Category: General

WWW Wednesday

Posted April 2, 2020 by Nikki in General / 1 Comment

Very quickly, my WWW Wednesday!

Cover of What's Your Pronoun? Beyond He & She by Dennis BarronWhat are you currently reading?

Non-fiction: What’s Your Pronoun? by Dennis Baron. I’ve got a little bogged down in the history of invented pronouns, and it’s mostly actually so far about finding a gender-neutral pronoun for when you don’t know the gender of the person you’re talking about or are talking gender-neutral possibilities. The next bit I think has more about non-binary pronouns, which I’m more interested in.

Fiction: actually, nothing really actively. I still have Feed half-finished, and should pick it back up.

Cover of Drowned Country by Emily TeshWhat have you recently finished reading?

An ARC of Emily Tesh’s Drowned Country. I enjoyed it at least as much as the first book; it makes a nice little duology, though I would happily read more adventures of Silver’s mother tearing around the country. I am not wholly sure about the end; it feels a little too pat, but also in a nice way.

Cover of Castle Skull by John Dickson CarrWhat are you planning to read next?

As usual lately, I don’t really know. I’d like to finish or finally DNF Castle Skull (John Dickson Carr) and Salt: A World History (Mark Kurlansky), so maybe I will turn my attention back to those!

What are you guys reading?

Tags: ,

Divider

Weekly Roundup

Posted March 29, 2020 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

I said I’d get back to my normal format this week, but there’s not much to round up in the way of blog content. However, there’s plenty by way of books — yikes!

Received to review:

Cover of The Last Emperox by John Scalzi Cover of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee Cover of Drift Wood by Marie Brennan Cover of A Good Duke is Hard to Find by Christina Britton

Cover of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab Cover of Goldilocks by Laura Lam Cover of Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke

Cover of Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott Cover of The Sin in the Steel by Ryan Van Loan Cover of Network Effect by Martha Wells

What a haul, right? Bless Netgalley.

New books purchased:

Cover of Digging Up Armageddon by Eric H. Cline Cover of Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore Cover of The Duchess Deception by Cat Sebastian Cover of The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

My eclectic tastes are well on show in this post, huh?

I’ll skip the books read this week as there’s basically just one.

Reviews posted this week:

It Takes Two To Tumble, by Cat Sebastian. Cuuuute. 4/5 stars
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score, by Cat Sebastian. This is less all-out cute than the first book, though it is also sweet. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. This week discussing Mark Kurlansky, Mira Grant and Cat Sebastian.
The Book Tempter’s TBR Challenge. Getting our TBRs down while in isolation? Well, maybe.

How’s everyone else doing? Reading anything good?

Tags: , ,

Divider

The Book Tempter’s TBR Challenge

Posted March 26, 2020 by Nikki in General / 5 Comments

I’ve been meaning to do this post for days, so here we go! Here are my likely picks for the Book Tempter’s TBR challenge:

Cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha ShannonBOOK 1 – The CHUNKY BOI: 500 pages+

The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon. It’s been hanging around on my TBR for ages, and I even just got into it as a readalong group with coworkers!

BOOK 2 – The NEWBIE: The newest book on the TBR

All at the same age at the time of writing: Bringing Down The Duke (Evie Dunmore), Digging Up Armageddon (Eric H. Cline) or A Delicate Deception (Cat Sebastian). Not to mention the ARCs I’ve been racking up, like Laura Lam’s Goldilocks… or the books still winging their way to me, like Red, White and Royal Blue. I’ll count any one of the books I’ve added to my TBR since the lockdown began.

BOOK 3 – The OLDTIMER: The oldest book on the TBR

Oh, criminy. A lot of my oldest books are at my parents’, and we’re staying apart at the moment. If I’ve got Robin McKinley’s Dragonhaven here, it might be that; if not, I’ll probably go with something else from 2011. Maybe Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier.

Cover of A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra RowlandBOOK 4 – THE COLLECTOR: Short stories

Hmm, I’m fairly lacking in anthologies in print, but there’s probably something in my backlog on Kindle. If not, I’ll cheat a little and read N.K. Jemisin’s How Long Til Black Future Month?

BOOK 5 – DO NOT TRANSCEND GENRE: Read a book from your favourite genre

This one’s pretty open… let’s say I’ll use this as a prod to finish A Conspiracy of Truths, by Alexandra Rowland.

