This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.
Apologies for the grotty appearance of this post. Unless I pay £147 a year, I can no longer use WordPress Classic editor. I am exploring other options, as having to struggle to this degree to get even this unsatisfactory result isn’t feasible – I’ve better things to do with my time…
We’re now into flaming June and our summer weather has abruptly departed. I would be happy to report that we’ve got rain – we haven’t. Gale force winds are savaging the garden and drying it out still further. Oh well.
It has been a busy week as I have been getting Picky Eaters ready to see the light of day – and I’m thrilled at the wonderful cover my mate Mhairi Simpson has produced. Many thanks to her for donating her time to this project. Other than that, more editing and working on Mantivore Warrior. Tonight there is another Zoom family gamesnight which we’re looking forward to joining – hopefully I won’t be smitten with another headache!
Last week I read:
The Obsidian Tower – Book 1 of the Rooks and Ruin series by Melissa Caruso
The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers. Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall Ryx, bringing far too much unwanted attention to this small, but strategically vital country – all centred on an ominous ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle…
I loved the Swords and Fire series – see my review of The Defiant Mage and found the unfolding situation at the start of this gripping tale immediately pulled me into the story. A great start to this spinoff series.
AUDIOBOOK The Naturalist – Book 1 of The Naturalist series by Andrew Mayne
Professor Theo Cray is trained to see patterns where others see chaos. So when mutilated bodies found deep in the Montana woods leave the cops searching blindly for clues, Theo sees something they missed. Something unnatural. Something only he can stop. As a computational biologist, Theo is more familiar with digital code and microbes than the dark arts of forensic sleuthing. But a field trip to Montana suddenly lands him in the middle of an investigation into the bloody killing of one of his former students.
This was great fun – though there were various plot holes large enough to haul a grizzly through, it was well narrated and I really liked Theo Cray, so was happy to go along for the ride.
Hostile Takeover – Book 1 of the Vale Investigation series by Cristelle Comby
PI Bellamy Vale’s near-immortality doesn’t give him a moment to rest. Completely worn down as Death’s supernatural detective, he’s starting to think he got the short-end of his do-or-die deal. So when a string of savage attacks grip the city, Vale abandons all hope of sleep and sets out to discover who let the Otherworld beast free…
This was an intriguing dynamic, where poor old Bell finds himself indentured to Lady McDeath, who sends him to sort out the most dangerous and messy tasks popping up around Cold City. I’m glad I have the second book on my Kindle, ready to read when I get the time. Review to follow.
The House on Widows Hill – Book 9 of the Ishmael Jones mysteries by Simon R. Green
Set high on top of Widows Hill, Harrow House has remained empty for years. Now, on behalf of an anonymous prospective buyer, Ishmael and Penny are spending a night there in order to investigate the rumours of strange lights, mysterious voices, unexplained disappearances, and establish whether the house is really haunted. What really happened at Harrow House all those years ago? Joined by a celebrity psychic, a professional ghost-hunter, a local historian and a newspaper reporter, it becomes clear that each member of ‘Team Ghost’ has their own pet theory as to the cause of the alleged haunting.
Yet another quirky paranormal murder mystery – it’s been something of a theme this week – I enjoyed this addition to this entertaining series and will be reviewing it in due course.
My posts last week:
PICKY EATERS – Cover reveal
Friday Face-off featuring Searching for Dragons – Book 2 of the Enchanted Forest series by Patricia C. Wrede
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Obsidian Tower – Book 1 of the Rooks and Ruin series by Melissa Caruso
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
May 2020 Roundup – Reading, Writing and Blogging…
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL * Review of The Clutter Corpse – Book 1 of The Decluttering Mysteries by Simon Brett
Sunday Post – 31st May 2020
Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Tips to Photograph Bees https://wanderingambivert.com/2020/06/03/tips-to-photograph-bees/ Given that a lot of us are still in lockdown, wandering around the garden, or going for walks might give you the opportunity to take a pic of bees, here is some advice on how to do it well…
A Teacher’s Story #1 https://jenniefitzkee.com/2020/06/03/a-teachers-story-1/ What an inspirational tale…
Talking with Kids about Racism https://platformnumber4.com/2020/05/30/talking-with-kids-about-racism/ Many thanks to Becky for posting this really useful resource. I very highly recommend the article ‘What White Children Need to Know About Race’…
The Last Video Store on Earth https://sciencefictionruminations.com/2020/06/04/guest-post-the-last-video-store-on-earth/ I loved this article…
Kvetch – 22 https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2020/06/03/kvetch-22/ And if you’re in need of a laugh, or two…
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 post looks great! It takes a little fooling around to get the ins and outs of the block, but after using it for months (with an equal amount of grumping) I can’t imagine going back. Hang in there! 😊
Thank you for your kind reassurance, Sascha. I am allergic to change, but I suppose I’ll get used to it…
I was very reluctant at first and kept switching back, but now I am very happy with blocks except for a few glitches I hope they fix soon.
