Reading roundup 20/02/19

I read three books this week and have started a fourth. After all the excitement of the last few weeks, with highly enjoyable books, only one of the three was really engaging.

Shiang by C F Iggulden

Shiang by C F Iggulden

My first book was Shiang by C F Iggulden (Conn Iggulden), #02 in his Empire of Salt series. Here is the blurb:

IF THESE STONES COULD SPEAK . . . THEY WOULD CALL FOR WAR.

In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat.

Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.

Far to the west, four Shiang masters approach the city walls of Darien. The sword saint and his companions have crossed a continent to bring an old man home for punishment. They will not be denied, even if the whole city stands in their way.

TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.

And this is the three star review that I wrote in Goodreads:

I read the first part, Darien, some time ago so I found it quite difficult to remember characters and events when reading this. It was particularly disorientating because this book began in a different setting and I felt very confused until the story got going. I really didn’t feel that either book were up to Iggulden’s usual standard. His writing is good, but he doesn’t do enough to build a fantasy world. There was also the odd mention of Rome that was rather jarring. Was this a hint of something to be told in a later book?

I think that this series is actually intended to be a trilogy, so I will almost certainly read the final part, when it is published. Generally speaking, I believe that Iggulden is a much better writer of historical fiction, which I really enjoy.

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

The Thirst by Jo Nesbo

My second book of the week was great: #11 in the Harry Hole series: The Thirst by Jo Nesbo. This is the (not very expansive) blurb:

In Police—the last novel featuring Jo Nesbø’s hard-bitten, maverick Oslo detective—a killer wreaking revenge on the police had Harry Hole fighting for the safety of the people closest to him. Now, in The Thirst, the story continues as Harry is inextricably drawn back into the Oslo police force. A serial murderer has begun targeting Tinder daters—a murderer whose MO reignites Harry’s hunt for a nemesis of his past.

I gave this four stars and wrote the following review:

I have read quite a few of the Harry Hole books and think that this is one of the best. This book is so cleverly crafted – I particularly enjoyed the beginning. Nesbo is playing with his readers!

I don’t think that the series necessarily needs to be read in order, well I haven’t, but it does help to give quite a lot of background and context if you have read a few. To see Harry happy is pretty amazing and certainly unusual. I am now requesting all of the other books in the series to fill in the gaps, or Holes – ouch!

OK, I couldn’t resist that!

The Staveley Suspect by Rebecca Tope

The Staveley Suspect by Rebecca Tope

The third and final book was a complete change of direction into a much more domestic take on a murder mystery: The Staveley Suspect by Rebecca Tope (Persimmon Brown #05). Here is the blurb:

Simmy Brown has a lot on her mind. Not just keeping her florist business afloat, her father’s failing health, the challenge of developing a long-term relationship with Christopher, but also the approach of Mother’s Day, a busy and painful day for her.

But in taking an order for a retirement party in Staveley, she is pulled into her most challenging investigation yet. When a daughter starts accusing her own mother of murder, Simmy, Ben and Bonnie find themselves taking different sides of the investigation. With her relationships under strain, Simmy has to learn to leave her own concerns behind to discover just who the killer is.

I only gave this one two stars on Goodreads – maybe I prefer more high octane reads!

I haven’t read nothing by this author before and I might just try another book from a different series. I enjoyed the setting of this book as I have been to the area quite a few times and actually stayed in Troutbeck as a child. The domestic and personal background to the story was quite interesting at first, but very soon it all overwhelmed the actual mystery that the main characters were trying to solve, so much so that I became bored with all of the shop opening and closing, deliveries and personal issues. The ending was so abrupt that I thought, at first, that there had been a few paragraphs or pages missed out. So, not a very satisfying read.

By the way, this book averages nearly four stars on Goodreads, so please check the other reviews on there if this kind of book appeals to you. Perhaps I am too bloodthirsty!

All of my books this week have been ebooks from our library service’s extensive collection. I always check the digital catalogue first before looking for the print versions because, if the ebook is available, I can download it instantly to my iPad. I need to visit the Library soon, however, as I have now run out of print books!

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields

Perfect Silence by Helen Fields

I am currently reading #04 in Helen Fields’ DI Callanach series: Perfect Silence, and I will give you my verdict next time.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📚📖📚📖📚

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Outfit of the day 18/02/19

Both Lovely Husband and I have been feeling a bit sorry for ourselves in the last few days. We seem to have caught the same nasty cold and, on top of all our existing health issues, it has really knocked us flat!

