Sunday Post – 24th May, 2020 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost

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This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.

Again no rain, and on Wednesday and Thursday we were back to high summer temperatures and sitting outside. So Himself is trudging around with the watering can. The yarrow is now flowering and here is the first bloom on my elder. I don’t know what the dear little pink fluffy flowers are – I bought the plant because I love the leaves, but they work really well with the rest of the colour scheme in that bed. And the echium spires are now in full flower and have stopped growing – don’t they look fabulous? For reference, I am 5’5″.

I completed my How-To book this week and am really pleased with it. Himself is compiling the bibliography for me, but I’ve added the writing exercises – there are 50 – to help with characterisation, along with the quick check-list. I am now starting the edits to Mantivore Warrior.

Other than that, I had an editing session with my friend Sally, working on the second book about her experiences with Tim. We took our scooters for a run along the sea front. It was hard work scooting against the wind, but great fun and nice to get out. Sadly, I missed the family games evening last night as I had a rotten headache.


Last week I read:
Stranger Still – Book 3 of the Strange series by Marilyn Messik
Telepathy, along with sundry other odd abilities, have landed Stella more than once, in situations at best controversial, at worst life-threatening. But she’s always known; you have to fight your own corner as best you can, no point beating yourself up about it. Now though, times have changed, different priorities. She’s married, with a baby on the way and a flourishing business. She simply has to deal with a couple of worrying issues and then all should be smooth sailing. But, isn’t it a fact; just when you think you’ve got all your ducks in a row, life can turn right around and bite you on the bottom?
Something almost unheard of – I actually read the last two books in this series back to back. It was so much fun – but I am now pining for Stella and hoping that the author has nearly finished the next book! Review to follow.


The City of Brass – Book 1 of the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
As I had the great good luck to get hold of an arc for The Empire of Gold, I wanted to read The City of Brass, the first book in this series. It was a cracking read that swept me up into this enjoyable Sand and Sorcery tale. Review to follow.


The Kingdom of Copper – Book 2 of the Daevabad trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there. Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.
So… reading TWO series back to back?? I must have had a personality transplant! However, after reading the first book I decided I needed to put the second book into context, so reread it before starting the final book, so otherwise I felt I wouldn’t be giving it a fair go. It was also great fun – I’m a sucker for Sand and Sorcery tales…


AUDIOBOOK The Fire Court – Book 2 of the Marwood and Lovett series by Andrew Taylor
The Great Fire has ravaged London, wreaking destruction and devastation wherever its flames spread. Now, guided by the incorruptible Fire Court, the city is slowly rebuilding, but times are volatile and danger is only ever a heartbeat away. James Marwood, son of a traitor, is thrust into this treacherous environment when his ailing father claims to have stumbled upon a murdered woman in the very place where the Fire Court sits. Then his father is run down and killed. Accident? Or another murder …? Determined to uncover the truth, Marwood turns to the one person he can trust – Cat Lovett, the daughter of a despised regicide. Marwood has helped her in the past. Now it’s her turn to help him. But then comes a third death … and Marwood and Cat are forced to confront a vicious and increasingly desperate killer whose actions threaten the future of the city itself.
This second book in this classy historical whodunit series took two sympathetic protagonists and wove a wonderful murder mystery around a fascinating time in English history that is oddly neglected in general fiction – the Great Fire of London and its aftermath. Review to follow.


My posts last week:

Review of Witch – Book 2 of the Doppleganger series by Marie Brennan

Friday Face-off featuring Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

Review of AUDIOBOOK The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring Shadow in the Empire of Light by Jane Routley

Five 5-Star Books in Five Words – Twice Over

Review of One Good Dragon Deserves Another – Book 2 of the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron

Sunday Post – 17th May 2020

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

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time in Summer 2020 https://writerunboxed.com/2020/05/22/fiction-writing-contests-worth-your-time-in-summer-2020/ For those of you who on the hunt for competitions – here are a selection…

Photo Prompt Friday: Ethereal https://leighhecking.com/2020/05/22/photo-prompt-friday-ethereal/ Also recommended for those of you who enjoy looking at wonderful photos…

10 of the Best Poems of Remembrance https://interestingliterature.com/2020/05/remembrance-poems/ Another interesting, enjoyable list from this great site…

Senior Moments https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2020/05/20/senior-moments/ I can relate. I want an app that will tell me why I climbed the stairs – because I generally only remember once I’ve gone back down them again…

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Celebrating Fantasy Artwork https://onemore.org/2020/05/19/top-ten-fantasy-cover-art/ This is worth a visit to immerse yourself in some stunning covers – and make a note of some awesome reads 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.

