This is part of the weekly meme over at the Caffeinated Reviewer, where book bloggers can share the books they’ve read and share what they have got up to during the last week.
A great deal seems to have happened since I last took part in the Sunday Post. The boys have both started back at school and college respectively. And both have gone down with a nasty viral illness, which saw Oscar unable to resume school last week after the late Queen’s funeral. It definitely wasn’t covid, but was nevertheless very unpleasant. My sister, who works in a pharmacy, says it’s one of the latest infections zapping our rather flappy immune systems. In addition, Ethan needed a course of antibiotics for a nasty cough which he picked up during the summer and hadn’t managed to shift. I hate it when the children aren’t well, so I also found it quite stressful. Thankfully both are recovering – though Ethan still hasn’t shifted the cough as much as I would like.
And of course we had the death of Queen Elizabeth II, which was a terrible shock. If I had been physically stronger, I’d have travelled to London and joined the queues to attend the lying-in state, as Himself and I had attended the Queen Mother’s and it was a wonderful, uplifting experience. My sister joined me on Monday and we watched the funeral together, both weeping at times for the end of an era and the loss of a wonderful leader full of goodness and integrity, who had prevented me from getting too jaded and cynical about those In Charge. It will seem very strange when new stamps, coins and currency start to appear without Queen Elizabeth’s head on them.
Other than that, I keep taking each day as it comes and while I’m often very tired by the end of the day as I’m still horribly unfit – it isn’t the bone-aching, mind-sapping exhaustion that was a feature of the Long Covid I’d endured. If I get to the end of the month without suffering any kind of relapse, I will be applying to our local leisure centre for the offered 12 free sessions for those who have suffered from Long Covid. So fingers crossed!
Last week I read:-
Sol 2781 – Book 4 of the Drago Tell Dramis series by Janet Edwards
Major Drago Tell Dramis is celebrating the fact that the saboteur has been caught, and the Earth solar arrays will be safe now. The arrest of a member of the main board of Hospital Earth has consequences though. As Drago hits orbital levels of fury, and declares his own personal war against Hospital Earth, he’s hit by even more unexpected problems.
There’s a joke that says one birth member of the Tell clan attracts trouble, two birth members of the Tell clan invite minor disasters, while three is the critical mass that triggers cataclysmic events. As the danger mounts, the question is whether Drago and his two cousins, Jaxon and Gemelle, can prove an alternative theory. Are three members of the Tell clan really the critical mass that resolves cataclysmic events?
I always enjoy Janet Edwards writing – and this one is no exception. She has the knack of writing eventful, vivid and well-depicted space opera adventures with an upbeat vibe, even when her protagonists are going through a really tough time. Review to follow.
AUDIOBOOK – False Value – Book 8 of the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch
Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. Rather than sit around, he takes a job with émigré Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner’s brand new London start up – the Serious Cybernetics Company.
Drawn into the orbit of Old Street’s famous ‘silicon roundabout’, Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant’s favourite son.
Because Terrence Skinner has a secret hidden in the bowels of the SCC. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological – and just as dangerous.
This book takes us into different territory, as Peter has struck out into pastures new and is now working as Security in a high-profile tech firm. I loved his wry depiction of modern working practices, along with yet another well-plotted adventure mystery. I also enjoyed the tenderness portrayed in the relationship between heavily pregnant Beverley and Peter. 9/10
Making It Write – Book 3 of A Writer For Hire Mystery Series by Betty Hechtman
As a writer for hire, Veronica Blackstone puts her keyboard to use to help others. That includes writing advertising copy for local businesses or love letters for those with romantic troubles, or helping people publish their memoirs. Maeve Winslow needs the latter.
Maeve is the wife of a famous artist nominated for a prestigious award, and the memoir is to be released ahead of the ceremony. All of Maeve’s notes are given to Veronica but for the final few pages. There’s a huge surprise within those last pages, but Maeve won’t reveal it yet.
When Maeve is found dead at the foot of her stairs it looks like an accident, but Veronica isn’t convinced. Was the scene staged? Was Maeve murdered to keep her silent? Could clues to the surprise, and the identity of the murderer, be hidden within the notes? It’s up to Veronica to figure it out and write the real story.
This was the first time I’d had the pleasure of reading a book in this cosy murder mystery series – but I certainly hope it won’t be the last. I grew to really like Veronica and enjoyed the growing sense of wrongness about Maeve’s death. 8/10
AUDIOBOOK – Deceiver – Book 11 (Sequence 4, Book 2) of the Foreigner series by C.J. Cherryh
The civil war among the alien Atevi has ended. Tabini-aiji, powerful ruler of the Western Association, along with Cajeiri, his son and heir, has returned to the Bujavid, his seat of power. But factions that remain loyal to the opposition are still present, and the danger these rebels pose is far from over.
I am loving listening to this highly detailed and tension-filled adventure set on an alien planet, where humanity is in the minority and Bren Cameron, as the sole human representative living among the Atevi, gets sucked into their turbulent politics. 9/10
The Firstborn by Quenby Olson
Sophia has sacrificed everything for her younger sister, Lucy. She has removed them from the only home they ever knew, taken on the care of Lucy’s illegitimate son, George, and even assumed the role of a widow and mother in order to erase all hint of scandal from the boy’s birth. But rumor continues to follow them like the darkest of clouds, and Sophia must adapt to her new existence as a false widow with no prospects beyond the doors of her small cottage.
