This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.
This week has been a lot cooler, with lots of rain, which Himself has found a huge relief. On Thursday, I spent the day with the grandchildren, looking after them during the afternoon while my daughter went to meet a friend. I took them to the swing park and spent the time running around after Eliza like a bothered hen. She’s just at the stage where she’s mobile enough to get into serious trouble and too young to understand any danger… However, the elder two are brilliant with her – she is so lucky to have such lovely brothers! It was a treat to be able to spend so much time with them.
On Saturday, my sister and I were all set to go shopping, but the aftermath of the storm on Friday night meant we still had gale-force winds and torrential downpours. Neither of us were in the mood to hustle through the wind and rain in sodden masks, so we postponed our outing and instead had a cuppa and a sticky bun together at my place. This morning Himself and I went for a walk along the beach, which where this week’s photos were taken – we were lucky enough to dodge the rain.
My website www.sjhigbee.com has had a makeover! Ian has done a wonderful job of making it a lot spiffier and easy to load – and tidied it up so that my growing number of books aren’t making it look too cluttered. I’ve started working on the video clips I’m producing in conjunction with my book How to Write Compelling Characters. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it. But I must get back to writing, as I’m definitely getting a bit antsy and short-tempered…
Last week I read:
A Memory Called Empire – Book 1 of the Teixcalaan series by Arkady Martine
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court…
This tense, political thriller is a joy – I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it and now I’m very much looking forward to getting hold of the next book. The tight focus on the main character reminds me of C.J. Cherryh’s writing… Review to follow.
Afterland by Lauren Beukes
They’ll call her a bad mother.
Cole can live with that. Because when she breaks her son Miles out of the Male Protection Facility – designed to prevent him joining the 99% of men wiped off the face of the Earth – she’s not just taking him back.
She’s setting him free.
Leaving Miles in America would leave him as a lab experiment; a pawn in the hands of people who now see him as a treasure to be guarded, traded, and used. What kind of mother would stand by and watch her child suffer? But as their journey to freedom takes them across a hostile and changed country, freedom seems ever more impossible.
It’s time for Cole to prove just how far she’ll go to protect her son.
I struggled with this one a bit – partly because of the subject matter. But mostly because I didn’t like Cole, or anyone else all that much – other than poor, manipulated Miles. Review to follow.
NOVELLA Snowspelled – Book 1 of The Harwood Spellbook by Stephanie Burgis
In nineteenth-century Angland, magic is reserved for gentlemen while ladies attend to the more practical business of politics. But Cassandra Harwood has never followed the rules… Four months ago, Cassandra Harwood was the first woman magician in Angland, and she was betrothed to the brilliant, intense love of her life. Now Cassandra is trapped in a snowbound house party deep in the elven dales, surrounded by bickering gentleman magicians, manipulative lady politicians, her own interfering family members, and, worst of all, her infuriatingly stubborn ex-fiancé, who refuses to understand that she’s given him up for his own good.
This was the perfect read after the intensity of Afterland, and thoroughly enjoyable, the only drawback being that the end came far too quickly. Mini-review to follow.
AUDIOBOOK Starless by Jacqueline Carey
Let your mind be like the eye of the hawk…Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him. In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.
Another stormingly good read – I absolutely loved Khai and Zariya, who both tried their hardest to be the best they could be, without coming across as unduly good or sickeningly perfect. Review to follow.
My posts last week:
Castellan the Black and His Wise Draconic Musings
Review of No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished – Book 3 of the Heartstriker series by Rachel Aaron
A Déjà vu Review of A Natural History of Dragons – Book 1 of The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
Friday Face-off featuring The Potion Diaries – Book 1 of The Potion Diaries series by Amy Alward
Review of AUDIOBOOK The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring Fearless by Allen Stroud
Tuesday Treasures – 9
Cover Love #1 featuring the covers of Marie Brennan’s books
Review of Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Sunday Post – 16th August 2020
Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
When will nineteenth-century Frenchman learn that hot air balloon duels are a BAD IDEA
https://twitter.com/DigiVictorian/status/1297202584520986624https://sjhigbee.wordpress.com/2020/08/16/sunday-post-16th-august-2020-brainfluffbookblog-sundaypost/ For sheer whackiness, this takes some beating – especially if you read the article…
In a world where you can be anything, be kind… https://twitter.com/DaviesWriter/status/1296217576436051969 I would add, looking at this clip, you also need to be knowledgeable about how to restrain such a powerful bird – and brave.
