Sunday Post – 29th January 2017


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.

It hasn’t been a busy week as I’ve not been very well, trying to cope with a persistent, low-grade headache. It started on Sunday and I struggled on through teaching on Monday and Tuesday – I also had one of my lovely writing groups over for a meal and feedback on Tuesday night. But come Wednesday, I’d had enough. I declared myself beaten and retreated to bed where I’ve been mostly sleeping and reading and occasionally facing the computer, which has made me feel sick again. Feeling better now, though still getting tired far too easily. Hopefully I’ll be feeling a lot better next week.

Number One Son flew out the States on Monday and it was relief when I heard he’d arrived safe and sound. God bless modern communication technology.

I’m officially fed up with winter. The nights have been so wretchedly cold and Monday was horrible with freezing fog, having to drive into Northbrook College at night. But at least it hasn’t snowed this year, yet, so I must be grateful for small mercies.

This week I have read:
A Closed and Common Orbit – Book 2 of The Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers
Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, aclosedandcommonorbitfollowing a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

I thoroughly enjoyed Chambers’ first book in this series The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but I preferred this offering. This dual narrative switches between Lovelace and Pepper, both engrossing and interesting layered characters. I shall be reviewing it in due course.


The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter
themassacreofmankindIt has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared.
So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.
He is right.

This offering is the approved sequel to H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and Baxter has triumphantly evoked the tone and feel of the original classic invasion story, while injecting plenty of original action and excitement. If you are a fan of Wells’ book, I recommend you have a go at this one – it’s a blast with a delightful twist at the end.


Radio Boy by Christian O’Donnell
Meet Spike, aka Radio Boy: a new Adrian Mole on the radio for the internet generation.radioboy

Spike’s your average awkward 11 year old, funny and cheeky and with a mum to reckon with. When he becomes the first presenter ever to be sacked from hospital radio, he decides, with the help of his father and two best friends, to take other steps. However, it all spins out of control…

This is an amusing children’s book with an engaging protagonist and plenty of action with some important underlying messages without being preachy or stuffy. Ideal for newly independent readers and one that I shall be reading to my granddaughter.


Windwitch – Book 2 of The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard
windwitchAfter an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

The above blurb takes you to the start of this engaging sequel, so my firm advice is to get hold of Truthwitch before tucking into this enjoyable, YA epic fantasy. As might be deduced by the title, this offering focuses on Prince Merik, however we do still follow the fortunes of Safi and Iseult. The narrative comes to a dramatic ending but there are still plenty of dangling plotlines all waiting to be tied up in the next book.


Old Bones – A Detective Inspector Slider Mystery by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
A young couple discover human remains buried in the garden of their new house: could this be oldbonesthe resting place of 14-year-old Amanda Knight, who disappeared from the same garden two decades before, and was never seen again?
The problem comes almost as a relief to DCI Slider, still suffering from the fallout of his previous case. He is not popular with the Powers That Be, and his immediate boss, Detective Superintendent Porson, reckons that at least this little puzzle will keep Slider out of trouble. After all, with a murder twenty years in the past, this is the coldest of cold cases. Most of the suspects and principal players are now dead too, and all passion is long spent … Or is it?

Well this is fun! I haven’t read any of Harrod-Eagles writing before and I’m now a solid fan of this popular, prolific author. This established series is definitely going to be one I shall be revisiting. I loved Slider’s grumpy, desert-dry humour and while I guessed some of the elements of the mystery, it didn’t matter because I was so caught up with the characters, I was in for the duration.

My posts last week:
Sunday Post – 22nd January 2017

Review of Emperor of the Fireflies by Sarah Ash

Teaser Tuesday featuring The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

PREVIEW of Empire Games by Charles Stross

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Review of The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

Friday Faceoff – A Room Without Books Is Like a Body Without a Soul featuring The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Review of Windwitch – Book 2 of The Witchlands by Susan Dennard

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Johnny Cash, Debbie Harry & Gene Autry chase Ghost Riders in the Sky –
In this delightful article, Thom gives us various versions of this classic song, after explaining why it matters so much to him. If you enjoy reading lyrically beautiful prose in praise of music, then this is must-read blog.

