Category: General


Stacking the Shelves

Posted 15 March, 2014 by Nikki in General / 64 Comments

So, it’s Saturday and time for Stacking the Shelves, which I tooootally don’t look forward to all week… It’s a meme where you show off your haul for the week, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. (Hi to everyone dropping by from there.)

So anyway. It was going to be a very sad and empty week, haul-wise. Then I was browsing the Kindle store while feeling cranky, which I probably shouldn’t do. And this resulted…

Kindle books

Cover of Border Country by Raymond Williams Cover of Make Room for the Jester by Stead Jones Cover of A Heyday in the Blood by Geraint Goodwin Cover of Flame and Slag by Ron Barry  Cover of The Water-Castle by Brenda Chamberlain Cover of Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman Cover of Devil's Cape by Rob Rogers Cover of Black and White by Caitlin Kettridge and Jackie KesslerCover of Vicious by V.E. Schwab Cover of Don't Be A Hero by Chris Strange

Comics (collection)

Cover of Dark Reign: Young Avengers

Comics (issues)

Cover of Ms Marvel issue #1 Cover of Captain Marvel issue #1

I’d say spot the theme, but the covers pretty much give it away. (Welsh books and superheroes, if you didn’t get it. I love some of the superhero covers — they’re all novels apart from Dark Reign: Young Avengers, but each I think has a bit of a reference to comics in the cover art.)

So, uh, the Dark Reign cover actively infuriates me, because that’s Billy Kaplan there with Enchantress, and — he’s gay, actually. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking with that cover. He has a boyfriend in the comics, he’s with him the whole time except for a brief break during the most recent issues. It looks very much like a ridiculous attempt to de-gay him, and I hate it. But hey, at least I also got the first issue of the new Ms. Marvel and the 2014 Captain Marvel, which I’m excited about and haven’t been able to get in physical form locally, so finally got on ComiXology. I also set up subscriptions to both, because hey.

Of the other books, I can’t decide what I’m most interested in or want to start with. Hm. Maybe Make Room for the Jester, just because I’m curious that Philip Pullman has written the introduction. Or The Heyday in the Blood, because one of my lecturers from my BA wrote the introduction!

What’s everyone else been getting? What’re you getting excited about?

ETA: Belatedly dropping in to add a link to this giveaway I’m running. Gain entries by promoting my charity run or sponsoring me!

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 13 March, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
The Bearkeeper’s Daughter evidently, since I just posted the review today — and before that, Conquistadors by Michael Wood. One fiction, one non-fiction, but both based on bits of history I know comparatively little about, so both interesting for that!

What are you currently reading?
Dark Currents, by Jacqueline Carey, is what’s at the top of my pile. It’s fairly standard for urban fantasy, I guess, not as rich as most of Carey’s other work, but absorbing and well written. More like Robin McKinley’s Sunshine than Random Joe’s The X’s X or whatever. Speaking of a more Random Joe-ish one, I’ve also started reading Sandman Slim, by Richard Kadrey, which… well, when the main character has been dragged down to hell and then escapes, owns an Impala, and has an attitude problem, I side-eye Supernatural and wonder about the influence there.

Other than those two, I started Tam Lin by Pamela Dean, which I thiiiink got mentioned in Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book So Great? So that would be the impetus for finally getting round to it, probably. So far, the actual links to the Tam Lin ballad are just beginning to take shape, but I’m just glorying in that academic world. It seems so simple compared to the hoops they want me to jump through to get back into academia. (Hm, a thesis on fairytale retellings?)

Aaaaand I still haven’t picked The Thirteenth Tale back up yet, but I’ll get there.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, probably a bunch of graphic novels, since they’ll be the most awkward things to drag back to Cardiff in my suitcase. Then there’s my ARCs of Gretel and the Dark (Eliza Granville) and Stolen Songbird (Danielle L. Jensen) that I really really have to get to, or no one will ever send me physical ARCs again.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 8 March, 2014 by Nikki in General / 40 Comments

So, as you can tell if you just scroll down a bit, or maybe the speed your browser has crawled to, I acquired a lot this week. That would be because my mother gave me a £40 Amazon voucher. She would claim I made her give me it, but I simply reminded her that she had promised it to me. Her guilty conscience did the rest…

Anyway, so this is my weekly haul, for the meme as hosted by Tynga’s Reviews! A couple of these have already appeared before, but now I’ve bought my own copies rather than borrowing them!

