Sunday Post – 25th July, 2021 #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.
At present, it seems to be working out that I’m able to post my weekly roundup more or less every other week. Funnily enough, after my decision to get out more, we ended up having my younger grandson staying over, which meant I have been unable to go anywhere. A classmate of his had tested positive for Covid, so he had to isolate for ten days, although as long as Oscar didn’t go down with the illness, Himself was still able to go to work. And the reason I suggested that Oscar should isolate at our house, is that his three-year-old sister was still recovering from a nasty case of bronchitis and suffers with severe asthma. We really don’t want her going down with Covid if we can possibly avoid it! I felt so sorry for Oscar – as he is in Year 6, he suddenly found himself at home and missing the last week of term. And in September, he’s moving up to a new school, so he and his classmates missed out on being able to say goodbye to the staff and friends he’s made over the last six years. This wretched illness has so many repercussions.

He brought along his computer, and we got him a Kindle as an early birthday present to allow him to listen to audiobooks, so he could keep himself amused. And regularly throughout the day, he and I would play a series of games to give him a break from screen time – and help me with my brain fog. The weather was sunny and warm, which meant we could also sit in the garden for breakfast. He was unfailingly good tempered and upbeat throughout the whole ten-day period, despite not being allowed past the front gates. I’m so proud of his mature attitude and have missed him enormously since he went home on Friday morning. He was excellent company – as well as a fabulous kitchen assistant, helping me get meals prepared and a couple of times taking over when I ran out of energy and had to sit down.

It was a good reading week, although with Oscar here, I didn’t read quite as much as I have been doing. However I had a DNF that rather broke my heart – I simply couldn’t get on with N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became, although I tried so very hard. But at just over 80% I finally had to abandon it. I’m aware that it’s probably more to do with me – and I freely concede the writing is punchy and passionate. But it simply wasn’t for me *sigh*.

Last week I read:

Vanity and Vampyres – Book 4 of the Monster and Manners series by Tilly Wallace
Someone is supping upon young noblemen and it’s up to Hannah and Wycliff to investigate. If only they could agree on how the men are being drained of their life’s blood. Is it a vampyre, known for their impeccable fashion sense, nocturnal roaming, and dislike of rain, who lurks in the shadows of London? Or is some more earthly method at play, like an attack of leeches?

With her best friend’s wedding imminent, Hannah is determined that the event be untouched by murder or mayhem. To ensure a magical fairytale event they must catch the murderer before the big day. Wycliff must seek the assistance of a man who raises his hackles and Hannah struggles with her growing feelings toward her guarded husband. This pursuit will unearth long buried secrets that could have fatal consequences for those dearest to Hannah.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this alternate historical fantasy series with a nicely original take on zombies. Once more this quirky murder mystery provides plenty of possible suspects and an interesting denouement, while watching the slow burn romance continuing to blossom provides an extra bonus.

The Daydreamer Detective Braves the Winter – Book 2 of the Miso cosy mystery series
by Steph Gennera, aka P.J. Pajonas

December has set in and just when the rural town of Chikata is recovering from one murder, Mei and her new boyfriend, Yasahiro, find their friend, Etsuko, dead in her apartment. Etsuko was sweet and talented, and now everyone suspects her longtime boyfriend killed her. Mei doesn’t believe it, though, and she vows to help solve the crime.

But Mei has more to think about than murder. With the barn gone and their vegetable stores destroyed, she and her mother are down to their last canned goods and no money for heat. Mei’s mom is fortunate to find work, but Mei must fend for herself, get a job, and keep their financial situation a secret from Yasahiro. In pursuit of paying work, she stumbles onto a new witness to the crime, and before long, the dead woman’s secret life unravels before everyone’s eyes. Half-starving and out of her element, Mei is on thin ice, and it’s going to take a whole lot of ingenuity and quick thinking to solve the crime before the killer gets to her as well…
I managed to read this one and Book 3 out of sequence, but I’m really glad I stopped and went back. Pajonas writes with a pleasing upbeat energy and constant shafts of gentle humour – but I was struck at how rarely real poverty is portrayed in cosies. Pajonas manages to show just how devastating it is, without pulling the mood down too much. Which is a very neat trick to pull off. Review to follow.

AUDIOBOOK – First Strike by Christopher G. Nuttall
Starting a war with an enemy a hundred times stronger is insane. It’s desperate. And it’s Earth’s only hope.

A massive alien power looms over humanity, claiming Earth as its territory and humanity as its slaves. The Hegemony has already taken over one colony, yoking hundreds of thousands under their brutal rule. Every tactical exercise, every wargame and every simulation gives humanity zero chance in a defensive campaign. Earth’s only chance to win the coming war – is by striking first.
This epic military space opera adventure was an entertaining listen with all sorts of twists and turns and very ably narrated by Jeffrey Kafer, although his Brit accent is a tad peculiar. And I enjoyed listening to a cracking space opera read that is a standalone, for a change.

