Category: General


Stacking the Shelves

Posted 21 April, 2018 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

Sooo, Amsterdam happened! And so did many books. Also some awesome socks.

Books acquired

Cover of Murder in Piccadilly by Charles Kingston Cover of Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay Cover of Fire in the Thatch by E.C.R. Lorac Cover of Seven Dead by J. Jefferson Farjeon

Cover of Death of a Busybody by George Bellairs Cover of Roar by Cora Carmack Cover of Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn Cover of Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer

Cover of Head On by John Scalzi Cover of Semiosis by Sue Burke Cover of Skullsworn by Brian Staveley Cover of The Sisters of the Crescent Empress

Cover of The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis Cover of I Only Killed Him Once by Adam Christopher

Though the last one is, of course, an ARC — Tor are as good to me as ever.

Books read this week:

Cover of The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English Cover of The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton Cover of War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Cover of A Long Day In Lychford by Paul Cornell Cover of Exiled from Camelot by Cherith Baldry Cover of The Brain Supremacy by Kathleen Taylor

Reviews posted this week:

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula Le Guin. This was mostly just a comfort read so I didn’t actually have much to say. I still love it with all its flaws. 5/5 stars
The Poisoned Chocolates Case, by Anthony Berkeley. I add to a classic murder mystery in my review… 4/5 stars
The Atrocities, by Jeremy C. Shipp. Some good atmosphere but ultimately I didn’t love it. 3/5 stars
The Golden Age of Murder, by Martin Edwards. This book tries to do a lot, but it’s mostly successful and it made me really curious about Golden Age crime fiction I’d never even heard of. 4/5 stars
A Long Day in Lychford, by Paul Cornell. I don’t love this series like some other people do, but this book did really manage to put its finger on some of the feelings in Britain around Brexit. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW WednesdayThe weekly update on what I’ve been reading lately.

How’s everyone doing? Delicious book hauls? Dying of the sudden warm weather, Europeans?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 18 April, 2018 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.

Cover of Exiled from Camelot by Cherith BaldryWhat are you currently reading?

I’m rereading Exiled from Camelot, by Cherith Baldry. I wrote part of my MA dissertation on it, way back when I was still a lit student, so I have fond memories. Sometimes the emotion feels a bit… overwrought, though at other times it feels just right — and really, aren’t I just internalising the whole modern masculinity shtick? Kay can cry about Arthur if he wants to. (And he does. A lot.)

I’ve also picked up Kushiel’s Chosen, and currently Phèdre and Joscelin are breaking each others’ hearts. Which tells you absolutely nothing by way of where I am in the book, since they do that all the time.

Cover of War for the Oaks by Emma BullWhat have you recently finished reading?

I read War for the Oaks over the weekend — that was pretty fun, felt like meeting October Daye and Kate Daniels’ grandma, kind of. I really liked it, actually; it doesn’t feel so unique since I’ve read urban fantasy that followed it first, but I get a sense of the energy around it and, yeah, very fun.

Today, I read A Long Day in Lychford, by Paul Cornell. Didn’t love it, but appreciated it a lot.

Cover of Too Like The LightningWhat will you be reading next?

I’m partway through Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer, so that’s probably what I’m going to read once Exiled from Camelot is finished. I’m not yet entirely sure what I make of it (it’s one of those that make me wonder if I’m smart enough/have enough background knowledge), but I was just getting into it at the point I stopped.

Also, The Brain Supremacy, by Kathleen Taylor — I’m in a challenge which takes on one Dewey Decimal category per month, and this month is 600-699, and that fits, so, woo.

What’re you reading?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 14 April, 2018 by Nikki in General / 21 Comments

I’m safely back in Belgium! And in our little game of doing chores and healthy things, my wife and I have hit 200 stars (ish), so we’re off to Amsterdam today for books, yarn and goodness knows what. (Mostly books and yarn.) So I’ll reply to any comments tomorrow!

