Sunday Post – 31st December 2017

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This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

I didn’t post last week as I simply didn’t get the time to write the post, with my son staying over and my sister also visiting overnight.

Christmas Day was lovely, if quiet, with Himself, my son and my sister joining us in a vegetarian meal of chestnut en croute with all the seasonal trimmings (except the sausagemeat stuffing, of course!). After a scrumptious meal, we opened up our presents and then spent the evening playing Game of Thrones monopoly… never mind about Winter coming – we were vanquished by Rob who ended up bankrupting the lot of us.

We had Boxing Day to slump and generally relax, before J returned to work and the following day, Rob made the journey back to Cambridge. As he is travelling to the States in January, I’m not sure when I’ll see him next, so I was sad to see him go. He always manages to fill the house with life and laughter… In contrast, my poor daughter and her family spent Christmas coping with the norovirus, so had to cancel their visitors – she was due to be cooking for 12 on Christmas Day – and declare their house off-limits. I’m hoping to catch up with the grandchildren tomorrow now that they have recovered.

On Friday, my writing buddy Mhairi came over for the day and we spent the time reflecting on our 2017 Shoot for the Moon goals, discussing our successes and failures, before setting the crazily ambitious targets for our 2018 Shoot for the Moon Challenge. Today I’m going to be busy organising our meal when we’ll be joined by the grandchildren who will spend New Year’s Eve with us, which is a lovely treat as I haven’t seen them since the first week in December.

This week I have read:

Shadow Weaver – Book 1 of the Shadow Weaver series by MarcyKate Connolly
Emmeline has grown up with a gift. Since the time she was a baby she has been able to control shadows. And her only friend and companion is her own shadow, Dar.

This was a dark-edged, surprisingly gritty read that I really enjoyed. Emmeline is a fascinating protagonist who spends her time listening to conversations she isn’t supposed to hear and playing tricks on the servants, who are afraid of her. But when everything changes, she is forced to go on the run where she meets people who seem to genuinely like her – and suddenly the things she used to do don’t seem so appropriate.

 

Alien Love Story by A.K. Dawson
Life is a headache for 15-year-old Dan. This isn’t some kind of metaphor. Dan suffers from migraines that make just about everything he does unbearable. Added to that he’s lost almost everyone he cares about. So he feels lonelier than the last puppy in a pet shop. But one day he sees a mysterious girl digging in the rubbish bins behind his house. Just by being near her, he finds that all his pain goes away. So he wants to see her again, of course. And get to know her. But she’s a bit strange. And her big eyes make her look, well, like an alien. Does she really exist? Or is she just a figment of an overactive, under-loved imagination?

This one started really strongly, but I was a bit taken aback at the sexual content in a book I thought initially was aimed at the tween/young teen market. There were some enjoyable scenes and I found Dan mostly likeable, though the relentless non-stop pace and Dan’s rather manic efforts to get closer to this girl had me wondering whether it was supposed to be a farce or a romance.

 

Killbox – Book 4 of the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre
Sirantha Jax is a “Jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster than light ships through grimspace. With no tolerance for political diplomacy, she quits her ambassador post so she can get back to saving the universe the way she does best—by mouthing off and kicking butt.

It’s been far too long since I read the third book in this entertaining space opera series, so I was delighted to be able to tuck into this next slice of the adventure. Sirantha Jax is every bit as enjoyable as I recalled, while facing some daunting odds – I won’t be leaving it so long before tracking down the next book, Aftermath.

