Reading roundup 05/06/19

We have arrived in June already and I have finished 44 books so far. I find it hard to believe how fast this year is passing by.

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

This week I read two very different books and am almost halfway through a third. The first was Mark Lawrence’s Holy Sister, #03 in his Book of the Ancestor trilogy. This is the blurb:

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

I really enjoyed this series and all three books were excellent to the point that it would be difficult to choose one to be my favourite! So I awarded this one the full five stars and added it to my “favourites. Once again, I struggled to write a review without giving too much away…

What an excellent trilogy this has been. I have enjoyed all three books so much and this one gave a fantastic ending to the tale. It is so rare for a male author to write such great female characters and even rarer for one to create a series where females dominate (and not by being sex-symbols). Mark Lawrence has done this brilliantly. Nina was a fantastic character and I do hope that Lawrence returns to her story one day. The other main protagonists were also very well-written with enough variety between them. The whole story was well-paced and exciting, but I still want to know more about the Corridor, how the moon works and what really happened to Nona’s father on the ice!

I love how Lawrence blends fantasy with a pinch of science fiction and look forward to reading more books by him in the future.

At this point I really must give a recommendation that you read some of the reviews about this book (and the rest of Mark Lawrence’s work) on Goodreads. There are so many excellent ones that are much more thoughtful and better written than mine.

Wolf Pack by CJ Box

In last week’s roundup I wrote about The Disappeared by CJ Box, #18 in his Joe Pickett series. This week, #19 Wolf Pack appeared in my library ebook account as I had reserved it some weeks ago. This is the blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett encounters bad behavior on his own turf–only to have the FBI and the DOJ ask him to stand down.

The good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose grandson is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy.

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he is asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Joe discovers that the man is in the witness relocation program, as he is in possession of knowledge about dangerous people. Soon, Joe comes across a pack of four killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel to find the man in the WITSEC program–and Joe realizes his actions might expose the man.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself their prey–along with Lucy and her boyfriend.

Although I mostly enjoyed The Disappeared, I did have some strong reservations about the book and only gave it three stars. This one was a lot better, so four stars it is!

This was much better than the previous book in the series, The Disappeared. The whole book was much more tightly plotted with real excitement and a sense of danger. Yes, a lot of the story was rather OTT, but that added to rather than subtracted from the tale. I love the descriptions of the scenery and animal life in these books which give this urban Brit such a feel for the Great Outdoors in this region of the USA. Joe and his family, and Nate, are great characters and Box continues to develop them in interesting directions!

Malice by John Gwynne

I am now halfway through a book which looks as if it will be leading me into another fantasy series. Malice by John Gwynne, #01 of The Faithful and the Fallen, has been very enjoyable so far and I am going to return to it as soon as I have finished writing this post!

Until next week’s Reading Roundup…

…Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📚📖📚📖📚

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Outfit of the day 04/06/19

Well, I am a little better today and, although I have been reading in bed most of the time, I did venture downstairs for a couple of hours. Yesterday, on the other hand, was very difficult. Lovely Husband and I are under a lot of strain these days with disabilities, illness, worries and stress piling on our shoulders. Sometimes, we are unable to contain the pressure and our house becomes a difficult place to be. Add in issues with autism and we have a situation that is volatile. Yesterday was horrible.

I am hoping that the rest of the day will be calm and peaceful and that this will continue for the whole week.

I can hope!

Outfit of the day with One Hundred Stars’ China Tree kimono jacket

Today’s outfit :

  • Blue and white modal/viscose kimono jacket – China Tree – One Hundred Stars.
  • White cotton sleeveless vest – Lands’ End.
  • Navy linen mix trousers – Isle Collection.
  • Navy, blue and natural horn necklace – via Etsy.

It is now a week since my appointment with my main consultant and I am feeling very disappointed. If you remember, he warned me very strongly that I need to begin to exercise to prevent muscle wastage, help improve my heart rate and breathing, and postpone possible wheelchair use as long as possible. I declared that I would try to exercise and would begin walking and using my special chair straight away.

Well, none of this has happened as I have been unable to even get started. I have felt so ill and have been forced to stay in bed most days. This is so depressing and I am really disappointed and low. I know that this situation is not my fault, but it is hard to see a positive side. All I can do is hope that I begin to feel strong enough to begin some exercise soon.

Tomorrow is Reading Roundup day and I will enjoy writing the post about my latest books.