Cover of The Fifth Season, by N.K. JemisinBOOK 6, 7 and 8 – THREE IS COMPANY: A trilogy

I’m not going to nail myself to these, but probably N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season et al. I never read this series. I’m covered in shame, I know.

BOOK 9 – FACE REALITY: Non-fiction

I have lots and lots of options here. I’m bouncing off Mark Kurlansky’s Salt right now, so I’ll go with Dennis Baron’s What’s Your Pronoun?

Cover of What's Your Pronoun? Beyond He & She by Dennis BarronBOOK 10 – BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS: A book by a non-US/UK author

Technically I’ve read this before, but I can’t go onto the next book without rereading The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu.

BOOK 11 – RANDOMMMMMM: A random choice

This is meant to be “the third book from the left/bottom of the second shelf in your TBR”, and this is a complicated proposition with my shelves. I’m actually going to go with my library books for this one, and it looks like I’m reading Not Quite A Lady by Loretta Chase.

Book 12 – TREAT YOURSELF: A favourite or book by a favourite author

So this will be either The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison), or one of K.J. Charles’ books I haven’t read before — maybe Think of England.

Here we go!

Tags:

Divider

WWW Wednesday

Posted March 25, 2020 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

Hey folks! A quick WWW Wednesday…

Cover of Salt by Mark KurlanskyWhat are you currently reading?

Non-fiction: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. I’m thinking of ditching it, though. It doesn’t feel very much like there’s a coherent narrative here; it’s just a lot of facts about salt, one after the other. It is interesting, but it feels more like reading a series of encyclopaedia entries or something.

Fiction: I’m partway through rereading Mira Grant’s Feed, which I think I talked about last week. Wife Book Club (aka me and my wife read the same book at the same time) is now The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein. It’s a reread for me, but Lisa’s discovering it for the first time. We haven’t actually discussed it much yet…

Cover of It Takes Two To Tumble by Cat SebastianWhat have you recently finished reading?

It Takes Two To Tumble by Cat Sebastian. It’s just adorable; somebody described it as Sound of Music, minus some of the kids and all of the singing. That’s pretty much it. There’s also a subplot involving one of the main characters having dyslexia, as does his son, which I felt seemed well-handled? And I enjoyed the female love interest (inasfar as she was really a love interest).

What are you going to read next?

I have no earthly idea. Honestly, I’m not managing to read much. My anxiety medication is helping, but either I’m not finding the right book or my mood isn’t stable enough yet. I’m not going to make any guesses or set any goals; I’ll figure it out in its own time.

What are you currently reading?

Tags: ,

Divider

Weekly Roundup

Posted March 22, 2020 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Well, folks, it’s been quite the week. I haven’t been very well (mentally), and while I’m getting better with the help of some anxiety medication (sigh, I was so proud to have weaned myself off it), it’s been rough. So here’s the haul of books I got on our last hurrah day out before moving to social distancing mode and ending non-essential trips, a couple weeks ago.

Next week I’ll share the ARCs I’ve been getting, and whatever’s come through the mail, and try to get back to my normal format.

Books acquired:

Cover of What's Your Pronoun? Beyond He & She by Dennis Barron Cover of House of Fiction by Phyllis Richardson Cover of Murderous Contagion: A human history of disease by Mary Dobson Cover of The Rules of Contagion by Adam Kucharski

Cover of The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh Cover of Rag and Bone by K.J. Charles Cover of Unfit to Print by K.J. Charles Cover of Recoil by J.T. Nicholas

Cover of The Soldier's Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian Cover of It Takes Two To Tumble by Cat Sebastian Cover of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score by Cat Sebastian

Cover of Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters Cover of The Green Man's Heir by Juliet E. McKenna

Some non-fiction, some romance, a little sci-fi, a little fantasy and mystery… a typically mixed haul for me.

How’s everyone else doing?

Tags: , ,

Divider

WWW Wednesday

Posted March 18, 2020 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

Let’s get back to normal a bit. Here’s my WWW Wednesday post!

Cover of Feed by Mira GrantWhat are you currently reading?

Non-fiction: The Rules of Contagion, by Adam Kucharski. This is a bit on the nose at the moment, clearly. I’m enjoying it in little snippets, though.

Fiction: I’m rereading Mira Grant’s Feed, for… probably obvious reasons. It’s at once anxiety-inducing and anxiety-beating; it reminds me of my first experience with reading it, when I had a lot of trouble with my anxiety and this was hitting all my buttons in both good and bad ways.

