Sunday Post – 21st October, 2018 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost


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

It’s been a week of catching up and becoming ill… I really loved my writing retreat and for the first few days when I returned, I was very good about getting a reasonable amount of sleep. And then my old bad habits surfaced and I found myself working into the early hours again. But this time around, it was an increasing struggle to surface in the morning and my sciatica has been niggling away. And by Thursday my body had had enough. What I initially thought was a stomach bug wasn’t. I felt sick and giddy when I got out of bed and yet once I lay down again, I was feeling a lot better. Friday was still a battle to get showered without being ill.

By the afternoon, I was well enough to sit at the computer and work and do a bit of light housework so long as I wasn’t moving around too much. I think I’ve simply hit the buffers and now urgently need to address my dysfunctional sleep patterns. I’m relieved that I have half term coming up – but I do think that I need to ease back on all my dashing about and just concentrate on resting, rebalancing my life and sorting out my sleep! Sorry – I’m aware this has been a REALLY boring post!

Due to spending some time in bed waiting for the world to stop spinning, I’ve been catching up on my reading:

Together by Julie Cohen
This is not a great love story.
This is a story about great love.
On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie’s actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret – one they will do absolutely anything to protect.
This was recommended to me by one of my students and I’m so glad that I finally got around to reading it. A haunting, thought-provoking book that raises uncomfortable questions about the importance we place on romantic love in our society…


Headlong – a Bill Slider mystery by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
When one of London’s best-known literary agents is found dead in strange circumstances, having fallen headlong from his office window, DCI Slider is under pressure from the Borough Commander to confirm a case of accidental death. But when the evidence points to murder, Slider and his team find themselves uncovering some decidedly scandalous secrets in the suave and successful Ed Wiseman’s past.
I really enjoyed the previous book, Shadow Play, I read in this series and was delighted when I saw this Netgalley arc available. Once again it delivered a cracking whodunit – review to follow in due course.


Soulbinder – Book 4 of the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell
The fourth book in the page-turning SPELLSLINGER fantasy series. Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.
Another wonderful magical adventure featuring Kellen, full of high emotion, sarky humour and lots of high-stakes action. This series is now one of my all-time favourite fantasy treats. Review to follow.



Caraval – Book 1 of the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives.
I loved the twisting plot and sense of never knowing exactly who poor old Scarlett can and cannot trust – and to think that she’s been waiting to take part in this magical madness for seven years!


Bloodfire – Book 1 of the Blood Destiny series by Helen Harper
Mack might be, to all intents and purposes, a normal looking human, but she lives with a pack of shapeshifters in Cornwall in rural England after being dumped there by her mother when she was just a young child. She desperately wants to be accepted by her surrogate family, not least because a lot of them hate her for merely being human, but for some reason her blood just won’t allow the transformation to occur.
This paranormal, shapeshifter adventure is a lot of fun – just what I needed to whisk me away from my sick giddiness, to the extent that I immediately turned to the next book in the series, something I don’t often do.


Bloodmagic – Book 2 of the Blood Destiny series by Helen Harper
After escaping the claws of Corrigan, the Lord Alpha of the Brethren, Mack is trying to lead a quiet lonely life in Inverness in rural Scotland, away from anyone who might happen to be a shapeshifter. However, when she lands a job at an old bookstore owned by a mysterious elderly woman who not only has a familiar passion for herbal lore but also seems to know more than she should, Mack ends up caught in a maelstrom between the Ministry of Mages, the Fae and the Brethren.
Yet more shapeshifting mayhem – I do like the character of Mack, though the romance aspect of this story surfaced more strongly in this slice of the adventure, which is fine – though not necessarily what I was looking for.


Dreamer’s Pool – Book 1 of the Blackthorn and Grim series by Juliet Marillier
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.
I really enjoyed the fact that this medieval high fantasy romantic adventure features a cranky middle-aged woman with agency and a skill that makes her independent. The story pulled me into the book, though on reflection, there were some aspects of the portrayal of women’s sexuality that rather bothered me, which I will discuss further in the review…

My posts last week:

Sunday Post – 14th October 2018

AUTHOR ANNALS #2 – Writing Retreat

Teaser Tuesday featuring Soulbinder – Book 4 of the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring Athena’s Champion by David Hair and Cath Mayo

Friday Face-off featuring The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Unwritten by Tara Gilboy

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

Thursday Doors I love this quirky series and this week Jean brings us some delightful examples…

Does It Make Sense? Cheche is asking hard questions about the plants chosen for green landscaping around cities in his native Kenya – but it made me look more closely at the plants adorning our local towns. And I realise hardly any of them are indigenous, either…

#lessons learned from #Ray Bradbury: #write #setting details that creep out #characters & #readers alike Once more, Jean offers up her original take on writing by drawing on one of the great masters of the genre – and a bit of a preview of her own upcoming novel

Five of the Best Poems About the Sky There are some gems in here – some I knew, while some I didn’t…

Top Five Wednesday – Mythical Creatures of Canada and Korea (and examples in the media) This proved fascinating – there was only one of these that I actually knew. The others are just amazing!

