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 another quiet week, although I did manage to teach Tim via Skype on Monday and have our fortnightly Writing Group meeting on Zoom. Himself is still driving trains, although he finds it an eerie experience as formerly busy stations are deserted.
On Wednesday, I took a pair of scissors to my hair – and I’m really pleased with the result, but to be honest I was so sick of the tousle-haired old bat staring back at me in the mirror I’d got past caring. I hadn’t been out of the house since driving down to see our parents for Mothering Sunday a fortnight ago, so we went for a walk along the seafront yesterday morning. As you can see, it was deserted despite the lovely weather so it was easy to be mindful of the social distancing.
We have now discovered The Amazing Mrs Maisel – and loved the first two episodes, so will be watching more. I’m finding it difficult to face The Expanse or The Crossing at present, with what is going on day after day… As for my How-To book, I think I’m about half-way through and really enjoying writing it.
Last week I read:
A Dragon of a Different Colour – Book 4 of the Heartstriker series by Rachel Aaron
To save his family from his tyrannical mother, Julius had to step on a lot of tails. That doesn’t win a Nice Dragon many friends, but just when he thinks he’s starting to make progress, a new threat arrives. Turns out, things can get worse. Heartstriker hasn’t begun to pay for its secrets, and the dragons of China are here to collect. When the Golden Emperor demands his surrender, Julius will have to choose between loyalty to the sister who’s always watched over him and preserving the clan he gave everything to protect.
I love this series – it just goes on delivering. The worldbuilding is exceptional and the magic system complicated and engrossing, while the characters are nuanced and charismatic. I’m dreading reading the final book, as I don’t want the fun to end…
The Book of Koli – Book 1 of the Rampart trilogy by M.R. Carey
Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.
Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls. What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?
This one is a solid joy. Carey absolutely nails the first-person POV and I fell in love with Koli – though he is in danger of being upstaged by the delightful, funny Monono, one of the most enegaging sidekicks I’ve encountered in a while. Review to follow.
The Last Emperox – Book 3 of the Interdependency series by John Scalzi
The collapse of The Flow, the interstellar pathway between the planets of the Interdependency, has accelerated. Entire star systems—and billions of people—are becoming cut off from the rest of human civilization. This collapse was foretold through scientific prediction… and yet, even as the evidence is obvious and insurmountable, many still try to rationalize, delay and profit from, these final days of one of the greatest empires humanity has ever known. Emperox Grayland II has finally wrested control of her empire from those who oppose her and who deny the reality of this collapse. But “control” is a slippery thing, and even as Grayland strives to save as many of her people from impoverished isolation, the forces opposing her rule will make a final, desperate push to topple her from her throne and power, by any means necessary. Grayland and her thinning list of allies must use every tool at their disposal to save themselves, and all of humanity. And yet it may not be enough. Will Grayland become the savior of her civilization… or the last emperox to wear the crown?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this series – Scalzi manages to provide a classic epic space opera scenario with an urban fantasy vibe. His characters are sharp, often funny and in amongst the grim risk of an apocalyptic end of civilisation looming over everyone, there is also a swashbuckling energy. Review to follow.
My posts last week:
March 2020 Roundup – Reading, Writing and Blogging…
Friday Face-off featuring The Whisper Man by Alex North
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Last Protector – Book 4 of the Marwood and Lovett series by Andrew Taylor
Review of AUDIOBOOK Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures written and narrated by Stephen Fry
Review of KINDLE Ebook Warrior – Book 1 of the Doppleganger duology by Marie Brennan
Sunday Post – 29th March 2020
Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Music video – Surreal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2sfsE8KVPs&feature=youtu.be This is the song my student, Tim, has composed about the coronavirus…
Productivity vs Chaos: How to Hit a Balance https://writerunboxed.com/2020/04/03/productivity-vs-chaos-how-to-hit-a-balance/ I really like this article for its compassionate, non-judgemental stance… It seems to me we are all dealing with this crisis as best we can in our own way.
