This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books and blogs they have written.
Overall, it’s been a much better week. And thank you so much for all the kind, encouraging comments I received after my rather frustrated rant, last week. They really helped me bounce back to a place where everything doesn’t seem so hopeless😊. Himself and I had a chat about everything, and we realised that I do need to get out more, even if it is only a matter of walking a handful of steps and then returning home. So on Wednesday, Himself and I were able to visit the local garden centre and have a pizza, and on Thursday, we went for a short walk along the river and ended up at the riverside café for a coffee. During the afternoons, I’ve been following the events at Wimbledon – and feel rather smug at correctly predicting that Mateo Berrettini would be playing in the Men’s Final, after watching him play his first match at Queen’s, back in mid-June. The pics this week are more from the garden…
The other bright spot is the fabulous quality of the books I’ve read this week – they are a lifeline by taking me away to another time and place. And one, in particular, has been outstanding…
Last week I read:
Into the Dark – Book 1 of the Alexis Carew series by J.A. Sutherland
At fifteen, Alexis Carew has to face an age old problem – she’s a girl, and only a boy can inherit the family’s vast holdings. Her options are few.
She must marry and watch a stranger run the lands, or become a penniless tenant and see the lands she so dearly loves sold off. Yet there may be another option, one that involves becoming a midshipman on a shorthanded spaceship with no other women.
This is a reread. For some reason, I didn’t follow up this series after reading the first book, so I read this one again to ensure that my memory hadn’t played tricks on me and that I definitely wanted to continue reading Alexis’s adventures. Which I certainly do…
Hestia 2781 – Book 1 of the Draco Tell Dramis series by Janet Edwards
Hestia 2781 is the first of two full-length novels set immediately after the short story Hera 2781.
The year is 2781. Lieutenant Drago Tell Dramis’s first mission as a newly qualified fighter pilot ended with him and his team leader saving one of humanity’s oldest colony worlds, Hera, from destruction. Now he’s discovering that saving a world can be simple compared to living with the consequences.
Both Drago and his team leader and second cousin, Jaxon, are famous now, given rapid field promotions, and are due to be awarded medals. Worryingly, Drago learns Jaxon has a mysterious secret and a past history of erratic behaviour. It’s vital that Drago keeps both of them out of trouble and away from nosy reporters until the medal ceremony, because Jaxon could do or say something that deeply embarrasses both the Military and their Betan clan.
The Military is helping by sending their fighter team on a mission somewhere inconspicuously boring until the medal ceremony. That destination definitely won’t be Hestia, the perpetual trouble spot of humanity.
This series is a spinoff from Edwards’ very popular Earth Girl series and I highly recommend that you read the short story ‘Hera 2781’ before tucking into this one, as the events in that story impact on what happens in the book. As ever, I thoroughly enjoyed the upbeat vibe Edwards always manages create in her space opera adventures, and appreciated revisiting this complex, enjoyable world. Review to follow.
Mutineer – Book 2 of the Alexis Carew series by J.A. Sutherland
Just as Midshipman Alexis Carew thinks she’s found a place in the Royal Navy, she’s transferred aboard H.M.S. Hermione. Her captain is a tartar, liberal with the cat, who thinks girls have no place aboard ship.
The other midshipmen in the berth are no better. The only advice she’s offered is to keep her head down and mouth shut – things Alexis is rarely able to do.
This was another enjoyable, action-packed read – and a shocking one. This series is essentially Hornblower in Space – and vividly depicted the darker, more brutal side of the Senior Service, by showing what can happen when a sadistic brute ends up running a ship. Sutherland’s notes on the story discloses that many of the events were based on true events that happened on a particular ship. It made for a gripping read.
The Goblin Emperor – Book 1 of The Goblin Emperior series by Katherine Addison
Maia, the youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favour with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the spectre of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor.
And firstly – a grovelling apology… Someone last week had recommended this one, so I got hold of it and I just want to say – THANK YOU – I just wish I could remember who it was, so I can namecheck you! This wonderful, engrossing read is going to make my Outstanding Reads list of the year. And even better news – I’ve now managed to get hold of an arc of the upcoming sequel – yay!
De Oppresso Liber – Book 6 of the Hayden War Cycle series by Evan Currie
The war may be over, but the fighting continues as SOLCOM learns of an excursion by the Ross’El against an unaffiliated pre-space civilization in the no man’s land between Earth and the Alien Alliance. With always more questions than answers, SOLCOM dispatches a ship to quietly survey the situation and determine what, if any, course of action is best.
