This is my fortnightly (hopefully) update on how I’m doing while coping with Long Covid now it’s been 9 months since I first got ill, which I’m adding to my Sunday Post blog, hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Review.

I’ve now had three appointments with the reflexologist and it’s definitely making a difference. After my second appointment, my tinnitus got significantly worse – and a couple of days later, I realised why. My inner ear became full of fluid. And after I worked through a very useful series of exercises I discovered on YouTube a few years ago when suffering from a heavy cold, the mucus is now draining down the back of my throat. It’s not painful, though not very pleasant and I’m drinking lots of fluids to ensure my system can deal with it – but neither is it an ongoing infection, as there is no heat or inflammation and I don’t feel unwell. So I think it’s my glands finally getting rid of the infection I suffered with Covid. My thyroid is also feeling a lot better.

The other major breakthrough is that when I’m out walking, I no longer need to use my walking stick, as my balance issues have significantly improved. Although I can still feel a little giddy from time to time, the ground has stopped tilting which means I can also walk faster than the uncertain shuffle I’d been reduced to. It was quite an emotional moment when I was able to hand my stick over to Himself and walk unaided. But I still spend a lot of the day in bed, as I’m sleeping a great deal. I’ll wake in the morning for breakfast and afterwards, turn over and go back to sleep until mid-afternoon. I’m regularly not getting up until 4 pm. But given what’s going on – I think I probably need that sleep to help me continue to heal. I’m still meditating several times a day and I’ve now finished a preliminary edit on Flame and Blame. So far, so good! Yesterday, we had our flu injection at our surgery, which all went very smoothly, so afterwards we continued on to our favourite café and had a cuppa together. A little slice of normality… It was wonderful to sit and chat at a table, while I had a lovely cup of lemon and ginger tea, while Himself tucked into a snack and a cup of black coffee.

I’m still suffering withdrawal symptoms from having finished watching all the Gilmore Girls series – but I am enjoying Virgin River, though there are times when it gets a bit intense. I want to thank you for all your lovely messages of encouragement and hope for my recovery – it means so much.

This week I’ve read:-
A Ghost of Her Own: A Romance – Book 1 of The Ghosts of Riverside County by Alessa Winters

After fighting for every inch of her soul while leaving an abusive relationship, Grace Reddy scrapes herself together and purchases an old, abandoned warehouse in hope that she can start anew. But with the old warehouse comes a new challenge: particularly, the Ghost of a man who died there long ago, who may be unwilling to tolerate this strange person in the only place he can exist.

But something about the Ghost draws her to him, and Grace starts to forge a strange connection with him, something neither of them anticipated but both desperately needed.
This is a low heat, sweet Romance novel with a surprising amount of tension!
That last line of the blurb nicely sums up the tone of this book. The romance is genuinely sweet and very gradual, because the narrative engine of this one is Grace’s battle to disentangle herself from a very toxic relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed both aspects of this gripping story.

AUDIOBOOK – Layers of Force – Book 8 of the Star Kingdom series by Lindsay Buroker
Even though Professor Casmir Dabrowski has been fighting for months to help the kingdom and humanity as a whole, few people in positions of power have appreciated his unorthodox methods. Now he’s a captive of the king and being taken back to his home world without his friends or the crushers he relies upon to protect him. The king believes Casmir is responsible for the prince’s death and plans to have him publicly executed.

But bigger troubles are brewing for the Star Kingdom, and Casmir may once again be needed to find a creative solution to save his people—and reshape the entire future of the Twelve Systems. First, he’s got to escape and survive. No easy feat for a man stripped of his allies and marked as a rebel and a traitor.
I’ve absolutely loved this wonderful space opera adventure series. How unusual to have a nerdy hero with watering eyes, chronic allergies, who is violently sick every time the spaceship starts slewing around! But Buroker absolutely makes it work. There is so much tension, humour and excitement in this twisty, well plotted instalment – especially as by now I love all the characters. Particularly the combat robots who accompany Casmir. And while I thought this book was the conclusion of the series – I’m delighted to see there is another one. Yay!

Hot and Badgered: Book 1 of the Honey Badger Shifter Romance series by Shelly Laurenceton

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .
Himself read this one first – and it took some persuading to get me to give it a go, as I’m not really into steamy romances, these days. But he said it’s far more about the manic adventures of the honey badger sisters, rather than the romantic relationship. And he’s absolutely right! It’s a madcap farce with loads of fights, as the three sisters take on the world – it’s also very, very funny. Just what I needed!