My main issue is that I like inserting the book cover image into the body of the text, which then wraps around it – and I simply cannot see a way to do that successfully…
I’m on my phone viewing this via the app, so can’t speak for pc/laptop viewing, but it’s showing perfectly fine for me.
I am reassured by that – I’ll be honest, I couldn’t face looking at the laptop preview, because I just so fed up! I hate that I cannot put the book covers alongside the text anymore and have to display them in an ugly old block instead.
I’ve only ever put book covers above the text, so I’m hoping my post creation won’t be too much changed.
Really is a stupid idea on the part of WordPress. Hopefully lots of people complain.
You shouldn’t have too many problems then, but do look at how to use those blocks – the whole concept is just peculiar…
I never write my posts on WP – I cut and paste from Word, but even that has proved to be an almighty battle.
I have just written a post scheduled for tomorrow and it still let me use the classic editor. It did threaten me with the newer block mode, though.
Just watch out for a demand for money if you are using the Classic editor…
They’d need my card details for that. It just said ‘new editor is coming, switch now to try it out’. Swore it was rolled out 1st of June. Maybe I’m just lucky?
Just keep an eye out… Needless to say I haven’t paid – but that was how I found out they were no longer going to let me use the Classic editor.
I think your post looks great. I thought there was an option to use the classic editor? I got an email from WordPress explaining how to do that. I’ll try to track it down if you’re interested. And I love The Natural series, although it’s so over the top and yes, full of holes😁
A while ago, they tried to force the issue, and I’ve been going in through the “admin” section to get to Classic. I hope they don’t take away that option!
I thought that was what I was doing – until I got a demand for £147!
How can they do that? Did you mention a plug-in? I don’t have any of those.
You might be okay – it depends how your WordPress blog was initially set up.
Thank you, Tammy! No… they only offered me the option to pay for a Classic plugin and as I’m not on that payment plan, I didn’t want to spend another £147. I really hate not being able to break up my text with the book covers – the way I was shown by the assistant still didn’t look nice, so it seems have the covers in a brick of a block is the only way. The block editor clearly hasn’t been designed for the way I want to present my articles and I find it time-consuming, stressful and completely counter-intuitive.
Sarah, Thanks for sharing my post about kids and racism more widely and also for recommending an article!
I thought it was a marvellous article and a powerful piece of writing that addressed many of my fears and difficulties around the subject. I found myself nodding throughout… and also realising as I read, that my instinctive avoidance of the subject was perpetuating a toxic inequality.
Always good to read things that really make us think…
Obsidian Tower looks amazing. I may have to hunt it down. Have a good week and stay well!
My Sunday Post: http://kitnkabookle.blogspot.com/2020/06/the-sunday-post.html
Thank you, Mary – yes The Obsidian Tower is a cracking read. I hope you, too, have a great week:)).
I love the cover of Picky Eaters!
Are we being forced to use the new Block Editor? I haven’t had any issues so far. I have no intention of using it . I HATE the block editor and was forced to try it once when my photos wouldn’t upload properly.
I guess I’ll hang in there until the inevitable changeover…if that happens.
Your post looks fine, though. Are you still using Classic Editor, and went in through the “back door” of Admin to get to it?
Thank you, Laurel – yes, Mhairi did a wonderful job on the cover, didn’t she?
Yes… it might be different because I’m in the UK – but initially I thought I’d still be able to use the Classic editor – until the demand for £147 bill came through and I realise that option isn’t open to me.
And yes – this Sunday Post was done using block editor, which is why there aren’t any pics of the garden and why the book covers were all clumped together, instead of breaking up the text, which is always my preference. It took me over two hours to format it and had me nearly tearing my hair out…
Oh, I am sorry to hear that! If I have to use Block Editor, I will not be having any fun at all! lol
Fingers crossed it won’t be a problem, Laurel!
I agree your post looks fine. I use the Ultimate Book Blogger and their hosting, they load all updates and test everything and it’s worth every penny I pay because while I could do my own tech support I don’t want to do it. I want to read. I hope you find some good solutions.
We had 2 weeks of rain 5 days a week and now it’s hot and maybe 1 day of rain. So I am watering the new plants and the garden daily. It gives Lulu more time to nose around the yard.
