Sunday Post – 17th 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.

It’s been a lot colder and cloudier, but we only had a bit of rain last Sunday and since then, despite high winds, it’s been dry. The garden is desperate for some rain… Himself managed to cut back the shrubs – a job we normally do much earlier in the year. The escalonia is now in full bloom, along with the pretty little fuschia. I love the bright yellow leaves contrasting with the deep pink flowers. My bronze fennel is sprouting, and those echiums just keep growing and blooming. The bees love the flowers so much, you can hear their hum from across the garden.

Last weekend’s writing retreat went really well. I am now in touching distance of the end of my How-To book, which is good, because I want to start editing Mantivore Warrior this coming week.

The other success last weekend was the family’s Sunday get-together to celebrate my sister’s birthday. It went so well, my nephews are organising an online games session for next Saturday night via Zoom – something to really look forward to. I might even dress up!

Last week I read:
The Physicians of Vilnoc – Book 8 of the Penric and Desdemona NOVELLA series by Lois McMaster Bujold
When a mysterious plague breaks out in the army fort guarding Vilnoc, the port capital of the duchy of Orbas, Temple sorcerer Penric and his demon Desdemona are called upon by General Arisaydia to resurrect Penric’s medical skills and solve its lethal riddle. In the grueling days that follow, Pen will find that even his magic is not enough to meet the challenges without help from dedicated new colleagues—and the god of mischance.
The series is always a high spot for us – and this latest addition was no exception. Although I had my doubts when I saw it was all about a mysterious plague. But I needn’t have worried – this author handled the whole subject really well.

Relatively Strange – Book 1 of the Strange series by Marilyn Messik
“I was five when I discovered I could fly, sixteen when I killed a man.
Both events were unsettling in their own way.”

It’s hard to know what’s normal, if you’re not, and it takes Stella a while to realise she’s in the definitely ‘not’ drawer. But we are who we are and we make adjustments to fit in – most of the time – and it’s only when she finds she’s not quite as unique as she thought, that things begin to acquire a whole new dimension.
That’s only part of the very chatty blurb. But this one blew me away. There are some authors I just fall for – hook, line and sinker… it doesn’t happen very often. But Marilyn Messik is one of them. I will recall May 2020 through the prism of this series. Review to follow.

AUDIOBOOK Starsight – Book 2 of the Skyward series by Brandon Sanderson
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie. But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.
This second book in this entertaining space opera series took the initial premise and world and then gave it a good shaking and changed it up. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

The Valhalla Call – Book 4 of the Hayden War Cycle by Evan Currie
Newly minted Lieutenant Sorilla Aida has a new mission and new allies, gear, and support as she is tasked with a job that could ensure that the human race stands a chance of reaching a technical parity with the mysterious alien alliance. Humans and SOLCOM are not the only ones making moves, however, and the Alliance has brought up their varsity to end the little side war before it gets out of hand. Are they really interested in humanity or human worlds, however, or is something more at play?
Currie has nailed battles in space – nobody does it better. And this addition to the series brought some game-changing twists I’m keen to find out about. Review to follow.

Even Stranger – Book 2 of the Strange series by Marilyn Messik
With the swinging sixties staggering, shamefaced and flustered, into the slightly staider seventies, life for Stella, isn’t going as smoothly as she’d like. As an ordinary person, who happens to have some extraordinary abilities, it’s frustrating to find that something as simple as holding down a job, throws up unexpected hurdles. She’d be a darn sight better off if she could ditch the conviction she knows best which, together with a chronic inability to keep her mouth shut and her nose out of other people’s business, has led her more than once off the straight and narrow into the dodgy and dangerous. Plans for a safer future, include setting herself up in business, squashing her over-active conscience and steering clear of risky and unpleasant. Unfortunately, the best laid plans can lead to the darkest places.
Yes – I broke my rule of never reading a series too close together. I was pining for more Marilyn Messik goodness, and this adventure alongside my new best friend, Stella, didn’t disappoint. Review to follow.

