Category: General


Stacking the Shelves

Posted 18 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 36 Comments

Welcome to another week of lookit-my-new-shinies, aka Tynga’s Reviews’ Stacking the Shelves. I’ve been fairly good this week: I did go shopping in Leuven’s bookshops, but I set myself a goal: only get books that you’ve never heard of before, preferably by authors you’ve never heard of. This took me some time and deliberation and paging through reviews on Goodreads, but it was pretty fun. The dead tree books below are the result!

Dead tree books

Cover of Bear Daughter by Judith Berman Cover of A Secret Atlas, by Michael A. Stackpole Cover of Assassin's Dawn, the Hoorka trilogy omnibus by Stephen Leigh

ARCs/review copies

Cover of DC's Wonder Woman: War Cover of A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon Cover of Out on Blue Six by Ian McDonald Cover of Blades of the Old Empire by Anna Kashina Cover of Emilie and the Sky World by Martha Wells Cover of Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert Cover of Windwalker by Natasha Mostert Cover of The Midnight Side by Natasha Mostert Cover of A Burnable Book, by Bruce Holsinger

Obviously I’m pretty excited about my ARC of A Burnable Book, since that was the book I picked for Waiting on Wednesday. Of my dead tree books, I’m most interested by Bear Daughter — it’s based on West Coast mythology, if I remember rightly (I’ve packed the book in my suitcase, so I can’t check), and sounds pretty good. I’m also excited about Emilie & The Sky World; I haven’t read the first book yet, but that may well be what I read on the Eurostar today. I’ve loved what I’ve read of Martha Wells’ work.

What’ve you all been getting?

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 15 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

A quick post!

What did you recently finish reading?
I finished The Female Man (Joanna Russ) yesterday. I wanted to think so much better of it, but it felt like one of those stories where the message overruns the plot. Which is to say, I’m not sure what the plot even was.

What are you currently reading?
Actively, I’m back to working on reading Silhouette of a Sparrow (Molly Beth Griffin). I’ve nearly finished that one. It’s cute, I’m wondering exactly how far it will go. I think Sarah Diemer recommended this one at some point?

What do you think you’ll read next?
Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book! I was talking to him on twitter earlier and he actually sent me an ARC, so after all that I’m moving it right up my list.

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Waiting On Wednesday: Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book

Posted 15 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 11 Comments

A lot of posts are going to be turning up today, I’m afraid. Like buses, post topics seem to come up all at once. (I could schedule them, but this is specifically a Wednesday meme, and the other thing I’ll post later is something I always do on Wednesdays. So!)

Anyway, this post is about Waiting On Wednesday, a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which people highlight books they’re eagerly waiting for. Mine for this week is Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book. I was part of Holsinger’s Plagues, Witches and War Coursera MOOC on historical fiction, and I really enjoyed his teaching style, and appreciated the way he engaged with the students. So I’m looking forward to the book because I’m interested professionally/academically, so to speak, but also because it involves Gower and Chaucer and — well, I’ll let the blurb speak for itself, shall I?

Cover of A Burnable Book, by Bruce HolsingerIn Chaucer’s London, betrayal, murder and intrigue swirl around the existence of a prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England’s kings. A Burnable Book is an irresistible thriller, reminiscent of classics like An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose and The Crimson Petal and the White.

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers—including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt’s flamboyant mistress, Katherine Swynford—England’s young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London—catchy verses said to originate from an
ancient book that prophesies the end of England’s kings—and among the book’s predictions is Richard’s assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a “burnable book,” a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low.

Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king’s court to London’s slums and stews–and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.

Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail—on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels—to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 11 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 29 Comments

Well, I’ve bought my first new books of 2014, and I’ve got a bunch of ARCs, so this post will be more exciting than I expected…

See Stacking the Shelves at Tynga’s Reviews to see what this is all about and find other people’s posts!

Dead tree

Cover of The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory Cover of The Atrocity Exhibition by JG Ballard Cover of Through the Language Glas by Guy Deutscher Cover of The Universe Versus Alex Woods, by Gavin Extence

ARCs

Cover of Dawn of Swords by David Dalglish Cover of Wolfhound Century by Peter Higgins Cover of The City by Stella Gemmell Cover of Red Sonja, by Gail Simone Cover of The Waking Engine by David Edison Cover of The Palace Job, by Patrick Weekes Cover of Romulus Buckle and the City of FoundersCover of Romulus Buckle and the Engines of War

Of the books I bought myself, I think I’m probably most interested in Through the Language Glass, though I have some academic interest in The White Queen (I’m generally interested in the portrayal of real queens in fiction, and the interaction between their depiction in fiction and the real nobility). My partner bought me that one!

Of the ARCs, I’ve been keeping an eye on Stella Gemmell’s The City, since I enjoyed her husband’s work, which I believe she had some input on. Red Sonja is intriguing, since I’ve never read a Gail Simone comic but I’ve heard good things about her work, and I’ve never read anything about Red Sonja before.

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 8 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
100 Must-Read Fantasy Novels, by Nick Rennison, review coming up tomorrow on the blog. Before that, it was volume 19 of Ultimate Spider-man, which I’m still working my way through. It was a pretty good volume.

What are you currently reading?
Most of the things I was reading last time I posted this, still, and Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse. I heard some bad things about it, which was sad after how much I loved The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, but actually I’m enjoying it. I’m not far into it, but the narration is fun.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, some more Spider-man, probably. Also Red Sonja vol. 1, which I got an ARC of via Netgalley this week. I’m curious about Red Sonja, she’s not a character I’ve actually read anything about, but I have heard about her. So this should be interesting. After that, I’m thinking of The Phoenix and the Mirror, by Avram Davidson.

