Sunday Post – 11th 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 all about the garden – before it started raining… and until yesterday, it has rained every day, with gale-force winds for the first half of the week. My fault entirely, of course – that will teach me to boast about the wonderful weather we’ve been having.

This week, I was back to teaching – it was lovely to catch up again with my students, as well as going out on Wednesday evening to my writing group where we read our work aloud to each other and speculated on the up-coming election. On Thursday Mhairi came over and we were able to exchange writing ideas and in the evening, we attended West Sussex Writers to an excellent talk and workshop on travel writing by Janet Rogers. It was the first time I’d managed to go for several months, so it was lovely to catch up with several members and enjoy listening to an experienced and successful writer talk about a writing genre I know little about. When I got home, I flicked on the television, saw the exit polls and had to see more. Himself needed to go to bed – he still finds he has to have a solid 6-7 hours after years of sleep apnea – but my daughter and I spent the night texting and talking over the phone as the results first trickled and then poured in. It was a very exciting election night – and what a feast for writers as we watched politicians confronted with defeat and loss of career – or vibrating with joy as unexpected victory took them to a new, exciting opportunity.

On Friday afternoon, we picked up Frances from school because on Saturday, I had arranged to take her to the International Comic Expo held at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Brighton. We had a great time. She loves drawing and is busy designing her own comics, so I wanted her to see a range of art styles and stories. Everyone was so very chatty and encouraging to her. She came away with a selection of comics, all with different story and artwork styles, and buzzing with new ideas.

Throughout all that, I haven’t experienced the now-familiar feeling of utter exhaustion and pounding headache so I’m profoundly hoping that by taking some supplements and ensuring I keep away from too much sugar – which always hoovers up my energy anyway – I have finally bounced back, healthwise. Yippee!

This week I have read:
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
A young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech. One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her her wishes – and those of Wick, Rachel keeps Borne.
While VanderMeer gives us a vivid portrait of a ruined landscape, distorted by the trashed biotech the Company flung away, it is more of a love story between a young woman yearning for a lost world and an odd creature desperate to learn. The consequences are unexpected and disturbing… VanderMeer’s writing has a habit of getting under my skin and into my head – I really enjoyed this.

Lightning in the Blood – Book 2 of the Ree Varekai novella series by Marie Brennan
Once, there was a call–a binding–and so, a woman appeared, present in body but absent in knowledge of her past self. Making the ultimate journey of rediscovery was not without its own pitfalls–or rewards–and now Ree, a roaming Archeron, spirit of legend and time and physically now bound to her current form, has yet to fully uncover her true identity.
After reading the first book in this series, I was keen to discover what happens next. This enjoyable adventure gives us a few more clues about Ree and who she is.

River of Teeth – Book 1 of the River of Teeth novella series by Sarah Gailey
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true. Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two. This was a terrible plan.
Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.
With a premise like this, Himself and I found this offering irresistible – and it is certainly crammed full of bloodthirsty adventurers, unexpected betrayals and lots of bloody violence. Oh, and hippos… don’t forget the hippos. I thought this was great fun and will be reviewing it this coming week.

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 4th June 2017

Review of Reaper – Book 1 of the End Game series by Janet Edwards

Teaser Tuesday featuring The Dog Walker by Lesley Thomson

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Broken Ones – prequel to The Malediction series by Danielle L. Jensen

Discovery Challenge 2017 and Tackling my TBR

Friday Face-off – It shuffles through the dry, dusty darkness – featuring The Osiris Ritual – Book 2 of the Newbury and Hobbs Investigations series by George Mann


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

The Art of Voice Changery – Part 2 Jean always has something worthwhile and sparky to say about the process of writing – and this article is no exception.

A Guide to Hanging Out with Cloth Ears This useful article is recommended for EVERYBODY – we all encounter people hard of hearing in our daily lives and these tips can help make communicating easier.