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

49 responses »

    • I enjoyed Caraval, too! Far more than I thought I would, to be honest – so I’m looking forward to getting hold of Legendary. Thank you for swinging by and have a great week, too, Mary:)

  1. I hope you work things out, Sarah. Irregular sleep patterns can make you miserable. I’m struggling with it too and finding it hard to go to work. I have a very physical job and I need my rest. Looks like you have some good books to keep you company and good luck with your writing! I’m curious about your new story and need to hurry and wrap up your first series. Still need to read the third book.

    • Thank you, Laura – I’ve got into some thoroughly bad habits over the years – partly due to my husband’s snoring and partly because of the writing… I have had the company of some wonderful books, as you can see:)). Best of luck with you sorting out your sleep, too! Maybe we can hold each other accountable – I’m finding it really hard to step away from the computer come midnight!

      Yes – I am increasingly back in the Arcadian world I created nearly two decades ago, now and loving breathing new life into it. Do you want a mobi file of ‘Breathing Space’ as a review copy? I’d be happy to send you one…

    • Thank you, Tammy – the sickness and dizzyness has more or less passed, and last night I achieved my target of going to bed at midnight. Now for the rest of the week…

  2. Sorry I haven’t visited so long. Too much of everything has made it difficult to keep up. I have Together by Julie Cohen on my Kindle but haven’t read it yet. Thank you for the great review!

  3. I’m sorry you’ve been sick. I hope you’re feeling better now. If you’re still getting dizzy, you might want to get checked for an ear infection; I’ve known several people who didn’t know they had an ear infection until it caused dizziness and vertigo.

    I really need to read Dreamer’s Pool. I started it but got distracted by ARCs, and never started again.

    Have a good week and feel better!

    • Thank you so much for your kind advice, Lark. I think it’s a case of stress and lack of sleep – the giddiness goes when I’m quietly reading – I even managed a walk along the sea front yesterday without no trouble at all. But when I start getting wound up – I feel really giddy and start retching… it’s not a good look:(.

      Dreamer’s Pool is an interesting book – I loved the beginning and Blackthorn’s character right the way through, but sort of worked out what was happening well before the end. I expect that’s when you put it down… I’m sorry for your loss and I hope this week isn’t too grim for you.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, I’m certainly feeling better than I did! Yes – I love the way that Marillier manages to create her worlds and I LOVED Blackthorn. I had a few issues with the story, but I’ll certainly be reading the second book in the series…

  4. This weekend I found myself in your “situation” too. The Lord just “ stepped in and took over.” I was so sick from overworking and overdoing that I couldn’t hold food down. I went to bed at 8:00 p.m. and took a pill to help me sleep. My Better Half washed three tubs of wash while I caught up on making Halloween baskets to sell to buy books for my LFL on Saturday and I cooked for the week ahead. Sunday I taught 5th grade Sunday School, and I received a text from a student I had promised to help with her “big” paper by meeting her halfway between her house in Houston and my house in Alvin at a Burger King. She said she had gone for help at the university writing center after class last Wednesday and had another appointment Monday, so she was canceling with me today. PTL. Instead I watched part of the Texan game with My Better Half, then did some catching up. I’m looking at this week, planning what I can to simplify my life some. I can hang on until Thanksgiving, then there will be big changes in my life…for the better.

    • Yes… you and I need to slow down a bit and stop trying to do it all, don’t we? I’ve also got to a point where whenever I get more wound up, I am physically ill… I think on my writing retreat I started to get sufficient sleep and when I came home, I slipped back into my dysfunctional patterns and my body has cried quits. However, I’m determined to get on top of it and sort it out. My writing isn’t going very well either at present and I’m sure that isn’t a coincidence.

      In the meantime, maybe we can help to hold each other accountable. Thanksgiving isn’t all that far away and then I hope you manage to sort out your situation, too. Even pillars of strength need their foundations shoring up!

  5. I tend to be a night person so I always seem to struggle with normal schedules i.e. I stay up too late and don’t get enough sleep haha! I hope you’re feeling better and well- rested soon!

    Dreamer’s Pool has such a beautiful cover! And I’ve heard good things about the series…

    • Thank you, Greg – this is a result of years of short-changing myself on sleep so I need to continue to work at it!

      Oh yes, Marillier is a lovely author – have you read her Severwaters series? It’s magical and heartbreaking – one of my all-time favourites…

  6. I hope you feel better soon. I also have sleep issues. I sleep poorly at night. Can’t nap. Always tired. It just doesn’t ever seem to end!