Books bought/received to review:

Cover of Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer Cover of The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston Cover of Booked to Die by John Dunning

Cover of The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis Cover of The Secret of High Eldersham by Miles Burton

A bit of a weird mix, maybe…

Read this week:

Cover of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert Cover of Daphne du Maurier by Margaret Forster Cover of Almost Human by Lee Berger Cover of Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero Cover of The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Cover of Evolution in Four Dimensions by Eva Jablonka Cover of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely Cover of The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp Cover of Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland Cover of The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude

Reviews posted this week:

The Hazel Wood, by Melissa Albert. It took me a while to figure out what this was trying to do, but I ended up enjoying it. 4/5 stars
Meddling Kids, by Edgar Cantero. Okay, this had its annoying aspects (oh my goodness, you can use the word “said”, I promise!) but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Especially Kerri and Andy. 4/5 stars
The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang. Lovely. The historical setting doesn’t quite work, but I loved the rest of it. 4/5 stars
Daphne du Maurier, by Margaret Forster. I found this interesting, but I felt like I was prying. 3/5 stars
Lost for Words, by Stephanie Butland. Not quite as light as I expected, and gah, the mental health clichés. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday: The usual weekly post.

So how’re you doing? Reading plenty? Got weekend plans?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 11 April, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 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.

Cover of Lost for Words by Stephanie ButlandWhat are you currently reading?

I just started Lost for Words, by Stephanie Butland, mostly because hey! Set in a bookshop! I’m enjoying it, even though it’s perhaps not my usual genre, though a little apprehensive about what the awful thing that happens to Loveday’s family is.

Cover of The Atrocities by Jeremy C. ShippWhat have you recently finished reading?

I read The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp. It wasn’t quite my thing, really, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Before that, I finished Dan Ariely’s book on dishonesty, which I found as unsurprising as his book on irrationality — not knocking his scholarship, but I think the popular psychology type stuff is usually all things I’ve read before. Boo.

Cover of Murder in the Channel by Freeman Wills CroftWhat will you read next?

Haven’t decided! I just shipped myself a ton of books to Belgium, so I might just stick a hand in the box and see what I grab. Or, you know, I’ll be good and focus on the ARCs I should be reading… that could work too. Or another British Library Crime Classic!

The possibilities are endless!

What are you reading?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 7 April, 2018 by Nikki in General / 20 Comments

Good morning, folks. I am still in the UK, despite intending to go back last week, due to the rail strikes in France and ensuing mayhem. New departure date to get back to wife and bunnies for a while: Tuesday. Wish me luck.

But hey, since I’m away, that means you get one more lot of bunny photos because I miss them. Here they demonstrate the principle “I fits therefore I sits”.

And since last week was Easter, have the Easter Egg I gave my sister…

New books from various sources

Cover of Head On by John Scalzi Cover of Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine Cover of The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

Cover of Meetings With Remarkable Manuscripts Cover of The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Looking forward to all of these, different as they are from one another!

Books read this week:

Cover of Murder in the Museum by John Rowland Cover of A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright Cover of Bats in the Belfry by E.C.R.Lorac Cover of The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley Cover of Improbable Destinies by Jonathan Losos

Reviews posted this week:

Murder in the Museum, by John Rowland. Entertaining but fairly typical Golden Age crime story. 3/5 stars
A Matter of Oaths, by Helen Wright. Why did I wait so long to read this one? I loved it and it’s high time it got more attention. 5/5 stars
The Genius of Birds, by Jennifer Ackerman. Entertaining, but not much that was new to me. 3/5 stars
Improbable Destinies, by Jonathan Losos. A fascinating examination of the idea about evolution being repeatable. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday: The usual update on what I’m reading, what I might read next, etc.

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 4 April, 2018 by Nikki in General / 12 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.

Cover of Improbable Destinies by Jonathan LososWhat are you currently reading?

Some of the same books as last week, plus Jonathan Losos’ Improbable Destinies. It discusses whether evolution can be repeated, and mostly suggests that yes, evolution does tend to repeat itself through convergence. I’m not entirely sold on it because there are some flaws in the experiments as described; I’ll probably look them up for myself and see if the authors address those at all. There are some compelling points, though. Hopefully, I’ll have actually finished this by the time this post goes live in the morning; I’m about to retreat to bed with it for a cwtch.

