Sunday Post – 4th June 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 a bit wet, but a perfect day for moving plants around and potting up. We’d visited the garden centre and spent the children’s inheritance on reed screens, pots and ivies to train along our low brick wall to discourage the local teenagers from using it as a smoking spot. So I hacked away at bindweed and transplanted some sulking lavenders and a bullied fuchsia before the rain stopped misting around and decided to get serious.

This week was half term, so I had a break from teaching – which was very welcome, given I’ve been struggling since Easter with regular bouts of exhaustion and faintness. I had to cry off a writing get-together with former students on Tuesday as I was suffering with yet another headache, but at least it didn’t linger through until Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I’ve managed to get plenty of editing down – one of my lovely beta readers had given me plenty of notes, so I went through Miranda’s Tempest fixing some issues. Himself is currently going through a line edit for me. And the big bonus – on Thursday I finally managed to get together with my marvellous writing partner Mhairi, who I haven’t seen in faaar too long! It was lovely to catch up and natter about all things writerly with her.

I also managed to finish and submit a short story for an anthology – what was special about this one, was that I was asked to contribute… So I’m now fretting by hoping it is suitable and ticks all the boxes – and taking my mind off it by plunging into the last major edit of Dying for Space, Book 2 of the Sunblinded Trilogy. This week-end we’ve been working in the garden again as the weather continues to be fabulous. The best spring I can recall for years…

This week I have read:
Less Than a Treason – Book 21 of the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow
Kate Shugak is a native Aleut working as a private investigator in Alaska. She’s 5’1″ tall, carrires a scar that runs from ear to ear across her throat, and owns a half-wolf, half-husky dog named Mutt. Resourceful, strong-willed, defiant, Kate is tougher than your average heroine—and she needs to be, to survive the worst the Alaskan wilds can throw at her. And throw their worst the wilds have: Kate and Mutt have both been shot.
This book immediately picks up from the cliffhanger ending of the previous instalment. I loved this one – the dual narrative works really well and it is always a great bonus when a crime novel gives an insight into a corner of the world I’ll never know. Alaska is revealed as a relentless environment that is nonetheless undergoing massive change.

A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons – Book 6 of the How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
It’s Hiccup’s birthday, but that’s not going to keep him from getting into trouble. To save his dragon, Toothless, from being banished, Hiccup must sneak into the Meathead Public Library and steal the Viking’s most sacred book. But the Vikings see books as a dangerous influence, and keep them locked up and under heavy guard. To save his friend, Hiccup must brave the Hairy Scary Librarian and his dreadful army of Meathead Warriors and face off against the formidable Driller-Dragons. Will he make it out and live to see his next birthday?
Thanks to Oscar coming to stay at the start of the half-term break, we managed to get this one completed. As ever, lots of danger, unexpected plot twists and a nice message about just how vital libraries and books are – without being remotely preachy. Another cracking story.

Silent City – Book 1 of the Corin Hayes series by G.R. Matthews
In the Corporation owned cities life is tough. All Hayes wants is money and a bar to spend it in. He is about to learn that some jobs in the abyss can be killers. For a man who has lost everything, is life even worth fighting for?
This enjoyable military science fiction underwater adventure is full of tension and action that doesn’t let up. Hayes is a nicely grumpy protagonist with a bleak backstory and there is clearly going to be plenty of other problems looming in the future for him to tackle.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
I haven’t read Patrick Ness before – but I’ll certainly be reading him again. I found this beautiful, unexpected story a heartbreak. But I couldn’t put it down until I’d read it from cover to cover. Ness hooked me with his angry, conflicted boy and complicated monster and I wasn’t able to break away until I got to the marvellous end. One of my favourite books of the year to date.

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before. Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners. But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…
This contemporary novel was a delight. Quirky and slightly fey, I was initially concerned that it would puddle down into sentimentality. Luckily Hogan is made of sterner stuff and this book tackles some gnarly subjects along the way, while delivering a lovely story. Recommended.

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 28th May 2017

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL – Review of Less Than a Treason – Book 21 of the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow

Teaser Tuesday featuring The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Review of Saven Disclosure – Book 1 of The Saven series by Siobhan Davis

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

Friday Face-off – Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars – featuring A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke

Review of The Outskirter’s Secret – Book 2 of The Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein

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

Italian Fantasy Names This quirky article by fantasy writer S.C. Flynn had me grinning…

Broadside No. 14 – Rosemary Kirstein It’s always a buzz when you’ve been banging on about an underappreciated author to then find a fellow fan – and so imagine my delight when I was pinged by the Cap in her feature of the awesome Rosemary Kirstein’s wonderful Steerswoman series.

Asteroid Collision May Have Tipped Saturn’s Moon Enceladus An intriguing article for those of you who also enjoy space stuff…

A Summary and Analysis of Goldilocks and the Three Bears I’ll guarantee you’ll discover something you didn’t know about this story, if you read it.

A Book Labyrinth in London I’m sorrier than I can say that I managed to miss this one… It looks amazing!