My posts last week:

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Physicians of Vilnoc – Book 8 of the Penric and Desdemona NOVELLA series by Lois McMaster Bujold

Friday Face-off featuring Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

April 2020 Roundup – Reading, Writing and Blogging…

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring Ghost Ups Her Game – Book 9 of the Bailey Ruth series by Carolyn G. Hart

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Firewalkers by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Sunday Post – 10th May 2020

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

Top 5 Writing Hacks to Distract You From the Nightmare of Your Daily Life Bill Ferris always worth reading – but his humour is especially welcome in the current situation…

Fantastic Find at the Bookstore #9: Sewing Up Memories Becky once again has nailed it with this lovely trip into the past…

Liars, manipulators, tyrants, misogynists… top worst rulers… in books! Top 5 Tuesday I loved this one! So… who would be your worst rulers? In books, of course… let’s keep it escapist, people!

FRIDAY SMILES We all need more smiles in our lives…

Ten of the Best Twentieth Century Books Everyone Should Read This is a list all readers probably have an opinion on. Do you agree with it? Personally, I’m not big on everyone HAVING to read anything – I think we should all read what we love to read. And there’s a couple missing from here, as far as I’m concerned…

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

47 responses »

    • Yes – annoyingly it’s too cold and blowy to sit outside right now, but the garden is desperate for rain. Himself is trudging around with a watering can every morning… I hope you enjoy more pool time, Laura.

  1. I am drawn to Relatively Strange and Even Stranger…quirky titles and descriptions. Enjoy!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and offering kind thoughts on eye strain and terrible service where I live. In the midst of poor service and a Pandemic, they also raised the rent starting in June. My kids think that is rude and terrible timing. I agree.

    Enjoy your week, and I love those flowers and shrubs. Stay safe and well.

    • Thank you, Laurel. Frankly, I think it’s appalling – and what a nerve to raise the rent at a time like this!

      Relatively Strange and Even Stranger are a real treat and more mainstream than you might think – about a girl growing up with telepathic and kinetic abilities in the 60s and 70s – but funny as well as adventurous.

    • The Marilyn Messik books are fabulous! Funny, adventurous and very well written… My newest favourite author. I hope that you, too, have a great week, Tammy:)

  2. I am a snowbird still in Florida- I miss getting my garden started back in Pennsylvania. Love all your photos! Strange and Even Stranger, although intriguing, may be a little too strange for me!

    • I’m glad you are enjoying the garden photos – though I think I could cope with a bit of snowbirding myself! This cold, blowy and dry weather is a bit miserable… Have a great week and thanks for swinging by:)

  3. Our first tropical storm of the season is now in the Atlantic. Oh my. It feels way too early for that. I certainly don’t need hurricanes right now.

    I imagine that is how you are feeling about the dry weather you are experiencing. Your garden looks beautiful.

    Even though I rarely agree with must-read lists, I always gravitate to them.

    I’m glad your writing retreat went well. Good luck on your edits.

    • Thank you, Deb! Well, I don’t like the cold, dry patch much – but I wouldn’t presume to compare it with the threat of an early hurricane. I hope it doesn’t materialise. And I know what you mean about must-read lists:)).

      Thank you for your good wishes regarding the writing and edits – I’m hoping they go well, too. It’s not always a smooth ride… Have a healthy peaceful week, Deb:)

  4. Hi Sarah,
    sorry that you couldn´t write a comment under my post. No clue what went wrong, but it should work now again – hopefully *lol* Your garden pictures are so beautiful. I can watch some plants and bushes grow in the garden around our building too, but I don´t take care of them. But they lighten up my mood so it is always good to have them around *smile* Stay safe and well.

    • Hi Vi – it’s been an ongoing issue I’ve had with Blogger sites, recently, sadly. And this time around my usual fix didn’t work! I have to say that I don’t take much care of my garden either:)). And it is important, because growing things do lighten the mood so much. I hope you, too, stay well and have a great week:))

  5. I love seeing the photos of your plants. It was hot here this week and now it’s supposed to rain for the next 5 days. It’s been gorgeous so I can’t complain too much. I’m glad you are managing to read some great books and have some lovely family events.

    Have a lovely week and stay well!

    Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post   

    • Thank you, Anne:)). We could do with some of your rain – and after the soggy old February we had, I can’t quite believe I’m saying that… I hope you, too, have a wonderful week and stay safe.x

  6. SJ, it is really good to hear your virtual get together for your sister’s birthday went well and that your garden is in bloom! Got to love a happy, contented, buzzing bumble-bee. 😊The weather has been quite chilly here too! Part of me wants it to either get on with being rainy/stormy or just bring the sunshine back!

    I hope the coming week is a good one for you, take care and happy reading! 🙂

  7. I so loved Starsight! I also listened to the audio and had a blast. As usual your garden is amazing! Have a wonderful week.

    • Thank you, Sophie. Starsight was wonderful, wasn’t it – the pacing and plotting with all the twists are a joy:)). I hope that you, too, have a great week.

  8. I’m glad to read the writing retreat was good. And your sister’s birthday celebration sounds great too.
    Stay safe and happy reading.

  9. Great week Sarah. I’m glad your family get together turned out okay. It works if everyone is technologically able. Good luck getting your book finished.

  10. The online game session sounds like an amazing way to get together! I hope it goes great for you guys. And thanks for sharing the garden pics- it’s so nice to see! I love seeing everything blooming and coming out. The same thing has been happening here although we did get some of the rainy weather this weekend. It’s been bleak but good for staying in. 🙂

    • Thank you, Greg. I can’t quite believe I’m saying this – but we could do with some bleak rainy weather right now. It’s far too dry and we are already watering the pots and newly planted shrubs.

  11. I love your garden pictures! You have such a wonderful variety of flowers. We are in kind of an unfortunate location garden-wise. We are too hot for most things but not hot enough for coastal flowers. The game session sounds lots of fun! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    • Thank you, Katherine:). Yes, this country is blessed with a climate that encourages very lush green growth and at this time of year when the trees and leaves are covered with new growth, it is just stunningly beautiful. I appreciate it more with every passing year…

  12. We could actually use a little rain here to wash away some of the pollen that is just floating around everywhere. I feel like it’s in my eyes every time I walk outside, lol. I hope you have fun at the online game session. That sounds like a pretty fun use for Zoom. 🙂

    • We wouldn’t even be considering it, if it weren’t for techie-clever nephews:)). The generation gap between those brought up with computers and those that weren’t does yawn wide at times…

  13. Your garden is looking lovely – I love hearing the bees – we have a tree that attracts them and it’s like sitting under a hive – the low thrum is so relaxing.
    Lynn 😀

  14. The weather turned cool here as well. Of course, I JUST swapped out my fall/winter clothes for spring/summer ones! Lol. Looks like I’ll be wearing hoodies and sweaters for a while.

    • Ah… so it’s YOUR fault:))). As it happens, we’ve just a really hot, sunshiny day, so you won’t be surprised to hear that thunderstorms are forecast tomorrow…

  15. I do hope the Zoom game session went well! Blondie’s enjoyed chatting with a few friends on Zoom, which is nice, but I am DONE with having to coordinate school Zoom meetings for Biff and Bash. Let’s face it–if little kids have a camera on them, they’re just going to pretend to eat the lens, making goofy faces, be loud, etc. ‘Tain’t the time to teach, lol.

    • Lol… That’s the bugger with having twins, each one automatically comes with an audience to riff off:)). As it happens, I missed the Zoom games session as I was smitten with a headache. But another is being planned for this weekend, so I’m hoping to make that one!

      • HA! You are absolutely right. It’s just so cute when Biff says, “Bash, it’s time for an s-t-o-r-y,” and they proceed to tell a story they made up together, taking turns being different characters and throwing them into different situations. Of course, when one wants to do a Calvin and Hobbes story and the other wants to do a Snoopy story, theeeen the story devolves into raspberries and name-calling…sigh… 🙂

      • Lol… you do have your hands full – but they sound adorable:)). I love that they squabble over which story gets told – so sparky and lively…

      • Yes… I recall that scenario – from all angles… Both as a battling sibling and a mother/grandmother wading into such fights!

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