Tag: Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves

Posted 24 June, 2017 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

Good morning, folks! I’ve spent this week away at a residential school learning lab skills, which was awesome but means I’ve hardly had any time for blog stuff. However, look at the bacteria I made! They’re antibiotic resistant and fluorescent under UV light.

Photo of a petri dish with fluorescing bacterial cultures.

Note: for the concerned, which seems to happen more than I expected, it’s a proper lab with disposal procedures and so on. All the samples have been autoclaved by now, my lab coats have both been washed hot enough to denature anything from the lab, and the antibiotic resistance conferred on these bacteria is common outside the lab already; even if these were introduced into the wild, they wouldn’t do any harm.

In case that didn’t move you, here’s the now-traditional picture of my bunnies, as I’m still away from them:

Photo of Hulk and Breakfast, my bunnies; Hulk is grooming Breakfast.

But I’m not away for much longer! I’ll be back with them on Tuesday. Anyway, back to the books!

Received to review:

Cover of Killing Is My Business by Adam Christopher

Yay, a new Adam Christopher book! I’d say gimme, but they have!

Bought:

Cover of A Crack in Creation by Jennifer Doudna

This is about the gene editing tool, CRISPR, that I would maybe one day like to work with. Jennifer Doudna is one of the two authors of the paper that first talked about using CRISPR for gene editing, so this is going to be fascinating.

Read this week:

Cover of The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll Cover of Incognito by David Eagleman Cover of 15 Million Degrees by Lucie Green Cover of The Vaccine Race by Meredith Wadman Cover of The Emperor's Railroad by Guy Haley

Sneak peek at ratings:

Four stars to: The Vaccine Race and The Emperor’s Railroad.
Three stars to: The Making of the Fittest, Incognito and 15 Million Degrees.

Reviews posted this week:

Cold-Forged Flame, by Marie Brennan. I think I’d have enjoyed this more if the first book had been fresher in my mind. I love the world, and Ree, but the characters didn’t always click with me in this one. 3/5 stars
Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrodinger’s Cat, by Rom Harré. Dodges the ethical issues which would’ve made the book more interesting to me. 2/5 stars
The Shambling Guide to New York City, by Mur Lafferty. So much fun! And not gimmicky in the way I’d feared. 4/5 stars
Death Before Wicket, by Kerry Greenwood. Fun as ever, but definitely missable. 3/5 stars
Saturn’s Children, by Charles Stross. Way oversexualised and rapey. Consciously so, and not in a way that celebrates the rapiness, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. 2/5 stars
The Ghost Train to New Orleans, by Mur Lafferty. A fun follow-up. Zoe can be a bit annoying at times in this one, but it’s a solid story for my money. 4/5 stars
In Search of the Multiverse, by John Gribbin. Actually made more aspects of quantum physics and string theory make sense to me! 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’ve Been Meaning to Read.

Worth noting:

I’m very conscious that most people are not here for non-fic reviews and that I’ve been posting a lot of them. I suspect that’s why some followers have already unsubscribed. That’s cool if you want to; I’ve never made a secret of being a rather eclectic reader and prone to going through stages, but if you jumped on during a different stage it could be pretty annoying to find me switching gears. I get it. But at the moment I’m going to try and mitigate it a bit by spreading out my non-fic reviews more. For the next couple of weeks at least, that’ll probably mean no new reviews on days when other posts are going up, i.e. Saturdays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 17 June, 2017 by Nikki in General / 26 Comments

Good morning! It’s been a week already? I’ve been spending the week reading, mostly, as you might expect. It’s been fun! And before I get to business, here’s this week’s pic of one of my bunnies — this is Breakfast, ‘splooting’. Apparently he finds it comfortable?

Picture of Breakfast the bunny splooting, aka lying with his legs stretched way behind him

Yep, I still miss them. But, books!

Received to review:

Cover of Walking on Knives by Maya Chhabra

Little Mermaid queer retelling! I’m so there.

