Welcome to my April wrap-up blog post featuring all of the fantastic posts on my blog that I posted during the month of April.
I only managed to read 3 books (one of them I flew through in 2 days during my hospital stay) this month making a total of 11 books that I’ve managed to read in 2020. I mean, I guess that I might as well hang up my book blogger hat and hand in my badge as many of you read 11 books in a week and here I am 4 months into the year with the same total. I sure do suck at both reading and blogging this year.😂
I’ve struggled throughout the year with reading, took a break from blogging and reading in February and then when I did come back to blogging and picked up a book COVID-19 and the Coronavirus was running rampant and had made its way into the UK too.
Since then, I’m not going to lie that the whole situation has been stressing me out. I live with darkness inside, we get by but, I’m rather pessimistic and always see the worst rather than the best, the dark and not the light that can push back the shadows.
I’m also a key worker now, go figure! A few months ago as a supermarket worker I was a low paid, menial and unskilled scumbag. The type of job where those on the benefits/the dole laugh at you because they’d rather be on benefits than be a supermarket worker. I guess that when things go back to normal that I’ll return to being a scumbag and I’m OK with that. People shouldn’t just other people on the basis of what job they have anyway.
I also had my first hospital stay this month too. I had been feeling tired and had a stomach ache too. Both things that I put down to being stressed over the current situation and work (my department started working earlier at 4 am instead of 6 am which I’d put the lethargy down to) but they weren’t.
On Friday 10th, I collapsed late afternoon and it was only by a stroke of luck that I hadn’t cracked my head on the washbasin. I’m pretty thick headed but I don’t think I’d have been the victor against porcelain.😂 When I came around, I vomited up a lot of blood, clots too and I was out of it, babbling and not making any sense either. I don’t often make sense as it is but I do usually manage actual words than nonsense.😂
I was rushed to A&E at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham in the back of a flashing lights ambulance and on the journey I had the pleasure of vomiting up another three bowls of blood, nice, tomato soup anyone.🍅😂
I had a blood transfusion and a procedure to stop the bleeding that found a stomach ulcer, it is/was a deep/perforated ulcer and a deep bleed too. I was put on a 72hr PPI infusion and given another bag of blood. In the middle of Saturday night, I was woken up by a Dr and had the curtains pulled around my bay so that they could talk to me in private. I’m fairly sure that I remember one of the old dudes on the ward then asking if someone had died.😮😂 Anyhow, they informed me that my blood count was still low and that I needed a second procedure and another blood transfusion (I had a total of 4 bags). To top it up, well, top the blood up I was then given a bag of iron and damn, the PPI and blood are pumped in slowly but they set the iron transfusion for 15 minutes and that bad boy was pumping away like crazy and I could really feel it going in. I was also later told, in the follow-up letter sent by the hospital (that arrived exactly a fortnight after I was first admitted) that I had tested positive for an infection after originally testing negative and that I needed antibiotics, two doses as it is resistant to them.
So, yeah, April wasn’t the best of months and having to go into hospital during the COVID-19 crisis definitely wasn’t the best. I had to have a Coronavirus test too, I didn’t have any symptoms other than lethargy which was down to the blood loss and so it was just protocol. Still, that was quite worrying as you never know and even though it was remote there was always a chance that the test could have been positive, luckily it wasn’t.
I hope that you are all managing to carry on reading and that you are staying as safe as possible too.
My April Posts.
- Blind As A Bat by Meat Loaf.
- Sonne by Rammstein.
- Through Glass by Stone Sour.
- Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr by Trivium.
It took me a little while to get into The Wise Friend and I was unsure about the book, thinking that, while there was nothing wrong with it that, simply, it might not be for me. I struggled with the writing, to begin with, that is rather dry and I wasn’t connecting with the characters either. But, my attention was engaged and I was curious as to how the story would play out and so, I continued. Then, my persistence paid off and as the darkness unfurled and began burrowing under my skin everything seemed to fall into place. I was rewarded for pushing through my initial apprehension with what turned into an insidious story that is full of creeping unease, that is unnerving and that will have you feeling like you are being watched. That will have you jumping at shadows as you sense that there is a malign presence lurking just outside of your line of sight, glimpsed on the fringes of your vision, encroaching upon, waiting and observing you.