Fall of the Argosi – Book 2 of the Ferius Parfax series by Sebastien de Castell

New to the ways of the Argosi, the tribe of wandering philosophers who seek to defeat evil by wit and guile, Ferius Parfax encounters a hideous plague – the Red Scream. Highly contagious, caught by the hearing of a deadly verse, it turns its victims into mindless monsters that destroy all human life they come into contact with. With the help of a deaf boy whom she has saved from two horrifying victims of the plague, she sets out to find the source of the Red Scream and overcome it’s terrifying power. Along the way she is joined by another Argosi, Rosie, who purports to be so much wiser and more adept than Ferius, but who turns out to have her own dark secrets…
I thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about Ferius Parfax, having been a huge fan of the author’s highly successful Spellslinger series. 9/10

Play With Fire – Book 5 of the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow

Formerly the star investigator in the Anchorage D.A’s office, Kate Shugak now tracks down criminals from her Aleut homestead. But she and her wolf-dog Mutt are taking a June break to pick wild morel mushrooms among the charred trees left by a devastating forest fire. In the ashes Kate also uncovers the mysterious corpse of a naked man. And when she is “hired” by a ten-year-old to locate his missing dad, she fears she has already found him. The reason how and why he died, however, is buried deeper than his body. Finding it will lead Kate to the remains of a woolly mammoth in a Fairbanks museum, back to her old lover Jack Morgan, and far afield to an isolated settlement of religious fundamentalists … as she follows a twisted road toward a smoldering evil and the flash point for a macabre murder.
I love this murder mystery series, set in Alaska, with Kate as the investigator. And once again, Stabenow delivers and gripping, thought-provoking whodunit with a beautiful fragile wilderness as a riveting backdrop. If you’re looking for a well written series that genuinely delivers something a bit different – give this one a go.

Paladin’s Hope – Book 3 of The Saint of Steel series by T. Kingfisher
Piper is a lich-doctor, a physician who works among the dead, determining causes of death for the city guard’s investigations. It’s a peaceful, if solitary profession…until the day when he’s called to the river to examine the latest in a series of mysterious bodies, mangled by some unknown force.

Galen is a paladin of a dead god, lost to holiness and no longer entirely sane. He has long since given up on any hope of love. But when the two men and a brave gnole constable are drawn into the web of the mysterious killer, it’s Galen’s job to protect Piper from the traps that await them. He’s just not sure if he can protect Piper from the most dangerous threat of all…
I’ve loved the first two books in this fascinating series – and when I saw this one was available, I treated myself… The Paladins are beautifully depicted as a group of berserker warriors who are abandoned with terrible consequences when their god suddenly dies. And this entertaining, tense murder mystery gives us a ringside seat into how Galen has been coping since this life-changing event. It was almost impossible to put down until I finished it.

Every Star a Song – Book 2 of The Ascendance series by Jay Posey
Far in the future, human beings have seeded themselves amongst the stars. Since decoding the language of the universe 8,000 years ago, they have reached the very edges of their known galaxy and built a near-utopia across thousands of worlds, united and ruled by a powerful organization known as the Ascendance. The peaceful stability of their society relies solely on their use of this Deep Language of the cosmos.

Elyth—a former agent of the religious arm of the Ascendance, The First House—is on the run after the events of Every Sky a Grave, when she and the fugitive Varen Fedic exposed the darker side of Ascendance hegemony on a planet called Qel. Though she just wishes to put the past (and Varen) behind her, she is soon tracked and cornered by the Ascendance agents – will she manage to escape?
This is the reading highlight of my week. Elyth is SUCH a cool protagonist and I’ve raved about this one in a review – it will be making my Outstanding Reads of the Year list… 10/10

NOVELLA Contamination – Book 1 of the Space Station Jonathan Bartell series by Patty Jansen

Jonathan Bartell is a young man, just out of university, when he signs up for the position of Quarantine Officer at the Orbital Launch Station. He is part of a crop of students who flocked to study exo-biology when bacteria were discovered on Mars, and who are now all making their living flipping burgers, because the jobs are few and hard to get. He is lucky to get a job in space, no matter how mundane.

Or so he thinks…

Gaby Larsen is a doctor at the tiny hospital at the space station, and she keeps secrets, not because she wants to keep them, but because she is too scared to share them. Because out in space, your worst enemies are your fellow travellers.
I found it a bit difficult to bond with Jonathan – he struck me as a bit petulant and immature in his attitude, although I did like the fact that Jansen was tackling bullying in the workplace. But just as I was beginning to warm up to the character – the story ended and I was left feeling that the book would have been stronger if it had been longer.

Hessians and Hellhounds – Book 6 of the Manners and Monsters series by Tilly Wallace

One of London’s most recognisable Afflicted is erased from the earth in a fiery way. Whispers spread that a hellhound prowls the streets, snatching the lost souls who have escaped the afterworld. Except, Wycliff is doing no such thing—could there possibly be another such creature in London?

