Sunday Post – 20th September, 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.

It’s been a quiet week. I had a minor sniffle and sore throat. Nothing remotely COVID, but it still seems very anti-social to start spreading whatever-it-is around, so I stayed at home. My youngest grandson, after three days at school, has had to quarantine for a fortnight as a child in his yeargroup cluster was discovered to have COVID-19. I’ve been busy catching up with my blog, and harvesting my fennel seeds, while still slightly buzzy about last week’s holiday.

The photos are from last week’s visit to Batemans, home of Rudyard Kipling for the last years of his life. Although the house was closed, we had a lovely time wandering through the gardens and along the small river running along the end of the property. The weather was absolutely fantastic, though it has continued to be dry and warm throughout this week, too. Long may it continue, if it keeps Winter at bay.


Last week I read:

Attack Surface – Book 3 of the Little Brother series by Cory Doctorow
Most days, Masha Maximow was sure she’d chosen the winning side. In her day job as a counterterrorism wizard for an transnational cybersecurity firm, she made the hacks that allowed repressive regimes to spy on dissidents, and manipulate their every move. The perks were fantastic, and the pay was obscene.

Just for fun, and to piss off her masters, Masha sometimes used her mad skills to help those same troublemakers evade detection, if their cause was just. It was a dangerous game and a hell of a rush. But seriously self-destructive. And unsustainable.

When her targets were strangers in faraway police states, it was easy to compartmentalize, to ignore the collateral damage of murder, rape, and torture. But when it hits close to home, and the hacks and exploits she’s devised are directed at her friends and family–including boy wonder Marcus Yallow, her old crush and archrival, and his entourage of naïve idealists–Masha realizes she has to choose. And whatever choice she makes, someone is going to get hurt.
I was blissfully unaware that this is a spinoff from a series – but it really doesn’t matter. Although another of the main characters features in the previous stories, this is essentially a standalone, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Review to follow.


Dead Man in a Ditch – Book 2 of the Fetch Phillips Archives by Luke Arnold
The name’s Fetch Phillips — what do you need? Cover a Gnome with a crossbow while he does a dodgy deal? Sure.

Find out who killed Lance Niles, the big-shot businessman who just arrived in town? I’ll give it shot.

Help an old-lady Elf track down her husband’s murderer? That’s right up my alley.

What I don’t do, because it’s impossible, is search for a way to bring the goddamn magic back.

Rumors got out about what happened with the Professor, so now people keep asking me to fix the world. But there’s no magic in this story. Just dead friends, twisted miracles, and a secret machine made to deliver a single shot of murder.
I’d enjoyed the first book, but I had a few issues with this one. Review to follow.

AUDIOBOOK Finder – Book 1 of the Finder Chronicles by Suzanne Palmer
Fergus Ferguson has been called a lot of names: thief, con artist, repo man. He prefers the term finder.

His latest job should be simple. Find the spacecraft Venetia’s Sword and steal it back from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power-hungry trade boss. He’ll slip in, decode the ship’s compromised AI security, and get out of town, Sword in hand.

Fergus locates both Gilger and the ship in the farthest corner of human-inhabited space, a gas-giant-harvesting colony called Cernee. But Fergus’ arrival at the colony is anything but simple. A cable car explosion launches Cernee into civil war, and Fergus must ally with Gilger’s enemies to navigate a field of space mines and a small army of hostile mercenaries. What was supposed to be a routine job evolves into negotiating a power struggle between factions. Even worse, Fergus has become increasingly–and inconveniently–invested in the lives of the locals.
Well, this is fun! Lots of mayhem, well narrated and plenty of surprises and plot twists until the climax – and the good news is that it is the beginning of a series. Review to follow.


My posts last week:

Castellan the Black and His Wise Draconic Tips on Childcare

Review of The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Déjà vu review of Earth Girl – Book 1 of the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards

Friday Faceoff featuring The Hound of the Baskervilles – Book 5 of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle

Cover Love featuring the covers of Janet Edwards

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Trials of Koli – Book 2 of The Rampart trilogy by M.R. Carey

Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Reblog of interview with S.J. Higbee by Jean Lee

Tuesday Treasures – 13

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Earth Prime – Book 1 of The Earth Girl Aftermath stories by Janet Edwards

Sunday Post – 13th September 2020

To my shame, I haven’t visited many blogs or interacted on Twitter all that much this week – so I don’t have anything to share ☹.

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

52 responses »

  1. “Nothing remotely COVID, but it still seems very anti-social to start spreading whatever-it-is around, so I stayed at home.” I am experiencing this here in Germany too. No matter if it is only the sniffles because of allergies or the caughing because your throat is dry as hell – people react as if you´re the devil and covid spreader.

    I LOVE your Batemans pictures. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. The weather is so gorgeous around here that I am always tempted to be outside the entire day rather than doing my household and laundry *smile* Stay safe and well!

