Sunday Post – 16th August, 2020 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost


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

This last week has been intense – up until Thursday, we had temperatures into the 90s. And while I’m aware many of you reading this are regularly used to such weather, this is the first time EVER in the UK that we have had such a run of days when the weather was so blisteringly hot. We simply aren’t equipped to deal with these conditions. I didn’t particularly suffer, but then I’m living in the wrong part of the world, anyway. However, on Tuesday evening my daughter phoned, sounding dreadful. She was suffering with a severe stomach upset and asked if I could do a spot of shopping and then come up on Wednesday to help her look after the children. The drive was a shocker as there were roadworks and it took me over two hours to get to her house, which was unbearably hot, as their conservatory acted as a heat sink. The children were so very good, given they’d been confined to the house for the past several days and were far too hot. It was lovely to see them and I was able to give my daughter a bit of a break.

Finally, on Thursday we had some rain, thankfully avoiding the violent thunderstorms that have hit other parts of the country, causing power cuts and flash flooding and the temperature dropped to the 70s – far more tolerable, even though it was a tad sticky. And there it has stayed, until today where it is now in the high 60s. I’m glad to see the rain, as the countryside was starting to look desiccated and part of our ivy hedge at the front is now dying☹. Rebecca also reported that she was feeling a lot better, so we came to the conclusion that it was heat exhaustion causing her illness. My photos today feature the late summer flowers now blooming in the garden.

am now smitten with a summer cold – it definitely isn’t COVID-19 as I just have a streaming nose and slight sore throat. But I feel wiped out and a bit fed up. Thank goodness I have a pile of wonderful books to get through and Upload to binge-watch.

Last week I read:
Chasing the Shadows – Book 2 of the Sentinels of the Galaxy by Maria V. Snyder
Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it’s very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as my ex-friend Jarren, the murdering looter, knows. While dying is the scariest thing that’s happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But Jarren has blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we’ve gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).

A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years before they arrive – if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it’s only a matter of time before Jarren learns I’m not dead and returns to finish what he started. There’s no way I’m going to let Jarren win. Instead I’ll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I’m running out of ideas…
A thoroughly enjoyable continuation of this YA sci fi adventure, I really like Lyra’s chirpy can-do attitude. Review to follow.

Grave Secrets – Book 1 of the Lavington Windsor Mysteries by Alice James
Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with croquet and zombies.
Toni Windsor is trying to live a quiet life in the green and pleasant county of Staffordshire. She’d love to finally master the rules of croquet, acquire a decent boyfriend and make some commission as an estate agent.

All that might have to wait, though, because there are zombies rising from their graves, vampires sneaking out of their coffins and a murder to solve. And it’s all made rather more complicated by the fact that she’s the one raising all the zombies. Oh, and she’s dating one of the vampires too. Really, what’s a girl meant to do?
This funny and rather gory urban fantasy romp does exactly what it says on the strapline – Toni is a younger version of Agatha, facing vampires that wouldn’t look out of place in a Sookie Stackhouse novel. Review to follow.

NOVELLA Silver in the Wood – Book 1 of The Greenhollow Duology by Emily Tesh
There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.
This is a poetic and enchanting tale with some interesting twists I didn’t see coming. Mini-review to follow.

My posts last week:

Castellan the Black and His Wise Draconic Musings

Review of The Calculating Stars – Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut series by Mary Kowal Robinette

Friday Face-off featuring My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Review of AUDIOBOOK The Last Olympian – Book 5 of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring The Green Man’s Silence – Book 3 of The Green Man series by Juliet E. McKenna

Tuesday Treasures – 8

Cover reveal for Mantivore Warrior – Book 3 of The Arcadian Chronicles

Review of INDIE Ebook Flower Power Trip – Book 3 of the Braxton Campus mysteries by James J. Cudney

Sunday Post – 9th August 2020

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

Leaders of the Pack Becky’s posts are always worth reading – but the video she included of this particular song vividly brought back a raft of childhood memories… What is the song that does that for you?

Final Flurry and Fotos What a masterful photographer Cindy is…

Backlist Books I Still Need to Read This Year My reading plans for 2020 have been blown out of the water, so it’s a really good idea to sit down and decide which books to prioritise for the rest of the year – as Jess has…

When architecture and art collide I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thought-provoking article…

Change of Colonisation Futures in our Solar System As a scientist and science fiction writer, Rosie’s article on how some of the latest discoveries can impact sci fi writing is fascinating…

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

68 responses »

  1. The heat sounds dreadful! I hope its over. We’re having terrible heat here too, but its expected this time of year, unfortunately. I’m dreaming of October weather! I hope you have a wonderful week, Sarah😁

    • Thank you, Tammy:)). As someone who DREADS the dreary cold winter, I’m always boggled to read about folks who yearn for the cooling temperatures and look forward to Autumn – but I think I now have an inkling of why…

  2. I almost forgot about the thunderstorms! Our whole house was shaking during them and I kept having to run outside in the torrential rain to check the bunnies were ok. A house in the next village was struck by lightning and set on fire – very dramatic indeed!