I am reading more mysteries than ever these days which is similar to when I worked 70-80 hours a week. They have some order, they have a solution. That’s part of why they are comforting. Some of the new suspense thrillers which end vaguely are not my favorite.
Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post
Thank you for the advice, Anne. I am looking at a variety of options – because I refuse to struggle to this extent just to blog! Yes, that is the nice thing about murder mysteries – I’m hoping to start writing my own in the second half of the year, having managed to hit all my writing targets so far…
Sorry to hear you’re having such a problem with the new block editor – I briefly tried it but didn’t like so I switched back to the classic editor and they haven’t tried to make me change, although they keep asking, I ignore the messages to switch back. If it makes you feel any better, I think your post looks good. I also hope you get some rain soon, too! Take care and happy reading. 🙂
Thank you, Jessica. Yes… watch you don’t suddenly get a demand for money though – which is what happened when I ignored the messages to switch back…
Thank you for the reassurance regarding the Sunday Post – I hated putting up what I regarded was sub-standard. No coloured headings… no thumbnail covers alongside the text – and forget the photos – that completely foxed me!
So it is reassuring to know it didn’t look too bad. It’s pouring as I type, which is a relief… I hope you, too, have a great week’s reading:))
Yay, my rain dance worked then! 😉😆
First, your post looks great! Google/blogger is doing some changes as well over the next few weeks and I have no clue how I will end up with my blog. So far, I am on blogger because it is all free. Not sure if that will still be the case by the end of June. Second: your garden pictures are always great to look at. But if you can´t show them because of the changes WP has done, don´t worry. I am sure you will figure out a way to get them back in.
We had rain the past few days. And I got wet while being on a walk. But that was ok *smile* Stay safe and well.
It does not have a grotty appearance to me honestly!
Thank you, Sophie – that’s a relief. I’m just very aggravated that I can no longer present my Sunday Post as I would wish. And judging by the tutorials – there’s no way I’ll be able to, either.
I hope you have a great week:).
I use my laptop and your blog looks great. No problems at all. I wish I could send you some rain. We’ve been having torrential downpours for two weeks. It seems unfair that other people could use some of this – I’m willing to share 🙂
Hope you have a great week!
Thank you – that’s reassuring. It isn’t as I wanted it, but I’m glad that it at least doesn’t look significantly worse than usual.
Ah… we were in that situation allll through February when it didn’t cease! And now we’re a bit desperate, to be honest…
I have always refused to pay for blogging. I’ve always tried to make the best of what was available on Blogger for free. No, my blog will never look professional. But then again neither will my writing! But that’s just my take on blogging. I hope you are able to work things out so that you feel happy about it.
Love your book cover. Isn’t that wonderful? Edgy. Fun.
Thank you for the link to the information for talking to kids about racism.
I quite agree, Deb – though I have always thought your blog was very well presented and your site easy and clear to navigate.
What I resent is that I had a certain standard of presentation – and now I’m forced into using an editing suite that is a nightmare to get my head around – and as far as I can gather – won’t let me do what I used to be able to with the Classic editor.
Glad you like the book cover – I was so thrilled when Mhairi showed me what she’d produced:)).
And you’re very welcome – I thought that particular article was outstanding. And if we find good sources about how to counter racism, particularly unconscious racism – then it’s vital we pass that link on for others to benefit, too.
I honesty don’t even understand why they keep pushing the block editor. I’ve seen nothing but complaints about how un-user friendly it is. I tried it for one post and switched back. The theme I’m currently using has an option in it to select the Classic Editor so hopefully that will keep working as is for a long time to come.
Yes! I think if you have a theme where it is embedded then you are okay. But I’m not in that situation, sadly…
It’s been a hard week but there is a lot of cause for hope for the future. Stay well. Stay safe. Please visit my Sunday Salon post. Thank you.
I hope the coming week is a better one, Anne:))
I’m with others on this post – this post looks perfectly fine to me. I don’t see anything off or weird about it. You’re good. 🙂 Wishing lots of rain your way – it’s no fun when it’s dry for too long.
Thank you, Athira – that’s a relief. I got into a bit of a spin about it, to be honest… It’s sometimes hard to keep perspective when you cannot flounce off somewhere to get a cup of coffee and simmer down…). Have a good week.
This post looks fine to me Sarah. It looks like you had a good week. I love the cover for your new book. I do hope you get some rain soon. Enjoy your games night.
Thank you, Carla – I’m absolutely thrilled about the cover for Picky Eaters – I think Mhairi has done a lovely job:)). Yes! It poured yesterday evening and the ground is now properly soaked which is just what the garden needed. And games night was hilarious!
I am so glad you finally got the rain you needed.
