This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.
While we needed the rain, I found it really hard to suddenly have to deal with the lower light levels and colder temperatures. Thank goodness I woke up yesterday to find bright sunshine pouring in through the window, so we went out into the garden to do some weeding and move some plants. The fresh, shiny leaves are bursting into life and they look fabulous. I am wrapping my head around the fact that during this terrible time, this has been the most beautiful Spring I can remember. Our echiums just go from strength to strength…
Non-gardening news: I sat in my sister’s garden last weekend more than 6 feet apart from her and caught up – I miss her so… She is still working flat-out at the chemists and returns home each night exhausted, as she finds wearing all the protective clothing hot and stifling – although she is very aware how important it is. Upsettingly, some customers have been incredibly rude. One man told her colleague that she looked ‘ugly and ridiculous in that get-up’ – as if it was some kind of fashion choice! Thank goodness people like that are in the minority…
Last week I read:
AUDIOBOOK The Mirror and the Light – Book 3 of the Thomas Cromwell series by Hilary Mantel
England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves. Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to the breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?
This has been a complete joy. My only sorrow is that my journey with this wonderfully realised, complex man is now over. Review to follow.
The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing – Book 2 of the Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall
Murder is no laughing matter. Yet a prominent Indian scientist dies in a fit of giggles when a Hindu goddess appears from a mist and plunges a sword into his chest. The only one laughing now is the main suspect, a powerful guru named Maharaj Swami, who seems to have done away with his most vocal critic. Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator, master of disguise and lover of all things fried and spicy, doesn’t believe the murder is a supernatural occurrence, and proving who really killed Dr. Suresh Jha will require all the detective’s earthly faculties. To get at the truth, he and his team of undercover operatives—Facecream, Tubelight, and Flush—travel from the slum where India’s hereditary magicians must be persuaded to reveal their secrets to the holy city of Haridwar on the Ganges.
This has been another entertaining read in an excellent series that so far has delivered every time – but I think this one is my favourite so far…
Witch Dust by Marilyn Messik
For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill! But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, it proves a chorus girl too far, and Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving.
From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without, and learns a few home truths she’d prefer not to know.
This was fun! I loved the paranormal hi-jinks that Sandra was plunged into, the humour and real creepy tension was nicely balanced. Review to follow.
Girls of Paper and Fire – Book 1 of Girls of Paper and Fire series by Natasha Ngan
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
I enjoyed this lush YA fantasy adventure, though I did feel that perhaps another character would have made a more effective protagonist. Review to follow.
After Seth by Caron Garrod
At Seth Jameson’s funeral, three women gather at the graveside… But they aren’t there to mourn him. Detective Inspector Beatrice (Billie) Nixon is about to retire. Her last job is to investigate whether Seth’s death was misadventure, as previously thought, or murder. As she hears their stories, a different picture of Seth emerges from the one presented to the world.
•Roz – driven to alcoholism after years of physical, mental and financial abuse.
•Eleanor – withdrawn from the world after a terrifying and life changing experience.
•Imogen – obsessed and delusional.
And Beatrice begins to wonder not did anyone kill him, but why did they wait so long? But there were other women in Seth’s life and, as she hears all their experiences, Beatrice discovers a story of strength, friendship and love. And after a lifetime dedicated to the law, she is forced to ask herself… Can murder ever be justified?
It was a wonderful treat to discover that one of my former writing students has released a novel she was working on when attending my class. I have read it to discover how it turned out – and I was so impressed! Review to follow.
My posts last week:
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Dark Side of the Road – Book 1 of the Ishmael Jones series by Simon R. Green
Friday Face-off featuring Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Q by Christina Dalcher
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson
Review of INDIE Ebook Bringing Stella Home – Book 1 of the Gaia Nova series by Joe Vasick
Sunday Post – 26th April 2020
Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
My crazy challenge to play and sing the whole Cats musical without words or music in one go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agBiKQm5zbM&feature=youtu.be My student has been finding ways to occupy his musical talent during lockdown…
Wyrd and Wonder: adventurers wanted https://onemore.org/2020/03/01/wyrd-and-wonder-2020/ If you enjoy reading and reviewing or discussing fantasy books of any description – then check this out…
Taking care of others vs taking care of ourselves https://www.michellescrazybusylife.net/index.php/2020/04/28/taking-care-of-others-v-s-taking-care-of-ourselves/#.Xq6u4Jl7kaE Michelle raises an important point here…
The Wee Lassie’s Top Ten Foods that keep your Immune System Healthy https://weewritinglassie.home.blog/2020/04/26/the-wee-lassies-top-ten-foods-that-keep-your-immune-system-healthy/ It’s more important than ever, to keep yourself as fit as possible, given the new information about COVID-19…
The #parenting and #writing #lifeathome: #Music to #write by, #laugh by, and #hope by https://jeanleesworld.com/2020/04/27/the-parenting-and-writing-lifeathome-music-to-write-by-laugh-by-and-hope-by/ Writing buddy Jean suggests uplifting music when you hit that wall of misery…
Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog – I hope you and yours have a peaceful, healthy week. Take care.
