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.
It feels like a long time since I touched base with everyone here, as I wasn’t around for the Sunday Post last week having gone to stay with my lovely mother. We don’t see enough of each other, though thank goodness for Skype. But we had the loveliest time catching up and hitting the shops for some retail therapy at Castlepoint on the outskirts of Bournemouth. It was also Himself’s birthday and as it was a Big One with a zero on the end, he asked for a guitar, which he duly got.
While staying with Mum, Robbie contacted me to say that the mini-series, Harley and the Davidsons would be showing, so we had the pleasure of settling down to watch him on TV together as a family. It was a thoroughly entertaining story and I wouldn’t have known he wasn’t American as he’d absolutely nailed the accent as Ira Mason, while his grandmother didn’t recognise him in in the period costume.
Last Monday, I was back home again and off to London with Sally and Tim to attend the BGC Charity Day at their HQ at Canary Wharf – an amazing experience. We were there to represent the Caudwell Children’s charity, who have supported Tim with a variety of treatments and therapies not available on the NHS which have been instrumental in helping him overcome the more distressing symptoms connected to his autism. There were a constant stream of celebrities who went up to the trading floors to help close deals, where the commission went to an impressive list of charities. Tim, Sally and I had a fabulous day and he coped brilliantly with a completely different day to any other, as well as the trip up to London and back.
You won’t be surprised to learn that writing has taken something of a backseat this last couple of weeks. I haven’t done all that well on the reading front, either:
The Fettered Flame – Book 2 of The Shkode series by E.D.E. Bell
The Fettered Flame is a genre-bending fantasy novel that continues the saga of two dying worlds, plagued by their own unique struggles for power. Follow the journeys of Cor – a woman striving to understand her powers of magic and how the connect to her past, Atesh – her contemplative dragon companion, and Jwala – a dragon plunged into a rebirth of ancient ideals.
I really enjoyed the intriguing world Bell has set up. Two worlds have been accidentally sundered by one of Mother’s children while she was observing them. One is peopled by humans and the other by talking dragons who adorn themselves with jewellery and scarves, each believing the other a myth. Both societies are intolerant and prejudiced – the human society refuses women any agency other than staying at home and raising children, while the dragon society is ruled by the paranoid and aging Zee. As the two worlds become increasingly shaken by earthquakes and natural disasters, their societies are also churned up and Cor, a female scholar with an outlawed tattoo on her midriff teams up with Atesh, a dragon who manages to travel through a portal between the worlds.
Twilight of the Dragons – Book 2 of the Blood Dragon Empire by Andy Remic
During a recent dwarf civil-war deep under the Karamakkos Mountains, the magick-enslaved dragonlords have broken free from centuries of imprisonment and slaughtered tens of thousands throughout the Five Havens before exploding from the mountain and heading in fire and vengeance for the lands of Vagandrak. Two once-noble war heroes of Vagandrak – Dakeroth and his wife Jonti Tal, an archer and scholar, the Axeman, the White Witch and a Kaalesh combat expert find themselves in a unique position: for they have discovered the ancient dragon city of Wyrmblood, and a thousand unhatched dragon eggs. Dakeroth and his companions must work with their enemies, Skalg and the Church of Hate, in order to bring down the dragonlords and save the world of men and dwarves. But there is no bartering with these ancient dragons; for they seek to hatch their eggs and rebuild the cruel Wyrmblood Empire of legend.
While I didn’t enjoy this one as much as the first book in the series, the amazing The Dragon Engine, the story still pulled me into the world and I’m keen to discover what happens next.
Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn
Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world’s population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and either emerge with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of south-western Australia, thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life. He exists both in the Changeland and in the outside world, and he wants the twins dead.
This post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy mash-up immediately feels different in that Flynn vividly depicts the Australian landscape, which features throughout, helping to define the mood and frame the action. I quickly bonded with the main protagonists, especially Arika, but I can imagine any teenage boy would equally enjoy reading and identifying with Narrah’s adventures. It is a relief to read a YA book that is absolutely age-appropriate – I’ll have no qualms in offering this read to my granddaughter in another year or so, when she is old enough to appreciate it.
Other interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Killer Apps for Writers http://writerunboxed.com/2016/09/17/killer-apps-for-writers/ by Bill Ferris, one of my favourite regular contributors to Writer Unboxed. This had me spluttering into my tea – I warn you – he REALLY means killer…
The Blog Awards! https://librarystaffpicks.wordpress.com/2016/09/17/the-blog-awards/ I was delighted to read that Ballyroan Reads – a gem of a site for booklovers – had been honoured with an award. They even were nice enough to namecheck yours truly at the end.
This untitled photo has stuck in my mind from this excellent site. Like all the great ones, it can be looked on several levels https://photolicioux.wordpress.com/2016/09/16/untitled-86/
The excellent Interesting Literature offered this interesting and shocking biography…
https://interestingliterature.com/2016/09/16/a-very-short-biography-of-anne-askew/ I hadn’t even heard of her – and I certainly should.
One of my guilty pleasures is visiting this site when I should be writing and enjoying John Grant’s excellent film noir summaries and discussions… https://noirencyclopedia.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/intruder-2011/
Seumas Gallacher writes about returning after a lifetime back to the place where he put down roots. https://seumasgallacher.com/2016/09/16/part-one-of-the-magic-of-a-return-visit-to-mull-in-the-scottish-hebrides/
Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.