Books acquired:
None bought! Some ARCs. But I’m gonna start saving this kind of thing for Saturday and Stacking the Shelves.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 5 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

This week has involved a bit of a spree, because of Christmas money and my sister being a terrible influence. She will try and claim it’s the other way round, but that’s lies and slander. Anyway, as you might’ve realised, it’s time for Tynga’s Reviews’ Stacking the Shelves. I would like to take this moment to note that we’re the 4th January and I haven’t yet bought any books in 2014. That’s big stuff for me.

Anyway, breaking these down into sections just for ease…

Graphic novels

Cover of Wonder Woman vol. 2, Guts
Non-fiction

Cover of Robert Hutchinson's biography of Thomas Cromwell Cover of Carl Sagan's Cosmos Cover of Masters of Command by Barry Strauss

Dead tree (other)

Cover of The Dragon Griaule by Lucius Shepard Cover of The Phoenix and the Mirror by Avram Davidson

Ebook (other)

Cover of The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells  Cover of Dark Benediction by Walter M. Miller Cover of the first Apex collection Cover of Meta by Tom Reynolds Cover of Eagle in the Snow by Wallace Breem Cover of The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt  Cover of Riley Parra: Season 1. by Geonn CannonCover of Riley Parra: Season 2. by Geonn CannonCover of Riley Parra: Season 3. by Geonn Cannon Cover of Untamed by Anna Cowan

ARCs/review copies

Cover of Wolverine's Daughter by Doranna Durgin Cover of Taste of Darkness, by Maria V. Snyder Cover of Stolen Songbird, by Danielle L. Jensen

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What are you reading Wednesday

Posted 1 January, 2014 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

What did you recently finish reading?
The last thing was Ironskin (Tina Connolly), and before that, I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Alan Bradley). I’m slowly creeping up on getting my list cleared, even if I keep starting new books a bit too often still…

What are you currently reading?
Midnight Robber (Nalo Hopkinson). The Creole narration (I think I’m right in saying it’s Creole, but I found conflicting information when I googled, so correct me if I’m wrong!) is really fascinating; it’s a bit tough for me at first, but the more I read, the easier it becomes. I think Hopkinson was very inventive in transplanting those West African traditions into a SF world. It feels different than pretty much anything else I’ve ever read.

I’m also reading Natural-Born Cyborgs (Andy Clark), which is quite interesting, but begins to lose me whenever he gets too scientific. I need to stop reading it when I’m less than fully alert! And slightly behind that in the queue, there’s Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Djinni, which I should be finishing soon, and Melissa Scott’s Shadow Man. Basically, as usual, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Once I’ve finished those two, I think I’ll read the next Flavia de Luce book, since I’ve so nearly caught up to the ARC, so that’ll be Speaking from Among the Bones. Then I think I might make an effort to finish Republic of Thieves (Scott Lynch), before me mother and partner both expire waiting. The plan is to work mostly on ARCs I already have in progress, this month, I think. I’m thinking maybe also The Darwin Elevator (Jason M. Hough), etc.

Books acquired:
There’s been enough acquired with Christmas money that I think my Stacking the Shelves entry for this week will just have to be edited highlights… Examples are Carl Sagan’s Cosmos (because Carl Sagan!) and Anna Cowan’s Untamed, after reading lots of fascinating reviews about it. It sounds deeply problematic in some ways, but also like it pushes on the boundaries of genre. I like my Regency romances, I confess, though Georgette Heyer can’t be beaten in my view; Untamed sounds like it adds some LGBT issues to the mix. Two words: crossdressing duke. I’m looking forward to getting round to that one.

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Indecisions, a poll

Posted 30 December, 2013 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

So soon I’ll be off to Belgium again, and I need to pick what books to take! I’m sure I’ve missed out an option and will kick myself later, but hey, maybe this will help make my mind up a bit.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 29 December, 2013 by Nikki in General / 14 Comments

It’s time for Tynga’s Reviews’ Stacking the Shelves meme again! I’ve already posted about the books I got for Christmas here, so I won’t repeat them — and there’s far too many to do so anyway! But here’s some I picked up today (with my first ever paycheck, hee).

Cover of Secret Chambers by Martin BrasierCover of Wonder Woman volume 1, BloodCover of Ultimate comics' Hawkeye

On another note, you know those noble plans about the books I was gonna read for the WWE challenge? Well, I’ve realised there’s one more book I’ve read that I meant to count for the challenge, Martha Wells’ City of Bones, and I ended up starting reading another which wasn’t on my little list, Tina Connolly’s Ironskin.

Stick around, you’ll come to expect this kind of fickle behaviour from me when it comes to books…

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Worlds Without End Challenge

Posted 27 December, 2013 by Nikki in General / 1 Comment

This year, Worlds Without End ran a challenge about getting people to read female genre authors who were new to them. Now, I figured I already read plenty of female authors, but there’s always room for new ones, right? I even decided to go one better: I’d read double the amount suggested in the challenge. And I’ve been pretty successful so far — these are my completed reviews for the books I’ve read, available on Goodreads. Likes on Goodreads are super helpful, by the way: I’ve given up linking to the GR version of each review, as the links never registered any clicks, but it would really help me in getting ARCs and so on!

Oh, and there was one other rule — you had to pick a random new female author. So I had to pick two.

Anyway, here’s the list:

Now, the observant will have noticed that I am not quite there yet, and I haven’t got a lot of time. So, here’s the list of books I hope to get read in order to complete the challenge, by New Year’s Eve.

  • Lauren Beukes, Zoo City
  • Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Djinni
  • Melissa Scott, Shadow Man
  • Joanna Russ, The Female Man
  • Rosie Best, Skulk
  • Julianna Scott, The Holders

Wish me luck…

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