Sunday Post – 21st May 2017


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.

Last Sunday was another major gathering of the clan – my parents, both sisters, along with my brother in law and two nephews met up at The George pub at Burpham for a birthday meal to celebrate my sister’s birthday. It was an additional celebration – she is returning next month to England and will be settling in Littlehampton just up the road. We had a lovely time all catching up with each other with lots of laughter and good food.

This week has been a better one, in that I have started to catch up on my admin backlog from when I was ill and feel that at last I’m regaining my energy levels, although I did miss my Pilates session again this week, as I still felt less than my shiny best. This afternoon, we’ve been invited up to a BBQ at my daughter’s house – and I’m providing the vegan pudding… So I won’t be around to nteract though I’ll catch up later.

This week I have read:

The Ninth Rain – Book 1 of The Winnowing Flame by Jen Williams
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine. When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind. But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war.
Jen Williams’ first series, The Copper Cat – see my review of The Copper Promise made a great impression. She has an energy and buzz that has her writing crackling off the the page and this post-apocalytic sci-fi/fantasy swords and sorcery mashup ticks all the boxes for me. The worldbuilding, in particular, is outstanding…

Sweep in Peace – Book 2 of The Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews
Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina’s door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance. Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn…and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it’s all in the day’s work for an Innkeeper…
It’s been longer than I’d planned since I read the first book – see my review of Clean Sweep in this original, quirky fantasy/sci fi portal adventure and it was every bit as enjoyable as I’d hoped. It’s a really nifty trick to be able to effectively portray an multi-world epic from a normally quiet inn in a half-forgotten corner of America, but Andrews pulls it off.

Cold-Forged Flame – Book 1 of the Ree Varekai novella series by Marie Brennan
The sound of the horn pierces the apeiron, shattering the stillness of that realm. Its clarion call creates ripples, substance, something more. It is a summons, a command. There is will. There is need.
And so, in reply, there is a woman.
At the beginning—no—at the end—she appears, full of fury and bound by chains of prophecy. Setting off on an unexplained quest from which she is compelled to complete, and facing unnatural challenges in a land that doesn’t seem to exist, she will discover the secrets of herself, or die trying. But along the way, the obstacles will grow to a seemingly insurmountable point, and the final choice will be the biggest sacrifice yet.
This takes writing chops to effectively depict a woman warrior who knows nothing about who she is or where she came from, only that she is bound to complete a mysterious quest for the people who summoned her. Marie Brennan pulls it off and I’m really looking forward to reading the next instalment, Lightning in the Blood at the end of the month.


My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 14th May 2017

NEW RELEASE SPECIAL Review of Assassin’s Fate – Book 3 of The Fitz and the Fool trilogy – Book 16 of the Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb

Teaser Tuesday featuring Cold-Forged Flame – Book 1 of the Ree Varekai novella series by Marie Brennan

Review of Goldfish from Beyond the Grave – Book 4 of the Undead Pets series by Sam Hay

Shoot for the Moon 2017 Challenge – April Roundup

Friday Face-off – Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo – featuring No Highway by Nevil Shute

Review of The Ninth Rain – Book 1 of The Winnowing Flame by Jen Williams


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

John Fogerty, Johnny Winter & James Burton hit that Riff! : Susie Q!  Thom’s wonderful, indepth articles about music are always worth reading. And this one is a delight – the Johnny Winter version is my favourite, for what it’s worth…

10 of the Best Poems About Gardens The day when all the marvellous BBC coverage from Chelsea Flower Show starts seems apt to consider poems about the garden.

Thoughts on writing and publishing, from me and others Juliet McKenna’s blog is always worth reading, but this article also includes links to other interesting, articulate authors

Seven Steps to Honoring Your Reality This excellent article by Sara Letourneau certainly arrived at my Inbox in time to remind me not to panic as I’m trying to catch up after a spell of not feeling my best…

Oceans of Life? The Solar System and beyond Another superb roundup about what is going on in the scientific community – and it has never been more exciting…

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

33 responses »

  1. I’m glad you’re getting your energy back, Sarah. Your family gatherings sound like so much fun! That’s one of the things I’m loving since we moved to the Midwest last year. We are closer to family and get together with different family members regularly. I love all your links and will have to go explore.

