Sunday Post – 10th May, 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.

Weatherwise, it was a week of two halves and I have once again been delighting in being able to take my tea and lunch breaks out in the garden during the last few days. The lilacs and weigelia are in full bloom right now, as is that lovely bronze flower (gazania, I think!), while my purple smoke tree is putting out vibrant purple leaves that sing in the sunshine.

It was my son’s birthday on Thursday. It was lovely being able to chat to him and be reassured that in California he is keeping safe and well. It’s hard when all this is going on and he’s so far away…

On Friday and Saturday, I was part of a virtual writing retreat, which was very successful and I made plenty of progress on my How-To book on Characterisation. It is continuing today, but I’m not taking part as it is my sister’s birthday. A year ago, we were at the Chewton Glen Hotel together – where did the time go? And thank goodness it wasn’t this year we were due to be there… We are popping round this morning with her presents and a wrapped cake, all appropriately socially distanced, in readiness for a virtual birthday party this afternoon. And a shout out to all the mothers across the Pond at this difficult time – I recall only too well how hard it was back in March to not be able to spend family time on this special day. Take care and stay safe.x

Last week I read:
Oranges and Lemons – Book 17 of the Bryant and May: Peculiar Crimes Unit by Christopher Fowler
One Sunday morning, the outspoken Speaker of the House of Commons steps out of his front door only to be crushed under a mountain of citrus fruit. Bizarre accident or something more sinister? The government needs to know because here’s a man whose knowledge of parliament’s biggest secret could put the future of the government at stake?

It should be the perfect case for Bryant & May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit, but unfortunately one detective is in hospital, the other is missing and the staff have all been dismissed. It seems the PCU is no more. But events escalate: a series of brutal crimes seemingly linked to an old English folk-song threatens the very foundation of London society and suddenly the PCU is offered a reprieve and are back in (temporary) business!
This was a quirky read and no mistake. While I enjoyed the murder mystery and many of the characters, I did feel the sheer eccentricity of the writing compromised the pacing at times. Review to follow.

The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North
South Africa in the 1880s. A young and naive English doctor by the name of William Abbey witnesses the lynching of a local boy by the white colonists. As the child dies, his mother curses William.

William begins to understand what the curse means when the shadow of the dead boy starts following him across the world. It never stops, never rests. It can cross oceans and mountains. And if it catches him, the person he loves most in the world will die.
Another remarkable book from this inventive and thought-provoking writer. One of the angriest books I’ve read in a while…

Hammered – Book 1 of the Jenny Casey series by Elizabeth Bear
Once Jenny Casey was somebody’s daughter. Once she was somebody’s enemy. Now the former Canadian special forces warrior lives on the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 2062. Racked with pain, hiding from the government she served, running with a crime lord so she can save a life or two, Jenny is a month shy of fifty, and her artificially reconstructed body has started to unravel. But she is far from forgotten. A government scientist needs the perfect subject for a high-stakes project and has Jenny in his sights. Suddenly Jenny Casey is a pawn in a furious battle, waged in the corridors of the Internet, on the streets of battered cities, and in the complex wirings of her half-man-made nervous system. And she needs to gain control of the game before a brave new future spins completely out of control.
After reading Ancestral Night earlier this year, I was delighted to find another series by this talented author. I loved this complex, twisting tale and am very keen to read the next book in the series. Review to follow.

My posts last week:

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of After Seth by Caron Garrod

Friday Face-off featuring Requiem For a Wren by Nevil Shute

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring Empire of Gold – Book 3 by the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Review of NETGALLEY arc Witch Dust by Marilyn Messik

Sunday Post – 10th May 2020

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

April Book Reviews Imagine my surprise and pleasure when I saw Diana’s fabulous review of Running Out of Space!

Timeless Woodland Picture from the Time of Lockdown The mist gives these pictures a sense of the fantastic…

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern I don’t normally include book reviews in this roundup – but this one is different…

10 of the best poems about the future I think many of us are looking forward now – so this article might be of interest…

Giving Your Story the Time of Day Some tips on ensuring your keep your narrative time straight…

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

49 responses »

  1. It is hard for all of us. We are allowed now to visit our families again, but being in the same room with them but not allowed to hug or kiss some cheeks is hard. That this might have to go on for the next twelve months or even longer is no good news… But I am glad that you seem to be well and safe. Wishing you a very happy mother´s day despite Corona and happy writing and reading!

    • Yes, it is! We are still not allowed to be inside with family members, but at least the rain held off this morning while we sat in my sister’s garden and ate birthday cake with her. Thank you for your kind wishes, Vi and I hope that you, too, have a good week.

  2. Love the garden photos! They do cheer me up. I also hate being so far away from my kids, especially the one not living in the state, but many miles away in Prague. But last week we Skyped.

    I am curious about Hammered. Not my usual read, but it grabbed me.

    Thanks for sharing, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

    • Oh Hammered is fabulous! Elizabeth Bear is one of the major discoveries of the year so far, Laurel:). Thank you – and I’m glad the pics are cheering – the flowers are helping enormously at the moment! It is really hard with missing the grandchildren so much, too… I hope that you have a peaceful, healthy week.

  3. oh such lovely flowers! Lilacs are my favorites and we don’t have them here so much in NC as they were in MN and IA. Our weather has been gorgeous! It’s going to get hot at the end of the week though.

    Take care and happy reading!

    Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post   

    • I know! It is the miniature version, but it’s smothered in blossom and smells fabulous… I am glad you are have wonderful weather – we are currently experiencing northern gales so the temperature has dropped away and will now be cold until next weekend. I hope you have a lovely reading week, Anne:)

    • You’re very welcome:). I hope you had a lovely Mothering Sunday, Diana! Right now we have northerly gales blowing, so no sitting in the garden today – but the weather is set to improve later in the week again. Have a safe and healthy week.