It was a great relief – not something I often say with our climate!
Your blog looks fine to me. The links to other blogs were especially useful this week, thanks.
Thank you, Rae – glad it didn’t look the dog’s breakfast I was fearing. And I’m glad you found the links helpful:))
You’ve steered me right so many times of things to look at that I always see the blogs you recommend on your Sunday Post. I often check them out although I don’t always let you know I did.
Thank you for taking the time to tell me, Rae. I’ve been feeling a bit down about it all – and I’m enormously cheered by that:)))).
I’m dreading being forced to the new WP. But, you must have been successful, because everything looks just fine to me!
Thank you, for that! It is reassuring – but still very annoying that I can no longer do exactly what I want. While WP breathlessly continues to assure me that Block Editor is fabulous and soon I’ll be wondering why I would want anything else… Yeah – and I’m not as green as I’m cabbage-looking!
Oh no, sorry to hear about the wind! Hope your weather moderates this week. It’s starting to get warm here now that we’re in June. Today was HOT.
The Naturalist certainly sounds good, in spite of the plot holes. I sometimes really like stories like that, set deep in a wilderness and kinda eerie…
Have a great week ahead!
In which case, do go for it – because the opening sequence in particular, is awesome… Not the prologue – the beginning of the actual story, that is.
The Obsidian Tower proved to be an amazing read, indeed, but I was not surprised, since I’ve come to rely on Ms. Caruso’s narrative skills through her three previous books 🙂
And your troubles with the new editor don’t encourage me to even try it out…
Oh yes – I thoroughly enjoyed The Obsidian Tower:)). Well, you might well find that you get on well with the block editor as it does seem to split people. But as I work constantly with Microsoft Word and the Classic editor has many similarities to that, the fact that block editor is entirely different is what causes me problems.
Thank you for including my post, Sarah!
You’re very welcome, Jennie. It is a joy to read, so I felt it should be shared:).
I spend so much of my life fighting to get posts to look right. I think yours looks fine. I hope you have a good week!
Thank you for your kind reassurance! Yes, and your blog always looks well presented, too. I hope your week is also a good one:))
A few of those covers look like the reads may be a little creepy! I was struggling with the new Blogger interface and finally just reverted to the old one for as long as I can… so I’m feeling your pain soon. Thanks for sharing and enjoy your week 🙂
I suppose The House on Widows Hill is a bit creepy, but there is also a dollop of humour along with the mayhem, which I always enjoy. And Vale Investigations is more of a paranormal take on the Philip Marlow mysteries. The creepiest, I suppose, is The Naturalist – but it is more CSI than Blairwitch Project, Becki:).
As for the block editor – best of luck and I hope you are able to continue to use the Classic editor! Have a great week.
Your post looks good on my computer–so I have no complaints. It’s different when you are on the other side though, I know. I am hating the changes made to Blogger recently. I put off switching over to the new format as long as I could. It’s such a mess. I keep telling myself I’ll get used to it in time . . .
I love the cover of Picky Eaters! Mhairi Simpson did a great job with it.
I hope your weather settles down to something calmer soon. Our temperatures are starting to rise as summer approaches. And of course now would be the time our air conditioner goes on the fritz. At least it isn’t in the middle of a heat wave . . .
I hope you have a great week, Sarah. Take care!
Thank you for the reassurance, Wendy. I’m now grappling with it on a daily basis and not enjoying it all that much. But I think I am now getting to grips with it.
The weather this week has been cool and rainy – which makes a big difference, because when we were able to meet up with other folks outside, it wasn’t such a big deal. It is now…
Urg! I hope you can get your aircon fixed rapidly, despite the lockdown – my nightmare would be if the central heating broke down as winter was about to arrive – and this must be the same scenario for you folks.
Glad you like the Picky Eaters cover so much, Wendy. I agree that Mhairi has done a fabulous job – and all for nothing…
I do love the Theo Cray series – you do have to just go with the flow, but they’re so unusual.
They certainly are! I’d grown quite fond of him by the end of the book and I still think that episode of him standing by the ice machine at the beginning has to be one of the best openings of a whodunit series – ever.
Sidenote: the organization of the post here still looks okay to me! Just sayin’. 🙂
Thank you – it’s a relief and I now have got on top of the whole block editor thing, though I have had to reorganise the way my text and images interact…
It takes some time to work out. I still have troubles now and then.
Yes – I’m getting to grips with the spacing blocks…
And I’ll have to talk to Blondie about the bees–she’s in a photography class for summer school again!
Oh what a lovely thing to be doing through the summer! Though I do find bees REALLY difficult to photograph, because they are constantly on the move!