Sunday Post – 27th November 2016

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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.

I woke up last Sunday feeling absolutely dreadful – sneezing, aching joints, streaming nose and eyes… Fortunately, I had already posted my Sunday roundup so was able to spend most of the morning in bed drinking lots of water and sleeping. On Monday I cancelled my lesson with Tim and Fitstep session – a real shame, but by the evening I was feeling well enough to teach my usual Creative Writing evening class. By Tuesday, I was still feeling a bit headachy but the cold was gone with not so much as a sniffle – which I was delighted about as it was our Poetry Workshop, one of my favourite sessions of the term, but I need to be feeling reasonably sharp to run it successfully. By Wednesday I was able to attend my Pilates class and on Thursday Mhairi came round for the day and we got down to writing. Although my work on Miranda’s Tempest hasn’t been going so well this week, as there has been a lot of family stuff going on which is taking up a fair amount of headspace.

This week I have read:
The Ballad of Elva and Chester: Or: Mostly Their Fault by Adrian Archangelo
theballadofelvaElva & Chester are space aliens who appear to be human and have been here on earth since the year 1100, with the goal of helping humanity develop more empathy and compassion. (The rest of the beings in the galaxy don’t want us flying around out there until we do.) The pair have no human habits to contend with, but they are extraordinarily responsive to chocolate and hold it in special regard. Although they mean well for us, they find human behavior baffling, and continually see their plans twisted by human responses. Consequently, nearly everything wrong on this planet over the past thousand years was caused by one of their debacles.

A light-hearted romp through history with an unusual justification for all the many disasters…

 

Renting Silence – Book 3 of the Roaring Twenties Mysteries by Mary Miley
renting-silenceCan 1920s script girl Jessie do Mary Pickford’s bidding and uncover a real killer?
When Jessie is asked by her idol, the famous actress Mary Pickford, if she can do some private investigating for her, Jessie reluctantly accepts. A girl was found stabbed in her bedroom with another woman lying unconscious on the floor next to her, a bloody knife in her hand. With no police investigation into the murder, it’s up to Jessie to hone her amateur detective skills and prove the girl’s innocence before she hangs for murder. But as Jessie travels through the roaring twenties world of Hollywood and movies, surreptitiously interviewing fellow travelling performers, she struggles to find the connection she needs.

This is a delight. Miley has perfectly captured the sense of the time with all sorts of delightful details, in addition to highlighting some of the bleaker aspects such as the embedded racist and sexism of the time. And the denouement caught me completely by surprise – all in all a cracking read.

 

Bloodrush – Book 1 of The Scarlet Star trilogy by Ben Galley
“Magick ain’t pretty, it ain’t stars and sparkles. Magick is dirty. It’s rough. Raw. It’s blood and guts bloodrushand vomit. You hear me?”
When Prime Lord Hark is found in a pool of his own blood on the steps of his halls, Tonmerion Hark finds his world not only turned upside down, but inside out. His father’s last will and testament forces him west across the Iron Ocean, to the very brink of the Endless Land and all civilisation. They call it Wyoming.
This is a story of murder and family.
In the dusty frontier town of Fell Falls, there is no silverware, no servants, no plush velvet nor towering spires. Only dust, danger, and the railway. Tonmerion has only one friend to help him escape the torturous heat and unravel his father’s murder. A faerie named Rhin. A twelve-inch tall outcast of his own kind.
This is a story of blood and magick.
But there are darker things at work in Fell Falls, and not just the railwraiths or the savages. Secrets lurk in Tonmerion’s bloodline. Secrets that will redefine this young Hark.
This is a story of the edge of the world.

This fantasy adventure in a Wild West setting pings off the page as the vivid worldbuilding and detailed magickal rules pulled me in and wouldn’t let go until this coming-of-age page-turner was finally completed. I shall be reviewing it in due course.

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 20th November 2016

Film review of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Teaser Tuesday – featuring Bloodrush – Book 1 of The Scarlet Star trilogy by Ben Galley

Review of Synners by Pat Cadigan

Review of Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson

Friday Faceoff – As Old as the Hills… featuring Rider at the Gate – Book 1 of the Finisterre duology by C.J. Cherryh

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* The Ballad of Elva and Chester: Or: Mostly Their Fault by Adrian Archangelo

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

50 Word Stories: Licked https://richardankers.com/2016/11/25/50-word-stories-licked/
Richard specialises in writing a steady stream of very short, quirky fiction and this disturbing little gem nicely showcases his inventive, dark imagination.