Cover of A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. WrightWhat have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was A Matter of Oaths, I think! I thought it was great, but my review is already up, so you can go there to see me babble about it.

Cover of Bats in the Belfry by E.C.R.LoracWhat will you be reading next?

I rather fancy picking up another of the British Library Classic Crime series, so I’m thinking of Bats in the Belfry by E.C.R. Lorac. Of course, the ‘Belfry’ in the title is making me think of Sayers’ The Nine Tailors, but I love that book so much I think it’s best to try not to think of it, lest this one suffer in comparison.

I’m also quite tempted to pick up City of Brass finally, since I accidentally read the first chapter today and was quite intrigued.

What are you currently reading?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 31 March, 2018 by Nikki in General / 24 Comments

So my excuse for last week was that I’d been good for ages. My excuse this week is… um… look, I’ve been restrained all year, now it’s breaking out. I can’t help it. I’m in the UK with books easily accessible to buy, I know I’m going away again until my exams, so I have to make the most of the opportunity.

Speaking of being in the UK, though, I’m still away from my buns so here’s a couple of pics of them being adorable that my wife sent.

Photo of Hulk and Breakfast booping noses through the pen Picture of Hulk sitting up and cleaning her face

Review copies

Cover of The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp Cover of Void Black Shadow by Corey J. White

Because Tor are so good to me. <3

Bought 

Cover of Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton Cover of Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft Cover of The Rift by Nina Allan Cover of Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Cover of Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell Cover of A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows Cover of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

Cover of Verdict of Twelve by Raymond Postgate Cover of The Poisoned Chocolates Case by Anthony Berkeley Cover of Murder in the Museum by John Rowland

Quite a mixture, as ever, though perhaps not as mixed as I’d like — I was tempted by more non-fiction, but it didn’t exactly fit into the budget.

Books read this week:

Cover of Built on Bodies by Brenna Hasset Cover of The Genius of Birds

Not much read, I know. Failboat.

Reviews posted this week:

The Terracotta Army, by John Man. Pretty clear and accessible history about something I knew sadly little about. Particularly fascinating on the politics around the Terracotta Army, both ancient and modern. 3/5 stars
The Gene, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Fascinatingly written, if not quite as good or as expert as Mukherjee’s other book. 4/5 stars
The Mummy Congress, by Heather Pringle. The kind of archaeology book I love — wide-ranging and totally absorbing. 4/5 stars
Built on Bones, by Brenna Hassett. A good history of the development of the city, told through bioarchaeology. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday: The weekly update.

How’s everyone doing? Plenty of books, or going through a dry spell? Getting reading done, or way too stressed?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 28 March, 2018 by Nikki in General / 6 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.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. WrightUh, I’ve kind of got too many books on the go again: An Accident of Stars (Foz Meadows), A Matter of Oaths (Helen Wright), Evolution in Four Dimensions (Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb) and also Daphne du Maurier (Margaret Forster). At… least it’s a balance of fiction and non-fiction? I didn’t actually mean to pick up A Matter of Oaths yet; it just sort of happened.

What have you recently finished reading?

Cover of Built on Bodies by Brenna HassetBuilt on Bones, by Brenda Hassett. It’s one of the Bloomsbury Sigma books, so predictably enjoyable and fairly light, while still being informative about a lot of things — in this case, mostly bioarchaeology and what human remains tell us about urban life and how it developed (and whether or not it’s good for us).

What will you be reading next?

Cover of Exiled from Camelot by Cherith BaldryI’m playing Book Bingo, actually, so my next title strategically will probably be my reread of Exiled from Camelot (Cherith Baldry). I haven’t read it since I wrote part of my dissertation on it! If I don’t go for that, it’ll probably be The Genius of Birds (Jennifer Ackerman).

How’s everyone? What’re you reading? I’m behind on comments due to a new client and travel. I’ll be trying to get to all of that today!

