Category: General


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 1 February, 2017 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

Look! Look! I remembered!

What have you recently finished reading?

I had a blitz on some of my review copies. The mooost recent book was Birthright, by Missouri Vaun. Fun fantasy with a lesbian relationship at the heart; it’s not a particularly surprising or new story in terms of the tropes, but it’s fun.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve finally dug into my ARC of Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion. I normally prefer her non-fiction to her fiction, but I still think she comes up with some amazing worlds. I’m not very far into it, though.

What are you planning to read next?

Probably A Closed and Common Orbit, or Maisie Dobbs, since they’re both book club choices on Habitica this month. Very different books, heh. I’m hopeful about both of them!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 31 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 16 Comments

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday is graphic novels. I’m not positive I have ten, but then, I have read quite a few comics, so one hopes I do. Here goes!

  1. The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The art is gorgeous, and I’m intrigued by the story as well.
  2. Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Again, gorgeous art along with a story I’m hooked on, and it’s quite often hilarious.
  3. Ms Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, etc. I’m not going to pick a specific volume — I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything in this run.
  4. Young Avengers, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Yeah, pretty much a winning team on everything, though there have been a couple of their comics I didn’t enjoy. Their Young Avengers were perfection, though. And hey, love saved the world! (And it was queer love.)
  5. Captain Marvel, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, etc. I loved almost all of DeConnick’s run, even when I wasn’t in love with the art. (I did like Dexter Soy’s a lot, for example — I have some of it on a t-shirt — but was less a fan of Emma Rios.) I love Carol with all her faults. Pros: she wants to punch her way through most situations. Cons: she wants to punch her way through most situations.
  6. Civil War: Iron Man, by Brian M. Bendis, Christos Gage, etc. I don’t like the Civil War event in general, but this volume brought home how the Avengers were torn apart, plus Tony’s genuine regard for (and love of) Steve. I don’t know how anyone read it and was unaffected, though the whole Camelot bit was weird.
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier, by Ed Brubaker et al. I think this was a really, really effective comic — and I love the fact that the storyline also went into the MCU.
  8. Nimona, by Noel Stevenson. Cute, cute, cute, funny… oh wait you just ripped my heart out.
  9. Red Sonja, by Gail Simone. Pretty much all of her run. I loved that other women got involved in the story, that there was humour, that there were little moments lampshading the sexist background of the character…
  10. The Movement, by Gail Simone. The second time I read it, I found more flaws, but… I loved that the team were openly politically disparate, queer, disabled, asexual, weird… All the things they turned out to be.

Hurrah for a week where I feel I really participated in the spirit of the TTT prompt! What’s everyone else been putting together?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 28 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

Happy Saturday! I’d be glad it’s the weekend, but it doesn’t make too much difference to me. I still have work I should be doing, alas.

Books to review

Cover of Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald Cover of Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor Cover of Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

I might not be a lit student anymore, but King Arthur is still a major interest of mine. Fascinated to see what this is like! And hurrah for all the others, too, though now I have to hurry up and read Luna: New Moon. Oops…

Books bought this week

Cover of Goldenhand by Garth Nix

I know, Mum, I know, but it was £2.39 on Kindle and I’m going to read it at some point anyway, it’s the latest in a series.

Books read this week

Cover of Mesopotamia by Gwendolyn Leick Cover of Temeraire by Naomi Novik Cover of The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

Not much reading, I know… I’ll get back to it. Preview of my ratings:

1 star – Mesopotamia.
4 stars – Temeraire (His Majesty’s Dragon) and The Burning Page.

Reviews posted this week:

The Book, by Keith Houston. This is a beautiful physical object, just on its own, and the story it tells of how books came to be is also fascinating. It’d definitely make a good gift, and I’m keeping my copy for sure. 5/5 stars
The Litany of Earth, by Ruthanna Emrys. This short story introduces the world of Winter Tide, and I actually preferred it — the shortness gave it something. 4/5 stars
The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis. This one has not really aged well in terms of the stereotypes and such. But I still kind of enjoyed it, despite that. 3/5 stars
Slade House, by David Mitchell. This was a little bit repetitive, but it mostly works. I just wish it wasn’t connected to his other books; I hate feeling like I don’t have the full story. 3/5 stars
A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Ugh, so preachy. Nope. Without nostalgia or something, I don’t see why this appeals. 2/5 stars
The Toll-Gate, by Georgette Heyer. A likeable hero and heroine, a fun mystery, and Heyer showing off her research and knowledge. Yes! 4/5 stars
Armada, by Ernest Cline. Mmm. This didn’t really work for me, because it felt like the same formula as Ready Player One, without the warmth. 2/5 stars
Prince Caspian, by C.S. Lewis. One of my favourites of the Narnia books — I’m not sure why, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Caspian. 4/5 stars