    And you read some really good books. I’ve read the books in The Innkeepers Series and love them. I have the Marie Brennan book and want to read it before long and I’m going to check out Jen Williams since I haven’t heard of her before. Hope you have a great week!

    • Thank you – yes – I am blessed with a reasonably large family and we do try to get together on occasions throughout the year, otherwise it’s so easy to drift apart… Glad you enjoy my books choices – I’m now looking forward to reading the last of the Innkeeper series, though it’s always a bittersweet moment, isn’t it? Oh, do check out Jen Williams – I’d love to know what you think of The Ninth Rain. Thank you for your good wishes Jan and I hope that you, too, have a really good week:)

  2. How wonderful that you’re getting your health and energy back. Your family get togethers DO sound like so much fun! The books mentioned in this post all sound interesting, but the last, the first book of the Rea Varekai novella series, really sounded great. I have saved the title and the author’s name. Maybe you will review it in depth later. We had two mini-reunions with a friend who taught high school with My Better Half who now lives in Las Vegas. He was staying near a mall about a thirty minute drive from our house, so we met him at the mall and walked and visited, then sat on a bench and visited for about three hours. We ate at the Food Court, which actually had some good food. He put us to shame. We had to rest up the day after each outing. He is 83 and is flying back to LV tomorrow (Monday). That’s a friend get-together; all of what’s left of family is 1500 miles away!

    • Your friend reunion sounded wonderful, Rae – and it’s great that at 83, he still has so much health and energy. Hm… 1,500 miles away is a heck of a distance – do you Skype regularly? That’s how my sister in France and I and my mum keep in touch together – it’s marvellous for chatting face to face. And it’s free! We had a wonderful time at my daughter’s with the BBQ – the weather was perfect and I spent the time pushing through the overgrown garden/wood checking out all the amazing plants they’ve got there and enjoying the bees and butterflies… It’s a magical place. Yes – I shall definitely be reviewing the Ree Vakerai novella:) Thank you for reading and have a great week, my friend.x

      • I do not receive any replies from my brother and his two girls except what they post for everyone on Facebook. I have tried e-mails, sending pictures on the phone and texting, but they do not have time or maybe do not want to send or answer individually. I opened an “account” so I would at least know what was going on. (They have forgotten to tell me things like my great neice was pregnant or that my great nephew had broken up with his girlfriend–I almost sent her a Christmas present). I am not fishing for sympathy or playing the poor pitiful me card even though it sounds like it. I went wrong when I left home and just didn’t see them except two weeks and Christmas and two weeks in the summer. You can’t be a part of a person’s life in that little bit of time. Nobody today has time to write letters or even send e-mails; so, it’s not just them. They have families and are very busy, and I am just an aunt and great aunt. I have substituted former students who were willing to keep in touch (and they mostly live closer) as my “family.” As a matter of fact a former student who was from Bejing and came through my class back in 2007 and her family are coming to stay with us for a week or so in June. They live in Boston now. I am soooo looking forward to their visit! We also have a “grandson” who came through my class in 2006 who is now thirty, received his PhD in December, and helps us with everything “techie.” He lives thirty miles south of us, but he doesn’t mind driving all that way to help us out. The three of us often eat lunch out and “hang out” (his words) together.

      • Yes… families don’t always work out, do they? One of my most inspirational teachers used to say, ‘You are stuck with your family, whoever they are – but you get to choose your friends, so look after them well.’ It sounds to me as if you are in the marvellous position of having been able to choose your family as well:). Your ‘grandson’ sounds absolutely lovely!

    • Oh yes – it was a lovely family time and you’re right… they are the best:). No, along with the whole family, I’m vegetarian, but my young grandson is vegan and we find it hard to track down cakes/puddings for him.