Bought/given:

 Cover of Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell Cover of Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell Cover of Saint's Blood by Sebastien de Castell

Cover of Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty Cover of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden Cover of The Wicked + The Divine: Vol 5

It’s been a while since I read Traitor’s Blade, so I figured I’d get the whole lot (except the newest one, which wasn’t there anyway and isn’t in paperback yet) and reread from the beginning. And hurrah for getting Six Wakes — thank you to Alys from Habitica for bringing me a copy from the US!

Also, I got just one comic; I’m not buying Marvel at the moment, so I tried not to look!

And finally, a whole bunch of non-fic — of course.

Cover of Personality by Daniel Nettle Cover of Brainwashing by Kathleen Taylor Cover of Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean Carroll Cover of The Viral Storm

Cover of Brainwashing by Kathleen Taylor Cover of Forces of Nature by Brian Cox Cover of The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans de Waal Cover of Vanished Ocean by Dorrick Stowe

…Which you may have noticed includes quite a few books from one of my recent wishlists! Hurrah!

Books read this week:

Cover of Lightning in the Blood by Marie Brennan Cover of The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty Cover of Saturn's Children by Charles Stross Cover of The Ghost Train to New Orleans by Mur Lafferty Cover of Journey to the Centre of the Earth by David Whitehouse

Cover of A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock Cover of In Search of the Multiverse by John Gribbin Cover of Shapes by Philip Ball Cover of Flow by Philip Ball Cover of Branches by Philip Ball

Four stars to: The Shambling Guide to New York City and The Ghost Train to New Orleans.
Three stars to: Lightning in the Blood, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, In Search of the Multiverse and Shapes.
Two stars to: Saturn’s Children and A Rough Ride to the Future.

Reviews posted this week:

Trial by Fire, by Lore Graham. Fun, and though more focused on the sexual relationship than I’m interested in, I did appreciate the theme of clear communication. 3/5 stars
How We Live and Why We Die, by Lewis Wolpert. Pretty basic from my point of view, but it’d make a good introduction or refresher on the subject of how cells in the body live, work together and die. 3/5 stars
Words and Rules, by Steven Pinker. If you’ve read The Language Instinct, this probably won’t add anything to your understanding, but Pinker is a clear and accessible writer. 3/5 stars
Shanghai Sparrow, by Gaie Sebold. This is fairly typical steampunk, but it was a fun and quick read all the same.
Dino Gangs, by Josh Young. A good overview of Phil Currie’s work on dinosaurs and the way they may have lived in groups. However, it makes Currie seem as if he just rejects evidence he doesn’t like. 3/5 stars
Raisins and Almonds, by Kerry Greenwood. I might be hesitating a bit about the tendency to describe Phryne’s lovers as exotic and such, but this one does contain a really powerful scene that’s pretty much worth the price of admission on its own. 3/5 stars
Within the Sanctuary of Wings, by Marie Brennan. The final book of this series really delivers. That’s all I’m gonna say. 5/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Last 10 Books I Inhaled. What it says on the tin — a departure from the official theme, this week.
WWW Wednesday. An update on what I’m reading.
From my other blog, NEAT science: Experiment – Does my mood correlate with the amount I read? Pt 1. It’s a theory, and now I’m out to test it!

How’s everyone doing? Good week, bad week? All the books, nothing new?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 10 June, 2017 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

This week has been my exams, and now I’m free. It’s not been wonderful — my brain is tired, and at least one of the exams didn’t go well. But I survived!

Here’s the obligatory I’m-away-from-my-bunnies cute pic. Or two:

 My rabbits flopping together in their pen

Gah, they’re so sweet they make my teeth hurt. And here’s my book haul!

Received to review:

Cover of The Waking Land by Callie Bates Cover of The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King Cover of The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

I requested The Hundredth Queen after seeing someone else’s review, which I think I found through browsing other Stacking the Shelves posts. So whoever you were, thanks! And yaaay, The Tiger’s Daughter!