Captain Sorilla Aida and her team are the ground element assigned to the task, with the clear understanding that no matter what… they are to remain undetected by the alien overlords now controlling the moon world. Sorilla knows only one thing for certain as she learns more about the situation :
Oppression is universal, Freedom is never free… and this is EXACTLY what she trained for.
De Oppresso Liber…
I once more tucked into this military sci fi adventure series, which has been cleverly developed from the initial flashpoint into a well-rounded world, full of detail and political tensions. Sorilla Aida has also had an interesting journey – and I like how her previous adventures are now affecting her current decisions.
AUDIOBOOK – Prophecy – Book 2 of the Giordano Bruno series by S.J. Parris
A Tudor thriller featuring Giordano Bruno, renegade monk, philosopher and heretic, for fans of C. J. Sansom and The Name of the Rose
Autumn, 1583. Under Elizabeth’s rule, loyalty is bought with blood…
An astrological phenomenon heralds the dawn of a new age and Queen Elizabeth’s throne is in peril. As Mary Stuart’s supporters scheme to usurp the rightful monarch, a young maid of honour is murdered, occult symbols carved into her flesh.
The Queen’s spymaster, Francis Walsingham, calls on maverick agent Giordano Bruno to infiltrate the plotters and secure the evidence that will condemn them to death. Bruno is cunning, but so are his enemies. His identity could be exposed at any moment. The proof he seeks is within his grasp. But the young woman’s murder could point to an even more sinister truth…
Hm. Not sure about the comparison with The Name of the Rose – but this one certainly helped me cope with my C.J. Sansom withdrawal symptoms… Bruno is a likeable, sympathetic character, whose presence in Tudor England on the edges of Elizabeth’s court is convincing and intriguing. Tudor London is beautifully described and the plot worked well as both a mystery and meshed effectively with the historical events of the time. Recommended for fans of historical mysteries. I also really enjoyed Laurence Kennedy’s excellent narration.
Wedding Hells – Book 8 of the Schooled in Magic series by Christopher G. Nuttall
After her victory over Master Grey, Emily wants nothing more than to relax and give herself time to recover from the duel. Her magic, pushed to the limits, is no longer reliable, forcing her to learn to control it from scratch. Every time she delays using her magic, she risks headaches … or worse. But she must return to Whitehall to complete her fourth-year exams and bid farewell to those of her friends who are not returning for fifth year. And then, she must return to Zangaria to play her role in Princess Alassa’s wedding to Jade. It seems, if nothing else, a brief diversion before she goes off on a tour of the Allied Lands.
But all is not well in Zangaria and the kingdom is fast approaching a major crisis. Junior aristocrats are demanding their rights and titles from the king, while King Randor himself is dangerously unstable and hiding a secret that could spark off a civil war … and the peasants are threatening to revolt. Emily herself is isolated, unsure how to balance her obligations to her closest friends with her belief in freedom, justice and democracy. And, as Emily finds herself used as a political pawn by the different sides in the growing dispute and no longer sure who she can trust, she may find herself confronting a choice between doing the right thing, regardless of the cost…
…And losing everything she’s built over the past four years.
This intriguing magical school adventure has quickly developed into a far more interesting scenario, where a girl from Earth has been dumped into the middle of a medieval society. And then has been very quick to share ideas that are fast transforming the world around her. I enjoyed the ongoing story and was rather shocked at where it ended – though I’m pleased that Himself had got hold of the next book in the series, so I’ll be able to discover what happens next without too much delay…
My posts last week:
Castellan the Black and his Wise Draconic Tips on Life
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Antiques Carry On – Book 15 of the Trash n’Treasures Mystery series by Barbara Allan
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by D. Wallace Peach
Unfortunately, I haven’t been online enough to recommend any blogs or articles. And neither have I been visiting my fellow bloggers all that much, either… I’m very sorry. Thank you for those of you who continue to visit and comment – I really do appreciate you taking the time and effort to do so😊. I hope you all have a happy, healthy week.
