Sunday Post – 22nd April, 2018

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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.

The sun is shining! The last few days have been glorious as Spring has finally sprung. Grey skeletal branches are now fuzzed with the vivid new green of unfurling leaves and Friday was actually hot. I finally got to take my sister to Highdown Gardens and we wandered around in a haze of cherry blossom and primroses, while the bluebells are readying themselves for what promises to be a wonderful show this year. We have several fabulous bluebell woods nearby and this year, I must take her to see them.

I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve been working hard without much to show for it. On Tuesday, I was at Northbrook for our catchup session that was cancelled due to the blizzard in March, while Tim and I are rolling up our sleeves and working through past papers, so he is thoroughly prepared in just over a month’s time when he sits his exam. On Wednesday, I was supposed to be out in the evening for my writing group, but had to cry off as I was smitten with a headache – unusual these days, but just occasionally it happens. I still felt a bit washed out on Thursday morning, but when Mhairi came over and continued helping with my latest marketing effort and we were able to load the new Dying for Space cover, I suddenly felt a great deal better – she has done such a fantastic job on it.

On Friday, Sally and I had a meeting with our local school regarding the COPE folder, which needs a fair amount of work before we hand it in, but we needed further advice on how to tackle some of the issues regarding cross-referencing and record-keeping sheets. Today I will be hard at it, getting the last of my admin and paperwork prepared for my Summer term courses, which start this coming Monday – and all three classes are running again this term, which is marvellous. I hope the weather is finally warming up for everyone else, too – I can’t believe what a difference just a few days of warm sunshine has made. Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

This week I have read:

Still Me – Book 3 of the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She steps into the world of the superrich, working for Leonard Gopnik and his much younger second wife, Agnes. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her new job and New York life.
I loved the first book in this series, Me Before You, and if you have read it then you’ll know that Lou has had a time of it… This book doesn’t perhaps hit the high emotional peaks and lows of that amazing read – but nevertheless, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable story with some interesting things to say about the faultlines in US society, amongst the mayhem and Lou Clarke quirkiness. I’ll be reviewing this one.

 

Head On – Book 2 in the Lock In series by John Scalzi

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth―and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.
I was definitely suffering withdrawal symptoms from science fiction goodness, so scooped this one up. And loved it. The worldbuilding is really interesting with a fascinating dynamic around the Haden’s Syndrome that sees sufferers trapped in their paralysed bodies and using robots to once more integrate into society. A worthy successor to Lock In – see my review here.

 

One Way by S.J. Morden

It’s the dawn of a new era – and we’re ready to colonize Mars. But the company that’s been contracted to construct a new Mars base, has made promises they can’t fulfill and is desperate enough to cut corners. The first thing to go is the automation . . . the next thing they’ll have to deal with is the eight astronauts they’ll send to Mars, when there aren’t supposed to be any at all.

Frank – father, architect, murderer – is recruited for the mission to Mars with the promise of a better life, along with seven of his most notorious fellow inmates. But as his crew sets to work on the red wasteland of Mars, the accidents mount up, and Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all.
As regards the setting and the colonisation efforts, I felt this aspect of the book was very well done. I was less convinced about the thriller holding it all together, though.

 

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 15th April 2018

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Blood – Book 3 of the Jem Flockhart series by E.S. Thomson

Teaser Tuesday featuring Still Me – Book 3 of the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Ashes of London – Book 1 of the Marwood and Lovett series by Andrew Taylor

Cover reveal – Dying for Space – Book 2 of the Sunblinded trilogy

Friday Face-off – Where there’s fire there’s… featuring Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Review of The King’s Name – Book 2 of the Tir Tanagiri series by Jo Walton

 

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

Women in SF&F Month: Claire North http://www.fantasybookcafe.com/2018/04/women-in-sff-month-claire-north/ Claire North of 84K fame has written this punchy, thought-provoking article at Kristen’s marvellous blog site. If you celebrate, or abhor the trend for strong, warrior women in SFF, then this is required reading…