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Sunstone by Freya Robertson Cover of The Wizard's Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Non-fiction

Cover of How Pleasure Works by Paul Bloom Cover of Just Babies by Paul BloomCover of The Righteous by Jonathan Haidt Cover of Time's Anvil by Richard Morris    Cover of The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris Cover of Twelve Caesars by Matthew Dennison

Fiction

 Cover of Clementine by Cherie Priest Cover of Dreadnought by Cherie Priest Cover of Ganymede by Cherie Priest Cover of The InexplicablesCover of Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest Cover of The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin  Cover of Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara Cover of Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini TaylorCover of The Pirate's Wish, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Comics

Cover of Spider-girl: Family Issues Cover of Saga vol 2 by Brian Vaughan

I’ve already read Saga, and I’m going to polish off Spider-girl today hopefully, so other than those, hmm. Of the ARCs, I’m more excited about The Wizard’s Promise; I’ve enjoyed Cassandra Rose Clarke’s work, and I haven’t yet read Freya Robertson’s first book. (Oops.) Many thanks to Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry for those, though.

Of the non-fiction, most of it ethics/morality related, I’m most interested in Paul Bloom’s books. He taught a class I was in on Coursera, Moralities of Everyday Life, which I really enjoyed. Of the fiction, it’s gonna have to be Night of Cake and Puppets, because Laini Taylor! Can’t wait for Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I kept an eye out for an ARC but I didn’t see it anywhere, woe is me.

All these new books, and yet I have to work this weekend. *dramatic sigh* What about you guys? Frivolous weekends of reading ahead? Anything spectacular new on your shelves this week?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 5 March, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
Volume two of Saga! I really love the comic timing this series has. I need to get my hands on volume 3 now.

Before that, I think it was Identically Different, which is a book on epigenetics, which I already enthused about at some length.

What are you currently reading?
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, still. I stalled on it because I was busy with work and then I get distracted by non-fiction, so, oops. I do want to get back to it, it’s atmospheric and interesting even though I’ve just realised I have no idea when it’s set. It has that sort of heavy gothic novel type atmosphere. Maybe a bit like the feel of some of Sarah Waters’ work, and Shirley Jackson.

The other thing I’m reading is The Bearkeeper’s Daughter, by Gillian Bradshaw. I really enjoy her historical fiction, there’s something very satisfying about it, and this one is set in Constantinople. It reminds me both of Rosemary Sutcliff’s work (though I think it helps that in my edition, it’s even set in the same font) and Guy Gavriel Kay’s Sarantine Mosaic.

I’ve also read the first story in The Dragon Griaule, so presumably that’s up next. I’m intrigued by this version of dragon lore.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, the plan to read Retribution Falls (Chris Wooding) and Augustus (John Williams) came to nothing, so maybe those next? I do need to get working on reading stuff that I can’t drag back to Cardiff with me, so maybe Bear Daughter (Judith Berman).

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 1 March, 2014 by Nikki in General / 41 Comments

I thought I wasn’t gonna have anything this week, but then I won some ARCs from LibraryThing and ended up going shopping as well, so, uh. Whoops?

So, as usual, the Stacking the Shelves meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

ARCs/review copies

Cover of The Normans: From Raiders to Kings by Lars Brownworth Cover of the anthology Long Hidden

Comics

Cover of Spider-woman: Origin by Brian Michael Bendis Cover of Spider-woman: Agent of Sword by Brian Michael BendisCover of Batgirl by Gail Simone Cover of Batwoman: Hydrology by J.H. Williams

Other

Cover of Derrida: A Very Short Introduction by Simon Glendinning Cover of Barthes: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Culler Cover of Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody Cover of The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges

Of the ARCs, I’m more enthusiastic about Long Hidden, but a book on the Normans hits me right in my interests too. Of the comics, Spider-woman! Because I’ve loved her appearances in Captain Marvel. And of the other books, well, Barthes and Derrida come from a feeling of, crap, I have an MA in literature and I don’t know much about literary theory, so they’re kind of a guilt thing. Though a bit of an interest thing too, since I’m TAing a class on Coursera where I’ve ended up talking ‘The Death of the Author’ and so on with the students.

