Tag Archives: Hope

Sunday Post – 29th March, 2020 #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.

Like most people, I’m staying at home, though Himself is still out driving trains. We’ve worked out a system whereby he puts his uniform into the washing machine before coming into the house and so far… so good.

Last Monday, on her second day in the new house, my daughter woke up with a temperature, joint and stomach pains and a cough. So she ended up being quarantined in the house without the children. She is now feeling a lot better, but it’s been a long week for her. Thank goodness she is recovering and the children don’t seem to have had any symptoms. Other than that, we keep in touch with family via Skype and Zoom. It was a huge relief to hear my brother-in-law caught one of the last flights from Melbourne and is now back home safely. And we go on praying none of the vulnerable members of the family go down with the illness…

Still enjoying Outlander – but mightily disappointed with that DREADFUL last episode of Picard, when it had been going so well. Thank goodness for marvellous books – I’m listening to Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light – so very, very good! And I’m working on my book on Characterisation, which is growing slowly but surely. It’s interesting how different my writing patterns are for non-fiction, as opposed to fiction.

Last week I read:
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes. But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods. It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret.
This fascinating story, told from an unusual viewpoint – using the second person (you) pov – caught me from the start. I loved the tension and Leckie’s handling of the perspective from a god who has lived a very long time.

The Clutter Corpse – Book 1 of the Decluttering Mysteries series by Simon Brett
Introducing an engaging new amateur sleuth, declutterer Ellen Curtis, in the first of a brilliant new mystery series.
That’s all the blurb there is – and this intriguing cosy mystery does just that – sets up Ellen as an engaging, competent protagonist with a doozy of a backstory. While I enjoyed the whodunit aspect, I was even more engrossed in Ellen as a fascinating protagonist and very much look forward to reading more about her. Review to follow.


Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller
1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother’s grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change. Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote European forest. There he tells Peggy the rest of the world has disappeared.
I burned through this one, finding it impossible to put down. It’s an amazing read in many ways. For starters, the prose is absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed so much about this one… But for me, the pacing and narrative stuttered in the final stages, leaving me unhappy with the ending, both with its execution and the outcome.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Macksey
A book of hope for uncertain times.
Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, discover their story and their most important life lessons. The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. In Charlie’s first book, you will find his most-loved illustrations and some new ones too.
My lovely sister-in-law sent this to me and I absolutely love it – the beautiful drawings and the messages of truth and hope that shone off the pages. It had me weeping and laughing at the same time. It isn’t long, but I shall be returning to it regularly. Especially in the coming days and weeks…

My posts last week:

Friday Face-off featuring Circe by Madeline Miller

Review of A Season of Spells – Book 3 of the Noctis Magicae series by Sylvia Hunter

*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of War of the Maps by Paul McAuley

Review of AUDIOBOOK A Hat Full of Sky – Book 32 of the Discworld series, Book 2 of the Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett

Sunday Post – 22nd March 2020

Interesting/outstanding blogs and articles that have caught my attention during the last week, in no particular order:

Books That Made Me Smile, Laugh, Inspired Me & Gave Me Hope https://hookedonbookz.com/2020/03/26/books-that-made-me-smile-laugh-inspired-me-gave-me-hope/ A very useful list – that includes The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse…

Coping Tools https://randomactsofwriting.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/coping-tools/
Another useful and uplifting article that I really appreciated and thought others, too, might enjoy reading…

Book Tag – The Secret World of a Book Blogger https://comfortreadsbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/03/26/book-tag-secret-life-of-a-book-blogger/ I’m a nosy person – my excuse is that I’m a writer, but I couldn’t pass up this insight into a fellow book blogger’s process behind the articles…

House Arrest https://jaceybedford.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/house-arrest/ Another great insight into how successful sci fi/fantasy author is coping with self isolating…

Giving Up Oxford https://infjphd.org/2020/03/24/giving-up-oxford/ A beautiful homage to one of our loveliest cities and a thoughtful article about lost opportunities and curtailed plans due to the virus…

Thank you for visiting, reading, liking and/or commenting on my blog – I hope you and yours have a peaceful, healthy week. Take care.

Review of Personal Demon – Book 8 of Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong


Recently, Himself and I discovered that since we’d read the last Women of the Otherworld series, there were a few books that had either slipped through the net, or Armstrong had added and given that we’re both fans of her writing, we decided to track down these books.

personaldemonHope Adams, tabloid journalist and half-demon, inherited her Bollywood-princess looks from her mother. From her demon father, she inherited a hunger for chaos, and a talent for finding it. Like full demons, she gets an almost sexual rush from danger – in fact, she thrives on it. But she is determined to use her gifts for good.

When the head of the powerful Cortez Cabal asks her to infiltrate a gang of bored, rich, troublemaking supernaturals in Miami. Hope can’t resist the excitement. But trouble for Hope is intoxicating, and soon she’s in way too deep…

Hope is a really interesting character. We first meet up with her in No Humans Involved – see my review here – when she tries to help Jaime in her investigation. Armstrong has a nifty device in her Women of the Otherworld series – each book features a different female protagonist within her world. So she is able to give us different slices of her paranormal community from a variety of perspectives, giving her world a complex, layered quality.

Armstrong’s characters are always appealing and each one is different, with their own particular strengths, weaknesses and obstacles to endure or overcome. Hope – the name is ironic – finds herself drawn to chaos and people who attract or create strong emotions, such as fear, anger or excitement. So working undercover with the gang provides her with plenty of opportunity to get hits of the rush. Until a particular person from her past turns up, convinced that she is in over her head and determined to extricate her from her current situation.

Hope’s story isn’t the only one in this book. Lucas Cortez, husband of Paige, and declared heir to the Cortez Cabal and fortune, also becomes entangled in this affair when the Cortez cabal finds itself grappling with a major situation. As he flies in to deal with this particular emergency, we also get reacquainted with characters who have featured in previous books, allowing us to follow their continued character arc throughout the series. It is a nifty trick – given the number of different characters within Armstrong’s Otherworld, I have found it relatively easy to keep track of exactly who has done what to whom.

I enjoyed Hope’s adventure and her impulsive attraction to danger. As for the antagonists – there is a theory that in a thriller such as this, it is the baddies that are the engine of the story. Their motivations and actions are the triggers that create the drama along with the resulting fallout and Personal Demon is a classic example of how this can be effectively achieved. Without lurching into spoiler territory, I found the antagonists in this tale riveting and terrifying, while their motivation comes from a deep-seated longing to feel secure. The wrenching truth is that their reasoning for doing what they do is spot on. Which is an uncomfortable truth and raises a dilemma – if you feel yourself threatened with good reason, are you entitled to strike back with sufficient force so as to eliminate that threat even if it involves killing innocent people? Judging by the rising body count in parts of the world such as Syria and Israel, far too many folks think the answer is yes…

But don’t go away thinking this book is remotely dry or preachy. Armstrong is far too an accomplished storyteller to get bogged down in anything that will hold up the driving force of her narrative. This is an entertaining, paranormal romp with a dose of sexy excitement among the other mayhem that abounds. As winter trudges onward, curl up in front of the fire and get whisked away. You don’t even need to have read the other books, although I recommend you do.