#BookReview: Wheelchairs, Perjury & The London Marathon by Tim Marshall @AuthorightUKPR @Authoright https://rathertoofondofbooks.com/2018/04/20/bookreview-wheelchairs-perjury-the-london-marathon-by-tim-marshall-authorightukpr-%e2%80%8fauthoright/ I don’t normally single out book reviews in this section – but I’m making an exception for this one. I was shocked at just how much I didn’t know about this slice of modern history…

5 of the Best Literary Travel Guides to Britain https://interestingliterature.com/2018/04/18/five-of-the-best-literary-travel-guides-to-britain/ Once again, this excellent site delivers…

From the ‘Predicament’ series https://photolicioux.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/from-the-predicament-series/ A pictures tells a thousand words – and sometimes a handful tell a lifetime.

6 Important Money Management Tips for Kids https://photolicioux.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/from-the-predicament-series/ As a former teacher, I always felt this was a woefully neglected subject at school – Wanda, as ever, provides sensible, helpful advice for parents trying to put children on the right track with managing their money in a world where gambling has become an acceptable hobby and we can buy whatever we want with the click of a mouse.

Have a great week and thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to visit, like and comment on my site.

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40 responses »

    • Thank you, for your kind concern. My headache was more about stress and eating the wrong thing at the wrong time, sadly… I’ll be reviewing Still Me this coming week – I thoroughly enjoyed it as Moyes is one of my favourite authors. Have a great week, Deb.

  1. Another good week. Headaches are just an absolute nuisance – I’ve got a cold and sore throat this week so mainly I’m feeling sorry for myself and just lolloping about. Can’t even focus on reading.
    Lynn 😀

    • Oh, that’s miserable:(. Sorry to hear it! Not a surprise with the sudden shift in temperatures, though… Have you taken any vitamin C? I find it nearly always helps if I’ve gone down with a lergy. I hope you feel better soon, Lynn!

  2. Oh damn headaches! I’ve suffered from migraines since I was 20 and believe me, they are not fun. It’s only in the past 5 years or so they’ve almost disappeared. I’m so excited to get to Head On!

    • Thank you – yes… I suffered with migraines for years. This wasn’t one, but it had the potential to turn nasty and I didn’t want to find myself driving home with the possibility of the headlights aggravating it! I’m looking forward to hearing what you make of Head On:))

  3. I can’t wait to listen to Head On. I loved Lock In! But I’m a John Scalzi audiobook fanatic (he’s one of my favorite authors, and I even met him once in Chicago O’Hare airport) so I need to get through my current audiobook before I can pick up this one.

    • I haven’t listened to the audio version, but Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer loves Wil Wheaton, who narrates this series:)). I must get into audio books!

    • Oh dear… how grim! When will the weather ease up for you? Is this unusual for you? I hope you get some warmth very, very soon! And yes – I highly recommend Head On:). I hope your week is a lot better and hopefully, warmer!

  4. Because Wednesday is my last class (Can you believe it?), I am not posting my usual Sunday (Evening) Post on PWR. This weekend we had a storm (last night) and we raced the front to plant two rose bushes for Earth Day. It had already been a very busy week, but this weekend has been even busier! Taught the fifth graders at church this morning and had a friend who was in town for Daughters of the Confederacy business swing by with her chauffeur/husband. I packed them off with leftovers from our lunch, a casserole I call “Texas Trash” which features Doritos and cheese and can be made with either chicken or ground beef and two big slices of Dewberry Coffee Cake made with dewberries picked from my neighbor’s pasture. (The neighbor did the picking which made making the cake even more special. LOL)
    I did some school work, contacted all 25 students and am waiting for replies tonight.
    I did do some reading both yesterday and today, which shall be dealt with in due time. I hope to review Dying For Space soon, but the hours of the spring semester are ticking down. LOL
    Have a good week ahead!
    R