While Hannah and Wycliff investigate the unnatural flames, unrest grows on the streets as someone seeks to unmask how the undead women stave off rot. Someone is agitating for all Afflicted to be eradicated, in a conspiracy that will set the common Englishman against the nobles.

To save the Afflicted and stop the uprising, Wycliff must face the void that whispers his name from an inky darkness. He plans to wrest Hannah free of the curse squeezing her heart, assuming they can get out alive…

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this clever series, set in the Napoleonic era, and it’s original take on zombies and shapeshifters. The romance was beautifully handled and I’ve loved every book. But this last book lacked the surefootedness of the rest of the series, and while the murder mystery worked well, I wasn’t wholly convinced by the finale. But I’m still glad I got to read the others, which I highly recommend.

AUDIOBOOK – Steel World – Book 1 of the Undying Mercenaries series by B.V. Larson
In the twentieth century Earth sent probes, transmissions and welcoming messages to the stars. Unfortunately, someone noticed. The Galactics arrived with their battle fleet in 2052. Rather than being exterminated under a barrage of hell-burners, Earth joined their vast Empire. Swearing allegiance to our distant alien overlords wasn’t the only requirement for survival. We also had to have something of value to trade, something that neighboring planets would pay their hard-earned credits to buy. As most of the local worlds were too civilized to have a proper army, the only valuable service Earth could provide came in the form of soldiers…someone had to do their dirty work for them, their fighting and dying.

I, James McGill, was born in 2099 on the fringe of the galaxy. When Hegemony Financial denied my loan applications, I was kicked out of the university and I turned to the stars. My first campaign involved the invasion of a mineral-rich planet called Cancri-9, better known as Steel World. The attack didn’t go well, and now Earth has entered a grim struggle for survival.
This gritty military sci fi adventure has been a blast. James is an endearing protagonist, very well depicted by the author and the narration by Mark Boyett really brings him to life. I’ll definitely be listening to more of these adventures, given just how much of an adrenaline ride this one has proved to be.

Reviews published since my last Sunday Post:-

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* – Review of Every Star a Song – Book 2 of The Ascendance series by Jay Posey

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* – Review of Fall of the Argosi – Book 2 of the Ferius Parfax series by Sebastien de Castell

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Given to Darkness – Book 2 of The Ikiri duology by Phil Williams

Sunday Post – 31st October 2021

Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I’m very aware that right now, it’s a very one-sided relationship and I don’t know when I’ll be in a position to start to reciprocate. In the meantime, do take care and try to keep well.

42 responses »

  1. I’m so glad to hear of your improvement and progress! How wonderful to be able to walk unaided and to have that little slice of normalcy with a meal out. I’m so glad to hear that you are embracing the need to rest. I know so many people (aka my husband, son, and father) who refuse to admit they need sleep when they are sick and I think it makes things so much harder. I haven’t watched Gilmore Girls though my daughter looks so much like the girl who plays Rory she went as Rory for several years in a row for Halloween. People used to stop her on campus to tell her she looked like her. I hope you have a wonderful week!

    • Thank you, Katherine:)). Yes… I’ve learnt the hard way about the importance of sleep and rest. I used to be one of those who tended to treat it as an optional extra – and I certainly think that attitude in the initial stages allowed the Long Covid to bite so hard. As for having a daughter who looks like Rory – I’m sure she’s getting attention for also being beautiful:)). I hope you are all keeping well and having a good week – take care!

  2. I haven’t been blogging for a while so hand realised you had long COVID. So sorry! I’m glad it looks like you’re coming out the other side – every small step must feel like a triumph. Sleep is definitely your bodies way of healing so get as much of it as you can x

    • Thank you Emma. I hope that you have been okay during your blogging hiatus. And yes – I still have quite a way to go, but at least I now firmly believe that I will recover from all of this.

  3. Glad to hear stuff’s improving.
    We’re reading Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher for the HEA bookclub on r/fantasy this month and I’m very excited, heard so much good stuff.

  4. It would seem that your are making leaps instead of “mere” steps toward improvement and I’m very glad to learn that. Moreover, the positive feedback you must be getting from these improvements can only be beneficial, both for mind and body. Keep up the good work 🙂

  5. SARAH!!!! This is such marvelous, marvelous news! Hey, you get the sleep you need. By the sounds of it your body took a major turn for the better with getting that fluid out of your ear. No wonder you struggled with balance on top of the energy flow! Keep walking, keep sleeping, keep enjoying words and time with Himself. Who knows where you’ll be in a month? All my hopes and prayers for more steps forward on this healing journey, my friend. I’m so so SO happy for you!

