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’m sounding like a cracked record, I know – but it’s been another busy week… A real mixture, to be honest. The grim bits – my dental appointment, though it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, even if the bill was. And the funeral of my cousin, who died too soon, cut down by cancer. We weren’t close, hadn’t been since we’d played together as children. But it’s a body blow nonetheless. The service was very simple, but also warm and moving as his friend recalled his generosity and madcap humour. While outside the wind howled and the rain fell sideways…
The much better bits – and while I’m aware some of these may sound trivial in comparison, I’ve learnt to hold onto and treasure the little things that can cast a bit of a glow against winter storms and loss… I had a much-overdue hair appointment, so I now no longer look quite so bedraggled; singing Happy Birthday as my eldest grandson blows out fifteen candles on his birthday cake; watching my mother unwrap her birthday presents over a very nice meal and laughing with my parents over a piece of nonsense; Himself’s steady recovery from his shoulder injury and a lovely walk along the beach with him; a meal with my sister and nephew son to celebrate her move; my son unexpectedly coming to stay for the weekend…
Last week I read:
Night Train to Murder – Book 8 of the Ishmael Jones series by Simon R. Green
When Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny are asked to escort a VIP on the late-night train to Bath, it would appear to be a routine case. The Organisation has acquired intelligence that an attempt is to be made on Sir Dennis Gregson’s life as he travels to Bath to take up his new position as Head of the British Psychic Weapons Division. Ishmael’s mission is to ensure that Sir Dennis arrives safely. How could anyone orchestrate a murder in a crowded railway carriage without being noticed and with no obvious means of escape? When a body is discovered in a locked toilet cubicle, Ishmael Jones has just 56 minutes to solve a seemingly impossible crime before the train reaches its destination.
This paranormal thriller is another enjoyable addition to this series, where nothing is as it seems, including the mysterious Ishamael, and the drama is lightened by enjoyable splashes of dark humour. Review to follow.
AUDIOBOOK To Say Nothing of the Dog – Book 2 of the Oxford Time Travel series by Connie Willis
When too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. But complexities like recalcitrant rowboats, missing cats, and love at first sight make Ned’s holiday anything but restful – to say nothing of the way hideous pieces of Victorian art can jeopardize the entire course of history.
This audiobook has been a complete joy. Engrossing, funny and very clever without leaving the listener stranded – I love Ned and Verity and the rest of the quirky characters that get snarled up in this farcical adventure. Review to follow.
The Festival Murders – Book 1 of the Francis Meadowes mysteries by Mark McCrum
At the start of one of the English summer’s highlights, the annual literary festival in the pretty little country town of Mold-on-Wold, famous critic Bryce Peabody is found dead in his bed at the White Hart Hotel. At first it seems as if fifty-something Bryce might have succumbed to a heart attack, but the forensics team soon uncover evidence of something more sinister. Bryce had made many enemies in the past, with his scandalous private life and scathing reviews. Could it be that one of the many writers he insulted in print has taken a bitter revenge? Or perhaps there’s a more personal reason? Unable to help himself, crime writer Francis Meadowes, who is also staying at the White Hart, is drawn into a role he knows only from his own fiction, that of amateur detective.
A classic whodunit featuring a steady steam of likely suspects, a likeable protagonist – and it’s set at the literary festival. How could I resist? Review to follow.
My posts last week:
Review of AUDIOBOOK Fledgling – Book 2 of the Sorcery and Society series by Molly Harper
Friday Faceoff featuring Antarctica by Kim Stanley Robinson
Review of The Violent Fae – Book 3 of The Ordshaw series by Phil Williams
Review of The Bear and the Mermaid by Ailish Sinclair
Teaser Tuesday featuring The Festival Murders – Book 1 of the Francis Meadowes mysteries by Mark McCrum
Review of Trail of Lightning – Book 1 of the Sixth World series by Rebecca Roanhorse
Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last few weeks, in no particular order:
New Christmas Music of 2019 https://comfortreads13.wordpress.com/2019/12/06/new-christmas-music-of-2019/ There – I’ve finally mentioned the ‘C’ word. And Jess has rounded up some new festive tunes if you’re sick of some of the old standards…
The Interesting Meaning and History of the Phrase ‘Raining Cats and Dogs’ https://interestingliterature.com/2019/12/07/meaning-history-phrase-raining-cats-and-dogs/ Given the rainy weather we endured throughout November – and that ferocious storm that raged through Friday – I thought this was both apt and fascinating.
Five Holiday Challenges Only Writers Will Understand https://authorkristenlamb.com/2019/12/holiday-challenges-writers-understand/ While Kristen may have directed her comments at writers – I think a number of introverted readers could also empathise…
…Christmas joint blog tour and giveaways… Oh come all ye faithful readers… https://seumasgallacher.com/2019/12/03/christmas-joint-blog-tour-and-giveaways-o-come-all-ye-faithful-readers/ Indie author and fellow blogger Seumas Gallacher has teamed up with other successful authors to offer a festive package of books…
7 Nonfiction Gift Ideas that Will Win the Holidays this Season! https://amanjareads.com/2019/12/01/7-nonfiction-gift-ideas-that-will-win-the-holidays-this-season/ Amanja has come up with a delightfully quirky list of amusing non-fiction books that might provide the perfect gift those difficult-to-please members of the family…
Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog – I hope you have a wonderful week.