I Saw 5 How Many Faces Do You See? https://twitter.com/PopMathobela/status/1296824378618007559 For those among you who like puzzles. I saw 6 by the way…
Midsummer 2020 https://twitter.com/PopMathobela/status/1296824378618007559 I am so thrilled that Inese is back with her fabulous photos – even if I am a tad late with that realisation!
This is a good technique if you’re a complete psycho… https://twitter.com/AlisonMossCI/status/1295338698381418496 Poorly titled, I think. Because this is a LIFESAVER if you’re drowning in faaar too many plastic bags you daren’t throw away on account of not wanting to destroy the planet…
Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog – I hope you and yours have a peaceful, healthy week. Take care.
Sounds like you had some fun this week. Your new website looks great. Looking forward to your videos. Happy writing, reading and stay safe and well.
Love the ocean photos😁 And wow that video of the pelican! I’ve seen similar rescue videos and they always make me so happy.
Thank you, Tammy. We don’t go down to the beach often enough – we were both saying that this morning. It was lovely and really set us up well for the rest of the day… And yes – I was so impressed with the way those two men handled the pelican.
What a wonderful week Sarah. I love spending time with family, so I understand how much you enjoyed your time with your grandchildren. Coffee and a sticky bun sounds glorious, much better than shopping in wind and rain. I wish I was close to the ocean, even just to hear the sounds. Great photos. BTW, I saw 8 faces. Have a fantastic upcoming week.
Thank you, Carla. EIGHT faces?? And there was me proud of my paltry 6 – lol. Yes, I am ashamed of the fact that we don’t go down to the beach often enough, particularly in the summer. It was lovely down there this morning… I hope you, too, have a lovely week.
I can imagine it gets crowded and humid in the summer. I will be honest I had seen that image before, so knew what to look for. 😊
How refreshingly honest of you to fess up to having seen it before, Carla:)).
You’ve read Afterland before me…. Now I feel really bad! You know Lauren Beukes is a South African author?
But to be very honest with you, I am still in two minds if I’m going to read it or not. I loved Zoo City and the Shining Girls, but that’s it.
We also went for a walk on the beach yesterday and it was lovely. I love your description of running after your grand child like a bothered hen! LOL!!! That makes perfect sense!
Hope you will have a good week and thanks for all your lovely visits.
Yes, I did know she was a South African author – I picked that up after I read Zoo City, which I absolutely loved. But this one didn’t win me over to the same extent – it’s always a problem if I don’t love the main protagonist, and I didn’t
Glad you enjoyed my turn of phrase – though I am a writer, so I should be able to pull those out of the bag, occasionally:)). Have a great week, Mareli.
I like your website makeover, Sarah. Your beach pictures are great. I hope you have a good week.
Thank you, Jan – yes, I’m delighted with the website makeover. And I should make a bigger effort to go for a walk along the beach, as it was lovely this morning. I hope that you, too, have a wonderful week.
Your website looks great! Thanks for sharing.
I am curious about your books, and Afterland does sound intense…but I’m curious.
Enjoy your week and more time with the grandchildren. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.
Thank you – I’m glad you like the new and improved website. Afterland is intense! I hope you, too, have an enjoyable, peaceful week.
How exciting! A website makeover! We will all enjoy the work that went into it.
I am always so happy to spend time with my grandchildren, and I know you enjoyed spending time with yours. They are bundles of energy, though, aren’t they? My sister is helping her daughter who is on bedrest with her second pregnancy, and she’s completely worn out with taking care of her daughter’s three-year-old.
Thanks for the links to the bird rescue and the plastic bag folding. I’m the sort who would love to fold all my bags and place them in drawers.
Have a lovely week.
You’re welcome, Deb. You’re so right about the energy needed to look after the grandchildren – I can kid myself that I’m not doing too badly for my age. And then the day after I’ve been looking after them – particularly little Eliza, I feel ancient! I can comiserate with your sister – I hope she isn’t doing too much. Have a great week, Deb.
I swear having grand kids helps the grand parents to stay fit!!! And we had a lot of rains in Belgium too! I hope next week will be good for you!