AUDIOBOOK – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard.

At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.
And the reason why these two audiobooks are back to back, is that I’ve been dipping in and out of this one. I LOVED The Kingdoms, which is why I picked up this one. But I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. While the strangeness of Mori and the relationship between him and Thaniel is beautifully written, the plot became increasingly odd and unbelievable as the book wore on. And I wasn’t remotely convinced by Grace on any level. However, I’m aware that my opinion is in the minority regarding this one, as I know it’s a real favourite with many readers.

Ghost Electricity – Book 1 of the Hawthorn House series by Sean Cunningham
Do you know what happens to ghosts in London?

A girl with a monster in her shadow. A warlock believed dead four years ago. A werewolf outcast from the London packs.

Rob wants a good job, friends to head to the pub with and a solid cage to lock himself in three nights a month. Julian dropped off the face of the Earth four years ago. He’s back and trying to figure out what living looks like. Together they  will face the deadliest of threats hidden in one of the oldest cities in the world.

Fiona has a monster in her shadow but she doesn’t know how it got there. A creature in the shape of a man is on her trail  and he knows things about Fiona she doesn’t know herself. Her ten year old sister Jessica can build machines that defy the  known laws of physics. Accompanied by a brass tortoise and a glass-feathered raven, Jessica will help Fiona unravel the web  of lies that surrounds them both.

And beneath their feet the plague dead of centuries stir in their graves, waiting for the spell that holds them to break…
Underneath the bustling normality of London is a brutal world where mages, vampyres and shapeshifters jostle for power and far too often treat the rest of us as recreation and/or fodder. And in a stunning coincidence, Hawthorn House is where a number of these remarkable people pitch up. I really enjoyed how Cunningham weaves his story – despite there being quite a bit of violence in this full-on action adventure. Review to follow.

The King of Faerie – Book 4 of the Stariel series by A.J. Lancaster
The fae are real, and Hetta Valstar is trying her best to marry one. If Hetta and Wyn ever manage to marry, it will be the first union between Faerie and Mortal since the Iron Law was revoked. The mortal Queen has given them her blessing—sort of. Now, Wyn needs permission from the fae High King. There’s an intensely personal reason why they need to tie the knot as soon as possible, and time is not on their side.

The clock is ticking. Except in Wyn’s home court, which is trapped under magical stasis. To break the spell will mean venturing into the deepest realms of Faerie, where even fae princes—and definitely human lords—fear to tread. Unfortunately, the fae problems aren’t limited to Faerie.

Public tension is rising, and the reveal of Wyn’s true identity makes him and Hetta the centre of the storm. On top of this, Stariel’s magic is going haywire, and Hetta is struggling with her intensifying powers—and she might not be the only one affected.The High King might be the only one who can help, since he’s responsible for the fae returning to the Mortal Realm in the first place.

If only they knew where he was.
I’ve absolutely LOVED this series – and this latest instalment in this delightful alternative 1920s fantasy adventure was my favourite read of the week. It was one of those books that I was burning through far too fast – while at the same time, I never wanted it to end, as every time I put down a Stariel book, I yearn for another one. I also loved where this one ended. The good news is that Lancaster is going to be writing a spinoff adventure featuring Marius – yay😊! Review to follow.

My posts last week:

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of The Witness for the Dead – Book 2 of The Goblin Emperor series by Katherine Addison

Tuesday Treasures – 35

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Assassin’s Orbit by John Appel

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.

29 responses »

    • Thank you, Yvonne:). Yes, in the event, Oscar didn’t test positive for the duration of his stay – and now at long last, the infection rates here are starting to fall, but I’m not sure for how long and they’re still far too high. I hope you are able to stay safe, too:)).

  1. I hope that you are continuing to get stronger and feel better. How lovely that you were able to help out your family by allowing your grandson to isolate with you. Yes, this is a horrible disease.

    I’m glad that you are getting more reading and reviewing in. You’ve had such an awful time with this sickness. It’s really set you back. But you seem to be moving forward now.

    • Thank you, Deb for your kind, encouragement. Yes… I’m still moving forward with my recovery, I think. And yes – it felt great being able to step in and help out by having Oscar, given there is relatively little I can do, these days:)).

  2. Enjoy your books! I do like that you had some fun times with Oscar.

    It has definitely been difficult during the times of COVID, and just when we think it’s over, the variants appear.

