Sunday Post – 23rd October


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.

vegfestThis has been another busy, busy week. I had visitors staying for the week who I don’t get to see all that often, so I eased off with the blogging, etc while we caught up and had long, leisurely chats over cups of tea. They left on Friday and I went up to Vegfest in London yesterday with my son, Robbie. We had a lovely time together and I learnt a lot more about feeding a vegetarian/vegan family in a friendly supportive atmosphere. Rob got the chance to talk to some lovely vegan body-builders, who were only too happy to explode some myths about needing meat to add muscle and bulk. The bonus – there was also stacks of scrummy food…

I picked up the children today and am grannying again.

This week I have read:

The Imlen Brat by Sarah Avery
theimlenbratStisele of Imlen knows she’s in trouble, but not how much. The young adopted daughter of Beltresa’s sovereign longs to be a weapon in her mother’s service — even against her birth family, should Utroneth ask it. If only Stisele could master the temper that drives her to pepper the royal heir with petty kin-curses. But Stisele’s dreams are bigger than the balance of intrigues that keeps her alive and captive in this perilous royal court. She can be more than a speaker of kin-curses. She deserves a life beyond the palace islet she’s never left. Her two imaginary friends, if indeed that’s what they are, tell her so. If Stisele is to make her own life in a world that’s not ready for her, she must regain the trust of wary allies. She must begin to control the power of the kin-curse—her imaginary friends are as much hindrance as help. And she will have to give up her place in the only home she’s ever known.

This is a cracking premise – I’m always a sucker for tense political intrigue and seeing through the lens of a child where I understood more about what was going on than she did was a treat. My only grizzle – the novella ended too soon…



The Steerswoman – Book 1 of The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein
The Steerswoman is the first novel in the Steerswoman series. Steerswomen, and a very few Steersmen, thesteerwomanare members of an order dedicated to discovering and disseminating knowledge. Although they are foremost navigators of the high seas, Steerswomen are also explorers and cartographers upon land as well as sea. With one exception, they are pledged to always answer any question put to them with as truthful a response as is possible within their own limitations. However, they also require anyone of whom they ask questions to respond in the same manner, upon penalty of the Steerswomen’s ban; those under the ban do not receive answers from the steerswomen.

I read this fantastic book longer ago than I care to remember and on discussing it with Himself, he decided to buy it now that it’s available on Kindle. I took a breath and reread it – something I rarely do and remembered all over again why it has lodged in my head when so many others have faded away…


Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb
returntothesecretgardenIt’s 1939 and a group of children have been evacuated to Misselthwaite Hall. Emmie is far from happy to have been separated from her cat and sent to a huge old mansion. But soon she starts discovering the secrets of the house – a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary and a garden. A very secret garden…

This is the sequel to Frances Hodgeson Burnett’s classic, The Secret Garden, which was a huge favourite of mine when I was a child as my grandmother read it to me back in 1963. Webb has managed to revisit Misselthwaite Hall with another spiky heroine every bit as angry and alienated as Mary Lennox and we rediscover all over again the magic of a forgotten garden – and some hard life lessons along the way.



A Darker Shade of Magic – Book 1 of the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes adarkershadeofmagicconnected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand…

Yes – I realise I must be one of the last people on the planet to have read this one, but I’m very glad I did. It entertained me on the train journey to and from London yesterday.

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 16th October

Teaser Tuesday – featuring The Steerswoman – Book 1 of The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of So Many Boots, So Little Time – Book 3 of The MisAdventures of Miss Lilly by Kalan Chapman Lloyd

Favourite Time Travelling Novels – Part 2

Friday Faceoff – There’s no place like home… featuring Crooked House by Agatha Christie

Review of Penric’s Demon – A World of Five Gods novella by Lois McMaster Bujold

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
The Character Evolution Files, No 13: Answers to Lingering Questions About the Journey Through the Character Arc Once more Sara LeTourneau provides an excellent article on this intriguing aspect of plotting – do take note of that awesome graph she has constructed…

Space Features of the Week (16th October) Steph gives a quick overview on what is going on offplanet. The feature regarding Asgardia particularly caught my eye.

…eat yer heart out Mel Gibson… yer Braveheart’s got NUTHIN on Master Gallacher for courage… Successful indie author Seumas Gallacher is always worth reading – and this article had me spluttering my tea all over the keyboard.

Many thanks for visiting and taking the time and trouble to comment – and may you have a wonderful reading and blogging week.

35 responses »

  1. I’ve only ever seen the movie adaptation of The Secret Garden but it’s my goal in life to read the book and then read it to my daughter. I’ll have to pick up the sequel as well. And you aren’t the last one to read A Darker Shade of Magic because I haven’t read it yet either! Hope you have a great week!

