Sunday Post – 29th March, 2020 #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.

Like most people, I’m staying at home, though Himself is still out driving trains. We’ve worked out a system whereby he puts his uniform into the washing machine before coming into the house and so far… so good.

Last Monday, on her second day in the new house, my daughter woke up with a temperature, joint and stomach pains and a cough. So she ended up being quarantined in the house without the children. She is now feeling a lot better, but it’s been a long week for her. Thank goodness she is recovering and the children don’t seem to have had any symptoms. Other than that, we keep in touch with family via Skype and Zoom. It was a huge relief to hear my brother-in-law caught one of the last flights from Melbourne and is now back home safely. And we go on praying none of the vulnerable members of the family go down with the illness…

Still enjoying Outlander – but mightily disappointed with that DREADFUL last episode of Picard, when it had been going so well. Thank goodness for marvellous books – I’m listening to Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light – so very, very good! And I’m working on my book on Characterisation, which is growing slowly but surely. It’s interesting how different my writing patterns are for non-fiction, as opposed to fiction.

Last week I read:
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes. But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods. It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret.
This fascinating story, told from an unusual viewpoint – using the second person (you) pov – caught me from the start. I loved the tension and Leckie’s handling of the perspective from a god who has lived a very long time.

The Clutter Corpse – Book 1 of the Decluttering Mysteries series by Simon Brett
Introducing an engaging new amateur sleuth, declutterer Ellen Curtis, in the first of a brilliant new mystery series.
That’s all the blurb there is – and this intriguing cosy mystery does just that – sets up Ellen as an engaging, competent protagonist with a doozy of a backstory. While I enjoyed the whodunit aspect, I was even more engrossed in Ellen as a fascinating protagonist and very much look forward to reading more about her. Review to follow.


Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change. Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.
I burned through this one, finding it impossible to put down. It’s an amazing read in many ways. For starters, the prose is absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed so much about this one… But for me, the pacing and narrative stuttered in the final stages, leaving me unhappy with the ending, both with its execution and the outcome.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Macksey
A book of hope for uncertain times.
Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons. The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie’s first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too.
My lovely sister-in-law sent this to me and I absolutely love it – the beautiful drawings and the messages of truth and hope that shone off the pages. It had me weeping and laughing at the same time. It isn’t long, but I shall be returning to it regularly. Especially in the coming days and weeks…

My posts last week:

Friday Face-off featuring Circe by Madeline Miller

Review of A Season of Spells – Book 3 of the Noctis Magicae series by Sylvia Hunter

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of War of the Maps by Paul McAuley

Review of AUDIOBOOK A Hat Full of Sky – Book 32 of the Discworld series, Book 2 of the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett

Sunday Post – 22nd March 2020

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

Books That Made Me Smile, Laugh, Inspired Me & Gave Me Hope A very useful list – that includes The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse…

Coping Tools
Another useful and uplifting article that I really appreciated and thought others, too, might enjoy reading…

Book Tag – The Secret World of a Book Blogger I’m a nosy person – my excuse is that I’m a writer, but I couldn’t pass up this insight into a fellow book blogger’s process behind the articles…

House Arrest Another great insight into how successful sci fi/fantasy author is coping with self isolating…

Giving Up Oxford A beautiful homage to one of our loveliest cities and a thoughtful article about lost opportunities and curtailed plans due to the virus…

Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog – I hope you and yours have a peaceful, healthy week. Take care.

50 responses »

  1. Yikes.. I’m so glad to read your daughter is feeling better. These are definitely scary times. I’m just trying to distract my mind as much as possible.
    Stay safe and happy reading!!

  2. I, too, enjoyed Boy, Horse, etc., especially the illustrations. It reminded me of The Little Prince. I once had a copy of Prince in French and intended to learn French from it. Never did get around to it. LOL
    I am so glad your family is ok. My students are losing their jobs left and right. it is very depressing. I hurt for them.
    Keep safe. Stay in. And, make good use of this down time.