Witness for the Prosecution (1982TVM) https://noirencyclopedia.wordpress.com/2016/11/16/witness-for-the-prosecution-1982-tvm/
John’s delightful blog features noir films, together with a detailed storyline and screenshots of the action. This film was particularly entertaining.

The Realities of Writing https://sophieetallis.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/the-realities-of-writing/ This thoughtful, well written article by Sophie is certainly worth reading.

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions No. CLXV (Leiber + Haiblum + Scholz and Harcourt + Orbit Anthology) https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/updates-recent-science-fiction-acquisitions-no-leiber-haiblum-scholz-and-harcourt-orbit-anthology/ Joachim presents his latest finds – all classic science fiction paperbacks with amazing covers.

5 New Poetry Collections https://librarystaffpicks.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/5-new-poetry-collections-2/ Those marvellous folks at Ballyroan library have given a potted review of these latest acquisitions – a must-read for those looking for presents for the poets in their lives.

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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42 responses »

  1. Sorry you’ve been “poorly”. I am suffering with body aches and pains and hurt from looking down grading final papers and today averaging course grades. Probably will have tosee the pain management doctor about another “procedure” during the semester break. I am taking breaks from the schoolwork by watching recorded episodes of This Is Us; that helps. I am going to tell a friend about the “Ballad” book. He has just finished a scii fi book of his own–if he ever stops putting in “one more tweak”–he’s ready to publish it. I think seeing what’s “out there” might be helpful to get him going about moving his along. Your reviews are always well written, and I really enjoy reading them.

    • So sorry to hear of your aches and pains, Rae. It’s an ongoing problem sitting in one place for hours at a time, tensed and hunched while your brain is in overdrive… Can I recommend you get yourself a TENS machine? The little battery operated gismos aren’t all that expensive and mine has completely helped me overcome a chronic sciatica condition that had dominated my life for nearly a decade despite the best efforts of a highly recommended physio and pain management clinic. Thank you so much for your kind comments about my reviews and I’m delighted you find them enjoyable.

  2. Ooh, you had quite the week…glad you’re better now!

    Renting Silence looks like a book I might enjoy. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog. Enjoy your week, and may the viruses stay away!

    • It’s funny you should say that, Laurel – as I was reading Renting Silence, I thought of you and how much you’d like this one:). As it’s part of a series, it might be an idea to track down the first, award-winning book. Thank you for your good wishes – I must say I was very pleased (and relieved) that I’d managed to throw off the cold so very fast, as it was a stinker! Have a great week.

    • The well-behaved cold, ha ha! Thank you for your good wishes, Laura and like you, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve now had my yearly dose of winter nasties. Have a great week:).

  3. Happy Sunday! Glad you’re feeling better and it didn’t impact your week TOO much, although feeling ill is never a happy thing! I hope this new week is smooth sailing for you.

    I enjoyed your review of Fantastic beasts last week and I’m hoping to see it this week. I was going to go over the weekend but that didn’t happen, but I’m determined to see it. Thank you for the links as well, as I see several I want to check out.

    • Thank you, Greg – yes… this time last week I certainly was feeling very sorry for myself! I’m glad you found the review of Fantastic Beasts helpful and I hope you manage to get to see it this week – I’ve been squeeing about it on Facebook with another utter fan, too. Hope you manage to keep warm through all that snow and have a great week:)).

  4. I am sorry to hear you were sick and am so glad you are feeling better. I am glad you were able to go to the Poetry Workshop. The Ballad of Elva and Chester sounds like such fun. Renting Silence sounds like something I would like too. I hope you have a great week, Sarah!

    • Thank you – yes, it’s such a relief to be back to normal! I think Renting Silence would suit you – though as it’s the third book in the series and the first one won an award that might be the place to start. I’ll be looking out for it as I really like her writing. In the meanting, you, too, have a great week, Wendy:).

  5. I’ve had a horrible cold now for a few weeks – it’s really not pleasant. Glad to hear that you’re shaking it off quickly and getting on with all your classes and workshops.
    Sounds like you had a great week and achieved plenty in spite of feeling ill at the start.
    Lynn 😀

    • So sorry to hear you’re smitten – I drank loads of water and took mega-doses of vitamin C while avoiding all sugar and dairy. It certainly worked, though I’ve a fairly hefty immune system after years of teaching in a classroom. It was a quieter week than I’d originally intended, but at least I managed to keep up with my teaching commitments – which is the main concern. Take care, Lynn and I hope you feel a lot better very soon.