    • Thank you for that kind reassurance, Stacey – I really began to feel that EVERYONE else had read A Darker Shade of Magic. The Secret Garden is a delight, though I’m not sure how many modern children can cope with the densely written prose of the early 20th century, but its certainly worth you reading it. And The Return of the Secret Garden will definitely be one you could read to your daughter. Do let me know if you get it, how it goes:).

    • Yes! I completed A Darker Shade of Magic on the train and really enjoyed it. As for Vegfest – it was packed and 80% were under 25s. I was also struck at how slim and healthy most of the attendees were… But yes – it can be a challenge – I wanted to find some tasty alternatives to quorn:)

  2. I hope you had a fun week with your visitors! And that Vegfest sounds fun! I never heard of that before, but it sounds like a fun event for vegetarians and vegans. And yummy food is always a good thing!
    I haven’t read Darker Shade of Magic either, but heard good things about it. Looks like you had a good reading week! I hope next week is a good one too.

    • Thank you, Lola:). I’m going to try and read more sci fi – I suddenly realised that rhe last few weeks have been more about Fantasy and I’m missing a sci fi fix! Hope your week is also a good one.

  3. I haven’t read that VE Schwab book. In fact, I have never read a VE Schwab book….so I guess that makes ME the last person on earth! I read the Secret Garden when I was in school and just adored it. Have a wonderful week!

    • lol… good to know I wasn’t quite as isloated as I’d thought:). I loved The Secret Garden and far preferred it to The Little Princess, which was a tad too sentimental.

  4. Long chats over tea with friends sounds lovely, glad you had a nice week. The Imlen Brat and The Steerswoman both sound interesting to me, and while I haven’t read The secret Garden I do like the premise.

    • Yes, it was delightful – and just as well I had a couple of things lined up that were able to take my mind off that hollow empty feeling once they left. Have a great week, Greg:)

  5. The VegFest sounds fun! And that’s wonderful that you got to spend time with some people you don’t see very often 🙂

    Don’t worry, you’re not the LAST person to read A Darker Shade of Magic since I haven’t read any VE Schwab yet o.0 I ADORE those covers for the Darker Shade series, but I think Vicious might be more my kind of book and really want to try that one.

    Have a great week!

    • Well that makes me feel a lot less out of the loop – thank you for the reassurance, Kristen and I have a hunch you may be right. Although I thought this one a cracking read.

  6. Thank you for your kind words about The Imlen Brat. I had so much fun writing it. There’s a great deal more set in that world, thought most of it has not seen print yet. You can get a free short story ebook about Stisele, DRM-free in all formats,at my website,, by signing up for my email list. “The Enemy in Snowmelt Season” follows the teenage Leftenant Stisele on a mission gone wrong in the northern wilds.

    • Hi Sarah – I’m delighted there’s more coming in the world:) I’ll be reviewing the book nearer to the release date and I’m assuming there’s a full novel coming in due course?

      • In due course, yes, definitely. Due course could take a while.

        For full novels, I’m shooting for traditional publishing. My Stisele novel exists in very rough draft, but isn’t ready to send out yet. My other Beltresin novel (set 200 years later — one of the characters is a political dissident writing a biography of Stisele and getting some things amusingly wrong), is getting pretty serious consideration at a trad press, but there’s not an offer on the table. I hope to have something I can announce in 2017.

        Those books will all, when they come out, be as delicious as you want them to be.

        I’m looking forward to your review!

  7. That VegFest sounds fascinating! I’ve actually read up on getting protein without eating meat b/c I’m not a fan of it so I know there’s a way. I think shakes are definitely the way and there’s so many vegan options out there nowadays 🙂

    I’m glad you finally read A Darker Shade of Magic 🙂 I need to read book 2 before the next one comes out soon!!!

    Have a great week!!

    • Thank you:)). Both of my children became vegetarian several years ago and so did the grandchildren and a year ago, I also gave up eating meat – and I cannot get over how much energy I now have and how well I feel. At the Vegfest, I got some good ideas for interesting, tasty food and bought a spiraliser:)

  8. Lovely to have some time with your son – who I assume is vegan or vegetarian? And great that you’ve had the opportunity to learn about that way of living!

    And it’s nice to spend time with people / visitors you don’t see often and worth the break from the blog I think.

  9. No, you’re not the last person to read A Darker Shade of Magic – because I haven’t managed to get a copy yet. 😉 But it’s such a popular series right now, you’d think it would be easy to find the first book!

    Anyways, I’m glad you had a good week and enjoyed VegFest. Most of my week was spent editing TKC, and then I attended a Foy Vance concert with friends on Saturday night. Maybe you’ve heard of Foy or his music? He’s a folk-blues singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland. I saw him in July when he opened for Sarah McLachlan and Josh Groban, and he blew me away then – and even more so on Saturday. One of the best live performers I’ve seen / heard in a long time.

    Thanks for sharing the File No. 13 link, btw. 🙂

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