Sunday Post – 18th April, 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 a long, miserable week. Until yesterday when the sun came out. My daughter and her family moved house a couple of weeks ago. This time around, we weren’t there to help – in fact I’ve only seen them twice since Christmas and we’re part of their support bubble. But yesterday, she drove over to pick me up, and organised for me to spend part of the day with them, before she dropped me back again. Unfortunately half the country decided they wanted to visit the Littlehampton/Brighton area yesterday so the roads were clogged solid and the journey took over two hours and would have been longer if she hadn’t gone across country. It was wonderful to see the children again, catch up with them all and be shown over the house. They now have a bedroom each and the house is lovely and bright with a real homely feeling. I can now visualise where they are…

Before I went, I hadn’t appreciated just how very down I’d become. After all, I didn’t cry, and though it took some effort and a lot of books – I wasn’t feeling utterly miserable. But that shot of absolute joy on seeing the family again felt like waking up. So this morning we went for a walk along the beach – just a short one, as we don’t have much stamina yet. But it was lovely to get out again!

The photos this week are of our little walk along the beach.

Last week I read:
Traitor’s Blade – Book 1 of the Greatcoats series by Sebastien de Castell
Falcio is the first Cantor of the Greatcoats. Trained in the fighting arts and the laws of Tristia, the Greatcoats are travelling Magisters upholding King’s Law. They are heroes. Or at least they were, until they stood aside while the Dukes took the kingdom, and impaled their King’s head on a spike.

Now Tristia is on the verge of collapse and the barbarians are sniffing at the borders. The Dukes bring chaos to the land, while the Greatcoats are scattered far and wide, reviled as traitors, their legendary coats in tatters. All they have left are the promises they made to King Paelis, to carry out one final mission. But if they have any hope of fulfilling the King’s dream, the divided Greatcoats must reunite, or they will also have to stand aside as they watch their world burn…
This is an engaging and action-packed swords and sorcery adventure that packs an emotional punch. It kept me turning the pages to the end, with plenty of surprises along the way. Mini-review to follow.

The Royal Secret – Book 5 of the Marwood and Lovett series by Andrew Taylor
Two young girls plot a murder by witchcraft. Soon afterwards a government clerk dies painfully in mysterious circumstances. His colleague James Marwood is asked to investigate – but the task brings unexpected dangers.

Meanwhile, architect Cat Hakesby is working for a merchant who lives on Slaughter Street, where the air smells of blood and a captive Barbary lion prowls the stables. Then a prestigious new commission arrives. Cat must design a Poultry House for the woman that the King loves most in all the world.

Unbeknownst to all, at the heart of this lies a royal secret so explosive that it could not only rip apart England but change the entire face of Europe…
This series continues to go from strength to strength. Taylor’s ability to weave real life events into the affairs of his fictional protagonists, James and Cat, is impressive. His depiction of the historical period is masterly and gives a vivid backdrop to the engrossing action that left me slightly reeling by the end. Review to follow.

The Daydreamer Detective – Book 1 of the Miso Cosy Mysteries by Steph Gennaro aka S.J. Pajonas
Mei Yamagawa is out of luck and out of money. After five years in Tokyo, she has little to show for it besides a laundry list of unrealized dreams. Left without a choice, she returns to her rural Japanese hometown, ready to be branded a failure by her relatives and rivals. At the least, she looks forward to seeing her best friend, until Akiko is accused of murdering her own father.

As Mei helps her farmer mother with the crops, she scouts for clues to clear her friend’s name. But during her investigation, she can’t help but notice the celebrity chef looking in her direction. The amateur detective can balance a new love interest and a murder case… can’t she?
I thoroughly enjoyed this charming murder mystery, as poor Mei finds herself having to admit defeat and return home to her mother. I’m sure many young people these days are finding themselves in the same miserable position. But this is also set in Japan, so there is a different slant on family life, and the investigation which was enjoyable to read. Review to follow.