    • My goodness! I’ve 8 more weeks before I’ve finished for the term – apart from my holiday workshops, that is… And we also had a storm last night – a MASSIVE thunderstorm with some spectacular sheet lightning and torrential rain, although today has been bright and sunny again.
      Your lucky, lucky guests – their meal sounds delicious, particularly the wonderful-sounding cake:). I’ve spent the day getting prepped for the new term which starts tomorrow…

      I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on Dying for Space when you can manage it – no rush! Meanwhile I hope you manage to put up your feet up and unwind come Thursday, Rae:))

      • Did Dying for Space today and reblogged it on blogging807 as well. Ready for the third book! I really felt one needed the first book to fully appreciate the second. I hope you don’t mind my implying this. The two together are a fun, action-packed read, but as one who reads for character development, I have come to love Lizzie/Liz. Ha ha.

      • Thank you so much:). Today has been VERY rough as I’m not doing very well this week – and I can’t tell you just how much your kind words about Dying for Space have meant!

    • Thank you, Tina – I am feeling better:). I’m delighted to hear you’ve got hold of Head On and I’m looking forward to hearing how you get on with it. Have a great week and thank you so much for popping by:).

  5. Bluebells sound awesome, and cherry blossoms… glad spring is finally, well, sprung! We’re starting to bud out here too and finally! I think I’m going to appreciate nature’s display more this year thanks to the delay!

    One Way is curious to me as I was intrigued by the thriller aspect, so if that’s not super strong maybe I’ll wait on it a bit.

    I’ve been kinda looking forward to 84K, interesting premise, so I absolutely will go over and read her article!

    • I’m so glad that the flowers are in bud with you, too – it’s always worth the wait, isn’t it?
      One Way isn’t a bad book – the nitty gritty about establishing a Mars base is extremely good, but I confess I was expecting more tension than was the case on the thriller aspect of the story.
      I am also looking forward to reading 84K…

  6. I can relate about feeling poorly and the allergies, Sarah. I hope you are feeling better now. You’re descriptions at the beginning of your post were so visual! Lovely:)

  7. I’m so glad the weather is starting to turn nice. Now I feel we have to get all the things done. lol. Hope you have a great week.

  8. I’m not entirely sure what a bluebell woods is but I feel like it’s something I need to see. It sounds absolutely lovely. Sounds like you’ve got quite a bit of work going on this week but hopefully it’s the satisfying kind. I loved Me Before You but have chickened out on reading any more. I have your review of Still Me coming up and it will be one of the deciding factors on if I continue with the series. I hope you’re having a great week!

    • A bluebell is a little blue flower (surprise, surprise) which grows in drifts in deciduous woodland and looks absolutely beautiful when they are all in bloom in the spring…

  9. So glad to hear you finally got some good weather and that you and your sister made it to the gardens. Cherry blossoms and primroses sound heavenly. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  10. *waves hello at Sarah* I feel like it’s been forever since I last visited your blog…

    Glad to hear spring has finally, truly sprung in your corner of the world as well. We finally had high temperatures in the mid 60s Fahrenheit (around 18 degrees Celcius) on Monday and Tuesday, with lots of sunshine and a nearly cloudless sky. Perfect weather for lunch-break walks outside. 🙂 As for the work / productivity – it happens sometimes. Hopefully you’re feeling more like you’re making forward movement this week.

    • Hallo, Sara:)). Lovely to hear from you – I hope all is well in your corner of the world and that you are okay. Thank you for popping by. Keeping my head above water… just! And I hope you are making good progress and I’m delighted the spring weather is also making an entrance for you, too!

  11. It really is amazing to see how quick and sudden spring arrived this year and I like seeing all the flowers. Although this week we had some strong winds so a lot of the blossom trees have lost their flowers again in only as week time.
    Sorry to hear you had one of those weeks where you worked hard without much to show for it. But it does seem like you accomplished a lot when you list it like this. I hope this week was a good one for you!

    • Thank you, Lola – yes… Spring was late here, but that meant when it arrived – it arrived with a bang which was lovely. Yes… we have also had some high winds, though fortunately the blossoms seem to have coped. Hm. This week hasn’t been the best, either!

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