Anyone who regularly reads this blog may remember the outfit that I showed on Friday. I had intended to wear this ensemble to my counselling appointment, but had to stay in bed after a coughing bout. I kept the whole outfit laid on the side and decided to give myself a shake and actually get dressed properly today. It did make me feel a bit better wearing such nice colours.

Here is Friday’s collage again:

Outfit of the day 15/02/19 with Hermès’ Tyger, Tyger scarf

Outfit of the day 15/02/19 with Hermès’ Tyger, Tyger scarf

And this is today’s:

Outfit of the day 18/02/19 with Hermès’ Tyger, Tyger scarf

Outfit of the day 18/02/19 with Hermès’ Tyger, Tyger scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Teal cotton mix round neck top – Lands’ End.
  • Teal cotton mix cardigan – Lands’ End.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Bronze Art Nouveau earrings.
  • Teal suede and pale gold Vara wrap bracelet – Ferragamo.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in browns, teal, red, navy and white – Tyger, Tyger – Hermès. Tied in the asymmetric wrap to show the gorgeous contrast rolled hem.

It is so annoying that my iPad camera turns all of the turquoise, aqua and teal shades to blue. The twinset above is a lovely bright teal and the suede wrap bracelet is a couple of shades darker in real life, so tones with it beautifully.

I am so fortunate to be able to afford such lovely accessories – they make such a difference to simple basic clothes.

Best wishes,

💛💚💙❤️💜🧡

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Outfit of the day 15/02/19

Well, actually, this was my planned outfit. You see, I was intending to wear these items today for my counselling session and lunch in a pub, but, in the end I was too poorly to go. Instead, I spent most of the day in pyjamas again. I am so upset about this as I have had to look at this beautiful sunny day through the window!

I just have to hope that this lovely weather continues for a bit longer and that we can go out and enjoy it.

Outfit of the day 15/02/19 with Hermès’ Tyger, Tyger scarf

Outfit of the day 15/02/19 with Hermès’ Tyger, Tyger scarf

Today’s (planned) outfit:

  • Teal cotton mix round neck top – Lands’ End.
  • Teal cotton mix cardigan – Lands’ End.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Bronze Art Nouveau earrings.
  • Teal suede and pale gold Vara wrap bracelet – Ferragamo.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in browns, teal, red, navy and white – Tyger, Tyger – Hermès.

These colours are very autumnal, but the combination is so lovely. In fact, I will keep all of these items until I next feel able to go out.

I do hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.

Best wishes,

🧡💛💚💙❤️💜

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Outfit of the day 14/02/19

It was Elder Son’s birthday yesterday – 29! He has gone away for a few days to treat himself and so Lovely Husband and I are on our own for a while (now then, what mischief can we do? 😆😁😆).

We are hoping to be able to go out for a pub lunch tomorrow, after my counselling session, so haven’t tried to do anything much today. ES woke us up very early to help him pack, so we are both quite tired. I am referencing Valentine’s Day a little, though – see my outfit below. There is no collage because I don’t have photos of everything that I am wearing today.

Outfit of the day 14/02/19

Outfit of the day 14/02/19

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy velour roll-neck top – Cotton Traders.
  • Navy cotton joggers – Cotton Traders.
  • Crystal and silver heart shaped brooch – this belonged to my Mother.
  • Crystal and silver earrings.

Now that I am spending so much time in bed, I am beginning to wonder if I should start to buy nicer pyjamas and robes instead of putting any more money into clothes to wear outside the house. Well, it is a thought. Quite a few of my existing pyjamas, mainly bought from supermarkets, are reaching the end of their lives and are looking quite tatty. When I have saved up and bought my “special” purchase, which I wrote about on Monday, I will start to look into this new idea.

Best wishes,

💙💜❤️💛💚🧡

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Reading roundup 13/02/19

Last week I was a voracious reader! This week I have been the opposite. Well, I have finished one book and have started another. Yes, I have been binge watching The Expanse TV series on Amazon Prime…

King of Assassins by R J Barker

King of Assassins by R J Barker

I did complete The Wounded Kingdom series by R J Barker. The final book – King of Assassins – was simply amazing. This is the blurb:

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING . . .

Many years of peace have passed in Maniyadoc, years of relative calm for the assassin Girton Club-Foot. Even the Forgetting Plague, which ravaged the rest of the kingdoms, seemed to pass them by. But now Rufra ap Vthyr eyes the vacant High-King’s throne and will take his court to the capital, a rat’s nest of intrigue and murder, where every enemy he has ever made will gather and the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in his bid to become the King of all Kings.

Friends become enemies, enemies become friends and the god of death, Xus the Unseen, stands closer than ever – casting his shadow over everything most dear to Girton.

