SUNDAY POST – 12th December 2021


This is my roundup of my reading and blogging week, hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s only been the last few days that I’ve appreciated just how quickly Christmas is looming. What with one thing and another – it’s been on the backburner. And when I finally surfaced sufficiently to realise how quickly it is approaching, I also realised that this long weekend is going to be the time when we get it sorted out.

Himself got the decorations down from the loft yesterday. We’re not going to be fully decorating the house – the children’s rooms won’t be touched, for instance. And I’m cutting back on the amount of ornaments going around the lounge and kitchen – but I do want the lights up, the tree decorated and the nativity on display. And of course the kitchen dresser should be decked out, too. It always looks fabulous… Himself will be doing most of it this year. Normally it’s my job, along with the grandchildren. But this year, everything is different – and I refuse to think in terms of it being miserable, or depressing. It’s just a break from the normal run of things.

We are having my sister over for the Christmas meal, so we have sorted out the menu. Himself will be cooking it, which is what usually happens. I won’t be making homemade mince pies, sausage rolls, stuffing or my special Dorset Apple pudding this time around, however.

I’ll talk in more detail about what transpired healthwise, next week. But otherwise, I had a good reading week and enjoyed the books I tucked into. Storm Barra hit us on Monday and Tuesday with torrential rain and galeforce winds, but we were lucky not to have any power cuts or damage. J’s shift meant we weren’t able to get out until Friday, when I had to attend my reflexology appointment. Driving back along the coast on the way home, with the sun setting over the sea was glorious.

This week I’ve read:-
Beltane – Book 1 of The Spellworker Chronicles series by Alys West
When Zoe Rose stays at Anam Cara – a guest house in Glastonbury, a town steeped in magic and myth – she dreams of a handsome stranger. The next day she meets him. Tall with untidy brown hair and grey eyes, Finn is funny and intelligent but doesn’t open up easily. Instantly drawn to him, Zoe doesn’t initially recognise him as the man from her dream. When Finn finds out where Zoe is staying he warns her not to trust Maeve, the healer who owns Anam Cara.

His enigmatic comments fuel Zoe’s growing unease about what’s happening at Anam Cara. What power does Maeve have over the minds of the other guests? Is it coincidence that they become ill after she’s given them healing? Why does the stone table in the garden provoke memories of blood and terror? And how did the Green Man, carved on a tree in the garden, disappear during a thunderstorm?
I loved this one. It is quite slow-paced at the start, after the shocking prologue. But is full of tension and a palpable sense of danger that just goes on growing. While the romance is there, it isn’t the narrative engine of the story and this book has stayed with me since I read it.

Magical Midway Paranormal Cozy Mysteries Box Set – Book 5 – Irrelephant Omens by Leanne Leeds

Another poisoned ringmaster.
Colliding portents.
As dark forces gather, one witch must break the circus free of fate before destiny destroys them all.

Charlotte is at the end of her tether. With her best friend lecturing her about the past, a mysterious old woman demanding she comply with the future, and signs everywhere pointing in opposite directions, she’s not sure how her argumentative band of misfit carnies will be able to defeat the Witches’ Council.

When her boyfriend’s father, the only other magical Ringmaster, is found unconscious, Charlotte determines that she must unravel the mystery, protect the rival circus and save the cantankerous man–only to be told that to do so would defy the omens that say his death must take place. Will Charlotte rebel and save the dying Ringmaster? Or will she let the rival circus fall and her boyfriend’s father die?
This box set is the gift that keeps on giving. Whenever I feel the need for more of magical circus mayhem, I just dip into another of these entertaining, enjoyable stories. Charlotte’s obstinacy can be a tad annoying, but the rest of the cast of characters make up for it. This was just so much fun.

Mirror Image – Book 18 of the Schooled in Magic series by Christopher G. Nuttall
Years ago, Heart’s Eye, a school built on top of a nexus point, was attacked and captured by a necromancer. The nexus point was snuffed out, the handful of survivors forced to flee and the once-great school turned into a forward base for a necromantic invasion. All seemed lost, until Emily killed the necromancer and retook the school. Now, she intends to lay the building blocks for a university, a place where magical knowledge and mundane technology are brought together for the benefit of all.

But dark secrets lie within the shadowed school. What happened when Heart’s Eye fell? What were the tutors doing when the wards fell and the necromancer invaded the school? And, as power flows back into the school, Emily finds herself caught between power struggles and a threat from the past, a shadow that has walked beside her for the last six years. It might bring about the end of everything. In a school full of mirrors, who knows what they reflect?
It’s been a while since I read the previous book in this entertaining series, which has constantly taken the story in unexpected directions. And this episode was no different. Those mirrors are downright creepy… I loved this story and couldn’t put it down until I found out what happened. Wonderful stuff!

