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.
It’s been a rather torrid fortnight… Firstly, the good stuff. The celebration meal with my parents was wonderful – it was lovely to see them again. And the pics above are of us with them. My lovely parents are in the middle, the boys are on either side of them in the left photo, while in the right photo my sister is on the left and I’m on the right. It helped that the weather was warm, if a tad cloudy and the food at the Arun View was great. We are now in the tail-end of half term week, which has been a welcome break in amongst the daily routine of school runs and pickups from the station for college. We managed to spend a lovely afternoon at the Wetland and Wildfowl Trust during another amazingly warm October afternoon. And those are the pics below…
But in amongst all of that, my sister needed to go to A & E with terrifically high blood pressure – I’ve never seen a machine flash red warning lights and bleep before… We got to the hospital at 4 pm and finally returned home at 3 am, so it was a real marathon. She was actually seen really quickly, but needed blood tests, a thorough examination and then a brain scan to check for microbleeds. And of course we had to wait for the results. I cannot praise the staff highly enough. Everyone was professional, unfailingly patient and kind. There was also a great vibe amongst the people in our corner of the waiting room, where people were also patient and good humoured, despite a number being in pain and worried about their condition. I felt proud of being a Brit and deeply grateful for our hard-pressed NHS. It turns out my sister is suffering from severe stress and has since seen a doctor and is signed off work for a fortnight – I’m not surprised. Her pharmacy is hugely busy and they have lost 2 part-time and one full-time staff member and only replaced the full-timer. I am shocked at the level of abuse she has to endure on a daily basis by people waiting for prescriptions and underwhelmed by the support she gets from the management. Small wonder that she is ill, having worked flat out through the pandemic and still finding there is no let-up.
Unfortunately, I spent the next two days in bed with exhaustion. I was back on my feet just in time for my covid booster jab, which once more floored me… And Himself was also feeling dreadful with the effects of the jab – fortunately he was on a long weekend, otherwise he would have had to go sick. The good news is that apparently, the fact we felt so ill means that we will have produced a nice lot of antibodies to that strain of covid, which should provide good protection if we fall ill with it.
Poor Oscar has been nursing a shoulder strain, so wasn’t able to go the gym for the last fortnight, which he really missed. But this week he was able to resume his training schedule and also went back to football practice, which he is also enjoying. And Ethan managed to hand in his college assignment for the term with no problems and has been busy revising for his Maths exams, which he goes back to this coming week as he starts his second term at college.
This last week I read:-
Mindwalker by Kate Dylan
Eighteen-year-old Sil Sarrah is determined to die a legend. In the ten years she’s been rescuing imperilled field agents for the Syntex Corporation—by commandeering their minds from afar and leading them to safety—Sil hasn’t lost a single life. And she’s not about to start now.
She’s got twelve months left on the clock before the supercomputer grafted to her brain kills her, and she’s hell-bent on using that time to cement her legacy. Sil’s going to be the only Mindwalker to ever pitch a perfect game—even despite the debilitating glitches she’s experiencing. But when a critical mission goes south, Sil is forced to flee the very company she once called home. Desperate to prove she’s no traitor, Sil infiltrates the Analog Army, an activist faction working to bring Syntex down. Her plan is to win back her employer’s trust by destroying the group from within. Instead, she and the Army’s reckless leader, Ryder, uncover a horrifying truth that threatens to undo all the good Sil’s ever done. With her tech rapidly degrading and her new ally keeping dangerous secrets of his own, Sil must find a way to stop Syntex in order to save her friends, her reputation—and maybe even herself.
I really liked the sound of Sil having to race against her upcoming death at the ripe old age of 19. The whole cybertech part of the book was well handled and I really bonded with the gutsy protagonist. Being a YA read meant the emotion and romance featured heavily, but it certainly didn’t overshadow the main narrative arc. Enjoyable read. 8/10
The Deep End – Book 1 of The Country Club Murders series by Julie Mulhern
Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.
It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.
As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her?
Laura at Through Raspberry Colored Glasses was talking about this series and I liked the sound of it sufficiently to look out the first book. And then, because I was in the mood, I then read it and thoroughly enjoyed the 1970’s vibe and lovely dry humour. The plotting was also nicely twisty, with a satisfyingly long list of possible suspects – no wonder the series is still going strong with such a successful start. 9/10
The Green Man’s Gift – Book 5 of The Green Man series by Juliet E. McKenna
A teenage boy has turned up in Snowdonia, barely conscious and babbling about beautiful women and fairy feasts. The authorities blame magic mushrooms. The wise women say different and they want dryad’s son, Daniel Mackmain, to investigate. He needs to watch his step in the mountains. Those who live in the hollow hills mask their secrets and intentions with sly half-truths.
Far from the woods he knows, Dan needs help from the allies he has made in past adventures. But he’s a loner at heart. As the true power of his adversary becomes clear, he must decide if he’s willing to see those he cares for put themselves in danger.