Updates: a new resource on sports and games in science fiction https://sciencefictionruminations.com/2020/04/03/updates-a-new-resource-on-sports-and-games-in-science-fiction/ For those among you who might be immersing yourselves into other universes and worlds for the duration…
Wordless Wednesday: Hairdo(n’t) https://applegategenealogy.wordpress.com/2020/04/01/wordless-wednesday-hairdont/ I was sorely tempted to write the conversation this couple might have had once he had a chance to see the pic…
It’s Camp NaNoWriMo Time! https://comfortreadsbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/31/its-camp-nanowrimo-time/ For those of you who are considering working on your writing projects – but would like some companionship along the way…
Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog – I hope you and yours have a peaceful, healthy week. Take care.
I loved Tim’s video! He’s very talented😁 Looks like you had a really good week with your reading, and I love your hair😁
Thank you for checking out Tim’s video – I think he’s awesome, but perhaps I’m biased:)). Yes, it was a cracking week reading-wise – thank you for the heads-up regarding The Book of Koli and The Last Emperox, by the way! And thank you about the hair – I’m delighted, as it was SUCH a mess.
I love The Amazing Mrs. Maisel and I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
I may need to cut my own hair at some point, as my daughter’s salon is closed for now…plus, isolation! Your hair looks good! I used to trim my own bangs years ago…my daughter was always horrified, of course. LOL.
Have a safe week, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES
Yes, The Amazing Mrs Maisel is so much fun and nicely immersively far away from everything going on. I used to cut my fringe years ago, but I haven’t ever undertaken cutting my hair in such a drastic way, before. I dread to think what my hairdresser is going to say when she finally gets to see it:)). I hope you, too, have a safe week, Laurel.
If the picture shows the “new selfmade cut” – it looks great! Stay safe and happy reading and writing.
Yes, Vi – that is the new cut:)). Thank you for your kind compliment and good wishes and I hope you, too, have a peaceful week.
I’ve tried to comment on your site, but it keeps telling me there’s an error:(. So despite the fact there is nothing from me – I have visited your weekly roundup. Best of luck with getting hold of a mask, Vi – have a great reading week and stay safe.
I think the whole world is a bit surreal right now. You are reading some great books. I’ve seen good remarks about The Book of Koli. I am moody about books but reading a lot.
Have a wonderful week! Be kind and take care of yourself!
Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post
Thank you, Anne. Yes – I understand the moodiness. As luck would have it – I selected some lovely Netgalley reads, so I’m not finding it too difficult to tuck in, right now. And yes – aren’t we lucky to able to escape into different worlds? I hope you, too, have a great week and manage to relax a bit and put your feet up:)
I’ve been wondering how long I can resist taking a pair of scissors to my own hair. Thankfully I had just gotten it cut right before our stay-at-home order was issued, so hopefully I have a while because I know I wouldn’t do nearly as good a job as you did with yours. I was just reading an excellent review of that Carey book so I’m glad to hear it was a great read for you as well.
There are a number of really good Youtube videos showing how to cut it. I’d left it far too long – the week of the lockdown I was due to go to the hairdressers, so had to cancel and while it is good hair, I look DREADFUL once it gets past my shoulders, it really, really ages me…
The Carey book is fabulous – the worldbuilding is just as good as with The Girl with All the Gifts, but it’s not nearly as unremittingly grim – there is quite a lot of humour.
I thought about video-calling my hairdresser and having her walk me through my haircutting. I would be glad to pay her for her help. I’m not at that point yet, but I can see that it won’t be too much longer. If only I hadn’t gotten bangs!
Wow. Your beaches are deserted. This is the time of the year when our weather in Texas is delightful, so it’s terribly sad that we can’t be at our normal bird-watching sites and our beaches right now.
I’m glad you had a wonderful reading week.
This, too, will pass, I keep reminding myself.
So sorry – I’ve tried commenting on your site, but I’m having all sorts of problems commenting with my gmail a/c – grrr! You just keep cutting up into the hair to feather it and if you look online at YouTube, you’ll find a number of helpful sites. And yes… it was very quiet on the beach.
