Category: General


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 5 April, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?

I juuust finished The Vital Question, by Nick Lane. I’d like to read some papers on this kind of thing, rather than a pop science book; he seems so certain about how life evolved and why life anywhere in the universe is probably under the same constraints! And the best bit is, this is kind of my field, so I probably can follow up on some of it. It does give me that wonder-of-science feeling.

What are you currently reading?

I just started The Furthest Station, by Ben Aaronovitch, and other than that I think Samuel R. Delany’s Nova is next on my list to finish.

What will you read next?

I haven’t really decided that yet… I have a new method which my wife taught me. I pick five books out that I’d like to read, she picks two of them, and then I pick one of those two. It seems to be working surprisingly well so far. And I should do that now, probably.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 4 April, 2017 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

This one is a “fandom freebie”, which I’m going to spin to being about asking which comics I follow (or try to follow), because I’m not so much into fandom, especially book fandom, lately.

Cover of The Wicked + The Divine by Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen Cover of Marvel's Young Avengers: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space Cover of Captain Marvel #1 Cover of Ms Marvel: No Normal by Adrian Alphona Cover of Captain America: The Red Menace

  1. The Wicked + The DivineIt’s gorgeous, for one thing. And I’m kind of hooked on the story too, even if the third volume didn’t really advance it.
  2. Young AvengersAnd any/all of the characters from that series — Hulkling, Wiccan, Speed, Ms. America, Hawkeye… I love that they’re starting to appear in the adult Avengers teams now.
  3. Captain Marvel. Because Carol’s pretty amazing and the series has had some gorgeous art. I wasn’t totally wowed by Rise of Alpha Flight, and Civil War II sounds like a nightmare of a crossover event, but I’m still here for Carol.
  4. Ms Marvel. Because Kamala Khan is badass.
  5. Captain America. Kind of… I love Cap, but mostly the MCU version.
  6. Spider-woman. Because who doesn’t love Jessica Drew and her, uh, sismance(?!) with Carol Danvers. Speaking of which, who noticed they stuck Jessica Drew’s wings on Spiderman in the trailer for the new one? Ugh.
  7. Silk. Because I love the starburst of spiderwomen we’ve had lately.
  8. Spider-Gwen. Ditto!
  9. Thor. Mostly the Jane Foster version, mind you.
  10. Avengers. Sort of. Mostly I love the MCU version, but I’m very much here for the new team-ups like A-Force in principle. I need to catch up, though…

Cover of Spider-woman: Vol 0 Cover of Silk by Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee Cover of Spider-Gwen: Greater Power Cover of Thor: Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron Cover of Avengers Assemble: Science Bros

So yeah. Fandom! Ish.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 1 April, 2017 by Nikki in General / 30 Comments

Good morning! I haven’t been doing much reading this week, but I totally blame the new addition to my family for that — welcome Breakfast!

Photo of Breakfast the bunny popping his head out of a cardboard box.

You might remember that we already have one bunny, Hulk, and have been trying to find her a companion for a while now. So far, things are going well with Breakfast, so fingers crossed!

But, right, this is about books…

Books to review:

Cover of The Pinks by Chris Enss Cover of Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

The Pinks looks fascinating — I didn’t even know Pinkertons had female detectives. And Waking Gods is a sequel to a book I bought a couple of weeks ago, and continually hear good things about. I really should’ve read the first book first, but the sequel was on ‘read now’…

Books bought:

Cover of Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow Cover of The Worm at the Core Cover of The Upright Thinkers by Leonard Mlodinow

Another batch of non-fiction — I’m getting predictable…

Books finished this week:

Cover of Being Human by New Scientist Cover of Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith

I know, it’s pathetic by my usual standards!

Reviews posted: 

This Rough Magic, by Mary Stewart. A comfort reread, with a delightful heroine who doesn’t go on mere appearances but actually weighs up the characters of her putative lovers, and figures out much of the mystery to boot. 3/5 stars
Reading Like A Writer, by Francine Prose. I love the idea of close-reading, and advocate it, but this book is much more about reading like Francine Prose, and appreciating the same things she does. 2/5 stars
Late Eclipses, by Seanan McGuire. In this installment, we get more of a peek into Toby’s parents and her true heritage, as well as a story in which all does not turn out okay at the end. 4/5 stars
Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear. I was hoping for my new Phryne Fisher, but Daisy feels a lot colder, and the writing is not all that. The structure takes away from any mystery and suspense. 2/5 stars
Gaia, by James Lovelock. A now-classic theory of the world’s interlocking systems of biological and non-biological cycles, which I really don’t find myself disagreeing with much. 4/5 stars
The Death of Caesar, by Barry Strauss. Interesting, and went into aspects of Caesar’s assassination I knew nothing about, but not the most riveting of Strauss’ books. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Should Get Round To Soon. You guessed it. It’s a list of books I want to get round to sometime soon.
What are you reading Wednesday. What was I reading on Wednesday…?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 29 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Cover of Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-SmithWhat have you recently finished reading?