AUDIOBOOK The House of Hades – Book 4 of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
Hazel stands at a crossroads. She and the remaining crew of the Argo II could return home with the Athena Parthenos statue and try to stop Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter from going to war. Or they could continue their quest to find the House of Hades, where they might be able to open the Doors of Death, rescue their friends Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus, and prevent monsters from being reincarnated in the mortal world. Whichever road they decide to take, they have to hurry, because time is running out. Gaea, the bloodthirsty Earth Mother, has set the date of August 1 for her rise to power.

Annabeth and Percy are overwhelmed. How will the two of them make it through Tartarus? Starving, thirsty, and in pain, they are barely able to stumble on in the dark and poisonous landscape that holds new horrors at every turn. They have no way of locating the Doors of Death. Even if they did, a legion of Gaea’s strongest monsters guards the Doors on the Tartarus side. Annabeth and Percy can’t exactly launch a frontal assault.

Despite the terrible odds, Hazel, Annabeth, Percy, and the other demigods of the prophecy know that there is only one choice: to attempt the impossible. Not just for themselves, but for everyone they love. Even though love can be the riskiest choice of all.
This book takes our plucky protagonists into some very dark places indeed. And yet, Riordan’s adroit use of humour, without minimising or disrespecting their evident ordeal, managed to allow me to listen to this without finding it unbearable. I shall really miss this series, once I’ve finished it. Review to follow.

Southern Spirits – Book 1 of the Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries by Angie Fox
When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn’t above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?
I like Fox’s upbeat, quirky writing style – and this ghostly murder mystery with a splash of romance was an entertaining read with some real creepy moments and a very satisfying ending. Review to follow.

A Murder at Rosings by Annette Purdey Pugh
When Mr Collins is found stabbed to death in Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s garden, simmering tensions are revealed beneath the elegant Regency surface of the Rosings estate.

The prime suspect is Mr Bennet, who was overheard arguing with Mr Collins over the entail of Longbourn in the days before the murder was committed, and who stands to benefit more than anyone from the Rector’s death.
I’ve omitted the final paragraph in the blurb, which is completely wrong and led me to expect something quite different from what I got. And this clever, enjoyable story set in Jane Austen’s Regency England deserves better than that. Overall, this is classy murder mystery that very much impressed me and I look forward to reading more from this promising writing. Review to follow.

The Case of the Dragon-Bone Engine – Book 1 of the Royal Investigative Service by Galadriel Coffeen
Dynamite couldn’t cause such a big explosion. It must be something worse, Agent Beka Finley is sure of it. As she and her partner investigate the devastating train crash, she’s convinced the train was sabotaged. But everyone seems bent on persuading her it was an accident. Just like the crash that killed her father six years ago.

Determined to protect more lives from the growing unrest between humans and fairies, Beka puts her own life and reputation on the line to find the truth. But that truth might lead to more questions than answers.
This is the industrial revolution played out in a fantasy version of the early Victorian period where fairies live alongside humans, and sell their magical abilities to the factory owners for a pittance. Though Agents Finley and Donovan are more concerned with the catastrophic explosion that has ripped through a new dragon-bone train… I thoroughly enjoyed this difference spin on a period of history I know very well. And the bonus is that the book has a number of beautiful pen and ink drawings executed by the clearly talented author in the style of the period. Review to follow.

Empire of Sand – Book 1 of the Books of Ambha by Tash Suri
The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda. Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…
I acquired this offering as it is on sale – and very good value it has proved to be. I’m always a sucker for a well-told tale of sand and sorcery. Mehr’s journey is full of drama and emotion, and the world she creates along with the magic system, is vivid and enjoyable. Very highly recommended.