I am SOOO glad ye finally got to read the Goblin Emperor. I certainly be one of those folk nudging ye to read it. I love that book. It is a comfort read for me. I also loved the companion book. I cannot wait to hear what ye think of that one too. I be glad that ye made the choice to go out a bit more.
x The Captain
In which case – THANK YOU SO MUCH. It’s a fabulous read and I love it to bits:)). And I’ve started The Witness for the Dead and really enjoying that one, too. And yes… going out a bit more is a lot better – though I can’t walk very far and at times, it’s a bit of a struggle – what with feeling so dizzy. I hope you have a great week, Cap!
I’m glad you’re more upbeat this week, sometimes changing your surroundings really can improve things😁 And I’m thrilled to see you loved The Goblin Emperor, I must find time to read it. Enjoy The Witness for the Dead!
Thank you, Tammy:). Yes, I did need to make a few changes. And yes – I highly recommend The Goblin Emperor. And I’ve already started on The Witness for the Dead and I’m loving it…
Your walk and your visit to the garden center sounded lovely. So did the pizza!
I am glad you found a book that really transported you away from day-to-day stresses. Thanks for sharing, and have a great upcoming week.
Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES
Thank you, Laurel – yes, getting out a bit more was a real mood-booster. Visiting places we used to go to before the first lockdown struck has been very cathartic:). And thank goodness for books!!! I hope that you have some fabulous reads this week.
I’m so happy your outlook is improved. I too have been more active and am feeling more hopeful. I love all things garden.
Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
Thank you, Anne:)). I’m looking forward to the time when I can do more in the garden than just look at it! I hope you have a great week.
Happy that things are looking up for you, Sarah!
Thank you so much, Becky:)).
Hi there Sarah! How are you doing? Seems like you haven’t had such a good week last week… I’m so sorry. But I’m glad to hear you are doing better this week.
Into the dark seems good. I will take a look at it!
Have a good week and take care of yourself.
Lots of love,
Oh yes – I’ve read and enjoyed the first two book in Sutherland’s space opera – which is a real homage to the Hornblower series:)). And thank you, Mareli, I’m feeling a whole lot better this week. And yes… I’m looking after myself as hard as I can – apart from anything else, I’m desperate to ease the pressure on Himself! I hope that you, too, have a great week.
So glad you feel much better now. Thank you for sharing the beautiful garden pictures. Love them.
Thank you, Vi:). I am feeling better – apart from anything else, if I don’t stay positive then I’m getting in the way of my own recovery. And I simply cannot afford to do that! Glad you enjoyed the garden pics and have a great week.
I’m glad to hear that you are doing a bit better and got out more this week. Sounds like you got some good reading in too. I always enjoy your garden pictures Sarah. I hope you keep improving.
Thank you, Carla – I know that I am getting stronger, but it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back… Thank goodness for books! And while it’s been raining a lot, I can enjoy looking out at the riot of green in my garden:)). I hope you have a great reading week.
I’m happy to learn that you’re feeling better and enjoying a sunnier outlook 🙂
Good books are indeed a balm for the soul, and it seems you found some truly outstanding ones…
Thank you so much, Maddalena:)). Yes… I hit something of a low point last weekend – and I’m glad that we’ve managed to put some things in place to feel more positive. I’m aware that if I become too depressed, that will hold up my recovery. And yay for books – you’re right – it was a fabulous reading week! I hope that you, too, have some great reads in your life this week.
I am sorry I missed your rant last week LOL. And yes going out even for a little walk is always helpful!
Lol – I think missing the rant is probably a good thing, Sophie:)). And yes… some fresh air always helps to blow in some perspective:)). Have a great week!
Glad to hear you’re getting out and about. It’s so important for good mental health. ❤
Thank you, SJ! Yes, I think so, too:))
You “sound” better, girlfriend.
Most of the time, I’m able to stay positive – but I think it’s the worry at the back of my mind that I’ll be stuck like this…
I’m so glad you’re doing better this week. It is amazing how something like a short walk (especially when you can get to a park, riverwalk, beach, etc) can really changed your mood. I started do that a lot more during the COVID lockdown. It really helped me a lot.
Melanie @ Books of My Heart
Thank you, Melanie – you’re right! I haven’t been out much recently, as we have our grandson staying with us while he is isolating in order to shield his young sister, who suffers badly with asthma. But as soon as he goes home after his 10 days with us – I plan to go for a short walk down to the beach:))
I think we’re all feeling a little bit jaded at the moment. Hope you’ve had a good week and that getting out and about has helped. You’ve still manage to fit in a great selection of books.