I read Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith on the Eurostar yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It makes me really tempted to get some diving experience so I can meet octopi and cuttlefish, though I’m very surprised to learn that they actually tend to live only two years. When he was talking about meeting friendly individuals, I was imagining being able to revisit the same cuttlefish throughout something closer to the same lifespan…Cover of After Atlas by Emma Newman

What are you currently reading?

A lot of things. The next book I’m going to focus on finishing is After Atlas, by Emma Newman; I also recently picked up Samuel Delany’s Nova, Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff and Ben Peek’s The Godless — all of which are fascinating, but I should really try and focus on one at a time.

What will you read next?

Probably I’ll get on with finishing The Godless and then turn to Britain After Rome to finish that, but maybe dual-wield it with Lamb for a lighter touch!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 28 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 12 Comments

I’m in a tearing hurry and the theme for this week didn’t excite me madly, so instead, have a Top Ten of books I’ve pulled from the depths of my TBR to take back to Belgium with me to read. Some of them are more recent than others…

  1. Nova, by Samuel R. Delany. I haven’t read any Delany. I know, I know. I’ve just started reading this one, and I’m all at sea, but with how important a work it has been to the SF/F community, I have no doubt it’s going to be interesting.
  2. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, by Christopher Moore. I was assured I would enjoy this, but heavily doubted it — while I’m not very religious and definitely not Christian, I still have a certain respect for stories as foundational to culture as the story of Christ. But, I’m 100 pages in and… yeah. I am actually really enjoying it.
  3. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, by James Tiptree Jr. I keep meaning to read it, and I think I mentioned it in a recent TBR, so I loaded it in.
  4. Darkwalker, by E.L. Tettensor. I forget who I follow that read this and sold me on it, but I do recall that it went straight on my TBR after reading their review, so I grabbed it.
  5. The Godless, by Ben Peek. You’re going to groan at me, but this is another one I’ve picked up recently without finishing the others I’ve already started. I’m not in love with the characters, but I’m fascinated by the world-building.
  6. The Beacon at Alexandria, by Gillian Bradshaw. I still need to finish reading Cleopatra’s Heir, but I do love Bradshaw’s work. If you like Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novels, it has a similar flavour, though it’s more adult and dense in style. The Beacon at Alexandria features a woman pretending to be a eunuch so she can learn medicine and become a doctor! How can that not appeal?
  7. Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond. I have realised that I never finished reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, recommended to me by a wise English teacher who just happened to be ten years too early to catch my interest in non-fiction reading. So I want to read this and then maybe I’ll revisit the other book!
  8. Reality 36, by Guy Haley. From the depths of my TBR, truly — I was given this copy when I visited Angry Robot way back just before I started this blog. I’m a little lost so far, but starting to catch on. (And yes. It is another one I’ve picked up and started recently, but not quite finished. That makes four in this post alone.)
  9. The Family Trade, by Charles Stross. I’ve never yet got on with a book by Charles Stross, but I keep on trying. Technically I have the omnibus containing the first two books of the series, which I think has some changes from the original separate novels.
  10. The Days of the Deer, by Liliana Bodoc. I don’t remember anything about this or why I picked it up, but it happened to be the right size to fill a corner of my suitcase. So in it goes!

Knowing me, I won’t manage to read any of these before I travel back again. It’s the thought that counts…?

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Unstacking the Shelves

Posted 25 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 18 Comments

Yep, it’s happened! That rare, rare week where I actually don’t have any new books to show off, and instead show off the books I’ve read this week in pride of place.

Books finished this week:

Cover of What is Life by Addy Pross Cover of Medical Frontiers by New Scientist Cover of Relativity; Einstein's Mind-bending Universe by New Scientist

Cover of Virolution by Frank Ryan Cover of Urn Burial by Kerry Greenwood

Not a bad week, though the last day or two have been completely taken up by starting to play the new Mass Effect game! A sneak peek at ratings…

-Four stars to… Medical Frontiers and Urn Burial.
-Three stars to… What is Life?, Relativity: Einstein’s Mind-bending Universe, and Virolution.