I have been lucky enough to pick out some fantastic book series over the past year or so: The Expanse by James S A Corey, Red Rising by Pierce Brown and this ⬆️ are my stand out favourites. They have all been so good that I have found it very difficult to express my responses when writing reviews. Giving away too much of the plots would really spoil these wonderful books for you. Please, if you are fans of Science Fiction and/or Fantasy, give them a go. Anyway, here is my attempt at reviewing King of Assassins (and, yes, I gave it the full five stars and added it to my favourites on Goodreads):

This is now one of my most favourite series of all time! Yes, these books are that good. The characters grow and develop throughout the series. No-one is perfect. They all make mistakes and stumble. There are incredibly dark moments in a very exciting plot and I simply couldn’t stop reading once I had picked one of these books up.

This third episode may even be the best. Barker’s writing is stunning and I cannot wait until he publishes his next book. There are so many shades of light and dark in his work; tragedy and pathos; twists and turns; the anticipated that develops into the unexpected. Highly recommended.

Please read other reviews on Goodreads – most are far more articulate than mine!

Shiang by C F Iggulden

Shiang by C F Iggulden

After finishing these wonderful books I turned to an ebook, Shiang by C F Iggulden (#02 Empire of Salt), that had appeared in my account (it had been on reserve for a while). I haven’t finished it yet, so will write about it next week, all being well.

Until then, Happy Reading to you all.

Best wishes,

📖📚📖📚📖

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Update 11/02/19: saving up for something special

I hope that you all had a lovely weekend, filled with activities that made you feel happy. Ours was quite difficult again as Elder Son was, and still is, quite unwell. He has cough-related asthma and sometimes the cough becomes very bad. As he is planning an exciting trip to celebrate his birthday later in the week, he has become very anxious and upset, thinking that he may not be well enough to go. Both Lovely Husband and I have been working really hard to keep him calm and try help him to get better. It has been rather exhausting!

On this blog, I write a lot about my purchases of new clothes and accessories. I have a small monthly allowance to spend how I wish and that, when I was still working, went on books, music, entertainment etc., as well as clothes. Now that I have retired and hardly ever go out on my own, I don’t use the money for concerts or drinks out with friends and I tend to borrow books from the Library rather than buy them. So, that means that I have a little more spare cash for my rather expensive scarves and shawls!

As I now have quite a large collection of scarves, ranging from cheap market stall purchases to designer items from Hermès, Ferragamo and Liberty, I have decided to try to save up for something even more special. It will take me a few months and I have to hope that the particular item will still be available when I have the funds. Anyway, that means that I will not have any reveals for quite some time.

I am trying to develop the will power! Not something that I am noted for…

I hope that I can find enough interesting things to write about in the meantime.

Best wishes,

💛🧡❤️💜💙💚

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Outfit of the day 08/02/19

After a very difficult week, today has been pretty good so far. I was able to get up, dress in a nice outfit and go to my counselling appointment in the morning. Mind you, I have to climb two flights of stairs to get to the room and this always tires me out and leaves me wheezing. After the session, I felt really dizzy as I walked back to the car park. Maybe I looked like a drunk to any onlookers!

We came straight home instead of having a pub lunch like last week, but I did manage to stay downstairs for most of the afternoon. I enjoy watching the Vera TV series, based on Ann Cleeves’ characters, so we viewed the latest episode.

I have washed most of my cashmere this week and was able to wear my favourite navy cashmere v-neck with this outfit:

Outfit of the day 08/02/19 with Hermès’ L’Arbre du Vent scarf

Outfit of the day 08/02/19 with Hermès’ L’Arbre du Vent scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Navy cashmere v-neck jumper – John Lewis.
  • Navy cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
  • Navy leather shoes – Sugar – Hotter.
  • Amethyst and silver earrings – Blue Nile.
  • Teal metallic leather and pale gold wrap bracelet – Polsino – Massaccesi.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in purple, blue, green and teal – L’Arbre du Vent – Hermès. Tied in a cowboy cowl knot.

I had intended to wear my gorgeous purple suede boots with this outfit, but, as it was raining heavily, I changed into my sturdy navy shoes instead. The cowboy cowl knot is a good one to choose when wearing a v-neck as you can tuck the pointed corners into the neckline, if you wish. This particular scarf, however, has such a beautiful contrast hem that I prefer to show it off!

I am also feeling happy today because I have had a lovely video chat with Younger Son this afternoon. He is so lovely to talk to and always cheers me up!

Anyway, I hope that you all have a great weekend.

Best wishes,

😀😀😀😀😀

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