The Snow Queen box set – Book 1 – Heart of Ice by K.M. Shea
Rakel, a princess by birth, has spent most of her life exiled on a barren mountain, despised because of her powerful snow magic. Though she longs to be accepted, she hides in her ice-castle and lives with the fear that her brother—the King—will one day order her execution.

Her empty life changes forever when an army of magic users—led by the enigmatic Colonel Farrin Graydim—invade her home country and plan to enslave its citizens. Swallowing her fear, Rakel joins forces with her jailers and uses her magic to save the people who scorned her. If Rakel cannot defend her homeland, the country will be lost.
This fairytale retelling is great fun. Full of adventure and excitement, Rakel’s character is convincing as a socially awkward, isolated young woman. So when she’s pitchforked into the middle of a war, all sorts of changes confront her. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and am delighted there is more to come.

Demons and Dragons: Dragon Reign Box Set – Book 1 – Rivals by Kit Bladegrave
Kate’s whole world just turned upside down. She’s hearing weird things, and seeing weird things. And Mama Lucy is a witch. No, really. Not like a capital B witch, but a capital W witch. And the guys Kate’s just saved from imminent death is part demon. And the guy that’s after her is a dragon. Her life redefines teen drama.

Craig’s a bastard son of a demon king. And he’s a thief. He’s just found the item he’s supposed to appropriate when his cousin stabs him with a poisoned dagger.

Forrest is out to collect the bounty for capturing the bastard son of a demon king. He doesn’t plan to save the girl, or the half-breed demon. He also doesn’t plan to be the one who needs saving. This unlikely trio find themselves chased by enemies, known and unknown as they slip into a different dimension called Burnt World.
This adventure definitely has YA overtones, but I’ve enjoyed the story and particularly like Kate’s feisty narrative. It was a quick, enjoyable read during a night when I was badly struggling to sleep and took me away from a lurid nightmare and teeth-clenching tinnitus.

AUDIOBOOK – The Corfe Castle Murders – Book 1 of the Dorset Crime series by Rachel McLean
Meet DCI Lesley Clarke. She’s a straight-talking city copper who doesn’t suffer fools gladly… and she’s been transferred to rural Dorset. After being injured in a bomb attack, Lesley is presented with a choice – early retirement, or a period of respite in a calmer location. But things don’t stay calm for long.

Before she’s even started her new job, Lesley is dragged into investigating a murder at one of England’s most iconic landmarks, the imposing Corfe Castle. Lesley must hit the ground running. Can she get along with her new partner DS Dennis Frampton, a traditionalist who doesn’t appreciate her style? How will she navigate the politics of a smaller force where she’s a bigger, and less welcome, fish? And most importantly, can she solve the murder before the killer strikes again?
This was another lifesaver during a miserable night. I listened to this one when I ran out of energy to read – and the twisting police procedural tale was a very welcome break. Particularly as I know the ruins of Corfe Castle quite well. I’m looking forward to reading more in this enjoyable series.

The Night Hawks – Book 13 of the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths
The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …
I’ve significantly edited the very blabby blurb which gives away far too many plot twists. This is a series that I’ve been enjoying for a long time and regard many of the main characters as old friends, so while I thoroughly appreciated the murder mystery – it was also a treat being reacquainted with them all over again.

The Untold Story – Book 8 of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Irene is trying to learn the truth about Alberich-and the possibility that he’s her father. But when the Library orders her to kill him, and then Alberich himself offers to sign a truce, she has to discover why he originally betrayed the Library.

With her allies endangered and her strongest loyalties under threat, she’ll have to trace his past across multiple worlds and into the depths of mythology and folklore, to find the truth at the heart of the Library, and why the Library was first created.
It was with mixed feelings that I picked this arc up, as this is the last book in the series. I’ve always enjoyed my visits to the Invisible Library, accompanied by disaster magnet Irene. And this finale was suitably gripping, as well as bringing the series to a satisfying and emotional end. Review to follow.

The reviews I’ve posted this week:-
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of A Marvellous Light – Book 1 of the Last Binding series by Freya Marske

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of Firesky – Book 2 of The Chronicles of Stratus by Mark de Jager

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

28 responses »

  1. I hope you get back to feeling better and that all your health issues get taken care of. I have just quit doing all the ornaments I have because I don’t have the time and then hate taking them all back down after Christmas. I just have a very themed tree that I can put up quickly so I still feel in the spirit, but it is also easy to take down.
    Lisa Loves Literature

  2. I see books there I really want to read, particularly the Corfe Castle. My next read is The Untold Story and I’m glad to see you rated it so highly. I’ve enjoyed the series immensely but I didn’t know this was the last one. I’m up to date on the Elly Griffiths series.