 

My posts last week:

Christmas Quiz 2017

Teaser Tuesday featuring Killbox – Book 4 of the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre
AND
The Daily Waffle features an extract from Dying for Space where Elizabeth is out of her comfort zone…

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring WaR: Wizards and Robots by Will.i.am and Brian David Johnson
AND
A Bohemian Mind At Work features Dying for Space

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Frequency of Aliens – Book 2 of the Sorrow Falls series by Gene Doucette
AND
Just Books features an extract from Dying for Space as well as an article by yours truly about a very awkward conversation I had that led to my changing the setting of the Sunblinded trilogy just days before I released Running Out of Space
AND
Hywela Lyn features another excerpt from Dying for Space in which Elizabeth is on the wrong side of Sarge. Again…
AND
Comfy Chair Books has posted another slice of Dying for Space in which Elizabeth is finding it difficult to cope at one of her father’s fancy banquets – who can she trust? In addition, there is an article about how I used food and dining as part of the worldbuilding in this book.

Friday Face-off – If music be the food of love, play on – featuring The Future Falls – Book 3 of the Enchantment Emporium series by Tanya Huff
AND
La libreria di Beppe is featuring Dying for Space as part of the blog tour

Review of Year One – Book 1 of the Chronicles of The One by Nora Roberts
AND
The HufflepuffNerdette features an excerpt from Dying for Space, in addition to an article by me, listing my top ten favourite space heroines

 

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

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Philippe Curval’s 1950s Photo Collages, Part 1
https://sciencefictionruminations.com/2017/12/27/adventures-in-science-fiction-cover-art-philippe-curvals-1950s-photo-collages-part-i/ These are extraordinary and beautiful – do swing by and take a look…

This #NewYear Visit Old #Fiction To Renew Your #WritingLife https://jeanleesworld.com/2017/12/28/this-newyear-visit-old-fiction-to-renew-your-writing-life/ Jean always tells it like it is – and this is an insight into how she rediscovered a piece of work, sent it off and… read it. It’s worth it.

The Secret of Great Memoir: The Mature Self https://www.janefriedman.com/memoir-mature-self/ This excellent article gives some solid tips on how to convey deep emotion without getting caught up in the spray and flotsam

10 of the Best Poems about Walking https://interestingliterature.com/2017/12/27/10-of-the-best-poems-about-walking/ As we brave the stormy weather for a breath of fresh air during this seasonal holiday, here are some offerings from some poets on this most fundamental form of exercise.

Christmas Alphabet: T for Tom Waits – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis https://theimmortaljukebox.com/2017/12/15/christmas-alphabet-t-for-tom-waits-christmas-card-from-a-hooker-in-minneapolis/ Thom spins tales when he tells us factoids about some of his favourite songs, providing shafts of poetry in his writing as he conveys his love and passion for the music he features…

Thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to visit, like and comment on my site. May you have a peaceful, healthy and successful 2018. And if, sadly, those aren’t options for you, may you have the courage and strength to prevail. Happy New Year.

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41 responses »

  1. Happy New Year! Hope you have a nice one. Glad you had a nice Christmas as well, and Game of Thrones Monopoly sounds fun! Sorry to hear about your daughter and the norovirus though… 😦

    I’ll be taking a look at that science fiction cover art. 🙂

    Here’s to a happy and safe 2018!!

    • And a happy New Year to you, Greg:). Yes, it was a real blow for my daughter and her family – so upsetting, especially as there wasn’t anything we could really do to help:(. Fortunately, everyone has recovered and I’m hoping to be able to spoil the children a little today.

    • It is a sweet chestnut puree, with leeks, vegetarian cheese and a splash of mulled wine added, all baked in a puff pasty casing. And you’re right – it is yummy:). Thank you for your good wishes and kind support throughout 2017 – I hope the coming year is a good one for you, Kristen:)

  2. I love chestnuts! Sounds delicious. And it sounds like you had a good Christmas. Sorry not all could attend. Hopefully they feel better soon. Have a Happy New Years and see you in 2018, Sarah!

  3. It’s hard to fit in time for the computer with company over, isn’t it? I’ve been staying up late to get what I can done, but it’s wearing on me. I need my sleep too. Your Christmas and Boxing Day sound really nice. I’m sorry to hear your daughter was sick and had to alter her plans. I had warned all my guests about my illness, but they all insisted on coming anyway. I suppose it didn’t matter at that point since I wasn’t contagious anymore. I am glad they came though. It was good to see everyone and my daughter especially enjoyed herself.

