This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.
A very Happy New Year to everyone! I’m conscious I’ve been AWOL over the Christmas break. We had planned to have a quiet Christmas with just Himself, my sister and me. But because of the introduction of the Tier system, my daughter and grandchildren were unable to spend the Christmas break with their other grandparents. And that meant we were buzzing around like blue-bottomed flies trying to organise a Christmas Day suitable for seven, with the youngest being two, instead of the low-key, relaxed affair we’d been expecting. We managed it and everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, which is the important bit.
And we’ve also had the grandchildren to stay since then, this time around, it’s included little Eliza, who has never stayed overnight with us before. It is always full-on when there is a lively toddler in the house – but she is an absolute poppet, very even tempered and coped well without her mother.
Last week I read:
Doors of Sleep by Tim Pratt
Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality. He has no control over his destination and never knows what he will see when he opens his eyes. Sometimes he wakes up in technological utopias, and other times in the bombed-out ruins of collapsed civilizations. All he has to live by are his wits and the small aides he has picked up along the way – technological advantages from techno-utopias, sedatives to escape dangerous worlds, and stimulants to extend his stay in pleasant ones.
Thankfully, Zax isn’t always alone. He can take people with him, if they’re unconscious in his arms when he falls asleep. But someone unwelcome is on his tail, and they are after something that Zax cannot spare – the blood running through his veins, the power to travel through worlds…
This multiverse adventure is great fun and while the narrative is fairly straightforward – what sets this apart is the sheer variety and originality of alll those worlds poor old Zax ends up visiting. Review to follow.
Shadow in the Empire of Light by Jane Routley
Shine’s life is usually dull: an orphan without magic in a family of powerful mages, she’s left to run the family estate with only an eccentric aunt and telepathic cat for company. But when the family descend on the house for the annual Fertility Festival, Shine is plunged into intrigue; stolen letters, a fugitive spy and family drama mix with an unexpected murder, and Shine is forced to decide both her loyalties and future…
I’d seen a number of critical reviews for this one – but it turned out to be a delightful surprise, despite a couple of rather steamy sex scenes. However, I loved the character, the worldbuilding and the plotting. Review to follow.
Spirited by Julie Cohen
Viola has an impossible talent. Searching for meaning in her grief, she uses her photography to feel closer to her late father, taking solace from the skills he taught her – and to keep her distance from her husband. But her pictures seem to capture things invisible to the eye. . .
Henriette is a celebrated spirit medium, carrying nothing but her secrets with her as she travels the country. When she meets Viola, a powerful connection is sparked between them – but Victorian society is no place for reckless women.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, invisible threads join Viola and Henriette to another woman who lives in secrecy, hiding her dangerous act of rebellion in plain sight.
Faith. Courage. Love. What will they risk for freedom?
This love story teeters on the edge of sentimentality – but there is an underlying core of grittiness that prevents it from descending into mush, thank goodness. That said, it is well written, the characters ping off the page and the ending worked well. Review to follow.
I Shall Wear Midnight – Book 4 of the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett
It starts with whispers.
Then someone picks up a stone.
Finally, the fires begin.
When people turn on witches, the innocents suffer. . .
Tiffany Aching has spent years studying with senior witches, and now she is on her own. As the witch of the Chalk, she performs the bits of witchcraft that aren’t sparkly, aren’t fun, don’t involve any kind of wand, and that people seldom ever hear about: She does the unglamorous work of caring for the needy.
But someone or something is igniting fear, inculcating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Aided by her tiny blue allies, the Wee Free Men, Tiffany must find the source of this unrest and defeat the evil at its root before it takes her life. Because if Tiffany falls, the whole Chalk falls with her.
This is an utter joy. I laughed and wept with this one, as I listened while rushing around getting the house toddler-proofed and cranking Christmas up several gears to give the grandchildren a worthwhile day to remember. Review to follow.
