concentration, but is a really useful layer of editing as it sorts out any timing anomalies and also helps uncover the odd blooper as I comb through the text yet again. I use TrackChanges to do it and that is the quickest and most effective way, I find. Have a great week, Katherine.

  7. I’m glad you are getting some warmer weather. We are happy to have some cooler days ahead (low 90s). I hope you have a wonderful visit with the grandchildren.

  8. I am glad the summer weather has finally come your way! I think I’m reading to get rid of ours. As much as I hate to rush time . . . Fall weather would be nice right about now. It sounds like you had a nice and busy week, Sarah. I am sorry to hear about the eczema flare up, but so glad you were able to figure out what the trigger was. And yay to having the taxes done! Doing them is never fun.

    I hop you have a wonderful visit with your grandchildren!

  9. Goodness, you had a busy week. But it was all for good reasons, though. I’m glad to hear your eczema is clearing up, and yay for getting taxes done! I know the feeling about the latter being a less daunting task when you have help. Numbers aren’t my strength, so I get overwhelmed pretty easily come tax-filing time. :S

    Enjoy your time with the grandkids this week!

    • Thank you, Sara:). I am employed by West Sussex County Services as an outside contractor for my tutoring of Tim, so fall within the self assessment self employed bracket. Nothing particularly difficult – but it is a dreary trudge, unless you do it with a friend:)). Thank you for your good wishes regarding my eczema – yes… it’s going to take another week before it completely disappears, but now it isn’t visible anymore and is only occasionally itchy – a HUGE improvement on the misery that was last week!

  10. You had a busy week :). I’m glad your egzema starts disappearing and I hope it’ll be gone soon.
    I also love how you turned a mundane chore into fun: I still need to submit my tax return forms (because I worked in Ireland for the 1.5 month in 2016, and still need to get the one from last year), but it’s just so unexiting… (especially that most likely I won’t get much money back this time around 😉 ).

    • I highly recommend it:). It took the misery and the apprehension out of the whole dreary business and we cruised through the whole thing together, laughing most of the way!

      • I guess I’ll have to get a friend online, since I don’t have anyone around. 🙂 (especially someone who’d be in need of doing taxes too)

      • I don’t even want to know about it… I think when the time comes, I’ll just let my dear husband handle it: he’s been doing it for over 20 years now.
        As for Irish taxes, they’re quite easy and straightforward… It’s just a chore I’m not looking forward to, and since there’s 3 years time limit on relief claims, I have no deadline to motivate me.

  11. Yikes on the eczema — that’s no fun! Thank goodness the culprit was relatively easy to cut out, and hopefully it all goes away soon. I’ve recently discovered that I can’t eat tomatoes, and I’m having a difficult time — it’s amazing how many things have tomato in it!

  12. Glad the weather is nice and you are getting through the edits. Sounds like you’ve been busy. 🙂 Do have a great week and enjoy your reads. 🙂

  13. Wow – so busy. But how great that you’ve turned your fitness and health around. I’ve been really overweight (obese!) for ages and hate that I feel so unhealthy but am trying to change that.

    PS. Am glad summer has arrived. We’re the opposite down under in Australia but we haven’t had a huge amount of really cold weather!

    • What turned me around was finally managing to beat the sciatica. And I know how HARD it is to lose weight once you get to a certain age – so best of luck and remember to be kind to yourself:)

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