Sunday Post – 6th September, 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.

Most of the first half of the week was dominated by the launch of Mantivore Warrior on Monday, which went really well. Thank you to everyone who retweeted and mentioned that Warrior is now live and let loose on the world.

The weather was a lot better – though not good enough for our Writing Group to get together on Wednesday evening, which was a real shame. It had been bright and warm all day, until the evening when it started raining, so we were Zooming once more. Though it was a really productive meeting, where several of us shared our work and I got some valuable feedback on the beginning of Picky Eaters 2.

Unfortunately, I am now struggling with a very sore back and my usual strategies for dealing with it aren’t working, so I’ve a physio appointment on Tuesday. I was supposed to travel down to Ringwood yesterday to see my in-laws with my husband – but I woke up feeling too sore and car journeys are never my friend, anyway. I’d travelled to Brighton on Thursday to see my daughter and the children and brought back the boys to stay overnight – a last sleepover before they go back to school. It was lovely to see them and their stay was rounded off by going out for a meal together at a local pub restaurant with a vegan menu, where my daughter and little Eliza joined us on Friday afternoon. Today is my husband’s birthday, and today’s photos are from the big wheel which was recently installed on Littlehampton foreshore. We are planning to have a lazy day together and go out for a meal with my sister tonight.

Last week I read an astonishingly strong selection of books:

Ink & Sigil – Book 1 of the Ink & Sigil series by Kevin Hearne
Al MacBharrais is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed with an extraordinary white moustache, an appreciation for craft cocktails – and a most unique magical talent. He can cast spells with magically enchanted ink and he uses his gifts to protect our world from rogue minions of various pantheons, especially the Fae. But he is also cursed. Anyone who hears his voice will begin to feel an inexplicable hatred for Al, so he can only communicate through the written word or speech apps. And his apprentices keep dying in peculiar freak accidents. As his personal life crumbles around him, he devotes his life to his work, all the while trying to crack the secret of his curse.

But when his latest apprentice, Gordie, turns up dead in his Glasgow flat, Al discovers evidence that Gordie was living a secret life of crime. Now Al is forced to play detective – while avoiding actual detectives who are wondering why death seems to always follow Al. Investigating his apprentice’s death will take him through Scotland’s magical underworld, and he’ll need the help of a mischievous hobgoblin if he’s to survive.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It was so refreshing to read of a sixty-something protagonist, who isn’t magically enhanced or rejuvenated and Hearne’s trademark humour is evident in this series, too. Recommended, particularly for fans of the Iron Druid series.

AUDIOBOOK – The Delirium Brief – Book 8 of The Laundry Files by Charles Stross
Bob Howard’s career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency dedicated to protecting the world from unspeakable horrors from beyond spacetime, has entailed high combat, brilliant hacking, ancient magic, and combat with indescribably repellent creatures of pure evil. It has also involved a wearying amount of paperwork and office politics, and his expense reports are still a mess.
Now, following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob is being trotted out on TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob nor his managers have foreseen is that their organization has earned the attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a British government looking for public services to privatize.
This was huge fun to listen to – and has made me determined to get hold of the next one in the series sooner, rather than later as this one ended on something of a cliffhanger. I’d forgotten just how smart and darkly funny Charles Stross’s writing can be. Review to follow.

The Trials of Koli – Book 2 of the Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey
Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.
Carey keeps the tension up and expands the story by giving us an insight into what is going on in the village that exiled Koli in the first place, as well as taking Koli’s adventures further. The world is brilliantly depicted and I enjoyed the characters.

The Green Man’s Silence – Book 3 of the Green Man series by Juliet E. McKenna
Daniel Mackmain has always been a loner. As a dryad’s son, he can see the supernatural alongside everyday reality, and that’s not something he can easily share. Perhaps visiting East Anglia to stay with Finele Wicken and her family will be different. They have their own ties to the uncanny.

But something is amiss in the depths of the Fens. Creatures Dan has never encountered outside folk tales are growing uneasy, even hostile. He soon learns they have good reason. Can he help them before they retaliate and disaster strikes the unsuspecting locals? Can the Green Man help Dan in a landscape dominated by water for centuries, where the oaks were cut down aeons ago? A modern fantasy rooted in the ancient myths and folklore of the British Isles.
I thoroughly enjoyed Dan’s latest adventure, which takes place in a corner of England that is rich with history and folklore. I loved that Finele was once again part of the story and found this one impossible to put down. Review to follow.

