Category: General

Weekly Roundup

Posted November 14, 2020 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Well, this year continues to be weird. A week passes and feels like a month; a fortnight passes and feels like an eyeblink. But here we all are. How’re you doing?

I don’t actually have any new books at all to show off since last week, which I know is a shock coming from me… so here’s the books I’ve been reading, as usual.

Books read recently:

Cover of This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen Callender Cover of The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff Cover of Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians by Laurel Beckley Cover of The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

Cover of Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge Cover of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey Cover of How to Tame a Fox by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James

Reviews posted recently:

And that’s it for this week! What’ve you folks been reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted November 12, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

Almost belated, but we’re still calling this Wednesday…

Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon JamesWhat are you currently reading?

I’m still partway through Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Marlon James). I don’t love it, but I’m appreciating it more now that I’ve got used to the narration. I don’t think it’ll ever be a favourite, and it doesn’t much inspire me to read more Marlon James, I’ll admit. So much violence and death… but mostly the narrative style just doesn’t work for me.

I’m also still reading Murderous Contagion (Mary Dobson). I think I’d have loved it a few years ago, and it’s more meh now because I’ve read so much on various different diseases since. There’s not much new to me here.

Cover of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyWhat have you recently finished reading?

Leviathan Wakes (James S.A. Corey), which I just reviewed. It’s really compulsive, though some of the more horror-leaning bits are aaaalmost too much for me.

What will you be reading next?

I happen to know that I’ll be starting on How to Tame a Fox (Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut), for the Clear Your Shit Readathon prompt of “a book with an animal in it”. Had to sneak non-fiction in somehow!

What are you reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted November 5, 2020 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Oops, it’s late! Okay, real quick, here we go, my WWW Wednesday!

Cover of The Progress of a Crime by Julian SymonsWhat are you currently reading?

Since it’s about to be 5th November (Bonfire Night, in the UK), I decided to pick up the recently reissued The Progress of a Crime, by Julian Symons. It’s in the British Library Crime Classics series, so it was pretty much an auto-buy; I’ve found Symons’ books very readable, though I don’t always find them pleasant — there’s something about the characters he centres that just feels too clever by half, and just generally unpleasant (and that’s not something that has to be the case with crime fiction! there are plenty with pleasant leads).

There are a few other books on the go, but this one is the top of the pile at the moment.

Cover of This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kacen CallenderWhat have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was This is Kind of An Epic Love Story, by Kacen Callender. Very fun as a short read, though very YA in level, meaning it slipped by just a little too easily. That said, the portrayal of sign language and the way Callender avoids over-explaining the sign (or just treating it as “translation” and putting it in full English sentences) is pretty cool.

Cover of Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyWhat will you be reading next?

I intend to get properly stuck into my reread of James S.A. Corey’s Leviathan Wakes, for SciFi Month! I also want to start rereading Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold; I’d like to crack on with reading the Vorkosigan series in honour of SciFi Month, too. Finally, I need to read Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians, for the Clear Your Shit Readathon.

As ever, it’s also entirely possible I’ll head off in some other weird and wonderful direction, too.

What are you currently reading?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted November 1, 2020 by Nicky in General / 1 Comment

Well, folks, it’s been a couple of weeks since I did a roundup! I’m not going to try to be exhaustive here: I’ll post the covers of some of my new books, some of the books I’ve been reading, etc.

I keep thinking I’m on top of things and then things get on top of me again, but that’s 2020 for you. I’m trying to take it one step at a time. So that said, let’s get on with this!

New books:

Cover of Ruby by Nina Allan Cover of Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger Cover of Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner Cover of Dragon Physician by Joyce Chng

Cover of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse Cover of The Port of London Murders by Josephine Bell Cover of MetaZoa by Peter Godfrey-Smith Cover of How to Tame a Fox by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut

A weird mix, as ever! I’m looking forward to Ruby especially. I know I won’t get to Return of the Thief for quite a while (I haven’t read Thick as Thieves yet)… but I’m looking forward to all these! I also got a copy of Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott, from winning the SciFi Month giveaway — I forgot to grab an image of the cover, though! Thank you to imyril and Head of Zeus for this one.

Books I’ve finished reading recently:

Cover of Stuck by Heidi J. Larson Cover of How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan Cover of Deadline by Mira Grant Cover of The Little Library by Kim Fielding

Cover of Blackout by Mira Grant Cover of Stormhaven by Jordan L. Hawk Cover of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-GarciaCover of The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware Cover of Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold

Cover of The CBT Toolbox Cover of Proper English by KJ Charles Cover of Fake Law by the Secret Barrister

Looks like a lot, but that’s 2-3 weeks!