Thank you:). I’m reading like a fiend at present – not being able to write has certainly unleashed the reading monster..
Huzzah to feeling a bit better! Yes, keep taking those small trips to build your stamina and strength. Read a little more, write a little more. Frequent breaks, frequent hugs. xxxxxxxxxxx And I’ve requested Goblin Emperor from the library–it sounds awesome!
Thank you, Jean:)). I’ve had to take a break from alll of that, as my grandson has been staying with us for 10 days as he had to isolate because a classmate tested positive. And we needed to shield his little sister, who suffers from severe asthma. But having him to stay has been a joy – he was SUCH a star about having to stay in all the time. And played games with me to help with my brain fog…
And I’d LOVE to know what you make of The Goblin Emperor:))).
That sounds like a bright silver lining to that cloud! Now that summer school is done here, I need to see how I can do some card games with the kiddos. Uno is always a good time! 🙂
We’ve been playing Dobble – the easy version – which I can handle and really like as each game is relatively short and I have no stamina! Other than that, we’ve been playing verbal games – the next door neighbour’s cat is a (insert appropriate adjective in alphabetical order) cat OR the next door neighbour’s dog whines/barks/howls (insert appropriate adverb in alphabetical order) OR go through the alphabet with Proper Nouns – except people’s names… Again, short and sweet, but has helped me sharpen up:)).
Nice! Have you ever played Mad Libs? I don’t know if that’s strictly an American thing or not. It’s usually best with two or more folks. One has the Mad Libs sheet where several words have been removed from a story, leaving blanks with the kind of word needed. Granted, my kids use as many synonyms for “butt” as possible, but it’s also a great mind-booster in recalling verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and so on. Maybe your delightful grand would enjoy it, too! https://www.madlibs.com/
Ooo… thank you for the link! I’ll try it next time when Frank and Oscar coming visiting. Oscar would be the one shoe-horning synonyms for ‘arse’ into the story – while Frank would be busy suggesting that we turn the story into a Japanese anime. As for me, I’ll be busy levering dragon descriptors into the narrative…:))).
LOL! And what a bombastically hilarious tale it will create! 🙂 xxxxxxxxx
‘bombastically hilarious’ – I LOVE that phrase:))). I might just use it in my marketing spiel for the Picky Eaters novels, in the event that I EVER finish writing the dratted series!!
Hey, you WILL get it done! That’s how I feel about either of my series, lol. The stories won’t leave us–they’re just aging like fine wines…
Oh, that’s a lovely way of looking at it! I’ve had quite a relapse in my energy levels since I suffered a minor stomach upset – so the prospect of getting my current WIP completed seems further away than ever. But I do like the idea of it ageing like fine wines – thank you for the positivity, Jean. Right now, I have to say I’m slightly running out of courage…
Hey, you’ll be okay, Sarah. The waiting for the recovery to happen feels like an eternity, but it IS changing. Yes, you had the stomach upset, but your stomach isn’t *still* upset, so that’s good. Your courage will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes, and your WIP WILL be completed! xxxxxxx
Thank you for your kind encouragement, Jean:)). I’ve been bedridden for the past fornight and only now have had enough energy to sit down at the computer again and do more than the banking! It’s been grim – and I’m so relieved to suddenly find I’m able to shower AND get dressed without needing more sleep!
HOORAY! Hey, you just take care you pace yourself. My mom and her husband both had COVID this summer; while Mom’s recovery was pretty strong, her husband–who loves working and carpentry and stuff–has been on a long road to recovery. As you say, fatigue hits hard and fast. BUT, they are recovering, just like you, and bit by bit that strength returns!
I’ve been stalled – again. And am recovering from having spent yet another fortnight flat on my back. But I’m hoping that this time around I’ve sufficient information to start putting in place a secure recovery plan based on sufficient information. I’m hoping to write a couple of blog articles about my experiences, once I’m well enough!
Well, bugger! But hey, you ARE recovering, and now you have more resources to make this recovery better than before. Praying this time makes all the difference!
Thank you, Jean – I really appreciate your kind good wishes and prayers:)). I’ve had another major relapse since this post, but I am hoping that I am FINALLY on the right track. I’ve managed to find some information about a strategy that should help me avoid the ‘boom and bust’ pattern that has been emerging since I went down with illness. Fingers crossed!!!!
Yes! Fingers crossed and turning thrice widdershins and knocking on all the wood for you! xxxxxxx