    I hope you have a great week, and thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Thank you, Shelleyrae. Oh yes – Oscar really helped me a lot. And playing all those games has certainly sharpened up my brain:)). Ghost Electricity is great fun and I’ll certainly be reading the rest of the series.

      I hope you also have a great reading week!

  3. I feel badly for Oscar but at least he got an adventure with you. I am mad at the people who can vaccinate, who won’t, because they aren’t thinking of the children.

    I hope you feel better soon. I know there are times I just can’t read a book even if I want to read it, as the mood just isn’t for it.

    • Thank you, Anne:)). Yes – I feel frustrated when people don’t get vaccinated. I do wish that the Government would consider letting children have the jab – schools are clearly infection vectors and in the last year, Oscar had been sent home four times to be isolated. He’s missed so much school…

      I hope you, too, have a good week!

  4. I’m sure Oscar really enjoyed his time with you. I hate for him that he missed out on that last week at school but I have so many special memories of spending time with my grandmother just one on one and I bet he’ll be the same way. I hope you’re feeling okay and getting some rest. I’m definitely going to try the Lady Hardcastle mysteries you recommended. They sound like just what I’m looking for. Have a great week!

    • Thank you, Katherine. I did feel that our time together was very special. And it certainly helped me enormously.. And I’m spending lots of time on the settee watching the Olympics:)). And I’m delighted that you’re going to give the Lady Hardcastle mysteries a go – I look forward to finding out how you get on. I hope that you, too, have a good week.

  5. “I was struck at how rarely real poverty is portrayed in cosies…” So many cozies are about that rich aunt or estranged grandma that leaves a fortune or empty house to the main character. It’s true that poverty is rarely portrayed in this genre! I’m glad you enjoyed the book. ❤

  6. That’s sad for Oscar but so great that he was at least able to isolate with you and keep his sister safe. I’m sure he enjoyed spending some quality time with you. I hope that you are continuing on the road to recovery.

    • Thank you for your kind good wishes, Suzanne:)). Yes, I thought it was sad for Oscar, too. The last two years of his education have been completely disrupted – and I’m just hoping the coming year will be a smoother one.

      Yes, I’m aware that I’m getting better, though it’s slow and some days are a lot better than others! I hope you are having a great week:).

  7. I’m so sorry your grandson had to miss the last week of his school year. That is when the fun happens! And to miss out on your last week at a school you won’t attend next year is even tougher! But, I’m glad you had a nice time with him.

    • Thank you, Suzanne – it seemed a really unkind blow, given just what a tough year he’s had. This illness has really hammered everyone, from the youngest to the oldest…

  8. It is too bad that Oscar had to miss the end of term. It has been so hard on everyone, but the children are missing out on so much. I’m sure it was a blessing to spend so much time with him though, Sara. I know my granddaughter and I got so close while she was here each day going to “grandma school” while they were all doing online/virtual school. You did get a lot read, which is also great. We all have those books that we really want to love and just don’t, who knows you may go back to it someday. I hope you have a good week Sara.

    • Thank you, Carla – yes, that handful of days with Oscar were so very special, and I’m aware that because of the unique circumstances surrounding them, that I’ll always remember them… But one on one time with all my grandchildren is golden:)).

      And yes, being able to read or listen to books has been the one thing that has kept me able to cope with what’s going on. Though, I’m not sure if I’ll return to the Jemisin book – sometimes I just have to accept that some books simply aren’t for me, and I think that’s one of them!

      I hope that you, too, have a great week, Carla:).

      • Yes, I love having them one at a time as well. It lets you spend tome doing things they like instead of what everyone wants to do. I have some books that I have had to give up on even though everyone else loved them, Just the way it is.

  9. You’re right about Covid- it’s had so many impacts, and a shame how the young have been affected also.

    As usual you have a nice mix of books. they all look nice but I especially like the look The King of faerie. That one has me intrigued!

    • Yes… I am also aware that because the youngsters are less physically at risk – the ongoing emotional, social and psychological impacts on their education and development are being shamefully overlooked.

      And yes… The Stariel series is a joy – though do start at the first book, which is The Lord of Stariel. As it’s written by an indie author, it’s very good value for money… Have a great week, Greg:).

  10. Oh, that is a lot of disappointment and concern to weigh upon your shoulders, BUT that time with your grandson must have been a joy–and it sounds like he enjoyed his time with you, too! Sure, there’s disappointment with missing friends, but that special attention you could give one another is going to be a good memory to look back on for years to come. A shining silver lining to the cloud, indeed. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  11. I feel so sad for young people and what they’ve been going through as a result of covic – well, to be fair, I pretty much feel sorry for everyone else as well because, as you said, this has had such an impact on everyone’s lives.
    I imagine you loved looking after Oscar though.
    Lynn 😀

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