    Have a great week, Sarah! 😀

  3. Oh, hot weather is the worst when you aren’t equipped to handle it. We have triple digits regularly, and we have AC, but what we have in my residence is not that great. Sigh.

    Enjoy your books and your week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Thank you, Laurel – I was shocked at just how long it went on for, breaking all previous records… And I am very sorry that your AC isn’t all that effective!

      I hope that you, too, have a great week:))

  4. I have to chuckle when I see you upset about temps in the 90s. When we go to walk at 6:30 in the morning, it’s already 80-82 degrees out. Every day in July and August and most of September we get temps in the 90s. But we do have air conditioning. And ceiling fans in every room. I mustn’t forget that. I know that makes a huge difference.

    I’m sorry you’ve picked up a cold. I still (!) have a big of my cough from back in March. I’ve just decided the cough and I are going to always be together.

    Zombies? Vampires? I have to share this book with my friend Karen. She will love it.

    Have a great week. I hope things cool off and that your cold backs off.

    • Yes, I did think that those of you who have to endure such temperatures would probably roll your eyes at my bleating:)). But as you say – we simply aren’t set up for it.

      Thank you for your kind commiseration – I had another grotty night. And I’m really sorry to hear you are still battling with that wretched cough!

      It’s a really funny book with plenty of Brit humour, so I hope Karen will enjoy it. Have a great week – and thank goodness we are not due for any more crazy heat!

  5. Hi there Sarah! I feel sorry for you with than intense heat. Strange how the world works! We’ve had “England” weather (cold and rainy) and you’ve had “African” weather. We should have house swopped for a week or two!

    Silver in the Woods have such a lovely cover and I like the premise. Will keep a look out for your review.

    Thanks for stopping by, hope you will have a wonderful week!

    • Ah yes! But you’re in the middle of your winter, aren’t you? And if I remember correctly, the rainy season can be quite chilly – relatively speaking, anyway.

      Yes, the cover for Silver in the Woods is absolutely lovely – I won’t deny it was a factor in getting hold of this one:)). I hope that you, too, have a lovely week, Mareli.

  6. I’m glad the heatwave has broken. A bucket with a bit of cold water a large bag of ice (like you’d use to fill a cooler) to put your feet in Intermittently can help cool you down. Plus make sure you drink a lot of water!
    What’s your government testing recommendations for Covid? Ours insist that any signs of a cold should be treated as Covid and testing be carried it out. It sounds like overkill but I can also see the sense in it.

    Wishing you a great reading week, get better soon.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes and advice – which now that it has cooled down somewhat, I’m hoping we won’t need:). As it happens, I wasn’t in too much trouble – having been brought up for part of my childhood in Zambia in the days before AC, I don’t find being hot and sweaty all that much of a problem – it’s the cold that makes me physically and mentally implode.

      If I had any of the specific COVID symtoms, like a continuous dry cough, loss of taste or smell, plus a high fever and/or aching joints, I would be expected to get a test. But I looked it up and I haven’t, so there is no need for me to apply. I suspect it comes down to being practical – in a population of some 56 million in England alone, it simply wouldn’t be practical for everyone to get tested with cold symtoms.

      I hope that you, too, have a great reading week:)).

  7. You’re giving the US style temps. It is almost always 90s here from mid July to mid August. It is 78 here today and feels amazing and with a north wind the next couple days even 88 will feel better. Your summer flowers are gorgeous. All I have is my shrub rose right now since I am just planting now having moved in last summer. I hope you feel much better soon.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Anne. I’m hoping to feel better very soon, too. The garden has also suffered from the very high temperatures, as nothing I’ve planted is designed to innately cope with such conditions, other than the house leaks in the slate shale in the front…

      My son was grumbling about my being so old fashioned, but I was brought up with Farenheight temperatures, so I find it hard to visualise Centigrade:)).

  8. Glad you were able to help your daughter out! I can’t imagine being that hot, not feeling well, and having to take care of children.
    I was in England about 3 years ago when there was a TERRIBLE heat wave. Being from the states, I am used to the heat, but I am NOT used to not having AC! It was rough! Hopefully that was the last heatwave of summer for you all.

    • Thank you, Samantha. Yes, the day before she was dashing backwards and forward to the bathroom, leaving the two-year-old in the care of the 15-year-old and felt it plain wasn’t fair to do the same thing again… And despite my hatred of the cold and love of the sunshine, I’m hoping the temperatures aren’t going to climb that high again anytime soon, too!

