Sunday Post – 10th January, 2021 #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 an unexpectedly busy week. On Tuesday we were supposed to be doing the handover of the grandsons, when my daughter got in touch to say that she was running a temperature and covered in a rash. So I said we’d keep the boys until she felt well enough and knew it wasn’t COVID. They stayed with us until Friday, which was an unexpected treat. We were able to take them for walks on the beach and play games, in between Frank’s online lessons. We even managed to play a hilarious game of Playdohionary (like Pictionary, but using Playdoh instead) and I taught Frank knockout whist. The pictures are from our walk on the beach last Thursday when the weather was glorious for the time of year, without a breath of wind…

On Saturday, I spent the morning working on my father-in-law’s memoirs – we worked on a document together using Shared Docs in OneDrive, which made the whole process so much easier. And then I caught up with writing some of my end of year blogs. As you may have gathered, not much writing of Trouble With Dwarves got done – but hopefully I can get back to work in the coming week.

Last week I read:

Black Sun – Book 1 of Between Earth and Sky series by Rebecca Roanhorse
A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
This was a thoroughly entertaining epic fantasy that hit all the main tropes within the genre – with one stunning exception… it’s set in a civilisation based on pre-Columbian America. That gave it a verve and freshness that was very welcome. Review to follow.

Nikoles – Book 2 of the Tuyo series by Rachel Neumeier
For generations the Ugaro of the winter country have traded peacefully with the Lau of the summer lands. But now a fatal mistake has created bitterness and hatred on both sides of the river, threatening to destroy a peace that has become tenuous.

Nikoles Ianan realizes, too late, that he should have prevented his own people’s unforgivable trespass – he should at least have tried. Now it seems impossible for a single Lau soldier to do anything to prevent the escalating tragedy … until the most famous scepter-holder of the summer country arrives.
I loved TUYO, the first book in this series – see my review – which has made my Outstanding Reads of 2020 list. So I picked this one up with huge anticipation. While it didn’t quite hit the heights of the first book, it nonetheless proved to be a gripping read and a very welcome addition to this classy fantasy series. Review to follow.

DNF – The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell
As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?

Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.

But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back…
This is one that I couldn’t get through, despite being very well written and the plotting and characters are beautifully portrayed. But… I had somehow assumed that Agnes would be one of those blithe, crinolined heroines who is full of derring-do, and undaunted by anything. She isn’t – this is a whole lot darker and more sombre and I simply couldn’t cope with the more serious tone. So I’m featuring it as there is no criticism of the writing, just the wrong book at the wrong time…

My posts last week:

December 2020 Roundup: Reading, Writing and Blogging…

Friday Face-off featuring The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Bear Head – Book 2 of the Dogs of War series by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring The Night Parade of 100 Demons – a Legend of the Five Rings novel by Marie Brennan

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Inherit the Shoes – a Jersey Girl Legal Mysery series by E.J. Copperman

Six Favourite Heroes from my 2020 Reading List

Sunday Post – 3rd January 2021

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

The Art of Recycling https://masonsmenagerie.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/the-art-of-recycling/ I loved the blend of art, poetry and practical tips in a post that manages not to be preachy about this issue…

Thursday Doors – the first of 2021 https://jeanreinhardt.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/thursday-doors-first-of-2021/ Regular visitors will know that I make a habit of featuring this quirky weekly post of Jean’s that shows her talent for the unusual and visually arresting…

Escapist Landscapes – Pt 1 https://cindyknoke.com/2020/12/12/escapist-landscapes-pt-1/ And if you are in the mood for more wonderful places to gaze at, then you’ve come to the right place…

Hoping for Snow https://platformnumber4.com/2020/12/18/hoping-for-snow/ I absolutely loved this article – Becky has a way of bringing the past alive…

THE CONFESSIONS TAG https://spaceandsorcery.wordpress.com/2021/01/05/the-confessions-tag/ We are all accustomed to sharing our reads in a variety of book blogging tags – but what about the books we didn’t read/passed over/plain disliked?

Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog. I hope you had a peaceful, healthy week – and do take care. x

52 responses »

    • Thank you, Laurel – yes, I wanted to feature The Shape of Darkness, as I felt bad at not being able to continue with it. It wasn’t the fault of the book… I hope you have a great week, too!

  1. I envy you for your time with your gandkids. We can´t have that here in Germany since we are only allowed to have the people of one household plus only one other together in one place. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. Love to look at them. Happy reading and stay safe and well.

    • We wouldn’t normally be able to spend so much time with them – but we are part of my daughter’s support bubble, which is why we get to see them and have them stay over.

      I hope you too have a safe, happy week, Vi:)).

    • She is feeling a lot better. And I should have said – and didn’t! – that she didn’t have COVID…

      It was such a bonus to have a beautiful sunny day right in the middle of winter:)). The boys both got their shoes wet, mucking about down by the sea, but I really didn’t care. It was lovely to see them tussling and laughing together…

  2. That’s nice you had the grandkids for a few extra days and those pictures look great. Looks like you caught a nice day for your walk. I hope you’ll have a good week!

  3. I’m sorry your daughter was sick, but I’m glad you got to enjoy your grandchildren for a bit longer. What a lovely walk. And Playdohionary sounds like we great fun. We grownups love Pictionary here, and I bet we’d love that, too.

    Book two of a series always seems to have less action, but I bet the next book in the Tuyo series will pick up.

    I’m going to checkout the Confessions Tag. That sounds interesting.

    • I made Playdohionary up – each player has a tub of playdoh in front of them and draws out a slip of paper with something to make – a tree, or house, or flower… and has a minute to make it, while everyone tries to guess what it is! It’s great fun…

      Nikoles was still a really good read – TUYO made my Outstanding Reads list, so the second book had a hill to climb, but you’re right, they often are a change in pace before the third gathers momentum, again. I hope you enjoyed the Confessions Tag, Deb. And I look forward to catching up with you tomorrow.

    • Yes! I am hoping to get my own Confession Tag written – I just need to finish catching up with the end of year posts… I was horribly behind this time around! And we are very blessed having such a lovely beach close by.

  4. Having the grand kids in such an unexpected way was such a treat! Even if of course I feel sorry for your daughter who was unwell! Stay safe and have a good week, all things considered.

    • Oh yes, it was a treat, Sophie! I’m very aware so many grandparents haven’t seen their grandchildren in such a long time, so we are blessed. I hope you have had a good week and look forward to catching up with you tomorrow:)

  5. SJ, what an unexpectant joy to have your grandchildren to stay for longer, but I do hope your daughter makes a full recovery soon and that it doesn’t turn out to be Covid. ❤ I am also pleased to hear you have had time to work on your father-in-law’s memoirs and do some good reading, although sadly Laura Purcell’s The Shape of Darkness was not right for your mood, maybe another time when things are cheerier. Take care and happy reading! 😃

    • Thank you, Jessica. No, she was able to have that instant test on Friday, which confirmed what she already had guessed – that it wasn’t COVID, as the symptoms simply didn’t line up. But it was great that she had access to the test. I hope you, too, have a peaceful week!

  6. So glad you were able to take your grandsons to the beach and to play games with them. Over Christmas one of my daughters found an app to play pictionary on our phones using our fingers to draw. It was hilarious and fun and started out with quite easy words to draw which helped us all immensely!

    It’s great you’re helping your father-in-law write his memoir. I’m glad to know The Shape of Darkness is darker than you expected. I had thought of getting it, but think I will pass for now.

    Have a good week and hope you get to read some more good books!

    • The Pictionary app sounds like fun! Maybe we’ll get it when the grandchildren stay over, again… Thank you for the recommendation!

      Yes, The Shape of Darkness is a powerful read, but quite sombre in a gothic, rather doomy way…

      And thankfully, I’ve a number of enjoyable reads lined up, so I won’t run short of books:)). I hope you have a peaceful week with plenty of books to tuck into, Jan.

  7. The pictures of your walk are lovely, glad you are enjoyed some mild weather that made it possible. We have kept our grandkids in our bubble since their parents are essential workers and needed our help with their care/school, it has been a blessing for sure. Enjoy your week.

