Sunday Post – 10th March, 2019 #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.

And here I am a whole month after my last Sunday Post. It’s been a difficult one. During half term I had a bad reaction to my blood pressure medication and am in the process of waiting for things to calm down before the Dr begins another treatment. I cannot speak highly enough of the fine folk in the NHS, who have been nothing but prompt, professional and kindly – such a relief to feel I’m in capable hands.

But what that did was bring forward a decision that I’d been considering for a while. So when I returned to Northbrook after the half term break, I tendered my resignation as Creative Writing tutor to take effect as from the end of the summer term. Given my health is still iffy and I am striving to step up my writing output, something has to give – while I’ve loved teaching at Northbrook College, it takes a lot of work over and above delivering the lessons and I simply need to ease up. As ever, Himself has been a rock throughout.

Other than that, Life whizzes by at its usual breakneck pace. Himself and I are attempting to clear out the loft and have made some progress by taking bagfuls of books to the charity shops. It’s made a bit of a dent… Last week we went down to Ringwood and had a lovely day with my in-laws and I spent last Sunday with my sister, which was fabulous – I haven’t seen much of her recently.

Last week I read:
Day 115 on an Alien World – Book 1 of the Settler Chronicles series by Jeanette Bedard
A dishonourable discharge left Margo unable to find honest work on Earth. Signing onto a colonizing mission heading to a new world promised a fresh start. Or at least that’s what she’d thought. Strapped into a crashing colony ship, she realized how wrong she’d been.
They hit the ground and the straight forward colonizing mission becomes a scramble for survival…
I really enjoyed this colony world thriller and will be reviewing it in due course.


No Going Back – Book 5 of the Jon and Lobo series by Mark L. Van Name
Haunted by memories of children he could not save, Jon Moore becomes so increasingly self-destructive that even his best friend, the hyper-intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle, Lobo, is worried. So when Jon receives both a job offer and a message from a woman from his distant past, he and Lobo leap at the welcome diversions. That the job is illegal is the least of their problems. They’re happy to retrieve stolen artifacts from Jon’s quarantined home world, and their fee is high even for a job so highly illegal. The forces protecting their targets are formidable, and the assault team that’s chasing them is even more dangerous–but Jon and Lobo are used to that. The scientist Jon and Lobo need for the mission has an agenda of her own, but they’ve faced that problem before. This time, though, the knowledge that they and the others seek spells doom for Jon.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the series – and will be now tracking down the fourth one. The relationship between Jon and Lobo is both poignant and funny and I love the overarching story arc that is emerging. Review to follow.


Frozen in Time AUDIOBOOK by Ali Sparkes
Ben and Rachel Corder are sure they’re in for the longest, dullest summer ever, until they discover an underground vault at the bottom of their garden with an amazing secret inside – two children from the 1950s who have been asleep for decades. But waking up Freddy and Polly Emerson means unearthing the secrets that were buried with them. Why would their father leave them frozen? How is cryonic suspension even possible? Why doesn’t the world know about the process fifty years later? How will the Emersons ever fit into the 21st century world of cell phones and microwave dinners? And why does it feel like they’re all suddenly being followed?
I’d loved reading this children’s thriller to Frances years ago – and then bought her the audiobook, so when she helped me get my Kindle Fire going during half term when the grandchildren came to stay, this was the first book I wanted to listen to. It’s been great fun – and so very different to reading it. Review to follow.

My posts last week:

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Cyanide with Christie – Book 3 of the Crime with the Classics series by Katherine Bolger Hyde

Friday Face-Off featuring The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of String City by Graham Edwards

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

Jonas Brothers Carpool Karoke #Jonas Brothers #James Corden When I spotted this offering by Sherry at Fundinmental, I knew it would make this week’s cut. I love James Corden – talented and witty and very, very funny – what’s not to love?

Viking Heritage Day at Woodstown Once again, Inessa’s fabulous pics bring a slice of beauty into my life – and this time around, she’s gone time travelling…

Understanding and handling your bookworm. A guide Shruti’s funny take gives outsiders some inkling of what it is to be gripped by a passion for books.

Eagle Eyes Stuart’s delightful account of a classroom incident that happened waaay back is worth a read.

