Update April 2023

Hi Everyone!

Managed the long trip to visit relatives but not been out and about much owing to never-ending health issues and the weather. Despite all the rain, shortly after local authorities announced a hosepipe ban from now until December, naturally some of the southwest had flooding. News for the area showed footage of a river of water and mud flowing several feet up past doorways — something of a spectacular show when seen through glass. Fortunately, our area was spared.

I finally got to see a physiotherapist for my wrist paid for by me, of course. I figured by the time I argued with the NHS to see one, and then had to pay for a cab to and from the hospital, it was cheaper and less time-consuming to pay for one locally.

He said I’m doing all the right things, and in the second appointment said I’m ahead of what he would expect at this point. That’s encouraging although it doesn’t feel like much when he also told me I can expect a year of exercise to regain full movement, if I even do — although he can’t spot anything to say I definitely won’t at this point, it’s far too soon to tell. It also doesn’t feel as though I got much physio as there was no actual exercise. He suggested a couple of things, but aside from that, I’ve mostly had my arm massaged, which thank goodness took down 95% of the swelling, and a back massage. Having said that, I think I needed it as it wiped me out. He said other muscles get damaged during a fall, and also that I’ve been overcompensating on the opposite side.

Still ploughing our way through Bones but now on season 9. We also sped through the acclaimed series airing on Sky, The Last of Us. Wasn’t sure at first, and admit to a small eye-roll of ‘not another zombie series’, but I can see why there was a buzz about the show. It doesn’t waste a moment of storytelling and knows how to pull on the audience’s emotion. Restarted Dark Shadows as introducing my husband to it, and watching Supernatural for the first time. Although the show was over sometime ago, it was always on at a strange hour and we never got to see it. Another of those that’s so popular we wanted to see why. Anyway, anything supernatural is kind of my thing.

I’ve watched a couple of quirky films lately, one of which was The Duke starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren based on a legendary British true story — the theft of Francisco Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington painting from the National Gallery. As to what is and isn’t real in the story for those who want to know more, go here: https://www.radiotimes.com/movies/the-duke-true-story-exclusive/ But it’s good to say a fair amount of it is true, as pitched by the grandson.

The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty (audio)
Well read by the author. Definitely better than the film. Still, I’ve never been sure why people find the story so frightening. The only scary elements are the suffering of a child, or the demon’s strength. I also shake my head when characters react so strongly to something said. I can’t help thinking that the scares don’t work as well as they should because it’s a different society now, but I saw the film in my teens and still think of it as one of the funniest movies ever made. Would Regan’s insults and torments really bother a modern adversary so much? Despite these wonderings, this remains the quintessential possession story. Well worth the time spent with it, even though I don’t find it frightening.

Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch
A good start to what promises to be a fun series; however, I fell out of love with the protagonist somewhat when he threatened to use the dog in a magic ritual even if intended as a joke. Was it? I’m not sure. Things like that can quickly alienate a reading public, and are usually best avoided even in jest. The protagonist is also a little too bland, but I hope it fledges him out in the following books. The author has a fantastic way of weaving a story of magic into a believable London setting almost making London a character in and of itself — in fact I fell in love with London more than anything else in the book, but I’m not sure that’s a recommendation good enough on its own. There are many amazing creatures here, including gods and goddesses, vampires and ghosts, and I’m sure there will be more to come in the following stories. Having said all that, the book felt a little muddled to me, almost too frantic in parts, with a lot to take in, some convenient happenings, and a twist of an ending I’m not sure quite worked for me. But then, as a reader, I appreciate I’m buying into the writer’s imaginative journey, and a review is all semantics, anyway. I own the first three books and, having read the first, I found this entertaining enough to carry on with the other two, hoping they will improve.

The White Road, Sarah Lotz
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I would have to say it’s because of the writing. I usually prefer a book told in third person rather than first, but this is an exception. There are definitely creepy moments, although the thought of crawling through tiny tunnels many feet under the Earth is perhaps the most scary moments, expertly claustrophobia inducing. A rather strange atmospheric ghost story with a protagonist who is more of an anti-hero. Despite this, you can’t help following Simon’s journey and even rooting for… I’m not sure what. Not Simon as such — although I’m not sure he deserved all that happened to him — but you still want something good to come of this. The story contains several threats and battles, including the climbing of Everest and questioning mental health. Not everyone will find the ending perfect, but I’m not sure how else the author could have concluded the book; for me, the biggest negative is that it felt almost too abrupt. As Stephen King has said, some books are best enjoyed for the journey rather than the destination and I can’t help thinking perhaps this is one of those, but I’m glad to have spent time with it and will read more by this author.

The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson
When I first began reading I wondered why make the protagonist — a decidedly flawed human being from a flawed background — part of the porn industry, but it’s the perfect irony that this man who once easily wooed women suffers such physical destruction, burned in a horrendous car crash. If the author has his research right, the burn descriptions should haunt you. But just when you think the story is one about a damaged man awaiting the chance for suicide, events take an unbelievable twist when a possibly mentally ill woman, Marianne, walks into his life insisting that they have known and loved each other before. The writing has the feel of an aged classic, yet references and details set the story in modern times, an imbalance that’s perfect for a tale reaching across centuries. On the one hand, it’s quite beautiful, but I repeatedly asked, What is this book about? Like poetry, it will mean different things to different people. Ultimately, I dare say it’s about sacrifice and redemption, but something remained off key for me. Although an emotional book, I never quite believed the love that supposedly holds the two main characters bound over time, whether real or imaginary. The love felt more like obsession. And why the author bothered to include a dog and the events surrounding it, escapes me and made me dislike the characters. I want to rate the book higher than I have because it stays in the mind, and I would have done so had I been able to believe what they felt for each other. I’m also left questioning whether the protagonist’s actions are of love or criminal. Is what Marianne tells this unnamed man real, or are they both delusional?

Carnival (Firefly), Una McCormack
One of the shorter Firefly novels, solidly plotted. I found this to be a fun read, mostly because the author understands the character voices, something sadly lacking in the previous book. Those voices bring a true feeling of nostalgia for fans of the series.

No news on the writing score, mostly because, although I’m almost typing again, my wrist is still at an angle, which makes it tiring. Here’s to more improvement.
Stay happy and healthy!
Sharon x

About Sharon

Writer of Dark and Light Fiction. Fact, fiction, poetry, short stories, articles and novels. Cross-genre, slipstream, non-traditional romance, gothic, horror, fantasy and more... Visit this diverse writer's site.
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