Bought:

Cover of Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Cover of Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews Cover of Death's End by Cixin Liu Cover of Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Our Dark Duet! I got it last weekend already, but I haven’t managed to start reading.

Read this week:

Cover of Pavlov's Dogs and Schrodinger's Cat by Ron Harré Cover of The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert Cover of Death on Earth by Jules Howard Cover of Neurotribes by Steve Silberman

Four stars: The Sixth Extinction and Neurotribes.
Three stars: Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrodinger’s Cat and Death on Earth.

Reviews posted this week:

How Your Brains Works, by New Scientist. Not exactly revelatory, but probably a good introduction to the subject. 3/5 stars
Life’s Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable, by Paul G. Falkowski. Crystal clear style, and he managed to make the stuff I already knew fascinating. 4/5 stars
A New History of Life, by Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink. “New” is a bit of an overstatement, and it needed a date with an editor, but there is interesting stuff in here. 3/5 stars
The Ghost Line, by Andrew Neil Grey, J.S. Herbison. Genuinely creepy, with an ending that doesn’t cop out one bit. 4/5 stars
False Hearts, by Laura Lam. I really enjoyed this — I didn’t expect to be so sucked in to the story of the formerly conjoined twins and how they find their pasts entwining with their present all unexpectedly. 4/5 stars
Alchemy of Fire, by Gillian Bradshaw. Bradshaw can certainly surprise you with the kind of historical fiction she writes — the stories of people who were actually on the edge of history. I enjoyed it, despite the rather low-octane pacing compared to, well, False Hearts. 4/5 stars
Nightwood, by Djuna Barnes. Nope. Sorry. Miss me with modernism forevermore, please. 1/5 stars

Other:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Non-fiction Books I Want to Read. In honour of exam week, and an unexpectedly non-fic heavy week on the blog!
WWW Wednesday. The weekly update on what I’m reading, what I’ve just finished, and what I might read next!

How’s everyone? I’ll be catching up with my emails over the weekend — expect some comment replies and blog visits as I catch up on my rather impressive backlog!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 3 June, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Good morning, folks! It’s Saturday again already, huh? My exams are creeping nearer and nearer, so of course I’ve been reading like a fiend. It only makes sense, right?

Here’s the week’s roundup, beginning with a photo of my bunnies because, yes, I still miss them.

Photo of one of my bunnies grooming the other

Yeah, Hulk loves Breakfast now. <3

Received to review:

Cover of The Witch Who Came In From the Cold Cover of Caesar's Last Breath by Sam Kean

I’ve been curious about this serial as it came out gradually, so I thought I’d grab the full volume. And at the last minute I also got approved for this non-fiction about air! I’ve enjoyed Sam Kean’s work before, so should be good.

Bought:

Cover of The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard Cover of Lightning in the Blood by Marie Brennan Cover of City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

I am excited for these, especially Marie Brennan’s!

Finished this week:

Cover of False Hearts by Laura Lam Cover of Alchemy of Fire by Gillian Bradshaw Cover of Nightwood by Djuna Barnes Cover of Trial by Fire by Lore Graham

Cover of Dino Gangs by Josh Young Cover of Death Before Wicket by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan Cover of Shanghai Sparrow by Gaie Sebold

Sneak peek at ratings:

Five stars: Within the Sanctuary of Wings.
Four stars: False Hearts and Alchemy of Fire.
Three stars: Trial by Fire, Dino Gangs, Death Before Wicket and Shanghai Sparrow.
One star:
 Nightwood.