I finished The Book of Imaginary Beings yesterday morning, which leaves only Dying in the Wool — which caught my eye because I’ve been looking for a cosy mystery type series since I ran out of Mary Stewart books, and Dying in the Wool is set in an area I know pretty well: Yorkshire. Also features a just-post-war widow, running about being a detective. Uh, so very sold. Incidentally, my copy happens to be signed, presumably because she’s a local author.

What’s everyone else been getting their grubby little hands on?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 26 February, 2014 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
It hasn’t been such a busy week this week, reading-wise. The last thing I finished was The Double Helix, James Watson’s account of the discovery of DNA. God, he has an ego on him, and he’s sexist about it too, at least back in 1968 when it was published. Rosalind Franklin, “Rosy”, would have been much improved by doing something novel with her hair, apparently.

What are you currently reading?
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and DNA by James Watson. Yes, that same James Watson. It’s better because it’s not focused on himself, and it even includes the account from The Double Helix in miniature, so just… stick to that one. I understand everything in it without a struggle: sometimes I think he does get beyond what most people are used to, like recombination, but heck, I’ve done the math on recombination — if a simple description stumped me, my genetics grade would be in trouble.

The Thirteenth Tale is quite good. It’s reminding me of something else, several somethings, but that doesn’t bother me too much — in some cases, I think the allusions are intentional anyway. It’s definitely better than Bellman & Black. And I love the book-obsessed main character largely because her thirst for books mirrors my own.

What do you think you’ll read next?
The plan is to finish reading Retribution Falls (Chris Wooding) and Augustus (John Williams). But I think everyone’s pretty used to how little my plans relate to what actually happens.

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Clean out your ereader challenge!

Posted 22 February, 2014 by Nikki in General / 9 Comments

March 2014 COYER Signups

Yep, sounds like a good plan. Here’s the rules and pledge levels:

    • Go through your E-readers and select books you’d like to read during the challenge. The book must have been Free or Nearly Free: under $5, Kindle Deals, Netgalley, Edelweiss & author review requests only (Blog Tour reviews are not accepted this time, sorry). Anyone caught not using a free book or a book that is pirated will be removed from challenge.
    • Sign up with the linky below letting us know that you plan to participate. Between now and March 8th create a post announcing that you’re participating and a list of books you hope to read during the challenge (this can change). If you don’t have a blog this can be done at the Goodreads group “Two Girls and A Challenge” Any participant that doesn’t have a starter post up by 11:59 PM EST March 8th (giving you procrastinators a little more time!) will be ineligible for the grand prize.
    • Start reading your books (starting March 1st) and reviewing them, either on your blog or Goodreads, Booklikes, etc. Put the link to your review (to the review URL, not your Web Address) on the review linky available March 1st, listing your blog name and the name of the book you reviewed. When you write your review, you MUST include the challenge logo and linky somewhere on the post so that we can all check out the reviews.

Lightly Clean – 1 to 4 eBooks
Spring Clean – 5 to 9 eBooks
Deep Clean – 10 to 14 eBooks
Xtreme Clean – 15 or more eBooks

Aaaand I’ll be going for the Xtreme Clean, because hey, I for damn sure need it.

  • Chris Amies, Dead Ground.
  • Allyson Bird, Bull Running for Girls.
  • Marie Brennan, Deeds of Men.
  • Lars Brownworth, The Normans: From Raiders to Kings.
  • Brenda Chamberlain, The Water-castle.
  • Anna Cowan, Untamed.
  • Doranna Durgin, Wolverine’s Daughter.
  • Frances Hardinge, Cuckoo Song.
  • Jason M. Hough, The Darwin Elevator.
  • Richard Kadrey, Sandman Slim.
  • Anna Kashina, Blades of the Old Empire.
  • John Lawson, The Loathly Lady.
  • J.M. McDermott, Maze.
  • Natasha Mostert, The Midnight Side.
  • Rachel Neumeier, Black Dog.
  • Marianne de Pierres, Peacemaker.
  • Jay Posey, Morningside Fall.
  • David Meerman Scott, Marketing the Moon.
  • Alex Segura, Silent City.
  • Laini Taylor, Night of Cake & Puppets.