      • You are most welcome, Friend! I myself am dealing with COVID right now, but we have the (mixed) blessing of mild cases all around. Bash and Biff have already recovered, Blondie hardly dealt with anything (congestion and loss of senses) and I’ve got some energy back after five days of living with chills and exhaustion. Bo’s just coming down with his own symptoms now. Here’s hoping the final case of our house is as mundane as the rest. xxxxxxxxxxx

      • I very much hope that Bo also manages to get through his illness without feeling too awful, or any long-lasting effects! Thinking of you all and wishing you all better as soon as possible. Hugsxxx

      • We are doing okay, Friend! We just take one day at a time. I have to bother Bo to rest sometimes, and I have to tell the kids to simmer down from stir-crazy quarantine, but we are overall doing okay. Hugs to YOU, Friend, and make every day a joy! xxxxxx

      • Really glad you are all getting through it – and I hope your quarantine period doesn’t last for too much longer! Thinking of you all:). Hugsxxx

      • *sigh* I do! Just take it very easy at the start of your recovery – you’ll find that you’re more wiped out than you think you, even if you don’t have Long Covid…

      • Ooooh yes. I’ve had good days and bad days. Sometimes I’m going strong for hours, and then WHAM. I keep reminding Bo to give himself a chance to close his eyes when that happens to him, too. Now if Blondie would just get her sense of smell back…

        And I hope YOU are able to enjoy the coming Christmas! We managed to have a small, fun Thanksgiving with Mad Libs and tree-huntinig. xxxxxx

    • Yes – I’m still mourning the fact I’ve come to the end of the Gilmore Girls and haven’t found anything else to replace the hole the show has left… And yes – glad to find someone else who also loves the Kate Shugak series:)). I hope you are having a good week, Anne – and thank you for your ongoing good wishes.

  6. This is all good news! I’m so glad you’re walking unaided now and you got some editing done too. I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls as well, an episode per day at lunch. It’s a fun show, although I don’t like Lorelai at all. Lol.

    • Thank you, SJ:)). And I completely understand your dislike of Lorelai – I regularly want to shake her until her teeth rattle… But I haven’t yet found anything else with the edgey wit, humour and warm-heartedness that makes up this show.

      • Agree that the rest of the show makes up for Lorelai being a jerk a lot of the time. She’s a flawed character and I can totally appreciate that. 🙂

  7. So glad you are continuing to make progress! Walking unaided is a biggie, Hon. I used my stick today when we went to a November Fest here in Alvin (TX). I hope to start a walking plan (with stick) tomorrow, Sunday, walking for exercise 10 minutes out and 10 min back, for a total of 20 min. I hope to keep that up daily until I feel confident enough to go longer. I really miss walking for the exercise!

    • I’m glad you are able to get out regularly, Rae. Yes… walking confidently with a stick does take some practice – especially if you want to pick up the pace at all. I hope you are able to continue walking and that the weather keeps kind for you!

  8. I’m so sorry you’re still suffering from Long Covid, Sarah. I’ve not been reading many blogs lately so I hadn’t realized the extent of your Long Covid. I’ve spent the last hour or so reading some of what you’re going through. It sounds awful.

    I am so happy you’re beginning to feel a little better and are able to walk without your stick and able to work on your writing. It sounds like you’re doing lots of positive things for your health which I think must be necessary for Long Covid. It’s great you’ve been able to do so much reading. As usual, I’ve discovered new books and authors from you. Thank you!

    Continue to take good care of yourself, Sarah.

    • Thank you so much for your kind good wishes, Jan. It has been a bit of a nightmare – and this last week, I’ve ended up back in bed most of the time again as my energy is in short supply. But I’m still able to walk without my stick and as you say – so many great books to take me away from a rather bleak reality and into amazing places. I hope you and yours are keeping well and it’s lovely to hear from you:).

  9. Hi Sarah, I’m only just getting back on track with blog hopping and answering comments! I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been suffering so much. Covid is such a horror. But, I’m happy to read that you’re making such great progress. Fingers crossed that you’re now on the mend. That ear infection sounds terrible, and would definitely affect your balance. Good for you discovering those exercises.
    Lynn 😀

    • Thank you for your kind words of comfort, Lynn. It’s very up and down right now – but at least I now have reached the stage where I’m convinced that I will eventually make a complete recovery. And that has been a huge step forward – which has helped in the last week when I’ve been spending most of my time in bed, again. I hope that you have been keeping well throughout. Take care.x

  10. I missed this post, but am so glad to hear that the reflexologist is helping you so much. There is a lot of good news in this post, even if it is baby steps. I am off to read you latest update.

  11. I’m glad you’re still seeing progress, Sarah! Even if you need (needed?) a lot of sleep, the fact that you are improving suggests that things will balance themselves out. As I’m catching up on your posts, I’m hoping to see more good news!

      • You’re welcome. I’m horrible in keeping up regularly, but I try to drop in every now and then and catch up. And since I’ve read some books you’ve reviewed in the past, I also plan, at some point, to track them down and see how our thoughts align :).

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