Reviews posted this week:

Passion Play, by Sean Stewart. This one was darker than I expected, and really got under my skin. 4/5 stars
Herding Hemingway’s Cats, by Kat Arney. Very light and readable, but surprisingly thorough as well. I learnt some things about genetics, which is not something I say often with popular science! 4/5 stars
The Loveless Princess, by Lilian Bodley. An asexual and aromantic princess is the heroine of her own story. 3/5 stars
Sea of Rust, by C. Robert Cargill. Holy infodump, Batman. 1/5 stars
Where the Universe Came From, by New Scientist. Not a bad collection, but heavy on relativity and quantum rather than the Big Bang. 3/5 stars
Harrowing the Dragon, by Patricia A. McKillip. Not all of these stories are to my taste, but McKillip’s writing is always gorgeous. 4/5 stars
Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel. Oh-em-geeeee. I can’t say too much about this in case anybody’s afraid of spoilers, but it’s a great follow-up to Sleeping Giants. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books Coming Out Later This Year. Or, as I discovered when writing it, on the very day the post went up!
WWW Wednesday. The weekly update on what I’m reading, what I’ve read, and what I’m going to read.

So how’ve you been doing? If you comment, I’ll swing by your STS/Sunday Post/etc to see what you’ve been getting your mitts on!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 27 May, 2017 by Nikki in General / 26 Comments

Hi everyone! I’m back in the UK for a while, for my exams and the election and so on. I’m missing my bunnies, but I did have a lot of great books waiting for me here!

But here, have a picture of Breakfast meeting Captain America, first…

Right, now I feel better.

Received to review:

Cover of Scourge by Gail Z. Martin

I really need to read something by Gail Z. Martin. I’ve had a couple of her books on my list for a while. Oops.

Fiction books bought:

Cover of City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett Cover of False Hearts by Laura Lam Cover of The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury

Cover of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas Cover of Caraval by Stephanie Garber Cover of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’ve had my eye on… pretty much all of these for quite a while now. I’m still not sure about The Hate U Give — people love it so much, and recommend it a lot, but I’m not sure if it’s my thing. Still, gonna give it a try.

Non-fiction books bought:

Cover of Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould Cover of Bones of Contention by Paul Chambers Cover of Evolution in Four Dimensions by Eva Jablonka Cover of How To Find A Habitable Planet by James Kasting

Cover of The Philadelphia Chromosome by Jessica Wapner Cover of One Renegade Cell by Robert Weinberg Cover of Life on the Edge by Joe Al-Khalili and Johnjoe MacFadden Cover of Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs by Lisa Randall

Quite the stack, I know! Some of these I’ve been meaning to read for ages, especially Gould’s book. I loved the exhibit on the Burgess Shale at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, but only just got round to picking up a copy of this book to go with the experience.

So yeah, plenty to keep me busy!

Books finished this week:

Cover of A New History of Life by Peter Ward Cover of The Emerald Planet by David Beerling Cover of How We Live and Why We Die by Lewis Wolpert Cover of The Worm at the Core Cover of Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Cover of River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey Cover of The Deeper Genome by John Parrington Cover of One Renegade Cell by Robert Weinberg Cover of The Ghost Line Cover of Raisins and Almonds by Kerry Greenwood

Sneak peek at ratings:
Five stars: The Emerald Planet and The Worm at the Core.
Four stars: Waking Gods, River of Teeth,  The Deeper Genome, One Renegade Cell,  The Ghost Line and Raisins and Almonds.
Three stars: A New History of Life and How We Live & Why We Die.

Reviews posted this week:

Being Human, by New Scientist. As with the other New Scientist collections, this is good if the topic interests you, and less so if it doesn’t. It does interest me! 4/5 stars
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. Funny, but with some interesting serious touches too. I want more of the Murderbot. 4/5 stars
Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes, by Svante Pääbo. The science is fascinating, but I wasn’t always so sure about the personal details! It’s not so much about Neanderthals at all, really; just the process of extracting their genomes. 4/5 stars
The Builders, by Daniel Polansky. Redwall, but very red in tooth and claw. And other implements of destruction. 3/5 stars
The Vital Question, by Nick Lane. This is a wide-ranging book, almost impossible to summarise, but well worth reading on symbiosis, evolution, the origin of life… 4/5 stars
Sunbolt, by Intisar Khanani. Fun worldbuilding, and I definitely want to read more. ASAP. 4/5 stars
River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey. Hippos! A caper! A hero called Hero! I really enjoyed it. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR. What it says on the tin.
WWW Wednesday. The usual Wednesday update.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 20 May, 2017 by Nikki in General / 14 Comments

Good morning, all! It’s been a good reading week for me, and one of my assignments is done and handed in, so… breathe a sigh of relief! How’s everyone else doing?