New blogsitential questions Alexandra discusses issues that we all have to face when we suddenly find the days have slid past and we’ve been too busy to post a new blog article…

Many thanks for taking the time to comment, like and visit my blog – I am so sorry about my lack of response and am aiming to try and get back on track during the next week or so. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

47 responses »

  1. I am sorry to hear you had a bad reaction to your blood pressure medication, but what a relief the hospital staff has been so capable. I hope they can figure out a new medicine that works for you. That sounds like a good decision to stop teaching, sometimes you just need to think of yourself and make some space in your life someway. It’s nice you had some good reads to keep your company at least. I hope the next few weeks go a bit smoother.

    • Thank you, Lola – it’s a huge decision after 10 very happy years, but I don’t want to wait until I’m letting everyone down by going sick. And yes – I’m so relieved I’m getting such good care.

  2. Having a bad reaction to medication is frightening, but it’s good that the doctors dealt with it quickly.

    Sometimes we have to give up things we’re doing for our well being. Good luck with the changes.

    Enjoy your books…I’m curious about Frozen in Time.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Thank you Laurel, for your kind good wishes:). And yes – you’re right – sometimes strategic retreat is the only option. Frozen in Time is a delight.

  3. Oh how scary about the reaction to the medication! I’m glad you were able to find a doctor you were comfortable with and are feeling better. Hopefully everything is under control soon. It sounds like retiring is a good idea though I’m sure that wasn’t an easy decision. I hope you have a lovely week!

    • Thank you, Katherine:). I’m hoping to be able to devote more time to writing, rather than actually retire. But yes – I’m hoping that the bp is soon under control and thank you for your kind good wishes:)

  4. It’s nice that you found wonderful help after your bad reaction, Sarah. And I hope you feel all better soon. And that you are happy with your decision about teaching. Sounds like you have a plan for all of that time:)

    My Sunday Post

  5. I hope you’re feeling better now after the bad reaction to new meds. I’ve had horrible reactions to medications and it’s so scary, I’m glad the NHS has been so good at getting you sorted out. It sounds like a sensible plan to cut back on work, health is more important.

  6. Hon, you and I have reached the “too much in common” point. Last week I saw a doctor who expressed “alarm” at my blood pressure levels. As it happened, I had an appointment with my General Practitioner the very next day., so the first doctor wrote a “note” to my G P , recommending two extra tests. GP ran my usual blood tests plus the extra two. (Extra charges, not covered by insurance.)Got the results yesterday Sat. In the mail…bloodwork fine. HOWEVER, GP increased dosage on one of my two BP meds and said check back (make an appointment) in TWO WEEKS. I jokingly said, You don’t think I’m looking at a stroke? He said that was what we were trying to prevent, dead serious. You remember I retired from the university this past December in order to “cut back.” My heart hurts you had to do that for I know how much you loved it, as did I. You and I have TOO MUCH in common. Have a more restful, slower week ahead, Dear Friend.

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear your news, Rae:(. The good news is that there plenty of different medications we can try, apparently.

      And yes… I’m really sad, but given I want to really take my writing up a notch, I do need to ease up on something – and it has to be the teaching. You, of all people, will understand how much energy and admin goes into keeping lessons interesting and fresh. And I never could replicate my material because in all the 10 years of teaching, I had students who stayed with me throughout. They have been so lovely – very supportive and kind.

      Thank you so much for all your good wishes and kind words.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Shruti. I am fortunate that there seems to be plenty of options for treatments. And I am looking forward to be able to spend more time on my own writing.

  7. Sorry to hear about your BP reaction! Hope you’re feeling better! And glad you were able to make a change to take some of the stress or pressure off of yourself.

    Frozen in Time sounds like a wonderful read! I have to say that premise catches my eye!

    • Thank you, Greg – yes, I am lucky in being able to take this decision with the support of Himself…

      Oh yes – Frozen in Time is a joy – I particularly loved the audio version! While it’s a cracking adventure, it also has a lot to say on how much social attitudes have changed in the last 50-something years…

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about the reaction to the BP medication. That had to be scary. That’s a shame about having to giving up your teaching position but it sounds like the right choice so that you can take care of yourself. it actually also sounds pretty exciting though in the sense that you can focus even more on your own writing. It’s a new adventure!