Your echiums are stunning! And I love watching Tim’s videos, he’s really an amazing musician. Hope you have another sunny week ahead😁
Thank you, Tammy! Particularly for taking the trouble to nip across and look at Tim – I think he’s an amazing talent, too – but I am aware that I am a tad biased… Yes – and the thing about the echiums is that they haven’t yet finished growing…
I am curious about After Seth. I hope you keep enjoying that beautiful spring. Lovely photos. I now have roses blooming outside my window, and recall that a year ago when I saw them, I chose this apartment for the view. They didn’t last long last year…maybe they will this year.
Enjoy your week and your gardening!
Thank you Laurel:). Oh I hope the roses do last a bit longer… Though I’m aware each variety has quite a different flowring period and if you deadhead them as soon as they go over, you can extend their flowering period… Do they smell – there is nothing like the scent of roses!
I agree with your thoughts about spring. It has been the most beautiful spring I can ever remember here, too. Is it just that we have spent more time watching it and going out in it?
I read Wolf Hall ages ago, but somehow I missed book two. And now I see you raving about book three. I think I should try to find book two and read on.
Glad you were able to get together with your sister. I miss my sister. We are seeing her each week on Zoom, but it is not the same.
For me, it’s definitely the amazing weather we had throughout April which allowed me to get into the garden. It’s often far too cold and wet to be able to go and and appreciate it in the way I have this year…
You have such a lovely garden. I am glad your weather cleared up so you could spend time there. The weather here has been so nice as of late. It’s going to get hot very soon though. I am glad you were able to spend time with your sister. I feel for her, and am so grateful for people like her.
I am glad you have read some good books recently! Witch Dust is a new title to me, but it sounds like a lot of fun.
I hope you have a good week, Sarah.
Thank you, Wendy. Glad you are also able to enjoy the weather. Yes, my sister has such a hard job at present…
Oh yes – Witch Dust is a joy and I think you’d enjoy it. An ideal read right now, funny and adventurous and a complete escape:))
SJ, I also really struggled with the darker days and colder temperatures that the April showers brought this week – It really affected my energy and motivation, but thankfully I awoke to some sunshine yesterday and the weather forecast says the sun and warmth will be returning soon! I am very pleased to hear you enjoyed The Mirror and the Light, as I have Wolf Hall on my TBR shelf and I hope to read it very soon. Take care and happy reading in May! 🙂
I was frankly shocked at just much I imploded once it started raining – and I realised just how much I had come to rely on the sunny weather to keep me going.
Oh yes – you are in for a real treat with Wolf Hall – the viewpoint does seem a bit strange at first, but do persevere. I found about halfway through the 2nd chapter, I became used to it. Have a great week, Jessica – hopefully there will be plenty of sunshine!
Thank you SJ and I was exactly the same about the sun, too! Hopefully it will be back soon! 😎
Honestly I am drooling on the gardens!!! Where do you live to have such amazing flowers?
On the south coast of England. We do have very good soil… Which means the weeds grow well, too, sadly.
Thanks for sharing those gorgeous pictures. I have some rude customers I have to deal with from time to time. I tell myself I don’t know what their day was like before they came in but it’s still hard to bite my tongue.
That’s a really enlightened way to look at the situation, Laura. I’m guessing a lot of them are stressed and probably feeling unwell if they are at the chemist – but it is a shame. I know my sister is struggling with the amount of anger coming her way, just now…
Your plants look amazing! Some of my fruit trees have flowers on them, but that’s pretty much it for plants here. Have a good week!
Thank you, AJ – it has been a wonderful spring here… I hope you have a peaceful, healthy week:)).
Such wonderful photos. I’m sorry for your sister with people being dumbasses.
Take care, be kind and sensible!
Thank you, Anne – yes, I was shocked at the stupid rudeness towards people who are risking themselves every day to ensure others have their medicines…
It’s turning into a lovely spring here too! And I definitely appreciate all the spring-y goodness more this year, with everything going on. Nature has a calming effect, I think. Your garden looks amazing!
We do seem to have a minority (thank goodness) of rude people don’t we? Or people that feel the need to pooh-pooh all these protective measures. I think (just my opinion of course) that they feel the need to ridicule others because they’re so invested in NOT taking part in the precautions? I know over here it seems to be people who buy into the “hoax” nonsense. As if 10’s of thousands of deaths are a hoax!
Anyway… yeah. 🙂 Hope your week ahead is safe and happy!!
Yes… I think there are some people whose lack of imagination just kicks in to the detriment of the rest of us.
So glad you, too, are experiencing a wonderful Spring. It has been such a comfort. It must be such fun watching those ducklings grow! Have a peaceful, healthy week, Greg:)
She is wearing that PPE for HIS protection, and he’s going to be a dick about it? I swear to god. SOME PEOPLE. Hugs to your sister. Your garden is lovely!! It must be a nice place to hang out.