Himself saw this one and immediately bought it – quite right too. This series is one of our favourites and this particular adventure, set in the Welsh hills, didn’t disappoint. As ever, McKenna’s strong descriptive writing, clever pacing and charismatic and entirely believable protagonist meant the pages simply turned themselves until I reached the end with that familiar sense of happiness and sorrow that only comes when completing a thumping good read. 10/10
AUDIOBOOK – Chosen For Power – Book 4 of the Dragon’s Gate series by Lindsay Buroker – REREAD
Jak and his allies venture through the portal in search of the longevity plant their king demands, but all Jak wants is to find the elder dragons. Some say they’re extinct. Some say they’re in hiding.
If he can’t locate them, there won’t be anyone to teach his hatchling how to fly. Or to protect the dragon eggs preserved within a glacier on another world. Or to help him free his people from the tyrannical rule of the wizards. Jak has no choice. He must find the dragons. But some ancient secrets were buried for a reason. What he discovers may jeopardize not only Jak and his allies—the survival of the entire species of dragons may be at stake.
I decided to reread this slice of this entertaining epic fantasy adventure as I’ve recently got hold of the next audiobook in the series and I wanted to ensure that I didn’t miss any of the plot points. It was a solid pleasure to follow Jak and his intrepid mother again as they once more are forced to risk their lives to follow King Uthari’s whims. I’m loving this adventure, which confirms Buroker as one of my all-time favourite authors. 9/10
Blood Will Tell – Book 6 of the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow
At the request of her grandmother, a matriarch of her Aleut clan, Kate Shugak travels to Anchorage to investigate the mysterious deaths of several Council members just before a crucial meeting to determine the fate of some disputed tribal lands.
I completed Breakup before realising that I’d somehow missed reading this one in the right order. As ever, the politics raging over the beautiful, fragile Alaskan eco-system is brilliantly depicted without turning into a moralistic rant. Shugak is a riveting heroine and I found the ending of this one immensely powerful and moving. 10/10
My posts last week:
Review of NETGALLEY arc Unraveller by Frances Hardinge
Can’t-Wait-Wednesday featuring AUDIOBOOK Orbs of Wisdom – Book 6 of the Dragon Gate series by Lindsay Buroker
Wishing you all a happy, health week😊.
What a week, I’ll bet you’re glad it’s over. I’m glad your sister is ok, but I’m sad she has to work under such stressful conditions. I love your family photos😁
Thank you, Tammy:)). Yes – I’m glad that week is now behind us… I just hope that my sister can find a long term option that means she isn’t so stressed.
It’s sad to see how the post-pandemic issues have turned some people into… well, “aggressive barbarians” is the kindest term that comes to mind. I heard that doctors are targeted as well by patients who don’t understand how we are still dealing with the aftermath of the huge crisis brought on by Covid. And yet, what you wrote about the overall mood and behavior of the people in the emergency room, makes me hope that humanity might still listen to its better angels….
Ah yes! It’s always the way, isn’t it? The majority behave with consideration and respect for others – and yet it’s always the miserable minority that are remembered for their barbaric behaviour because it’s so jarring and unpleasant! But I know that I left A & E feeling quite emotional and humbled by the sheer fortitude and good nature of everyone around us…
I love seeing your photos. I’m glad you had some nice family time. I’m sorry for the troubles. It’s wonderful you have the NHS and got your boosters. It’s great you are enjoying the Dana Stabenow series – I love them.
Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post
Thank you, Anne. Yes, I was humbly grateful for the NHS and that my sister got such thorough attention. And yes… I love the Dana Stabenow series – Himself has bought a lot of them and I’m now working my way through them, albeit slowly! Hope you are having a great week:).
Oh my goodness. Your poor sister. That’s a shame that she’s been run ragged at work to such an extent that it has impacted her health. I hope she (and you too!) feels better soon.
Thank you SJ. I’ve been watching her get increasingly exhausted and anxious at the way work is piling up over the last year with dismay. As for me – I think I just need to accept that relapses are going to happen if I use up too much energy for the time being. Have a great week.
I’m glad you were able to enjoy time with your parents.
I hope your sister benefits from the time off, patience seems to be in short supply everywhere these days.
Wishing you a great reading week
Thank you, Shelleyrae. Yes… our poor old NHS is tottering right now, given that covid hasn’t really gone away all that far. And I hope that you too are having a lovely reading week!
Wow, you had a very busy week, Sarah. I am so glad your dinner with your parents was a success. Stress can be very dangerous, so I am glad you were all there when your sister had her episode. Luckily you had a great doctor who knew what she needed. I read that Julie Mulhern series and really enjoy it, so I am glad to see you liked the first one. I have a couple to catch up on, but have read most of them. Have a wonderful upcoming weekend.
Thank you, Carla. Yes – it was really scary and I was so impressed with how my sister’s emergency was handled. I will definitely be reading more of the Julie Mulhern series as I loved the humour and I also thought the author caught the period really well. I hope you’re enjoying this week:)).