My posts last week:

Castellan the Black and His Wise Draconic Sayings

Review of Aftermath – Book 5 of the Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre

Friday Face-off featuring The Mirror and the Light – Book 3 of the Thomas Cromwell series by Hilary Mantel

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

Can’t-Wait Wednesday featuring The Recollection: Tenth Anniversary edition by Gareth L. Powell

Tuesday Treasures – 32

Review of INDIE Ebook Mistaken Identity Crisis – Book 4of the Braxton Campus Mysteries by James J. Cudney

Sunday Post – 11th April, 2021

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

Music and the Art Show – Part 2 https://jenniefitzkee.com/2021/04/08/the-art-show-part-2/
The biggest problem for teachers is to inspire children to be fearless in their creativity. In our modern world, they never get a chance to see ‘works in progress’. They only ever see the shiny, flawless, final effort and particularly as they get older, they are aware that what they produce can’t possibly rival that – so they often give up before they even get going. Unless they met up with a wonderful teacher like Jennie when they were younger, who inspired them to have a go…

Review: Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses and Heroes Handbook by Liv Albert https://bookfever11.com/2021/04/15/review-greek-mythology-the-gods-goddesses-and-heroes-handbook-by-liv-albert/ I don’t usually include book reviews – but this one by Stephanie at Bookfever went to the trouble of including some of the illustrations and the accompanying text. I realised that it is ideal for those youngsters studying Classical History, as it also references popular films and points out where they have altered the story from the original – so helpful!

Shiver Me Timbers! The 2021 Hugo Finalists – Part One
https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/shiver-me-timbers-the-2021-hugo-finalists-part-one/ I’ve grown to trust and respect the Cap’s quirky approach to book reviews – and found this overview of the Hugo Finalists both informative and helpful.

The USS Lexington: Aircraft Carrier AND Temporary Power Plant https://thenaptimeauthor.wordpress.com/2021/04/09/the-uss-lexington-aircraft-carrier-and-temporary-power-plant/ Anne has documented a fascinating account of this aircraft carrier’s unusual history – along with some wonderful photos.

Hamlet: Character Analysis List https://interestingliterature.com/2021/04/hamlet-character-list-analysis/ Whether you agree with character summaries or not – it’s is often handy to get a handle on the main protagonists in a complicated and long play before you go to see it. And that is particularly applicable to Shakespeare’s plays…

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

61 responses »

  1. I’m glad you were able to get out, the beach looks lovely😁 I cannot fathom how anyone can read eight books in one week! I am feeling very inadequate at the moment, lol. Hope your week is good and that you continue to feel better😁

    • Oh please don’t feel inadequate – I’ve been reading like a fiend. Sometimes through the night when I can’t sleep and I don’t want to think… And thank you for your kind good wishes and I’m hoping for a much better week, too:)).

  2. I can relate to that feeling of sheer joy that comes with finally seeing family members! I experienced that with my youngest son this week.

    I am glad you are feeling better and getting out to walk.

    Your books look good…I like the look of The Daydreamer Detective.

    Enjoy your week!

    • Thank you, Laurel – it was marvellous seeing the family again. Like coming back to life again… And yes, having a walk on the beach was a real treat, too.

      And yes – The Daydreamer Detective was an enjoyable, engaging read:)). I hope your week is also a lovely one, Laurel.

  3. They are big smiles you are both wearing 🙂 I’m glad you were able to spend some time with your family.

    The premise of The Case of the Dragon-Bone Engine interest me. I don’t seem to have the opportunity to read much fantasy lately.

    Wishing you a great reading week

    • Thank you, Shelleyrae. It was lovely to get onto the sand once more. But even better to see the family again!

      The Case of the Dragon-Bone Engine was great fun. The world was vividly described and unusually for a kindle – the illustrations worked well. I hope you, too, have a lovely reading week:)).

  4. That’s awesome you got to visit with your family and had a short walk on the beach as well. I hope you continue to recover well. I am excited to see you read The Daydreamer Detective. I really enjoyed that series. Have a great week!

  5. I’m so glad you were able to get to see the family and new house. That’s how I’ve felt this year with my back/hip/leg issues. Just being able to do a bit more is so brightening. I hope to walk a bit this week. The lack of stamina and ability to do some things is a drastic change in my usual activities really. Here’s hoping we are both on the mend.

    • Thank you, Anne! Yes, I was so delighted to hear that you were more active. And both of us on a solid path to recovery gets my vote! Have an even better week:)).