    • Oh yes – at times it is very hard work, but I feel so blessed that we get a chance to see our grandchildren when so many others just don’t. Have a great week, Nise.

  8. So glad you had such a lovely time with your grandchildren. Unexpected blessings are the best ones! Your pictures are lovely. We are still not allowed on the beach and it’s still the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

    I agree full heartedly, you can pick up the right book, but read it at the wrong time. I also don’t feel like anything heavy or depressing or dark and morbid at this stage. I suspect this will be my year of cozy mysteries!

    Have a good week Sarah and take care of yourself.

    • Thank you, Mareli – oh I fully agree with you over the idiocy of not allowing you on the beach! What nano-brain thought THAT would stop COVID in its tracks??? It’s lovely with the breeze blowing and there’s plenty of space to avoid people. We aren’t allowed to sit on the beach (though why anyone would want to during the middle of our winter beats me) but you can walk, ride, or play a game of ball down on the sands if the tide is right. It’s just the best place to be!

      And yes – I felt sorry about the book, but right now I want upbeat and escapism. Cosy mysteries are going to a favourite of mine, too! I hope your week is a peaceful, healthy one:))

  9. I love the beach pictures, especially the shells. Nice that you were able to have them longer, even if the circumstances weren’t the best. I love the look of the Roanhorse book – I’ve been hearing great things about that author, so on the TBR list she goes!

    Hope you had a nice weekend and be well this week! 🙂

    • Thank you, Greg – the shells are great, aren’t they? It was a collection of slipper limpets all heaped together in the middle of the shingle…

      Oh yes – if you enjoy epic fantasy with a bit of a difference, I highly recommend Black Sun. And I hope you have a peaceful, healthy week, too:)).

    • I really hope you enjoy it, too, Shelleyrae – I want to emphasise that there is nothing wrong with the writing, which is extremely good. I just couldn’t cope with the downbeat tone…

      And yes, my daughter is feeling better – but you’re right, any time spent with the grandchildren during these tricky times is a privilege and a joy… I hope you, too, have a great reading week.

    • Thank you, Wanda – yes, we had a lovely time. No – my daughter was tested on the Friday and it was confirmed she doesn’t have COVID. Have a great week, Wanda:))

  10. I see from comments upthread that your daughter is okay, and I’m so glad! It’s nice that you got to spend time with the grandkids though. 🙂

  11. I am glad you were able to get some extra time with your grandsons, although I was sorry to hear your daughter was ill. Isn’t the shared document feature wonderful? It’s come in handy for me as well. I am sorry The Shape of Darkness didn’t work for you, but I understand how timing can be everything for a book. That has happened to me before as well. I hope you have a great week, Sarah.

    • Thank you, Wendy. Yes… I think timing is often really vital when picking up a book and I’m trying to be a lot more mindful about the state of mind I’m in when getting to books – especially arcs… I hope you, too, have a wonderful week:)

  12. Oh no – the Laura Purcell DNF – that’s one of my forthcoming books. Good to know about how dark it is in advance, (although I kind of expect that from this author). You do have to be in the right mood sometimes for certain books and I know from experience how the past year has affected my own concentration.
    Lynn 😀

    • Ah you have the advantage of me – I hadn’t read this author before, so was expecting something rather blithe and funny. Which wasn’t remotely what I got! It’s why I chose to feature it – which I don’t generally do with DNFs – because the writing was excellent and the fault was with my expectations, rather than the author’s work.

  13. How cool you’ve been working on a memoir! I’ve a distant cousin who’s been compiling a lot of neat family history, and somewhere we have the records Bo’s father was gathering about family, too. Hopefully we can dig them out someday and go exploring. Apparently we have some family in Australia we need to meet someday!

    • Yes, it is helping to keep my father-in-law positive and his mind away from the cancer he is battling. So anything I can do to help is a real bonus. And he is a really interesting chap who has done some unusual things in his life.

      But how exciting to find you have Australian relations! And yes – visiting them in the future would be a marvellous project to work on….

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