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 24 March, 2018 by Nikki in General / 24 Comments

Well, I’ve been too good to be true lately with my reasonably small hauls, so here’s a nice big one! Granted, this includes some books that were sent to my parents’ place over the last couple of months that I’ve only just picked up, but it’s still… well… a little unwieldy.

I’ll start off with the review copies and stuff from subscription boxes… although first you get a bunny picture because I’m away from my precious idiots. (Hulk update: this week she ate a rubber band. It has not yet reappeared. Breakfast update: he only needs meds in the morning now, and he’s very pleased by this.)

Hulk and Breakfast snuggle together under our duvet

Review copies and subscription boxes:

Cover of The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green Cover of The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton Cover of The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse

Cover of Fury of the Tomb by S.A. Sidor Cover of Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

An odd mix, perhaps! Looking forward to some of these a lot, though. Fury from the Tomb in particular sounds like a lot of pulpy fun.

Books bought:

Cover of Autonomous by Annalee Newitz Cover of Stone Mad by Elizabeth Bear Cover of The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang Cover of They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera

Cover of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton Cover of Witcheskin by Nem Rowan Cover of The Cornish Coast Murder by John Bude Cover of Murder in the Channel by Freeman Wills Croft

Cover of An Incredible Crime by Lois Austen-Leigh Cover of Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith Cover of Bats in the Belfry by E.C.R.Lorac Cover of Catullus' Bedspread by Daisy Dunn

Again, quite the mixture, I know! I’ve been curious about the British Library Crime Classics for a while, and especially since reading Martin Edwards’ The Golden Age of Murder. I don’t expect to be blown away by most of them, but they’ll be entertaining and unlikely to be horribly traumatising (sorry, modern crime fiction lovers — Val McDermid and Tess Gerritsen’s works turn my stomach).

Read this week:

Cover of Ironclads by Adrian Tchiakovsky Cover of A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe Cover of Masquerade by Laura Lam Cover of Sum by David Eagleman

I haven’t read the most ever this week, but I did enjoy these books and read all of them in one or two sittings each! So that’s something.

Reviewed this week:

Ironclads, by Adrian Tchaikovsky. Fairly good adventure story with an anxiety-making (or anxiety-reflecting, maybe) Brexity corporate background. I didn’t love it, but I found it entertaining. 3/5 stars
A Borrowed Man, by Gene Wolfe. Fascinating background, but the execution is basically pretty typical noir. The more I think about it, the less I think of it. 3/5 stars
Experiment Eleven, by Peter Pringle. This had much less about TB than I’d hoped, but it is a rather interesting examination of two scientists and their intellectual property battle over the antibiotic streptomycin. 3/5 stars
Masquerade, by Laura Lam. Yaaaaas. Micah is awesome, the supporting characters continue to be awesome, and there’s an epic showdown. Only quibble is that some of the political aspects feel too easy. 4/5 stars
Sum, by David Eagleman. Interesting collection of short stories based around a single theme. They got a bit repetitive, but there are some really good bits too. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW WednesdayMy usual weekly update on what I’m reading, what I’ve just read, and what I might read next.

How’s everyone doing? Brought in a massive haul this week, or practising restraint? Lemme know in the comments!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 21 March, 2018 by Nikki in General / 4 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.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of An Accident of Stars by Foz MeadowsI still have two books in progress: Masquerade, by Laura Lam, and An Accident of Stars, by Foz Meadows. I have actually made some progress with both since my last post, but I’m still spending possibly far too much time crocheting… I have a train journey today, so I’m hoping to finish one of them — probably Masquerade.

What have you recently finished reading?

Cover of A Borrowed Man by Gene WolfeThe last thing I read was A Borrowed Man, which I’ve already reviewed here. I found some of the ideas really fascinating, but in execution… well, I wasn’t sold, anyway.

What will you be reading next?

Cover of Evolution in Four Dimensions by Eva JablonkaOther than my books on TB from the WHO, I’ve packed Evolution in Four Dimensions, which is all about epigenetics. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages, so maybe my long (long, long) train journeys today will give me a chance to get started, once I’ve polished off Masquerade.

Knowing me though, I might read something totally different. I’ve given up trying too hard to predict it.

What are you reading?

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