Received to review:

Cover of River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey Cover of Trial by Fire by Lore Graham Cover of The Ghost Line Cover of The Loveless Princess by Lilian Bodley

I love hippos, as in the cuddly teddy bear sort, so I’m not sure how I’m going to take River of Teeth. Possibly Helen Hippo will just be pleased that her relatives are so fierce.

Finished reading this week:

Cover of Neanderthal Man by Svante Paabo Cover of Words and Rules by Steven Pinker Cover of Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani Cover of Passion Play, by Sean Stewart

Cover of The Loveless Princess by Lilian Bodley Cover of Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill Cover of New Scientist: How Your Brain Works Cover of Harrowing the Dragon by Patricia A. McKillip

The ratings sneak peek:

Four stars: Neanderthal Man, Sunbolt, Passion Play, and Harrowing the Dragon.
Three stars: Words and RulesThe Loveless Princess and How Your Brain Works. 
One star: Sea of Rust.

Reviews posted this week:

Relativity: Einstein’s Mind-Bending Universe, by New Scientist. Not exactly my area of science. If it’s your interest, I think you’ll enjoy it; the fault is in my lack of comprehension/interest in a lot of physics. 3/5 stars
Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire. Not one of the stories that was crying out to be told after Every Heart a Doorway, to my mind, but still an enjoyable read. 4/5 stars
Dangerous Women: Part II, ed. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. I remain unconvinced by this anthology. 3/5 stars
The Pinks, by Chris Enss. Lots of stuff I didn’t know here; very readable and interesting. 4/5 stars
Medical Frontiers, by New Scientist. Fascinating collection about the cutting edge of medicine these days. 4/5 stars
Killing Gravity, by Corey J. White. River Tam with telekinetic powers, basically. It’s a lot of fun. 4/5 stars
Dangerous Women: Part III, ed. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Even more mediocre than the other two parts. Basically: don’t bother. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Books My Mother Should Read. What it says on the tin, as ever. Also generally a list of good books.
What are you reading Wednesday. The usual update!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 13 May, 2017 by Nikki in General / 18 Comments

A good week! But deadline crunch time is approaching…

Books bought

Cover of Saga volume 7 Cover of Ruined by Amy Tintera

I forgot to include Saga a couple of weeks back — my wife bought me it on a whim. Yay wives! And I bought Ruined when it finally came in at Fnac, after Cait @ Paper Fury‘s review aaaages ago.

Received to review

Cover of The Beautiful Ones by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia Cover of An Oath of Dogs by Wendy Wagner Cover of Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill Cover of Dark Exodus by Thomas E. Sniegoski

A nice haul, though apparently Dark Exodus is a sequel, so I need to get on with reading the first book.

Books finished this week:

Cover of Dangerous Women ed. G.R.R. Martin Cover of Reinventing Darwin by Niles Eldredge Cover of Herding Hemingway's Cats by Kat Arney Cover of The Pinks by Chris Enss

Cover of Killing Gravity by Corey J. White Cover of All Systems Red by Martha Wells Cover of The Builders by Daniel Polansky

Four stars to: Herding Hemingway’s Cats, The Pinks, Killing Gravity, All Systems Red and The Builders.
Three stars to: Reinventing Darwin.
Two stars to: Dangerous Women (Part III).