Mostly ARCs/review copies, with a sprinkling of Kindle sales.

Blog hop thing —

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 19 February, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

Mmm, a pretty busy week reading-wise since I last checked in!

What did you recently finish reading?
Taking “recently” as “today”, a fair few things. I read Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino, which… hmm, it’s pretty, but I don’t love it. Review coming up on the blog tomorrow. Also Anatomies by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, which was okay but more a cultural history than anything scientific. And then also Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. which is just nuts and I’m still not sure what I read, but it was pretty fun.

Monica Rambeau for the win, anyway, even if Carol Danvers is my Captain Marvel.

What are you currently reading?
A lot of things, as usual, but the one at the head of the queue is The Origins of Virtue (Matt Ridley). I’m trying to focus on the dead tree books I’ve brought with me from Cardiff or bought while I was here, or left here on previous occasions, so I don’t have to drag them back there with me when I get the train. Looks like I’ve also got a bookmark in Augustus (John Williams) and Dreadnought (Cherie Priest).

What do you think you’ll read next?
Let’s be realistic, I hardly ever answer this question accurately. I’m gonna guess that comics-wise I’ll dig into some of my Captain America comics, and maybe read Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Otherwise, I’m focusing on books acquired in 2014, because for the first time in years I’m sort of keeping up with my purchasing rate. So eyeballing that list, I’m probably going to go for the one I’m least interested in right now and try and get myself interested, so that’d be Michael Stackpole’s A Secret Atlas.

Other than that, maybe Liliana Bodoc’s Days of the Deer, because Ursula Le Guin thinks she’s the best thing since sliced bread and I meant to read it in January.

Although on the other hand I should probably just work on some of the books I’ve got started already. Katharine Beutner’s Alcestis has been giving me accusing looks for months.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 15 February, 2014 by Nikki in General / 45 Comments

Aaand it’s Saturday, and time for Stacking the Shelves, as usual hosted by Tynga’s Reviews!

And wow, I have a lot to show off this week — a couple of ARCs, more books than I expected to buy (I deserve it, I gave blood!), and a whole stack of books from Bookmooch. (If you have a Bookmooch account and you ship to the UK, link me! I have a ridiculous backlog of points and an eclectic taste in books.)

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Empress of the Night, by Eva Stachniak Cover of Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres Cover of Morningside Fall, by Jay Posey

Bought

Cover of Shadows by Robin McKinley Cover of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Cover of The Avengers: The Enemy Within Cover of Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell Cover of The Gospel of Loki, by Joanne Harris Cover of Wonders of the Invisible World, by Patricia McKillip

Borrowed

Cover of The Pirate's Wish, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Bookmooch

Cover of Simon Scarrow's Under the EagleCover of The Eagle's Conquest, by Simon ScarrowCover of When the Eagle Hunts by Simon ScarrowCover of The Eagle and the Wolves, by Simon Scarrow  Cover of Declare by Tim Powers  Cover of Magic Kingdom for Sale/Sold, by Terry Brooks  anCover of the Viking Portable Medieval Reader Cover of the Portable Dorothy Parker

I’ve been most excited about The Gospel of Loki, by Joanne Harris, because I’ve had it preordered for a while. I’m halfway through it already, though goodness knows I’m halfway through a lot of books. I’m excited about the ARCs from Angry Robot: I’ve meant to try Marianne de Pierres before, and I read Jay Posey’s first book, Three, a while ago. And the third review copy, well, hopefully I’ll be interviewing Eva Stachniak here on my blog around March ish.

Needless to say, I am also very excited about Avengers: The Enemy Within, as it continues Captain Marvel’s current storyline. I’ve flicked through it already and it contains such gems as this:

Carol: You like hitting stuff with that hammer of yours?
Thor: It is an act of which I am singularly fond.

So what’re you all reading, guys?

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