Wife Book Club (AKA me and my wife pick a book and read it together, at the same pace, in the same place, at the same time): It Takes Two To Tumble, by Cat Sebastian, which is so far very cute and generally fun.Cover of The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

What have you recently finished reading?

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, by Zen Cho. It’s an ARC. I enjoyed it, but felt like I was Missing Something. I haven’t read/seen/otherwise consumed much Wuxia, so I guess that’s part of it.Cover of The Steerswoman, by Rosemary Kirstein

What will you be reading next?

Possibly The Steerswoman, by Rosemary Kirstein, for Wife Book Club. I’ve read it before, and enjoyed it, but never got onto the rest of the series.

So what are you reading?

Tags: ,

Divider

Weekly Roundup

Posted March 8, 2020 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

Evening, folks! I am late on this and just getting this out there so I don’t need to do a double-bill next week! It’s been a busy one.

Books read this week:

Cover of Unthinkable by Helen Thomson Cover of The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh by KJ Charles Cover of The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo Cover of A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ Charles

Reviews posted this week:

Unthinkable, by Helen Thomson. Not too surprising if you’re interested in neurology and have read other books like it, but still enjoyable. 3/5 stars
The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh, by K.J. Charles. Short and sweet. Not a lot of substance, but an enjoyable short story. 4/5 stars
The Honjin Murders, by Seishi Yokomizo. Strongly influenced by John Dickson Carr, this is a solid locked room murder mystery, but not my thing. 2/5 stars
A Fashionable Indulgence, by K.J. Charles. I loved Harry and Julius, and read this (almost) all in one go. 5/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday on Thursday. This week I chattered about John Dickson Carr, K.J. Charles and Sylvia Izzo Hunter!

How’s everyone doing? Any exciting acquisitions?

Tags: , ,

Divider

WWW… Thursday

Posted March 5, 2020 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

I missed the normal check-in, but why not! Here’s a belated WWW Wednesday… on Thursday.

Cover of Castle Skull by John Dickson CarrWhat are you currently reading?

Only fiction right now! I’m sort of begrudgingly reading Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr, because it’s a British Library Crime Classic and I’m a completist. I’ve never really managed to get along with John Dickson Carr’s stories, and I can’t really put my finger on why. Part of it is that I really couldn’t care less about the characters, and also the contrived plots… It’s mostly personal taste, I think. Anyway, I’m not far into Castle Skull and so far it’s alright, but I haven’t really changed my mind on John Dickson Carr in general.

One thing that really drives me wild is his detective characters sitting there and feeling clever without their observations being revealed to the reader. That kind of mystery story always annoys me, because it’s meant to make the reader feel stupid.

Cover of A Fashionable Indulgence by KJ CharlesWhat have you recently finished reading?

A Fashionable Indulgence, by K.J. Charles, which was a joy. I ended up giving it 5/5 stars, which I rarely do, because I didn’t want to pick at it. Charles reliably writes stories I tear right through, even when there are some hard topics (and there certainly are those). Harry’s a joy, and Julius’ slow awakening to wanting and loving him is as well.

Cover of The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo HunterWhat will you be reading next?

I’m not sure, but probably I’ll pick up The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter. It’s a reread, because I remember enjoying it and I have the two sequels, and it’s also a book club pick. So that seems like an excellent set of reasons to pick it up soon.

Of course, there’s also the next book in the K.J. Charles series I’m reading at the moment, A Seditious Affair. I’m not sure how attached I’m going to get to these characters, particularly given one of the pair’s politics are just yuck, but… at the same time, it’s K.J. Charles. I’m sure I’m going to love it.

What are you reading?

Tags: ,

Divider

Weekly Roundup

Posted February 29, 2020 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

Good morning, folks! It’s been a busy week, and I have a lot of new books to show off!

Acquired this week:

First up, I have a bunch of eARCs thanks to Tor, so it’s only fair to showcase them first:

Cover of Or What You Will by Jo Walton Cover of The Ghosts of Sherwood by Carrie Vaughn Cover of The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho Cover of Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

And then I have a bunch of new books after heading to Sheffield to meet friends from afar. The bookshop was naturally the obvious place to take them!

