Tag: Top Ten Tuesday


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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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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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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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 7 March, 2017 by Nikki in General / 12 Comments

Looks like Top Ten Tuesday isn’t back yet, so here’s another theme of my own. Cribbing from someone else’s choice last week, here are some series I want to finish (or at least continue, in the case of series which haven’t finished yet)!

Cover of A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan Cover of Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire Cover of Feedback by Mira Grant Cover of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas Cover of Dreadnought by Cherie Priest

  1. Lady Isabella Trent, by Marie Brennan. The last book is out soon. Okay, this is sad and depressing and I don’t want it, also, but I can’t wait to have the last book.
  2. October Daye, by Seanan McGuire. I don’t know if this actually has a projected end, at this point? But nonetheless, I’d like to get there someday.
  3. Newsflesh, by Mira Grant. I keep stalling on reading the other books, having read the first, but I definitely want to.
  4. Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas. I see plenty of people who don’t like the way the series has gone, and I haven’t read the latest three books (I think) yet, so I might change my mind. But for now, I’m definitely interested.
  5. Clockwork Century, by Cherie Priest. I didn’t love the first book, Boneshaker, but I do remember enjoying it and there’s a lot that intrigues me about the later books.
  6. Phryne Fisher, by Kerry Greenwood. …Again.
  7. Temeraire, by Naomi Novik. Someday! I’ve read the first book again recently, and I would like to read them all this time.
  8. The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman. There should be more books in the future, from what I hear, so gimme, gimme, gimme!
  9. Blackthorn and Grim, by Juliet Marillier. Even though I’m being terrible about getting round to it, even with a copy right here…
  10. Peter Grant, by Ben Aaronovitch. Someday! Not soon, I hope…

Cover of Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik Cover of The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman Cover of Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier Cover of The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 28 February, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

There isn’t an official theme this week, but I thought I’d treat it as a freebie and give you ten characters I have a squish on. What’s a squish? It’s a term used in the asexual community for a crush which doesn’t involve any desire for a sexual or perhaps even romantic relationship. And honestly, it really works for the way I feel about some characters — it’s not about them being pretty or handsome or whatever, but I’d still get all squeaky and flappy about meeting them in real life.

It’s not quite my favourite characters, but characters who’ve left some kind of deep impression on me — even if they’re not the main character, or if they’re not actually a favourite. Maybe another term would be “heroes”…

  1. Faramir, from The Lord of the RingsThe original squish, as far as I’m concerned. He doesn’t appear for long, but he’s such a noble person.
  2. Joscelin Verreuil, from Kushiel’s Dart. This is a fairly easy guess with me, too. I love the paladin types.
  3. Josua Lackhand, from The Dragonbone Chair. He was pretty much what I read these books for, the first time. And again, it’s that nobility and the way he cares for his people.
  4. Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, from Marvel Comics. She’s just so awesome. Not always the best equipped to tackle a situation, but if she’s the only one, she’ll take that responsibility and just act and do whatever she has to.
  5. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, from Marvel Comics. Depends on the writer somewhat, but there’s such a core of integrity and honesty to the character. They did really well translating this to the MCU without making him a sanctimonious prick, too — which is one of the ways which writers can fail with Steve.
  6. Phryne Fisher, from Cocaine BluesShe’s a rather atypical character for this list, and I think she’d be totally baffled by the whole idea of a squish. But she’s completely badass and she cares and she owns her faults as much as her successes.
  7. Harriet Vane, from Strong Poison. She can make clever, witty jokes while she’s in prison and on trial for murder. Her cleverness won me over instantly.
  8. Honor Harrington, from On Basilisk Station. How not? She’s smart and dedicated and determined, and she has a telepathic cat.
  9. Maia, from The Goblin Emperor. He’s mindful, earnest, and he tries so hard. I just want to hug him.
  10. Jo March, from Little Women. An early and formative one, though this one was probably because I wanted to be her.

How about you? Ever had a fictional crush/squish?

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Top Ten Tuesday

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

This week’s theme is books you loved less or more than you thought you would. I’ll do five of each!

Books I Liked Less Than I Hoped:

Cover of The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian Cover of Hard to Be A God by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky  Cover of Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Cover of The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia McKillip

  1. The Children’s Hospital, by Chris Adrian. A notorious failure in one of my online book clubs. Like, I don’t think any of us liked it, and I’m not sure how many of us actually finished it. For a while it was a byword for terribleness.
  2. Hard to Be A God, by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky. I enjoyed Roadside Picnic a whole lot, and then found Hard to Be a God… completely impenetrable. I’m told it’s a hard one to translate.
  3. Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps, by Kelly Sue DeConnick. It just felt so monumentally pointless. I normally enjoyed DeConnick’s run on Captain Marvel, but nope. Not this one.
  4. Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein. I know, what’s wrong with me, right?
  5. The Book of Atrix Wolfe, by Patricia McKillip. It wasn’t bad, but I just didn’t enjoy it the way I expected to, since I’ve come to appreciate McKillip’s work a lot.