My posts last week:

A Déjà vu Review of Dangerous Waters – Book 1 of the Hadrumal Crisis series by Juliet E. McKenna

Castellan the Black and His Wise Draconic Tips on Food and Drink

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Deadly Waters by Dot Hutchison

Friday Face-off featuring Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Ink & Sigil – Book 1 of the Ink & Sigil series by Kevin Hearne

Cover Love #3 featuring the covers of Juliet E. McKenna

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Grave Secrets – Book 1 of the Lavington Windsor mysteries by Alice James

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring Kept from Cages – Book 1 of The Ikiri duology by Phil Williams

Two Sci Fi Mini-Reviews: To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers and Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Tuesday Treasures – 11

MANTIVORE WARRIOR is published today!

Sunday Post – 30th August 2020

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

Everyday Items We’ve Been Using Wrong the Whole Time There are all sorts of tips and tricks here that I will be using in future! The pasta spoon tip is a revelation – and how to open a keyring without breaking nails…

What Counts as Speculative? This infographic is going to divide many SFF readers, I think…

Fantasy and Sci Fi to review for free 1-30 September If you’re looking for more SFF reads and enjoy helping authors out by leaving a review – then this might be just what you’re looking for…

Sci Fi Month 2020: the future is calling I LOVE Sci Fi Month! If you also enjoy it and want to get in on the ground floor – here’s how to do it…

On Boundaries and Doors to Magical Realms Jean Lee’s articles are always worth reading – and as she is shortly to release a new book – yippee! – she is considering this intriguing aspect of many fantasy tropes…

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

42 responses »

    • Thank you, Linda – I’m sure the physio will get it sorted out. I’m 95% that I know what the problem is – and I’ve caused it myself by not keeping up with my exercise regime during lockdown. Which doesn’t actually make me feel that much better!

      I hope you have a great week and the classes start to settle into a rhythm…

  1. Happy birthday to your husband! And i hope your back feels better soon. I’m so glad you included the link about Sci Fi Month, I completely missed that post! Hope you have a good week😁

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes for Himself. Yes, I’m hoping they will sort out my back on Tuesday, but I’m conscious that I’ve been neglecting it since the lockdown and now I’m paying the price.

      Glad you picked up the link for Sci Fi Month – and I’ve only just realised that I didn’t sign up! How random is that??? I hope that you, too, have a wonderful week, Tammy:))

  2. Happy birthday to your husband.

    So sorry about your back…I have struggled with back issues, so I can relate. Take care!

    I am curious about Ink and Sigil. The first book in a series is always a good place to start.

    Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog. Stay safe.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes for Himself – I’ll pass them along:)). At least I know that the back will be fixed in due course. I must get back into some kind of exercises regime.

      Ink and Sigil is great fun and definitely different. I hope you also have a safe, healthy week, Laurel:))

  3. Happy birthday to your husband. I wish we could go on such a big wheel too, but around here they are only build up when a big folk festival is taking place. But this year none of them will happen. It is so sad. I am so sorry that your back hurts you. That is awful. I know from own experience. Hopefully you will get well soon. And happy book birthday. Stay safe and well.

    • Thank you, Vi. At least today the back is a lot easier than it’s been. I was finding it hard to move yesterday…

      Thank you for your kind birthday wishes for Himself – I hope that you soon can ride on a big wheel. It’s only just opened, which clearly wasn’t the plan – but we wanted to support this latest attraction for the town… I hope you, too, have a peaceful healthy week, Vi:))

  4. I’m glad you were able to meet with your reading group by Zoom, but sorry about the rain so you couldn’t meet in person. Glad to see you’re starting on Picky Eaters 2. I loved the first story.

    So sorry to hear about your sore back, Sarah. I hope you get some relief soon. And happy birthday to your husband. I hope you have a good day together. I’m happy you read so many good books this week. Especially when I want to read some of those books soon!

    Have a good and safe week. Hope you feel better soon.

    • Thank you, Jan! Yes – the back is entirely my fault. During the lockdown, I haven’t kept up with my exercise regime and I’ve been writing a lot. So I’m paying the price… Hopefully the physio can sort it out for me on Tuesday.