Best wishes,

💛💚❤️💙💜🧡

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Update 03/06/19

I cannot post properly today because I am too ill and things are rather fraught in this house! I hope that I will be able to write tomorrow.

Best wishes,

❤️🧡💙💛💚💜

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Update 31/05/19

I am having a very mixed kind of day. My illness is very bad and I am feeling pretty poorly, but, at the same time, I am also really happy because Younger Son is coming to stay overnight before going on his holiday with friends tomorrow. The airport they are using is quite near to us. He will also stop over in a week’s time on the way back home.

I have tried to do a few things, like changing beds, but am so very tired and weak and have to keep returning to bed. Never mind, it will be lovely to see him!

Anyway, I hope that you all have a great weekend and I will tell you how it goes in my next post.

Best wishes,

😁😁😁😁😁

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Outfit of the day 30/05/19

My counselling session was moved to this morning and I am pleased that I was feeling well enough to go. There were quite a few issues that I needed to talk through, so it was really worth the journey.

As for my outfit, I decided to have a complete change of colour scheme: coral and other shades of pink instead of purple. This Parures de Samouraïs design for Hermès has become a really popular and sought-after scarf, some colourways achieving amazing prices! I love wearing mine with this bright coral pink Lands’ End twinset.

Outfit of the day 30/05/19 with Hermès’ Parures de Samouraïs scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Coral pink cotton mix crew neck top – Lands’ End.
  • Coral pink cotton mix crew neck cardigan – Lands’ End.
  • Indigo cotton straight leg jeans – Klass.
  • Crystal and gold stud earrings.
  • Coral enamel and gold Agama bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Eau-de-nil and cream enamel, and gold Agama bangle – Halcyon Days.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in aqua, coral, cream and ice blue – Parures de Samouraïs – Hermès. Tied in a “Fifi” knot named after a lovely member of The Purse Forum.

My counselling appointment raised a lot of thoughts that I have been mulling over all afternoon. If I am in the right frame of mind tomorrow, I may share some of these in a post.

Oh, I nearly forgot! I had some great news yesterday evening: Younger Son is coming to stay overnight tomorrow on his way to the airport for his holiday flight – whoop! I can’t wait to see him and give him a biiiiiig hug 🤗.

Best wishes,

💙💜💚💛🧡

PS. If you are interested in reading more about the lovely Parures de Samouraïs scarf, do have a look at this Scarf of the Moment post.

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Reading roundup 29/05/19

This week I read two books and started on a third. The first was a long-awaited book by one of my favourite authors, the second a quick ebook read. I will tell you about the third next week when I have, hopefully, finished it!

A Book of Bones by John Connolly

I had been in a long queue for A Book of Bones (Charlie Parker #17), by John Connolly before I picked it up the other week. My Library allows reservations in advance of the book arriving in stock. I am not sure how many copies the County bought, but it did take a while for it to become available for me to collect.  Mind you, I really don’t care about the wait as using the Library saved me £20, less the £1 reservation fee.

Anyway, here is the blurb:

He is our best hope.

He is our last hope.

On lonely moor in the northeast of England, the body of a young woman is discovered near the site of a vanished church. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.

Each is a sacrifice, a summons.

And something in the darkness has heard the call.

But another is coming: Parker the hunter, the avenger. From the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast this world into darkness.

Parker fears no evil.

But evil fears him . . .

I took my time over reading this as I tend to read very quickly, skimming over some parts. As this series is so special to me, I wanted to savour every page – over 700 of them! Sadly, though, in the end I was rather disappointed. Here is my review on Goodreads with an award of four stars (I usually give this series five!):

I realise that I am in a tiny minority on here with my opinion of this book. John Connolly as the author and this book series, are amongst my most favourite reading experiences of all. So, I looked forward to reading the book and I read it slowly and thoroughly, taking my time to enjoy every word. But, I am so sad to say, the book just didn’t resonate for me like the previous ones in the series. It is difficult to explain why without giving away spoilers.

I just felt that the tale was told from too many points of view. Some strands became difficult to follow and were perhaps cluttering up the narrative. Charlie and his “team” were not present enough and I felt that the reader was distracted by too many other characters. Of course this series is full of bloody and gruesome deaths, but some in this particular book were superfluous and almost as if the author wished to deliberately toy with his readers. By this I mean that he manipulated us as readers into empathising with certain characters, only to dispose of them in unnecessarily cruel and rather sadistic ways, in my very humble opinion.

I am certain that I will continue to read more books in the series, but I hope that the next one goes back to the very best that I know Connolly can produce.