The little, happy moments are so important. I’m sorry about your cousin, but glad that your husband is feeling better. Hope you have a good week!
Thank you, Tammy:). Yes… it really has been a roller-coaster week – and I’m hoping the coming one will be less extreme.
Those good bits are precious! It’s all about family and you have highlighted the most important things family and health, whether good or not so good. I hope this week is exceptional!
Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post
Thank you, Anne. Like everyone else, I’m about to start scrambling to get Christmas organised, seeing as we’re entertaining at home this Christmas.
My condolences on your cousin. Thank you so much for the mention! Have a wonderful sunday!
Thank you, Amanja:). Wishing you a good week.
It is the little things that make such a big impact, don’t they, Sarah:) I just got my hair cut and it feels fabulous, as do I!
You’re so right! And yes, I know what you mean about having your hair done. It’s such a relief that it is looking so much tidier… Have a great week with your lovely hair, Laura:)
You have faced some tough things last week. I’m glad that you have found comfort and happiness in the small good things that also happened. This is a reminder to me to focus on the good.
I had no idea there was a book 2 of To Say Nothing of the Dog. I read that long ago, but I remember loving it.
Have a good week.
Thank you, Deb, for your kind comment:). As for To Say Nothing of the Dog – I think it is now marketed as part of the other time travel novels that Connie Willis has written, with Doomsday being the first one. So sadly, there isn’t another slice of the To Say Nothing of the Dog goodness… I hope your week is also a great one:)
Condolences on the loss of your cousin…a body blow is a great description. Dental appointments are never fun.
Your new haircut sounds uplifting…and blowing out birthday candles can be another way to lighten life moments, especially during a storm.
The Festival Murders looks tempting…and it’s the first in a series, always good to discover.
Enjoy your week.
Thank you for your kind good wishes, Laurel. Yes – I’m hoping not to have another week like that one for a while…
The Festival Murders is great fun – I’ll be reviewing it in due course.
It’s definitely important to treasure the small things in life. Glad to hear there were some bright spots this past week, and I’m sorry to hear about your cousin, too.
Thank you, SJ. Here’s hoping the coming week is a better one…
Sorry life has been tough, but it’s good that you can see the positive things. Have a great week!
Thank you, AJ – I hope that you, too, have MUCH better week!
I’m really glad to hear your hubby is starting to feel better and I agree about the small things in life being important to offset the darker things. I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. Cancer sucks.
Thank you, Suzanne. It truly is a dreadful illness…
Celebrating the light in the darkness is important, probably something I need to do more of. Thanks for the reminder.
Wishing you a great reading week
You’re very welcome, Shelley – I don’t recall it often enough, either. But this week, there were times when I really felt my back against the wall… I hope you, too, have a lovely reading week.
To Say Nothing of the Dog is a fun book. My weekly update
You’re right, Sarah. I’m so very glad that I picked this one up – I really needed those shafts of humour during this week…
I’m sorry to hear about your cousin, and I don’t think the little moments are trivial at all. I think we need the “little things” sometimes to keep us going, especially with everything life tends to throw at us! Glad you had some nice moments this past week. 🙂
Love your books this week!
Thank you, Greg for your kind comments:)). I’m hoping the coming week will be a tad kinder…
I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin. I think loss really does remind us to appreciate the smaller things, and the things that make us happy. I’m glad there was some happiness to be found in a tough week. Sending you a hug x
Thank you so much, Hayley. Hug much appreciated!x
Thankfully the joys were able to balance out the sorrows, and I’m very glad for you that they did…
Thank you, Maddalena…
You just reminded me, that I need a new hair cut too. I am sorry to hear about your cousin. Despite that, it sounds so lovely when you talk about your family and the little things that make you all happy. That is so precious. Have a great week and take care.
Thank you for your kind condolences, Vi. Yes… when the going gets tough, Family is often a rock.
So sad to hear about your cousin. These things are always such a blow and I think you absolutely have to enjoy the small things to get you through such times.
There’s no other answer, as far as I can see…
I’m so sorry about your cousin, but you’re right: it’s good to focus on the love shared both past and present and the little blessings we experience in our lives. It’s great news to hear your hubby’s on the mend, and you can spend some time with your son, sister, and other loved ones! xxxxxxxxxxx
Thank you for your kind, wise words, Jean… My heart goes out to my aunt and uncle having to cope with Christmas at this difficult time.
When I read that old poetry it seems like they talk about the hair of the cats and dogs, that it rained so hard that the shedded hairs clumped together in storm drains or gulleys 🙂
Well, we’re a country that is obsessed with the weather – hence all the different proverbs and sayings:)).