My posts last week:
Friday Face-off featuring The One by John Marrs
Six Favourite Heroines from my 2020 Reading List
Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring Black Sun – Book 1 of Between Earth and Sky series by Rebecca Roanhorse
Review of AUDIOBOOK Charlotte Sometimes – Book 3 of the Aviary Hall series by Penelope Farmer
Covet the Covers featuring Mary Robinette Kowal
Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:
Grateful for a New Year, One Writer Plots New Goals With Old Stories And Old Friends https://jeanleesworld.com/2021/01/01/grateful-for-a-newyear-one-writer-plots-newgoals-with-oldstories-and-oldfriends/ This post both inspired me and had me in tears…
Reading Bingo 2020 https://rathertoofondofbooks.com/2020/12/31/reading-bingo-2020/ I love this time of year when I get to see what books stood out for my fellow readers – and this is such an entertaining way of doing it. I was also delighted and surprised to see that a certain dragon made an appearance…
Writers – Feed Your Brain https://aurorajalexander.wordpress.com/2020/12/17/writers-feed-your-brain/ It’s not only writers whose brains need jump-starting at this time of the year – I think we all need to sharpen up a bit, after all the food and drink we’ve been consuming and quaffing…
Tuesday Teaser https://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/tuesday-teaser-82/ My lovely reading buddy, Rae, summed up in this specific quote about happiness what made last year so uniquely horrible, worldwide…
Best Books of 2020 https://booksbonesbuffy.com/2020/12/29/best-books-of-2020/ Many book bloggers post articles highlighting their best reads of the year (I haven’t got around to mine, yet – but there will be one!). However, I’ve yet to read one that is as comprehensive…
Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog. I hope you had a peaceful, happy holiday – and whatever is going on in your life, let’s hope 2021 is MUCH better than 2020! Take care. x
WEEE I made the cut! And yowza, what a Christmas. The quiet ones are always nice, but a little chaos with grands never hurts either, right? Plus your sister gets to see the littles, too, and there’s plenty of turns that can be taken in keeping a toddler occupied. 🙂 Your grands are very blessed to have you and Himself for an adventurous Christmas holiday, Sarah xxxxxxxxxx
Well of course you made the cut – when you write like that, how could you not???
Thank you – yes, we did all have fun and yes, it was great that Himself was around enough so we could spell each other. And I have to say – they are all a total joy, anyway:)).
Oh, it was tough to write, one of those things I couldn’t not write, you know? As for fun, there’s a few Christmas things we didn’t get to yet, like the Raymond Briggs’ Snowman board game, but Epiphany hasn’t occurred yet, so we’ve got time for a few more shenanigans. I hope you get a chance to relax soon! xxxxxxx
I can understand that it must have been a difficult, draining post to write… And the Snowman board game sounds wonderful! As for relaxing… nope. Not remotely. We are now going to get some legal advice and see where we go from here…xxx
Understood. The fight isn’t over, but you are not alone! xxxxx
Thank you for the shout out, Sarah😁 It sounds like you had a lovely Christmas! Here’s hoping 2021 winds up being a much better year for all😁
Oh, that would be marvellous – let’s hope that 2021 gives us all a break! And I thought your roundup of your best reads was brilliantly done!
Sounds like a different Christmas than you got planned, but that’s great it all worked out and you had a great Christmas. Happy new year!
Thank you, Lola – let’s hope the coming year is MUCH better!
Our holidays were so relaxed compared to yours ! No, I didn’t say lazy (but thought it very loud). It seems like you had several good reads and am waiting to read your reviews. I’m glad your family gathering was so happy and warm 🙂 Happy new year and have a great week !
Thank you, Izabel… I think we all deserve to put our feet up for a bit, after the year we’ve had! And yes, it was great fun – but we were also a bit shattered, afterwards! I hope you, too, have a wonderful week:))
This was indeed the strangest (to be nice about it…) Christmas I can ever remember, but I’m glad that we all found the way to celebrate it while respecting the new rules: and from your pictures it look as if you enjoyed some very delightful holidays 🙂
Looking forward to your review for The Doors of Sleep: I’ve been curious about this one…
Thank you, Maddalena! It certainly felt very different… and yet I think we succeeded in giving the children a good time, which was the point of it:)).
Doors of Sleep and Spirited both sound tempting. Enjoy your upcoming week of reading, and I’m glad you had a good holiday with family.
Thanks for visiting my blog!
Thank you, Laurel – Doors of Sleep, in particular, was a really enjoyable, escapist read:)).
Sounds like you had a wonderful and special Christmas. Happy New Year to you too!
Sounds like a lovely holiday, Sarah. Happy and healthy new year to you and yours!
Thank you, Becky – and a very Happy and Peaceful New Year to you and yours, too!
Thanks for the pingback!
So often celebrations which like Topsy in GWTW, “just grow.” and they are the best! There is a lot to be said for Spontaneity!
Oh, you’re very welcome regarding the pingback – I thought it absolutely bang on the nose as to what has been unfolding across the world this last year.
And you’re right – while it was a bit of a scramble, it all paid off as I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
I miss a house full of family for the holidays. Thanks for sharing your photos. Sounds like a wonderful time together. Happy New Year, Sarah!