Reviews posted this week:

Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. This was the kind of reread that makes you appreciate a book even more. I enjoyed it the first time, but this time I was less distracted by the gender stuff and more focused on the story — which is darn good. 5/5 stars
Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente. I didn’t expect to love this. I find Valente’s writing beautiful, but opaque. But for some reason, this grabbed hold of me — and kept a firm grip to the end. 4/5 stars
Other Minds, by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Fascinating account of octopuses, part scientific, part philosophical. 4/5 stars
The Bone Palace, by Amanda Downum. A stronger book than the first one, partly because it contains a character I can’t help but adore. Savedra steals this book entirely; the more time the narrative spent with her, the happier I was. 4/5 stars
Virolution, by Frank Ryan. Could use being a lot more tightly focused. Most of it doesn’t seem directly connected to viruses at all. Interesting stuff about symbiosis and epigenetics, though. 3/5 stars
Dangerous Women: Part I, ed. Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin. Some entertaining stories, but honestly, I found it remarkably weak for an anthology edited by such big names. 3/5 stars
Reinventing Darwin, by Niles Eldredge. Apart from some stylistic tics that drove me round the bed — “we naturalists” would have received some serious red pen from me — I don’t disagree with the scientific theories presented here. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Gimme More… A bunch of things I’d like to see more of in fiction.
What are you reading “Wednesday”. The weekly update. On “Wednesday”, also known as Thursday.

How’s everyone? Any exciting new books on your stacks?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 6 May, 2017 by Nikki in General / 16 Comments

Good morning! How’s everyone? My exams are still approaching, but I got a bit more reading done this week, hurrah.

Received to review:

Cover of Shattered Minds by Laura Lam Cover of Passion Play, by Sean Stewart Cover of Killing Gravity by Corey J. White Cover of None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

It’s been a while since I read anything by Sean Stewart, but I remember enjoying his work!

Bought: 

Cover of Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver Cover of Reinventing Darwin by Niles Eldredge Cover of Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani

I’ve been meaning to read Chameleon Moon and Sunbolt for ages, and they were each 99p on the Kindle Store. So, grabbed ’em. As for Reinventing Darwin, it was recommended to me, and I can’t help a satisfied sigh at the words brazenly quoted on the back cover: “No one doubts that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection is correct.” Overly optimistic, perhaps, but a delightful window into a world I’d like to inhabit, where no one does doubt evolution.

Finished this week:

Cover of The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery Cover of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie Cover of Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente Cover of Dangerous Women ed. G.R.R. Martin

Technically I’ve read parts I & II of Dangerous Women, with part III still on the pile, but I’m not going to upload the identical-but-for-colour separate covers!

Five stars to… Ancillary Justice.
Four stars to… Radiance.
Three stars to… Dangerous Women: Part I & II.
Two stars to… The Soul of an Octopus.

Reviews posted this week:

The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi. Don’t think too much about how this would work! If you ignore that, it’s an interesting setting for a mystery. 4/5 stars
Byzantium, by Judith Herrin. A labour of love — too much love, perhaps, to be objective and to pick the right incidents to discuss for a non-specialist audience. 3/5 stars
Sleeping Giants, by Sylvain Neuvel. This really hooked me despite, or perhaps even because of, my qualms. Must. Know. What. Happens. 4/5 stars
What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology, by Addy Pross. What it says on the tin, and hardly revelatory for me. 3/5 stars
The Soul of an Octopus, by Sy Montgomery. Touching, but more of a memoir than a scientific book, even a pop-science one. 2/5 stars
The Drowning City, by Amanda Downum. A reread, and one I enjoyed maybe more than I liked the book the first time! 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Love. Some covers that have really struck me.
What are you reading Wednesday. An update on what’s been crossing my bookshelves this week.

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 29 April, 2017 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

Good morning! How’s everyone this week? I’ve had a busy week, but I have some awesome books to keep me company over the weekend.

New books:

Cover of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor Cover of Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan Cover of Somewhere Beneath Those Waves by Sarah Monette Cover of Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

Cover of The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery Cover of Life's Engines by Paul G Falkowski Cover of The Gene by Siddhartha Mukkherjee Cover of The Voices Within by Charles Fernyhough

I am so excited to finally have Within the Sanctuary of Wings, but also really sad because I don’t want the series to end. I feel like I’ve been waiting for Strange the Dreamer for a long time, too, so I’m looking forward to that. The others, well, you probably all know my penchant for non-fiction by now. Certain topics just make me all grabby.