I hope that you have a great reading week – I love Mind Your Own Business by Michael Rosen, as I used to read the poems to my classes as a reward for being good:)). Have a peaceful, healthy week.
I am glad you were able to visit the sea and walk along side it, Sarah. That must have been so nice. They had to close the beaches here because people refused to practice social distance. Now we are being required to wear masks or face coverings whenever we go outside or are at work. I am so glad you enjoyed The Book of Koli. I am looking forward to giving that one a try too.
I hope you have a good week, Sarah. Stay safe and well.
People aren’t supposed to travel to beaches from a distance, but as it is only 10 minutes away by car and we have no nice green spaces nearby, we feel okay about travelling there. And there aren’t any masks to spare for the general public as frontline workers use them.
Oh yes – do tuck into The Book of Koli, soon. It’s clever and quite funny in places, too. I hope you stay safe, too:)
There aren’t enough medical grade masks here either, and so the general public is being told they can’t wear those types because they need to be only for the hospitals, but they can use scarves and cloth ones. A lot of people are making their own.
Oh, right. We’ve been told here not to bother, because they don’t provide any real protection and give everyone a false sense of security! I find it fascinating how the information from governments around the world varies…:).
I can only imagine the empty train stations! So surreal now how everything has altered.
I love a good beach walk. Nice that you were able to do that. I feel like the fresh air is relaxing in these chaotic times…
I’m really curious about the LAst Emperox. I liked the first book a lot but haven’t gotten to book two yet. I liked the Kiva Lagos character (I think I have that name right?). Anxious to get back into that series.
Yes… I took the pics of the empty river front and the beach, because it’s never that deserted. So that later I can point to it to show just how eerie it was…
Yes – you are right. And Kiva features throughout the series, particularly in this last book where she is a key player. I highly recommend the whole series. I think Scalzi has done something quite different in his approach and tone, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Have a peaceful week, Greg.
Your pictures were a great addition to an already great feature of your blog /Users/raelongest/Desktop/A98244D5-A015-438B-BB9D-688C2EFD5E36.jpeg My Little Free Library is doing a booming business. I disinfect everything in it every couple of days.
You are inspiring me to cut my hair too. The humid weather is making it a mess (not a mass but a mess) of ringlets on top.I’m not quite brave enough yet.
Did you hear that APA is reinstating the two spaces after a period for social distancing purposes ? LOL
I am sure your Little Free Library is doing really well – given that all the civic libraries are shut. I suppose they don’t have the wherewithall to disinfect books, the way you are doing, you lovely, thoughtful person!
I would advise that you go for it regarding the hair – there are some really good Youtube videos to give you some useful tips. I didn’t even have the right scissors – I used my sharp, paper-cutting ones! And if you go a bit wrong, there will be plenty of time for it to grow back, I think.
Ha ha – the joke about the two spaces after a full stop is hilarious. Except… it’s taken me YEARS to retrain myself to stop hitting the spacebar TWICE – I’m not what you call a fast learner! Have a peaceful, healthy week, Rae.x
Thanks for your lovely, personal comment.
Always a pleasure, Rae:))
What a TALENTED young man, indeed! I loved his video and the song: there is both sadness and wisdom in it, and it’s a powerful combination coming from one so young. I understand your pride in him 🙂
I had to smile when you wrote about cutting your hair: many of us have reached that stage where we have to decide whether to stay with an unruly head of hair or… taking the plunge and doing something, but you were very successful. Congratulations!
On the bookish side, I’m reading The Book of Koli and enjoying it immensely – although I had no doubt that it would be so, given the author in question… 😉
Thank you, Maddalena – yes, he is talented and I appreciate you taking the time to listen to his song:)). I am so very proud of him.
As for the hair – I did watch a couple of Youtube videos first. And I’m glad you’re enjoying The Book of Koli so much – I absolutely loved it:)).
