Sunday Post – 11th 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.

I haven’t been around this last couple of weeks, as I’ve been away on a writing retreat with my sister-in-law in Bexhill in a lovely flat overlooking the sea. That’s where the photos are from. My sister-in-law is on the last lap of her thesis on looking at how the issue of despair was discussed within monastic circles during the Middle Ages. As for me, I took along Picky Eaters Part 2 and managed to write 27,000 words, charting the further adventures of Castellan the Black, in between watching storms and sunshine sweep across the bay. We have been working hard – only watching The Great British Bakeoff and writing into the night, hence the significant lack of books I managed to get through. Though what I lacked in in quantity, I made up for in quality…

Apologies for my lack of interaction, particularly visiting other blogs, but my laptop has major memory issues at present, so I had to disconnect from the internet, which I was only accessing with my phone. Hopefully I’ll be able to start catching up during the coming week!

Last fortnight I have read:

The Invisible Lives of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.
I absolutely loved this one. Accomplished and unputdownable – this is a tour de force from a writer at the height of her powers. Review to follow.

A Deadly Education – Book 1 of The Scholomance series by Naomi Novik
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.

There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.

El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
Another stormingly good read – though in case you’re wondering… Hogwarts it ain’t. No teachers – the students are instructed via the magical school and manage to keep safe from the constant threat of deadly monsters drawn by their magical abilities by forming allies and learning a raft of defensive spells. Gripping and highly readable. Review to follow.

AUDIOBOOK The Stranger Diaries – Book 1 of the Harbinder Kaur series by Elly Griffiths
A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…
This is a solid delight. I was attracted by the promise of a murder mystery after the style of Agatha Christie, within a contemporary setting with modern characters. And that is what I got. The audiobook works especially well and this one is highly recommended for those who enjoy gripping characters and nicely twisty plots with plenty of suspects. Review to follow.

Fallen Princeborn: Chosen – Book 2 of Fallen Princeborn series by Jean Lee
Charlotte just wanted to start a new life with her sister Anna out of the reaches of their abusive uncle. When their journey led to Anna’s disappearance from human memory, Charlotte hunted for her sister and the mysterious creatures that took her behind an ancient Wall that hid a land of magic the world had long forgotten. Charlotte woke the Princeborn Liam Artair, and with his return the conflict between factions of the magical Velidevour turned cursed and deadly.

Now Charlotte must end this conflict before the land of River Vine and the inhabitants she’s befriended are consumed by Orna, Lady of the Pits, who is still very, very eager to see her beloved return. And Orna is not the only one who wants hold of the Princeborn Liam’s heart. These Velidevour come armed with firey wings, crimson claws, and pale fire, and like dead magic, they know no kindness.

The Bloody Days are soon returning, and they will not end until a choice is made, a choice that could tear the heart of River Vine apart.
This book continues the story directly from the ending of Fallen Princeborn: Stolen – and immediately scoops the reader up into the high-stakes action, that just goes on growing, as Charlotte battles for Liam and his followers. Highly recommended for fantasy fans looking for sharp contemporary writing and a vivid fantasy setting. Review to follow.

My posts last week:

Review of The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken – Book 3 of the Vish Puri series by Tarquin Hall

Review of The Ruthless – Book 2 of The Deathless series by Peter Newman

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow

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

40 responses »

  1. Thank you for the wonderful pictures. Sounds like you´ve had some great days at the writing retreat and a great time with your sister-in-law. To be honest, I always prefer quality over quantity. No matter what. Stay safe, well and happy writing, plotting and reading.

  2. It sounds like it was a productive writing retreat, and the view is stunning. I’m glad you loved Addie LaRue as well. I just finished a book i think you would love, The Once and Future Witches. Its one of my favorite books of the year😁 Have a good week, Sarah!

    • Thank you, Tammy! It was a really great retreat – we worked hard, but got so much done. Having those views all the time was marvellous – very healing!

      I’m very excited that you have given The Once and Future Witches such a shoutout – it’s on my TBR:)). Yippee! I look forward to starting it, now:)). I hope that you, too, have a good week, Tammy – I’ve missed being able to access your blog!

    • Oh it was a wonderful retreat – and yes… very productive. I’ve returned home feeling very energised creatively, which is wonderful. And such good luck to have a great run of books to read while away…

  3. Love those pictures! Looks like a beautiful area, and is there anything better than writing by the sea? I think I could get lost in that view… 🙂

    Congrats on the writing progress! And I have to say, that thesis subject sounds very interesting as well!