    Shadow Weaver and Killbox both sound really good. I will have to add them to my wish list.

    I hope you have a Happy New Year, Sarah. Happy Reading!

    • Yes – it is a bit tricky working away on the computer with houseguests. I’m delighted you were able to hold your own celebrations despite being smitten.
      Killbox is particularly good and I was also impressed with Shadow Weaver.
      I hope that you, too, have a wonderful 2018, Wendy:)

  4. Oh dear, my condolences to your poor daughter – I had pretty much the same (or something similar to it) several weeks back and it took me aaaages to start eating normal foods again. Hope she gets out of it fine!

    And I’m wishing you the best year ever 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind good wishes – the family are now recovered, although my daughter is still feeling a bit peaky – they are now planning to have their own Christmas celebration in the middle of January. And many thanks for your support and friendship – I hope you, too, have a fabulous 2018:)

  5. Your Christmas sounds wonderful! I’m happy to hear your daughter and family are feeling better. Enjoy y our time with them. ☺ Happy New Year! 🎉

  6. Happy New Year! I am glad you had a nice Christmas…but too bad about the illness that struck!

    I can relate to missing family members that live far away…it’s been two years since my Prague son and DIL visited! I’m grateful for FB, e-mail, and Skype.

    I like the look of Year One. I may have to try it!

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • A Happy New Year to you, Laurel. Yes… thank goodness for Skype, FB and e-mail. I recommend Year One. Hope you have a wonderful stack of reading books throughout 2018:)).

  7. Sounds like you had a great Christmas. That vegetarian dish you had sounds interesting. We had a vegetarian pizza for dinner at Christmas. I hope your daughter and her family recovered from that virus by now, that sounds sad to be sick on Christmas. I am happy with how well the tour for Dying for Space has gone so far with the many awesome guest posts you wrote for the tour. Happy new year and I hope next week is a good one!

    • Yes – the chestnut en croute is rapidly becoming one of my favourite meals:). Yes, the family are now much better and the grandchildren are spending New Year’s Eve with us.

      Thank you so much for your efforts regarding the tour for Dying for Space – I’m delighted at how well it’s gone. Have a wonderful 2018, Lola:)

    • Yes… we can’t eat dairy and choose not to eat meat – and my grandson and son are vegan so we need to be able to produce a range of tasty meals. It’s just a bit of a lottery if we got out for a meal. Glad your mum could help out. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018:))

  8. Happy New Year! Glad you had a good Christmas and that your daughter is on the mend now. We had a quiet Christmas too, although enjoyable, with a trip home to Wales to see the family a fortnight before. Wishing you all good things for the New Year.

  9. Oh I feel for your daughter! What awful timing but hopefully she was able to enjoy a low key Christmas and you’ll get time with the grandkids soon! We had a quiet Christmas too which after the craziness of the previous weeks is always most welcome. Have a great week and happy New Year!

    • I know:( What bad luck – though they are planning to have an unofficial Christmas with all the trimmings in the 2nd week-end in January. I hope you have a wonderful 2018, Katherine:)

  10. I’m glad to see you starting off the New Year reading. I did the same. We are having unseasonably cold weather and I am reminded of one reason I was glad to leave Virginia and move to the Texas Gulf Coast! I am enjoying catching up with friends this week and opening my house and hospitality to them like you are.

    • Happy New Year, Rae and I’m sorry you are enduring a cold snap. At present, the weather is mild, but very wet and windy which means the children can’t even get out into the garden to make fake snow… I hope you and your guests have a great time:)

  11. I’m sitting here, wondering: should I even be commenting about Christmas in APRIL?
    *hangs her head in shame*
    I’m still happy you had a great time. 🙂

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