The seafront looks beautiful. Yay for some fresh air! Hubs and I really enjoyed Mrs Maisel when we watched it. We’re on Better Call Saul now. Enjoy your week, and take care of you and yours!
Thank you, Becki – it is a lovely spot. We are very lucky to have such a place to walk just a 10 minute car ride away. I’m hoping there are LOTS of episodes of Mrs Maisel – and we’ll check out Better Call Saul. I hope you, too, have a peaceful, healthy week.
You got to read the Last Emperox! Lucky you! I have it on pre-order on Audible. I can’t wait to listen to it.
You’re in for a treat – and a few BIG surprises:)). Though I’m looking forward to being able to discuss THAT ending with you!
Well your hair looks great to me! And I bet your husband finds it eerie! As a commuter I haven’t set foot in a train for more than three weeks now!
Thank you for your kind compliment regarding the hair – I was delighted as it was a HUGE improvement on the dishevelled mess I was walking around with, before I snipped it off.
Yes… Apparently, Victoria and Gatwick are particularly unnerving right now.
My husband went to the grocery store Friday and said it was spooky and he’s not an easily spooked guy so I can imagine the empty stations are just plain eerie. I’m grateful my hair does ponytails really well or I would be in serious trouble! I’m past terrible at anything really detailed and my hair would be just beyond bad. We may have to take the clippers to my son’s hair soon though! Hope you have a great week!
Yes… I can imagine that it was a spooky experience:). Sadly, my hair was too short for a ponytail – so it was the scissors for me:)). And ditto regarding the clippers for my husband’s hair and I have a nasty feeling that will be my job and while I don’t mind having a go at mine – he is still having to go to work. Thank you for your kind good wishes and I hope that you, too, have a peaceful and safe week:)
It’s nice how technology like skype and zoom can help us stay connected in these times. That looks nice how empty that beach was. I’ve gone out for walks, but they can be tiring trying to keep the right distance from everyone, especially when lots of other people are also outside. Looks like you had some nice reads to keep your mind off things as well. I hope this week is a good one!
Yes – thank goodness the technology allows us to keep in touch! And yes… having the beach to ourselves was quite special – though I wish it wasn’t because of the virus. And it was a really good reading week, too. Thank you for your kind good wishes, Lola – I hope you, too, have a good week with some superb books.
I am currently considering cutting my own hair – I’m definitely a tousle haired bat myself at the moment and I’m not sure what’s worse – the fact that I look like that or the fact that I really don’t care. lol. I’ve been so behind with everything – as you can probably tell – but I feel like I’m getting back on a par, or getting used to living in isolation.
I enjoyed Koli but I didn’t love it which was a surprise as I love MR Carey. I really enjoyed the first half but then it slowed down a little for me and I felt like the second half had a generic post apocalyptic feel – I think i’ve read too many books in the genre. He is a fantastic author though and I’m always so excited by news of any forthcoming books.
Lol… I can relate about the tousle-haired bit – and I might have left it, but for the fact I have a trick of running my hand through my hair and once I’d tied it back so I could see, I kept nearly scalping myself…
I actually enjoyed Koli more than than his other stuff – but then I fell in love with that first-person voice:)). And he’s always worth reading.
How’s your daughter’s quarantine doing? I’m hoping that’s all well and gone now. 🙂 Glad your writing’s coming along. I’m stuck on a beginning and it’s driving me MAD, but I’m hopeful I can crack it today….
Fortunately, it’s been and gone and she’s been able to have the children back. I hope all of you and yours are keeping well. Fingers crossed that the beginning you were stuck on has fallen into place. I always have my epiphanies in the shower:)).
I FINALLY cracked that beginning and can move forward! And lovely news about your daughter. We’ve been doing our share of family drive-bys to see people; anything’s better than nothing, right?
Yay for getting the beginning nailed – it is so crucial to get that right before moving on! Yes – we did that for Mothering Sunday, just before the lockdown proper started, but it is so hard not being able to see family. I miss my daughter and the children so much… Loooong phone calls have ensured!