      • I hope you get some relief! I’ve worked on sorting my issues for the last ten years and still have problems. I think I may just be broken!

      • Oh no! I do hope you continue to persevere – I’ve read and watched some very worrying research about the importance of sleep.

        My issues are rather deep-seated, but on my recent writing retreat I discovered that I’m NOT an insomniac – just someone with very messed-up sleep patterns… Best of luck, SJ!

  7. So sorry you became ill! I think we all tend to overwork our bodies. I was up until late finishing a book and every time I say it’s not worth it because I totally pay for it the next day. Hopefully we’ll both do better with sleep and keeping things in order.

    I still need to read Caraval and Dreamer’s Pool. I started Dreamer’s Pool and I have Caraval and Legendary, so I just need to get to them.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    • You’re welcome, Tressa and many thanks for your kind concern:). Yes – I’ve been burning the candle at both ends, so I’m very much working on re-setting my sleep patterns.

      Yes – both Dreamer’s Pool and Caraval are both worth tucking into:). I hope you manage to get to them.

  8. Awwww, I remember you saying how you hadn’t been feeling well in your recent comments, but I’m sorry to hear it dragged on for multiple days. But I’m glad you recognized eventually that your body was trying to tell you something. It’s something that many of us don’t do very well, probably because society has programmed us to live such go-go-go lives all the time. I’ve learned that I get rundown if I go too many nights without enough sleep (which sounds like what you experienced this past week…?). So I always try to go to bed at a decent time and allow for enough sleep, though that’s usually easier on the weekends.

    That being said, we’ll see how “not getting enough sleep” goes on my end this week. My local baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, have made it to their league’s championship series – and all of the games start until 8 p.m., which means they won’t end until 11 p.m. at the latest. Oyyyyy. *lol*

    • Thank you for your kind concern, Sara. Yes… this is a culmination of years of not getting more an 4-5 hours a night and often less. Going away twice in quick succession made me realise I was perfectly capable of sleeping solidly for 7-8 hours a night. The last two years have been enormously stressful on a personal level and oddly, now things are getting better, I now am buckling where before, I managed to keep going!

      I have started a sticker system to reward myself for walking away from the computer at midnight. And so far so good – I’ve managed it for the last 2 nights.

      Best of luck with the Boston Red Sox – I’ve heard of them in quiz programmes:)). And at least you will get some catch-up time during the weekend.

      • Good! Keep up the sticker system, and let us know how it goes.

        As for the baseball team, their championship is actually a 7-game series. XD Whoever wins 4 games first wins. There will be one-night breaks tomorrow night and, if necessary, Monday night. Boston won the first game last night, so let’s hope. 😉

  9. I am sorry to hear you have been ill, Sarah. I hope you are feeling better soon. I haven’t been getting nearly enough sleep these days and with my arm still giving me some trouble, now I can add my knee to it. Both are keeping me up–that and everything else. I keep telling myself I will start going to bed earlier, but it hasn’t happened yet. Caraval is on my TBR pile. I am glad to see you enjoyed it. The Blood Destiny books both sound good as does Dreamer’s Pool. I hope you have a good week, Sarah!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Wendy:). I’m working on my sleep – so sorry to hear that you are struggling with other issues keeping you awake – that is so wearing:(. I’ve started a sticker system – so far it’s working and the last 2 nights I have been in bed before 12.30. I know it’s still later than ideal, but baby steps…

      Oh yes – I may have struggled, but the books I was reading were great fun. I recommend Caraval, which was beautifully twisty.

      I hope you, too, have a good week. Take care!

  10. I am just reading this post on Friday, so I hope by now you are feeling much better. I agree with you, when my sleep cycle gets out of whack (which is often) I do get symptoms from being rundown. You got a lot of reading done though.

  11. I hope you’re feeling better – and seeing as how I’m so late commenting I imagine you are. You read so much – wow. Can’t wait to see what you made of Dreamer’s Pool – I loved it. And the latest Sebastien DeCastell too.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Lynn:). Yes – I’m feeling a lot better, thank you. Yes – I thoroughly enjoyed Dreamer’s Pool, as well as Soulbinder. In fact, so far it’s been a wonderful reading month:)

  12. I am sorry to hear you’ve been ill. I hope you’re feeling better now! Take care of yourself! I hope you can find a better sleeping pattern, it can be tough to find a pattern that works for you and takes constant effort to maintain it. It does sound like got a lot of great books read, that’s one thing being ill is good for ;). I hope this week was a better one for you.

    • Thank you so much for your kind good wishes, Lola – I really appreciate them. Yes – I’m using a reward sticker system to help me re-programme my bad sleeping pattern. And yes – this last week has been a bit improvement:))

  13. Catching up late, almost a year behind, I hope that you managed to tackle your sleep issues. From my own experience, going from 4-5h sleep to almost consistent 8 did miracles for my health, weight, mood, and productivity.

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