    • Thank you, Suzanne. Yes… I won’t deny that I’ve had some dark moments since I took the decision – but as you say, it is a new adventure and once I’ve completed this teaching year, I will have both more time and energy to devote to my own work. I’m now really looking forward to it:)

  9. Oh my! A bad reaction to blood pressure meds sounds very dangerous. I’m so sorry this happened.

    I’m sad that you are giving up your creative writing instruction. I can’t imagine how much work it must be, though. You must be required to do a huge amount of reading and critiquing and, eventually, writing. I’m sure your own creative writing must suffer.

    Sending lots of thoughts and prayers for a strong recovery.

    • Thank you so much, Deb. Yes – it was quite scary, but fortunately it all seems to be calming down. I love the Creative Writing classes, but there is a lot of preparation and thinking time given over to it, which I would like to redirect to my own writing, now, given that my energy levels are not what they were.

  10. I’m so glad you’re okay after that blood pressure medication problem! That must have been really scary! And it really sounds like the best move to resign from the Creative Writing class. I’m sure you’d love to concentrate on your own work. Just think of all you’ll get done! 🙂

    • Thank you, SJ – yes… I am now beginning to really look forward to having that time to devote to my own writing. And it’s such a relief that I’m being so well supported by my Dr.

  11. I’m so sorry for your troubles and glad you got it sorted. Thank goodness for the NHS. It helped you make a tough decision though about the tutoring which is sad but also good because you’ll have more time to focus on your writing.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you, Lynn – looking back, this issue has been steadily building for a while, now. I have been working too hard. So I am looking forward to getting my work/life balance back into better order – and writing more!

  12. Teaching is a very hard occupation, I don’t even know how teachers manage. I used to have one class every two weeks to teach and it would wring me out for the entire week. So I’m glad to hear about your decision. And of course, I hope the health gets better!

    • Thank you, Evelina:) Yes… teaching is exhausting. As you say – you end up giving out a lot. And though I’ve enjoyed it, I have been conscious of finding it more of a struggle to keep sharp during my lessons. I’ve also been finding it harder to keep writing effectively – and it was horrible when at the end of last year, I had to delete 50,000 words of rubbish…

  13. Hi Sarah, it’s nice to be talking to you again 🙂 Looks like we both were taking breaks. I’ll echo what Evelina said above, teaching is indeed hard (why are so many readers also teachers? I know it might seem obvious but still, isn’t it peculiar? 🙂 ) I’ve had loads of experience with teaching and I know that if you feel it’s becoming too much then it indeed is too much and no amount of short breaks and rest and positive attitude will change that. To teach is to give away and sometime there’s nothing to give away any more, at least not for a long time. So, I’m also happy to hear about your decision.

    I hope your health will continue to improve and we’ll be chatting more here 🙂

    • Oh yes – you’ve put it perfectly! And you’re right – it has been suggested that I take a break with a view to coming back. But I simply don’t feel that’s going to fix anything. At the end of the day, I now need more energy for my own projects. And yes… isn’t is interesting how many teachers are attracted to book blogging…:)

      • I did take a break once, it helped for a very short time. It’s almost like a physical injury in sport, you know. Once you get it you have to take full rest for a long time and once you return you have to give your body minimum stress. But with teaching minimum stress is not possible because it can’t be measured in time.

        More energy for your own projects sounds like so much fun!

      • Yes – you’re right! The minute you walk into a classroom, you’re on. No taking it easy, no only half-teaching that particular lesson – you have to pour all you have – the best game you’ve got. Every. Single. Time. Otherwise, you’re shortchanging your students… which isn’t acceptable.

  14. Sorry to hear you’ve been having health issues! You’re not wrong though, the NHS is amazing. We’re so lucky to have it.
    It’s sad you’re having to give up the teaching but it’s definitely something to look at as an opportunity.

    • Thank you for your kind concern Nicci:). Yes – we certainly are lucky – I hate to think what my trip to A & E would have cost if I’d had to pay… And yes – I am now looking forward to having that time liberated to now do other things with it – chiefly write more!

  15. And here I am: reading about the news that is not news anymore, and which you were kind enough to mention already. I can imagine your feelings as you made your decision. I hope it turned out for the best and that even if you miss your teaching, you have plenty other things going on! 🙂

    • Oh yes. It was hard, that last term when I seemed to be saying good-bye in slow motion to a lot of wonderful people I’d got to know very well. But I have so much more headspace and it is significant, I think, that writing this novel has been more fun than the last two.

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