  6. Sorry to hear you were unwell last week but it sounds like things improved a little. I’m still struggling to get into a regular exercise pattern, but think I need to ‘start’ by being a bit more flexible with what I plan to do. I get really anxious when I don’t do certain things but then find myself ‘in the mood’ for a walk for example. So I should go with that!

    • Yes, I’m a real fan of doing what you enjoy where exercise is concerned – and it’s now been scientifically proved that if you’re actually enjoying and engaged in what you’re doing, ie dancing instead of gym drills, the benefits are far more extensive and long-lasting.

  7. I’m sorry you weren’t feeling well, but I’m glad you felt better quickly 🙂 That Bloodrush book sounds pretty good. I’ve never read any Wild West fantasy, but maybe I ought to give it a try. I think I saw you had a review posted since I took so long to do my Sunday post commenting and it’s Monday now lol. Gonna go check that out. Have a great week 🙂

    • Thank you – yes, I was delighted to recover so quickly – this time last week I was still feeling VERY sorry for myself:). Oh yes – I really recommend Ben Galley’s book – the world is great and I still find myself thinking about it a lot. I’m definitely going to be tracking down the next one in the series – and soon! Hope you have a better week and soon feel less tired. Hopefully those builders are coming to the end of all that work!

  8. Sorry to hear you weren’t feeling well last week, Sarah. I hope you have a better week, both with your health and with Miranda’s Tempest. I’ve been dealing with stress from a few different sources (holiday, work, other things), but I’m doing my best to relax and not let it all get to me.

    • Yes… I know what you mean. I’ve got some major stuff going on in my life right now. So I’m keeping on deep breathing, ensuring I keep RIGHT off sugar, alcohol, etc – don’t need any loss of control! And trying to put things back together as best I can. Hope your issues aren’t too overwhelming – and you’re spot on – relaxing and trying to keep it in perspective is the way to go. It’s taken me far too long to learn that worrying and getting upset doesn’t do a darn thing to fix the situation and just compromises my coping mechanisms. Take care, my friend and hope things soon improve for you.x

      • “So I’m keeping on deep breathing, ensuring I keep RIGHT off sugar, alcohol, etc – don’t need any loss of control!”

        You may have been doing better than me in that regard, then. Sugar (or chocolate, in particular) has been my “frenemy” lately. :S So I need to do a better job of eating healthy – and getting back into an exercise routine, which I’ve started with a mix of weights, yoga, and pilates at home. But I’m hoping to attend a yoga class next Monday night – my first one in months, so that will feel welcome.

        As for the source of my stress… We’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to say much right now, because I’ll make an announcement about it in the next week or so… but the thought of sharing the news with people in my offline life who most likely won’t be supportive of it is what’s getting to me right now. I know I’m an adult and can make my own choices, especially ones involving my dreams and passions… but it’s tough when the people closest to you don’t agree with those choices. :/

      • Oh dear! Yes… that’s a really tough one, Sara:(. But as you say – you are an adult and have to follow your own dreams and passions. This isn’t a rehearsal and you have to do what you think is best for you. While you’re under such pressure, I would say – try at least to cut down the chocolate, etc – while a very tiny amount can be life enhancing, too much affects your health and messes with your emotion. (And yes – I know I’m sounding a tad weird, but the stuff is addictive and anything you crave isn’t good for your brain…). In the meantime, take great care.x

      • I’ve been doing a little better with the sweets / chocolate. Sometimes I find that making an extra cup of tea (herbal or low caffeine at night) cuts down on the craving, too – and that’s a much better habit to have.

        Btw, I don’t think you sound weird at all, because I’ve heard the same thing about too much chocolate. You’re trying to help – and I appreciate that very much. *hugs*

      • Phew! I debated whether to add in my own misgivings about eating too much chocolate – but it is, I think, a real issue for many people. And I also think it sucks energy with the highs and resulting crashes. I cannot believe how much energy I have these days. I think you’re a warm, lovely person with a great vision and I’d love to see you get where you want to go! *hugs*

  9. What a week! Colds are never convenient, are they? I’m glad you’re feeling better. Hat is it about family stuff this year? Almost everyone I know is dealing with something that just takes up so much space and time. I hope yours (and mine) are resolved as painlessly as possible.

      • I’m still stuck at home (I was supposed to start my driving lessons, but the heavy snow makes me uneasy about them) and my interaction with other humans is limited to my husband (and passing people while in the shop once a week), so I’m all good.

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