Cover of Death in White Pyjamas by John Bude Cover of Castle Skull by John Dickson Carr Cover of The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross

Cover of How to Argue with a Racist by Adam Rutherford Cover of Ancient Iraq by Georges Roux

Books read this week:

Cover of The Five by Hallie Rubenhold Cover of A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn Cover of Hearts of Oak by Eddie Robson

Cover of The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan Cover of A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn Cover of How to Argue with a Racist by Adam Rutherford

Reviews posted this week:

The Five, by Hallie Rubenhold. I found this much more riveting than I expected. I only had one quibble and that was the emphasis she placed on repeating over and over again that the women weren’t prostitutes, as if that changed how much we should care about them. 4/5 stars
Fell Murder, by E.C.R. Lorac. Rather slow; I just didn’t get into it the way I did with Lorac’s other books. It had some great elements, but… sort of meh? 3/5 stars
A Curious Beginning, by Deanna Raybourn. Unbelievable, and yet kind of riveting anyway! 4/5 stars
The Great Pretender, by Susannah Cahalan. An investigation into a famous study, which may in fact have been partially faked. 5/5 stars
A Perilous Undertaking, by Deanna Raybourn. Enjoyable as heck, just like the first book. 4/5 stars
How to Argue with a Racist, by Adam Rutherford. It’s okay and informative, but I’m not sure it’s really enough. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

#ReaderProblems. An entertaining tag that I spotted elsewhere. Learn how I pick my next read, how I feel about not loving books everyone else does, etc.
WWW Wednesday. Featuring a little preview of my thoughts on Hearts of Oak — my review won’t be up for a couple more days.

How’re you guys doing? Got any awesome new books?

Tags: , ,

Divider

WWW Wednesday

Posted February 26, 2020 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

The three ‘W’s are what are you reading now, what have you recently finished reading, and what are you going to read next, and you can find this week’s post at the host’s blog here if you want to check out other posts. Today’s check-in is here!

Cover of The Great Pretender by Susannah CahalanWhat are you currently reading?

Non-fiction: The Great Pretender, by Susannah Cahalan. Over the course of the book she reveals that one of the most famous psychiatric studies, “On being sane in insane places”, may have been largely faked by the man who wrote the paper, David Rosenhan. He sent “pseudo-patients” (sane people faking some symptoms) to various inpatient units in the US, and wrote about their experiences there and the bizarre diagnoses they received. However, Cahalan tried to track down the study participants and… nothing.

So far she’s only discussed the set-up, so I haven’t read the bit about trying to find the participants and figure out who they were, so I don’t know how to evaluate it. Litsy’s pretty torn about it, with mostly negative reviews, often from mental health professionals who feel the whole study is irrelevant now anyway and thus so is this book. However, I question this; knew about the Rosenhan study, and I’m not by any means a mental health professional, so it’s still in the public consciousness at least that much. Cahalan also discusses all the ways it has impacted psychiatry and… seems pretty important to me!

Fiction: A Perilous Undertaking, by Deanna Raybourn. I enjoyed the first book — it whipped by so fast it left my objections behind — and this book seems set to do the same.

Cover of Hearts of Oak by Eddie RobsonWhat have you recently finished reading?

An ARC of Hearts of Oak, by Eddie Robson. I’m not really sold on it, I have to admit; I haven’t sat down and had a good thing about it, but I didn’t really enjoy it. That ending felt very flat, because I should’ve cared about Iona and her fate, and I didn’t.

I think that’s my main problem with the book as a whole; it could (should!) have evoked emotions, but didn’t. For instance, there should be something incredibly creepy about realising you’re one of only four humans in your entire world, and everyone else around you is an automaton — some of whom are secretly plotting something which will change everything. But… nothing. It felt totally lacking in affect, for me at least.

Cover of How to Argue with a Racist by Adam RutherfordWhat will you read next?

Well, I just got a stack of new books, so something from the stack, probably! How to Argue with a Racist, by Adam Rutherford, promises to finally engage with the question of how to demolish race science (one of the other two books I’ve read on the subject seems to just say that race science sucks and we should just say it sucks, rather than understand why it sucks; the other was from a different angle and didn’t engage with science about race, but more generally about bias).

Also in the pile is Georges Roux’s book, Ancient Iraq, which should have some of the background I’m seeking about places like Nineveh. And then of course I have two new British Library Crime Classics, which are always good fun.

What are you currently reading?

Tags: ,

Divider