It sounds like you had a great holiday!
All of your books look wonderful!
Thank you, Erin – the books were all entertaining reads, which is just what we need right now. I hope you have a lovely, book-filled week, too:))
Happy New Year! It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. Love the photos. Here’s hoping 2021 is a much better year!
Happy New Year to you too, SJ! 🎆 I am so pleased you were able to enjoy a fun, if a little hectic, Christmas with your family and still squeezed some really good reading – Particularly pleased to hear you enjoyed I Shall Wear Midnight so much, as I love Pratchett’s Discworld books but haven’t tried any of the Tiffany Aching books… yet! 😃
Thank you, Jessica! Yes, we were so lucky to see the ones we love at Christmas and celebrate with them. And oh yes – if you haven’t had the pleasure of the Tiffany Aching books, I highly recommend them – they are an utter joy.
I’m so happy you had a wonderful Christmas holiday with family. Happy New Year!
Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
Thank you, Anne:)). I hope 2021 is a great year for all of us!
Well I am happy that you had a good Christmas! It was very low key for us. Have a great week!
Thank you, Sophie – we were looking forward to a low key Christmas, but I’m glad it was full and busy, after all! Have a great week:)
Glad you had a nice Christmas and were able to accommodate your family! Happy New year!
Thank you, Samantha! I hope the coming week back in the thick of things is a good one…
I haven’t read much about the Tier system but it sounds like rather than telling everyone to not meet, UK is trying to ensure you meet within a support system. In a way, that’s what many schools are doing too – the same group of students stay together through the day. Policies like that would do better, I guess. It would be nice to build a social circle that way. Anyways, I’m probably stretching the idea beyond what it really is.
Love the sound of your Christmas break! All that cozy family connection – I love, love, love. That’s really what everyone of us needs. Hope you have a great week!
You’re right, Athira – I think that’s exactly what the Govt is trying to do. It does mean it’s quite complicated. We are a support bubble for my sister, because she lives on her own; and for my daughter, because she is a single parent and we help with childcare. They are the only family members we can visit, or can visit us.
Yes, Christmas was great fun and I am aware that we are very lucky to be in such close contact with the children. I hope you have a lovely week, too!
I thought you must be busy, but you have been missed. Glad you got to enjoy time with your family. What a treat to have your grandchildren stay over. Great word—poppet!
Terry Pratchett is an author I didn’t discover until a few years ago. How did I miss him? He always makes me laugh. I’m happy to see you enjoyed this book.
I don’t know anything about Reading Bingo. I’ll have to take a look at that.
I look forward to seeing your best books list for 2020.
Thank you, Deb. So glad you, too, are a Terry Pratchett fan – and if you haven’t yet encountered his Tiffany Aching series, I highly recommend it. I think it’s some of his best writing, ever…
Oh that’s nice- I’m so glad you had a nice Christmas, even if you had to scramble a bit! And time spent with the little ones is always good. 🙂
Hope you have a great week ahead 🙂
Thank you, Greg – yes, I’m very grateful that we are able to stay so closely in touch with our grandchildren when so many other grandparents are unable to do so. I hope you, too, have a lovely week.
Aaaah you had some great reads! Spirited and Shadow in the Empire of Light caught my eye.
Your Christmas seems delightful! I’ve missed you on the blogosphere.
Happy New Year and good luck with all your endeavours!
Have a good week Sarah.
Lots of Love,
Thank you so much for your kind message, Mareli – I’ve missed everyone here, too! A Happy New Year to you and I hope you have a lovely week – despite the grim news coming out of South Africa…
Sounds like a very busy holiday. Just look at the smiles in those photos! Happy New Year!
Thank you, SJ. Yes, it was a good day:)).
Happy New Year, Sarah! I’m glad to hear you had such a lovely Christmas in spite of the pandemic. Wishing you all the best in 2021. 🙂
Thank you, Suzanne – I hope that you, too, have a great 2021:)).
What a wonderful Christmas surprise and how fun to have the grandkids staying with you. Some of my very favorite childhood memories involve staying at my grandparents’ house. I hope you have a wonderful week!
Thank you, Katherine:). I hope in years to come they all look back with affection at the times they have spent with us. They have enriched our lives so much…
Looks and sounds like you had a fantastic Christmas and I also took a break so just now catching up.
Happy New Year.
And a very Happy New Year to you, too, Lynn! Let’s hope the coming year is a kinder one…