Reviews posted this week:

Mesopotamia, by Gwendolyn Leick. Aspects of this gave me the feeling the author was speculating wildly without really having any proof, so I actually bailed and never finished it. 1/5 stars
Temeraire, by Naomi Novik. A reread, but I’d forgotten how fun it is! Dragons! Adventure! War! Alternate history! The rest of the series gets less awesome, I hear, but this installment is great. 4/5 stars
On Basilisk Station, by David Weber. I found myself noticing the flaws more this time, but I still really enjoyed the reread. 4/5 stars
Rolling in the Deep, by Mira Grant. Fun, but I feel like it was a little underdeveloped and thus predictable. Nice format, though. 3/5 stars
Natural Histories, by Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss. A little unstructured for my tastes, but some interesting stuff. 3/5 stars
Final Girls, by Mira Grant. This one got under my skin; interesting concept, and the emotional side worked for me. 4/5 stars
p53: The Gene that Cracked the Cancer Code, by Sue Armstrong. Fascinating topic, and really readable. If you’re scared of cancer, but curiosity is your antidote, this definitely satisfied mine. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Read In One Sitting. Some of these are pretty long, but they had me hooked.

Remember… no new books were obtained. I resisted! Instead, we’re celebrating what I managed to read. <3

How’s everyone been doing?

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 21 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Read in one sitting”, and given that I am a fast reader, this is not too rare for me. So I’ll do my best to pick the cream of the crop…

Cover of Vicious by V.E. Schwab Cover of The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard Cover of On Basilisk Station by David Weber Cover of Liar by Justine Larbalestier Cover of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

  1. Vicious, by V.E. Schwab. I expected to read 50 pages and put it down to do something else. I did not.
  2. The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard. When I started it, my wife had just handed me my dinner and gone out to class. When I finished it, she was heading home from class and my dinner was cold.
  3. On Basilisk Station, by David Weber. Whatever faults this series may have, I sat in a cooling bath to read the whole of the first one in one go. And the books aren’t that short.
  4. Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. Man, it’s been ages since I read this, but I really didn’t stop when I was reading it. So satisfying.
  5. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. If you feel like getting your heart ripped out, this isn’t a bad way to go.
  6. Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb. Or, more accurately, the first time I read it I tried to read it in one sitting, but I was 15 and my mother came and confiscated the book so I’d sleep.
  7. Among Others, by Jo Walton. And I never wanted it to end, either. I had the same experience with Farthing, but that felt less personal.
  8. Planetfall, by Emma Newman. I was even on my honeymoon at the time. Sorry, dear.
  9. The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer. Heyer’s books are just funny and sweet and perfect when you’re in the right mood.
  10. The Winter Prince, by Elizabeth Wein. I don’t remember the plot of this very well, but I know I read all the books of the series in the space of two days. Not bad.

Cover of Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb Cover of Among Others by Jo Walton Cover of Planetfall by Emma Newman Cover of The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer Cover of The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E. Wein

I can’t wait to see everyone else’s picks!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 18 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 18 Comments

Happy Saturday!

The, ah, acquisitive mood of last week prevailed this week too — though I promise, some of these were ordered a while ago and were just waiting for me at my parents’ house. It’s quite the haul though!

New fiction:

Cover of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence Cover of The Vorrh by B. Catling Cover of Wintersong by S. Jae Jones Cover of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Red Sister and The Vorrh are both review copies. I’m thinking Wintersong might be next up on the list to read…

New non-fiction:

Cover of The Real Lives of Roman Britain by Guy de la Bedoyere Cover of Hengeworld by Mike Pitts Cover of Fairweather Eden by Mike Pitts Cover of Hardian's Wall by David Breeze and Brian Dobson

Cover of The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards Cover of What is Life by Addy Pross Cover of New Scientist: How Your Brain Works Cover of New Scientist: Where the Universe Came From

Cover of How We Live and Why We Die by Lewis Wolpert Cover of Just Six Numbers by Martin Rees Cover of How Long Is Now?

Plus a whole bunch of New Scientist collections, which I won’t feature here right now. But there’s eight of them and I counted them all as books on my acquired list, so I’d better get reading!