  3. Thanks for sharing the articles, I’ll be checking out the one about honoring your reality. Sometimes you need to be reminded of things like that 🙂 have a great week!

  4. We have a large family and I remember those wonderful gatherings. We live all over the country now and hard to get together now. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. And I hope you fell 100% again soon, Sarah.

    My Sunday Post

    • Yes… I think it is a given that modern families do scatter. Do you Skype at all? It’s how my sister who lives in France and I keep in touch, along with my mother. We get to chat face to face and it’s free. Yes – I’m feeling far more like my old self – thank you for your kind good wishes, Laura and have have a great week:)

  5. That’s great you got to catch up with your family! That sounds nice :). Oh a vegan pudding? that sounds good!

    I am curious about the innkeeper series, I have book one on my wishlist. I hope you’ll have a great week!

    • It’s a really quick an easy pudding – you make a crumble mix, using a dairy-free spread and add between a quarter & half a pint of almond milk and fruit – either blueberries, apples or rhubarb and bake in the oven until set. It’s reasonably quick and foolproof – I used to make it for the children when they were little using butter and cows’ milk, but it is really tasty swapping the ingredients. I would love your take on The Innkeeper Chronicles – and I think you’d enjoy it. Have a great week, Lola!

  6. Glad this was a good week! The Ninth Rain looks fantastic, love the sound of the worldbuilding, and I enjoyed your review of Assassin’s Fate. I wasn’t a fan of the Liveship Traders books but otherwise I’ve her other stuff, and I’m really curious to see how Fitz’ story ends.

    Have a fabulous week!

  7. Yay! I’m glad to hear you’re finally feeling better, Sarah. 🙂 Hope yesterday’s BBQ was fun. Are you getting excited about your sister moving back to England?

    Thanks for sharing the Honoring Your Reality link, btw! Oh, and I finished Assassin’s Apprentice over the weekend. Gosh, I wanted a hug by the end of that book. Can’t wait to read more of Robin Hobb’s books in the future!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed Assassin’s Apprentice – it is a marvellous read, isn’t it? I’m glad you enjoyed it so much.
      The BBQ was marvellous – the garden is very large and overgrown with all sorts of wonderful plants nearly buried by all the verdent greenery and it is alive with bees and butterflies – it’s a magical place and the sun shone all day…
      As for my sister coming to live in my home town just 5 minutes up the road – I can’t quite believe it’s happening!

  8. I absolutely love The Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. It sounds like you are feeling better even though you’re not completely yourself. Glad you had some nice visits and hope the weather was nice for the BBQ

    • I’m really enjoying The Innkeeper Chronicles, too, Kimber – I almost don’t want to read the last one in the trilogy… Yes, I am feeling better, but still ended up crashing yesterday as I simply ran out of steam – again! We had a lovely week-end though and the BBQ was fabulous:). Have a great week and I hope you get a chance for some downtime, yourself.

  9. It sounds like you had a wonderful family get-together this week. It’s always nice to catch up with loved ones and spend time together. I’m glad that you’re feeling better, I hope you’re 100% again soon though and can get back to enjoying your pilates class. Hope you’re having a good week this week.

    • Thank you, Hayley – and I’m hoping I feel 100% soon too! I had to miss the class yesterday again as I felt awful throughout the day – to the extent that I ended up going back to bed in the afternoon. Not good! And yes, it was lovely spending time with the family on Sunday:))

  10. Oh – family gatherings! That’s awesome. 🙂 I’m glad you had such a good time. Good company, good food and lots of laughs is always amazing and can cure a lot of ills!

    I’m glad to hear that you’re on the mend and I hope that you are back to 100% soon.

    Cold Forged Flame looks really good and you’ve piqued my interest!

  11. Sounds like you had a great time (and even better food 😉 ) with your family!
    Sorry that you’ve missed your pilates, but I think you were right to take it slow and let your body recover.

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