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Yvonne:)). I feel more like my old self again – I’d come out of the illness feeling a bit numb and flattened. And seeing the family again has turned the monochrome into technicolour…

      I hope that you, too, have a lovely week:))

  6. I can certainly sympathise with how low you can get being stuck inside, poorly and not able to see family or friends. I am so glad you are feeling better and were able to visit your daughter’s family and their new home. Also lots of books read too! Take care and more happy reading in the coming week. 😊

    • Thank you, Jessica. Yes… I hadn’t appreciated just how low spirited I was getting – until I stepped back into the sunshine. It was so lovely to see them all again and be back fully in touch.

      Yes, I’m hoping to ease up on the reading in the coming week and get more writing done:)).

  7. It is amazing how restorative seeing family can be right now. And being at the beach too. I can’t think of a better place to be than by the seaside.

    • Oh yes, seeing the family again lit up my soul. And while I’m aware I still have a way to go before I’m fully back on my feet – I no longer feel numb and a bit defeated, which is so important.

      We are very, very lucky to live so close to the beach – it means we can nip along for a quick wander and don’t feel obliged to have to stay any longer than necessary.

      I hope you have a lovely week, Emma:)).

    • Thank you, Greg:). Yes, I am feeling a lot better, though I’m aware that neither of us are completely out of the woods yet. Yesterday, we were both shattered – though at least I didn’t have to retreat to bed and sleep through the day – so progress – yippee!

      And yes – many of my recent reads have been so enjoyable, which is why I rather binged on books last week…

  8. I am glad you were able to spend time with your daughter and grandkids, even if the trip was traffic filled. The roads around here have been busier with the nicer weather too. Everyone heading to the lake or Las Vegas for the weekends. It must have been so nice to see your family again.

    Your recent reads sound like they were good. I would like to try the Angie Fox series. The Case of the Dragon-Bone Engine interests me as well.

    I hope you have a great week, Sarah. Continue to rest!

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Wendy:)) It was wonderful seeing the family again – I knew I was missing them badly, but until I saw them all again, I hadn’t appreciated just how much. If that makes sense…

      I will definitely be reading more of the Angie Fox series. And yes – The Case of the Dragon-Bone Engine was a lovely read. I hope that you, too, have a wonderful week.

  9. Sarah, I’m so happy for you. It feels so good to see the kids!!! I agree with your reader about the amazing number of books you read. It blows my mind!

    • Thank you so much for your kind good wishes, Luanne. And yes, seeing my daughter and the children again was a wonderful lift for me.

      Yes… to be honest the fact that I got through that number of books in a week isn’t a good sign. It means I’m mentally running for the hills:))). And that I’m not writing enough!

      • I understand about the books, but even if I did nothing else I don’t think I could read that many books!!!! It must be a feeling of accomplishment. After reading so many I bet it’s clear which one or two stand out the most as being the ones that you most think about afterward.

      • Lol… no, I just feel a tad guilty that I spent quite so much time with my nose buried in a book:)). But then, I live alongside a REAL bookworm, who reads a crazy number of books a week. My husband is a train driver, who often has to wait for trains, or travel to another station to pick up his next drive. And he is never without his Kindle… He’ll easily read 2/3 books a day without breaking a sweat – as it’s also something he often does at home instead of watching TV. We both used to get ticked off at home for sneaking upstairs to read which we were children, which is I suppose why we don’t think of it as an achievement:))).

        But you’re right – it becomes apparent after a while which books stand out in my memory. Though that’s a process that takes a bit of time – and generally if I’m writing a review, I try to do that as quickly as possible before the ‘taste’ of the book fades:)).

      • I totally understand. I too used to spend a lot of time reading as a kid. I still have to have a book or kindle with me so I don’t get stuck without something to read. But after teaching English for a few years reading became less appealing, and after I retired it slow came back to me as something so important to me.

      • Yes! When I was bringing up my children I took a complete break for over 7 years reading for pleasure. While I read plenty of books to the children, I was so afraid of getting lost in a book while they were drowning in the bath – I simply didn’t pick one up! And after that, like you, it took me a while to return to reading for enjoyment – partly because at that stage, I started my teacher training course and had a hefty reading list of books anyway:)).