Oh yes – haring after a lively two year old certainly keeps me on my toes! Yes… business as usual here in the UK, too. Lots of rain! I hope the coming week is a good one for you, too – and that you manage to balance your mental and physical well-being. It’s a tricky thing to cope with just now…
Sounds like you had a nice week. Those pics are great. Hope this is a good week for you too.
Thank you, Yvonne – I hope you have a great week, too.
It’s lovely you get so much great family time. We are predicted rain daily but sometimes it happens, sometimes not. But it’s still hot here. I love the Harwood Spellbook series. Don’t miss the 0.5 novella.
Anne – Books of My Heart Here is my Sunday Post
Thank you for that – I hadn’t appreciated there was a prequel to Snowspelled, I’ll go looking for it.
Glad you got to spend time with your grandkids and that you and your sister were able to salvage the day! Have a great week!
Thank you, Samantha – you too!
The Uk is certainly enjoying weather extremes at the moment.
Sticky bun’s sound tasty, though I’m not entirely sure what they actually are.
Wishing you a great reading week
We actually scoffed a couple of eccles cakes each – which are puff pastry parcels stuffed with a mixture of dried fruit mix with molasses sugar. And I hope you, too, have a great reading week, Shelleyrae:))
Sticky buns with your sister sounds lovely! My sister and I are currently on opposite coasts of the US and we’re afraid of flying for a visit and then making each other sick. Oh well. One day this will pass, right?
I read Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart series a while back and really enjoyed it. I think I finished Phedre’s trilogy and then lost track of the rest of the Kushiel books though. Starless sounds great!
Enjoy your week!
Starless is a wonderful – and a standalone, if you’re not wanting to get tangled up in a series.
Sorry about the enforced absence from your sister – my heart goes out to you… I found our lockdown when we couldn’t be together really, really hard! But you’re right – better to be safe. And this won’t be forever! Thank goodness for technology and being able to talk face to face… Have a wonderful reading week, Jen.
Looks like a nice walk on the beach! I love being by the water, even when the weather is less than perfect. Something about it… the bracing wind, the smell of the water haha. Glad you got some nice family time as well. 🙂
Take care and be well this week!
Thank you, Greg. Yes, we’re very lucky to live so close to the sea – and we should take more advantage of it! I hope you, too, have a healthy, happy week.
It’s great you had fun with the family and got to get outside for a bit. We are in for two tropcial storms that will be dumping rain on us for days. I hope we avoid the high winds with both storms heading more West of us. Have a great week, Sarah.
A cuppa and a sticky bun is definitely better than going to the shops! They are still too busy for my liking!
Have a lovely week!
We are hoping to shop locally – I want to get her a pressie. But not when it’s pouring with rain and blowing a hoolie:)
Your website looks very nice, indeed. 🙂
Thank you, SJ:))
Laura (hurricane) swerved and missed Texas. We haven’t even had rain, some wind last night, but the was it. Thank You Lord!
So very relieved and glad that it missed you, Rae!
Me too! Thanks!
Written 8/27, Thursday.
SJ, sounds like you spent some lovely time with your family – I particularly like the sound of catch up over a cup of tea and a stick bun! 😋 Great to hear you enjoyed your reading so much this week, except for the characters in Afterland – I would struggle with unlikeable characters, too!. I hope this has been a good week for you, so far, as well. 🙂
Thank you, Jessica:)). The catchup over a cuppa and a sticky bun was one of the highlights of the week! And you’re right – not everyone struggles with unlikeable characters, but I certainly do… Yes, this week has been a good one – and I hope you, too, are enjoying the week, as well.
A cuppa and a sticky bun is infinitely preferable to stormy weather.
Yes – though if I kept reverting to cups of tea and sticky buns every time we had a stormy episode this week, I’d be the size of a house! It feels more like April than August!
Aw, this sounds like a lovely time with the grands! Your home site looks lovely, too. It’s very easy to navigate and highlights all your books. Perfect! xxxxxx
Thank you for your kind comments regarding the site overhaul. I’m thrilled with what Ian has done – and I’m glad others find it easy to navigate – the Administrator always has everything humming at high speed, so it’s reassuring to discover that others also can find their way around with no fuss.