The Wise Friend is written in the first-person from the perspective of Patrick. The writing is descriptive and detailed. The Story is haunting and simmers with some twists and is deliberately paced with a satisfying conclusion. The absolute highlight of The Wise Friend, for me, was the exceptional use of baleful and macabre yet under-stated imagery on display by Campbell. Imagery that is visceral of the mind, that created a sense of place and that evoked a malicious intent and a malevolent and oppressive air to the locations visited in Thelma’s journal, amongst other unsettling scenes and that, genuinely spooked me.
There’s a strength to Gwynne’s writing and a conviction that flows through his words as he concludes his powerfully told tale of good vs evil. The writing is descriptive, meaningful, emotive and often profound with weighted words and passages that are heavy with meaning. The characters continue to develop and grow and Gwynne gives you real people to root for, to cheer and the reverse, to hate and to vilify. There are many big loud and bombastic moments along with the intense action and ferocious fighting that takes place but, there is also plenty of room left for contemplation, for the quiet, retrospective and thoughtful moments too. There is also light to be found in the darkness with the banter and camaraderie that occurs between the characters. One thing with Gwynne, he writes animals so well, they aren’t companions to the characters, they are characters in their own right and in the story, they are more, they are friend and warrior too.
A Time of Courage is an apt name for the book as it is a time of courage for the heroes. Things often look grim for them as they face seemingly insurmountable odds. Look deeper and you see love and loyalty, friendship, family, the ties that bind and unbreakable bonds that have been formed. You see courage, truth and hope, the things that drive the heroes who look to the future and care about what will come after for the future generations. They don’t fight for themselves, they don’t fight for glory or to make a name for themselves, they fight for each other and they fight not only to survive but for tomorrow, for future generations and for the future of the Banished Lands.
There are the past and the present in A Time of Courage with bygone names and events mentioned in revered tones. Legends that echo, that are laced with meaning and that, if you have read The Faithful and the Fallen series will have you nodding, smiling away at yourself and whispering the immortal battle cry of ‘Truth and Courage‘. When you come to the end of A Time of Courage new names will have been made, new legends will have been forged, risen to stand beside those of the past and who now have their own legend carved, etched and forever immortalised in the history of the Banished Lands.
I have turned the final page of A Time of Courage, the third and final book in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy and after seven books, four in The Faithful and the Fallen series and three in the Of Blood and Bone trilogy I have now come to the end of my time spent in the Banished Lands. John Gwynne, you are a master of the craft. As a reader, thank you for allowing me the chance to live and breathe your creation, to follow in the footsteps of and to walk beside your characters on the unforgettable journey that they have taken. A Time of Courage is a bittersweet and brilliant experience, everything that I want in a fantasy book and a fitting ending to both the Of Blood and Bone trilogy and to the saga of The Banished Lands. A masterpiece and simply incredible. If you are a fantasy fan then John Gwynne is a must-read author.
I really like it in books when the setting feels important, plays a role in and is integral to the story that is taking place and this occurs in The Split. During the portion of the story that is spent in Cambridge the city is well-depicted by Bolton but, where the setting really comes to life is when the story is unfolding in South Georgia. In South Georgia the extreme conditions and weather, the ice, the water, the glaciers, the storms, the frigid air, the howling winds, the maelstrom of the sea along with the shipwrecks, the great and hulking bones going to rust and ruin and the derelict and abandoned whaling stations all combine to create a very atmospheric, evocative and vivid setting.
The Split is well-written by Bolton who does a stellar job of keeping the disturbing and unpredictable story filled with suspense and tension throughout. Add in short, snappy and quick-fire chapters from multiple perspectives and you have a fast-paced and intense read that culminates in a breathtaking finale that highlights the awe-inspiring power of nature in a beautiful but deadly and harsh environment.
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