  9. I’m sure the hot weather is a shock to your system when you aren’t used to it. This is our first year in living in a hot, humid climate. I’ve been staying inside with the a/c. I hope your daughter continues to feel better. Have a great week!

  10. We got some of the heat this weekend. In fact a heatwave in San Francisco. A rarity. Grave Secrets sounds like a fun mashup of sorts with zombies. I like that 😉

    • Our toddler was amazingly good, given the circumstances. They are all good – every time they come to stay, I am always amazed at just what a delight they are…

  11. That is hot, especially when you’re not used to it or it dragon on without much relief. And it’s amazing how a building can trap heat! Anyway, glad to hear your daughter is feeling better. The heat can really do a number on the body, for sure. And I hope you feel better!

    Beautiful pics. And Grave secrets looks like all kinds of fun! 🙂

    • Thank you, Greg! Yes, that’s the thing – not only are our buildings not accustomed to such heat – neither are our bodies! My cold has now progressed to being a nuisance, though it has messed with my energy levels, annoyingly…

      And Grave Secrets is a full of fun and chaos of a cheeky kind that made it a tonic to read:). I hope you have a lovely week, Greg.

    • Thank you, Kimberly. While I LOVE sunny hot weather and we generally don’t get anything like enough of it – it was definitely too much of a good thing! I hope you, too, have a lovely week:)

    • Thank you, Maddalena – although we MUST get out there, before those lovely flowers are completely overrun by the not-so-lovely WEEDS. Especially since the rain!

  12. Ugh. I’m sorry it’s been so hot there. We’re equipped with aircon here so 90s is fine. We even get in the 100s! But I know it’s harder for you all there. And it’s only going to get worse with the whole globe heating up. I hope Europe/UK people consider getting aircon sooner rather than later. The garden, at least, is thriving!

    • Yes… though generally, I loathe aircon as it mostly far too cold here to consider it. This is only the fourth or fifth time EVER (and our weather records go back to 1800s) that it has been so hot. There is also a rather depressing theory that says once global warming hits a particular tipping point so that most of the Arctic ice melts, the Gulf Stream will be turned off, plunging us into a much colder climate. *sigh*.

      Yes – we just need to get out into the garden and weed it:)). Have a great week, SJ:)

  13. I’m sorry to hear about the excessive heat. I hope the weather is a little cooler this week for you and I also hope that your daughter is feeling better. Glad to hear it’s definitely not COVID.

    • Thank you, Suzanne – yes, I’m mightily relieved the weather has now reverted to more normal temperatures. In fact, it has just started POURING with rain… Have a great week:)

  14. SJ, I am sorry to hear you, your garden and family have been suffering in the heat we had – I have also struggled to sleep with the humidity, but thankfully it is cooler now and we also seemed to miss the worse of the storms, although it has set my sinus problems off! Really thankful to hear your daughter is feeling better now and that you have had some great books to distract you. Take care and happy reading this week too. 🙂

    • Thank you, Jessica:). Yes, we also mercifully missed the storms, other than a few rumbles of thunder – for which I’m very grateful.

      Urg – sinus problems are always miserable! Last time I was afflicted, I found video which showed the acupressure points on the face which really helped – Give it a go, if you haven’t already… And I hope you have a good week:))

  15. Sorry to hear you’re not so good. I hope you’re feeling better now?
    I love the warm weather – like you said we’re not really set up to cope with it – but I still love it. Surprisingly, winter is my favourite season so you’d think I wouldn’t enjoy the warmer months but I think it’s such a surprise when we actually get a summer!
    I’m excited to pick up Grave Secrets after reading your comments above.
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes, most of my symptoms have disappeared, leading me to suspect that it was more of a massive reaction to all the pollen suddenly descending after the rain. But it’s left me feeling absolutely exhausted – which wasn’t helping by staying up until 2.30 am to talk to my son…

      I do hope you enjoy Grave Secrets, Lynn – I absolutely loved it. But then I’m also a huge Sookie Stackhouse fan, especially of the earlier books.

  16. Sorry to hear about your cold. Hope you get better soon. We had some hot days here as well and it was hard. Love your flower pictures. They look so beautiful. Stay safe and well.

    • Thank you, Vi:)). I’m still DMing you on Twitter – I hope it’s a lot cooler where you are, too. Things are back to normal here – lots of rain today! Have a peaceful, healthy week:))

  17. Temps in the 90s are tough when you’re not used to them and not prepared for them. We have months in the 90s but I’ve also grown up in a climate where that’s normal so I expect them. So sorry to hear about your daughter. Hopefully she’s feeling much better.

    • Thank you, Katherine – yes… sadly here in the UK, we’re only really set up to cope with drizzle.