47 responses »

    • Thank you, Linda. Yes – the echiums are usually tall, but this year they have surpassed themselves. And I’m really pleased to have the first draft completed – still got the editing to do, but I’m glad to have managed to get it finished before the end of the month. I hope that you, too, have a lovely week and get a chance to celebrate your own achievement:)).

  1. I just love your echiums. Before seeing your photos, I had never even heard of that plant before! And I also would love to read the Daevabad trilogy, I can’t wait to read your reviews😁

    • If you enjoy sand and sorcery tales, Tammy, then the Daevabad trilogy is a treat. I loved The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper, so I’m thrilled to have The Empire of Gold waiting to be read.

  2. I love your flowers! The roses that were right outside my window (and the reason I first picked this particular apartment over a year ago) have already dropped. Gone! Their season is so short.

    The Strange series looks tempting. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your week. Stay safe! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Thank you, Laurel. The echiums will now be flowering until July/August and are smothered with bees. I love roses, too – but I’ve never been all that lucky with them… I’ve got one that clings on though… hopefully it will start flowering this coming week. The Strange is an absolute delight and one I think you would enjoy. I hope you have a peaceful week.

  3. Wow. Look at those spires. They are beautiful and magnificent. Your flowers are pretty, too. My husband and I decided to try to plan out a new yard while we are in seclusion. I think it’s a good idea for us to work on now.

    Congratulations on finishing your book. You get so much accomplished. Great job!

    I like how you read two series books back to back. I waited until all the Harry Potter books were published before I read them, and then I read them all in a row.

    Have a great week.

    • Thank you, Deb. The weird thing is, that I NEVER read series back to back – and the fact I’ve done it twice in a single week means I must have had a personality transplant. Those echiums are fabulous – I bought 2 plants in 2005 and put them in the garden and those spires today are their descendants… I think replanning your garden sounds like a lovely idea. Have a great week and I hope the cough completely goes away very soon!

  4. Once more I am drooling on your garden. And The City of Brass is one of my favorite series!

    • Thank you, Lark:). Do tuck into the Daevabad series if you get a chance as it is a real treat. The Fire Court is a great read – but do start with The Ashes of London which is the first book. I am loving the series so far. Have a good week.

  5. Wow those spires are tall! 🙂 Lovely garden pics! Thanks for sharing those. I’m so glad it’s spring!!!

    The City of Brass does look like an amazing book!

    Take care and be well this weekend!

    • Thank you, Greg:). Yes – they usually reach nearly 10ft, but this year I think they are taller than ever… And it’s such a joy that we are heading into the summer – I love the Spring more every year. Have a good week and stay safe.

  6. Those spires in your garden look fabulous and as always, your garden pics are an instant mood lifter because of all of the gorgeous blooms. I’m also thrilled to hear you enjoyed The City of Brass. It’s sitting on my shelf right now and I really need to make time for it as I’ve seen nothing but glowing reviews for it.

  7. Your garden looks awesome. And those echium spires are large! Here we had pretty warm weather, but it dipped a bit this weekend and we finally got some rain. Everything outside is looking pretty dry, so some rain is good. I watered my few balcony plants as well this week as they were drying with all the heat.

    You wrote a how to book? That’s exciting! I hope your edits for Mantivore Warrior go well. Looks like you had some great reads this week. I hope you have a good week.