Tips For Helping Me Blog –
Emma gives some useful tips in order to help keep our blogging schedules straight.

Never Press DELETE
Joanna provides some useful advice for writers that I regularly find myself saying to my students – while horrified at how many who throw away or delete their own work…

Win 50 Books for a School or Library
I thought I’d spread the word about this competition – let’s face it we all know schools or libraries which could do with 50 more books…

Five Fascinating Facts about Shakespeare’s The Tempest I found this article particularly interesting as I’m in the process of rewriting my novel which is a sequel, exploring what happens to Miranda and Prospero once they leave their enchanted island…

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

37 responses »

  1. I have The Massacre of Mankind firmly in my sights, assuming it’s not one of Steve’s 700-page doorstoppers!

    Have you read The Space Machine, Chris Priest’s riff on War of the Worlds and The Time Machine? I reread it a few years ago for an essay I was writing on sf treatments of time travel, and was amazed by how well it had stood up. And it’s a lot of fun.

      • Baxter’s book is a reasonable length and rackets along at a reasonable clip

        That’s good to hear. I always enjoy his books when I read them, but some of them require major investments of time.

      • I think this one is impressive in the effort he has taken to ensure he has immersed the story in Well’s world, adopted his characters and taken the story on in a convincing and interesting way.

  2. There seems to be a lot sickness going around, hope you’re feeling better. So glad you liked A Closed and Common Orbit- I just adore the world she has created there and I hope for many more! And the War of the Worlds book- I had no idea there was such a thing. I’m very curious and may get that one. I like your blog as I always seem to find some SF here that I haven’t seen. 🙂

    • Oh yes! I thought A Closed and Common Orbit even better than Angry Planet:). And I highly recommend The Massacre of Mankind – Baxter thoroughly researched Wells’ story and thinking and it shows. Delighted you find the blog helpful! Have a great week, Greg:).

  3. Oh well -spent my weekend in bed with flu, but kids didn’t let me do any reading. Not that bad, considering what’s going on in the world today – it let me enough Twitter time. Hope you’ll get well soon 🙂

  4. Sorry to hear your weather has been so horrid, but also sorry to hear you’ve been sick. It sounds like you needed the time in bed and the rest! Take care. x

    • Thank you:). I’m now back on my feet, thank goodness. Whether it was just exhaustion or some kind of peverse bug, it wasn’t at all pleasant. I’m back to normal – whatever that might mean!

  5. Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well :-/ Feel better soon!

    Honestly, I can’t even imagine life without phones. I mean, cell phones weren’t big until I was a teen, but even just not having landlines… I can’t imagine not being able to contact people without just showing up in person!

    I’ve been considering reading Small, Angry Planet. Glad you’ve enjoyed both books in the series 🙂

    • Oh I do recommend Small, Angry Planet and A Close and Common Orbit – apart from anything else, I’d love to know what you think of them.

      I grew up in a household where there wasn’t a phone – and looking back, I’m not sure why. There were certainly landlines aplenty – to the extent that when we had a chimney fire back when I was 8, I rushed next door to ask them to call the fire brigade. But we had our first phone after my grandfather died, when I was 15.

      Thank you for your good wishes – I’m feeling much better now, thank you:)

  6. Sorry to hear you weren’t feeling well. 😦 I hope you’re better now?

    I desperately want to get to The Witchlands series so hopefully I’ll be able to look at that sometime before the end of the year.

    I hope you have a better week!

    • I’m feeling a lot better now, thank you,Di:). Oh I hope you manage to get to The Witchlands – I think the series is a really enjoyable epic fantasy read. Have a good week.