    • Thank you, Vi:)). Yes – I hadn’t realised how often I go down with very minor little sniffles or mini-colds that only last a few days. I do now!

      And yes – Batemans is a lovely spot, though my mother was saying we should revisit when they finally open up the house, as it’s pretty much as Kipling left it. And I’m a huge fan of his writing – especially his poetry, which I love…

  2. What lovely photos, as usual😁 I think i have a copy of Finder but just haven’t been able to fit it in, but it sounds like it’s worth reading. Hope your week is a good one!

  3. It’s ridiculous, but I still…yes, it’s been six months now…I still have my cough. I’m hopefully trying yet another suggested cure next week. I do stay away from others. Can’t possibly be covid, but I still don’t want to give others it either.

    Look at those beautiful gardens at Rudyard Kipling’s home. What in the world sort of flower is that lovely orange and yellow one? So pretty.

    I certainly wish the counterterrorism wizard would make her way over to the US. We might not need counterterrorism, but we could sure use a wizard that would set everything to rights. A little experience with racial equality, good leadership, perhaps some knowledge of wildfires and hurricanes?

    I hope you have a great week!

    • Yes… and my mother has the same dry cough which has persisted on and off since Christmas. I’m rather concerned that she hasn’t managed to shift hers, either…

      We could ALL do with a wizard to sprinkle a lot of kindness and integrity within the political world across the planet, it seems to me… And it’s high time SOMEONE put the way our climates are changing to the forefront of the agenda, too!

      And moving to FAR nicer things, the flowers are called rudbeckias – they are part of the daisy family and generally flower in the late summer and throughout the autumn. There are both annual and perennial varieties. I haven’t got them in our garden, but after seeing them at Bateman’s – I’d really love to get a clump going! As you say, the colours are gorgeous…

  4. Hi there Sarah! As you could see from my post, Covid is so far below on the list of priorities here in SA, it’s not even funny. But I’m glad you took care of yourself and self isolate. It’s the responsible thing to do for all parties involved.

    Those pictures are lovely! I am looking forward to our own break over the next two weeks.

    Hope you will have a wonderful week with good health.

    Lots of love,

    Mareli & Elza

    • Thank you, Mareli – it was only a silly small thing – and it’s now gone. But it meant I spent most of the week at home.

      Glad you have a lovely holiday to look forward to! In the meantime, I hope the coming week is a good one, too!

  5. Sorry to hear your had a minor sniffle and sore throat this week. I hope you feel better soon and it’s nice to stay at home so you can’t spread it at least. This week we had some great weather too, warm and dry, but not too warm. And some beautiful clear skies. Your visit to those gardens sounds like fun and you got some great pictures! I hope you have a great week!

  6. Lovely photos, and your weekend sounded wonderful. So sorry about your grandson, but these things seem to happen so often that one wonders if anybody should be out and about!

    I also have the dry and sore throat occasionally, mostly because of the smoky air and my general issues with the outdoors…but we do tend to feel fearful when we develop any symptoms. Wise of you to stay inside for your own good, too.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I enjoyed your comments about the bleakness of our political situations and how those in charge need to address global warming. It is infuriating how much nonsense we are all subjected to on a daily basis.

    Stay safe and sane…and enjoy your books!

  7. I have a cough from allergies that I’ve had since last year – way before COVID and I’m still scared to cough outside.

    I always love the pictures you post. Thank you for sharing them.

    Have a great week…take care and stay safe.

    • Oh, that’s miserable, Yvonne. Bad enough to have to suffer with a persistent cough, which can be so exhausting. But how grim to suddenly find yourself to be the centre of unwelcome attention:(.

      You’re very welcome regarding the photos – it’s a huge pleasure to take and share them. I hope your week is a good one, Yvonne:)

  8. Your pictures are lovely! My husband normally works weekdays and is off on the weekends but he’s been backwards for the past six months. It’s been so nice to visit sites when they’re less busy on the weekdays! It looks like you didn’t have too much company on your trip either.

    Enjoy your week! Feel better soon!

    • Thank you, Jen for you kind words. Yes – although Himself works fairly awful shifts, having days off during weekdays means we can take advantage of less crowded times, too:). Fortunately I’ve completely recovered now – I hope you have a great week, too:)

  9. I didn’t even know there was a sequel to Little Brother, let alone a third book, spinoff. I liked that books I guess I should check them out.

  10. Those gardens look fantastic! And I hope you are feeling better soon, and your grandson as well. Hopefully he doesn’t catch COVID and his quarantine goes smoothly.

    That Luke Arnold book looks interesting. I know him from the Black Sails TV show but haven’t read his books yet.

    • Thank you, Greg – my daughter thinks it’s just a heavy cold that he’s now passed to the whole family. But there’s no way she can get him tested, unfortunately.

      I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, but didn’t find this one quite so appealing – I’ll be reviewing it tomorrow…

      • It’s amazing to me there are still testing issues! All these months into the crisis. Of course I don’t know the UK situation, but here in the US…we’re still not doing like you’d think a world leader country would be! Oh well. I hope you and your family are well this week!