Reviews posted recently:

Other posts:

How are you doing? Any exciting new books you’ve added to your shelves? Anything got you glued to its pages? Let me know!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted October 28, 2020 by Nicky in General / 6 Comments

Here we go! I’m actually pretty on time to post this for once… Check out the host’s post and find others from the comments!

Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon JamesWhat are you currently reading?

I’m still working on Black Leopard, Red WolfI’ve sort of ended up just letting it wash over me, and see where it goes, and that’s working for me a bit better. I still don’t love the narrative style, and it’s hard to hold onto the clues that will be important later, because it feels unstructured.

I’m also reading Luke Arnold’s Dead Man in a Ditch, which is — like the first book — pretty fun but not amazing. It’s a nice pulpy read, like some of the noir it imitates in fantasy-form, and I’m still so frustrated by how much of an idiot Fetch is.

Non-fiction wise, I’ve got Mary Dobson’s Murderous Contagion on deck; it’s okay, but I know a lot of this stuff already, of course, and it doesn’t often go into the kind of tasty depth I was kind of hoping for (which pop-science/pop-history is perfectly capable of doing). Perils of the type of book it is, really!

Cover of Blackout by Mira GrantWhat have you recently finished reading?

Ugh, what have I? I’m having trouble focusing on reading at the moment, being honest. I did recently finish Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, and I’ve also read a book called The CBT Toolkit to evaluate whether it can be used alone. (The answer is no, I wouldn’t recommend it.) I also joined in part of the 24-hour readathon on Sunday, and finished a couple of books then, so I think mostly my brain is just too tired to hold onto stuff right now.

Cover of Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha LeeWhat will you be reading next?

Well, I have four books on my “next up” pile. This doesn’t mean I’m definitely going to read them next, but it means they’ve been plucked off the shelves to sit prominently in my field of vision, increasing the chance I’ll pick them up. So that’s Phoenix Extravagant (Yoon Ha Lee), Cemetery Boys (Aidan Thomas), The Angel of the Crows (Katherine Addison), and The Animals at Lockwood Manor (Jane Healey). I should add a fifth book — Dead Man in a Ditch just came off the shelf, so it needs to be replaced.

What are you currently reading?

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Posted October 24, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

So it’s time for a readathon, and with a sick rabbit, I need the distraction. Let’s go!


I’ll be starting with Jordan L. Hawk’s Stormhaven on my ereader (the delightful Onyx Boox Poke2). Here’s the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
South Yorkshire, UK, where we have just moved into tier 3 lockdown.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I haven’t thought about a stack for this one. I have a mini-shelf of next-up books which might qualify (The Angel of the Crows, by Katherine Addison; Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia; Phoenix Extravagant, by Yoon Ha Lee; Cemetery Boys, by Adrian Thomas), but I’m going to go by my whim.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
No specific snacks laid in! But I’m rather fancying a helping of peanuts or two.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I’m currently studying for a degree in Infectious Diseases, in this year of the plague, 2020. I believe in being curious about your fears and going toward them (safely) rather than away! Seriously, best tip anyone ever gave me about anxiety. Relatedly, one of the books I have on the go at the moment is about infectious diseases through history: Murderous Contagion, by Mary Dobson.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I used to be super hardcore and feel bad if I did anything but read and the bare necessities. That hasn’t suited me in a long time, so I’m planning to be relaxed, and also play my video game, watch the rugby and hope someone wipes the smug off Ntamack’s face, and maybe find an audiobook to do some cross-stitch. Don’t burn yourself out; if you need a break, take it.


Finished Stormhaven! My next pick will be Mexican Gothic, because why not? But first I need to warm up and find my Wales jersey ready for the game.


I’m about 100 pages into Mexican Gothic now, after I took a bit of a break to get warm and then play Hades. I think I’ll take a bit of a break now to do some more work, and then read more of Mexican Gothic until it’s time for the game!


Had another pause to game a bit, then watched the game. Then I got back to it and finished reading Mexican Gothic! I think now I’ll go back to my reread of The Eagle of the Ninth.

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WWW Wednesday

Posted October 22, 2020 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

Hey folks! I’m having a tired and overloaded week, so I’ll try to make this quick!

What are you currently reading?

A bunch of things, as ever! I’ll keep it to the three most “on deck” at the moment: I’m reading Blackout, the third in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy. I keep restarting the trilogy and having to reread the first book, because a lot of the themes are a bit anxiety-making for me, but this time I am determined to get all the way to the end. There’s so much goodness here, even with the anxiety-making.

Cover of The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary SutcliffI’m also rereading The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff. I love the way she put some historical facts together to make this story, and I love Marcus and Esca, and I love the fact that I’ve finally managed to track down another copy of the edition I read to pieces, with the illustrations that are so familiar and the right cover and everything (not the one pictured here). It’s odd how much shorter some bits of the book seem now than I remember them to be. I had this with Narnia, too — I feel like as a child I roamed a lot freer in imagining the bits between chapters and scenes, and made it longer as an experience.