Books I Liked More Than I Expected:

Cover of Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood Cover of The Wolf Hunt by Gillian Bradshaw Cover of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell Cover of The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer Cover of DNA: The Secrets of Life by James Watson

  1. Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates, by Kerry Greenwood. Once upon a time, I read this and hated it. Then I read it again and fell in love, and since devoured the whole series. Right time, I guess.
  2. The Wolf Hunt, by Gillian Bradshaw. I expected to be mad at how heteronormative this was set up to be, given I knew the original lai as something rather “homosocial” (as my tutor would’ve said, and did, often). But somehow it charmed me all the same.
  3. Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell. This is the first of Rowell’s books I read, and didn’t expect to be so drawn in by her warm style and her characters.
  4. The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer. I hadn’t yet admitted that I enjoyed some romance stories when I first read this. But Heyer won me over — not a bad person to convert one, I think.
  5. DNA: The Secret of Life, by James Watson. Having read his book on the discovery of DNA, I couldn’t picture getting on with another book of his. But he apparently aged well, and this book was interesting and decidedly less rage inducing.

What about you?

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 14 February, 2017 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

Repost! Since for some reason, WordPress ate the first version.

It’s February 14th, which means it’s Valentine’s Day. Which means that the TTT topic for today is, unsurprisingly, about romance. I’m going to talk about couples-that-might-have-been, and couples-which-aren’t-yet, in books that I love.

  1. Csethiro and Maia, from The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison). Okay, they’re getting married, so the chances are good. But we only just glimpsed the two of them beginning to really come together as a couple. I long to see more of Csethiro protecting him, and Maia respecting her and giving her power and influence in his kingdom, and how that unfolds.
  2. Kim and Aileron, from The Fionavar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay). Come onnnn, I can’t be the only one who saw that. Kim should’ve stayed in Fionavar; marrying Dave makes no sense at all. But then, Kay is kind of prone to that.
  3. Arthur and Guinevere, from Paths to Camelot (Sarah Zettel). I just love seeing them have a functional, central, mutual relationship without betrayal. We get glimpses of them throughout the four books, but… I want more.
  4. Eowyn and Faramir, from The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien). They make sense as a couple, but they have so little time and development. Gimme more!
  5. Alcuin and Anafiel, from Kushiel’s Dart (Jacqueline Carey). It’s not faaaaair.
  6. Phèdre and Nicola, from Kushiel’s Chosen (Jaqueline Carey). I really liked their relationship and wished we saw a bit more of it.
  7. Alan and Matthias, from Blood and Circuses (Kerry Greenwood). Their scenes together with Phryne made me laugh, and I kind of hope that they at least kept up the relationship.
  8. Lin Chung and his wife, from Murder in Montparnasse (Kerry Greenwood). I feel like Lin Chung’s wife deserved a bit more ‘screen time’, so to speak — she and Phryne could have a fascinating relationship, and she seemed pretty interesting as a character.
  9. Rupert and Bryan, from Season of Storms (Susanna Kearsley). Okay, I kind of want them to be my dads, but. The book ends tragically and it’s not fair.
  10. Celia and Marco, from The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern). Or maybe I just never wanted that book to end…

And now I kind of want to go and reread all these books.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 7 February, 2017 by Nikki in Reviews / 8 Comments

I feel like fewer and fewer of the Top Ten Tuesday lists lately are things I’m really interested in doing — possibly because now I’ve done so many that a lot of it feels like repetition. The theme this week, “books I wish had more or less X in them”, is fun, but my brain is dead because I have an ear infection. So noted for the future and here’s ten books I can see from where I’m sat and how excited I am about them.

  1. The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams. Currently rereading this; 200 pages in. I do love the world and characters, and I remember thinking it was amazing the first time… but the fact that there’s four 900+ page books is a little daunting. I’m currently just trying to read 100 pages a day while also reading other things.
  2. Late Eclipses, by Seanan McGuire. Actually, I finished this one yesterday. I enjoyed it a lot — finally, some answers about Amandine!
  3. Deadline, by Mira Grant. It seems to be the year of Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant for me, so I think I’ll probably pick this up soon. Though I know I don’t like the protagonist as much as I liked the protagonist of the first book.
  4. Illuminae, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. I have been meaning to read this for over a year now. I like the idea of the format, but I don’t know how I’m going to feel about the execution…
  5. The Vital Question, by Nick Lane. Apparently, it’s dense as heck. Buuut, it’s asking the big question about life: why? Why is it the way it is? So I’m rather intrigued.
  6. Europe in Autumn, by Dave Hutchinson. The idea of Europe splintering into dozens of tiny kingdoms feels a bit too on the nose right now…
  7. The Dark Forest, by Cixin Liu. I didn’t love the first book, but I did enjoy it, and I’m curious to see what happens now.
  8. War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull. I keep being told to read this, and now it’s been reissued and I have a copy, so… soon!
  9. Od Magic, by Patricia McKillip. It’s Patricia McKillip: I will get to this sometime, by hook or by crook. Her writing is gorgeous.
  10. A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab. It’s been long enough that I’m going to reread this before reading A Gathering of Shadows or the third book. Soooooon.

I hope you’ll all forgive me for going off the topic! My head is spinning a bit and I have work to be getting on with. Gah. Hope everyone’s doing well!

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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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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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