    • Thank you Greg – oh the thesis is absolutely fascinating – she had to learn medieval Latin and Middle English before she started it. Such a clever lady and a lovely friend… And who could fail to be inspired with that view alongside me – I felt so energised and buzzing…

      All the very best – and I hope you continue to make a strong recovery:))

  4. Hi there Sarah! I’ve missed you! But I am so glad you had a lovely time with your sister and got some writing done.

    I JUST sorted out my TBR list last weekend and along comes Sarah and I add all her books to my TBR. The invisible life of Addie Le Rue and The Stranger Diaries seem excellent.

    Hope you will have a good week, it’s been hectic here with me the past week after we are back from holidays – but I guess that’s life!

    Keep well, here’s my The Sunday Post #14

    • Thank you so much, Mareli:)). I missed you, too! That was the main snag with my laptop problems… But other than that, the retreat was wonderful.

      I have given both The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and The Stranger Diaries a solid 10/10, so I do hope you get a chance to get hold of them. Apart from anything else – I’d love to know what you think!

      Yes… it’s always hard work catching up after being away. But I had such a lovely time – it was worth it! I hope you manage to have a more relaxing week:))

  5. I wish The Great British Bakeoff was still airing in Belgium! I so loved that show. On a side note that must have been so lovely to work in an appartment overlookign the sea!

    • Oh yes, Sophie, it was absolutely idyllic. I always feel so inspired when I’m in that little turret room… And yes – The Great British Bakeoff is one of my viewing events of the year. Hopefully it will return to Belgium in due course…

  6. The writing retreat sounds so nice and those pictures just ooze relaxation! I miss the beach so much. We need to start The Great British Bake Off. I still miss Mary Berry, Sue, and Mel but it’s still entertaining. Hope you have a great week.

    • Thank you, Katherine. Yes – we worked very hard, but having those scenes to look at while writing was very inspiring…

      Oh yes – I miss Mel and Sue so much! But Bake Off is still comfort viewing for me:)). I hope you, too, have a great week.

    • Thank you, Kimberly:). I hope you do get a chance to grab an audio version of A Deadly Education – I’m sure it would sound fabulous. In the meantime, I do hope your knee gets better very soon.

  7. SJ, sounds like your writing retreat with your sister-in-law was both productive and in a lovely location.😃 And to me it looks like you did some great reading – I think both The Invisible Lives of Addie LaRue and The Stranger Diaries sound great! Take care and happy reading in the coming week. 🙂

    • Thank you, Anne:)). It was a wonderful reading fortnight – each book was excellent – and very different, which is also a bonus. And yes – Bexhill is always special, but this time, particularly so…

  8. Glad you had a good and productive time on your writing retreat!
    I hope you have a lovely week now you’re back home.
    My laptop is playing up too (although it isn’t the reason I’ve been awol) so I understand the difficulty and frustrations of trying to effectively visit and comment via a smartphone… Wishing you luck with that!

    • Thank you, Nicci:)). I’ve got quite a lot of catching up to do, but I’m trying hard not to get stressed about it.

      Thank goodness I’m back to working on my trusty old desktop – I’m very lucky in only having to use my little laptop when I’m away, which is why I hadn’t realised the enormity of the problem.

      I hope you manage to sort out your technical issues – it gets to a point when you want to tear your hair out! And I hope that you, too, have a really good week:)

  9. Oh those pictures are lovely! The Invisible Life of Addie Larue has been getting such good reviews everywhere I might just have to try it.

  10. The retreat looks wonderful! How great to spend time away, even if you can’t do much connecting to the Internet.

    I have been blogging with the Block Editor and alternately cursing it…and settling into it, depending on the day and what I’m doing.

    Have a great week, and thanks for sharing. Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

    • Thank you, Laurel – and I’m glad someone else is having the same mixed feelings about Block Editor! It’s so annoying that some fundamentals I used to rely on have just vanished! Even though there are a lot of other pluses that I’m getting to enjoy using…

      The retreat was a joy – and to be honest, not having the internet was actually a major boon, given that I really wanted to tuck into the writing. Have a great week, Laurel:)

  11. Good to see you here! You picked some good books to read. Everyone I know is talking about the Deadly book. 🙂

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