    • Oh dear:(… I’m so very sorry for your students and I can understand how disheartening it must be. Yes – I’m in love with The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse:). And please take care and stay safe, Rae.x

  3. I’m so glad your daughter is ok, and I hope you and the rest of your family continue to be safe. I have heard it’s nearly impossible for children to pick up COVID. I must get a copy of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, I continue to hear wonderful things about it😁

    • Thank you, Tammy. Yes, while I think children do get the virus, thank goodness they seem to only get the mildest form… And yes – The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a solid delight… Have a peaceful, healthy week, Tammy:)

  4. I’m glad your daughter is okay now. I’m enjoying Outlander, too.

    Thank you for your kind thoughts toward my kitty. It’s been a rough few days.

    Take care and stay safe.

  5. Ooh, The Clutter Corpse looks tempting!

    I am glad you are staying well and have worked out a system for Sheltering in Place.

    I have been surprised at how relaxed I am with the lockdown now….especially because I’m enjoying not having to go out to the dining room for meals! Yes, the room service food isn’t always great, but I was really tired of getting up and getting dressed to go eat breakfast! LOL.

    Enjoy your week and your reading/writing.

  6. I’m glad your daughter is feeling better! It must have been scary not being able to be there for her…
    I think Outlander is a show I should start watching now – I’ve only watched the first couple of episodes from the first season. And I absolutely adore the books.
    I hope you’ll have a wonderful week ahead. Stay safe and healthy!

    • Yes… it’s hard not to be able to be there for her, or the grandchildren – but I can’t risk it, seeing as Himself is out with the general public everyday…

      Oh yes – I do highly recommend Outlander – I’ve nearly finished the first season and I’m still highly impressed with the characterisation and the lovely relationship. The romance is gorgeous…:) Thank you for your kind good wishes, and I hope that your coming week is a good one, too:)

    • Thank you, Becky. Yes – let’s hope everyone in our families all are able to keep well… Fingers crossed! I hope you and yours have a safe, healthy week.

  7. I’m glad your daughter is doing better, was she able to be tested? Evidence suggests she can remain contagious up to a further 2-3 weeks after recovery so be safe x

    Wishing you a great reading week and good health

    • Thank you, Shelleyrae. No… we are chronically short of virus testing kits so they are being kept for critically ill patients in hospital and frontline staff. The rest of us have to play it by ear…

      I hope you are able to dive into some great books and have a healthy, secure week.

  8. SJ, I am glad to hear your daughter is doing better and that the children aren’t showing any symptoms. Thinking of you and your family – Stay safe and well.

    Looks like you’ve continued to do some good reading, but sorry to hear you were disappointed with the end of Picard. My dad tried watching it, however he was really disappointed with it and gave up after about two episodes. We did both really enjoy watching the new, supernatural horror, Locke & Key.

    • Thank you, Jessica – I loved the Picard series – right until the car crash that was the final episode of the series! Thank goodness for Outlander:). Glad you, too, have a go-to series you’re enjoying.

      Have a safe, peaceful week:)

  9. I’m glad your family are all doing well! Bit of a scare for your daughter but it’s good she’s recovered… I assume given the level of testing she wasn’t tested? It’s so frustrating for people who develop symptoms but don’t get an answer one way or another as to whether it was actually C-19.

    I enjoyed the last episode of Picard. It would have been better if they’d ended it about 5 minutes earlier than they actually did but I’m curious as to whether they plan on continuing and, if so, where they go from here.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Nicci – and no, she wasn’t tested. It will be really helpful when they can get more testing done amongst the general population – my guess is that a LOT more folks have had the virus, based on the German and US figures.

      Glad you enjoyed the ending of the Picard series – and yes, Himself says they have already signed up for a second series – and I assume the crew we saw right at the end are going to be the crew P goes adventuring with. Have a peaceful, healthy week, Nicci.