  4. Happy birthday to your son! And a virtual writing retreat? That sounds interesting! On another not I always drool on your garden!

    • Thank you, Sophie:)). Yes – the flowers have been fantastic this year! The very wet February, mild winter and warm, dry April seems to have brought a profusion of blooms! And the virtual writing retreat has been great fun – lovely to touch base with everyone and a real incentive to work hard.

  5. Those flowers are so pretty. I can’t wait to start getting us some new flowers.
    Congratulations on your sons birthday. 😉
    Stay safe and happy reading.

    • Thank you, Maureen. Yes – the advantage of having a mature garden is that a lot of the plants have been in the garden for a while… I hope you have a safe week and don’t work too hard.

    • You’re very welcome, Nicole. They have provided me with such joy and comfort over these last few weeks – I thought I’d share them… I hope you have a peaceful, healthy week:)

  6. It sounds like you had a good week Sarah. Two family birthdays in one week, tough during this social distance thing, but with you son in California, you probably wouldn’t have seen him anyway. I love your flowers. We actually had snow flurries this week, so no planting yet.

    • Oh my goodness, Carla! No – I haven’t planted anything out yet, because our garden centres are all closed. Though I believe they are opening this week… I hope you get some warmer weather very, very soon!

      • Ours are opening this week as well, but I might wait a bit as we are still only supposed to be in the 50s this week.

      • Yes – though ideally you want to put plants in when it is still cool and wet, as it gives them a chance to get established before being too stressed. It’s why the UK is so good for gardens – lots of rain and cool temperatures!

      • I don’t plant as much anymore, I put in a bunch of perennials over the last few years, so now I just prune and pull weeds. I will get some hanging pots though.

      • Yes! I want to get some plants to put in my pots in the front, which need refreshing after the winter. And I have a few holes that need filling in…

    • Yes – normally my lilacs would be later. The freakishly warm April has brought everything on much earlier than normal. You are right about the amazing smell…

  7. Such a beautiful garden! I am glad your son is well. I hope you had a happy birthday. Happy Birthday to your sister! I am glad you enjoyed the writing retreat–at least what you were able to take part in. Sounds interesting and worthwhile.

    The Pursuit of William Abbey sounds sad and really good. I am glad you liked it. Hammered sounds good as well. I hope you are enjoying your current reading, Sarah!

    I hope you have a good week. Stay safe and well.

    • Thank you, Wendy. Yes… I’ve hit a real streak of awesomeness in my current reading – two fabulous books one after the other:). And I hope that you also have a wonderful week.

  8. I love your garden pics! So beautiful. and nice that you get to spend some quality lunch and tea time out there. Makes me want to do the same tomorrow now if it’s nice out. 🙂

    Hope you have a wonderful week.

    • Thank you, Maddalena! As long as there are flowers flowering or leaves looking beautiful – I will be taking pics and sharing:))). I’ve found them such a comfort over the last couple of months…

  9. I’ve found so much consolation in the beauty of the natural world. Your garden is an ideal place to seek refuge, I think.

    Oranges and Lemons, eh? And the Peculiar Crimes Unit? Quirky. I wonder if it is available around here.

    I’m glad you were able to speak with your son on his birthday, and I’m glad he is doing well. I worry a lot about my son and his wife in Chicago and they are only 1500 miles away, not 5000 miles.

    I hope you have a good week.

    • This series is available on Amazon UK, so I am assuming it is probably available in the US as well, Deb. It is very eccentric!

      Yes… it is a real worry – though I’m just as concerned about my lovely daughter, who is coping with 3 children in lockdown from 15 to under 2 yrs old. So the flowers have become a real lifeline, along with books and writing!

      I hope your week is a good one – and that you finally see the last of that cough!

  10. Thank you for sharing the lovely photos, Sarah. It’s sunny, 70s and breezy here so I spent the morning trimming tree branches and cleaning up my back yard. Hard work but it was so needed:)

  11. Time in the garden is always good. I love eating outside, and reading (love the natural light). I hope you had a great virtual party with your sister.
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes! The Zoom party worked really well – and by then, the bitterly cold northerly gale was blasting around, so being indoors with the fire on felt nicely cosy:).

  12. That’s great you were able to chat with your son on his birthday. I’m glad to hear he is safe and healthy in California. Your garden is looking so good. Mine is in somewhat of a lull, with my early bloomers having died off already and my summer bloomers just starting to take off. Normally we plant some filler while we’re waiting for the later plants to bloom, but with the shops closed, there aren’t many plants to be found. Hopefully next weekend once our governor eases some of the lockdown restrictions here, we’ll be able to mask up and go in search of some colorful annuals.

    • Yes! I’m clicking away, because at present there is lots going on, and I shall have my mid-season lull during July/August… Unless we can get ourselves some attractive plants to put in the pots in the front garden:)

  13. Happy birthday to your son and your sister! At least there’s the blessing you can keep in touch and see each other through the window and computer screen. 🙂 And huzzah to productive writing! Time management is going to get reeeeeal interesting around here with a new term kicking in this week. At least I’m ending school here at the end of May whether the boys’ school says so or not, lol! Stay well, Friend, and keep writing!

  14. Happy birthday to your son and your sister! Sunday was gorgeous here so we went to my mother’s where we could sit outside a good distance apart. It was nice to visit and spend time together and luckily we’re not big huggers so it didn’t’ seem too weird. Your flowers are absolutely stunning. I hope you’re having a wonderful week.

    • Thank you, Katherine. I’m glad you were able to spend time with your mother, suitably socially distanced. We’ve been instructed not to meet up with family in gardens, though we can meet one to one in a park. I hope you, too, are having a great week:)

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