Lord Finnian Haughton will stop at nothing to prevent the slightest hint of scandal from tainting his family’s name. When he learns of his younger brother’s latest indiscretion-one that leaves a bastard child in his wake-Haughton rushes across the country to offer the boy’s mother a comfortable living in exchange for her silence about the child’s true parentage. But he arrives only to have his generous offer thrown back in his face by Sophia Brixton, a sharp-tongued and sharper-witted woman who proceeds to toss him out of her house. But just because he is banished from her home does not mean he is so easily banished from her life.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Olson’s historical fantasy stories. Indeed, her gripping book about a woman with a talent she’d rather not have, The Half Killed, is one of my standout of reads of the year so far. This enjoyable Regency romance may not have the heft and physicality of that offering, but nevertheless is highly enjoyable. 8/10
AUDIOBOOK – Death Among the Diamonds – Book 1 of the Cressida Fawcett Mystery series by Fliss Chester
Everyone in 1920s London knows the Honourable Cressida Fawcett: fiercely independent (though never apart from her little pug Ruby), lover of martinis and interior designer extraordinaire. She’s solved many crimes of fashion… so how about murder?
Cressida Fawcett is heading to the English countryside for a weekend of cocktails and partying at her friend’s glamorous mansion, the location of a recent diamond heist. But just hours after her arrival, Cressida is woken by an almighty scream. Rushing to the landing, she looks down into the great hall to find a trembling maid standing next to the body of Harry, the friendly young chandelier cleaner.
Everyone believes Harry’s death was an accident. But as Cressida examines the opulent hall and the beautiful grounds, she thinks something darker is afoot. Why clean a chandelier in the early hours of the morning? And who overheard Harry boasting about coming into unexpected wealth? A small piece of torn silk found near the body has Cressida looking at the guests’ elegant clothes with fresh eyes…
I was delighted to get hold of a Netgalley audiobook arc for this entertaining whodunit and was thoroughly looking forward to tucking into this offering. Initially I was a tad disappointed, as I had realised exactly where the diamonds had been hidden – until it turned out they hadn’t… Cressida is suitably headstrong and plucky, while ably assisted by her endearing little dog, Ruby. A thoroughly enjoyable listen! Review to follow.
My posts last week:
*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY AUDIOBOOK The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring The Immortality Thief – Book 1 of The Kystrom Chronicles by Taran Hunt
Review of NETGALLEY arc Making It Write – Book 3 of A Writer For Hire Mystery series by Betty Hechtman
Wishing you all a happy, health week😊.
Even here in the U.S., the Queen’s death was a shock. It seemed quite sudden. It seems like you’ve had a wonderful reading week, though😁
Yes – only 2 days before her death, we were treated to pictures of her shaking hands with the new Prime Minister, so it really was nasty surprise. And yes – thank goodness for books:)).
Death Among Diamonds looks good. I watched the funeral and her travels before on TV. Then binge watched The Crown on Netflix.
I can recommend Death Among the Diamonds, Kimberly. I finished listening to it yesterday – I’ve just got to write the review… The funeral was amazing – our favourite service was the committal at St George’s Chapel – when they took the crown, the mace and the orb off the coffin, I just wept… I am sure the first time I see a stamp with Charles’ head on it, it will look all wrong! I hope you have a good week.
How ARE you feeling, other than tired? Breathing problems? I still have those, but, of course, they aren’t from covid. I just got my booster last week and since I am back at school, I am being extra careful.
I don’t blame you for being careful, Rae! I was doing well – but I’ve gone down with the nasty cold the boys had like a sack of spanners. Headache, sore throat, cough, runny nose… oh joy. The price of once more having school-age children living with us!!
And I am among young people who feel they are invincible, and God only knows where they’ve travelled and been! LOL
Urg!! I know THAT dynamic… While I regularly thank the Lord that this pandemic largely has spared the youngest amongst us – their blithe disregard for those more vulnerable in their midst is definitely an ongoing problem:(.
It’s truly the end of an era. Things are pretty dicey around the world right now. I’m feeling the unfit and too heavy myself but now that the weather’s cooled I’m walking and doing more yard work so hopefully that will ease a bit over the winter.
Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
I know exactly what you mean, Anne! I’m hoping to gradually get fitter over the winter, too. But it took a while to get so completely deconditioned – so I’m not going to rush things:)).
The death of Queen Elizabeth did indeed herald the end of an era and I guess her passing will create the kind of divide marked with a “before” and an “after”….
You’re right! And with so many other things changing around the world – I’m guessing the change of era will be quite easy to see when looking back. An odd feeling to live through it, though…
So glad you and the kids are feeling better. I was terribly saddened by the queen’s death as well. I watched the funeral that morning too.
Thank you, SJ. Yes – I wandered around in the week between the queen’s death and her funeral feeling as if I’d been flung off a cliff… I hope you’re having a better week:).
It’s still hard to believe the Queen is gone. It really is the end of an era. I’m glad to hear you’re continuing to feel better.
Thank you, Suzanne – it certainly feels like the end of an era in all sorts of ways… I’m aware that historically speaking, we’re all living in interesting times – though I wish they weren’t quite so eventful!
I’ve been so saddened to hear about the Queen. It’s hard to imagine the world without her. Lots of positive energy heading your way that there are no relapses and you are able to sign up with the leisure center. Have a wonderful week.
Thank you, Katherine:)). I hope that you, too, have a great week.
As I am reading this a week late, I am hoping that the boys are doing better and you have one less thing to worry about, Sarah. I’m glad your long covid seems to be easing and I pray you can move forward. I also watched the Queen’s funeral and was so sad. Being part of the Commonwealth, she was definitely a leader that I respected. I hope you have had a good week.
Thank you, Carla. Yes – it’s ridiculous, given her age, but I was enormously shocked when they made the announcement that the Queen was dying. And yes – Oscar has recovered well, but I’m still concerned at how Ethan seems to be still struggling with a heavy cold and cough. I hope you, too, are having a good week:)).