Category: General


WWW Wednesday

Posted 13 September, 2017 by Nikki in General / 0 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 Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse TysonI think the only thing I really actively have on the go is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. So far it’s okay, nothing’s started sailing over my head yet, but then I don’t know how deep into certain concepts he’s going to go. Some things seem to go in one ear and out the other no matter how simply they’re presented.

What have you recently finished reading?

Cover of The Beautiful Ones by Sylvia Moreno-GarciaLast night I finished the ARCs of Taste of Marrow, by Sarah Gailey, and The Beautiful Ones, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I enjoyed both; I want more of Houndstooth and Hero’s adventures in Gailey’s books, and I do hope there will be more. I thought The Beautiful Ones a little slow/frustrating at times, because it relied on people constantly misunderstanding each other and/or not reaching out when they should or saying something they should or… whatever. But I did enjoy it.

What will you read next? 

Cover of Artemis by Andy WeirNot sure. The next thing I’m about to lose access to from Adobe Digital Editions is The Last Namsara, by Kristin Ciccarelli, but there’s a bunch of others on pretty much the same timescale. The shortest looks to be Andy Weir’s Artemis, which I did already try to start, so maybe I’ll work on that. I wasn’t that into it, which is sad — we’ll see, though.

What are you reading?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 9 September, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

This is the second of my scheduled way-in-advance posts, so it’s not the most up to date, but next week I’ll be back with your regularly scheduled update. I don’t have a new bunny picture to share, since the buns are off at the babysitter’s, but here’s an older one of Hulk begging to be pet, and one of Breakfast cleaning his face!

How have I deserved such cute buns?

Books bought this week:

Cover of Updraft by Fran Wilde Cover of Too Like The Lightning

Again, just a tiny selection from a rather larger haul. Calgary’s bookshops probably fear me, by now.

Books read this week:

Cover of The Gods of Olympus by Barbara Graziosi Cover of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden Cover of The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans de Waal

Not much reading this week, given roadtrips and such!

Reviews posted this week:

Acadie, by Dave Hutchinson. I was along for the ride, nodding at the fairly predictable beats — and then wham, the ending jacked it up a star. 4/5 stars
Why Dinosaurs Matter, by Kenneth Lacovara. Nothing much new if you know your dinosaurs, but interesting all the same. 3/5 stars
The Shadowy Horses, by Susanna Kearsley. Give me moooore of the archaeology, less of the ghost story! 3/5 stars
Hengeworld, by Mike Pitts. Fascinating discussion of the mythic landscape of Paleolithic Britain, although I don’t always agree with Pitts’ assessments. Lots of depth on the archaeological digs and so on. 3/5 stars
The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin. …I don’t get the fuss, sorry. 2/5 stars
A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers. More insular and intimate than the first book, this feels less easily resolved too. I enjoyed it a lot, and it can stand alone if you’re interested. 4/5 stars
The Making of the Fittest, by Sean B. Carroll. Basically looks at the “forensic record” of evolution encoded in DNA. Interesting enough, especially if you’re looking for examples to cite… 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The update on what I’m reading and what I might read next.

I know I’ve been away, but I’ll be back soon after this goes up, so let me know how you’re all doing!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 6 September, 2017 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.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of The Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans de WaalBeing me, the answer is “too much at once”. I’ve got two non-fiction books on the go — Imagining Head-Smashed-In, by Jack W. Brink, which is about the buffalo jump in Alberta, and The Atheist and the Bonobo, by Frans de Waal. I’m finding both of them interesting, and at least Brink’s book has been praised by First Nations people.

Fiction-wise, I’m reading The Bear and the Nightingale, and trying to finish it. I’m also partway through The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers, which is interesting but a little overwhelming.

What have you recently finished reading?

Cover of A Wrinkle in TimeI haven’t actually been finishing much this week, since I’ve been in Canada and going on long car trips, etc. But I did finish The Gods of Olympus, by Barbara Graziosi. It was interesting, but not exactly revelatory — I seemed to know most of the stuff about the development of the way people perceived the Olympians.