What Are the Rules? This is an outstanding article on a subject that all writers should pay attention to – and often don’t.

Dust Breeding I’ve always wondered how dust bunnies are made – and here is the photograph that telle me – I think…

How the Library of Congress is Trying to Archive Twitter Frankly, I’d have thought catch light in a sieve would be easier, but this is what they’re attempting to do.

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

40 responses »

  1. I’m glad you’re feeling better, Sarah. The comic expo sounds great. I took my son to several computer events when he was a young teenager and interested in computers. It was so much fun and people were so encouraging to him. (Today he does computer security stuff he can’t talk about…lol) Your writer group activities sound wonderful. Glad you are feeling like doing those sorts of things now.

    So sorry about your weather. You must be getting our rain, because we haven’t had any for several weeks and it’s getting very dry after a very wet spring. Now we have hot windy weather so our garden is needing water every day. Hope the weather improves for both of us! Have a great week!

    • Oh yes – I get so sick of the wind and it is knocking all the blossoms and flowers around – a real shame. But at least we’re not having to do any watering. Yes – I was so impressed at how friendly and encouraging everyone was to Frances. It’s heartening to hear your son’s success story, it’s a hard age – pre/early teens… Have a wonderful week, Jan and let’s hope – a lot less wind!

  2. Happy Sunday! Glad it was a good week (other than the gale force winds!) and the election results were fascinating, weren’t they? With all the turmoil here in the States I was keen to see how the UK elections would turn out, and it was very interesting!

    The comic expo sounds fabulous, especially for an aspiring comic creator. Very nice! I hope she gets inspiration and has success with it!

    I can’t wait to read River of Teeth. And your review of it!

    Have a super week.

    • Thank you Greg. Yes – I was very heartened so many people turned out to vote and it looks as though the youngsters are finally waking up to the fact that if they don’t, they will continue to be treated unfairly by politicians who don’t have to fear any form of backlash. I don’t really care who votes for what party (well, I do – but that’s beside the point!) as long as they VOTE and take part in the democratic process.
      Oh yes – River of Teeth is huge fun – if rathe violent. I shall be reviewing it tomorrow:). And you, too, have a great week, Greg:)

  3. We’ve also had rain and wind for the most part of the week, although this weekend has been sunny again. Glad to hear you’re doing better healthwise, exhaustion and headaches are annoying. That comic con does sound fun! Sounds like you had a good reading week!

    • Yes – I didn’t get quite as many books read as recently, but that’s okay. The book I was reading most of the week is one to take a bit of time over – sometimes that happens. Have another successful week, Lola and I hope the computer behaves.

    • Thank you, Savanah. I thought she’d enjoy it and am used to cons, having gone to a number of SFF cons – and recalled just how empowering it felt to know I wasn’t just one of a few geeks, but LOTS of other folks also had the same passion. I’m glad that she loved it:).

      • I totally understand that!! It’s so nice to go to any place with like-minded people, and then the energy at conferences is just electric and so much fun! And comics especially, it’s so great to have young girls in art 🙂

      • The heartening thing is that there were quite a lot of women there – and we found a number of comics with entirely appropriate storylines for her age group and a fair number where making a solid decision to present women in a respectful unsexualised manner – something we have discussed together.

  4. My older two sons were great fans of all things comic when they were young…but they didn’t experience any comic expo events like the ones out there now.

    Sounds like your election was not as crazy as ours…LOL.

    Enjoy your week and your books, and thanks for visiting my blog.

    • She has been drawing and designing comics now since last summer, so I wanted her to meet up with some of the professionals and see the range of styles and approaches out there. And, as I had expected, everyone was very friendly and encouraging to her.

      No, in the event the election wasn’t as crazy – but I think the ramifications could be rather far-reaching, given our government are in the throes of negotiating for the UK leaving the EU. The old Chinese curse comes to mind – may you live in interesting times… I could do with a bit more boredom!