Other posts: 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to Nibble. A guest post by my bunny, complete with silly picture.
What are you reading Wednesday. An update on what I’ve been reading.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 25 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Every time I firmly promise myself I won’t miss this again, something comes up and I miss it for weeks. Sorryyy.

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished up a reread of Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon — and have raided the library here in Leuven for the next few books. It’s better than I remembered, actually; the alternate history is careful and clever, and Laurence’s relationship with Temeraire is sweet. Things which are meant to be emotionally affecting really, really are. And corners are not cut just to give you a nice ending to a story arc.

What are you currently reading?

The Burning Page, by Genevieve Cogman. I’ve nearly finished it now, which is both exciting and a little daunting. There are going to be more books, right? Right??

What are you planning to read next?

I’m not sure. I might try and finish Dark Sky, by Mike Brooks, as I am enjoying it and I’m not sure why I put it down. I’ve also been meaning to reread The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay, or possibly his Sailing to Sarantium. Hmmmm, so many choices…

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 24 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 17 Comments

Today we have a guest post from my favourite person…

Photo of my rabbit, lying very flat on a box

Hulk, the bunny

Over to her! Her spelling mistakes and typos have been corrected in the interests of readability.

Hi! I am a bunny. I like to nibble books, and here are the books I want to nibble.

  1. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. In French. Because Mummy forgot to read me the end and I want to know how it ends.
  2. The dictionary. Lots of quality nibbles in there.
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. It was used to keep me from rattling my cage before I lived in a pen. Vengeance will be mine.
  4. Among Others, by Jo Walton. Mummy and Mommy both like it.
  5. The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison. Because Mummy and Mommy read it a lot and I am jealous of it.
  6. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have nibbled this a tiny bit in the past and I got a taste for it.
  7. There’s A Hippopotamus on my Roof Eating Cake, by Hazel Edwards. Because I want cake!
  8. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. The things Mommy makes from it SMELL nice, but I’m never allowed any.
  9. The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch. Because Mommy says Locke is her “tiny thieving boyfriend” and she is not allowed anyone except Mummy so BYEBYE TINY THIEF.
  10. Anything else I can reach! Wait, Mummy says that’s cheating. It’s not. It’s not! I am not a cheating bunny.

Now comment and tell Mummy to give me ALL THE KERRIT [ed. she means carrot].

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 21 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

G’morning, people! It’s been a quiet week for me, as I got down to work on my second and third assignments. After this third one, though, I get a break again! Not too much of one… but still enough. Also, I’ve started playing Final Fantasy XV, and that’s just eating my free time.

Received to review:

Cover of Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

My wish was granted on Netgalley, to my surprise! Looking forward to reading this; I wasn’t totally blown away by Rebel of the Sands, but it was definitely enjoyable.

Read this week:

Cover of Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey Cover of Natural Histories by Brett Westwood Cover of The Family Plot by Cherie Priest Cover of Dreadnought

4 stars to… Miranda and Caliban and Dreadnought.
3 stars to… Natural Histories and The Family Plot.

A light reading week, for me. Alas.

Reviews posted this week:

The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman. So much fun, and perhaps a little easier to follow having read it once before. I do love the sheer fun of these books. 4/5 stars
Fair Chance, by Josh Lanyon. The characters continue to be fun and totally non-stereotypical, though the mystery relied a bit too much on coincidence. 4/5 stars
Camelot’s Shadow, by Sarah Zettel. A reread just for fun, and one I enjoyed very much. Probably my favourite of the four books, this one features Sir Gawain, so, you know. 4/5 stars
Grey Mask, by Patricia Wentworth. Not a bad read, but a bit too obvious. And oh wow, one of the main characters is just… silly. 3/5 stars
Invisible Planets, ed. Ken Liu. I wanted to enjoy this more than I did, because it’s a great range of stories. But for me the translation doesn’t quite work. 3/5 stars
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. I still don’t get the appeal of Turkish Delight, but everything else about this book is a delight to me, despite the allegory. 4/5 stars
A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson. With this one, I think I have to rule Wilson’s work just not to my taste. There is some great worldbuilding and sensual, lyrical language… but it just isn’t for me. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems. Books I wish more other people would read, so we can talk about ’em.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 17 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 11 Comments