Books read this week: 

Cover of How Long Is Now? Cover of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham Cover of Mind-Expanding Ideas by New Scientist

Cover of The Human Brain by New Scientist Cover of Gaia by James Lovelock Cover of Fairweather Eden by Mike Pitts

I fit in some good reading time this week, but it’s all non-fiction! Apparently I’m in an odd mood…

Sneak peek at ratings:
Four stars to… Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, The Human Brain, Gaia and Fairweather Eden.
Three stars to… How Long is Now and Mind-Expanding Ideas.

Reviews posted this week:

Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor. These novellas are mostly proving not to be my thing, and it didn’t help that I felt like I needed to reread the first one. 2/5 stars
Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly. Some really amazing women and a well-told story of where they came from and how they got where they wanted to go. 4/5 stars
The Burning Page, by Genevieve Cogman. Lots of fun, as with the whole series, but I’m glad there’s going to be more. This didn’t feel like an ending. 4/5 stars
Blood and Circuses, by Kerry Greenwood. Lively and entertaining, as you’d expect with Phryne, though with a surprisingly dark patch near the end. 4/5 stars
Martians Abroad, by Carrie Vaughn. This fell somewhat flat for me — I didn’t really believe in the conflict. 2/5 stars
I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong. Entertaining and informative, and perhaps a bit lighter and with more sense-of-wonder than some of the other books on microbes I’ve read. 4/5 stars
Chalk, by Paul Cornell. Well-written, but not my thing at all. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR. A selection of books that I’ll maybe, possibly, hopefully be reading soon.
What are you reading Wednesday. An update on what I’ve been reading, and what I might read next. Or soon. Maybe.

How’s your week been?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 16 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?

The last two were a New Scientist collection about the human brain, which was good, and Catching Fire by Richard Wrangham. Lots of science at the moment. Catching Fire is pretty good; there’s one chapter about gender roles I want to go over again, because I was getting kind of sleepy when I read it. But overall, it was evidence-based and convincing, I think.

What are you currently reading?

I just started reading James Lovelock’s Gaia. It’s a classic, and the Gaia theory is something I’ve been vaguely aware of for a long time, so I thought I’d plunge in. Plus it’s part of OUP’s Landmark Science series, which I really want to dig into. I have a few others.

What are you planning to read next?

I’m not sure. I just got a big pile of books which ideally I need to kind of… dissipate before I go back to Belgium, so I don’t have to drag them all in my suitcase. I think I’ll finally focus on finishing Emma Newman’s Planetfall, and then I might read S. Jae Jones’ Wintersong.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 14 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 16 Comments

Good morning, all! Looks like Top Ten Tuesday is back, and the official theme is what’s coming up on your spring TBR. Well… ten books is far too few, plus when I make these lists I never end up following them. But let’s just say there’s a good chance I’ll read some of these soon. And to spice things up, I’ll give you two books I’m planning to reread, two review copies I need to get to, two books from my backlog I want to read, two books that everyone else wants me to read, and two books I don’t own yet but would rather like to read.

Cover of The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay Cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Cover of The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi Cover of The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard Cover of  The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

  1. To reread: Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Lions of Al-Rassan. I’ve been meaning to reread this for a while, and it’s one of my mother’s favourites. I don’t even remember it that well, so this should be good.
  2. To reread: V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. It’s time to read the whole trilogy!
  3. To review: John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire. His books are always a good time, and this one’s been sat waiting for a while. Time to get to it.
  4. To review: Aliette de Bodard’s The House of Binding Thorns. Again, this one has been waiting for me a while. It’s high time, especially since the first book made me forget to eat my dinner.
  5. From the backlog: Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer. This is the Tor.com book club choice, which means it feels rather like a kick in the butt to actually go ahead and read these books… which have been waiting on my backlog for literally years.
  6. From the backlog: James Tiptree Jr.’s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. It’s a classic, and I feel terrible that I haven’t read it — and now I’m here at my parents’ house for a while, there’s a copy staring me accusingly in the face…
  7. Please read it, Nikki: Scott Lynch’s Republic of Thieves. Um. I know. I have no excuse. I’m sorry.
  8. Please read it, Nikki: George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. My sister really wants me to read this series sometime. Sometime. 
  9. Wishlist: Melinda Salisbury’s The Scarecrow Queen. I haven’t uncritically loved this series, but I do want to know where it goes. There’s something very compulsive about it!
  10. Wishlist: Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. Give. It. To. Me.

Cover of Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr. Cover of Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch Cover of A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin Cover of The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury Cover of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

So there y’go: the TBR I almost certainly won’t complete in the spring… Heh. What about all of you? Can you stick to a TBR?

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