      Thank you for your kind good wishes regarding Rebecca – she has now fully recovered and reckons it was heat exhaustion that brought on her illness. She always dreads the summer.

  18. Heat exhaustion is NO joke for people or plants! We’ve fended it off a few times when our air conditioning died and the house rocketed up to the 90s indoors. I’m always terrified for Bo’s grandmother every summer, as she hates air conditioning for whatever reason. Thank goodness everyone’s getting better xxxxxx

    • Well it was certainly a nasty surprise here! We’re really on set up for drizzle… And I’ve suddenly lost quite a lot of plants in the garden, which I think goes back to that sudden temperature spike.

      • We often have quite abrupt shifts in temperatures, too. It was warm enough to go swimming on the day of my mom’s wedding a few days ago, and in a few days it will be warm enough for winter coats. That’s Wisconsin, lol! 🙂 xxxxxxx

      • Wow! We don’t generally have large temperature shifts like that – for which I’m truly grateful! Do you find it impacts on you emotionally, as well as physically? Because it must put a strain on you, having to acclimatise so such swings. Surely??

      • Oh, it’s pretty typical for Wisconsin for much of the year–any major shift, like winter to spring or summer to fall, has huuuuuge shifts like this much of the time. That’s how we ended up with half a foot of snow before Halloween, or that other foot of snow for Mother’s Day, oooor the shorts-wearing heat in December…it’s why we always say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” lol!
        I honestly just roll with it pretty well; the only bugger is when we have no snow for Christmas, which is often. 😦 The only other bugger is that I ALWAYS get a nasty cold around this time of year, and it sounds like this will be a family thing, as Bo, Biff and Blondie are all complaining of congestion. Bah!

      • Urg! Sorry to hear of your nasty cold – that sucks at any time! Especially if the rest of the family then go down with it – because guess who has to stagger off her bed of pain to minister to them all??? Wishing you a whole lot better – very soon.

        As for the climate – that’s just… insane! That would be headline news with frantic articles about the apocalyptic nature of climate change. Because our climate is very temperate, so if there is more than a 10 degree shift (Fahrenheit) in any 24 hours, we all feel a bit betrayed. As for snow at Christmas?? I can only remember that occuring twice, and one of those was only a freak fall that had melted by mid-day. But the children were soooo excited:)).xxxx

      • YES! I love the magic of snow on Christmas Eve and/or Day! But for the crazy shifts, Wisconsin has been like that all my life…and my parents’ lives, come to think. 🙂 Actually, why on earth does Wisconsin have the waterpark capital of the world? We can only run it, like, four months, MAYBE five, per year? We are a weird bunch, lol!
        And thank you for the wishes of good health! Yes, it’ll likely fall on me for everything. Bo could be right there, in the kitchen, next to the snacks, and the kids will still holler forme outside while I’m raking leaves to get them a drink, the little boogers. 🙂

      • Yes… doncha just love it?? Still, at least that dependence will fade…

        As for the weather – that still seems insane:)). And yes, I can imagine that breeds a certain recklessness. It’s like us Brits – most folks stay in the sun until their lobster red. And sit outside at cafes when it’s blowing a hoolie, when most sensible people want to stay indoors…

      • HAHA! You remind me of the people who insist on wearing shorts and sandals unless there’s a blizzard. It could be fifteen degrees above zero, and there are STILL teens and stubborn adults who dress like it’s July. Now THAT, I never understand. 🙂

      • I know! What is THAT about?? Although I should know, as I’m married to one of those… I’m still not quite sure why we’re together as he cannot abide the heat and I can’t stand the cold… So we have the house somewhere in the middle and he goes around in a shorts and T-shirt most of the time, while I’m bundled up like Nanook of the North…

      • Hee hee! I remember my grandparents being the same way–Grandma would be in short sleeves and sweating a bit because Grandpa would have the windows all closed, himself in jeans and a flannel, and it’s, like, July, and no matter Wisconsin’s crazy weather, July is usually a hot month. Those two xxxxx I do miss them. 🙂

      • They sound just like us, in reverse! And lovely that you had such a super relationship with them:)).

        Yes – Himself is a star and will run a bit uncomfortably hot so that I’m not too cold. Basically because I turn into a peevish, whiny misery – in an adorable way, of course…

        And we cannot rely on ANY month being hot! Or particularly dry…

      • Hee hee! It’s all about the compromise. 🙂 Well, my definition of hot is anything over 80 Fahrenheit. My kid brother out in Arizona would consider that mild, considering their record stretches of 100+ days…

      • It’s all about context! Anything over 70 degrees is labelled hot, but I’m quite comfortable up to 75. But I have to say – that stint at 90 degrees was plain horrible… And yet, Inuit communities regard 0 degrees at nice and toasty…

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