      Thank you for your kind good wishes for Himself – I’ll pass it on:). Yes, it has to be one of my best reading weeks of the year so far! And I’m delighted you enjoyed Picky Eaters so much – I’m having loads of fun with the second book…

  5. Congrats on the release of Mantivore Warrior! Our weather has been similar, colder, but with plenty of rain and wind as well. I hope your back will feel better soon. And happy birthday to your husband. I hope you have a fun day! Looks like you had some great reads this week! I hope you’ll have a great week!

    • Thank you Lola – I was really chuffed to get Mantivore Warrior released and complete the trilogy. And we were lucky enough to have a really good day together, for Himself’s birthday. I hope you, too, have a lovely week:))

  6. Hi Sarah! Oh no, we are so sorry to hear about your back. If only Elza was closer, she could curl up against your back and try to give you comfort. I do hope the physio can help you sort it out.

    I have made a note here in my diary to try to get hold of Picky Eaters 1. I love your writing style on the blog and would like to see what you do in novel/story form.

    Hope your week will be good!

    Lots of love,

    Mareli & Elza

    • Thank you for your kind sympathy, Mareli. I am lucky enough to have a TENS machine and a selection of wheatie bags that heat up in the microwave – but I’m aware they are only a pale imitation of the comfort and purring awesomeness that is Elza…

      Thank you for your interest in reading Picky Eaters:). It’s all about fun and escapism, so I hope if you manage to get around to it, you’ll find it fun:))

  7. Congratulations on the arrival of Mantivore Warrior! It sounds like you have had a good reception to it.

    I’m sorry to hear about your back. My family is always going to chiropractors with back issues. They seem to help them a lot. Yoga is another strategy of my family.

    Ink & Sigil sounds like a good story. Thanks for reviewing it and sharing that with us.

    Have a good week!

    • Thank you, Deb:). Yes – Pilates has been an enormous help. However, it can only help me if I do the exercises – and since my exercise classes stopped, I haven’t! So it’s my own fault, really… which doesn’t ease the pain when I think about it.

      Ink & Sigil is great fun – and I hope you have a good week and that it gets cooler soon.

    • It’s a lovely part of the world – especially as you have the Downs behind the city with some lovely countryside. Here’s hoping the world returns to normal sooner, rather than later! Have a great week, Anne:)

    • Oh yes – the big wheel was lovely! And it was great to take advantage of the weather:). Fingers crossed the physio can sort out my back – and then I MUST get more active!

  8. Congratulations on your husband’s birthday. I hope you guys had a fun day. And congrats on your new release. Sounds like you’re having a good week. I’m sorry to read about your back though.. I hope it get better soon.
    Happy reading.

    • Thank you, Maureen:). We had a lovely day together – and thank you for your kind congratulations regarding Mantivore Warrior. It’s lovely to have that trilogy published. I’m hoping the back will be a lot better after my physio session:)). I hope you have a good week with time to put your feet up.

  9. Congrats on your launch and happy birthday to your husband! I hope your back will soon be much better. have a great week!

    • You’re welcome! I’m sorry I can’t comment on your site anymore…

      I hope you enjoy The Book of Koli – I preferred it to The Girl with All the Gifts, but I’m not necessarily in the majority with that opinion…

      I’m hoping physio can sort out my back tomorrow – fingers crossed. I hope you, too, have lovely week, Heather.

  10. Oh good luck with the book! And happy birthday to your husband- hope you both had a fabulous day. Hoping you are feeling better soon as well.

    Ink & Sigil sounds good, and I love the sound of that other series as well, exploring magical corners of England. I want to try those…

    Take care and be well this week 🙂

    • Thank you, Greg – we ended up having a lovely day together:)).

      I hope you manage to get hold of Ink & Sigil and Green Man’s Silence, though ideally it would be best to start with The Green Man’s Heir. Have a great week – and I hope all goes well with your daughter:))

    • Thank you, Anne – we had a really nice day together yesterday:)). Unfortunately a dodgy back is an occupational hazard for writers – especially ones who don’t continue with their fitness regime! Glad to hear you no longer have problems with yours – and have a great week.

  11. I feel your pain, Sarah. I’ve been having severe back spasms and struggling to find relief myself. Tie with family sounds absolutely wonderful. And congratulations on the new release!

    • I am sorry you are struggling with back spasms – how miserable! I hope time in the pool helps. And thank you for your kind good wishes regarding the release of Mantivore Warrior.

  12. Happy release day to you and happy birthday to your husband! I hope your back feels better soon. The first book in the Iron Druid series was one of the many, many holds that became available for me last week. I delayed my turn for a month, I believe. Enjoy your week!

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