Before that, I think the last thing I finished was A Wrinkle in Time. I know it’s a classic, but… it kind of left me cold. Sorry?

What will you read next? 

Cover of Caliban's War by James S.A. CoreyI don’t quite know. Possibly the next Vlad Taltos book — I reread Jhereg last week. Or I should start Caliban’s War, which I still haven’t read, even though it was last month’s book club read. Oops.

What are you reading?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 2 September, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Hello from Calgary!

This post was mostly written in advance, so sorry if I don’t manage to comment back to you! Here’s the obligatory away-from-bunnies bunny pic — some cuddles with Breakfast a couple of days before we set off.

Books bought in Calgary:

This is just a taster, because jetlag has hit me hard and I can’t focus beyond the next ten minutes involving my pajamas.

Cover of Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Cover of Everfair by Nisi Shawl Cover of Roses and Rot by Kat Howard Cover of A Season of Spells by Sylvia Izzo Hunter

Most of these I’ve had before, but review copies… I felt guilty, okay?

Books read this week:

Cover of The Lost City of Z by David Grann Cover of The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter Tevis Cover of An Unsuitable Heir by K.J. Charles Cover of Inferior by Angela Saini

Cover of A Wrinkle in Time Cover of Jhereg by Steven Brust Cover of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

I should come up with ratings for these, but honestly I’m this close to falling asleep in the middle of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

Reviews posted this week:

Buffalo Soldier, by Maurice Broaddus. I feel like I’d have appreciated this more if I knew US history better, but it’s fascinating all the same. 3/5 stars
A Crack in Creation, by Jennifer Doudna and Sam Sternberg. A timely exploration of the latest in gene editing — something I’d love to work on. 5/5 stars
15 Million Degrees, by Lucie Green. Solar physics might not be quite my thing, but Green’s sense of wonder definitely came across. 3/5 stars
Leviathan Wakes, by James S.A. Corey. I enjoyed this a lot, and had to get the next book. It has its flaws (some more female characters, please?), but in general it worked for me. 4/5 stars
The Trouble with Physics, by Lee Smolin. Understand string theory? It’s okay, Smolin points out that nobody does. This book got me as close as I’ve ever been to understanding it, though. 4/5 stars
Starborn, by Lucy Hounsom. I found a few aspects of this problematic, and I’m not gonna read the rest of the series. 2/5 stars
False Colours, by Georgette Heyer. It’s fun — as you’d expect from Heyer. 3/5 stars

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 30 August, 2017 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 reading now?

Cover of Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha LeeFiction-wise, I’m reading Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee. I’m saving the second half of it for my flight, because it’s a heck of a flight and I’m going to need the entertainment. I’m also partway through Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, by Angela Saini. So far, no major surprises, but some grim nods of recognition…

What have you recently finished reading?

Cover of The Man Who Fell to Earth by Walter TevisI think the last thing I finished was The Man Who Fell To Earth, by Walter Tevis. It was worth it, though I wasn’t going to give it four stars until I read the ending… and then it just made perfect sense that that’s how things would work out. A sad sort of sense, though, admittedly.

What are you going to read next?

Cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabI have all kinds of things cued up and ready to go on my ereader, so I’m not quite sure. Last time I did this plane trip, I read A Darker Shade of Magic, and I feel like I need a reread, so that might be my pick. We’ll have to see. It’s a long journey, so I’ll probably read a couple of books.

What are you reading?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 26 August, 2017 by Nikki in General / 21 Comments

I am back with the wife and the bunnies! And soon I’m off to Canada. I don’t know how much I’ll be around there, so there may not be a weekly roundup/STS post, but I have reviews scheduled to go up as usual.

Received to review:

Cover of Shadowblack by Sebastien de Castell

Yay! I only recently read Spellslinger, so I was glad to get this now.