That nicely sums up exactly what he is, SJ! Yes – I’d love to say it’s an exception, but it seems a lot of people in chemists have been enduring a lot of verbal abuse. They even had an item about it in the News…
I am so thrilled that there are so many corners of the garden where the colour scheme is working so beautifully, especially when the sun shines!
Lovely pictures Sarah and thank goodness for nice weather.
I cannot believe somebody was so rude to your sister’s colleague. What is wrong with some people.
Hope you have a good week.
Yes – the nice weather was a real lifesaver at a time when I really needed it – and I’m guessing I wasn’t the only one! Sadly such rudeness isn’t unusual – I can only think that many folks queuing outside the chemists are very stressed and feeling unwell, which is why they are so horrible once they get inside the shop! I hope you, too, have a lovely week, Lynn:)
I’m loving your garden photos every week. You really do have a little paradise there. We just started working on ours but it’s quite sad in comparison, lol.
It’s rather overgrown and a bit of a wilderness in places and also very weedy! But we have been living here now for 26 years so every single plant in the garden is one that we have bought and raised from when it was very small. Or from seedlings. Which is a lovely feeling…
Beautiful garden pics. Oh, I really want to get into Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell series. Happy reading.
Thank you! I cannot recommend the Thomas Cromwell series highly enough… I hope that you, too, have a peaceful and book-crammed week:)
What a beautiful garden!
Thank you, Mogsy. It is certainly looking fabulous at the moment…
The pictures of your garden are a feast for the eyes! It would seem that nature is trying to compensate for this dire situation with more manifestations of its generosity…. 🙂
That’s how it feels! The striking feature is the quality of the light – it is so sharp and fresh… A bit humbling to realise how much pollution we normally live with…
That’s a factor, indeed! 🙂
WEE, I made the cut! So pleased to know the music lifted you up–and that you saw your sister! Gah, people can be so ridiculous. Look, I’m not a fan of wearing masks, but I understand staff in any public workplace need to wear them and I’m not going to insult them for just following the rules of their profession. Jeez, people, have a care…
Oh you don’t know the half of it! They have to wear plastic aprons, cloth masks, full plastic masks (my sister has abandoned this because it gives her such a blinding headache that she can’t read the prescriptions or hear what is being said). They wear plastic gloves, have a perspex screen across the counter and only allow 2 people at a time into the shop… They are taking keeping people protected VERY seriously!
Oy, that is a LOT of gear. I can see why your sister would get a headache!
Your garden looks spectacular!
Witch Dust sounds interesting, as does The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing.
Our local pharmacist is also swathed in PPE, I really can’t blame them but I imagine it is very uncomfortable.
Wishing you a great reading week and good health
Thank you, Shelleyrae:). Yes – the Vish Puri series, which includes The Man Who Died Laughing is proving to be a joy and if you enjoy crime series with vibrant backdrops, this one comes very highly recommended. And I LOVED Witch Dust – I’m hoping to post my review of it tomorrow.
What lovely photos. All of us have had time to work on our yards/gardens/lots/window boxes LOL, and the love and care we’ve showered on them shows. Sometimes cars will slow down and ask, “What are those lovely blue flowers or red ones etc?” It gives me pleasure I had forgotten about–that and the pleasure of sitting in the lawn chairs outside the back door in the “breezeway” between our home and our detached garage, watching the traffic go by on the main drag, and the people walking dogs on the sidewalk, and the kids on bikes…oh me, I had forgotten all about “all this.”
You are doing some heavy-duty reading these days. Is the writing coming along well too?
I always anticipate The Sunday Post as a chance to catch up with you and your family’s “doings.”
I am so glad that this current situation has given you back a taste of a more leisurely time. And what a lovely testament to the splashes of colour you are providing your neighbourhood. To my shame, I have to admit the front of our house is quite plain. I lavish all the love and care on the back garden, where we spend our time, instead!
Yes… I am reading a lot. And writing a fair amount, too:)). I hope you have a peaceful healthy week, Rae. Stay safe!
I hope this new week goes well for you, too.
Thank you, Rae:))
The pictures of your garden are gorgeous! We get so hot here that I feel like we don’t get the variety of blooms and greenery. Stuff has to be hardy! Sounds like a lovely visit with your sister and that’s awful about the rude customers. I’d like to say I’m surprised but unfortunately I’m not. I don’t understand why people can’t be nice. If anything it seems like it takes so much effort energy to be loudly rude. Hope you’re having a great week!
Thank you, Katherine:). I was lucky enough to be able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine again this lunchtime – it makes SUCH a difference! Yes – I think that a lot of people are very scared and sadly, that makes some aggressive. I hope that you, too, have a peaceful, healthy week.
What a pretty garden!
Thank you! Though it’s being very knocked around by the wind…