  10. Glad to hear that your daughter is feeling much better. I know it is hard to stay at home, but I hope that you and the rest of your family will make it throuth this without getting sick. Stay safe and healthy.

  11. I am glad your daughter is feeling better, Sarah. It must be so hard for her and her family to be separated like that. All of your recent reads sounds good. I haven’t been reading much as of late, I’m afraid. Take care. Stay well and safe!

    • Thank you, Wendy. It’s such a relief – I feel so helpless, not being able to visit my daughter – but given Himself is working I cannot risk any contact at all with the family.

      I think I would be going a bit crazy if it wasn’t the comfort I get from reading… I hope you, too, keep healthy and safe:)

    • Yes – I treated myself to this one, as one of my students brought in an extract and I realised the quality of the writing. Hopefully you can find it second-hand when all this is over…

  12. I’ve heard of doctors and health care practitioners doing that too- stripping down/ changing before coming in and getting their clothes right into the wash. Probably prudent at this point!

    Glad your daughter is feeling better. these are scary times and coming down with anything can be terrifying! Hope you and yours stay safe and well this week.

  13. It’s good to hear your daughter is getting better. I had a friend who was ill and they quarantined her until her test results came in. They did and she is clear of the virus. Such scary times, Sarah. Be safe:)

    • Thank you, Laura – you’re right – it is scary times. We don’t get the option of any kind of testing – that’s reserved for the NHS staff, so she self quarantined, anyway. She now has the children back, to her great relief:))

  14. Boy, Mole, Fox, Horse is a good choice for this time, I think. I seem to be in need of inspiration and hope.

    Glad your writing is going well. I’ve seen that with several of my friends. I find that I am writing every day. Odd that I have trouble reading but that I can write.

    I’m glad your daughter is feeling better, and I hope no one else gets whatever she had. I also send good thoughts to your husband and you as well.

    • It is the loveliest book – such wonderful messages of hope and love without being too mushy – my sister-in-law is a genius. And I know what you mean about the inspiration and hope. Glad you are able to write – I can see why that might work. You can’t really drift off when you’re writing.

      Yes – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that no one else goes down with Rebecca’s thingy… And thank you for your kind good wishes, Deb – I very much hope that you have a quiet, healthy week:)

  15. It’s a sign of the weird times we’re living that something as mundane as a cold or a cough should cause us such a heightened state of alarm… Still, I’m happy that your daughter is feeling better – my best wishes to you and your loved ones!

    • Thank you, Maddalena – and I very much hope that you and yours stay safe and well – and that you have a shedload of wonderful books to lose yourself in…

  16. I’m glad your daughter is doing better. Mine works at a hospital, so I get really worried about her. My husband has an essential job (chemical), so I get nervous that he’ll bring something home to me. I keep sanitizer at the door and then he can come in and wash up. I hope things go well for you.

    • Thank you, Katherine – yes… it was a worrying time. I think we are all worrying just now.

      Glad you have The Clutter Corpse and I look forward to reading what you make of it:)). Have a peaceful, healthy week.

  17. That sounds like a good idea to have your husband put his uniform in the wash machine immediately. I am sorry to hear about your sister, I hope she’s doing better now and that’s good no one else is showing symptoms so far. I hope this week was a good one, stay safe!

    • I still worry about my sister – the job is gruelling and she is on the front line. But I am fine and so are the family. Thank you for your kind good wishes, Lola and I hope you have a peaceful, healthy week. Do stay safe:)

  18. I was wondering what you thought of Picard! We don’t have any streaming services, so I’ve not watched the actual episodes, but it just feels too disconnected from what made his first series fun. Does look a bit better than his movies, though. 🙂

    • We loved all but the last episode where we both thought they really messed it up. But overall, the acting is great and the story is okay. We are definitely going to watch the next series.

      • You’ll have to keep me posted on how it is. I hear d LeVar Burton might show! I still remember watching Burton on Reading Rainbow as a kid and thinking how cool it was he spent an episode showing kids The Next Gen set. 🙂

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