Birthday presents:

Cover of The Hidden Life of Trees Cover of Scientific Babel by Michael Gordin Cover of Priam's Gold by Caroline Moorhead Cover of Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Pappagiani

Cover of Striding Folly by Dorothy L. Sayers Cover of The Wimsey Family Cover of Castles by Marc Morris

I actually got almost the full set of Peter Wimsey books in these new editions like Striding Folly, all matching, but I’m not listing them as new books because there’s so many, and because I’ve read most of them many a time!

As you see, it’s quite a mix. I picked all of them myself, so I can’t blame anyone else’s weird taste…

Books I bought:

Cover of Universal by Brian Cox Cover of Inferior by Angela Saini Cover of The Lost City of Z by David Grann Cover of How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

Cover of The Genius of Birds Cover of Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee Cover of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen Cover of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Cover of Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey Cover of Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey

I swear, there were sales.

I’d say this is my last acquisition for a while, but I specifically saved up some money for a little book spree while visiting the in-laws in Calgary…

Books read this week:

Cover of Leonardo by Michael White Cover of Neanderthals Rediscovered by Dimitra Pappagiani Cover of Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee Cover of A Very British Murder by Lucy Worsley Cover of The Wimsey Family

Cover of Starlings by Jo Walton Cover of A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch Cover of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller Cover of How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

Four stars to… pretty much all of these. Three stars to Mask of Shadows, though.

Reviews posted this week:

Life on the Edge, by Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili. The idea of quantum biology scares me a little, since I’d rather keep quantum out of biology… but this book makes it seem pretty manageable. 4/5 stars
The Vaccine Race, by Meredith Wadman. A lot of stuff I didn’t know about the development of vaccines! 4/5 stars
Just Six Numbers, by Martin Rees. A bit out of date now, but still worth a read and pretty clear for someone not in the field. 3/5 stars
Mapping the Interior, by Stephen Graham Jones. Creepy stuff, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, but it’s definitely effective. 3/5 stars
Babylon, by Paul Kriwaczek. What is it about books about Mesopotamia that they fall prey to total lack of sourcing…? 1/5 stars
The Fire’s Stone, by Tanya Huff. A reread, and it’s still fun. 4/5 stars
A Pocketful of Crows, by Joanne Harris. Weaves together a whole bunch of interesting stories into a whole. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The usual update.
Experiment results: My mood does correlate with how much I read! Nobody who reads my book blog is surprised, but hey, here’s the results of the little study I did on myself over on my science blog. Plus bonus maths! Now doesn’t that sound tempting?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 23 August, 2017 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 Mask of Shadows by Linsey MillerWhat are you currently reading?

I started Mask of Shadows, by Linsey Miller, on the train, and I think that’s the only thing I’m really actively reading right now. It’s fun, especially because of the genderfluid main character, but it’s very much like Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass, in a lot of ways. Also a touch of The Hunger Games.

What have you recently finished reading?Cover of Starlings by Jo Walton

I just finished Jo Walton’s Starlings on the train today; most of the stories I hadn’t read before, and I hadn’t spent much time on the poetry before either, so that was nice. And last night I read The Wimsey Family, which is a short book collecting some of Sayers’ speculations about Lord Peter’s family through the ages. I like the fact that she thought it all through more than actually reading it, but it was still fun.

Cover of Caliban's War by James S.A. CoreyWhat will you read next?

I should get to Caliban’s War, which is one of my book club reads for this month. Come to that, I really need to get to it, since I’m probably not really going to be online at the end of the month. Canada trip, ho!

What are you reading at the moment?

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Stacking the Shelves

Posted 19 August, 2017 by Nikki in General / 18 Comments

Good morning! Tomorrow is my birthday, so I’m getting a couple more books then… but after that, I swear I’m toning down my hauls for a while.

Since I’m still at my parents’, here’s a bunny pic! Yes, this is Hulk. Yes, that’s her bag of hay — the one we use to replenish her ball of hay, which is the hay she’s actually meant to eat.

Hulk (bunny) bodily in her bag of hay

I recognise that furtive-looking butt…

Sigh.

Bought:

Cover of The Zoo by Isobel Charman Cover of Timekeepers by Simon Garfield

Cover of Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw Cover of The Regional Office is Under Attack Cover of Masquerade by Laura Lam

Ah, Waterstones, I missed you.