I’ve just started The Little Free Library by Kim Fielding, today, and I’m halfway through. The impulse-buying of books thing is — ouch! I feel called out. I’m finding the rapport between the love interests believable, though, and I’m enjoying watching them get where they’re going.

Cover of Deadline by Mira GrantWhat have you recently finished reading?

Oof. I’ve been bad at actually finishing books, lately, so it might have been Mira Grant’s Deadline. Bit middle booky, now I look back at it, though with some good stuff.

What will you be reading next?

I really couldn’t tell you. I just got Joyce Chng’s Dragon Physician, and I’m intrigued. It’s also short, which suits my current attention span.

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SciFiMonth 2020

Posted October 15, 2020 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

SciFiMonth 2020 banner

(Banner art by Tithi Luadthong from

Well, folks! It’s taken me a while to make a post about it, but I have indeed signed up for this motley crew of spacefarers. Check out the announcement at There’s Always Room for One More!

I don’t have big plans for SciFi month… or I’m trying not to, since I read based on my whim and I can’t promise that’s going to include sci-fi. But I’m considering starting on a full series read of the Expanse series, and I’m also idly toying with the idea of reading the Vorkosigan books.

Maybe I’ll do both?


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Weekly Blogging Challenge: Re-reading

Posted October 15, 2020 by Nicky in General / 5 Comments

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge

Welcome to the Weekly Blogging Challenge blog hop, hosted by Long and Short Reviews. This week’s topic is “rereading books: why or why not?”.

The answer for me is that I do, of course — as I think most people around here have noticed, ahaha, since I always write a new review. I’m on my umpteenth review to write of Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor. I have a whole list of reasons, so… let’s make it a list.

  1. For fun. Reading should be fun. I find that I get easily focused away from that fact, and see it happening for other bloggers too. So if rereading a book sounds fun to you — if you’re like, gah, “I can’t remember the ending of XYZ and I really want to reread it” — my answer is pretty much always going to be “go for it!”
  2. For comfort. Familiar literature can be a really different experience to a brand new book. You know what’s coming, so you’re not bracing yourself for the next awful thing that’s going to happen to beloved characters… at least not in the same way! You know what to expect, which makes it a much less daunting prospect when you have had an awful day.
  3. Because it’s better the second time. Maybe that’s because it’s a really complex world and you were totally lost the first time; maybe it’s because the writing is really clever and when you read it the second time, you get to appreciate all the clues; maybe you notice different things, because you’re a different person between now and then.
  4. To prepare for the next book in the series. I’m constantly having to go back to earlier books to remind myself what the heck’s going on.
  5. To share the experience with someone else. I’ve had some great buddy reads where I’ve read the book before, but I also get to see someone experience it for the first time. Lots of fun.
  6. Because it sticks in your head. I’m glad I reread Mira Grant’s Feed, and Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey, because… I didn’t like them that much the first time. But something in them stuck with me, and honestly, they’ve probably all gained two extra stars out of five — or even three — since I first read them. Some alchemy kept happening in my brain after I read them, and when I came back to them because they niggled at me, they opened right up and really worked for me.

I can honestly probably keep going and come up with more reasons. I know some people feel that there are so many books in the world, they can’t possibly justify rereading a book they’ve already read. But it’s not possible to read all the books in the world, even if you never reread even a single page, so if you can find enjoyment in rereading a book… why not?

(I know there are some people who can’t, who hate the predictability, and that’s cool too.)

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WWW Wednesday

Posted October 15, 2020 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

Here we go as usual, the weekly reading update!

Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon JamesWhat are you currently reading?

I’m still working my way through Black Leopard, Red Wolf, and I actually feel like I’ve got a bit more of a handle on it. I don’t like it very much, I’ll admit, but I’m finding my way with it and no longer so disinclined to finish.

I’m also about 70% of the way through rereading Mira Grant’s Deadline, which feels more middle-book-y than I remembered.

Cover of Stuck by Heidi J. LarsonWhat have you recently finished reading?

A bunch of things all in one go, but the most-most recent was Heidi J. Larson’s Stuck, about vaccine rumours and why they stick around. I can summarise the book for you in one sentence: “vaccine rumours are the fault of public health for not explaining things to people nicely enough, and the fix is for public health initiatives to be nicer.”

That’s about as good as it gets. Preeeetty disappointing.

Cover of Murderous Contagion: A human history of disease by Mary DobsonWhat will you be reading next?

Well, I have a few different books on my ‘next up’ shelf, including Mary Dobson’s Murderous Contagion, which should be fun for me. But I’m not sure; the shelf isn’t a hard commitment, more ‘hey, remember these books you were keen to read?’

What are you reading, or excited about reading?

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