      I hope that you, also have an enjoyable reading week, Laurel:).

    • Thank you, Kimber – it will certainly teach me to brag about the weather being so good! I would like to get back into the garden before the weeds take over!

      I hope you, too, have another uneventful week of normality…

  5. I can’t wait to read Borne! I’m so behind with reading that I still haven’t been able to get to it, but eventually I will catch up. Sounds like you had a lovely week! I feel like I’ve been completely out of the loop and now I’m running off to Google UK election results!

    • Lol… I know the feeling! It was a lovely to get back into the swim of things without juddering to a halt feeling sick with exhaustion. Yes – the election has left everyone scratching their heads as to what will happen next… Oh well.

  6. Happy Sunday! Well, it’s still Sunday here 🙂 Your election was a bit of a shocker! I don’t think Theresa May saw that coming. I felt bad for her, she seems to be a good prime minister.

    I love that you encourage Frances in the arts! Yay! Sounds like a fun time 🙂

    I was late doing my Sunday post and can’t seem to get the linky working but if you’d like to check out mine, here it is:Inspiration Pie

    • Lovely that you dropped in, Jo-Ann – I love the name of your blog:). Yes… I think we’re all trying to get our heads around where the election now leaves us.

      Yes – it was a lovely time at the Comic Expo and I always enjoy Frances’ company – she is great fun to be with.

      I’m popping over to your post – in the meantime, I hope you have a great week:)

  7. Ohhhh I’m so glad to hear that you’re finally, truly feeling better, Sarah! 🙂 It must have a great relief to go through the week and feel like you could tackle whatever was on your plate / schedule. The comic expo sounded like a lot of fun, too!

    What do you make of the election results, btw? I was aware of it happening last week, and I vaguely remember hearing what the overall picture was at the end… But I’ve also made a point to watch less news in general now, because gosh does it make me wish I could bury my head under a rock some days. (Especially with what’s going on on my side of the pond…)

    Hope this week is just as good as last week was for you. 🙂

    • I’m not totally unhappy that the government will have to step carefully before they plunge into ‘hard Brexit- but then I was appalled when we voted to leave the EU. However, I am concerned that the Good Friday Agreement looks to be in danger, should the Conservatives try a coalition with the DUP… Interesting times! Like you – I watch a lot less news these days:).
      Yes – I’m so glad that I feel so much better – it was getting a bit concerning and very frustrating when I kept grinding to a halt feeling so ill! Thank you – and here’s hoping that you, too, have a great week!

  8. Sorry!!! Running late again!

    Sheesh – how little do you sleep? I need 6-8 hours a night otherwise I get a little snappy…. Or completely grumpy. 😉

    I’m going to catch up properly on this week’s post! See you there. 🙂

    • I used to need a lot more sleep than I do these days, Di – and I’m allergic to lying in the dark staring up at the ceiling as misery crowds in, so I get up and commune with my computer instead. So much more fun…

  9. Thanks for the catch-up and for visiting my Sunday Blog. I am taking the week off in preparation for the beginning of the Second Summer Session at the local community college where I will be teaching (along with my university classes) this summer and again in the fall semester. I taught at the community college before being asked to move up to the university (a further drive away) for three years from ’86 to ’89. I do not want to give up my university job but when I am no longer able to drive there, I can still teach here in town, five minutes from my house. I will have to remember how to teach freshmen all over again. For the past 28 years I have had nothing but juniors, seniors, and grad students. It may be an adjustment.

      • I am feeling so valued and “cared for” by my new department chair at the community college. Went up there today (on my own, piece of cake, and gave the chair my rough draft of my syllabus. White picky little changes he asked for (mostly format–we laughed about his “pickiness.”) were totally acceptable and “doable.” I am a happy camper tonight (Thurs.)

      • That is very reassuring! The thing about someone In Charge being picky is that you know there are Standards. I always find that very comforting and I’m glad you are being valued – quite right, too!

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