  7. Oh good, I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better, Sarah. Hope this week is off to a better start. And I hope your son doesn’t have too much trouble flying back from the States. I really hope more countries don’t start appearing on our “no fly” list in the near future. (What happened last week has made me very, very angry, so I’m doing what I can do to focus on more productive things so I don’t stay angry…)

    • He should have no problems – he’s also got a Visa (which took a LOT of money and time to achieve) permitting him to work in the US entertainment industry. But, like you, I’m both aghast and boggled at what is going on – both sides of the Atlantic as it happens. The miserable business of our country walking away from the EU rumbles on, here, too:(…

      • The whole situation is definitely very frightening for someone living here on a Green Card: can I risk a visit to the UK to see #1 Grandson knowing that, in my absence, our Toddler-in-Chief might decide Brits are all stinky, yah boo sucks, and should not be readmitted?

        But in so many ways that’s a small and selfish concern. My heart goes out to all those people trying to escape from the most vile and hellish places on earth who’ve just seen the door slammed in their faces by the wealthiest nation on earth. That’s so immoral, by any possible measure, that it makes me want to puke.

        At the bottom of the barrel is scum. Below that there’s more scum. Keep going down another few layers — no, more layers than that, impatient one! — and you might just start approaching the new US administration. I thought George W Bush had dragged this country as low as it could get, but . . .

      • And I suppose that’s why our great and esteemed leader has rushed over there to hang onto his coattails… But it surely leaves a sour taste in the mouth. All of it. I think back to the ideals and hope prevalent in the 1960s when I was growing up – and then see what the politics of fear has brought us to, and I want to weep.

      • That’s right. I forgot about Brexit. :S There’s been so much focus on the “change of the guard” here in the States that I haven’t heard much about what’s going on in the UK. Has anything changed yet as a result of the vote? Or is that process still underway?

      • Our currency has taken a pounding and a lot of folks (us included) are very nervous. I really can’t see how any change is going to be an improvement:(.

  8. Glad your son made it all safe and sound. And hope that headache doesn’t return. Hope you have another great week though.

  9. Sorry to hear about your headache. I hope it cleared up entirely by now! 😉
    Good to hear your son landed okay. How did people do it when they weren’t able to communicate so easily?! It would have totally freaked me out!
    Looks like you did some great reading this week. Awesome!
    Have a good week!

    • Thank you – the headache is now quite gone, which is a huge relief! Of course, no one was able to communicate quickly and once someone disappeared off, you comforted yourself with the thought – ‘no news is good news.’ I remember when we emigrated to Africa, we used to send reel-to-reel tapes to our grandparents back in the UK, but they took ages and ages to get back and forth. Like you – I’m so glad its now and he could send me a pic via instagram of him on the plane and let me know as soon as he’d arrived safely! Hope you, too, have a good week, Maureen:).

  10. Sorry to hear about your long lasting headache. Mine usually last 24 hours and that’s alreadg long in my opinion. Sounds like relaxing in bed and reading did help luckily. I hope you’re feeling totally better by now.
    Modern technology sure is handy for a lot of things, like being able to communicate almost instantly. here the weather seem to be getting milder, maybe you get some milder weather soon too!
    It does seem you had a good reading week :). I hope this week was a good one.

    • Thank you, Lola:). My headaches don’t normally last that long, thank goodness – 3 or 4 days used to be more usual, but 8 days… which was why I pretty much gave up and retired to bed. I think it was some sort of virus. Yes… the weather is milder, but it has rain almost continuously for 6 days. Ugh!

  11. I’m sorry to read about your headache: I hope it went away never to be seen again! I think going to bed and taking it easy was a good decision: with all the rush of life things we often forget to take care of ourselves.
    I also agree on the perks of modern communication: without it I’d be “all alone” (save the very patient husband) in a foreign, faraway country.
    And thank you for mentioning my blog post. I really appreciate it.

    • Fortunately, it did disappear. I’m prone to headaches anyway – but this one was miserably persistent:(. Yes – it’s a wonderful time to be alive with the blessing of modern communication:). We wouldn’t know of each other’s existence a couple of decades ago. As for the blog post – my pleasure. I feature blog posts I think other folks would find interesting and stimulating – and yours certainly ticks those boxes.

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