This week the theme is based on hidden gems read in the last year or so. I’m going to twist it slightly because I’m writing this on a train and my brain doesn’t want to work. Here we have books I’ve read and wish more other people would read (so we can talk about them).

  1. Tooth and Claw, by Jo Walton. Victorian-esque dragons! Who wear hats! And eat each other. It’s amazing, I promise.
  2. The Carpet Makers, by Andreas Eschbach. Honestly, I need to reread this, but I was blown away by the structure and the quality of it.
  3. Seaward, by Susan Cooper. I know I’m enthusiastic about her Dark is Rising sequence, but Seaward is more mature, and at least as beautiful.
  4. Island of Ghosts, by Gillian Bradshaw. Or maybe Bradshaw’s work in general. Amazing historical fiction, and too much out of print.
  5. The Positronic Man, by Isaac Asimov. I loved this as a kid, and read it over and over. I haven’t seen the novel around very often, though. It’s worth reading.
  6. Always Coming Home, by Ursula Le Guin. I was reluctant to read this, once upon a time, because it’s not a novel as such. But it’s very, very good, and I do recommend it.
  7. Lifelode, by Jo Walton. Is this cheating? Still, this book is far too rare and really should get to a wider audience.
  8. Chime, by Franny Billingsley. I remember a few people reading this back when I read it, but I don’t think I’ve seen people talking about it lately. But it’s so good!
  9. The Falling Woman, by Pat Murphy. I only read this in 2016, and I really wish I’d read it sooner. It’s very good, with great atmospherics.
  10. Postcolonialism Revisited, by Kirsti Bohata. This mostly just because I would love to be able to talk to more people about Welsh literature as post-colonial literature.

I’d say I’m looking forward to other people’s lists, but “dreading” might be the better term — I don’t need more books on my wishlist!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 14 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 12 Comments

Hey everyone! It’s been a pretty good week, and now I’m back in Belgium with my wife, which is nice. Also a 13.5kg box of books I sent via courier is already here, so hurrah!

Received to review

Cover of The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

I still need to catch up on the Copper Cat books, but looks like this stands alone? And I love the cover.

Books bought

Note to Mum: before you lecture me, I got these with the Amazon card I got from Laura, okay?

Cover of Mesopotamia by Gwendolyn Leick Cover of Dusk or Dark or Dawn Or Day by Seanan McGuire Cover of Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire Cover of The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

By which you see, yep, yet more Seanan McGuire, since I finished An Artificial Night this week and loved it.

Books finished:

Cover of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly Cover of I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong Cover of Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Blood and Circuses by Kerry Greenwood

Cover of An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire Cover of The Prince of the Moon by Megan Derr Cover of Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris Cover of Dusk or Dark or Dawn Or Day by Seanan McGuire

And a little preview of my opinions…

4 stars to… Hidden Figures, I Contain Multitudes, The Green Mill Murder, Blood and Circuses, An Artificial Night and Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day.
3 stars to… The Prince of the Moon
1 star to… Dead Until Dark

Reviews posted this week:

The Steerswoman, by Rosemary Kirstein. Slow, but satisfying, with some very good female characters and a fascinating central concept. 4/5 stars
How to Clone a Mammoth, by Beth Shapiro. Okay, the answer is mostly ‘you can’t’, but the book is still informative about cloning and rewilding. 4/5 stars
Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell. A reread for the comfort factor, so no surprises I loved it again. 5/5 stars
Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson. Entertaining, and also poignant about the road Wilson has taken to get where she is. 4/5 stars
The Assassin’s Blade, by Sarah J. Maas. Probably not so entertaining/relevant if you’re not a fan already. 3/5 stars
Ayiti, by Roxane Gay. A collection of stories set in and about Haiti. Fascinating and vivid. 4/5 stars
The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis. A little too preachy, and definitely not my favourite Narnia book. Nor my least favourite, though. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Didn’t Get Round To. Aka, The Guilt Trip.