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

37 responses »

    • Yes – it’s a bit of a shock to see just how much I can get done when I’m not having to think about teaching, or deal with all the admin… I really do recommend The Keeper of Lost Things – it’s an enjoyable, but surprisingly punchy read. Have a great week, Tammy:)

  1. Well suprise suprise – I’m actually getting around to some blogs today! Wonders will never cease! 🙂

    Your gardening last weekend sounds so productive! I would have loved some pics?

    I should really pick up the How To Train your Dragon series – it looks so lovely and I love gifting books and have quite a few young boys to think of! How old is Oscar? What age range might you recommend this book for?

    I hope this week is a good one and I hope that a break helps you to feel better!

    • The How to Train Your Dragon starts from 6 and I would say goes through to 9-10 – it’s hilarious and sooo much better than those rather attractive but really vanilla films they made. Thank you, Di – and I hope you have a good week:)

  2. I hadn’t heard of The Keeper of Lost Things but it sounds like a book that needs to go on my TBR. The How to Train Your Dragon series is on my list of books for bedtime reading to my youngest. We’re on summer break until beginning of August right right now so the bedtime routines are a bit off but when school starts back up I need to get the first one from the library. I hope you get some rest and feel refreshed. Sounds like you’re flat exhausted. Have a great week!

    • Thank you, Katherine:). That virus I picked up at Easter certainly seems to have knocked me flat! Luckily, the half term break has been relatively quiet, giving me the chance to catch up on my work.

      I highly recommend The Keeper of Lost Things – it’s a lovely story with a big heart and gritty humanity which manages to also be uplifting – a difficult trick to pull off. As for the How to Train Your Dragon series – I love it. I look forward to hearing how you get on with it:).

    • If you like murder mysteries set in an unusual backdrop, then Dana Stabenow’s books certainly tick the box. I believe they are all on Kindle. You can read the whole series – but you can jump into Less Than a Treason, which I loved, and I don’t think you would unduly flounder.

  3. I am sorry to hear you are not feeling well, Sarah. I do hope things improve for you. It sounds like you have been productive writing wise, at least.

    I would like to read the How To Train Your Dragon series. It sounds like a fun one! I haven’t yet read A Monster Calls, but I want to. I read Ness’s Choas Walking Trilogy and was just amazed. It’s very dark, but so good. I recommend it if you get the chance.

    I hope you have a better week, Sarah!

    • Thank you, Wendy:). Yes – A Monster Calls is a wonderful read. Thank you for the Ness recommendation – I’m definitely on the lookout for more from this remarkable writer. Fingers crossed I’ve done with those miserable headaches and tiredness…

    • Yes – it certainly was. I loved you idea of charting your reads via photos every week – thank you for the link and I hope you have a great week-end. Will you be also posting your book photos this week, too? If so, could you possibly drop by with the link?

      • Yes, I will be posting book photo sundays this week also! It’s a weekly meme I had created over at my other blog Rabbit Ears Book Blog and I will gladly send you a link to this week’s post up!

  4. That sounds like a fantastic week, Sarah. 🙂 And how are you feeling? Did having the week help you turn the corner health- and energy-wise?

    Patrick Ness is another author I need to read at some point. He has a pretty extensive back catalog, too, so it’s hard to pick which book to start with! (Though that’s not really a negative.)

    • Starting with A Monster Calls seems a good place (though I would say that, wouldn’t I?). It’s not a not read and I think it gives a good indication of his fluid, unexpected writing.

      Yes, thank you – I certainly welcomed having a week where I wasn’t juggling the teaching on top of everything else and was able to focus on my own writing and editing schedule, which was enjoyable. I am feeling better, but this coming week will be the acid test, as it’s a busy one, complete with a full teaching schedule. I hope you have a great week, Sara:).

  5. Nice that you’re having a good spring! And congrats on the anthology invite! I’m sure it’s great. 🙂

    I like the sound of Silent City, I have a weakness for underwater science fiction sometimes. And Less Than A Treason sounds pretty good too.

    Hope you feel better and have a super week!

    • Thank you Greg. Yes – Silent City is certainly an action-packed read – and Less Than a Treason is a wonderful change for whodunit fans. I hope you have a wonderful week, too.

  6. Congratulations on the anthology invite. Thanks for sharing all these links and the posts from last week. I hope you enjoy the books you’re currently reading and planning to read. Have a wonderful week. 🙂

    • Thank you, Kristen – I am feeling better… Though not getting too carried away as I’ve said that before! No gardening at present because of the high winds…

  7. Here it is Thurs. and I’m finally getting to your Sunday post. Abject apologies, but I wanted to view the Book Labrynth first, so I parked your post. Looking at it being constructed was an experience. We do so few things like this Stateside…sad. The post was interesting, and I think working outside is good medicine. We are laying off for a while, but with ninety degree heat most afternoons, we are watering most late evenings or early, early mornings–this after all the days of thundershowers and so much standing water that we were getting mushrooms–go figure!
    Hope your week has been as good as mine.

    • Yes – though our working outside has come to a juddering halt as we have been treated to gale force winds interspersed with violent downpours. All my lovely blossoms are being wind-bullied and several trees in the area have come down. I’m glad you’ve had a good week – mine has been very, very mixed! Take care:)

  8. Looks like you did a lot of gardening! I’m quite jealous, because I’d love to have a garden one day, but I don’t think I have a green thumb…

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