      • Oh yes! And I’m also very lucky to be living alongside someone who shares my passion for reading. My first husband didn’t – and was irritated when I got lost in a book…

  10. How nice that you were able to see your family again! My mom always asks me to send her a picture of our camper in our various campgrounds as we travel so she can imagine where we are, even though the camper is obviously always the same.

    I was getting pretty down in the dumps over the winter too but feel so much better since I’ve been making the effort to get out for a walk or a bike ride every day. The outdoors are so good for our mental health.

    Enjoy your week!

    • Thank you, Jen! Oh yes, it was lovely down at the beach yesterday and today the sun is shining and the wind has dropped so that is also lovely in the garden. I’ve popping in and out and loving the sunshine:)). You’re absolutely right about the outdoors being vital for our mental health.

      I hope you, too, have a great week:))

  11. I’m so happy that you were able to see your family and the grandchildren! I’ll bet they were thrilled to show their new home to you. That dull, down feeling sounds familiar- I’m so glad that you had a chance to shake it off for a bit with family and time outside.
    The idea of a murder mystery with Mr. Collins as the victim sounds fantastic- I think I will have to see if I can find that book for myself and my friend with whom I share all things Jane Austen!
    Thank you so much for the blog mention. Here’s to another week- I hope it’s a good one!

    • Thank you Anne – yes! Everyone was so eager to share what they’d been doing over the last couple of months since I’d seen them. And I couldn’t get over just how much little Eliza has changed – her speech is so clear! I felt as if I’ve had a shot of sunshine since seeing them. It’s given me a target… to go on improving so I can get well enough to have them stay over, again:)).

      Oh yes – Murder At Rosings is a delight. Netgalley informs me that it is due to be published on 17th June – but on checking with Amazon UK and Goodreads, I’ve discovered that it was released on 1st April. And it’s a very, very reasonable price!

    • Thank you, Suzanne. It felt as if the light had gone on, after sitting in the twilight – seeing everyone… Especially as there were times in March when I wondered if I’d ever see them again.

      And it was wonderful to finally get out for a short walk – we both appreciated it:)).

    • Thank you, Becky:)). I’m still dealing with the tiredness and some residual joint pain – but I don’t feel so overwhelmed and defeated by it, which I’m sure will help.

  12. So happy you got to see family! Thanks for all the book reviews this week–Murder at Rosings sounds quite fun!

  13. It takes a while to come back–not even to 100%…To be honest, I wonder if I’ll ever be all the way back to 100%–age gets in the way. Nothing like a downer, right? LOL

  14. Oh I’m so glad your week got better! And how lovely to see your daughter’s house and the grandkids. Love the beach photos and the smiles. Hope this week is going much better!

  15. I’m so glad to read you where able to visit your daughters place and see those grandbabies. You definitely deserve some joy after the weeks you’ve had. 😉
    Have a great week and happy reading.

    • Thank you so much, Maureen:)). It was lovely seeing them all – my eldest grandson is now 16, his younger brother is 11 and the little one is now 2. So they are all at very different stages – but I got such a wonderful welcome from them all:)).

      And yes… this week is MUCH better!

  16. Thanks for the shout out. I am so happy to see ye and Himself out and about. I took an impromptu walk today along a path I don’t normally use. It smelled so good! I couldn’t figure out what was blooming but the path was full of fresh green. Lovely. Hope this week is awesome. Well what is left of it.
    x The Captain

    • Thank you, Cap! Yes, we’re still not fully recovered, but seeing the family has helped me break away from the miserable torpor that gripped me after my illness. And yes – this time of year is also so uplifting with all the spring flowers and new leaves emerging:)).

  17. I’m so glad you got to see your family! I can only imagine how wiped out you’ve been from covid. It seems to hit people differently, sometimes easy and sometimes hard. I’m sorry to hear that it hit you guys with such fatigue. I’m glad you enjoyed The Daydreamer Detective! I didn’t expect that on my scroll through your weekly reads. 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  18. You and your husband look so happy. I am glad that you feel better. Here in Germany we are asked to not travel around the country, but we are way behind the actual vaccination plan. So, yes, I envy you *smile* Hope you could enjoy your walk and thank you for sharing the pictures.

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