How’s everyone’s week been? Reading plenty? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 10 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

This week’s theme is “2016 releases I meant to read and didn’t get round to”. I didn’t think I’d manage this, but then I had a look at my list, and… ah. Right.

Cover of Revenger by Alastair Reynolds Cover of Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal Cover of Necessity by Jo Walton Cover of Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay Cover of Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond

  1. Revenger, by Alastair Reynolds. I need to apologise to my sister. All the excitement, and I never got round to this one…
  2. Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal. I’d been anticipating this since it was announced, and yet. Still love that cover so much, too.
  3. Necessity, by Jo Walton. I’m just hiding my face in shame here, guys.
  4. Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay. I even had an ARC. But nope.
  5. Double Down, by Gwenda Bond. I loved the first book. Why haven’t I picked this up yet? Whyyy?
  6. A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab. I think I need to reread the first book, first. Oh no, etc.
  7. Magic Binds, by Ilona Andrews. Again, I even had the ARC. Whyyy, self.
  8. Red Right Hand, by Chris Holm. I feel bad about this, because I promised a review, but it got caught up in being busy with my wedding.
  9. Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee. The author is my mother’s penpal and even sent a signed review copy. I’m a bad person.
  10. Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer. I’m sorry, okay?

Cover of A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab Cover of Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews Cover of Red Right Hand by Chris Holm Cover of Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee Cover of Too Like The Lightning

Gah. Now I feel bad.

On the other hand, that means I still have some awesome books in my future.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 7 January, 2017 by Nikki in General / 18 Comments

Good morning, folks! Or not, if you’re not in the UK/Europe. So, 2017 so far… not bad, from where I’m sitting?

Received to review:

Cover of Brimstone by Cherie Priest Cover of Birthright by Missouri Vaun Cover of With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley S. Beaulieu Cover of The Prince of the Moon by Megan Derr

Cherie Priest! I’m looking forward to it even without knowing much about it. I’ve been a lucky pup this week, really.

Non-fiction:

Cover of The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean Cover of The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean Cover of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman Cover of Rosalind Franklin by Brenda Maddox

I’ve already read two of these… guess I was in the non-fiction mood.

Fiction:

Cover of Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire Cover of With Fate Conspire by Marie Brennan Cover of A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe Cover of Shadowplay by Laura Lam

Because I don’t have enough Seanan McGuire in my backlog…

Finished this week:

Cover of The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle Cover of The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien Cover of On Basilisk Station by David Weber Cover of Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant Cover of Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Cover of The World Without Us by Alan Weisman Cover of The Unreal and the Real by Ursula Le Guin Cover of The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean Cover of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen Cover of The Tyrannosaur Chronicles by David Hone

Reviews posted this week:

City of Wolves, by Willow Palacek. A little disappointing — it’s pacy enough, but really light on substance. 2/5 stars
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis. I meant to post these reviews in the order I read them, but WordPress had other plans, apparently. Dawn Treader is one of my favourites of the series. 4/5 stars
The Art of Language Invention, by David J. Peterson. A really in-depth book about creating languages. A bit much if you’re not planning to create one, but very informative! 4/5 stars
Politics: Between the Extremes, by Nick Clegg. Somewhat self-pitying, but nonetheless an interesting analysis of the ConDem coalition and the need for a more robust liberalism in the future. 3/5 stars
The Lost City of the Monkey God, by Douglas Preston. An entertaining and, as far as I can tell, not too sensationalised book about an expedition to find an abandoned city in Mosquitia. 4/5 stars
Spectacles, by Sue Perkins. Entertaining, but sometimes a bit scatterbrained. 3/5 stars
Dark Tales, by Shirley Jackson. A little collection of some of Jackson’s less well known uncanny stories. I enjoyed them. 4/5 stars
Winter Tide, by Ruthanna Emrys. Takes the sexism and racism out of Lovecraft, with a whole bunch of strong female characters. Buuut, I did find it slow. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

2016 Wrapup, and Onward 2017! Final stats on my reading, and some upcoming challenges.
Top Ten Tuesday: Resolutions. I didn’t stick to the given theme this week, and instead did my bookish resolutions for 2017.

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