One thing that I forgot to write in my review was that I enjoyed the fact that a lot of the story was set in England, although the author made a couple of historical errors. One of which was that Saxons lived on these islands before the Romans came – don’t think so!

The Disappeared by CJ Box

I still felt quite overwhelmed after finishing A Book of Bones, so decided to have a change of pace to something easier to read. CJ Box is another author who has created a very long series. My latest read in his Joe Pickett series, #18 The Disappeared, popped into my library ebook account this week. This is the blurb:

Wyoming’s new governor isn’t sure what to make of Joe Pickett, but he has a job for him that is extremely delicate. Three British executives, all women, never came home from the high-end guest ranch they were visiting, and the British Embassy is pressing hard. Pickett knows that happens sometimes–these ranches are stocked with handsome young cowboys, and “ranch romances” aren’t uncommon. But three disappearances? That’s too many.

At the same time, with the help of his friend Nate Romanowski, he’s been called to investigate the killings of several bald and golden eagles–a serious federal crime. The more he investigates both cases, the more someone wants him to go away. Is it because of the missing woman or the dead eagles? Or are they somehow connected? The answers, when they come, will be even worse than he’d imagined.

I finished this book very very quickly and wrote the following three star review:

Wow! The ending was so abrupt in this book! I really didn’t enjoy how that cliffhanger was created. I usually love this series: the main characters are generally likeable and the central investigation is interesting set in a really well-drawn background. This time it simply wasn’t good enough. It all felt very samey. Also, is the author getting money for his name-dropping adverts for clothing and footwear?

Yes, we get that the author doesn’t like politicians or most government employees, apart from Joe himself. I don’t think he likes most Brits either! I will read more in the series, probably, but I think he probably needs to move on to something new.

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

Now that I have finished those two books, I am reading the final book in Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy: Holy Sister. I will let you know how I get on next week.

Happy Reading to you all!

Best wishes,

📖📚📖📚📖

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Outfit of the day 28/05/19

I think we broke a record this morning! Lovely Husband drove me to my appointment with my main consultant (who, by the way, is excellent) and we arrived to an almost empty waiting room. We only had to sit for a few minutes before we were called in. Usually, the waiting area is heaving and we have to wait for ages, sometimes even hours!

Anyway, the really good news is that I have actually lost a little bit of weight since my last visit, and my blood pressure is totally normal. The doctor made it very clear that I have to make myself exercise to prevent the very serious consequences of becoming totally bedridden with muscle wastage and loss of bone. He appreciated that this is extremely difficult for me to achieve, but emphasised that, somehow, I have to try to force myself. Lovely Husband, who was a PE teacher, is fully on board, as you would expect, and I have told him that he must kick me up the bum (metaphorically speaking!), if I don’t.

So, I must get my exercise chair out of the garage, blow off the dust, and use it regularly. Also, I really must walk around the area as often as I can. Yes, I know I have said and written this lots of times before, but I have been given a real wake up call!

Today’s outfit was one of my favourites and one of the nurses remarked on my obvious love of purple and lilac!

Outfit of the day 28/05/19 with Hermès Jaguar Quetzal scarf

Today’s outfit:

  • Purple cotton mix crew-neck top – Lands’ End.
  • Pale lilac cotton mix crew-neck cardigan – Lands’ End.
  • Indigo cotton straight leg jeans – Klass.
  • Violet resin and gold Medusa earrings – Grand Tour Collection.
  • Blue iris leather and pale gold Vara bow wrap bracelet – Ferragamo. This matches the scarf’s contrast hem.
  • Silk scarf, 90cm, in mauve, violet, blue and yellow – Jaguar Quetzal – Hermès. I folded the scarf into a triangle then rolled it to show off the gorgeous denim blue contrast hem. It was secured with a purple lacquered horn anneau infinity scarf ring from MaiTai.

To complete my “explosion” of purple shades, I carried my lovely amethyst pebbled leather Victoria handbag by Massaccesi. I had intended to wear my new Hotter trainer shoes in polar white (a very pale greyish mauve), but it was drizzling, so I changed them for navy shoes instead.

I was very tired when we arrived back home, probably from all of the walking around the car park and hospital, so have been in bed since, but I am determined to do some exercise tomorrow. I will let you all know how that goes.

Best wishes,

💜💜💜💜💜

PS. If you would like more information about the gorgeous Hermès Jaguar Quetzal scarf, please have a look at this Scarf of the Moment post.

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