    Well I have done only one thing as far as the holidays which is to put one little string of solar lights around our front porch. We didn’t get our tree until Dec 24th last year I think. But now that my daughter’s finals are over maybe we will do something.

    Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    • So glad to hear there is someone else whose Christmas preparations are a bit like mine! I hope you can catch up without too much hard work:). The Dorset Crime series is very reasonably priced – I also want to get hold of her previous series. They are easy, entertaining reads and as I know the area well, that’s a bonus too. I hope you enjoy The Untold Story as much as I did. Have a great week, Anne:).

  3. We’ve just got our lights up this weekend. I wasn’t feeling Christmas-y until a trip to the panto Friday. Now I am. I think however you do it this year, it’s about what works x

    • I absolutely agree, Emma:). I refuse to get harried and worried this year – our normal Christmas customs and requirements will have to adapt to what I can manage… Just like the rest of the year!

  4. I got my lights up a few weeks ago before it go too cold. I also cut back on a lot of ornaments, but I think everything looks good. I am almost ready for Christmas. You are so lucky that your husband is comfortable picking up and helping out. I pray that you will be okay to enjoy your Christmas with family, Sarah.

    • Thank you, Carla:). I’m very impressed that you are so organised. Yes, Himself is a real star. And I have decided that I cannot worry about whether I’ll be up to the festivities. This year, we’ll simply pare it back to what I can cope with. So I may be tucking into my Christmas dinner in my PJs – but that doesn’t mean it has to be a disaster:).

  5. Being able to spend the Christmas holidays with family and friends after last year’s… ahem… hiatus will bring some much-needed normalcy to our collective lives, and help us get back to a more positive frame of mind. Which is something we all badly need… 🙂

    • Oh yes! I am unable to join in with the gathering of the clans at my youngest sister’s house this year. But it will be lovely spending Christmas at home with my other sister and Himself. It will be cosy and very relaxed:)). I hope you get to see friends and family this year, Maddalena.

  6. Glad things seem to be looking up–Christmas will do that!
    I have good news: The results of the CT scan showed no growth or changes in the tumor or nodules in my lungs! This was since July, when the gunk in my lungs was discovered. PTL! Watchful waiting until the end of January, then????? maybe a bronchoscopy.
    We are clicking along toward Christmas, and I have gone all out this year. It promises to be the best Christmas yet!

  7. You’ve read a lot over the past week!
    My husband is a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to decorations, we only ever have a Christmas tree and it will go up next weekend when the younger ones finish school for the year.
    My mum is still recovering from shoulder surgery so I’m in charge of the family Christmas lunch this year.

    Wishing you a great reading week

    • I hope your mother’s recovery from her op continues smoothly and that your Christmas lunch preparations aren’t too onerous. To be honest – if it wasn’t for the very low light levels – today is the shortest day of the year – having all the lights on and extra glittery decorations wouldn’t be all that much of a temptation for me, either. I’d probably be right there alongside your husband’s attitude:)). But it is so dark and gloomy that anything which cheers up the mid-winter is welcome! Hope you’re having a chance to put your feet up with a book in amongst the piles of pre-Christmas chores and have a lovely family time, Shelleyrae:))).

    • Thank you, SJ. You’re right! I’m determined that this Christmas is going to be all about the CAN and not the CAN’T:)). I hope you, too, are finding that this week is being kind to you.

  8. We got our outside lights up at the beginning of the month but we still don’t have our tree or anything else up. Not sure what will end up getting put up but there will be something! It’s crazy how quickly Christmas is sneaking up on us. I’m so glad you’re enjoying your reading and I hope your health issues are doing okay and you are getting lots of rest.

    • Thank you, Katherine! You’re right – Christmas seems to have mounted a sneak attack this year… And like you, I’m not sure exactly what we’ll end up with regarding decorations – but neither am I going to lose any sleep over it:)). Thank you for your kind concern – yes… things are okayish. Some days are better than others, but seem to be moving in the right direction. I hope this coming week is a good one for all of you – particularly Will and Rover:)).

  9. As I’m coming here right after Christmas, I hope you got to enjoy them even though they might have been different this time. We stopped celebrating it a long time ago, since for a long while it was about “that one time in a year when we get to spend time together”, and it kind of shaped our relaxed approach to it. But I do understand that Christmas are more important to others, so I hope yours turned out great!

    • Thank you, Joanna. Yes, we did have an enjoyable Christmas, though it was very different to the normal run. However, I have been exhausted since – not helped by not feeling very well…

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