    • Thank you, Lola:)). Yes, I can’t quite believe that I’m wishing for rain, but it’s been very dry for quite some time, now. Yes – my How-To book is on Characterisation and has come out at just under 200, so it is quite substantial. I’m looking forward to getting back to Mantive Warrior, as I have missed writing fiction:)). Have a safe, peaceful week.

  8. Congrats on finishing your book!
    Your garden does look spectacular, we have leaves everywhere as winter approaches, but at least that will give us a chance to cut back some of the overgrown trees.

    Wishing you a great reading week

    • Thank you, Shelleyrae. We missed out on cutting back the olive tree, which is a real thug because the tip was in lockdown so we’ll have to wait until the autumn. And yes – it’s always a good feeling getting the first draft nailed. I’m very pleased at how it’s turned out. Have a great reading week and stay safe.

  9. So nice you have a lovely garden. I am only starting mine (flowers ) We were only have rain once a week and now it is 5 days a week and much warmer weather, the past 2 weeks. It makes it more challenging to get the yard work accomplished.

    Stay well and happy reading!

    • Thank you, Anne – yes, the garden has been a solid comfort throughout this lockdown period – mostly because the weather has been so wonderful and completely out of character! But we are rather desperate for rain, right now. Best of luck with starting off with your garden – we have been here for 26 years, so it is now something of a jungle…

    • Thank you, AJ. It hasn’t been too daunting, because I have 10 years worth of handouts, which I could use and a very clear idea of exactly how I wanted the book to develop. I started this project in the middle of March, so it hasn’t taken too long. Though now there’s the editing phase, which is always a challenge! I hope you, too, have a great week.

    • Thank you for your kind congratulations! But not too much basking… I now have to start edits on the third book in my Arcadian Chronicles alien series. They are so cute, those little pink flowers – there are now more flowers that have popped up and I find them adorable:)). Have a great week.

  10. We’ve been spending more time outside, either on our back patio or in the front yard watching my daughter play on her scooter. I’m loving this weather. It will be too warm to want to be outside soon enough. It sounds like you have been reading some great books! I hope you continue to enjoy your reading. Take care, Sarah. Have a great week.

    • Yes – we are having another ‘high summer’ day at a time of year which is normally chilly and overcast, but it’s lovely as the day length is steadily still growing so the light levels are fabulous. Such a treat! I hope you have plenty of opportunities to read some great books this week, Wendy:)

  11. Every time I see pictures of your flowers I tell myself I need to place at least a couple of flower-pots on my postcard-sized balcony, just to remind myself of all the beauty that nature can comfort us with… 🙂

    • Yes – it is lovely to have some greenery to provide that comfort. If it is facing the sun – lavender takes a lot of beating as the leaves are fragrant as well as the flowers, which you can leave to dry on the plant.

  12. SJ, your garden looks so lovely! Also sounds like you have been doing some great reading – I love when I series sweeps you up like that, although like you don’t usually read two books from the series in a row. Here’s hoping you have a great upcoming week and get a little rain for your garden. 🙂

  13. Your garden really is amazing. I love echiums – I think I used to see them quite frequently when we went to Cornwall so I always kind of assumed they would do better in a slightly warmer part of the country – which is clearly true for where you are? I wasn’t sure they’d do as well up north but you never know.
    And you reread both the first two books in the Daevabad trilogy – that’s so impressive.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you Lynn. We picked up our seedlings in Cornwall and yes… we live right on the South coast. You’re right – they don’t like the cold too much. We had a series of sharp winters when we didn’t have a single echium in the garden the following summer and I’d assumed they were gone for good – but as soon as we have a mild wet winter – back they come again! I love them so much. They are monsters and smash through any planting scheme, but I mostly just let them grow where they seed.
      Ah… I only reread The Kingdom of Copper, because – and this will really shock you – I crashed midway into this series! But enjoyed it so much that I knew I needed to go back and read The City of Brass – which was when I realised I needed to go back and reread TKoC before starting The Empire of Gold…

    • Ah… it sounds like it – this bright sunshiny weather is rather spooky, to be honest! Not that I’m complaining, but then I’m not the one having to water the garden… I hope you, too, are having a peaceful, healthy week.

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