Mum, don’t frown at me. It was store credit and gifts all the way, except the Marie Brennan.

Received to review:

Cover of Darien: Empire of Salt by Conn Iggulden Cover of Sovereign by April Daniels

I keep meaning to read Conn Iggulden’s work, and this one is fantasy, so why not? And I read April Daniels’ first book, Dreadnought, and I want to know where it goes.

Books finished this week:

Cover of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel Cover of The Bone Palace by Amanda Downum Cover of Life's Engines by Paul G Falkowski

Not a very active reading week, as my exams approach and essays are due in. Still, all three of those will receive four-star ratings from me! And luckily, I’m setting aside at least 24 hours this weekend for myself by participating in the 24 Hour Readathon.

Reviews posted this week:

Britain After Rome, by Robin Fleming. Rather dense, but fascinating to me, and largely focused on material culture rather than written records. 4/5 stars
The Furthest Station, by Ben Aaronovitch. Fun, but did leave me wondering where certain characters got to. 4/5 stars
Fairweather Eden, by Mike Pitts and Mark Roberts. The story of one of the oldest Palaeolithic archaeological sites we know of. Fascinating stuff, and well told, with both modern and ancient context given. 4/5 stars
Mind-Expanding Ideas, by New Scientist. A good collection, though focused on physics and not on the other branches of science I might’ve enjoyed more. 3/5 stars
The Prince and the Pilgrim, by Mary Stewart. Might have more in common with her romance/suspense novels than with her other Arthurian books; it’s rather light and inconsequential. But it dooooes have a fascinating political/historical link. 3/5 stars
Mightier than the Sword, by K.J. Parker. Fun novella with some twisty turns. Not my favourite by Parker, but definitely worth the read. 4/5 stars
The Human Brain, by New Scientist. This is more my thing! Braaaains. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Turnoffs. What makes me not want to read a book?
Readathon. My planned stack!

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Unstacking the Shelves

Posted 22 April, 2017 by Nikki in General / 18 Comments

Look at me! Two weeks of Unstacking!

Books finished this week:

Cover of The Prince and the Pilgrim by Mary Stewart Cover of The Drowning City by Amanda Downum Cover of Mightier than the Sword by K.J. Parker

Cover of The Dispatcher by John Scalzi Cover of Byzantium by Judith Herrin

A sneak peek at ratings:
Four stars to… The Drowning City, Mightier than the Sword and The Dispatcher.
Three stars to… The Prince and the Pilgrim and Byzantium.

Reviews posted this week:

Touch, by David J. Linden. I found this rather focused on the sexual element of touch at times, which puzzled me. But where it stays on topic and non-explicit, there’s some fascinating stuff. 3/5 stars
In Calabria, by Peter S. Beagle. In retrospect, I don’t love the May-December relationship that much (see also: Jo’s comment on that post), but the unicorn parts of this are great. 4/5 stars
The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi. Exactly what I wanted from a Scalzi novel: satisfyingly quick read with enjoyable characters. 4/5 stars
The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay. “Imagine the most loving meat-grinder, and then put all your emotions into it.” 5/5 stars
Vikings: A History, by Neil Oliver. Both informative and entertaining, and thankfully doesn’t just deal with the actual Vikings (i.e. the raiders), but where they came from and where they settled. 4/5 stars
How Long is Now, by New Scientist. One of their collections of questions and answers. Reasonably entertaining and informative, and a good source of “did you know…” 3/5 stars
Urn Burial, by Kerry Greenwood. A fun installment of the Phryne Fisher series, though not a favourite. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things That Make Me Want To Read A Book. With some examples!
What are you reading Wednesday. Yup. What it says on the tin.

And just in case anyone is interested, I now have a new blog! This one isn’t about books (mostly): it’s about popular science and communicating science in a clear way for laypeople/people who want to learn how to explain things to other people. You can check it out at NEAT science.

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