Received to review:

Cover of Starlings by Jo Walton Cover of The Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock

Yaaaay! I love Jo Walton’s work, so I am excited for this. I’ve also been eyeing An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors for a while, so I’m excited to get to that, too.

Read this week:

Cover of The Ghoul King by Guy Haley Cover of The Button Box by Lynn Knight Cover of The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach Cover of The Hammer and the Cross by Robert Ferguson

Cover of Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb Cover of Defy by Sara Larson Cover of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore Cover of Machiavelli by Michael White Cover of The Warrior Princess by K.M. Ashman

Five stars to: The Carpet Makers.
Four stars to: The Ghoul King, The Button Box, The Hammer and the Cross, Machiavelli, Assassin’s Apprentice.
Two stars to: Defy, Lamb, The Warrior Princess.

Reviews posted this week:

The Martian, by Andy Weir. Still a lot of fun on a reread. Such snark! 4/5 stars
The Spellslinger, by Sebastien de Castell. This is a fun coming of age story that doesn’t go the typical, easy way of fantasy novels that feature misfits who can’t use their magic. 4/5 stars
Wicked Plants, by Amy Stewart. More for flicking through than reading exhaustively. 3/5 stars
The Real Lives of Roman Britain, by Guy de la Bedoyere. A good attempt at bringing the Britons of Roman Britain alive. It falls a little short for me, because we have so little information. 3/5 stars
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. A reread I thoroughly enjoyed, although aspects seem a bit too… obvious to me now. 4/5 stars
Clouds of Witness, by Dorothy L. Sayers. Another reread of a favourite. 4/5 stars
The Glass Magician, by Charlie N. Holmberg. Ceony drives me a bit mad, but overall I still had fun. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

Top Ten Tuesday. My last regular Top Ten Tuesday post, this features a top ten of past top ten posts.

How are you doing?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 16 August, 2017 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.

What are you currently reading?

Cover of The Stars Are Legion by Kameron HurleyI’ve finally returned to Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion! I’ve been meaning to finish it for ages, but I needed to refresh my memory, so I’ve started over. I’m also reading Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale; I’m not quite sure what I think of it yet. I’m enjoying the style and the Russian background, but on the other hand I keep putting it down for days at a time. Oops.

What have you recently finished reading?Cover of Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb

Yesterday I finished up Assassin’s Apprentice, by Robin Hobb, at last — it’s still really good, though I do find Fitz rather frustrating at times. Still love Verity, too, for his tireless work and his kindness and just — agh, the kind of character I always love. I’ve also just finished reading a history of Vikings, The Hammer and the Cross, by Robert Ferguson. I found it a bit long-winded, though there’s some good stuff.

What will you read next? 

Cover of Pantomime by Laura LamThere’s quite a few options on the table, including starting the second Farseer book, Royal Assassin. I need to start reading Pantomime properly — I stopped so I could include it as one of my Reading Quest books. And I still want to start on my reread of Kushiel’s Dart.

In summary, plenty to keep me busy!

What are you reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted 15 August, 2017 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Hey everyone! This is possibly my final regular Top Ten Tuesday post because, great as some of the themes from The Broke and the Bookish have been, it’s starting to feel like work to participate. The themes are quite often repetitive or just not applicable to me. I’ve done 164 previous Top Ten Tuesday posts; perhaps it’s no surprise that my inventiveness is running out. I still plan to check back and participate when I’m interested in the theme, but I’m not going to schedule posts ahead anymore.

That said, here’s a look at my Top Ten Top Ten Tuesdays!

  1. Book blogging confessions.
  2. Underrated Arthurian novels.
  3. Desert island reads.
  4. If you like epic fantasy…
  5. Heroines.
  6. If I’m found with amnesia, give me these books to read.
  7. My weird bookish habits.
  8. Books that scared me.
  9. Books for my mother.
  10. Bookish things I want to know about friends.

I’ll still be swinging by other people’s posts too, so I’ll see you all soon!

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