      • Yep. Just as the Government made this big announcement that the schools would open, no matter what – and clearly took the decision to keep them open, suddenly there’s a huge shortage of available testing… They have had months to plan for the expected bulge in demand (surely they REALISED there would be a bulge???) and yet even medical staff and key workers are now reporting major problems in getting tests. We’re being led by blustering donkeys, it seems to me…

  11. I’ve had ear, nose, and throat issues lately due to allergies and it’s been so annoying. It’s that time of year! Looks like it was a nice visit to that garden.

    • Oh dear! How miserable for you… I hope the allergy season soon passes and you will feel easier. And yes – the visit to the garden was absolutely lovely. The weather will shortly close down, making such visits far less practical, so I feel so pleased we managed to make the most of the fine weather and were able to get out as much as we have…

  12. I guess that’s how it will be this winter: you cough and you are home quarantined! Your garden is gorgeous as usual!

  13. I think it was smart to stay home and isolate. Even if you didn’t have anything to spread around your immune system might be a bit weakened and you don’t want to pick anything up! There’s a big push to get schools open here and I understand it but at the same it’s so scary. I hope your grandson is feeling okay. Hope you have a great week.

    • Thank you, Katherine:). Yes, it’s a tricky one. And I didn’t want to spread anything around – whatever it was! And yes – I think opening up schools is important for children, so long as it can be done safely. Oscar is fine, as he clearly only has a heavy cold. I hope your week is as good as it can be. xxxx

  14. The Batemans gardens look lovely. And thank you for staying at home, even if you were pretty sure it wasn’t COVID-19. We are seeing so much transmission here in the states, often from people with no symptoms or only minor ones. So I’m very appreciative of people who stay home!

  15. I’m sorry to hear you’re been a bit under the weather. I hope you’re feeling better now and I also hope that your grandson isn’t experiencing any COVID symptoms either. The schools in my county are going to start in-person instruction in a few weeks and while my husband and I have opted to keep our son all virtual until at least January, I’m very curious to see how it goes.

    • The Government here are determined to get children back to school for the sake of their mental health and education – and for what it’s worth, I support that decision. I just wish they had planned the contingencies more effectively – I have a nasty feeling they are making it up as they go along…

  16. Lovely photos, Sarah! And Attack Surface sounds like a fantastic read. 😄

    I hope you feel better soon – it is a very difficult time to come down with any form of sniffles – and that your grandson is safe and well. It isn’t surprising that there’s been a sudden resurgence though! Just as the country is on the verge of another lockdown my work thought it was a good idea to start bringing people back into the office, despite being perfectly capable of doing our jobs from home! I certainly don’t feel comfortable being in a city centre, or taking the two buses and two trains a day getting there and back! But mostly the change in routine has played havoc with my routine and sleeping patterns and I haven’t felt this drained in a while.. I have another week off next week though so I’m sure I will be back to normal sooner rather than later!

    • Oh, I agree! It’s nuts to force folks who can happily work from home to have to travel into an office where they put themselves and other people at risk. So unnecessary! I’m sorry you’ve been forced to get on that treadmill again and I hope that you soon feel better. I completely understand about that sapped, drained feeling…

      Thank you for your kind concern regarding my grandson. Other than coping with a heavy cold, which he’s now shared with the rest of the family as he’s in quarantine, he seems to be absolutely fine:)). Have a better week, Proxy:))

  17. I’ve had, a dry cough myself since February. In May I was tested for COVID, and the results were negative. It has to be allergies, since I always suffer from them, but this long? Spring allergies have just morphed into fall ones.

    • My mother has had a nasty cough since Christmas, which she cannot seem to get rid of, either. It’s particularly bad at night… I hope that it doesn’t persist into the winter, Rae.

    • I hope your sinus infection is easing up. I think you may be right – or the fact that I was out and about in amongst a bunch of people when I’ve been pretty much at home for quite a long time. So maybe my immune system has got a bit flabby…

    • Mm. Still feeling absolutely shattered and struggling with no energy whatsoever – which is a real pain as I’ve LOTS to do! I’m hoping to start feeling better very soon.

  18. I hope you’re feeling better. It’s definitely the season for sniffles, flu etc. Combine that with Covid.. I’m worried for these upcoming months.
    Have a great week and happy reading.

    • They are for cooking – I love fennel seeds, they are sweet and taste of licquorice. They can be added to casseroles and stews and are especially delicious with fish. They make a good flavour intensifier without transferring their taste – but I also love them sprinkled on green salads:)).

      • Yes… but then you’d need to go without sleep. Or write while digging… I picked the seedheads in a fit of oh-my-goodness-just-look-at-this-crop! Rather than planting it with the intention of harvesting them:)). These days, I simply don’t have time to plant and grow veggies, so I don’t. And remember – chipmunks need cover, too…xxx

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